A Gift?

In Numbers 13:2 we see that God had brought the Israelites to the
edge of the Promised Land. He was giving it to them.
But His gift would require something of the recipients.

Sometimes we mistakenly assume that when God gives us
something, all we have to do is receive and He’ll do the rest.

For example, the gift of salvation is free for the asking.
But we have a responsibility of actually living it out.
We can’t expect God to magically fill our minds with His Word.
We have to read it, absorb it, memorize it and live it.

This is what it means to “work out” our salvation.

“. . . continue to work out your salvation
with fear and trembling”
(Philippians 2:12 NIV).

Let’s look at that same verse in a different version:

“Work hard to show the results of your salvation,
obeying God with deep reverence and fear”
(Philippians 2:12 NLT).

The Israelites got the gift of the Promised Land,
but it wasn’t without having to battle giants,
clear the land,
tear down walls
and do a lot of reconstruction.

What might God want to be giving you,
but you’ve resisted because there’s work involved?


I’d sure appreciate your prayers this weekend as I speak
at the Virginia District Ladies retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Not Even a Piece of Peace

Oftentimes we try to discern God’s will in a specific situation
by asking Him to give us peace
or to help us feel good about it.
If we feel those things, we assume it’s God’s will.
And if not? Oh, well. Must not be His will.

But why should we allow feelings to determine God’s will?
Especially since we’re told in Jeremiah 17:9 that
“the heart is deceitful above all things.”

Feelings can mislead us!

I don’t hear Abraham singing
“I’ve got peace like a river” in Genesis 12:1
when God told him to leave his homeland
and go to . . . well, actually God didn’t even
give him a destination . . . he just said, “Go.”

And in Genesis 22:1-19 when God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac,
I don’t think Abraham’s heart was exploding with joy.
It was probably just exploding.

Even though God instructed the Israelites—His chosen people—
to cross the Red Sea, Exodus 14:10 shows us they were
horrifically frightened as they approached the water.

Yes, God DID part the sea (Exodus 14:21) when Moses stretched out
his hand, but the choir wasn’t singing “It Is Well With my Soul.”
They were scared spitless.

I’m guessing David’s heart skipped a few beats when he saw
what a beast Goliath was. If he’d waited until he felt good about it,
or peaceful about facing a monster . . .
he may never have approached the enemy.

And the Israelites may never have crossed the Red Sea.
Abraham probably would have stayed home.
Joseph may not have risked taking Mary and Jesus
during the night to Egypt.

Paul would’ve never preached to the Gentiles.
Stephen would not have preached before being killed.
Timothy would have stayed with his grandma instead of pastoring a church.

Esther would not have risked approaching the king to save the Jews.
Joshua probably wouldn’t have used marching around a wall as
a war strategy.
And Mary may not have said “yes.”

I’m guessing none of these people felt the calm of peace.
Probably every single one of them were frightened,

So what moved them forward?

Abraham believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness
(see Romans 4:3).

David. Paul. Joseph. Stephen. Esther. Moses.
Mary. Joshua. Timothy. Stephen.
All were nervous.
But they responded in faith and moved forward.

So what does this mean for us?
We can’t trust our feelings.

We CAN trust our Savior.


Please pray for me this weekend as I speak in Parkersburg, WV.

Ask Yourself This!

First off, let me say this devotion isn’t my own.
I read it from author Gail Burton Purath and enjoyed it so much,
I wanted to share part of it with you.

Here we go:

God’s Word is designed for dummies.
I use “dummies” in the dearest sense here,
meaning we’re incapable of fully understanding
our all-knowing, all-wise God.

We’re finite, limited beings, still “putting off” our sinful nature
(see Ephesians 4:22-24 ). 

God is infinite, unlimited, and perfect (see Romans 11:33 ).

We’ll never fully understand God.
He’s too big. We’re too small.
We’ll always have some questions.

That’s where faith comes in (see Hebrews 11:1 ):

1. Do I trust God’s character ( Psalm 145:17 )?
2. Do I trust Him with my unanswered questions ( Job 38 )?
3. Do I trust that He’s given me all the understanding I need
( 2 Peter 1:3 )?

I do.

Do you?


I’d appreciate your prayers this weekend as I speak in
Annandale, VA.