Month: May 2019
Isaiah 41: 10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Written by: Alfred Burgess
In today’s world of always having the last word, we feel we need to have our say. Our children are seeing it daily and often that is our struggle as parents. So often God is saying silence…. listen to my Spirit. We wrestle with our freedom to be heard. God speaks of something far different.
In Isaiah 41:10 God says, “Do not fear and do not be afraid I am with you.” We tend to focus on just that point, but God continues in that chapter and tells his people to listen and be quiet. God’s strength, power, and plan for us is shown when we listen. God supplies His children with all we need for every situation. We call on him when we need peace, but He also desires us as we grow in our knowledge of His character. One of God’s most compelling characteristics is when He tells us something in scripture, He acts on it. We may choose not to believe, but He acts.
One example: In Psalm 116:5 David writes, “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” We argue with God when things happen that we don’t agree with, but He is gentle in reminding us that He is compassionate and what you ask Him for isn’t necessarily what you need. God tell us no and we stomp our preverbal foot at Him. How foolish of us not to hold on the promises of the God of the universe.
Thought of the day: How often do you truly listen to the Spirit living inside you? Do you mentally argue with what God is telling you? This week use a mental image of a courtroom. You are not on trial, but God is the judge. What is He telling the court of your heart?
Prayer: God show me how to close my mouth and listen. Help me not to second guess what You tell me and not to argue with Your Spirit. Give me wisdom to be quiet and allow You to show me Your goodness and power. In Jesus’ name, which gives me strength. Amen.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations”
Written by: Gina Rock
Have you ever wondered if God would come through for you in a certain circumstance or struggle? I know for myself, there’s a new situation every day where I desperately need God to show up, but I fret and worry over whether He actually will. Often times, I take matters into my own hands as if to say to God, “I can’t trust You to do this the right way, so I’ll just do it myself.” That’s an admittedly foolish and misguided view of God, but it’s often how I operate. I wonder if you can relate.
Since the beginning of my life, God has always been there for me, giving me no reason to doubt Him. There have certainly been times where I don’t see Him at work, don’t understand what He’s up to, or simply pay Him no attention at all. While my own faith has been a series of ups and downs, His faithfulness has remained steady and absolute.
I see the same story tucked in throughout the pages of the Old Testament just about everywhere I look. The Israelites followed a pattern bouncing between, “Where is God and will he save us?” to “God, You are good and Your promises are true!” repeated over hundreds of years.
They asked. They doubted. He delivered. They praised.
They asked. They doubted. He delivered. They praised.
Over and over again, God never once ignored them or forgot them. His faithfulness often looked different than they expected or wanted, but He was always there.
Thought of the day: What are some ways you’ve seen God be faithful in your own life? Where have you seen him provide, protect, forgive, heal, or comfort? What about in the lives of those around you? If you can recognize His faithfulness in your past, that can help lend you faith for your future.
Prayer: God, Your word says You’re faithful and I believe it. Thank You for always loving me and being there for me. Help me to trust You and increase my faith. Amen.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Written by: Danielle Morgan
This past weekend we talked about what it would look like to be unafraid to fight. When you consider what it means to have the courage to fight the battle that’s right before you, what does this look like?
Sometimes the battles we face can be so overwhelming. When we focus on the hardship and the fight before us, we can be consumed with worry, fear, anxiety, and an overwhelming sense that we are totally out of control.
Be encouraged today that it’s a blessing to be out of control because the One who holds the stars in place and breathed life into existence is completely in control and wants what’s best for you.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
That is a reminder that you don’t have to fight your battles alone because He is fighting for you. In Exodus 14, the Israelites are terrified of the ongoing turmoil with the Egyptians. Moses tells them in verse 14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Additionally, God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and when we trust in Him, not relying on our own understanding, He will direct our steps along the way (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God knows the full story, so have the courage to fight whatever you are facing knowing that He is going to battle for you. Philippians 1:6 reminds us that “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Trust that God will carry you through the fight and that He plans to complete the work He has started in and through you.
Thought of the day: What battles are you facing today? Do you believe that God is fighting for you? What would it look like for you to be unafraid to fight, knowing that God is right there alongside of you?
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I acknowledge that You are in control. Please direct my steps, give me wisdom to know how to fight the battle before me, and the courage to take action where needed. Thank You for fighting for me.
There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? “This too is meaningless—a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Written by: Tiffany Robinson
We were never made to do life alone. Even Jesus didn’t do life alone. He began His ministry by surrounding Himself with others. These men became his disciples. They lived life together, and shared burdens and victories with each other. Jesus was doing many things through this group of friends: spreading the gospel, healing people, and many other great miracles. I think Jesus was also using this group to show us how we were made to do life.
King Solomon explains the importance of community in Ecclesiastes: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work… if two lie down together, they will keep warm… A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Living in close relationship with others can be difficult. Sometimes it is easy to think we are better on our own, that we should always do things our way. People have different personalities, opinions, and ways of communicating, but the Bible promises that living in community is always better. Together we grow and learn more about ourselves and God.
Thought of the day: Who is in your life that you need to invite in? If you are not doing life with others, join a small group. You can search available groups at Sunvalleycc.com/sv-groups.
Prayer: God, thank You for creating each of us to live in community. Thank you for making us better together. We praise You for the people You have put in our lives. Help us to connect with one another and grow closer to you through our relationships.
Joshua 7:3-5, 8:1
When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.
Written by: Nathan Smith
I love college basketball for the stories it provides. Even if you don’t like sports, you surely love a good story. Every year millions of Americans watch “March Madness” and get wrapped up in the underdogs, buzzer beaters, and the unpredictable things that can happen. This year gave us maybe the best story of all. The University of Virginia men’s basketball team made history by winning the school’s first ever national championship after a great year and several dramatic victories during the tournament. But that’s not what made the story so great. What made it a great story was what happened last year when they made a different kind of history.
In the 2018 tournament, Virginia became the first-ever number one seed to lose to a 16 seed. Basically, what that means is the tournament committee determined them to be one of the four best teams in the country based on how they had done during the season. For that, they were rewarded with getting to play one of the worst teams. These games usually end up as blowouts as future NBA players run up and down the court and outplay future architects, writers, and doctors. But this time, the big bad team lost to the scrappy upstarts from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. This was like the mom and pop store putting Walmart out of business or the country of Liechtenstein invading Russia and winning. Or the town of Waco, Texas becoming a major tourist destination because of the popularity of a couple with a home improvement show. Oh wait, that one actually happened.
After such a historic loss, the team could have gone multiple directions. They could have just quit. The coach could have taken another job and the players could have left for the NBA or transferred to other schools. Or they could have tried to pretend it didn’t happen and refuse to answer questions about it. But instead, they chose to embrace it and learn from it. Over and over this year, they talked in interviews about how they chose to use it as motivation to come back stronger this year and finish what they started.
Under Joshua’s faithful leadership and devotion to God, the Israelites were riding high. They were claiming territory and winning battles. When they got to the town of Ai, Joshua sent some scouts up and they came back said it would be an easy win. They didn’t even need to send their whole army. But then, they were decisively beaten. It was demoralizing. As you read through all of Joshua 7, it comes out one of Joshua’s men had committed a pretty major sin and that was their reason for losing the battle. After dealing with the sin and refocusing their attention on God, they regrouped and went back to fight against Ai. This time they won easily.
There are times in life when you will face defeat. It’s inevitable. Sometimes the defeat will come from your own mistakes and sometimes it will come from circumstances beyond your control. The only sure thing is it will come. But what you can control is how you respond. Don’t ignore it and try to pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t just give up and never try again. Choose to learn from it, deal with it, and come back stronger.
Thought of the day: For the adversities in life that have brought you trouble, consider forgiving those who need forgiving (including yourself). Understand that failure is never permanent, and that the Bible shows us over and over again God’s long-term plan is victory for those who love Him.
Prayer: God, help me to face life’s challenges in a way that honors You. For the sin in my life that’s keeping me from experiencing victory, I confess it to You and ask for Your forgiveness. I know that Jesus’ death on the cross covers my guilt and shame. Amen.