It would be awesome if I could come up with something wise and wondrous to say about the new year and new decade.
In the past 24 hours I’ve spent quite a bit of time praying for multiple people who were in absolutely crazy and even dangerous situations. One of them even commented that it was as if 2020 decided to go out as insanely as it’s been.
No, I don’t expect things to change dramatically overnight, though I do look forward to the new. I’m just glad. I’m glad I’ve grown this year, instead of the opposite. I’m glad I’ve learned this year, instead of stagnating. I’m glad I’ve loved people this year, instead of…yeah.
I’m particularly glad that my God has been with me every step of the way, because He never leaves me or forsakes me. At one point this year, when I was having a rough moment, He said, “You never walk alone.”
That’s the answer, and I thank Him for it. Whatever comes in 2021, whether it’s as crazy as 2020 has been or is truly a whole new era, I’ll be ok because He is with me.
I just completed my study of the book of Judges, which ends with some of the saddest words in the Bible: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
The last few chapters illustrate the utter depravity Israel sank into after Joshua died. It’s horrific, and I cannot help but see a parallel.
“No king but King Jesus!” is a phrase associated with the American revolution, a heart cry that made its mark on our nation’s founding documents. Letting God reign made a difference at our founding as it did at Israel’s founding.
In the book of Judges, we see that when God is removed from His rightful position things go south because people are left to do whatever seems right to them. This is where we are in the US today. Moral relativism rules and depravity dominates – and the failure started in the heart of the Christian just as surely as, in the book of Judges, it started in the hearts of the Israelites.
If there is to be any hope for our nation as a whole, it starts with us. We Christians MUST put Jesus back on the throne of our hearts, letting Him rule. Then, and only then, will we be in position to be the light of the world so others can be drawn to God. Then, and only then, can we hope to experience a moral revolution in this nation we love.
Our FATHER! Not some uninterested god who created the planet and then walked away, not an angry God who has to be appeased. No. He is MY FATHER who loves me and will love me forever, who wants the best for me, who has good plans for me.
who art in Heaven
He’s not bound by Earth. He has a higher perspective. Where I can only see what’s around me, He can see everything. Where I have access only to the resources at reach, He has it all.
Hallowed be thy name
My father is holy. His very name is holy, and I commit myself to living a life that reflects His holiness, to strive to have a reputation that reflects well on my Father. Yes, living in this world can make that a challenge, so I ask, “God, help me.”
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven
Yes! It’s GOD’S KINGDOM that I want to see here on Earth, where HE rules, where HIS will and ONLY His will is done just as surely as it is in Heaven. I know it will happen ultimately, and pray it is soon. I also pray that it be in ME today. Let God’s kingdom come in the earth that is Tammy Cardwell. Let God’s will be done in the earth that is Tammy Cardwell.
Give us this day our daily bread
Yes, please provide our physical needs for the day. Even more, let me feed on God’s Word. Let me chew on it and find in it the spiritual nourishment I need for the day. Let it strengthen me and help me grow.
And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors
Ah, Lord God, give me the ability to always walk in forgiveness. I refuse to let unforgiveness poison my soul, and want to always forgive, whether or not the other person ever deserves it or asks… or even admits they were wrong. And Lord, forgive me for my sins as I forgive them.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Yes, oh yes. Lead me in every step I take, Father, so that I can stay far away from temptation and the evil that comes with it.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever
And that is the bottom line. It’s ALL about God. No one ranks higher. No one has His authority or power. He was in the beginning and will be throughout eternity.
Months ago, I shared that my word for the year is consistency. I also reviewed some things that were helping me stay consistent in my walk with God. One of those tools is the Through The Word Bible app.
It seemed right to return today and share that yes, I have been consistent. It’s taken self-discipline, sometimes in the form of a swift kick to my own backside, but I am working my way through the Bible in an eye-opening, methodical way that I’m loving. Best of all? It’s simple, requiring nothing but my Bible, pens, and one app.
I start my study by reading a chapter in the Bible – just one. I don’t ONLY read it, however. I ask the Holy Spirit to talk to me, teach me, open my eyes. As I read, I’m underlining and making notes (journaling Bibles help with that!).
Then I hit play on my Through the Word app and listen to what Chris Langham or one of his associates has to say about the chapter. While I listen, I’m making more notes as things become clear or I make connections I’ve never made before. I’ll sometimes go back again, afterwards, to make even more notes. It seems the more connections you make the more you see new connections.
It’s such an easy way to gain a greater relationship with The Word, which is necessary if we want a greater relationship with God, and a close relationship with God is an absolute necessity.
Time is short, my friends. If we’re putting off this vital aspect of our walk with God we are making a grave mistake. The day will come, soon, when there will be no tomorrow. I mean that literally. If you’ve studied the end times at all, you know what I mean.
“He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.” These are much more than words to an old song.
I grew up in a typical American Christian home. By that I mean that we loved God, but lived our Christian walks on our own terms. Generally, that meant we went to church when we felt like it, prayed when we needed something, and read our Bibles when we wanted to. For me, everything changed when I started attending church regularly at 18 and began to realize what I’d been missing.
As I grew in my walk with Him I discovered true hunger. The closer I got to God, the closer I wanted to be. I was in my 30s when, as a minister was talking about one of the many conversations he’d had with God, an undeniable desire rose up in me. “God,” I begged. “I want that type of relationship with You!”
Long story short: Today I have it. It took a while. I had to learn to shut up and listen, to recognize His voice, and once I recognized it I had to learn to always be listening for it – and to respond. A conversation, you see, takes two. Now we talk a LOT.
It may be Him starting the conversation, or it may be me. It may be deep theological converse or it may be lighthearted stuff. He answers questions I once would not have dared ask, and He tells me secrets. Sometimes He ambushes me with information I’d not even considered asking for. He warns me of things to come, and He reassures and comforts me when I’m hurt or afraid and run to His arms.
Now, here’s the point. I’m not special. The only thing about me that’s different from some others is the strong desire I have for this relationship, and my willingness to do whatever is necessary to develop and maintain it. I’ve had to seek Him out and spend time with Him; I’ve had to work at getting to know Him just like I’ve had to do with my earthly best friend.
God wants everyone to have this type of relationship with Him. It’s what He created us for.
We ask the question, “Is Jesus your Lord and Savior?” and the one who has accepted salvation automatically says, “Yes.” I would ask it differently today. “Ok, He is your Savior, but is He your Lord?” There is a difference.
The one who has accepted Jesus as his Savior has been saved from bondage to sin, and every time he realizes he has sinned he can repent, ask forgiveness, and be pulled back up out of that sin as one is saved from drowning in water.
But here’s the thing. Some people are having to repent of sin continually while others walk more consistently upright. What’s the difference?
It’s Jesus’ lordship.
In Luke 6:46, Jesus asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?” This is the key. If Jesus is truly my Lord, I will do what He says. If I do what He says, I will be much less likely to sin and have to be rescued from the consequences of that sin. So how do I do what He says?
First, I must know what He says. This takes active effort on my part. It requires getting into the Word, studying it. (2 Tim. 2:15)
Then I have to apply His Word to my life. I have to live what I’ve learned. This requires me to continually choose His will over sin.
And, ultimately, I strive to develop an intimate relationship with Him, to learn to hear His voice so clearly that a whispered, “Go this way,” keeps me on the right path.
I was asked, recently, about my favorite Bible story. What is it, and why? I had a hard time choosing, but I said it was Ruth. Why? Because the book of Ruth tells a powerful story of redemption.
Elimelech blew it. He let fear of famine drive him out of Judah into Moab, where he knew he wasn’t supposed to be. All seemed well for a time, but eventually he and both of his sons died; his lineage was now not just polluted by rebellion, but was dead.
And then there was Ruth, a Moabite who had no business even being in the family. Even so, because of her faithfulness to Naomi, she was welcomed with open arms and eventually married Boaz, Elimelech’s kinsman redeemer.
In marrying Ruth, Boaz did more than redeem her. He redeemed Elimelech’s line when he gave Ruth a son, Obed, who counted as a descendant of Elimelech and would carry on the family name as well as inheriting Elimelech’s property. Obed, truly, was a son of redemption.
And Obed begat Jesse.
And Jesse begat David.
And through David came Jesus.
And so the son of redemption is the ever-so-great grandfather of our Redeemer.