"This is the Day that the Lord has Made" painting by Jen Norton

Today: Psalms 50:16-23; Luke 22:39-62; Joshua 5:13-15; Joshua 6 & 7

Psalms 50

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who sets his way properly I will show the salvation of God.” Psalms 50:23

Thessalonians 5:18 encourages us “in EVERYTHING give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Sometimes giving thanks is easy, when good things happen to us or to our loved ones. Other times, when bad things happen, giving thanks is so difficult and feels very much like a sacrifice. God says to give thanks in EVERYTHING, not just the good things.

We live surrounded by wickedness, by people who hate discipline but love thieves, adulterers, evil, and slander. This wicked culture has seeped into everything, including our churches. Much of our church has forgotten how to “offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving” and have instead embraced our current culture of offendedness, complaint, and victimhood.

Do not believe the lies being fed to us through the news and social media. God has showered us ALL with uncountable blessings. God IS good! He is worthy of our praise! Christians rejoice and be thankful! A life of of thanksgiving is a life of victory. A life of thanksgiving is the proper way, the way of God’s salvation.

"Hearing the Voice of God" painting by Cat Culpepper

Luke 22

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42

To the best of our ability, Craig and I try to follow Jesus’ example in Luke 22, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” There have been many times in our lives when we believed God was directing us to do something that wasn’t exactly what we wanted to do. We have tried, albeit imperfectly, to faithfully follow His direction rather than our own desires.

I’ve written often of our current situation, of selling our house and property to move across state at God’s direction. This is probably the biggest “not my will but Yours” test we have had yet. I have wrestled hard with my feelings of fear and sadness over this move. But the battle has been so beneficial! God has put us in this unique position where we have no choice but to WAIT on Him. We are not in control of timing. We are not in control of what, when, or where. What a wonderful place to be! I have learned so much already. The harder the struggle, the more we can learn.

TODAY I am in a place of deep joy and victory. I am savoring the wait and excited about what God is going to do, WHATEVER it might be. I am so thankful for this difficult but amazing journey God is leading us through.

But getting to this happy place didn’t come easy. I’ve openly shared a lot of my heartache here. Thank you so much to my dear friends who have sent me messages of encouragement. Thank you for your prayers!

But I fought the fight. I didn’t accept the fear and sadness. I fought it on my knees in prayer and Jesus met me there. HE is the reason I am now in this victorious place. Only the Holy Spirit could have shifted my feelings so dramatically. That is what He can do when we pray “not my will but Yours.” This is what He does when we willingly battle our emotions and commit to following God instead of our own desires. Thank You, Jesus!

"Judas Kiss" painting by Louay Kayali

Luke 22

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48

Often Satan will try to entrap us with a kiss… something that feels good… something that plays on our desires and makes us feel accepted and loved. Our current culture tries to kiss us with its promises of popularity, riches, and entitlements. Beware of Judas’ kiss.

Joshua 6-7 – Jericho

Joshua followed the LORD’s instructions for approaching the city of Jericho, even though His directions were strange and unconventional. Joshua obeyed. And God blessed him with an amazing victory.

Achan, on the other hand, did not follow God’s clear instructions. He took some of the silver and gold, things God had designated for destruction, and hid them in his tent. And the LORD’s anger burned against the sons of Israel. (v.7:1) He did not give them victory over Ai. The Israelites were defeated and lost 36 men.

Only after Joshua responded by getting on his face before God, did God reveal Achen’s sin. He told Joshua, “There are things designated for destruction in your midst, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you have removed the designated things from your midst.” (v.7:13)

I believe this story contains a prophetic word to our church TODAY. We have allowed our wicked culture, the evil things God has designated for destruction, to seep into our midst. They are hidden in the tents of our churches and our hearts. I believe that God is calling us to “consecrate” ourselves and our church. We won’t be able to have victory and stand against the devil successfully until we purge the evil of this culture from our churches and from our own lives.