Help in Unexpected Ways

Even when we think we’ve dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s, trouble can still fall upon us. Most of the time, our prayer list is filled with other people’s needs. But there are times when we urgently need God to make a way where there is no way. When we are in need, we should remember one of the many names of God, Jehovah Jireh, meaning “the Lord will provide.”

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Divine Help

You may remember the account in the Old Testament when the servant of Elisha walked outside and saw that a large army had surrounded the city they were in. He rushed to Elisha and shouted, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” Elisha didn’t even break a sweat. Instead, Elisha probably put his arm around him and said, “Don’t be afraid. Let’s take another look.” Then Elisha prayed, and his servant’s eyes were opened, and he saw, “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15–20)

If we could see as Elisha saw, we would see a world not only filled with tangible objects – people, pets, buildings, and roads – but we would also see God’s celestial beings as well as the devil’s fallen angels. My guess is that we would often find God’s angels in unexpected places, and the same for fallen angels. We know from God’s Word that sometimes the enemy interferes with the angels of God (Daniel 10:12–14). 

Angels Watching Over Me

The idea of angels at work in our lives may seem surprising but we need to remember Hebrews 1:14. Angels are “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” Many years ago, the Christian singer/songwriter Amy Grant recorded a song called Angels Watching Over Me. I know that at least once in my life, God sent an angel to deliver me from serious trouble. I had an immediate need, and God provided help in an unexpected way. You may not believe that spiritual warfare still takes place in our modern world, but having experienced God’s hand of deliverance by an angel, I can tell you that it does.

So, when you experience real trouble, crushing heartache, or a total sense of being overwhelmed, take your problem to Jesus and leave it with Him. I’m not just writing some pablum to soothe your mind. I am testifying to you that God still changes times and circumstances when a child of His prays in faith.

If you’re unsure how to pray, I recommend this passage of Scripture. Pray it to God. Believe Him.

I love you, Lord;
you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.

Psalms 18:1–3 NLT

Good News

There is no problem so big that God cannot solve it.

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Walked A Mile With Sorrow

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:2-6

Jesus Experienced Deep Sorrow

We find Jesus, when He was about to be betrayed, telling His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Luke 22:44-45)

Today’s passage in Isaiah is a Messianic passage. It is a prophecy about Jesus. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely Jesus has known more sorrow and grief than any son or daughter of Adam, including Job! So, since Jesus felt sorrow, we must expect that we will.

Walked a Mile with Sorrow

The spark that got me thinking about sorrow was a “Jesus Music” song by Barry Mcguire from the 1970s.

Walked a mile with pleasure
She chattered all the way
Left me none the wiser
With all she had to say
Walked a mile with sorrow
Never a word said she
But oh the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me

Barry Mcguire – I Walked a Mile Lyric

In the wisdom of God, there is value in sorrow. I don’t know why. However, when I search the Bible, I find verse after verse about sorrow, and some of my most life-changing experiences were wrought in sorrow and grief. It’s in those times when we surrender to God; we become honest with ourselves and Him.

Good News

Here’s the good news. God promises that in the future “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) In this life we will have hardships, sorrows, loss, and grief, but should thank God for these. I think Andraé Crouch nailed it.

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.

Through It All by Andraé Crouch

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The Joy of a Good Heart

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalms 147:10-11

We all know this, but it’s refreshing and encouraging to read in God’s word that He judges us by our hearts and not our physical attributes. Social media platforms and video streaming sites all treat us as people that are “inadequate and uneducated.” We don’t know the secret that they want to share with us. From hair to high-rise condos, these influencers tell us to trust them; they can tell us how to improve our lives. They focus on trying to fix our outward appearance – our bodies, cars, condos, we need them so we can have power like them. But those are deceiving messages.

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

What has actual value is our hearts. In our hearts, God finds our love for Him and our determination to walk on the path of righteousness. Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, but there are times when I’m in a store or on vacation, and I know I have an encouraging word for a stranger, but by the time I think of what I should say, the moment is passed, and then I think of it! I was so close, but I missed the opportunity.

I’ve come to think of these missed opportunities as drawing water from the well of my heart. If I have not replenished my heart, it takes longer to drop my bucket down to the water level and then bring it back up – it takes too long. But if my heart is overflowing with my love for God and trust in His word, then I can quickly retrieve God’s message and pass it along to that stranger.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

So, God doesn’t consider our physical strength (the legs of man) or what we possess (the strength of the horse). Instead, God looks into our hearts to see upon what our wisdom is built, what is the source of strength, and upon what moral ground we have built our lives. Living for Jesus keeps our hearts overflowing with steadfast hope. Be joyful and let your trust in God be like that of the Psalmist who wrote:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalms 20:7

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check list

Jesus’ Check List

[✔︎] Descend from heaven. John 3:13
[✔︎] Be born of a virgin. Luke 1:26–38
[✔︎] Go to people of my natural nationality. John 1:11
[✔︎] Do these miracles: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
[✔︎] Tell people how vital it is for them to put their faith in Me. John 12:44
[✔︎] Help people understand that My Father, I, and the Holy Spirit are One God. 1 Timothy 2:5, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 3:16–17
[✔︎] Communicate that the first step towards forgiveness is repentance. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Preach the kingdom of God. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Build a team that will become a community and grows to be My Bride. Matthew 4:18–22Acts 2:1–4Revelation 19:7
[✔︎] Teach people that love is never optional. Luke 10:25–37
[✔︎] Let people know that I often give second chances. John 21:15–25
[✔︎] Make it clear that my actions are fulfilling all of the prophecies about Me. Luke 13:32
[✔︎] Tell people that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Matthew 7:13–14Matthew 10:28
[✔︎] Reveal to people that believers have a home waiting for them in heaven. John 14:2
[✔︎] Teach people that this life is full of troubles. John 16:33
[✔︎] Help people know the value of differed gratification – Luke 14:33
[✔︎] Ask My Father to send the Holy Spirit so my believers will not be left as orphans. John 14:16, John 14:26, John 14:18
[✔︎] Be humiliated, cursed, spit upon, nailed to a cross, receive the wrath of My Father, be separated from My Father for the first time in all eternity, become sin so My Father cannot even look upon Me, and die as a sacrifice to provide the way for sinners to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Matthew 27:32–56
[✔︎] Rise up from death to become the resurrection for my followers. Luke 24
[✔︎] Ascend back to heaven. Acts 1:9
[ ] Return a second time to gather my people. John 14:3

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Where Are You From?

A question that often comes up the first time we meet someone is, “Where are you from?” It’s a good question because it may provide context about the person. I have a brother-in-law that grew up in south Georgia. His conversations are filled with “yes, sir, and yes, ma’am.” It’s a courtesy spoken by people from the South, and it is like comfort food to me.

If you’ve read my posts for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve lived in many places. Each time I got a new driver’s license, it showed my permanent address. Well, that state thought it was permanent 😉 , but I knew better. Still, my birth certificate never changed for my many permanent addresses.

A Prophetic Message

When we turn to Psalms 87, we find the Psalmist drawing on the culture of the Israelites and writing about the registration of people. It would be easy to miss God’s prophetic message in this brief Psalm. In verse three, we find the Psalmist praising God’s city, Zion (Jerusalem): “Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.” Then, in verse four, we learn that a time will come when some people who are citizens of nations other than Israel will be counted as having been born in Jerusalem. This is precisely how Christians live in the world today.

Every Nation

There are currently 195 nations in the world. There are at least a few Christians in every country. Even Somalia’s population has 0.01% Christians. So, there are people that were born outside of Jerusalem but are now born, by faith in Jesus, in God’s city. Wow!

Now we come to verse six of Psalms 87 and find a promise from God for every Christian.

The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

Psalms 87:6

Birth Certificate

O, how my soul leaped with joy when I read verse six. My heavenly Father looked at me and saw Jesus in me, so He wrote of me, “This one was born in Zion..”

Almighty God wrote on my birth certificate, “born in Zion,” does yours? I pray that it does!

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Prisoner of Hope

Have you ever had such a need to feel the hand of God that, like a puppy, you became so frantic that you couldn’t receive the very thing you wanted? I think I’ve been in one of those times. You see, I’ve been asking God to directly intervene for the health of several people and a church. But when I pray, I get so wound up in the needs that I feel like I’m chasing my tail.

Called to Serve

I’ve never been a puppy, but my observation is that an excited puppy will spin and tumble and nuzzle in attempts at feeling his master’s hand. But only when the puppy quiets, panting from exhaustion, can his master rest his hand on him, and only then does the puppy feel what he craves. I think I’ve been caught in “puppy syndrome” and am still in the frenetic phase. But I am changing my ways.

Jesus didn’t call me to chase my tail; He didn’t call me to chase the devil; He called me to serve Him, and may God have mercy on the soul of anyone that attempts to mess with His will. So, as I was reading my Bible, the Holy Spirit gave me a verse to grasp hold of that has settled me down. This verse is a promise, and the good news is that it is as much for you as me. Here is God’s promise:

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

Zechariah 9:12

Prisoner of Hope

Did you catch God’s promise in this verse? It is the “prisoners of hope.” That’s what I am; I am a prisoner of hope. I cannot deny so great a salvation. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Because of what Jesus has done in me, through me, and for me, how can I not be wrapped in chains of love and lashed to the Rock of my salvation? I am a prisoner of hope.

I no longer need to cast my soul into a frenzy when my Master stretches His hand towards me. There is no need because I am already bound to Him, fed by Him, and continually communicating with Him. Do I still need the touch of His hand? Absolutely. Do I still have petitions for Him? Yes, indeed. Should I be concerned that He may not hear my prayer? Not at all, for I am a prisoner of hope.

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Don’t you understand even yet?

Today, I was caught off guard while reading Matthew 16:5–12. This is the account of the disciples misunderstanding what Jesus meant when He warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees to which Jesus asks, “Don’t you understand even yet?

The Disciples Worry

In response to Christ’s question, the disciples began to worry about not having anything to eat – they had forgotten to bring bread (v5). They discussed this predicament while traveling by boat, so they obviously couldn’t do a door-dash. With the thought of bread on their minds, they were baffled when Jesus suddenly told them to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (v6).

The disciples focused on food while Jesus was focused on fulfilling the plan of His Father. Rabbit Trail: I asked myself if my default response to every question was first spiritual and then physical? You can guess my answer.

Now back to Jesus and His disciples in the boat.

The Disciples Misunderstand

Jesus has just warned His disciples – the ones upon whose shoulders the growth of His Church would soon fall – to beware of the yeast (leaven) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their response had been to huddle together to figure out how to tell Jesus that they forgot to bring bread. At this point, Jesus sternly asked, “Don’t you understand even yet?

Forgive my very loose paraphrase of what Jesus next says in v9–11. Jesus says, “Get your head in the game. I can bury you in bread, so why are you asking Me about bread? That makes no sense.” From the disciples – silence.

Our Patient Lord

Then Jesus shows His patience. “So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” (v11) Now His disciples were in tune, sort of, with Jesus. They understood that Jesus meant that they should guard against false teachings because they can quickly grow and permeate what the Church teaches (v12).

Good News

We should not worry about the things we need – food, clothing, shelter. What we do need is to keep our thoughts fixed on God (Isaiah 26:3) – whose mind is stayed on thee (KJV)

Many things can plant worry in us, but we don’t have to let them. Our God is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God. We’ll keep focused on doing the work that Jesus assigns us and let the world worry about itself.

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Where Shall I Go

How can we feel isolated while we are in a crowd? Why are we lonely after a Thanksgiving meal, or potluck supper, or family get-to-gather? What makes special events tax not only our energy but also our spiritual health?

King David understood these emotions. He wrote, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5) For many reasons or no reason at all, even when we are physically and spiritually healthy, our souls can be downcast. Well, be encouraged by Psalm 139:7–12

Where shall I go?

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning.
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

God’s Hand Guides Us

I love this Psalm because it reminds me that God is everywhere. He’s not like a wireless network that has spotty coverage – some places I can be near God, but other places I’ve got zero bars! I may be stuck with a dead battery or at a mandatory office party or at a relative’s house that is full of darkness, even there I can communicate with God!

Verse ten, “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” is so encouraging. Innumerable times I’ve led one of my five kids by placing my hand on his or her back and guiding them through stores, trains, school events, and more. They were too short to see where to go and their environment was unfamiliar. Yet we made it through.

Good News

That is the way the Holy Spirit is with us. We may be too small in spiritual stature to see above the crowd and the environment may make no sense to us, but God has our back. In those times we can trust that God was with us, His desire was to see His will done through us. As the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

As we enter the most frenetic time of the year, trust Jesus, I mean really trust Him, uninhibited and not restrained by long worn ruts in family relationships. Let God’s light shine. As the Psalmist wrote about God, “even the darkness is not dark to you.” (Psalms 139:12)

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Between My Ears

“For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn”

Ernest Hemingway

Much lore now surrounds this six-word story, accredited to Ernest Hemingway. So much has been made of these six words that the story now stretches around the world with countless book clubs holding annual six-word story contests, with the first and most well-known contest in Key West, Florida, Ernest Hemingway’s home where he allegedly gave this answer to a journalist.

So, what would your six-word story be about Jesus? To get things rolling here’s two of mine.

The Lamb of God saved me.
In Death, Thought Lost, Arose Victorious.


Include your six-word story in the comment section!

The story must present the truth about Christianity in a positive light. I reserve the right to remove any comments that are not appropriate for this site.

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Between My Ears

 These are the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.” 

Leviticus 27:34

This is the final verse in the book of Leviticus. Read this verse to anyone who says, “If there is a god, that god does not care about their creation and certainly is not involved in the affairs of humanity.” (This is a common belief of an agnostic.) I can find nowhere in God’s Word where is say, “I don’t care anymore about my creation. I’ve got greener pasters to tend to.

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