Ever gone through times of extreme highs? Success? Pleasure? Excitement? Discovery? Victory? Freedom? Experience? Love? Joy? Hope? Encounters? Answers?
Ever gone through times of extreme lows? Failure? Betrayal? Lies? Loss? Deaths? Temptations? Opposition? Healthy issue? Sadness? Exhaustion?
Through it all did you stay connected? Through it all did you stick close? Through it were there people you stayed connected with? Through it did you stay connected with God? Through it did you isolate yourself? Through it did you turn you back? Through it did you run away? Through it, how did you respond?
Do you realize the importance to staying connected? Do you realize that by disconnecting you are opening yourself up for the lies and attacks of the devil? He is trying to separate you from the flock so that you will be isolated and listen to things you would normally just shrug off or have someone else speak truth and life and hope through and in the situation. It’s important to stay connected to God! It’s important when we come to the reality of what has taken place that like the lost son we turn back and go back to our heavenly Father! Hopefully we come to our senses before we hit rock bottom! Hopefully we come to our senses before we are too isolated! Hopefully we remember when we get to the end of our rope that God loves us! God’s love is unconditional! He will never leave us nor forsake us! So we just need to turn back and cry out to Him!
Do you realize the importance of staying connected through the highs and lows of life?
Day 46: Bible In One Year 2017 Devotional, Psalm 22:1-11, Mark 1:1-28, Exodus 17, Exodus 18
1. Trust that ultimately suffering will end in victory
1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Why are you so far from saving me,so far from my cries of anguish? 2My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,by night, but I find no rest. 3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;you are the one Israel praises. 4In you our ancestors put their trust;they trusted and you delivered them. 5To you they cried out and were saved;in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6But I am a worm and not a man,scorned by everyone, despised by the people. 7All who see me mock me;they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,“let the Lord rescue him.Let him deliver him,since he delights in him.” 9Yet you brought me out of the womb;you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. 10From birth I was cast on you;from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11Do not be far from me,for trouble is near and there is no one to help. –from Psalm 21
Could you imagine living through the highs of walk with Jesus and all that you would have seen? Could you imagine living through the low of the cross and seeing Jesus die on it? Could you imagine living through the high of the resurrection and getting to see that Jesus conquered the grave and made a way for us to find eternal victory no matter how high the high was or how low the low was! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding! Remember no matter what happens on this earth, there is a victory coming when Jesus comes back! So put your trust in Him no matter what comes your way! Don’t get disconnected from God no matter how high the highs or how low the lows, stay connected and realize that He is for you, He is not against you, He wants what is best for you! His plan is to give you a hope and a future! His plan was that through Jesus we would be saved and our relationship with God would be restored! Remember it’s a season! If it is a low it won’t last! If it is a high and your life continues there is more incredible things ahead and some may be highs and others may be lows, life is a journey! So don’t lose hope through each season! Remember what Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes 3! Through it all stay connected to God and keep trusting in Him!
2. Grow in authority through the battles and blessings
1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way”— 3“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord,make straight paths for him.’ ” 4And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18At once they left their nets and followed him. 19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. 21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. –from Mark 1
When we stay connected to Jesus in the highs and the lows, we are able to experience the authority of Jesus in our lives, in our situations, and in the world around us. Jesus has so many highs and lows and through them all we see how Jesus’ battles and victories! Having a relationship with Jesus is urgent and important! Sharing the Good News is something that should be top priority because it is in the upper right quadrant of the prioritization quarters. We need to be able to share the Good News with everyone who needs to know and hear about it. We need to find a door that will get people excited and want to know how those things could be possible. Jesus is the answer for the blessings in my life! Jesus is the answer for the hope that is within me through the highs and through the lows! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is the way I was able to get reconciled back to God the Father! No need to beat around the bush! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is seeking! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is needing! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is asking! If you are in a high or walking through a desert and being tempted, don’t lose hope and don’t disconnect from God! Stay connected for He will give you wisdom! He will give you strength! In this world we will have troubles, but take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because it will build up our faith, so persevere allow it to complete it’s work so that we can come out the other side complete and lacking nothing! The devil is going to try as hard as he can to separate you from God’s presence so he can fill your head with lies! The devil is going to try and trick you or trip you up so that you think you failed and walk away from God! God will never leave you nor abandon you, however, you can try to walk away from Him and out from under His protection! So turn back when you realize that you have walked away! Cry out to Him when you realize you have gotten out from under His protection and covering! And turn back to Him quickly! God is giving us authority thanks to Jesus! Authority that Jesus received through the highs and lows while never letting go of His connection to God! Authority to evangelise, to lead, to teach, and to heal! What authority have you received from God? What opportunity do you have to use that authority to serve others who are in need of it? Get connected to God! Let the Holy Spirit fill you! Be grafted back onto the branch so that God’s work and flow into and through you into the world around you! Let’s complete the work God has given us to do so we can hear “well done my good and faithful servant” as well as “this is my child with whom I am well pleased”.
3. Pray and act to turn the lows into highs
Water From the Rock
1The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
3But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The Amalekites Defeated
8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”
15Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” –from Exodus 17
Jethro Visits Moses
1Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.
2After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her 3and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land”; 4and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”
7So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. 8Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.
9Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
13The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
24Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
27Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country. –from Exodus 18
We were never meant to do it alone! We were created to live life with God and with one another! So be it the highs or the lows, don’t go it alone! Don’t make it to the mountain top alone! Don’t walk through the valley alone! Let’s be able to give others encouragement and by not going it alone, allow others to speak encouragement into our lives too! We need people to be around us to help us when our arms grow tired or our bodies grow weak! We need to be walking out life with one another as God had originally planned! God saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone! God knows we need one another! We need others to be praying for us when we are going through the journey of life! We need to also be praying for others who are going through life! Let’s be interceding for one another! We need to be able to delegate! We shouldn’t try to go and do it all alone in our own strength! We need to share the load! When we partner with Jesus we know that the yoke is easy and the burden is light! When we can find people who will come alongside us with a common belief and a common purpose we will discover many hands make light work! Let’s lead in a way that brings people together towards a common purpose, serving them like Jesus did and accomplishing great things for the glory of God! We were never setup to do it alone! We need to find the right leaders to come alongside us so that we can not only delegate but also trust and be in alignment around the work! We need to be able to trust them so that we can empower them to go and do the work and release them to get it done! Micromanagement doesn’t scale! God has given us various talents and abilities! So we need to be wise when we delegate so that we give to people in accordance to their abilities!