THE BEST LAID PLANS

THE BEST LAID PLANS                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 7-22-19

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

Have you ever just had one of those days? You know; the kind where when things start to go wrong the day just doesn’t seem to end. I had one of those this week. I’m not writing about it to complain but rather to prove that I am by no means super-spiritual. Anyone that knows me very well doesn’t need any more proof. Even when you have the best of intentions, things can happen to change even the simplest of plans. It pays in those times to remember Romans 8:28 “And we KNOW” (but sometimes we need reminding) that (ALL things) both good and bad) work TOGETHER (with each other) for GOOD (our best interest) to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED (God put you in a job) according to HIS purpose” (His purpose, not ours.)

The short version is this; God works everything in our lives to our benefit. When plans start falling apart it is sometimes hard to remember that. We even sometimes start thinking that if what we were doing was of God, we wouldn’t be going through those kinds of days. That sounds reasonable until you read the book of Job. He prayed and offered sacrifices for all of his kids and sent someone to sanctify them just in case they had sinned or would in the future. He did this each time his children held a big feast in each other’s houses. Job did everything he possibly could to intervene for his kids. Still, in spite of all of that, the day came that he lost all of his wealth. In a matter of moments, he lost all of his flocks, wealth, and even all of his children. One messenger didn’t get finished speaking before the next one came in with more bad news. What did Job do immediately following all of the bad reports? He worshipped! He realized his God was just the same yesterday as what he was that day. The bible has no guarantee for us that everything will be smooth sailing but rather God will always be with us. Contrary to popular belief; we don’t even have to like everything the Lord does. We just have to accept it and realize he is God and his ways are always right (Hosea 14:9).

As I mentioned before, sometimes our plans get waylaid by our adversary. Opposition and hardship isn’t necessarily an indicator that you are going contrary to the Lord’s will but often indicates you are right in the center of it. Just keep in mind that the devil doesn’t bother anything that doesn’t bother him. He knows his days are numbered and he doesn’t have time to waste.

On Friday, I went to South Carolina to get some stuff from Help 4 Kids to bring to their office in Swannanoa. I was supposed to go and hook to a trailer that was loaded and head back home. Considering that I am working for the Lord, I should have known it wasn’t likely to be that easy. The devil had to find a way to hinder. After all, a lot of kids would be reminded that the Lord loves them and provides their needs as a result of being given the food I was bringing back.

I arrived right at quitting time because I left here late due to some errands I had to have done by Friday. I immediately noticed the tire was low on the trailer. That was no big deal, I would air it up when I stopped for fuel as soon as I left. I hooked to it after considerable trouble which was my fault. I had forgotten to change the ball on my hitch and the one I had was too big. When I finally realized my mistake, I switched balls and hooked up to leave. I guess that’s what you get for trying to be in a hurry.

After I fueled and put the air in the tire I realized it was still way too low to the ground and too heavy to be safe and not damage the trailer. I headed back to Help 4 Kids to offload some of the food. After unloading about 100-150 cases of food onto another trailer and locking it up, I finally headed back to Florence where I had booked a hotel room for the night. It was now 8:20 PM. It had taken about two hours and forty-five minutes to offload the stuff in the 94-degree heat. The supper I had planned to have at Quincy’s in Florence was going to have to wait till another trip. Even though the trailer was still heavy, it was at least safe.

We had no further events this trip and it sure felt good to stretch out on that bed. That kind of heat is hard on an overweight, middle-aged, little fat man. We made it home on Saturday with no problem and was expecting to unload but only had to drop the trailer at Help 4 Kids building in Swannanoa, NC.

The moral of the story is this: If you are going to work for the Lord you can expect the devil to try to hinder. Things like that will happen and it is all just goes with the territory. On the flip side, it is times like this when you pay extra attention to what you are doing because you don’t want anything bad to happen due to carelessness. I have put too much on a trailer or loaded it wrong and created problems in the past. If you are going to haul anything from point A to point B these things will happen. The big picture though is this; hundreds of kids in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee will be helped when Help 4 Kids delivers this food to them. The meal they might have missed will not be missed due to the ongoing efforts of the folks at H4K in both Swannanoa and Myrtle Beach.

There will be a lot of other trips and there will also be other problems. The devil will hinder again and get whipped again just like he did this time. God’s purpose will be accomplished again and hungry children will be fed again. I will probably have to offload some stuff again but that is better than a mechanical breakdown like I had once before. And just like this time and all of the times before, next time we will go at it with a good plan. It may get waylaid again but it will still get accomplished again in spite of the devil’s interference. Have you ever thought about how frustrated he must get to give his best effort at hindering God’s work and yet it still gets accomplished? You know, after writing all of this down, it doesn’t seem all that bad. It could have been a lot worse. Even when we face trying circumstances at times, with his grace God still has “the best-laid plans.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

SEEING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE

SEEING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 7-19-19

Nehemiah 2:5 If it please the king…send me…that I may build it. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

You might have noticed I left quite a few words out of that verse. I am not trying to change God’s word at all. I just wanted to get down to the meat of the matter so to speak. The meat would simply be that it wasn’t the accomplishment in the end that is the basis of the story. It isn’t even the destruction in the beginning that is of primary concern. Both of these, while they are facts, are not the most important part of the story. This story takes place for one reason. The result happens for one reason. The book of Nehemiah is in the bible for one reason. I don’t believe the main emphasis is on what was accomplished but why it was. It is the attitude and burden of one young man that brought this story from a broken, forgotten, part of history to a city set on a hill honoring God by overcoming impossible odds.

Nehemiah had it made. He had a job in Shushan in the palace working directly for the king and was before his throne multiple times a day. The last thing on his mind probably was going to Jerusalem much less rebuilding the city. However, a random conversation lit a spark that kindled a fire in the heart of Nehemiah. As he spoke with Hanani and others who had recently come from Judah to Shushan, they informed him of how dire the circumstances were in Jerusalem. This news so disturbed Nehemiah that he immediately did five things. Keep in mind that five is the number for grace in the scriptures. Verse four says he sat down, then he wept, he mourned for days, he fasted, and then he prayed. Isn’t it interesting how things begin to change when prayer is made part of the equation?

When was the last time that someone else’s problems became so important to you that it affected your work, sleep, appetite, and last but not least, your prayer life? When there was nothing to be gained personally as far as you were concerned, but you just couldn’t get it out of your mind.

That was the exact situation Nehemiah found himself in. There was no good reason for him to even worry about Jerusalem aside from his heritage. If the truth is known, he could have sat back and enjoyed his life, his work, and anything else he chose to occupy his time with, but yet he couldn’t get Jerusalem out of his head and the condition of the inhabitants. As far as heritage goes, he could have been the start of a new heritage for his family.

That’s where his attitude came in. He began to become more concerned with his past than he did his future. By doing that, God made his future far better than his past and also better than his future would have been. When the burden got to be so great that it began to show up in his countenance, he had to give an account of himself to the king. To say what he needed to say to the king, could have meant instant death for him. But when a burden gets to be so big, eventually your own life means less than accomplishing what God has put into your heart.

To sum it up, when Nehemiah finally made it to Jerusalem with the blessings and provision of the king, he was met with destruction so bad that he couldn’t even pass through the streets with his animal he was riding. We know how “the people had a mind to work” in chapter four verse six. We also know they had to work in shifts to maintain a watch. They also had to work with one hand while holding their weapon in the other one. They also had to listen to a constant barrage of insults and taunts from the enemy.

In an amazing time, only 52 days, everything that had been destroyed had been repaired. It wasn’t easy because of the hindrances of their enemy. Conditions could have been better and the work could have been easier but nevertheless, they faced the opposition and didn’t quit. As Nehemiah 4:6 says, “So built we the wall.” Why was it accomplished? Because one man had an attitude and burden to do whatever he could, however he could, to accomplish what he set out to do.

No doubt as Nehemiah rode through the dark streets of the city that night, amid all the devastation of the most recent attacks from years before, he began “seeing what you can’t see.” If we are ever going to accomplish anything for the Lord, we will first have to begin with the proper attitude. Instead of seeing things as they are, we are going to have to get a burden and start “seeing what you can’t see.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

THE OPERATION OF GOD

THE OPERATION OF GOD                                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 7-18-19

Colossians 2:10-14 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the OPERATION OF GOD, who hath raised him from the dead. (13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of the flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The operation of God. The time when he removed the heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. Twice in the book of Ezekiel God promised to do that. In 11:19 he spoke of Israel as a nation. In 36:26 he spoke as to individuals. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Isn’t that exactly what he did when he saved us. The word “operation” is in the bible three times. Only in Colossians in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament in Psalms 28:5 and in Isaiah 5:12. Both of those verses talk about the “operation of his hands.” The word “operations” is in the bible once in 1 Corinthians 12:6 talking about different “operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

I am not wanting to really turn this into a bible study lesson but I want you to think about the “operation of God” and “of his hands” in your life. One definition of operation is; the power to act; efficacy, influence, or force. Efficacy means;  the capacity for producing a desired result or effect; effectiveness. Why didn’t they say that to start with? That is exactly what God does on a daily basis in our lives when we yield ourselves to him. He will operate in our lives to get the desired result or effect he wants out of us. I am starting to have a feeling that this will be one of those times I will struggle to ever get across what I am trying to say. Our everyday definition of operation is “how something works.” Our other definition of operation is “getting what is wrong fixed.”

In the Old Testament scriptures, the bible talks about because the children of Israel did not consider the operation of God’s hands they would be destroyed. In Isaiah, he warns that Israel had all the instruments of praise and followed the traditions but didn’t really think about all that God had done for them. Doesn’t that really sum up where we are at in the church world right now? Keep in mind that in all of these scriptures, the writers are talking to God’s people. God doesn’t expect the world to even notice what he does for them because they are blinded by sin. But he has done the heart transplant on us and we should have a heart that is sensitive to him.

Almost 36 years after my kidney transplant, I still have high regard for the gift of life my brother gave me. Almost 46 years after my heart transplant (spiritually speaking) I am just now learning how to really submit myself to and be appreciative of the operation of his hands.

There is a children’s song that is actually very appropriate for all of us as Christians. The name of it is “He’s Still Working On Me, to make me what I ought to be”. In just a week he made everything else but after all of these years, I still require a lot of work. You might say I am high maintenance. He is always having to tinker and adjust to keep me running like he wants me to. Every time I sit idle for just a little too long, I have to be jumped off. Just like a car with a weak battery, I don’t hold a charge very well. I am thankful that he doesn’t just get rid of me but he pops the hood and tinkers a little more. If my car ran like me, how far could I get? Something to think about isn’t it? If we had to undergo surgery every time something in our life wasn’t working as it should, how much would we be operated on? Thankfully, with proper diet and exercise, we can stay fit and healthy.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7 to “… exercise thyself rather unto Godliness.” In Isaiah 55:2 the bible says “…hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” A steady diet of the things of God will keep us mindful of the operation he has done in our lives. His work was covered by our assurance policy. Hebrews 10:22 says “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,…”

I could go on and on but I believe by now you get the point. We often overlook the daily operation of God’s hands in our lives. The psalmist said in 68:19, he “daily loadeth us with benefits.” He does operations daily to keep our heart in rhythm. We should be careful to pay attention to what he does in our lives each day. He gives us the desire to worship him. Our flesh is at enmity with God so it takes him instilling a desire to worship him. Left to our own devices, it wouldn’t take us long to get away from him without the desire he puts in us.

Take time in your life today to consider the operation of his hands. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) That doesn’t just happen. It is by the operation of God. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

CHERISH THE LITTLE THINGS

CHERISH THE LITTLE THINGS                                                                                                     Andy Hollifield 7-17-19

There is nothing better first thing in the morning than the smell of a hot cup of coffee. Well, I guess bacon or ham frying would be better. Maybe you have your thoughts on some of the little things you enjoy. The smell of hot buttered biscuits or hot chicken frying in the pan. There are a lot of little things, that somehow just caress our senses and bring a feeling of warmth and satisfaction like few other things can.

Stepping out on the porch on a cool mountain morning and feeling the nip of the cold fresh air filling your lungs and making all of your senses come to life. It could be the slight taste of salt in the air as you rise early and take in the serenity of a sunrise over the ocean. You get lost in wonder and peace as you hear the waves crashing on the seashore only to see them return to the depths.

Have you thought of anything you love that has brought a smile to your face just by thinking about it? There is nothing I can think of that is quite as refreshing and pure as the love of a child. They’re not concerned with who you are or where you came from or even what you have done in your past. If you love them and give them attention, they reciprocate without hesitation.

I write this because yesterday I got reminded of how big the little things in life really are. After a trying week and a somewhat sorrowful weekend, I needed a little something. Sometimes when one’s mortality rears its ugly head in our lives, we need something. Just anything but we don’t know exactly what it is. But we are sure we will know when we have it.

Yesterday afternoon following a night and morning of some aggravating circumstances filled with worry and fear, I got it. You know…it. The one little thing that I subconsciously craved to turn my world right-side-up again. I had the opportunity to go see my number two grandson and his mom.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Hetzel is not my grandson by blood. By the connecting of the heart is a different matter entirely. The reason he is number two is because Sam, who is a year older, is my number one grandson. Although they are neither one related by blood, I have claimed Papaw rights to both of them. Their moms are two young ladies our ministry helped when they had nowhere else to turn. God placed both of them in my life and they and their sons have filled a void I never really knew I had.

When God confirmed his plan for the Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers, I had no idea his plan would go the way it has as fast as it has. As usual, God didn’t run his plans by me for approval before he started them. Now, about 20 months and two little boys later, I have emotions that I never really planned on having. Given my family situation, I always figured I would get to start the home and fill the role somewhat of a grandpa while these kids and their moms were in our care. Never in my wildest dreams did I figure it would be this good and be a life-long gift.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been roses by any means. There have been issues we have faced just like any family does. Also, as any family does, we have worked through them and came out stronger because of it.

I recently had the privilege of having Sam at the house to spend the night with us for the first time. We had a blast and even though I had kind of forgotten how much work a baby can be, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I know now why God gives babies to young people. Although he kept ol’ Papaw on his toes, it is a different kind of tired. Any grandparent knows there is something special and fulfilling about being worn out by your grandbabies.

Sam is one and a half and when he sees me come in and sees his mom messing with his backpack, he comes to me, reaching to be picked up and ready to go with Papaw. Hetzel, being only six months, when he sees me and hears my voice, starts squealing with joy and kicking his feet and bouncing in his momma’s arms. In both cases, they make Papaw melt immediately.

Unknown to them, their greetings have a way of putting life into perspective. We will always have problems and heartache as long as we live. Those things don’t define us but our ability to overcome them does. While the love of those boys may not solve our problems, it can sure take us away from them for a little while. Their smiles make you stop and realize what really is important in life. It’s not the notoriety or success that we may achieve. No, it’s the smell of the bacon and ham and that cool mountain morning with its fresh air at the first hints of fall. It’s the rhythm of the waves as they invade the beach and disappear. It’s the smile and laughter of the littlest among us. Those that care nothing about any of those other things but unknowingly help us adults “cherish the little things.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

 

 

MY FEET HIT THE FLOOR

MY FEET HIT THE FLOOR                                                                                                            Andy Hollifield 7-16-19

Mark 7:37 “And were beyond measure astonished saying he hath done all things well.”

(ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

I may have written on this subject before but it is always good to have a reminder. Let me begin by saying I am not really big on comparing oneself to others. That being said, I have always been one that, when I start trying to throw myself a pity party, I try to look at the condition of others. I don’t really do that for the purpose of comparison but it does help me put my problems in perspective.

I have told the story of the chocolate milkshake that made me put in proper perspective the blessings of God in my life by looking at the problems of another. I have  been taking somewhat of an inventory. Just counting my blessings and the more I count, the more undeserving I feel.

I wrote once about the phrase, “That Other Disciple, Standing By” It got me to thinking about how that needs to be my attitude. After all that God has done for me, I need to do all I can for him and also be “standing by” waiting for instruction. That is an easy statement to make but a lot harder to follow through on.

I remember one week after I had a kidney transplant on October 6th, 1983, my kidney rejected. I had been told that was likely to happen and it did. What I didn’t know until years later was that my doctor had already written up the order to remove that kidney if their treatment hadn’t worked in a specified amount of time.

On the 25th anniversary of my surgery at my annual checkup, I asked my doctor a question. I told her that I knew I was living on borrowed time because they had told me before surgery that a transplant might last about 20 years. My question was how much longer she thought I might keep my kidney. Now before I tell you her answer, let me tell you what my thinking was and still is.

I have always believed that something other than kidney trouble will be the reason for my demise. I have never believed that God would work that miracle in my life only to let me lose it a few years later. My doctor said if I took halfway decent care of myself, she didn’t see any reason it wouldn’t last the rest of my life. My current doctor told me recently that after all this time, I wasn’t going to lose it.

I figure God preserved my life for a purpose. But I got to thinking about all those years and the fact that I am now near the top of the longevity list for kidney transplants worldwide! From a hopeless rejection in 1983 to a select few in 2019. I am not bragging except on the Lord. I don’t mention that in arrogance but in humbleness. I have known others who haven’t been blessed to the extent I have and I can’t help but wonder; why me and not them? I stand amazed at how much God has blessed me in that one aspect of my life along with everything else.

I stop and think of all he has done in my life and I can’t believe how good he has been to me. I have always been an optimist, you know “glass half full” type of person. But the older I get, the more I am convinced mine is all the way full and running over. I understand what the psalmist meant when he said “my cup runneth over” in Psalms 23. From my kidney to the success with my joint replacements and many other things, I can say I am truly blessed beyond measure.

When I look at my life I have to conclude with the words of Mark 7:37 I am “beyond measure astonished saying he hath done all things well.” He really has done all things well.

I have said for years when someone has asked how I am doing, my reply has often been ” I can’t complain, I jumped out of bed this morning and my feet hit the floor so I must be doing all right.” Any day your feet hit the floor is a good day. I hope this helps bring a little cheer and perspective to your day. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

THAT OTHER DISCIPLE STANDING BY

THAT OTHER DISCIPLE, STANDING BY                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 3-2-17

John 20:8 “Then went in that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.”  (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

Everyone wants to be front and center like Peter, but no one wants to be that other disciple. Five times that phrase is used in the bible. Four times in chapter 20 and the other in John 18:16. In that case, he was known of the high priest and spoke with them and they allowed Peter to enter the palace courtyard. In John 19, Jesus saw the disciple whom he loved “standing by”.  I had totally missed something in that verse when I have read it. If you continue to read, it goes on to say “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture should be fulfilled, saith “I thirst.” Do you realize that the last thing Christ done was to make sure his mom was taken care of? That thought is free for the benefit of you ladies. The main part that stuck out to me was the other disciple. It was John, and he was also the one leaning on Jesus’ breast at the last supper.

The dictionary.com definition of a disciple is not only followers of Christ but also a person who is a pupil, or adherent to the doctrines of another. John truly was adherent to the doctrines of Christ. Very little is written of John personally. Three other times we find John referred to as “the disciple whom the Lord loved.” John was usually found in the company of Peter but it was very obvious that when all the disciples were gathered with Christ, Jesus was definitely the top priority. When they were all together, Peter was usually found right in the middle of any conversation or activity going on. If you notice when reading about their activities, Peter, James, and John were usually listed in that order. That combination is listed 10 times in the gospels and always in that order. They were the ones present at the transfiguration, and the raising of Jarius’ daughter. James and John were nicknamed by Jesus ‘the “Sons of Thunder.”

Also, their mother created a little division among the disciples when she asked for them to sit on either side of his throne. Jesus, of course, didn’t accommodate her wish. You never read anything really about either of them by themselves. They are almost always in the company of Peter.

John’s big moment by himself was at the crucifixion when Jesus entrusted him with the care of his mother and also as an old man when the Lord allowed him to see the visions and write the book of revelation. He was also the last of the disciples to die according to historical accounts.

John never had an standout moments after the ascension of Christ. John 19:26 says “And when Jesus saw the disciple standing by, whom he loved….” He was always listed either second or third but he never seemed to mind. He just quietly went about doing his job for the glory of God. The impressive thing about John is that he was always standing by.

“Standing by”. That is a term that simply means: Ready, and awaiting further instructions. That was kind of the story of his life. Just standing by. Wouldn’t it be great to have a bunch of close friends just like that? Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus had a few more like that? Just think how much simpler our life would be if we were just “standing by” awaiting God’s command. Ready to do whatever he said just for his glory. Think how victorious our spiritual life would be if we were willing to be that other disciple just standing by. If we didn’t have to be out front. If we didn’t have to grab the headlines. If we could learn to be satisfied with what he wants US to do for his glory.

I hope I am getting this across like it is in my heart. If we didn’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought. If we were content to let Peter go in first like he did at the tomb. If we were just willing to go that last mile and just “stand by” in case we were needed. If our name didn’t have to be known. If we were “that other disciple standing by.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 7-14-19

1 Samuel 30:6 & 8 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (8) And David enquired at the Lord saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

Have you ever been to that place in your life when everything had just gone to pot so to speak and you just didn’t know what to do? That was the place where David found himself in chapter 30. He had apparently gone down to Aphek where the Philistines had gathered a great army to fight against Saul. David was preparing to go with the Philistines into battle against Saul. King Achish of Gath had given David a place of refuge for him and his men and their families. Isn’t it odd that Gath was where Goliath was from? The giant that David had slain to start his career as a warrior and now his hometown was a refuge for David. That’s just a little nugget for you. It is funny how God has a way of doing those unlikely little things just because he can. Anyway, it was the country town of Ziklag that the king gave to David. David and his men went there before going with the Philistines because they did not trust David and his men to go into battle with them. One day while David and his men were away from Ziklag, the Amalekites invaded and took captive all the families of David and his men. When they returned they found the town deserted and all of their families and possessions gone. David found himself in the position that he was responsible for having been gone while his family and the families of his 600 men had been taken. Now they had turned on him, after having lost everything that meant anything to them ripped away in their absence. In their anguish, they planned to stone the very man that they had risked their lives in battle to defend.

One of my favorite verses in the bible was written about this time in David’s life. In verse 6 of 1 Samuel chapter 30, the bible says this: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” I have written before about the word “but” and how it is always indicative of a complete and opposite change. In this case, rather than wallow in self-pity and discouragement, he turned to the Lord which was the only place he had left to go. It would do us good in times of discouragement if we would just remember who our God is and turn to Him as David did. If you will notice, I keep saying “us”. That is because I am as prone to forgetting that as anyone. It is easy in those times to react without thinking and decide for ourselves what course of action to take. David thought it through and realized how much he needed the Lord’s help and enquired of him. I am glad when everyone else has turned on you or just walked away or in some way has let you down, the Lord is still “our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble” as it says in Psalms 46:1.

If we are honest with ourselves, Psalms 124 tells that “had it not been the Lord who was on our side” we would have already been goners. He is the only thing that has kept the enemy from “swallowing us up quick” and our soul would have long ago been “overwhelmed”. We would have already been “a prey” to our enemies if it wasn’t for him. I can look at the “Ziklags” in my life where I had to remember who my God is and what he is capable of and encourage myself in him. Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Southern gospel recording artists Jeff and Sherry Easter sing a song I really love and it simply makes this statement: “over and over, again and again, God is faithful.” I am finding that to be more true the older I get. I know it has always been true but God has proved himself in my life to be faithful even when I am not. I am thankful that his faithfulness isn’t dependent upon mine because I would be in a mess.

To answer the question I started with, “where do we go from here?” That’s easy. Just run to him. The book of 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” Isn’t it good to know that he is “looking” to help us? Just as the Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” I like 1 Samuel 2:2 where it says “there is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” Nobody like him. As a hymn writer once said, “what a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear.” I am glad that we don’t have to be perfect but only have to have our hearts set upon him. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!