Scripture for the week of February 18, 2024 By JoBeth Kested
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:3-6 (NIV)
Have you ever felt the betrayal of someone in your circle of trust? Or have you reaped an injustice that robbed you of the provision and the future you had hoped for? When all our hard work and good intentions have failed and we find ourselves in the dark pit of broken promises with the grief of dashed dreams, this scripture sheds the restoring light of hope into our hearts. We are encouraged to trust in the Lord, to do good, to focus our delight in the Lord and to commit our way unto Him. He promises to protect us and provide the place for us to dwell in safety with the provision we need. When nothing else makes sense, as we entrust our path to the Lord, He will show us the way to go and is able to fulfill the deepest desire of our hearts—to be loved. On top of all that, God promises the justice of vindication with the reward of setting everything right on our behalf like the bright and sunny dawning of a new day! Thank You, Lord.
Scripture for the week of January 11, 2024 By JoBeth Kested
When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:7,9 (NKJV)
Have you ever known someone, or maybe you are someone, who tries to plan for everything and feels like everything must have a plan? Oh, how frustrating when all our well laid plans fall apart! At some time or another we all need to be reminded of the truth of this scripture, that we can plan and set admirable goals all we want, but it is the Lord that directs our steps. I am sure each of us could tell stories of sorrows with hidden blessings, of hopes lost with joys found or disasters that have lead to surprising opportunities or miracles. It is well and good to make plans to our hearts content; yet still be pliable and yielding to the Lord, trusting in Him to direct our steps. After all, we also have this promise that when our steps please the Lord, He is even able to make our enemies be at peace with us. Yes, Lord!
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)
Have you ever been blinded by the sun or by a winter snow storm where you couldn’t see the road ahead or the next step in front of you? Sometimes we can feel so blindsided by sudden unexpected circumstances that we have no idea how to find our way out of lonely and fearful dark places. What comfort to find God’s promises to us that even when we are lost and can’t see, He will help us find the way. The Lord declares that He will turn the oppressive darkness into glorious light and that He will even make the rough places smooth before us. With such assurance that our God will never abandon us nor give up on us, be encouraged to call upon the Lord, reaching out to Him, to lead and guide you out of the fearful darkness into the light of His presence along the path of His peace.
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1b-3a (NLT)
As we enter this new year are you facing rivers of difficulties or fires of oppression and fears for the future? How wonderful to hear the Lord proclaim at the beginning of these verses that we are not to be afraid. Our God has already paid an exorbitant ransom price to set us free and He calls each of us by name! The Lord declares that because we belong to Him we have nothing to fear; He will not allow any difficulty, oppression or consuming circumstance to destroy us and that He is with us no matter what we have to face in the days ahead. What an awesome truth that He is not only The Lord and Holy God of Israel, but also chose to be our Savior through the blood of Jesus! Renew your trust in His loving care and protection to be your Savior today; rejoicing that you no longer walk alone.
Even when you are old, I (God) will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you and save you. Isaiah 46:4 (NCV)
As we face a new year and anticipate things unknown, do you ever have fear and worry about what the future may hold? The older we get the greater temptation it is to focus on the uncertainties and possibilities for unexpected difficulties and disasters that may come. What encouraging promises from The Lord in this scripture where God declares two times that He will take care of us; that He will even carry us and be there to save us! No matter what we may face, changing circumstances, financial limitations, deteriorating health or the fear of old age, our Father God, Who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, will care for us. As surely as He gave us life, He is more than able to provide, carry and save us no matter what we may face in the future ahead. We can confidently place our hope in our God. Thank You, Lord!
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)
How would it feel to find out that someone else had to die in order for you to live? God sent Jesus, born into this world to die as an extravagant demonstration of His great love for us. No matter how hard we try, we are never able to work hard enough, to be good enough or to love God enough to deserve the sacrifice Jesus was willing to make for us. He not only paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins, but that we will have the hope to be with Him for all eternity. And, we also have the hope for His comfort, peace and love through all the joys and sorrows in our lives now. So, in this Christmas season of shopping, parties, family gatherings, and sharing gifts, let us not forget the real reason for the season and the greatest gift ever given. God sent His only son, born in a lowly manger, Jesus—Emmanuel, God with us!
A man’s steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 (HCSB)
Have you ever enjoyed the craziness of a scavenger hunt where you are dependent upon finding the clues to guide you in the way you need to go? Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, we find ourselves feeling helpless and clueless, like stumbling in the dark, with a fear of falling and no map or plan to follow. How encouraging to learn in these scriptures that we can trust that the Lord takes pleasure in establishing our steps and showing us the path we need to follow. He promises that even if we stumble along the way, He is holding our hand to strengthen and protect us from any overwhelming fall. Lord, establish our steps, please hold our hand and protect us as we follow you out of the dark and confusing times of our lives; that we may know Your pleasure upon us and the joy of Your presence with us. Amen.
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:30-32 (NKJV)
Are you frustrated with your imperfections, disappointed in the imperfect people in your life, or weary of this imperfect world? What a huge comfort to discover the realization that the ways of our God are perfect and to know with assurance that His Word has proven to be perfect, too. He is the protector and defender of all who put their trust in Him. He alone is the Almighty God above all gods and majestic Lord above all lords. There is nothing in this world more sure, more solid and more dependable than our God, The Rock. Our loving, compassionate and merciful God lifts us out of our pity puddles of discouragement, renews our strength and even makes our crooked rough roads into perfect paths of peace. Thank You, Lord!
Scripture for the week of November 19, 2023 By JoBeth Kested
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-4 (NIV)
What would you answer if you were asked what is your greatest desire? If we are honest and willing to be completely transparent most of us would acknowledge the deepest longingly of our hearts is to be loved. We all long for and cherish the loving relationships of family and friends. We are encouraged in these scriptures to give thanks to The Lord, God over all gods, and Lord of lords because His love prevails and is endless—forever. In this Psalm, there are twenty-six declarations that His love endures forever following verses extolling the majesty of God’s creation, His awesome wonders, His mighty power and extravagant mercy. During this season of Thanksgiving we often remember and share the many things we are thankful for. It is also good to remember how blessed we are and to give thanks that The Lord God Almighty is good, He does great wonders and His steadfast love for us endures forever!
Scripture for the week of November 12, 2023 By JoBeth Kested
But Moses said to the people, “Fear not! Stand firm! And see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see again. The Lord shall fight for you, while you hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 (MEV)
Have you ever felt trapped between the battles behind you and impossibilities before you? Do you find yourself at the end of options and at the end of your strength? In the words of Moses in these scriptures we are reminded that our loving all powerful God is with us. We are commanded to relinquish our fears, to stand strong and cling to Him. He is fighting to save us. Casting all our fears on the Lord, He stills our hearts and restores our peace to trust that He is more than able to move mountains, part the seas and destroy all things against us never to be seen again! Lift your hope and lift your eyes to see the salvation of God in your life today. Then receive His comforting presence to dwell in His freedom from all fear and to know the peace of God that passes understanding. The Lord is fighting for you. Selah, ponder and rest in this truth. Amen.