Hang On

Exodus 5: 22-23              (NIV)

Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Reading this makes me uneasy. My heart responds, “Moses, you better watch it talking to God that way.” Then as quick as a thought, my perspective changes because I know the rest of the story and I think, “Just wait Moses. God is coming and He is gonna show up big.”

I am willing to wager that there are few Christians who have not approached God with the same confusion. You know the promise of God. You are standing on that promise. You have quoted it, written it and you honestly believe God. Yet you look at the circumstances and think, “Hey God, wake up will ya? We’re dyin’ down here.”

Well, it is easy to have faith in God’s deliverance when you have read the rest of the book and know what happens. It is so joyful and you want to cheer when God moves. It is not so much fun, however, being in Moses’ shoes and we’ve all been there. You try to figure out what is going on since you are following God’s direction but it looks like the bad guys are winning.

Hang on! God bless you just hang on! Keep believing God and keep confessing His word. Just as was the case in Egypt with Moses, God is going to show up on the scene and lead you to the Promised Land. He is moving resources into place now. He will give Pharaoh one more chance not to doom himself but He, God, is going to rescue you. The only question is will he have to crush Pharaoh to do it. God would rather save you both but listen, He is going to bring you out of Egypt one way or the other and if He has to move a kingdom and a king to do it, well then, so be it. Don’t give up. Remember what happens at the end of the story. Your own story is not so different as Moses’. Believe me. And you are every bit as important to God. I know the end of your story too. You win! Now just hang in there and see your deliverance. Don’t give up and decide you will just stay in Egypt. Keep believing. Keep confessing God’s promises to you. You are going to win if you don’t quit.

Killer God

1 Kings 17: 18

So she said to Elijah, “What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!”

What is that expression, the more things change, the more they stay the same? This might well have been said yesterday rather than long ago. There are two implications in the verse. The first one is that God punishes us for our iniquity by making bad things happen to us. The second is that it is God who takes life from people.

God answered this widow’s prayer when she was at the end of her rope with nothing to feed herself or her child. Elijah showed up, sent by God, and blessed her flour bowl and jar of oil such that neither ever ran empty. She received supernatural provision from God through Elijah. However, when her son died she immediately turned on Elijah and God blaming them for her son’s sickness and subsequent death.

Isn’t that about how we are today? When someone dies we say, “Well, God took them home.” Other people are even worse. When something bad happens they not only blame God, but they say He is punishing them for their sins. Hello!! That is a person who understands nothing about the message of the cross. Jesus took your sin and God said He doesn’t even remember it anymore. So, how is God going to punish you for something He doesn’t remember and that Jesus already paid for?

Elijah took the woman’s son to the upper room and prayed to God for the boy’s life to return to him and the boy was restored. Now, unless God is schizophrenic, it makes no sense to suggest he killed the boy. If He wanted the boy dead, He wouldn’t have brought him back to life. Or is God just a puppet master who sits in heaven playing games with us. “Hey, watch what happens when I kill this widow’s son!” You can’t know God and believe something like that. He is love and further, He doesn’t play silly games with people’s lives.

We forget, I guess, that there is a devil in the world. John 10: 10 teaches that Satan’s aim is to steal, kill and destroy. The verse does not say that God comes to kill. In fact, Jesus was speaking and said that he came to bring us abundant life. That is kind of the opposite of kill, steal and destroy.

It is amazing how twisted around we get but that is why it is called deception. God is a life giver. Blessing comes from the Father. He doesn’t even need to bring you trials. There is already plenty of that in the world. Is there anyone you love? I mean really love. Is there someone you love more than you love yourself? Do you wish to be a blessing to them or do you want to make their life a hardship? What does love do? Trust your Father to be the source of blessing. He is goodness and mercy. He will restore what the devil steals from you just like he did for the widow of Zarephath.


2 Samuel 5: 20            NLV

So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”).

There is a common expression among Christians. We talk about receiving a breakthrough. When you have persisted against a problem or like David, an enemy, and the victory finally comes, we often characterize that as the breakthrough. This expression comes from David’s exclamation on God’s goodness.  You can see the breakthrough language more clearly from the New American Standard Bible which reads, “So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place Baal-perazim.” I chose the New Living Version for today because of it’s compelling visual imagery. God breaks through like a raging flood! He comes all of a sudden and with great might.

Do you need a breakthrough? What have you been standing for, believing for? Declare, like David, that this is your Baal-perazim, your place of the bursting forth of God’s power. God is our victory, not our own might and that was one of the secrets of David’s breakthrough as you can see in his language. He said, “The Lord did it!” What you don’t see is that before he even went out to battle, he prayed. He prayed until he heard God’s answer. Once he was assured of God’s word and presence, he went out against the enemy and Yahweh delivered the enemy into David’s hands.

The theme of the previous paragraph is more than a sermon, it is an entire book. We need to pray and meditate, spend time with the Lord and listen to His voice. We must wait and be steadfast in our time with the Lord until we are certain of the instructions he has for us. Then, we can go forth in strength and power. We should never labor in our strength, never. God said, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” (Zechariah 4: 6). We are commissioned to move by God’s Spirit only. This is the partnership of which I frequently write. Before we engage in the war or even tomorrow’s to do list, we are commanded to first inquire of the Lord. That is what David did. He asked God what he should do, and he didn’t move until he had the Lord’s answer. Then with the Lord’s answer in our pocket, we move forward with the power of the Spirit. The Spirit then delivers the enemy into our hands or accomplishes the task or goal for us. Then we proclaim, “The Lord did it.”

There you go, the paradigm for success. Pray, wait if need be, hear God’s voice and then release His power into the situation. Then you, too, can declare God’s goodness and proclaim the day of the breakthrough for God will burst forth for you just like he did for David as you follow David’s success plan. Get God’s word, hearken to His voice. Perhaps then you will name your house Baal-perazim.


Psalm 52: 8 – 9              TPT

But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God. I trust in the unending love of God; his passion toward me is forever and ever. Because it is finished I will be praising you forever and giving you thanks. Before all your godly lovers I will proclaim your beautiful name!

Yesterday I sent you the first seven verses of Psalm 52. I thought you needed to see how David finished this song. Not only is it beautiful but in the face of adversarial persecution, he stands in the love and the grace of his heavenly father.

The first seven verses have more to do with the wicked people and how God will deal with them. This second part is about us, those of us who put our faith, not in the work of our hands, our wealth or our righteousness, but only in the “unending love of God.” When David turns to thinking of himself his thoughts are filled with God’s love and his love for God. Praise and thanksgiving come immediately to his awareness. His trust is in that love, knowing that God’s love is not only unending, but also passionate. David had a real, palpable awareness of God’s love for him and it altered his life. I so look forward to hearing him sing his praises to our beloved Father and I am going to go stand beside him and join in. I imagine I will never experience any greater joy than I will in that moment. My God is so worthy, and it is an honor to get to praise him.

In this earth, we too can trust in God’s love the way David did and it will protect us. It will keep us calm in the midst of the storm. Even when your Saul or Doeg threatens, God will keep your peace. He will guard your heart and soon you too will be singing your praises to the Beloved One.

I wish we understood how much Yahweh loves us. I wish we understood how real the force of his love is. I wish we all understood how to stand in trust, leaning on our faith in that love. David was hounded and persecuted relentlessly yet a song was never far from his lips, praise in his wake. He says with confidence and conviction that though persecuted, “I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God.” Can you picture what image must have been in David’s mind when he wrote those words? Doeg did evil and of course it pained David. That is why he sought the Spirit and poured out this psalm. However, at the end of the day, David saw himself flourishing under God’s blessed anointing. He saw himself planted in the house of God where his roots went down deep and drew nourishment.

I am very grateful David gave us this psalm. I hope you will find comfort in it. Let all our enemies be on notice. God will rip them up by their roots, but we will be firmly planted in the garden of the Lord, enjoying his anointing.


Psalm 52: 1 – 7         TPT


For the Pure and Shining One
A song of instruction by King David composed when Doeg, the Edomite, betrayed
David to Saul, saying, “David has come to the house of Ahimilech!”


You call yourself a mighty man, a big shot? Why do you boast in the evil you have done? Yet God’s loyal love will protect me and carry the day!

2 Listen, O deceiver, trickster of others: Your words are wicked, harming and hurting all who hear them.

3 You love evil and hate what is good and right. You would rather lie than tell the truth.

Pause in his presence

4 You love to distort, devour, and deceive, using your sly tongue to spin the truth.

5 But the Almighty will strike you down forever! He will pull you up by your roots
and drag you away to the darkness of death.

Pause in his presence

6 The godly will see all this and will be awestruck. Then they will laugh at the wicked, saying,

7 “See what happens to those great in their own eyes who don’t trust in the Most High to save them! Look how they trusted only in their wealth and made their living from wickedness.”

The word “Selah” means to pause and consider what you’ve read. Here is it rendered “Pause in his presence.” I felt compelled to stop and think about this when I read it. David used strong language and I could feel the conviction of his experience and emotion. Though pursued relentlessly, though treated unfairly, though spoken about untruthfully and harshly, David persisted in the grace of the Lord.

In verse seven I also hear, those “who brag in their wealth.” It is unseemly to begin with, but the greater sin is that they give no credit to God who causes them to prosper. They strut about like a peacock trying to gather praise, but their boasting is repugnant and odoriferous. In other words, it stinks. It is putrid in the nostrils of God and it doesn’t smell like roses to us either.

The Geneva Bible calls these people arrogant. Verse one in the God’s Word translation reads, “Why do you brag about the evil you have done?” None of us has anything to brag about except Christ Jesus and him crucified for us. We are nothing, absolutely nothing, apart from him. However, in him, we can shout, “glory” because Christ has redeemed us from ourselves. David endured all the hateful things said about him. He had to put up with Saul, and others, whose words were, “wicked, harming and hurting all who hear them” but David said, “Yet God’s loyal love will protect me and carry the day!

Do you have one of these people in your life? Someone who lies and distorts, who uses their words to hurt others? Someone boastful and arrogant? Well, take heart for, quite literally, you will have the last laugh. Verse six and the first part of seven says, “The godly will see all this and will be awestruck. Then they will laugh at the wicked, saying, “See what happens to those great in their own eyes.” In verse one David wrote some very powerful words that I want you to absorb into your heart. He wrote, “Yet God’s loyal love will protect me and carry the day!” It’s so true. Believe me. God’s love will buoy you up and protect your heart in that day. No matter what that arrogant, tyrannical bully says of you or to you, no matter what evil they attempt to plot against you, the love of God will wrap you in a cocoon of protection. God, Himself, will be your forward and rear guard.

If you have a Saul in your life, pray for them. That is what Jesus told us to do and what he demonstrated himself. No one knows exactly what Saul’s damage was. Some say it was a mental disorder, some say he was influenced by evil spirits. Regardless, the damage was very real. His actions against David were ruthless and unjustified. David had more than one opportunity to kill him but passed up all the chances and restrained his men as well. David set a good example for us. If you will pray for them, even though they don’t deserve it, it will honor your Father and I can’t think of a better reason to do it.

The Weaker Sex

1 Peter 3: 7

Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding since they are weaker than you are.

Happy Weaker Sex Day!! I hope you laughed when you read that. I have to laugh. You certainly wouldn’t walk through my YMCA and come away with the idea that women are weak, even physically. I look around the classes and the women are fit and strong. I wouldn’t like to be the person who walked into our Y proclaiming that women should bow to men because women are weaker. The person who does that better workout every day because at any time there will be dozens of women who can demonstrate the fallacy of that statement.

I watch these women walking into the Y with one child on their hip, pushing another in a stroller and with two bags over their shoulders. It is truly amazing. Then they go into class and press an impressive amount of weight and just leave you speechless. And this isn’t the rare case. There are dozens of women who are strong physically as well as emotionally and mentally.

My friend, Ann Musico (author of Today is Still the Day), said recently that women are the ones who typically suffer from adrenal failure because they are so over-extended. Women take care of their children, husbands, parents, husband’s parents, and the home. Besides that, they work and volunteer at church and with civic organizations. They are the people volunteering to help with special events, committee work, prayer teams, the kids’ soccer league. It’s practically endless. In fact, I think sometimes women do too much and that is what Ann was eluding too. It can compromise one’s health. Then some idiot says, “See there, women are physically weak.”

We have all heard the “weaker sex” banter but by now all but the really obtuse realize that women are not the weaker gender. Some men can lift more weight than some women, but I would not even make a blanket statement that men are physically stronger than women, especially when it comes to leg strength. Physically, women’s endurance is phenomenal. I watch these mother’s work night and day taking care of everyone else and still make time to get in their workout. I really don’t know how they do it and it is exhausting to even think about.

The real point is that today’s verse was an admonition to honor women though it has been used to abuse them so, let’s make sure we get this right, once and for all. You only have to read a few translations to see what this verse was meant to say. I picked a translation today which got it wrong.  Others do a much better job with this verse.  Some, like the Complete Jewish Bible make the distinction about the physical strength disparity between men and women but, at the same time, minimizes it, “Although your wife may be weaker physically, you should respect her as a fellow-heir of the gift of Life. If you don’t, your prayers will be blocked.” The point which is made in all the versions is that husbands should honor their wives. The failure to do so will inhibit, even block their prayers. That is a huge deal, but we haven’t heard this verse taught this way very often. We hear a nauseatingly huge number of sermons about women being submissive to husbands though. Peter made it very clear that women are joint heirs. As joint heirs they should be treated equally, one translation says, or better still with honor. That is the point.

Women are strong. Don’t be fooled. And they are worthy of honor. And so, with that on my mind I say to all of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4: 16

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

God is sitting on the throne of grace. Did you know that? He is not sitting on the throne of judgment nor the throne of condemnation. No, His choice of thrones is the one of grace. That should set someone free right there. Glory!!

Additionally, we are invited, no, instructed, to draw unto that throne so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. I used to picture myself entering the throne room of God. But in re-reading this scripture I realize that we are not to draw near to the throne room but rather to the throne itself. I was often satisfied just entering the throne room when God has said, “Come on up to the throne where I am.” Are you getting a revelation of this? God wants us to draw nigh to Him so that He can extend His mercy and grace and so that He can help us with every challenge. That ought to radicalize your thinking. You ought to get a breakthrough just realizing at a greater level how sincerely and longingly He wants you to run into His arms like a little child so that He can help you with everything.

Do you know what the word “grace” actually means? It means “unmerited favor”. So God is saying to you, “Come receive my favor. Let us put my favor on you and on whatever situations you are facing.” He is trying to get you to go to Him with your needs. He wants to be your helper. Look, He could have chosen any throne He wanted but He chose to sit on the throne of unmerited favor so that He could bless you without you having to earn it. So, who will be the first to run into the throne room and up to that throne today? Will it be you?