As a new year dawns…


As I start this new day and consider the last year, all I can say is “Wow!”. There were so many different experiences and feelings. There were so many different responses and changes. There were big changes, happy changes, experiences to share and be open rather than to fear and clam up. There were times to learn and times to prepare. There were times to listen and times to take action. So many changes and God was in them all. He calmed any doubts or fears. He spoke into every question or doubt. He answered when I had questions. He encouraged as I waited.

It started with bad news, but God told me He had my back. He rewarded my behavior and actions better than the company that seemed to turn its back on me. From a previous experience, I knew I had to start it with forgiveness. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Because of God’s love and provision, I was openly sharing how I knew that God was working on something and either things would be fixed and improved or He had something else planned for me. I used it as a testimony of how we don’t have to worry or fear what man can do to us, but rather that we can trust in God and allow the joy that surpasses all understanding to help us get through it all.

I had times of doubt, not in God, but if there was really anyone who cared  or could be trusted. God made it clear that there was by setting divine appointments where people would come in and speak truth, speak care, speak love into the situations.

Then the message about Peter shows up in one of my morning devotionals when get walks on water. As I drive to work I ask God if the company I was working for was the boat and if it was and if I was to get out, that He would grant me wisdom to know which side. I was just about to turn onto the highway after driving over the hill and my phone made it’s texting message that ended up being “get out of the boat“. I knew what that meant. I knew that no matter how things changed at work, my time there was limited and that God was preparing me for the next phase of my career. Since I included the clarity of “which side”, I knew that wasn’t the day, but that night I had to start to prepare. I updated my resume, I updated my LinkedIn profile, and I started to reach out to people who worked at companies where I found jobs of interest and the process began. I went to work each day with the joy of knowing God was with me and that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I knew He was working out a plan for my future and so I did my job the best I could for His Word tells me “work as unto the Lord“, He is the real boss of it all.

Interviews were happening. Preparation was taking place. And then right when I thought I knew which side of the boat, God opened the door with the clear message that He had a different idea. He provided me with every sign, every notice, every encouragement I needed so that I knew which side to get out on. Be it rainbows. Be it songs on the radio. Be it my morning Bible reading. Be it the offer. He knew what He has planned and started so many months earlier and this has been an incredible year and one I wouldn’t want to give up. The valley may be deep and it may not be easy, but when you come out the other side and look back, the things you learn are things you wouldn’t want to give up or give back. What an incredible time it has been in my new role. What an incredible group of people I have been blessed to meet. What an incredible opportunity and challenge faces us. And with God directing my path, I know that even greater things are yet to come.

So today as a new year begins, what do I think? what do I want? what do I think? what do I need? what do I plan? Theses are incredible and powerful questions.

What do I think?

I am blessed by God!

What do I want?

To help share the love of God with my family and friends and those who God will bring across my path.

What do I think?

God, what is it you have for me to do today. No need to worry about tomorrow, today has enough things to keep me busy.

What do I need?

God’s wisdom for every action, every activity, every decision, every moment of every day.

What do I plan?

To have another great year spent with my wife, my kids, and my friends and family trying to love them better and share God’s love with them to a new level. To help those I work with to accomplish even greater things that we could have ever asked for or imagined by the grace of God!

This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thank You Jesus!

Love,

Phil


365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

1 Peter 2:17 (KJV)

Be of good character and live your life with integrity, treating everyone the same, with dignity. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ and be respectful of authority. Honor and revere the Lord God!

Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional – Day 59 – My Expectation is from God!

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5

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Impartial. Unbiased. How do you see things?


We can have comfort that God judges everyone by the same rules. We can have confidence that God’s view when He judges is impartial.

 

365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day today speaks to us the following:

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

1 Peter 1:17 (NIV)

Like workers in a foreign land, our mission and obligation is to serve the Lord through faith and obedience during our short time here.

 

When we consider what the rules are or what the law is, we can end up in two places. Looking at the law and concerned because of the what it says and the higher calling Jesus puts on it.

 

It’s a hard list to line up with. It is proof that we need a savior. It is only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be saved. It is by the sacrifice of Jesus, dying on the cross that we are able to be under the covering of the blood and able to have eternal life with God rather than apart from God. When God calls us to the judgment seat, we will have to account for the things we have done or left undone. He is an impartial judge. The only way that we can come out of that trial is if we happen to be in the book of life. Is your name in the book of life? I hope so as I look forward to meeting you one day in heaven.

 

Do you think you have been able to keep the law? Do you think you are safe because you could do it all on your own?

The Way of the Master

 

It’s hard! It was to show us that we can’t do it on our own. It takes blood to cover sin and Jesus paid it all. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way to get to heaven.

 

We may change (our lives, our health, etc.), but we need to make sure that our relationship with God grows and flourishes.

 

Want to talk about it more? Leave me a note.

Where does your help come from?


Where do you put your hope and trust? Where do you turn when you need help? What do you feed yourself with? What do you allow into your mind? What do you allow into your heart? What do you allow into your body?

 

My hope comes from God!

My help comes from God!

My trust is in God!

 

What do you fear? Is there anything that you should fear?

 

365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day share the following verse with us:

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6 (GNT)

It also share this follow-up:

With God as our helper, we have no need to fear, envy or be dissatisfied. He will never leave nor turn His back on us, so be content with what God has blessed you.

 

Day 57 from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional, speaks of how we are saved by God, to be specific “Salvation is of the Lord”.

 

Apart from God we find lack. With God, we are strengthened, we are encouraged, we are directed, we find and give grace. With God we are connected to His saving power. Apart from God we are disconnected and are left to our own devices.

 

9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

Jonah 2:9

Focus…


Where are you focused? What is keeping you from staying focused? What will it take for you to put your eyes back on the ball? Put first things first. Remember how you were able to get here. Don’t allow the enemy of you soul to draw you away from the truth, the hope, the promises.

 

We have received grace from God, so freely you have received so freely give to those who come along your path.

 

Do you realize what is coming? Do you realize the season that is ahead? Do you know how to get right? Are you willing to step up and step into the future that comes with a promise?

 

Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional today from Day 56 speaks to the hope that we as believers can have. That we can walk in the assurance that we will not be destroyed. For those who do not or have chosen not to turn back to God and receive Jesus as your savior, the devotional speaks about an on coming storm in this way:

“But how terrible is it to witness the approach of a tempest: to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it groweth black, and look to the sun which shineth not, and the heavens which are angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane–such as occurs, sometimes, in the tropics–to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind shall rush forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man! And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have as yet fallen, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. As yet the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the flood-gates shall soon be opened: the thunderbolts of God are yet in his storehouse, but lo! the tempest hastens, and how awful shall that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury! Where, where, where, O sinner, wilt thou hide thy head, or whither wilt thou flee? O that the hand of mercy may now lead you to Christ! He is freely set before you in the gospel: his riven side is the rock of shelter. Thou knowest thy need of him; believe in him, cast thyself upon him, and then the fury shall be overpast forever.”

 

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for the incredible joy that comes from knowing You. As I look out to my surroundings and see those who believe and those who don’t grant me wisdom I pray that I may speak truth, life, hope to them in a way that will point them back to You. With You all things are possible and the end is filled with joy, peace, hope. Without You, it’s not worth it, the end is hopeless and bleak. Today I lift up this world, the circle of people I know and ask Lord that You would let them hear the truth and receive You as their Lord and Savior. Lord, I give this all up to you in Jesus’ name so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Seasons…


What comes to mind when someone says the word “season”? Do you think Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Do you think good or bad? Do you think highs or lows? Do you think change or transition? Do you think what will this mean for me? Are you looking for signs? Are you expecting signs?

Looking at the definition, we find:

1) traditional division of year: a traditional division of the year based on distinctive weather conditions.

2) period for particular activity: a period of the year during which a particular activity usually takes place in the human world or among plants and animals

3) period set aside for activity: a fixed period of every year during which particular activities, especially sports, take place or are permitted

We also find synonyms to be:

period · term · spell · time · time of year

If you think about your life, what season are you in? Are you in the Spring of life? Are you in the Summer of life? Are you in the Fall of life? Are you in the Winter of life? Have you considered that various parts of your life can be going through different seasons at the same time: ministry, marriage, spiritual growth, business, finance, relationships, etc.? Are you able to discern when the spirits are about to change?


What comes to mind when you think of the season of Winter?

How about Spring?

How about Summer?

How about Fall?


This morning’s message from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional for day 55, we read from the verse Ezekiel 34:26

26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

We read here that there are purposes for each season. We also know from God’s Word that He has a plan and the purpose for His plans are GOOD!

When we consider Spring and the rain, without rain that comes from God the work we do would be for nothing. It is by the grace of God that what we do has a return. If we till the ground. If we plant the seeds. Without the water it isn’t going to grow. We can add fertilizer, but without water, nothing. If we have a hose but there is a drought = no water, no luck. If we can water it is still in God’s hands to make it grow. So we need God’s grace for anything to come to fruition.

 

As I started to look more into the seasons of life and how they flow or impact us, I found a few articles of insight.

 

The verse that continued to come up was from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

1There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8A right time for birth and another for death,

A right time to plant and another to reap,

A right time to kill and another to heal,

A right time to destroy and another to construct,

A right time to cry and another to laugh,

A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to make love and another to abstain,

A right time to embrace and another to part,

A right time to search and another to count your losses,

A right time to hold on and another to let go,

A right time to rip out and another to mend,

A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

A right time to love and another to hate,

A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

 

Seasons dictate a lot about our lives and what we do and the impact on us. There are the natural seasons and the Spiritual seasons. The natural seasons aren’t during the same time around the world and similarly the spiritual seasons are the same for everyone at the same time either. Where you are in the world determines what the season you are experiencing is. Where you are in your spiritual life similarly determines the season you are experiencing.

 

Natural Season Spiritual Season

Winter

  • Shortest days
  • Lowest temperature
  • Limited sunlight
  • Planning for Spring
  • Vulnerable
  • Matthew 24:20
  • Mark 13:18
  • Acts 27:12
  • 2 Timothy 4:21
  • Titus 3:12
  •  
  • Darkness
  • Barren
  • Uncomfortable
  • Curl up in God’s lap for warmth and intimacy
  • Receive guidance
  • Plan for Spring
  • Rejoice about the harvest you are living from
  • Sabbath
  • Pray

 

Spring

  • Kings go off to war:
    2 Samuel 11:1, 1 Chronicles 20:1
  • Romance:
    Song 2:11-14, 7:11-13
  • New leaves
  • New blossoms
  • Life springs up
  • Plant the things you learned about in the winter
  • Carry out the instructions you learned in the winter
  • New energy from the time spent building your relationship with God
  • Warmth
  • Rejuvenation, revival, new life
  • New activities, new ventures, new opportunities
  • Consider/evaluate what new things are for you. Some will blossom and produce fruit and others are to pollinate

Summer

  • Warmest days
  • Longest days
  • Dry days
  • Outside more
  • Vacation time
  • New experiences – places, people, environment
  • Strategic insight
  • Temptations: diversions, waste time
  • Water what was planted in the spring
  • Weed out things that shouldn’t be
  • Time of heat – dangerous
  • Time of growth and stillness
  • Time of hard work
  • Time of relaxation
  • Time of work and play
  • Time to pause and reflect
  • Fruit develops in our lives
  • Galatians 5:22

Fall

  • Transition from summer to winter
  • Daylight time getting shorter
  • Time of harvest
  • Time of maturity
  • Time of colors

 

If diligent in the summer, this is a time of harvest

See evidence of your hard work

Harvest and storing for winter

Miss a season means you have to wait for the full cycle to restart

Visibility into the abundance and limitations of our everyday lives

Visibility into the passage of time

Filled with anticipation

Obedience and diligence in other seasons will produce harvest in due season

Galatian 6:9

Time of fruition and reaping

Time of thanksgiving and celebration

Time of encouragement

Time to get back into a routine

Time of new beginnings and endings

 

Each season has a purpose. Each season will change. Enjoy it as you are going through it, you don’t want to miss it. Let’s step out in faith trusting in God so that we can see that what is ahead of us isn’t the end, but that there is a greater reward in heaven with God.