On Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 while just getting back in the vehicle from lunch Trooper Eric Stingley, H-35 (Scott County) was traveling to the Troop H Substation for a meeting when he noticed something strange.
Just as he turned onto Jimmie Rodgers Parkway off Highway 19 south he noticed a car sitting along side the road with a female running around the vehicle in apparent distress. As he got closer the female began waving down traffic in an attempt to get help from other passing motorist.
Trooper Stingley stopped to check on the situation, once he stepped out of his patrol vehicle he quickly found himself in the middle of a life or death situation.
The female was screaming for help saying her husband was in the passenger seat not breathing. Without hesitation Trooper Stingley ran to the car and noticed the male passenger slumped over and turning blue.
Trooper Stingley immediately got on his hand-held radio and requested an ambulance to be dispatched to his location, shortly thereafter Stingley pulled the unconscious passenger out of the vehicle and began CPR.
During the call for emergency medical help, another nearby Trooper, Senior Staff Sergeant Roy Benamon, H-38 (Lauderdale County) also responded to the scene to assist his fellow Trooper.
Troopers Stingley and Benamon tirelessly preformed CPR while awaiting Metro Ambulance to arrived on scene. Both Troopers working together were able to get a pulse back just before the ambulance pulled up next to them.
Paramedics then took over medical treatment and loaded the male passenger into the ambulance and headed to the emergency room. It is without a doubt that the quick actions and teamwork among these Troopers helped save the man’s life on that Wednesday afternoon.
On behalf of Captain Ivory and the entire staff of MHP Troop H we’d like to recognize these brave Troopers for their amazing efforts which ultimately saved a life. As of today Friday, July 31st, 2020 we understand the male mentioned in this article is alive and doing well thanks to Troopers Stingley and Benamon.
Keep up the good work guys! We know you wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again in the blink of an eye which gives a whole new true meaning to “protect and serve”.
Your dedication to the agency along with the citizens of the State of Mississippi has not gone unnoticed. Pictured below Left – Right are: Trooper Eric Stingley, H-35 and Senior Staff Sergeant Roy Benamon, H-38. Help us recognize these guys by liking and sharing this post.
On Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 while just getting back in the vehicle from lunch Trooper Eric Stingley, H-35 (Scott County) was traveling to the Troop H Substation for a meeting when he noticed something strange.
Romans 5:1-11 NIV
Peace and Hope
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
What Is Peace In The Bible?
Peace is a popular word a variety of people use in various ways. One everyday use is to represent the absence of war or conflict. For example, when warring countries sign a treaty and are at peace, or when quarreling friends makeup and are at peace with each other.
Peace also refers to rest. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet,” while the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the state of being calm or quiet.” Such as when describing a place as peaceful or saying your mind is at peace.
However, peace in the Bible is a bit different. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict or state of rest. It means completeness or wholeness, and it points to the presence of something else.
For further understanding of biblical peace, lets’ look at the original Hebrew and Greek words.
Peace in Hebrew
The word peace appears 237 times in the Old Testament with its first appearance in Genesis 15:15 “as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.”
The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom (shaw-lome’), and according to Strong’s concordance, it means completeness, soundness, and welfare. It comes from the root word shalam (shaw-lame’) which means to make amends or to make whole or complete.
Shalam is often used in terms of making restitution. Take Exodus 22:4, for example; if a man stole an ox or a sheep from his neighbor, under the law, he was to restore or shalam what he had taken.
Therefore, to have shalom means to be in a state of wholeness or completeness, without any deficiency or lack. Shalom is frequently used in the Old Testament in reference to the wellness of others. Sometimes it is translated as well, well-being or welfare such as in Genesis 37:14, 43:27, Judges 18:15, 1 Samuel 17:18, 2 Samuel 11:7 and more.
In Jewish culture, people used shalom in greeting expressions such as shalom Aleichem which means “well-being be upon you,” or “may you be well.” Jesus and New Testament writers often greeted one another and said farewell with peace (John 20:19).
Peace in Greek
The word peace in the New Testament is from the Greek word eiréné (i-ray’-nay). According to Strong’s Concordance, eiréné means one, peace, quietness, and rest. It originates from the root word eirō, which means to join, or tie together into a whole.
Therefore, eiréné means unity; it is to bringing multiple parts together to form a whole, or set it as one again. For example, two friends who reconcile after a fight make eiréné, that is they come back together, and their relationship is whole.SEE ALSO: For to Us a Child Is Born
Eiréné first appears in the New Testament in Matthew 10:13 “And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” It appears 91 other times in the new testament in every book except 1 John.
In some translations, Mark 4:39 says, “Peace! Be still,” but the Greek word used in that verse is not eiréné but siópaó, which means to be silent.
Fun fact, the English word serene, which means calm and peaceful, comes from eiréné.
Putting it all together
The peace of God is different from the peace of the world. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict; it is taking action to restore a broken situation. It’s more than a state of inner tranquility; it’s a state of wholeness and completeness.
Biblical peace is not something we can create on our own; it is a fruit of the Spirit. God is the source of peace, and one of His names is Yahweh Shalom (Judges 6:24), which means the LORD Is Peace. Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He gives us peace in three ways.
1. Peace with God
Jesus is our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Due to our sins, we were enemies of God and were separated from Him (Ephesians 2:13), but Jesus restored our relationship when He took on our sins and died our death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). He provided a path for reconciliation with God, and now we are joined to God (Romans 5:10) and can fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3).
2. Peace with others
Jesus is our peace with others. In Him, we have reconciliation with others, live at peace with them (Colossians 1:19-20), have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:9) and can live with others in unity and one accord through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3). He empowers us by His Spirit to be peacemakers with our neighbors, friends, and foes.
3. Peace with ourselves
Jesus is our peace within. In Him, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and He is making us whole and complete like Him (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). When trials come to tear us apart, He is our peace that keeps us together (John 16:33).
Attributes of biblical peace
The Bible has a lot to say about peace; it appears 329 times in the Bible, with the highest occurrence of 30 in the book of Isaiah. Here are some its biblical attributes.SEE ALSO: What is Patience in the Bible?
1. Peace is a fruit of the spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,Galatians 5:22
2. We must seek peace and make peace
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.Psalm 34:14
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.Romans 12:18
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.Romans 14:19
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:11
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.Hebrews 12:14
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.1 Peter 3:11
3. Peace brings joy
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.Proverbs 12:20
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.Matthew 5:9
4. Peace comes from God
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.Isaiah 26:12
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.2 Thessalonians 3:16
5. God gives us peace in trouble
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phillippians 4:6-7
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.John 16:33
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3
The Voice of the Devil
It’s clear Jesus believed Satan to be a real being—not a social construct or symbolic figure, but a true entity. How much power does he have though? What does the voice of the devil sound like in your head? And how can you silence him?
This is part four of our series on the four voices in your head that are competing to shape what you do, say, and feel.
Who Is the Devil?
Is the devil—Satan—real? Jesus certainly thought so.
There are about 90 references to either the word Satan or devil in the Bible. A quarter of them are spoken by Jesus Christ. They show that Jesus believed Satan to be a real being—not a social construct, not a figurative symbolic character, but a true entity.
In John 8:44, Jesus said to some disbelieving people:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Look again at how Jesus characterizes the devil: a murderer, no truth in him, lies are his native tongue, a liar, the father of lies. Is the devil—Satan—real? Jesus certainly thought so.CLICK TO TWEET
Elsewhere he is referred to as the accuser, the author of confusion, and the tempter of your soul. All temptation, sin, misery, and futility ultimately originate with Satan, and this world is under his control (1 John 5:19).
The devil wants to destroy what God wants to build. But the devil’s time as ruler of this world is short, and he knows it. The Bible tells us that “he is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12b).
Not only is his time short, but his power is limited: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin (habitual sin); the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them” (1 John 5:18, parenthetic comment added).
Satan’s single pleasure, then, is to figure out how to get inside your head and make your life on earth as miserable as possible.
What Does the Voice of the Devil Sound Like?
Satan’s malware of choice is distrust, doubt, and despair. Once he hacks your brain and loads this malware onto your hard drive, it’s a virus that spreads very quickly and turns into false guilt, false shame, and self-pity.
Satan is always probing for a vulnerability and loves nothing more than leveraging the wounded, broken parts of your story.
For example, my first impulse is to see things through the lens of emotional neglect. I have always found it difficult to believe people really care about me personally, and I tend to look for cues that confirm my distrust. I am loyal to a fault, but once I suspect someone doesn’t really care about me, I’m tempted to abruptly cut them off. “If they don’t need me, then I don’t need them either.”
I no longer act on this temptation because I have matured spiritually, but the devil knows this is my biggest lifelong wound that has never fully gone away. It’s a vulnerability he tries to hack—often in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.
What is the devil’s preferred point of attack to get in your head? Maybe you’re vulnerable to the devil’s voice in your marriage, work, sense of identity, source of worth, children or grandchildren, friendships, past hurts, finances, faith, sinful behaviors, the relevance of Christianity today, church hurts, or parent wounds.
Wherever you are vulnerable, that’s where the devil is most likely to keep inserting those recurring doubts and deceptions.
But you are far from defenseless. Much of the devil’s success can be attributed to how effectively he conceals the ease with which he can be resisted.
As Christians, we should take the voice of the devil seriously, but we also need to understand his limitations.
Satan is not like God. He does not have unlimited power or knowledge. He knows that—if you are in Christ—you have more than enough power to turn him away:
The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Perhaps the devil’s single biggest accomplishment is to have so successfully exaggerated his power. But the truth is, in Christ you are beyond Satan’s reach forever. Jesus is always with you. You are not alone.
That’s your baseline for when the devil’s voice tries to take control of the conversation in your head.Perhaps the devil’s single biggest accomplishment is to have so successfully exaggerated his power.CLICK TO TWEET
A Simple Sentence to Silence Satan
The psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem is a nail.”
When it comes to the voice of the devil, God has not left us with only one tool. He’s given us multiple pieces of defensive armor and offensive weapons, as explored more in The Four Voices.
But there is an additional tool I have used for decades when I sense that the voice of the devil is trying to take control of the conversation in my head, and you can use it, too.
In the wilderness, when responding to all three of the devil’s temptations, Jesus points to the word of God: “It is written.” But in His last response, Jesus adds a verbal rebuke: “Away from me, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10)
In the same way, I verbally rebuke the voice of the devil with this one simple sentence:
“Satan, I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is no magic in the exact wording. You can memorize this sentence or make a version of your own. Whichever words you choose, you can silence the voice of the devil by invoking the authority of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I say it out loud, but usually as part of the mental conversation to control what’s going on inside.
When I repeat it, coupled with my understanding of what’s written in scripture, I immediately feel whatever cloud of oppression, confusion, or temptation start to lift.
If you’ve been experiencing oppressive emotions, confusion, or temptation—however deeply the voice of the devil has burrowed into your brain—you can tell the devil to leave:
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8)
THE BIG IDEA: The devil wants to destroy what God wants to build. But the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Question of the Week
What is the devil’s preferred point of attack to get in your head, and how can memorizing the sentence, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” give you the confidence you need to take control?
Romans 12:15 New International Version
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Matthew 23:37 King James Version
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Abraham Lincoln said “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip, when it is laid on the other man’s back!”
It is important to know God’s will. Jesus said that His true relations are those who know and do the Father’s will: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).
In the parable of the two sons, Jesus rebukes the chief priests and elders for failing to do the will of the Father; specifically, they “did not repent and believe” (Matthew 21:32).
At its most basic, the will of God is to repent of our sin and trust in Christ. If we have not taken that first step, then we have not yet accepted God’s will.
Once we receive Christ by faith, we are made God’s children (John 1:12), and He desires to lead us in His way (Psalm 143:10). God is not trying to hide His will from us; He wants to reveal it. In fact, He has already given us many, many directions in His Word.
We are to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are to do good works (1 Peter 2:15). And “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
God’s will is knowable and provable. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” This passage gives us an important sequence: the child of God refuses to be conformed to the world and instead allows himself to be transformed by the Spirit. As his mind is renewed according to the things of God, then he can know God’s perfect will.
As we seek God’s will, we should make sure what we are considering is not something the Bible forbids. For example, the Bible forbids stealing; since God has clearly spoken on the issue, we know it is not His will for us to be bank robbers—we don’t even need to pray about it. Also, we should make sure what we are considering will glorify God and help us and others grow spiritually.
Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult because it requires patience. It’s natural to want to know all of God’s will at once, but that’s not how He usually works. He reveals to us a step at a time—each move a step of faith—and allows us to continue to trust Him. The important thing is that, as we wait for further direction, we are busy doing the good that we know to do (James 4:17).
Often, we want God to give us specifics—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, what car to buy, etc. God allows us to make choices, and, if we are yielded to Him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices (see Acts 16:6–7).
The better we get to know a person, the more acquainted we become with his or her desires. For example, a child may look across a busy street at the ball that bounced away, but he doesn’t run after it, because he knows “my dad wouldn’t want me to do that.”
He doesn’t have to ask his father for advice on every particular situation; he knows what his father would say because he knows his father. The same is true in our relationship to God. As we walk with the Lord, obeying His Word and relying on His Spirit, we find that we are given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
We know Him, and that helps us to know His will. We find God’s guidance readily available. “The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, / but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness” (Proverbs 11:5).
If we are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for our lives, God will place His desires in our hearts. The key is wanting God’s will, not our own. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Romans 4:1-12 New International Version
Abraham Justified by Faith
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a]
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[b]
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!
11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
After hearing a message about correcting injustice, a church member approached the pastor weeping, asking for forgiveness and confessing that he hadn’t voted in favor of calling the black minister to be pastor of their church because of his own prejudice.
“I really need you to forgive me. I don’t want the junk of prejudice and racism spilling over into my kids’ lives. I didn’t vote for you, and I was wrong.” His tears and confession were met with the tears and forgiveness of the minister.
A week later, the entire church rejoiced upon hearing the man’s testimony of how God had worked in his heart. Even Peter, a disciple of Jesus and a chief leader in the early church, had to be corrected because of his ill-conceived notions about non-Jewish people.
Eating and drinking with gentiles (who were considered unclean), was a violation of social and religious protocol. Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile” (Acts 10:28).
It took nothing less than the supernatural activity of God (vv. 9–23) to convince him that he “should not call anyone impure or unclean” (v. 28).Through the preaching of Scripture, the conviction of the Spirit, and life experiences, God continues to work in human hearts to correct our misguided perspectives about others. He helps us to see that “God does not show favoritism” (v. 34).
…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. — Romans 5:20
I’ll never forget the time we were being attacked on every side by the enemy. It seemed like an all-out assault had been unleashed against us. At the same time we were experiencing this attack on our ministry, the city where we lived was in political upheaval.
This chaotic situation was so terrible that a bomb was detonated just a two-minute walking distance from our apartment! We could feel our building shake as the bomb exploded. It seemed as if each day was bringing new problems to the nation and more threats to our ministry.
All of this was occurring at a time when the Spirit of God had told us to launch out and take a new step of faith. It seemed like such a wrong time to take such a step of faith. Logic said, “Pull back! Protect yourself! Stop everything until the heat is off!”
But the Spirit of God kept telling us, “Dig in deeper! Keep pressing forward! Don’t let up for one minute! This is a perfect opportunity for the Gospel message to be spread even further!”
Right in the middle of all that chaos, we watched as God poured out His grace on us. Although it was a dangerous and difficult time, it was also a glorious moment to be serving in the Kingdom of God! God began to do marvelous new things in the nation where we lived.
In that troublesome hour, people were open and hungry to know more about the things of God. They wanted answers and were willing to listen. As a result, people were saved; spiritual darkness was pushed back in people’s lives; and the Gospel was spread further than ever before!
As God moved mightily in the nation, that very dark, precarious moment became a spiritually bright time as many were led into the Kingdom of God. This simultaneous operation of darkness and grace made me think of Romans 5:20, which says, “…Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
The word “abounded” that Paul uses to describe this abundance of sin comes from the Greek word, pleonadzo, which simply means more. It denotes something that exists in abundance.
The Greek tense describes an abundance that is growing larger and more expansive with the passing of time. The implication is that sin is never stagnant but continually grows, increases, and expands. This means Romans 5:20 could be translated, “Where sin exists in abundance and is multiplying and constantly expanding….”
This describes the growing nature of unrestrained sin. But Paul doesn’t stop there! He goes on to say, “…Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
The words “much more abound” are from the Greek word huperperisseo, which describes something that is growing out of measure, beyond proportion, and out of its banks to a far-stretched extreme. It is like a giant river that is being flooded with waters from upstream.
Those waters are coming downstream so fast that the river can no longer hold the raging current in its banks. Its water rises, rises, and rises until it finally begins pouring out of its banks and begins to flood everything in sight. This is exactly the idea of the word Paul uses when he says, “…Grace did much more abound.”
This means Romans 5:20 could be interpreted: “For wherever sin exists in abundance and is multiplying and constantly expanding, that is precisely the time and place where grace is poured out in a far greater, surpassing quantity.”
Regardless of where we live and what we are facing — regardless of how bad the situation around us looks to our natural eyes — the grace of God is flowing downstream, and God is lavishly pouring it forth in abundant measure!
In fact, it is impossible for us to imagine, measure, or even dream of the amount of divine grace God is sending in our direction. No banks can hold the flood of grace He is sending our way! It isn’t just “a lot” of grace; it is more, more, more, and much more grace!
The flood of grace will always far surpass the flood of sin and darkness! Satan will try to stop you from doing the will of God, but never forget that the enemy cannot prevail against you if you will only yield to the Lord. You will find that God is supplying more than enough grace to match whatever the enemy is trying to do.
If you will surrender to that divine grace, it will rise higher and higher until it eventually floods every area in your life. Instead of seeing the destruction of the enemy, you will see the awesome outpouring of the marvelous grace of God everywhere you look!
So when a situation looks bad, as it did so many years ago when we were living amid troublesome times in our part of the world, don’t be too surprised if you hear God’s Spirit say, “Pour it on! Keep it up! Don’t stop for a minute! Keep pressing ahead!
It is in dark and difficult moments like these that I love to work the most! This is when My grace super-exceeds the darkness of the world. Wherever sin and darkness abound is where I really pour out My grace!” sparking gems from the greek My Prayer for Today Lord, I thank You for pouring out Your grace in difficult, chaotic times.
When sin abounds and darkness tries to reign, that is always when You reach out to seek and to save. Forgive me for giving way to fear and for thinking of retreating at this key moment when You are wanting to make a strategic advance. I choose to push away all my fears and to believe that You are going to do something miraculous to save the day!
Let Your grace flow, Lord — pour it on! Please shine Your light in this hour of darkness! I pray this in Jesus’ name! sparking gems from the greek My Confession for Today I confess that God’s grace is poured out mightily to drive back the forces of darkness during times of difficulty and chaos.
God uses these dark moments as opportunities to pour out His grace and to show others who He is! The world may reel in fear and uncertainty, but God is always near. I declare by faith that God will reveal His power and intervene with His grace to bring the solution for this difficult hour!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Romans 1:8-17 NIV
Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[a] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[b] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[c]
The English preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) lived life “full throttle.” He became a pastor at age nineteen—and soon was preaching to large crowds.
He personally edited all of his sermons, which eventually filled sixty-three volumes, and wrote many commentaries, books on prayer, and other works. And he typically read six books a week!
In one of his sermons, Spurgeon said, “The sin of doing nothing is about the biggest of all sins, for it involves most of the others. . . . Horrible idleness! God save us from it!” Charles Spurgeon lived with diligence, which meant he “[made] every effort” (2 Peter 1:5) to grow in God’s grace and to live for Him.
If we’re Christ’s followers, God can instill in us that same desire and capacity to grow more like Jesus, to “make every effort to add to [our] faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge . . . self-control, perseverance . . . godliness” (vv. 5–7).
We each have different motivations, abilities, and energy levels—not all of us can, or should, live at Charles Spurgeon’s pace! But when we understand all Jesus has done for us, we have the greatest motivation for diligent, faithful living.
And we find our strength through the resources God has given us to live for and serve Him. God through His Spirit can empower us in our efforts—big and small—to do so.
Leviticus 13:45-46 New International Version
45 “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,[a] cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.
Luke 17:11-19 NIV
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Freedom is dangerous in the hands of those who don’t know how to use it. That’s why criminals are confined in prisons with barbed wire, steel bars, and concrete barriers.
Or consider a campfire that is allowed to spread in a dry forest. It quickly becomes a blazing inferno. “Unchecked freedom can create chaos”.
Nowhere is this more evident than in human lives. Believers are free from the law’s curse, its penalty, and its guilt-producing power. Fear, anxiety, and guilt are replaced by peace, forgiveness, and liberty.
Who could be more free than one who is free in the depths of his soul ? But here is where we often fail. “We use freedom’s luxury to live selfishly, or we claim ownership of what God has merely entrusted to us”. We slip into patterns of self-indulgent living, especially in affluent societies.
The proper use of freedom is “faith working through love” to serve one another. When we rely on the Spirit and expend our energies on loving God and helping others, the destructive works of the flesh will be restrained by God.
So let’s always use our liberty to build up, not to tear down. “Like a raging fire, freedom without limits is dangerous. But when controlled, it is a blessing to all.”
– Dennis J. DeHaan “Accept the teaching of the world if hopeless you would be;” “But trust in God’s eternal plan” if you want life that’s free”. – JDB “Freedom doesn’t give us the right to do what we please, but to do what pleases God.”
America The Beautiful
His Wonderful Face
My four-year-old son is full of questions, and chatters constantly. I love talking with him, but he has developed an unfortunate habit of talking to me even when his back is turned. I often find myself saying, “I can’t hear you — please look at me when you’re talking.”
Sometimes I think God wants to say the same thing to us — not because He can’t hear us, but because we can tend to talk to Him without really “looking” at Him.
We pray, but we remain caught up in our own questions and focused on ourselves, forgetting the character of the One we’re praying to. Like my son, we ask questions without paying attention to the person we’re talking to.
“What does it mean to “seek God’s face”? It means we turn our hearts toward Him in even the most mundane moments. Sometimes our prayers are answered differently than our asking, but God is faithful come what may. Our Good Shepherd will direct our paths and keeps us in His mercy, strength, and love.
Many of our concerns are best addressed by reminding ourselves of who God is and what He has done. By simply refocusing, we find comfort in what we know of His character: that He is Loving, Forgiving, Sovereign, Graceful.
When we turn our eyes toward the beautiful face of God, we can find strength and comfort that sustain us even in the midst of unanswered questions.
Lord, let the light of Your face shine upon us.- Compiled “Seeking the face of God can strengthen our faith.”
Matthew 14:22-33 NIV
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 24:37-39 King James Version (KJV)
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Question: “What was it like in the days of Noah?”
Answer: The biblical account of Noah begins in Genesis 6. Approximately 1,600 years had passed since the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26–27). As the earth’s population exploded in number, it also exploded with evil.
Long forgotten was the righteous sacrifice of Abel (Genesis 4:4) as “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
Verses 11 and 12 say, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”
However, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” Gen 6:8
When Jesus described the events that will surround His second coming, He said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26–27).
Jesus was pointing out that, although the people of Noah’s day were totally depraved, they were not the least bit concerned about it. They were carrying on the events of their lives without a single thought of the judgment of God.
Noah is described as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), meaning he had spent years warning his friends and neighbors what the Holy God was about to do. No one listened.
The depravity and ungodly lifestyles of the entire world at that time were enough to cause the Lord to “regret that He had made man” (Genesis 6:6). Many scholars believe that part of the need to destroy every human being except Noah and his family was the sin mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4, when “the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.”
As evil reproduced and overtook the world, the most merciful act God could perform was to start over. It is interesting that God allowed Noah nearly one hundred years to complete the building of the ark. Through all that time, God patiently waited (1 Peter 3:20).
Scripture seems to imply that Noah preached to the people of that time about what was coming (Hebrews 11:7). They did not believe Noah and were content with their wickedness and idolatry. Their hearts were hard and their ears dull.
No one repented, and no one cared to seek God. Jesus said that the world will be much the same before He returns to set up His earthly kingdom (Matthew 25:31–33). He warned us to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Second Timothy 3:1–4 gives us a clear picture of the state of the world before Jesus comes and most likely also describes the world in the days of Noah. That verse says, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
It is becoming increasingly obvious that, to understand what the world was like in the days of Noah, we only need to watch the evening news.
What Is Love?
Jesus is the reason we even know what love is. In laying down His life for us, He taught us everything we need to know about true love. Love is self-sacrificing, generous, unending, not a temporary feeling or attraction. Because of God’s love for the world, we know love is also undeserving and often unreciprocated.
Greek Definitions of Love
The ancient Greeks had anywhere between four and eight different words for love (depending on the source):
– Storge: affection
– Philia or Phileo: friendship
– Eros: sexual, erotic
– Agape: unconditional, divine, selfless
– Ludus: flirtatious, playful, casual, uncommitted
– Pragma: committed, long-standing
– Philautia: self-love
– Mania: obsessive, possessive, addictive, dependent
Love is and always has been a complex concept. Is it an emotion, a state of being, a choice, an ability, a gift, a force, or all of the above?
English Definition of Love
The English word “love” has been used in reference to a “strong affection for another” since before the 12th century, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. It has been said that the English language has only one word for love, but English also has other words implying love such as affection, friendship, attraction, etc. The word “love” though is a constantly evolving concept with ever-broadening definitions. Human love, therefore, cannot be simply defined, as it is being redefined all the time.
What Is Self-Love?
Love, today, instead of being merely a strong affection for another, issynonymous with acceptance, tolerance, celebration of diversity, open-mindedness, desire, and pleasure.
Another type of love we hear a lot about currently is “self-love” (philautia). This Psychology Today article defines self-love as “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.” Self-love can be a natural and healthy appreciation of self, but also has the potential to easily become excessive, narcissistic, and selfish!
What Does the Bible Say about Loving Yourself?
Scripture talks about loving yourself in two different ways:
1. As an Assumption
- “Love your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31).
- “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners…” (Leviticus 19:34).
We naturally love and care for ourselves. Notice that the Bible never directly tells us to love ourselves, because it’s unnecessary. (It tells us to love God and others.) We take care of our own needs. We do so to the extent of putting ourselves and our welfare, needs, desires, and ambitions first, before God and before others. It is for this reason that God’s Word says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). The problem is not that we do not love ourselves, but that we love ourselves too much and others too little. Self-love can too easily morph from a natural state to a corruption of what is natural. The goal instead should be for natural love to be transformed into spiritual, or Christ-like love.
Most sins stem from love of self and a lack of love for God and others. Think about it: hate, greed, envy, murder, strife, gossip, slander, arrogance and pride all result from a love of self. When we love ourselves without regard for God or others, the result is sin. If God’s law is summed up by love for God and love for others (Matthew 22:37-40), then sin, defined in Scripture as “lawlessness,” is any thought, word, or deed void of (spiritual) love.
2. As a Corruption
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Do you hear the problem? There will come a day (and that day is already here) when people will be lovers of themselves without love for others, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Self-love is natural, but it is not Christ-like or spiritual love.
What Does the Bible Say about Love? How Does God Love?
The Greek word for spiritual love is agape, which according to Dictionary.com, means:
- The love of God or Christ for humankind.
- The love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.
- Unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.
1. Spiritual love is not self-love, but rather self-sacrificing love.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).
According to this passage, Jesus is the reason we even know what spiritual love is! In laying down His life for us, He taught us everything we need to know about true love.
2. Spiritual love is generous, not selfish or greedy.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
3. Spiritual love is unending, not a temporary feeling, emotion, or attraction.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Nothing can separate us from God’s love! “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”(1 John 4:8). God does not just love us or teach us how to love, He is love!
We, on the other hand, love who we want, when we want, how we want, if we want, and to the extent that we want, and then claim we love like God. Far from it.
4. Spiritual love is undeserving and often unreciprocated.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).
Herein lies the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ: For God so loved His enemies (us), that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Three days after He died, Jesus rose again, conquering death. Through his death, we are reconciled to God (no longer enemies, but friends!). Because of Him, we can be saved. Whoever believes in Jesus through faith will have everlasting life!
“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10).
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:21-23).
5. Spiritual love is lavish.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).
Once we were enemies of God, but because of God’s great love for us, demonstrated in the death and life of Jesus, we can be called His children! (Notice it is because of God’s great love for us, not our great love for Him.) A song by Sovereign Grace Music put it this way: “Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table, Jesus, thank You.”
God’s love is self-sacrificing, generous, extravagant, lavish, costly, limitless, boundless, measureless and unconditional. Why don’t we love like that?
What Is Love? God Is Love.
Humanity has always struggled to define love, and is constantly redefining it, but God’s definition is clear and will never change:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
“God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 15 years working with an international church as the Director of Student Ministries. She is the author of two books, Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ and Convinced. Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices.
Never thought about this before: I have always thought that Noah was safe inside the Ark because he built it according to God’s specifications.
I thought that perhaps it was the strength of the gopher wood and the soundness of the architecture that ensured that the waters of the flood would not come into the Ark.
But today I encountered a verse that shifted this whole paradigm. Let’s read what Gen 7:16 says ..” The animals going in were male and female of every living thing as God had commanded Noah..
THEN GOD SHUT HIM IN….Don’t miss this…. even after Noah had built the Ark, it was God Himself who shut him in, in order to shut out the waters of the flood…
In other translations this verse says “The Lord sealed them inside.” May the Almighty God seal us inside His Ark of protection through this last 7 months of 2021.
It is not the fact that you have locked your house that keeps you safe at night, it is not your good driving skills that keeps you safe on the road, neither it’s your healthy eating habits that keeps you healthy – only God can shut you in and shut out the devil that is seeking to devour you.
Father we pray that in this last 7 months of 2021 as we walk into the streets and as we drive on the roads, Oh God shut us in. Father we pray for our children that in the midst of dangers and molesters… You will shut them in, keep out the flood waters of abuse, rape, murder, accidents, diseases and untimely death…
Oh God shut us in, shut us in your Ark of protection , into your Ark of compassion.. May GOD SHUT US IN AS WE OBEY HIM AND TRUST IN HIS WORD. Amen!!
At the Texas/Louisiana state line the rain was coming down hard and I thought I saw tail lights in the bushes. I got my rig stopped, backed 100 yards on the shoulder, and found this lady in distress.
With some work, we got her car out of the bushes, down the bluff, and back up on the road. She’s probably in Shreveport by now, but not before getting this quick selfie with a “lifesaver”.
No ma’am I’m just a truck driver who understands that I can’t confidently expect God to get me home to my family if I can’t stop to help you get home to yours safely. #truckingontomynextstop#
I don’t think anyone expected last year to unfold the way it did. One minute my calendar could hardly hold everyone’s activities, and the next thing I knew, it was blank. Life came to a screeching halt. The Bible study I teach turned into a podcast, our men’s basketball NCAA party turned into a family movie night, my kitchen became a classroom, and the couch became a church pew.
It felt like a “Road Closed” sign popped up out of nowhere and forced the world on a giant detour. At first, I thought the detour would be short-lived. I expected summer to bring with it a healthy dose of normality, which in many ways it did. We swam and played and grilled and enjoyed the outdoors but mainly kept to ourselves. We saw friends and family again but were hugs permissible? I never expected to live in a world where I needed to ask.
As summer faded, the detour continued into the start of a new school year. My kids graced those familiar hallways with their faces covered, while others stayed at home and viewed their teachers on a screen. We went to church (a blessing not everyone had) but sat in isolated clumps reminiscent of tiny islands. While things felt almost normal, we weren’t quite there.
Will this detour ever end? The question consumed me often. Then came cold temperatures and the fear of flu season and contact tracing became the plague my kids hoped to avoid, but we were not successful. After rearranging my schedule through various stents of virtual learning, we took a path I said I’d never take: homeschool. (So much for a quick detour.)
I cried (a lot) the first few weeks of homeschooling. The pressure to educate my children well buried me in anxiety. Was I doing enough? Was I doing it right? Was this my life now? By God’s grace, I felt no bitterness towards my kids, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t long for the path I had once pictured: my kids in school, my house picked up, and my days spent writing. After all, that was the dream and the plan, or so I thought.
Detours Don’t Exist with God
Regardless of whether you consider yourself a planner or not, we all carry dreams and plans, and ideologies of how we think things should be. We assume marriage and kids and careers should all happen by a particular time. We conclude that happiness sits behind doors one, two, and three. We believe the fulfillment of specific dreams will satisfy us, so we chart our courses accordingly.
Then when life doesn’t work out the way we hope, disappointment assaults us, confusion grips us, and we feel lost. Confident in our estimations, we treat everything leading us away from our determined path like a detour and refuse to embrace the idea that God might have a different plan.
As a result, we wish the time away and push back against the course we’re on and perpetually seek and hope and pray for the path we really want. Please, God, please. And when it still doesn’t happen, we feel forgotten.
Yet God declares, “I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15). “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). “I am the Lord your God . . . who leads you in the way you should go” (Isa. 48:17). God never fails to lead us, but we do fail to follow. Christ is the good shepherd (John 10:11), and good shepherds lead their sheep.
An unexpected path isn’t a lapse in Christ’s leading. Nothing happens apart from God allowing it. Christ knew a “Road Closed” sign sat in the dead center of your plans. The reality is He either put it there (in love) to prod you in a different direction or allowed it to remain there for your benefit, allowing us to conclude a rather earth-shattering revelation: the detour is the road.
Unless we are in sin, making sinful choices, we are not on an accidental road. There are no detours with God—only routes always meant to be. Routes that may not be easy, but as a child of God, we can trust, we are not trekking through valleys or enduring drought-like conditions for nothing. Our God has a plan, and we are still in it.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” –Prov. 16:9
Every Season Has a Purpose
We may not understand this side of heaven, but every God-given road has a God-determined purpose. Seasons of suffering develop faith-filled perseverance, and seasons of waiting produce character, while seasons of joy fuel us for the day of uncertainty. Quiet seasons create space for our souls to listen, while seasons of chaos allow us to put into practice the truths we’ve come to know.
Moses is an excellent example of unexpected, purposeful seasons. Moses knew God intended to use him to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but Moses got ahead of God when he killed an Egyptian caught beating his brethren (Ex. 2:11–15). As a result, Moses fled to the desert, to the land of Midian, for a forty-year detour where he learned to love and parent and shepherd and wait, along with gaining valuable experience in the land that he would one day lead God’s people through.
Though Moses couldn’t see it, his time in Midian oozed with purpose. His four-decade hiatus was not a detour; it was the road. A detour implies wasted time, but God does not waste time. And I don’t know about you, but I find that immensely encouraging. God doesn’t take us on meaningless detours—God takes us on purposeful paths of His choosing.
This past year may feel like a giant detour from ordinary life, but with God still in control, we can trust, the detour is the road. We’re here because God put us here. God’s plan for me right now isn’t writing eight hours a day, except a crazy pandemic got in the way, hurling God’s plan into oblivion. God’s plan for me right now is teaching, molding, and loving my kids.
God’s route may not be the route we desire, but we can be sure God’s route is always for the benefit of drawing us closer, revealing His character, and making us more like Christ. If I push back against His plan simply because it’s not what I wanted, then I push against God’s love for me, and in my situation, God’s love for my kids.
I’m not saying we never take paths we shouldn’t. God pleads with those on highways of idolatry to repent and turn around, go back, and seek Him. But when circumstances outside of our control take us on an unexpected journey, we can rest assured Christ is still leading us down the road that will benefit our faith the most, lead to eternal blessing, and make us more like Him.
So, sister, we may as well embrace the road.
God Is Still Leading You
You may not be where you want to be, but if you’re seeking to follow Christ with all your heart, then you can trust you’re in the right place. It might be a place of refining and chiseling of corrosive sinful tendencies. A place that may not feel very comfortable, and you never thought you would be. Nonetheless, it’s a place your loving Father chose for you.
The sheep don’t tell the shepherd which way to go. The sheep simply follow wherever the shepherd leads, trusting in the shepherd’s care, provision, and expert knowledge. Unless you are living in persistent sin, you are not on a road of your own making. Your faithful Shepherd is leading you.
God’s sovereignty doesn’t stop at foreign relations. He doesn’t just care about the big things. God’s sovereignty grips the tiniest details of our personal lives and weaves them into a purposeful path meant for God’s glory and our good. God didn’t accidentally lose you somewhere along the way. That “road closed” sign is not an indication of God’s love for you.
So let’s stop trying to turn around. Let’s stop searching for a different path. Let’s stop envying the route of others. Let’s put the map down and embrace the road we’re currently walking. Let’s trust in Christ’s ability to lead us well, even when it’s not what we expected. Let’s pray and ask God what He has for us right here, right now, believing that with God, there are no detours—only roads that were always meant to be.