Word on Wednesday

The Power of Hidden Things

“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42 ESV
Our enemy loves hidden things.
His realm is darkness, and he loves to cloud our vision with deceptive veils. He knows that while we remain in darkness, he controls us. We find our power when we walk in the light.
And that’s why Peter heard Jesus speak some disconcerting words to him before His arrest.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
It might interest you to know that the you in Jesus’ opening sentence is plural. Jesus said, “Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat”. But then Jesus addresses only Peter with a singular you.
“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
I have wept over those words, dear one. You see, like Peter, I’ve had a sifting.
God allowed the enemy access to me so I could acknowledge some hidden things in my heart I couldn’t see. And afterward, when I had overcome, Jesus led me to those verses and whispered them into my heart. “I have prayed for you, Kelley, that your faith would not fail. Now that you have come back, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”
I don’t know what those words mean to you, beloved, but they brought me to my knees. An image of my Savior kneeling before the Father on my behalf overwhelmed me.
And I realized how I had overcome. Not by anything I had done, but because […]

Weakness: Your Greatest Weapon

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV
We don’t often like to admit our weaknesses. I spent years trying to hide mine. Let’s face it. We want others to see us as capable, confident, and strong. Few of us like to admit our vulnerabilities to ourselves, never mind acknowledge them to others.
Have you ever thought about why, dear one?
Seriously. Have you ever taken time to contemplate what’s behind the world’s disdain for weakness?
Perhaps you’ve never considered this thought before: The notions of this world are established by its prince (John 12:31, John 16:11). Satan himself pulls the strings to set up the ideals that govern this world. And he has decided that we should fear, despise and cover our weakness.
So why is he so intent on crushing weakness and promoting self-sufficiency?
Beloved, the enemy fears your camaraderie with weakness because he understands that your weakness holds the key to unlocking God’s strength. God reveals and perfects His power in weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Dear one, your weakness might be the greatest spiritual weapon you possess in your arsenal. It is through your weakness—not your strength—that Christ’s power comes to rest on you.
As followers of Jesus, you and I have been given a great gift. The Holy Spirit resides within us, the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20).
And 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 teaches,
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light […]


Look at me and be astonished; Put your hand over your mouth. Job 21:5 NKJV
We love to be amazed.
Ordinary doesn’t cut it for this generation. Average barely gets a mention.
But when something really wows us, we can’t help sharing it. Cell phones and social media start buzzing, and news of the astonishing spreads like wildfire.
Unfortunately, most of what we feel compelled to share has little to do with Jesus. Somehow the One who brought us the ultimate “wow factor” has been reduced to short, encouraging Scripture quotes to help remind us that He even exists. Amazing is left to great football plays, astounding special effects, or even the ridiculously stupid.
These days, we don’t really expect Jesus to astonish us.
Perhaps we’re missing something. According to Hebrews 13:8,
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Jesus hasn’t changed, dear one. And He specializes in the extraordinary. So why don’t we see more of Him?
Perhaps we’ve settled for less than what He wants to give.
When was the last time the glory of Christ’s presence ignited you to share your experience of Him? What happens when you meet with other believers? Do your church services and gatherings reveal the unexplainable in a way that even non-believers can’t help but talk about it?
That’s the legacy of the church handed down to us through Scripture. Church didn’t start out as orderly programming that followed a workable schedule and met expectations each week. Church began as groups of believers encountering the presence of the God they worshiped and becoming empowered beyond their abilities to reveal His glory.
Consider how these unbelievers responded to what they witnessed in the early church.

Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking […]

The Facts on Forgiveness

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1
Last week we watched King David make some very poor choices. The man after God’s own heart distanced himself from God’s presence by neglecting his kingdom purpose. Then he took another man’s wife for himself and committed murder to cover it up.

Beloved. Anointed. Warrior. King.

Thief. Adulterer. Murderer.
So many titles, such differing fruit. How can a man so favored by God fall so far?
When our focus shifts from our kingdom purpose to our own self-interest, we set ourselves up to fall. For a moment, David lost sight of whose he was and why he was here. God anointed him king to bring glory to His name. The moment David forgot that, sin took over.
Thank God for forgiveness. David himself penned the words of our opening scripture. If anyone understood the value of forgiveness, David did. But what does forgiveness really offer you and me?
We have a tendency to believe that the forgiveness Jesus poured out through the cross exempts us from experiencing any negative results.
Beloved, forgiveness doesn’t mean you won’t suffer consequences for poor choices. God’s forgiveness enables life to emerge in spite of them.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
Every choice driven by our flesh plants a corrupted seed.
The truth is, dear one, even when we’ve been forgiven, our choice to sin will leave its mark. Once sin has been sown, it always reaps a harvest. And it always […]

A Matter of Life and Death

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days . . .” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (ESV)
All choices have consequences.
Do you believe that, dear one? We often like to think that when we belong to God, our choices don’t really matter so much. We assume that He’ll cover our bad decisions and work it all out for our good. After all, God forgives.
True. God forgives and redeems. But redemption from sin always carries a cost. Just ask Jesus.
Beloved, Moses spoke our opening scripture to God’s own people.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life . . .”
Like it or not, every decision we make carries the potential to bless or curse. And according to our opening scripture, those blessings and curses don’t just affect us; they affect our offspring.
David learned that lesson the hard way.
You may be familiar with David—God’s chosen king over Israel—described by God Himself as “a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13:22).
And he was. Well, most of the time. David loved the Lord and desired to serve Him wholeheartedly. But there came a time when David distanced himself from God’s presence. And only strength drawn from God’s presence can make us victorious when the tempter comes.
David should have stayed close to the Lord.
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all […]

The Measure You Use

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4:24-25
Jesus had a way with words.
He never wasted them. And each word He spoke still carries life and power within it.
So it should cause us to press in close when He prefaces His Words with, “Pay attention to what you hear.” All of Jesus’ words hold great significance. But these He wants to make sure we don’t miss.
“With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Here’s the truth, beloved. God gives to us according to the measure that we use.
If you and I don’t acknowledge and use what we have for His glory, it can never grow. We will only experience increase when we use whatever portion He’s given.
And Jesus reveals another uncomfortable truth in those verses, dear one. If we don’t use the measures of grace He’s given us to multiply them, He will take them away.
I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ parable about the talents.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” Matthew 25:14-15
You may be […]

The Best of Intentions

And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” Joshua 24:24 ESV
I believe the people of Israel meant it when they said it. In that glorious moment as they stood together ready to claim His promises, they fully intended to live by God’s commands.
But Israel had one huge, consistent problem. They didn’t do it. Over and over they promised obedience to God but didn’t follow through.
Can you relate, dear one? Do you ever notice that our intentions often remain just that? Very often they become nothing more than things we intended to do.
Especially when it comes to our commitment to God.
Either in moments of sudden clarity or from hopeless desperation, we make God all kinds of promises. And when the words leave our lips, we usually mean them. We have every intention of following through on our commitment. The trouble is, we often don’t.
Within the safety of our church walls, we readily take a stand and commit ourselves to our King. It gets a little harder, however, when we walk out the door and have to stand strong in the world.
Israel knows all about that struggle. Time after time, the people stood together and promised their allegiance to God. And time after time, their resolve quickly faded as their hearts wandered from Him toward their own foolish desires.
Their entry into their Promised Land marked one of those times. After dividing the land between the clans and sending them off to possess it, Joshua, their leader, spoke these words.
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness . . . choose this day whom you will serve . . . But […]

Whose Side Are You On?

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” Joshua 5:13 ESV
We all want God on our side. In fact, we often claim He is without ever bothering to ask Him. We assume we have the power of His Name behind us, fighting for what we believe.
But the real question, dear one, isn’t whether God stands on our side. It’s whether we stand on His.
Joshua discovered that when he faced the commander of God’s army outside Jericho. The question left his lips in hopeful anticipation. “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” His response brought Joshua to his knees.
And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” Joshua 5:14
Essentially the angel told him, “I’m not for you or your enemy. I fight for the Lord.” In that moment Joshua humbly asked the only question he could ask, the one each of us should be asking.
“What does my lord say to his servant?”
You and I want to be on God’s side, beloved. When we are, we have the full power of His might behind us. Joshua’s trust in God’s words collapsed the walls of an impenetrable city, giving the people of Israel their first victory in their Promised Land. Our trust in God’s words will secure our victories as well.
But look at what happens when we […]