Isaiah 30:15

Isaiah 30:15 – Taking Time With God


For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

But you were unwilling, (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

We all live busy, hectic, modern lives. When we work, we work a lot. When we play, we go all out. When we are home, we have kids to take care of or school events to attend. When it comes to church, we could be at a service or small group every other day if we really wanted. It can be hard to put time aside from our eventful days to rest and be quiet before God as today’s Scripture instructs. And this gets even harder when a monkey wrench is thrown into our busy lives. This could be a death in the family, a rebellious child, the loss of a job, or anything at all that is unexpected. When any of these happen to us, our first response is often to set things back to “normal mode”. Who wouldn’t want to do this? We look for the plans of action necessary to set things in order and ask God to bless us along the way. We fall into the trap that action is the only solvent for the unexpected problems in life. When many times, we simply need to live as the Psalmist and “be still and know that [He is] God” Psalm 46:10. Our comfort won’t come from solving the issues alone, but knowing God and his ways during our busy life.

Begin taking 5 minutes out of your workday to be in a quiet place and rest in God. As we begin to make this a habit, we will understand its importance and remember to make more time during our busy lives for God.

On Your Knees


Exodus 4:10-12

Exodus 4:10-12 – Unlikely Leaders

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:10-12 ESV)

Moses was one of the Bible’s most noted leaders. He led the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and then served competently as a priestly leader. He taught them what was God’s will, prayed for them, and even plead their case before God. We need more men like him in the church. But is it possible that they are already here but have never gotten a chance? Moses was not a gifted speaker and had difficulty trusting God when he told him he would lead the Israelites. If Moses were alive today, who would he look like in the church? Would he be the person sitting next to you who doesn’t appear to have a “leadership bone” in his body? In fact, could it be you?

The key to Moses’ great leadership was its anointing and ordination, and not the “perfect packaging” of his personality. Notice how the Lord assured him, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”(Exodus 4:12). He wasn’t naturally someone who possessed the “leadership goods”, but the Lord worked through him mightily on numerous occasions. Chances are, Moses would be someone considered “weak” by the world’s standards. Fortunately  we serve a God who chooses “what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Remember, it is not in ourselves we find our competency for God’s call, but through his word that we may be “equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Ask God to help you see potential leaders through his eyes today.

John 14:8


James 1:23-24

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:23-24 ESV)

The Bible is an amazing thing. It is at once accessible and understandable to small children, yet confounding and infinitely deep to the theologian. As earnestly as any man studies Scripture he will inevitably encounter the infinity of God, and will be unable to grasp every part of its instruction. God’s Word is a marvel and when we begin to look closely, we discover that it glistens and shines like a finely cut gem with facet upon facet of gleaming truth. But this “finely cut gem” is not like others that we would view through a glass case in a museum. It isn’t merely a thing of beauty to be looked at and temporarily appreciated. No, Scripture contains the very breath, the very life of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It is like a mirror that reveals to us two things: one, who we are presently, and two, whose image we are being conformed to (Romans 8:29). We would do well to gaze honestly into the mirror of Scripture and humbly submit to the image it reflects. As you study the Bible and are convicted by the way you are living, don’t resist the truth, and don’t make excuses for yourself. Submit to God’s Word as the highest and final authority and he will continually conform you to the image of Christ.

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By guarding it according to your word.  (Psalm 119:9 ESV)



Ephesians 6:2-3


Acts 2:38




This Much


Agape Love

John 15:12-13 – Agape Love

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13 ESV)


So what is love really? In the English language we have one word for love. We use this word to say…

I love that pasta dish.

I’d love to go on a hike in the woods.

I sure miss you bro. Love you man.

I’m really glad you are my wife. I love you baby.

But we don’t mean the same thing with the word love in each of those phrases. The Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, actually has 3 words that are translated as “love” in English:

Eros—physical, sexual, sensual love. From which we get the modern word erotic. Eros is about chemistry, physical attraction, passion, sexual desire, and romantic love.

Phileo—brotherly or friendship love. This where the city Philadelphia derives its name- “the city of brotherly love.” Phileo is about companionship, camaraderie, partnership, mutual affection, or giving and receiving.

Agape—unconditional love. The word “agape” was not used commonly in ancient manuscripts, save the New Testament. Many scholars believe that early Christians used and possibly even coined the word. Agape is all about unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial love- the love displayed by God through Jesus. There is this underlying idea of total commitment to the object of love even if it doesn’t deserve or desire it.

The problem with agape love is that it’s risky and dangerous, because if you choose to love someone else and expect nothing in return, to look out for their best interests at the expense of your own self-interests, at some point you are going to get burned, at some point the love is not going to be reciprocated. That’s exactly how Jesus loved us, and only through Jesus can we love others with this fantastic agape love.

Which of three Greek words for love most often describes how you love others? What prevents and hinders you from loving others unconditionally?

Luke 14:25-27

Luke 14:25-27 – Radical Jesus: Hate Your Family?


Daily Devotional Bible Verse

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

(Luke 14:25-27)

Thousands upon thousands of people were following Jesus.  They wanted to see the miracles, and they wanted to hear Him speak.  They could not get enough of Jesus; they were a captivated audience that was riding the Jesus bandwagon, and in every sense of the word they were fans of his.  It is the perfect moment for the Jesus Marketing sales pitch, and He says the unthinkable:

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

This may seem very confusing, because we often think of following Jesus as “yes” to the good  and “no” to the bad.  But following Jesus may disrupt the good stuff in our lives.

By addressing the family—our fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters—Jesus is going after something that most of us would consider inherently good, personally valuable, probably untouchable, and non-negotiable.  Jesus wasn’t talking about greed or lust or pride.  He wasn’t speaking of something we would consider an addictive or destructive force in our lives.  Jesus was talking about our families.

Yes, on one level, Jesus was using hyperbole (a deliberate exaggeration or extreme statement to emphasize a point).  Many of us would agree Jesus was saying that we should love Him so much that our love for the most valuable people in our lives would seem like hate in comparison.

BUT, on another level, Jesus challenged us with the question: Would you follow me, even if it cost you these relationships?

What in your life is most valuable?  You care about this more than anything.

What in your life is most untouchable?  This is one thing that in your mind is non-negotiable   Family… Career… Reputation… Security…

Yes, Jesus is saying we should love Him so much that our love for what we consider most valuable and untouchable would seem like hate in comparison. And on another level Jesus is asking, will you follow me, even if it costs you ___________________?

2 Chronicles 2:12

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heave and earth, for He has given King David a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord and a royal house for himself!  2 Chronicles 2:12


Dear follower of Jesus Christ, do you desire to know the will of God?  Then He is prepared to show it to you.  He may not always show it exactly when or in the manner we would wish it to come.  But He will not leave us without His guidance and care.  In due time, sometimes after trouble or in tribulation, He will make His will known.  The psalmist said, “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).  God told His people through His prophet Isaiah, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).  That quietness and dependence come when we wait upon the Lord, even as Hiram, who is speaking in today’s verse, was taught to do in his life of faithfulness.

If we are impatient and hear nothing, it is God’s choice to answer us with, “Not yet”.  More is to come.  As events unfurl, circumstances change, and our prayers remain persistent, the will of the Lord will be made known.

Isaiah said, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  Sooner or later, either with a yes or now, the will of God will be clarified.  When it is, we will proceed with the power of the eagle and the persistence of the runner.  May God grant you such a life and such a willing obedience to do His will.  May we be found faithful.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have a will and a plan for my life.  Help me rely on You.  Help me trust Your Word and lean not on my own understanding, but in all my ways acknowledge You.  I believe You will lead my way and guide my path.  Thank You for being faithful in the past.  I claim Your promises for the future.  May Your hand of blessing guide me as I seek to follow Your will.  I pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Dr. R. Philip Roberts, Kansas City, MO

Psalm 118:6


Acts 2:38


Romans 1:16


God Is


Jeremiah 22:21

I spoke to you in your prosperity, but your said, "I will not hear."  This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice.  Jeremiah 22:21

Secure_in_His_PresenceSince the Garden of Eden, humans' inclination is to be totally self-reliant.  Prosperity often brings this upon us.  We think that the blessings we enjoy are a result of our own abilities and resources.  The Word of the Lord however, ask, "What do you have that you did not receive?" (1 Corinthians 4:7).  Self sufficiency can be a destructive and deadly spiritual state.

There are many other concerns that may hinder us from hearing the Lord's voice.  Even good and proper duties - the responsibilities of life - may press us to neglect fellowship with and dependence on our Lord Jesus.  Luke 10:38-42 gives an account of Jesus' visit to Mary and Martha's house.  Martha was diligent in preparing dinner for Jesus while Mary sat at Jesus' feet, listening to Him.  Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the better part - spending  time with Him!  While the meal Martha prepared would soon be forgotten, Mary would forever be changed by her fellowship with Chirst.  Dependence upon Him and union with Him are to be the cornerstone of our life.

May we be very aware today of our dependence upon the Lord, whatever the conditions we face.  We need Him for everything, even as we need the air we breathe to survive.  May God graciously grant you today the blessing of dependence, and prompt you to hear and obey His voice.

Heavenly Father, that You for Your great and wonderful care for me.  It is so easy for me, especially when I prosper, to think that I have been the cause of all of the good things that have come my way.  Remind me that every good and perfect gift is from Your hand, and keep me steadfast in my faith, allegiance, and dependence upon You.  I pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Dr. R. Philip Roberts, Kansas City, MO

John 16:13

When He, the Spirit of the truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  John 16:13

The Lord God Almight does a marvelous service for us!  He does what no other religion or religious leader can do.  What is it that He does?  He, by the mighty work of the third Person of the Godhead, indwells and fills every child of His.  Everyone who has given his or her life to Jesus receives God the Father's and Jesus' presence through the Holy Spirit.

This is why Jesus told His disciples, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7).  This is amazing!  The Holy Spirit encourages and leads us.  Rather than simply accompanying us physically, He indwells us and guides us.  The Lord keeps His promise to direct our paths.  The Spirit helps us understand, know, and execute God's will.

It is just as if Jesus were by our side.  Because the Spirit dwells in us, however, it is better still.  The Spirit who does all things in counsel with God the Father and Jesus the Son guides us on a daily basis.  

Today we rejoice in the fabulous, wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit.  May we be so attuned to His will and purpose that we do not miss His plan and remain fit vessels for His service and use.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for being gracious God who knew my needs and met them before I was even aware of them.  Through the Holy Spirit, You guide my life.  May He have full control over all that I say and do.  Thank You for this most remarkable gift!  May I know His fullness and His leadership as I step into today's activities and challenges.  I honor You in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Psalm 119: 103, 105


Acts 9:10-14


Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” Acts 9:10-14

Have you ever been afraid to do something God is asking you to do? In this scripture, Saul was known for being a man who persecuted and even killed Christians. Ananias was a Christian. And here, God is about to change the heart of Saul, an evil man who hated God. He is about to heal him of his blindness and use him to reach many, many people for the Lord. But first, Ananias must obey God and have faith that God knows what he is doing.

You can imagine the fear Ananias must have felt to obey God and approach Saul. He must have heard countless stories of horrendous things Saul had done to Christians in the region. But still, he obeyed. And thank goodness he did! Because of Ananias’ obedience, God gave Saul back his sight and changed his heart. Saul (whose name was later changed to Paul) went on to become a major Christian force and in turn, wrote much of the New Testament.

What is God calling you to do? It may be to pray with a co-worker or, to invite someone into your home for a meal. Maybe it’s to call up an enemy and make amends. Or it could be an infinite number of other acts of obedience that God asks you to do. We never know how someone’s life can change because of our obedience to God. When we have faith like Ananias, God can use us to accomplish unimaginable things!

What is God asking you to do?

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!  Psalm 27:14


Up the hill and down the slope, through the woods and over the streams, my brother and I played the game with great skill.  Of course, he was the leader because he was the elder, but I was the expert at following in his steps.  The game was simple, even through tough terrain.  I was going to follow the leader.  Upward to the summit and down to the valley, we made the journey with focus.  Making our way through the woods and the waters, we found courage to follow the path before us.

The key to making a journey for God’s glory is following the Leader.  We must become experts at following in Christ’s steps.  The journey is simple, even through the toughest terrain.  Life is most satisfying when we walk in His steps.

It seems like an easy enough task.  It’s sensible, too.  If we want to bake a cake that is edible, then we follow the directions in the recipe.  If we want to arrive at an appointment on time, then we will follow directions on the map.  But the creeping, slinking serpent of pride lures us away from the directions.  We convince ourselves that we don’t need them anymore.  So, ignoring the directions, we get lost and confused.

God gives us directions to follow, and He has given us His Son to show us the way.  When we follow Jesus Christ in the details of our days and through every maze, we will taste the pleasure of life.  Anything else will be tarnished by pride and filled with sorrow.  When we keep God as our Boss and stay close to Jesus, we will follow His directions and stay on track.

Lord, show me the path You would have me walk.  I will wait upon Your direction and find Your strength as I give myself to God-sized faithfulness and not me-sized solutions.  Right now, I confess that my vision and wisdom are so very limited; Your vision and wisdom are eternal and unlimited.  Would You show me how to move today?  Would You make my paths straight, showing me every day what steps to take?  Lead me in every decision.  Amen.

Eric Thomas, Norfolk, VA


God can handle it

Isaiah 30:21

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)

According to recent statistics, I made 5,000 decisions today. Seriously?

Well, I made a decision to get out of bed. I made a choice to put on my tennis shoes and run at 6 a.m.

I chose peanut butter Cheerios™ over oatmeal. I decided which bills to pay. What to make for dinner. Whether to answer a phone call. Which clothes to wear. Whether the plants needed watering or if they could wait another day. I chose to fill up the small car instead of the gas-guzzler.

I may have made more than 5,000 decisions today!

Some of our every day choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points. Choice points are seemingly insignificant decisions yet they lead us in one direction or another.

I choose whether to react in anger, or respond with understanding to my husband.

I choose whether or not to create drama with a friend who hurt my feelings.

I choose time with my Heavenly Father, or push that time to another day . . . again.

I choose whether or not to say those words that cause my child pain.

Recently I was on a mission trip and the team was exhausted after nearly six days of intense travel. We had missed a train and stood on the platform in the moonlight. It was nearing midnight and cold and wet. Our next ministry event was early in the morning.

The coordinator walked over. "I'm so sorry," she said. "I didn't mean for it to work out this way."

There I stood at a choice point.

I could share my frustration. I could explain that my sleep tank was on empty. I could say nothing, while sighing with a martyred expression.

As she waited for my reply, I reminded myself what a privilege it was to to be there. That ease and comfort were never offered our Savior, and Iosing a little sleep was nothing in comparison to anything He went through. I reminded myself that everyone around me was just as tired as I was.

"I'm fine," I said, "In fact it's been an amazing day and I can't wait to see what God does tomorrow."

She grabbed me and pulled me in a huge hug. "Thank you, Suz."

I wish I could say I handle every choice point that way, but sometimes I fail. It's my prayer that I'll remember how much those choice points matter. You see, they don't just affect me; they affect those within the vicinity of my decisions, throwing them into a choice point of their own.

In the 5,000 decisions you make today, how many of them will be choice points?

How will your response affect the people around you?

What can you do differently as you make the next 5,000 choices tomorrow?

Dear Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all my choices, and it makes me cranky. Today as I make my 5000 decisions, walk with me, remind me of how my choices affect others and help me choose wisely. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thank you - - -

From August 3, 2012

Choice Points

T. Suzanne Eller

Deuteronomy 6:6

These words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  Deuteronomy 6:6

When the sign on a backcountry trail forbids me to go forward, I can be prideful, certain of my own invulnerability, I tell myself that warning signs are for those who have less knowledge or sub-par skill.  But such pride will end in disaster.  Warning signs apply to all people, regardless of their skill level or experience on the trail, for all who make the journey beyond the warning will face the same danger.

The signposts set up by God warn us and help us keep our soul from sin’s pathway.  But we can be prideful, certain of our own strength to navigate dangerous trails safely.  Discernment, planted in our hearts through God’s Word and pressed on our minds by His Spirit, dispels our pride and directs our steps away from disaster and dishonor.

Living for God’s glory demands a careful and diligent walk.  We have to take time to look around us and within us so we don’t rush headlong into danger.  To live wisely and with discernment, we need to rescue every moment for God’s glory.  Looking inside and out, we must ask, Am I honoring God with my life and service?


When we allow God’s Word to sink deep into our hearts, we will be able to understand His plan for situations we face.  His Word is the filter through which we gain discernment.  Our relationship with God through faith is Christ is more than words on a page.  It is who we are, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells within us.  God promises that when we are saturated with His loving wisdom through His Word, our hearts will be transformed and we will be given discernment to navigate through every terrain of life for His glory.*

Lord Jesus, I humble myself before You today and embrace Your Word that gives me life.  I pray that this day might be marked by the discerning spirit You offer to me through intimate fellowship with You.  I pray that the glorious grace of Your rescuing love might enlighten my heart with insight and direct my steps toward Your glory.  Amen.

*Eric Thomas, Norfolk, VA

James 1:19


Joshua 3:8

You shall command the priest who bear the ark of the covenant, saying, “When you have come to the edge of the water of the Jordan, you shall stand in the Jordan.”  Joshua 3:8

Sometimes obedience just doesn’t make sense.  Sometimes God asks us to do something that seems incompatiable with what we feel or understand.  I imagine that this was the Israelites’ experience when God told the priest to stang in the Jordan River.  They may have found it hard to believe that God would again help up waters like He did at the Red Sea.  Still, He called them to trust and obey Him.


In every relationship and in every circumstance, we are to live to celebrate our God and bless Him through obedience.  Through the day and into the night, both when people watch us and when no one is near, we must be resolved to make God smile.  Our hearts must beat for His honor and our souls must sing for His pleasure.  We are to live each moment in a manner that is worthy of His love and empowered by His grace.  The Spirit awakens our heart to think first of God’s joy before we speak, write, or take action.  As God’s Word unveils His heart and opens our eyes to what gives Him delight, we determine to weave every fiber in the fabric of our lives into a garment of praise.  

There is no higher calling and no greater joy than to give all that we are to glorify God.  To pursue His pleasure is the aim of our obedience.  To know His pleasure is our supreme treasure.

Glorious God, when I stand on the brink of difficulty or on the summit of success, may my heart embrace Your will and seek Your pleasure.  May the resounding song of Christ’s love rooted deep in my soul propel me to step forward in concert with Your purposes for me.  I pray that I might adjust every thought, word, and action of my life according to Your desire, as unveiled by Your Spirit and through Your Word.  Amen.

Walk With God


Isaiah 41:10


Isaiah 64:9

Do not be furious, O Lord, nor remember iniquity forever; indeed, please look – we all are Your people!  Isaiah 64:9


When we’re not careful about controlling our anger, it will control us.  It may start with a minor frustration, but when left unchecked, it grows into something nasty and harmful.  This is the natural course our sinful flesh takes.  When we harbor resentment, constantly remembering injustices and living in a state of discontentment (if not barely contained rage), it’s as if our hearts are being stewed in a big cauldron of anger.  The heat keeping it going is our conceit, and the boiling water is like our bubbling emotions that splash up haphazardly and scald anyone nearby.  Our hearts are certainly changed as a result of harbored anger.  They become darkened by our narcissism and bitterness, and the words and actions overflowing from them hurt those around us.  This kind of situation is rooted in the sin of self-interest; we are, in fact, bowing before the idol of self.

Experiencing anger is a natural part of life.  It would be a mistake to equate anger with sin, for God Himself expresses anger.  Yet in our anger we must not be guilty of sin.  We must not allow the anger we feel produce the sin we must avoid.

The key to controlling our temper is communication with God.  When we dwell in God’s gracious presence, the heat of bitterness is turned down and we find peace.  Tuning our hearts to His grace cools animosity’s selfish blaze.  Obsessions of self fade as we delight in God’s presence and purpose.  No longer bowing at the alter of our ego, we rest in the embrace of Christ and we become a living sacrifice for His glory.  In worshiping Him, we smother the fire of ire.*

Lord God, help me become a patient person who is slow to anger.  Rather than exploding with tirades of wrath, I want to quiet the conflicts around and within me.  I want to have inner peace that comes from a settled faith in You.  Grant me faith to understand that You are working to lead me to the very best in life.  By Your Spirit, grant me grace and engage my world with the faith-filled assurance that You are moving in and through every situation.  Amen

*Eric Thomas, Norfolk, VA