★ Thought for the Day – Begging God For_____? ★

As we come to the closing of another year, and the festivities begin with Thanksgiving tomorrow, and then right around the corner Christmas…I wanted to tap the breaks to help us get ready for that all important day that occurs in between….you guessed it Black Friday!  I saw this comic and thought it was priceless…and so true.  A little Black Friday humor!  I don’t know about you, but I do not subscribe to camping out all night or getting up at the crack of dawn to fight the crowd88 - Daily Dependence - Black Friday Realitys in order to get a great deal.  Now anyone who knows me, knows I always hunt for a deal and then will even try to negotiate the price further.  In fact my cousin even referred to me as Dave Ramsey Jr…but you will not see me captured on the news running through a Wal-Mart at 5 am for door buster deals.

So what is on your Christmas list?  What is the one thing you must have?  Maybe a LCD Flat Screen TV? A Coach hand bag?  A Fitbit, to enhance your workout?  Maybe a Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Scooter or a Drone/Quadcopter?  Whatever it is, you can be sure the desire for it has been feed by the incessant Black Friday marketing on which store has the best deal.  I was sick of the commercials before we even got out of October and we still have another month to go.  Tonight my wife and I made a run to the Target, and as we passed Home Depot they were in full swing selling Christmas trees in the parking lot…ugh…I want to transition from the red-faced child screaming “Daddy I want this _____” in the toy section, to what we do to God in our prayers.  Do you find your prayers centering on stuff or a job promotion or finding a spouse?  Do you pray to God with a transactional attitude that you bring a checklist of items for Him to grant?  Or do you pray to Him with a relational attitude that you want to grow closer and get to know God?  There is nothing wrong with asking God to be promoted or to find a spouse but when it is the only reason you talk with Him that is the problem.  What I hate more about the crowds on Black Friday is what the day turns people into…irrational, crazed shopaholics!  88 - Daily Dependence - Black Fridat MadnessIn the ★ Thought for the Day – Keeping Up With The Joneses? ★, we delved into the need to be content with what God has provided for us.  Proverbs 30:7-8 (NLT) is one of my absolute favorite verses on this subject, which says,

"O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!”
“O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!”

What would happen if instead of begging God to grant all of our greeds, we would selflessly pray for God to change our hearts to want what He wants…integrity and contentment?  A prayer I pray daily is for God to make me more like Him…to be a better husband, a better father and a better servant to all.  Proverbs 30 is so powerful; I especially love verse 9 that says,

“Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?”  And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”

How different would our lives be if we embraced this wisdom?  The bridge between going to God for our greeds, to our needs is a grateful heart.  Psalms 100:4-5 (NLT) says,

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.”

Too often we get consumed with what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do.  I know myself I get lost sometimes looking at the bank account and wishing there was more money and not appreciating all that God has done for me.  It is a natural feeling to long for more, or to get twisted up comparing our situations with others but God doesn’t want that for us.  He longs for us to get our priorities straight and trust in Him to be our provider, releasing all our anxieties.  The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Steven Furtick made this profound statement about this verse…

“One of the reasons we’re so anxious about what’s coming, is because we’re not thankful enough for what we have.  And so Paul says, if all you ever pray about is what you need but never stop and thank God for what you have, you’ll always be anxious.”  

Amen!!  There is such wisdom in that statement!  I know myself whenever I shift my focus from God and to my circumstance, anxiety always results.  Verse 7 of Philippians 4 goes on to say,

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Stephen Furtick went on to say,

“We all want the ‘peace of God’ in verse 7, but to get that, we need to first go through verse 6, and be thankful for what God has provided for us.  It is all about having the right    perspective with our priorities aligned with God’s.”`

When we were in at the First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX, I saw this plaque and it got me thinking…

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

If that were true, how much would be gone when the alarm clock broke the silence at 4:30 am?  It is really convicting to me.  Cultivating a heart of gratitude really is the key, I would like to reverse this Thought for the Day and pose this question to you…

88 - Daily Dependence - I Am Thankful forFor me I am so grateful for the life God has blessed me with – a beautiful wife and wonderful children, a great home and job…words cannot express my thankfulness!  Most of all I am thankful for who I am in God!  The late, great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar said,

“The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.” 

As we, as a nation set aside tomorrow for giving thanks, I would like to challenge us to do what Zig Ziglar said “to be grateful at all times,” and in all circumstances.  Let your thankfulness be not just once a year, but all 365 days!  In keeping with this philosophy, starting on December 1, 2015, we will be starting a 25 Day series where we will delve into the Reasons for Thankfulness for the coming Advent Season.

88 - Daily Dependence - 25 Days of Thanksgiving

You can see the first post here: ★ Day 01 – Reason for the Season – Why Do We Celebrate?

Or see them all (including this one) by clicking here…Reason for the Season

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


★ Thought for the Day – Accidental Existence? ★

Three weeks ago at this time we were on vacation in beautiful San Diego, marveling at God’ handiwork on display everywhere we went.  What an incredible trip!  Not only did we get (11) people across the country and back safe and sound, we were able to visit many of the hotspots San Diego has to offer, from the Gaslamp Quarter to the San Diego Zoo to Point Loma and also Seaport Village…But the highlight for me was visiting the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla.  You will not find this on the list of the top tourist destinations, but for someone who studied this architectural masterpiece in college and its creator,87 - Daily Dependence - Louis Kahn Louis Kahn it was a dream come true!  In 1992, the Salk received a 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was featured in the AIA exhibit Structures of Our Time: 31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life and was described in the San Diego Union-Tribune as the single most significant architectural site in San Diego.  And that is not exaggeration!  Check out this video I stumbled on that shows how incredible this masterpiece is throughout the day – from sunrise to sunset!

The next paragraph is for the Architects or other people who appreciate architecture and a little history…gleaned from the Salk Institute’s website.  Named after Jonas Salk, MD, the developer of the first safe and effective polio vaccine, the vision for the Salk Institute was to be a research facility that would contribute to the betterment of humankind.  In 1960 Salk selected world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn and directed him to create spacious, unobstructed laboratory spaces that could be adapted to the ever-changing needs of science.  The building materials had to be simple, strong, durable, and as maintenance-free as possible.  Jonas Salk summarized his aesthetic objectives by telling Kahn to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.”  87 - Daily Dependence - Salk InstituteKahn’s masterwork sits on a 27 acre site overlooking the Pacific Ocean and consists of two mirror-image structures — each six stories tall — that flank a grand travertine courtyard with cascading waterfalls.  87 - Daily Dependence - Salk Institute Film StripAs you can see these couple of shots, the space is breathtaking…Okay no more details on the Salk Institute, (thank you for indulging me).  I will get back on track and share with you the muse for the Thought for the Day.  As an idealistic young architecture student, I was privileged to tour most of Louis Kahn’s buildings, the few that were constructed on the east coast.  Moving to Texas, I checked off the Kimball Art Museum from my list and now the Salk Institute.  Kahn was a master at mixing materials and creating spaces that you just wanted to spend hours in.  My dream was to work on architectural projects like that!  As I grew up though, I opted for better financial compensation which led me away from job opportunities that would have been more design orientated, to firms that specialized in more utilitarian projects.  Don’t get me wrong, though I would have loved working projects like Kahn did, but I much rather have the life that I have now.  I am happily married and have a close relationship with my daughters and financial stability unlike my architectural idol.

After sharing my experience at the Salk, a co-worker lent me a documentary film that was made by his son Nathaniel Kahn called “My Architect,”  Phenomenally produced, the younger Kahn blended family history with site visits to his father’s buildings and interviews with people who knew and worked with Louis Kahn, in an effort to learn about whom the man was that died when he was just 11 years old in 1973, (just 1 year before I was born!)  Kahn died from a heart attack in Penn Station, NY in a men’s room after returning from a business trip.  Because he scratched off his address on his passport, this word-renowned architect remained in the morgue for 3 days until he was finally claimed.  What I found out through this gut wrenching search from my hero’s son, was that the man who created these incredible masterpieces was half a million dollars in debt at the time of his death, and the father of 3 children, one from his wife, and the others from two mistresses.  I know that you should never put people on a pedestal but I was taken aback by this revelation.  My heart went out to Nathaniel Kahn, a middle-aged man who clearly had deep father wounds from a man who valued work far above relationships, and was quite selfish in how he treated the mothers of his illegitimate children.  If that was not bad enough, in the documentary several times they played a clip of Louis Kahn staying….

"How accidental our existences are, really, and how full of influence by circumstance."
“How accidental our existences are, really, and how full of influence by circumstance.”

Sad…My heart dropped…All I could think of, was how tragic this man’s view of life was.  Believing that his existence was merely accidental was the saddest fact that I learned about him.  This quote has haunted me, because though I looked up to the “architect” Louis Kahn, the man behind the buildings clearly was broken and lost in his view of the meaning of life.

Maybe you share this view of life, and today, with every fiber of my being, I want you to know that is the farthest thing from the truth!  Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says,

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Charles Stanley wrote a Life Lesson on this verse in his Life Principle’s Bible which illuminates this verse…

“No one understands you better than God – He knows you far more profoundly than you can even know yourself.  In fact, the Lord knows what you were created to be and all the great things He could accomplish through you if you were to surrender yourself to Him.  He has designed you for a specific, fulfilling purpose, but you cannot find it or achieve it on your own.  Rather, it is only by abiding in Him that it will come to fruition in your life.”

God has a plan for your life and He wants you to know that it’s been planned for a long time…There is nothing random or accidental with God! 

87 - Daily Dependence - Cliff Notes on EstherIn the Old Testament there was girl named Esther who was became queen to King Xerxes.  I will attempt give you the “Cliff Notes” version on her background (but I highly recommend you read the whole book of Esther, incredible history!)  After becoming Queen, her cousin Mordecai warned her to keep secret her family background and nationality since she was a Jew.  Haman was the King’s right hand man, who was higher than that of all the other nobles.  At the time of his promotion, Mordecai refused to bow down to him and give him honor so Haman sought to destroy not only Mordecai but all the Jews.  He convinced the King that the Jews needed to be eliminated and in Esther 3:13a (NIV1984) it says that

“Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews–young and old, women and little children–on a single day”

Mordecai came to Queen Esther for help to beg for mercy so that the King would change this law.  She was in a precarious situation of whether to allow her people to be executed or to go before King Xerxes and risk being killed herself, because at that time there was a law that any man or woman any man or woman who approached the king without being summoned could be put to death unless the king to extend the gold scepter to them to spare their life.  Like anyone in a position like that, fear made Esther waver about whether to heed Mordecai’s request or not.  In Esther 4:14 (NIV1984) Mordecai made this powerful statement.

You can read the whole account between Mordecai and Esther in Esther Chapter 4.  This is such an amazing story that is just as relevant today as it was back when it happened in Mid-to-Late Fifth Century B.C. (464 – 415 B.C.).  You may feel like your life is just a random set of experiences and accidental as Louis Kahn stated, but God wants you to know you are not alone and that He has a plan and a purpose for you!  Just like he used Esther (who did ultimately go to see King Xerxes and convince him to save her people,) God can use you to do great things as well.  In fact who knows, you could be in your current situation to prepare you for the next phase of your life as Esther was!  God created you and I intentionally, not accidentally.  As I wrote in the ★ Thought for the Day – Confidence In Who’s You Are ★, we are the “apple of His Eye!”  I just wish that Louis Kahn had heard this truth.  Stop for a moment and meditate on what Psalms 8:3-6 (NLT) says, 87 - Daily Dependence - Salk Institute - Psalms‬ ‭8-3 - 6

I like how the message translation puts it.

“Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?”

The answer is because we are significant and valuable to God.  No one wastes their time on things that do not matter.  In our last post, ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★, we discussed the importance of developing a quiet time with God so that we can center our lives on Him and get to know who His Son Jesus Christ through reading the Bible.  We need to make it a priority to spend time with God because He has already made you and me a priority in His life!

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says,

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Eternity has been planted in your heart!  Let me ask you, what Reminds You of God’s Presence?  Or what is evidence to you of His Handiwork?  For me it is sunsets…Everyday God paints the sky with a beautiful and tangible reminder of His omnipresence.  Going back to Psalms 8:3-5 the writer uses this imagery to describe the majesty of God’s creation…“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers”…God positioned the moon and the stars but yet He took the time to create mankind and to continue to care about us even after being rejected over and over by His children…It is amazing!  The next time you see a beautiful sunset, take notice of His Majesty, God is calling out to you to remind you that regardless of the day you just had, He is ever-present and He loves you!


Maybe you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to make a change…

Below is a prayer you can pray to start your relationship, the words you say really don’t matter, there is nothing special about them, but the emotion and belief in your heart does.  Make this your prayer today:

God take this broken, sinful person and forgive my sins.  I want a relationship with you I am in need of a Savior.  I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever.  Please forgive all my sins.  I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation.  In Jesus Name I pray!  Amen!

If you earnestly prayed that prayer, you are a new creation (see Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17!)  God will honor that prayer of surrender and will do incredible things in your life! 

Please contact me if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ, I would love to discuss your decision more.  God Bless!

If you would like to read the next post, go here…★ Thought for the Day – Begging God For_____? ★


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★ “Back to the Basics” – Silencing the Noise ★

A little over a year ago I posted this ★ Thought for the Day – Why to Love Mornings ★ about how each day is a clean slate to start over and move on from past mistakes.  Today I want to explore why else mornings are important.  As you might expect, it has to do with God.  Our church has been going through a devotional call “Pathways” by Russ Barksdale, (click here to download the first 2 chapters,) in it he said,

“The God of the universe called me into a love relationship with Him and He is not satisfied with surface stuff.”

When you think of a relationship, what is the foundation?  You may say getting to know the person, or spending time with them, or having shared interests in common.  And I would agree with you that all are critically important, but I think that communication is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship…not just for information exchange but as a vehicle to grow closer to one another.  The same is true with a relationship with God.  Some of you reading this may know exactly where this is going, but the answer for others may seem unnatural or unknown…the answer is a quiet time with God in which you read the Bible, pray, journal and listen for God to speak to you.  God is “not satisfied with surface stuff.”  That statement led the men in our lifegroup to discuss this issue…the this question was asked and I want to pose it to you…

If time spent pursuing God = time spent loving God, how much do you love God?”

He responded that “apparently not very much”…Knowing him as I do, that response is him being way too hard on himself.  The question is one, I think we don’t just answer once, but should respond to daily because I think if we are honest; every one of us could answer the same as my good friend.  Another member of our group responded that you need to look at the definition of pursue, which is…

To follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction. 

He continued on saying that the,

“Bible says if you Love Me you will keep my commandments.  

Everything we do and say, or don’t do, and don’t say, throughout the day shows God, and the World that we are pursuing God and that we Love God.  

Keeping commandments = Love for God….this is the pursuit!!!  

I love that so much, a quiet time with God is a pivotal component of pursuing God.  Back in 2010, I had a conversation with the Men’s pastor at Gateway Church, Todd McIntyre that changed my life.  Besides helping me to see the need to reconcile my relationship with my estranged father, who later accepted Jesus as his savior as a result of our conversations, (you can read more about this from the ★ Thought for the Day – Never Fatherless ★,) Pastor Todd also opened my eyes to the need for a quiet time and to develop a spiritual discipline of a daily time with God.  Within the 3 part series that he preached where he said:

86 - Daily Dependence - Todd McIntyre - Spiritual Maturity
“You cannot have maturity unless you have perseverance in your life and you’ve gone through some pain.  God cares more about our maturity then He does about your happiness.”  Todd McIntyre

86 - Daily Dependence - ClockFor me I have found that starting my day pursuing God is.  I am not naturally an early riser, but I found that unless I set that time with him the start of the day, something else always would get in the way.  There’s so much in life that will keep us too busy to read the Bible.  So much in life that will distract us from praying.  So much in life that will push aside the time to journal.  So much in life that will drown out the voice of God!

The purpose of the quiet time is to silence the noise and center your life God and getting to know who His Son Jesus Christ!

Rising early to spend time with God has always been influenced by what Mark 1:35 (NASB) describes of Jesus’ own disciplines.

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” 

Mark 1:35 has always been a rallying call to me to push through the fatigue of getting up early.  As I wrote about in the previous post (★ Thought for the Day – Confidence IN WHOSE You Are ★), King David was a man after “God’s own heart,” in Psalms 5:2-3 (NLT) he said,

“Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.  Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD.  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”

Jesus rose early and King David met with God in the morning, so I too choose that time of day as well and wait expectantly for Him to speak with me.  I don’t tell you this to impress you or show off but to motivate you to carve away a piece of the day for God, away from the hustle and bustle and noise.  It does not matter what time of day that you spend time with Him, just that you do.  Oftentimes people find it hard to put aside the time to do it and so when they don’t, Satan comes in to condemn us.  Part of the exchange with the men, was this quote from Rick Warren,

“Jesus doesn’t want to condemn you; He wants to change you.  He wants you to know him and he wants you to love him as much as he loves you.”

What a powerful statement and truth which reminds me of a Sonicflood song that was popular when I first was saved, called “I want to know You”…

“I am reaching for the highest goal86 - Daily Dependence - sonicflood - I Want to Know You
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside
Out of my way
Cause, I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more”

The key for me, is to push through the fatigue when the alarm clock goes off, I need to get up and start the day off with God (and a BIG cup of Joe…aka as coffee for my southern brothers…Hahaha!)  I love this quote from Russ Barksdale,

“Jesus doesn’t want to condemn you; He wants to transform you.”

Our quiet time with God, getting to know Him, getting to know Jesus and what He taught in the Bible is intended to transform us.  We need to not allow Satan to get us down if one day or one week is not as good of a pursuit as the previous one, but just keep chasing after God.  (See Romans 8:1-2 as well.)  As I was reading Deuteronomy 17 that same morning as our group text occurred, I saw a parallel to what God commanded the king to do (see 17:18-20) and what our quiet time should be.  Reading the bible daily is not supposed to be drudgery, and certainly not intended to be out of compulsion, “oh I have to get up early and spend time with God,” rather it should be out of love with an attitude that “I want to get up early to make sure I spend time with God,” like the Sonicflood song so proudly declares.  So how about you?  Are you spending time chasing after God?  Are you building your life on Him?  If you are reading the bible, are you changing any behaviors?  Knowledge without application is pointless.  In the last exchange with my brothers in the lifegroup, this great point was made,

“I think what you get back in terms of revelation is the time you put in communion with Him whether early or late in the day.  Knowledge must transfer from the head to the heart, from belief to faith.”

“Knowledge must transfer from the head to the heart,” and a consistent quiet time every day, regardless of time of day, is the process by which that happens!  Martin Luther said,

86 - Daily Dependence - Martin Luther - What Prayer Is “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.”

That really captures the heart of God, as we seek God with all our heart, He will willingly open up the treasures of heaven and meet us there!  As I was discussing this Thought of the Day with my 14-year-old daughter, God spoke so clearly to me through our conversation.  She said,

“In order to silence the noise, you need to know ‘whose you are.’   And in order to know whose you are, you need to ‘silence the noise.'”

It is the great paradox, one which if we could grasp, our lives would be forever changed!!

If you want to read more about discipline, check out this ★ Thought for the Day – The Benefit of Discipline ★

Maybe you are reading this and not only have a quiet time, but you have never made the decision to follow Jesus, today you can change that today!  Check out our next post called ★ Thought for the Day – Accidental Existence? ★ and if you are ready to make a decision today…

Below is a prayer you can pray to start your relationship, the words you say really don’t matter, there is nothing special about them, but the emotion and belief in your heart does.  Make this your prayer today:

God take this broken, sinful person and forgive my sins.  I want a relationship with you I am in need of a Savior.  I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever.  Please forgive all my sins.  I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation.  In Jesus Name I pray!  Amen!

If you earnestly prayed that prayer, you are a new creation (see Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17!)  God will honor that prayer of surrender and will do incredible things in your life! 

Please contact me if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ, I would love to discuss your decision more.  God Bless!

Continue reading

★ Thought for the Day – Confidence IN WHOSE You Are ★

God has been working BIG time in my heart.  For the past 3 months or so I have been on a roller coaster of emotions, both at work and in my personal life.  August was a chaotic month as I wrapped up a project, and once the dust settled at work in September, a loll in my spirit set in without me realizing.  It took most of the month before I came through to the other side.  Once I did, God has been so graceful in reminding me over and over about His love for me and His faithfulness.  As I have gotten back to a more consistent quiet time, praying and reading the Bible, and drawing closer to Him, God has helped me to get back to a good place, (resulting in October being much better.)  Why do I tell you this?  First, to share why in 3 months I have only posted 6 blogs, but more importantly, I want to be honest with you so that you can see that the author behind these posts is no different from you.

As I type this newest Thought for the Day, I am sitting in the airport, with an additional hour to wait for my flight to leave due to weather delays so I am making the most of this time.  This “Thought” has been percolating for some time but yesterday, God gave me this illustration…when I was flying to 85 - Daily Dependence - First ClassIndianapolis, this was my view.  I don’t know about you, but this see-through mesh curtain is hysterical to me.  As a permanent member of the “Coach” community, I have never had the privilege to sit on the other side; (in fact this is probably the closest I have ever been,) but it is amazing what that flimsy barrier equals…

= Priority boarding and disembarking,

= More comfortable seating,

= More leg room,

= Better service

And the list goes on.  Essentially, if you are on that side, you are considered “First Class,” (at least in the eyes of the airline)…but in God’s eyes, we are ALL FIRST CLASS!!  I am not sure who said this, but this really captures what God has been speaking into my spirit…

            “Be confident in who God says you are, not in who Satan says you are.”

We need to be CONFIDENT IN WHOSE we are.  Seems simple but it is so easy to forget this.  King David, “a man after God’s own heart,” prayed this prayer in Psalm 17:8-9 (ESV),

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.”

“Keep me as the apple of your eye!”  Have you ever thought about that?  God looks down on you and me and says ‘YOU are the apple of my eye.’  WOW!!!  But just like David prayed to be hidden in the shadow of God’s wings, to be protected from his enemies, we need to do the same thing because we have an enemy that attacks our confidence that God loves us daily.  There is a battle raging on for our souls (see Ephesians 6:10-18), our enemy; the Devil will use every weapon in his arsenal to take us out.  The challenging part is to realize that the attacks are even happening, because he is a deceiver and a master of lies we can be disarmed and not even realize it.  Just like I spent September in a spiritual loll, so often we can fall into the Devil’s traps as a result of voice we listen to, which will lead us to believe the wrong thing and not live in the abundant life that Jesus came to give us, (see John 10:10-11).  Bob Hamp said made this powerful statement,

“Spiritual Warfare is the battle in which you choose which voice to listen to in the midst of your experiences.”

So what voice will you believe?  The lies screamed by Satan or the still small voice of God?  Listening to my friends prayer requests I realize the enemy is telling each of them a different lie

“You’re too much ____”

“You’re not enough ____”

“You’ll never ____”

“You always____”

And the condemnation goes on and on!  Sound familiar to you?  Have you ever had any of those thoughts?  Or maybe I should ask…how many have you had today?  Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) says…

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

God loves us so much and wants us to come to Him, not to condemn us for mistakes we have made, but to extend grace when we are in need.  The Devil however uses our mistakes and our sins to create a barrier between God and us….but that is not God’s desire.  Augustine of Hippo made this insightful85 - Daily Dependence - Augustine - God Made Us For Himselfl statement about the heart of our heavenly Father, the creator of heaven and earth,

“Because God has made us for Himself, hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”

“God made us for Himself,” to have a relationship with us, with no barrier between us, and until we understand whose we are, our hearts will remain “restless until they rest in Him.”  Just like the curtain separating first class from coach, Sin will keep us from God.  One of the most famous scriptures, John 3:16-17 makes it very clear that we are the “Apple of God’s Eye” because He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins so that “whoever believes in him [Jesus] should not perish but have eternal life.”  1 Timothy‬ ‭2:5-6a‬ ‭(NLT‬‬) says

“For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.”

‭This is the truth that the Devil wants us forget and shift our focus off of.  He knows that is we understand how loved we are from God that we would be unstoppable.  Just look what Matthew‬ ‭27:50-51‬ ‭(ESV‬‬) recalls that happened when Jesus died on the cross.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”

The Devil thought he defeated Jesus but instead, Jesus death tore the curtain that separated us both literally and spiritually!  Trusting in Jesus is the single most important decision we can make which will result in giving you all the confidence in the world.  There was a man early church after Jesus had died, named Stephen who was described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”.  He was arrested and put on trial because of all the work he was doing for God and gave us all an example of how confident we should be as he gave a powerful defense of his faith in Jesus (You can reach the whole account in Acts 6:8 – 7:53).

But what has always amazed me about Stephen is what Acts 7:54-60 (ESV) tells us about his confidence as he died…

“Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.  But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”  But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.  Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.  And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

That is so incredible that “as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  What would happen in our lives if we had that kind of confidence and faith?  You know we can.  In Matthew 7:7, Jesus invites us to…

85 - Daily Dependence - Matthew 7-7

The only thing is that we have to act.  Notice that Jesus says that we need to ask, seek and knock and if we do it will be given, found and opened to you.  God gave my 14-year-old daughter this incredible truth which she emailed that I wanted to close with…

“I’ve been ADOPTED by Christ and I’m being ADAPTED to living a life that’s honoring to Him.”

Can you say the same?  Today you can choose to start living your live to honor God, remember you are the Apple of His Eye!!  God is just waiting for you to come to Him, what will you decide?

Check out the continuation of this blog called ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★

If you want even more you can check out ★ Thought for the Day – You Are Chosen! ★ which we posted in the past that relates as well.

If you don’t have that confidence and have not trusted Jesus as your savior, below is a prayer you can pray to start your relationship, Continue reading