Get to Know the Creator

Romans 1:20 (NLT)

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

The term general revelation is often used by theologists to describe how God reveals himself to man through creation. Coming to know God’s eternal power and divine nature can be as easy as observing the world around us.

When we stand on the shore and watch the waves crash endlessly around us, when we take in a mountain range that towers over us, or gaze upwards at the vast universe that surrounds us, we can’t help but recognize just how small we are by comparison. Our own smallness is emphasized by how grand and magnificent the world is around us and it points to just how grand and magnificent our Creator must be.


The more we dwell on creation, the more we know our Creator. The more we know our Creator, the more sincerely we can worship him.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1

Thought for Today: We can be so distracted in our day-to-day routine that we often forget to take in God’s glorious creation. Take some time today to look up or look out and learn more about our glorious Maker.

Prayer: God of creation, thank you for revealing yourself to me through the world you made. Help me take notice of how big, how vast, how intricate, and how perfectly you created it. Amen.

Better Together

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

There was a season in my life when I thought there was no way I could afford the time to be in a small group. The common thoughts and excuses I gave included: “I am too busy”, “I am fine”, “I do better alone”, and “I don’t want to share with other people”. However, after taking the step and joining a small group many years ago, I now feel like I can’t afford NOT to do life with other people.

God never says, “All you need is Me.” What God does say is you need Him, and you need other people. Hebrews chapter 10 says in order to move and grow in our faith, we need intentional times when we are meeting with others. Simple presence with other followers of Jesus can bring encouragement. As we share and as we open up, we relate to each other and provide accountability.


Whether it is inviting some friends over for dinner, grabbing coffee together to discuss the message, or committing to a small group, we all need each other. The reality is we are better together than we ever could be alone. For example, from this passage, we are told that we are more generous when we are around other people. Life change happens best in a circle of other like-minded people. There is no task list or schedule that can help us as much as being with other followers of Jesus.

Thought for Today: What is preventing you from being involved in a community of followers of Jesus? What is one thing God is asking you to do to move toward “meeting together”, as Hebrews 10 talks about?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your plan for us to not be alone, but to share life with other people. Thank you for the people who have encouraged us and those we have learned from over the years. Help us to spur each other on toward love and good deeds. Amen

Worship Today

Psalm 95:1-3

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
   Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
   Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
   a great King above all gods.

If you’re looking to be entertained, might I  recommend one of my favorite theaters? Your local traffic stop. The cast of characters usually includes the nose-picker, the make-up artist, the novel-reader, the texter, the music-thumper, and the animated arguer… to name a few. Recently I found myself at a traffic stop and, as luck would have it, I noticed my wife had pulled up directly behind my car. Looking at her in the rearview mirror, I realized she had no idea that her husband was in the car directly in front of her. She was completely lost in worship.

I’m not sure how long the light had been green as I continued to watch her passion, joy, and praise go on as she connected so deeply with God in her car. As I pulled away from my “favorite theater,” I began thinking about the many worship opportunities that I have to connect with God that I’m simply not taking.

Worship doesn’t have to look or sound the same for everyone. For some, it may be singing songs that deeply honor God. For others, it’s praising him with our thoughts or our words as we share our thankfulness with others. Worship isn’t just something that we do on the weekend or during our daily commute. Our entire life should be an act of worship. I love how plainly The Message translation spells out what a life of worship can IGS-Devo-Week3-Social-5.29look like in Romans 12:1-2:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Thought for today: In your everyday life, are you missing opportunities to connect with God through personal worship?

Prayer: God, thank you for all you have done for me! As I connect with you in my everyday life, I pray that you would change me from the inside out. I ask that you would help me know you more, and give me the ability to understand your love more deeply. Amen.

Peace Over Anxiety

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Life didn’t magically get less stressful after I said “Yes” to Jesus. However, I’ve learned how to change my approach to stress and anxiety. Each time I’ve decided to let God into hard situations, and asked Him for help at that moment, I’ve been greeted with a sense of peace. Almost like the weight was being lifted off my shoulders as I gave God all control of what was to come. The situation might not have changed, but my peace and perspective did.

I admit I find it difficult to keep up a healthy prayer life during different seasons of my life. Unfortunately, prayer can be so effortlessly neglected. Our lives are filled with our jobs, family time, kids, and other activities. More often than I’d like to admit, it isn’t until I’m getting in bed before I have the margin to think about my soul and connecting to God.

IGS-Devo-Week3-Social-5.28One way we can truly build a relationship with God is by connecting with Him through prayer on a daily basis. When we take the time to reflect “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and present our requests to God,” it is clear that prayer is one of the best ways for us to hear God’s voice. It allows us to slow down and live in the present moment, and gives us the space to hear His voice more clearly.  

Thought for Today: How do you typically handle stress? Have you had a time where you’ve seen God guide you through a stressful time or season? What happened and what did you learn?  Do you have any margin in your life to pray on a regular basis?

Prayer: Jesus, I need you. Help me to know that your love is with me every step throughout my day. Teach me to rely on you regarding the stress and anxiety. Jesus, help me to experience you in a way I never have before through prayer. Amen.

The Better Way

1 Peter 5:5-7

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

The word “margin” can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Most of the time, we might think it’s a negative thing. We assume we need to create margin in our lives because we either have too much on our plate and are struggling to handle it, or we assume that we’re moving too fast in an area of our life and need to slow down. Do you think of the word “margin” as a good thing?

Adding margin in our lives can be difficult, but it’s always a healthy thing to do. Sometimes it means you have to say NO to certain things, so you have time to focus on better things. Adding margin into our lives means we have to learn patience – something most of us are not good at. God often takes us down a path to prepare us for the future. I, am not a patient person. But, as I look back over the past 5 years, God used a long stretch of difficult “waiting room time” to prepare my heart and increase my wisdom to get me IGS-Devo-Week2-Social-5.25ready for where I am now.

In times of stress and anxiousness, surrender your heart and mind to God – knowing that he is using this time to prepare your heart for future adventures he has planned for you to accomplish in His name.

Thought for today: In today’s world, we’re told that our lives have to be perfect and put together to keep up with the Joneses. We fill our lives with as many activities, tasks, and projects as possible, hoping it will bring a sense of happiness. God says we were designed to work, but we aren’t to be slaves to our work. When you feel overwhelmed by the things of this world, reach out and let God take control of your life – giving Him all areas that overwhelm you, and lean on Him. He will provide wisdom and strength, and it will also deepen your trust in Him.

Prayer: Jesus, I need you. Help me remember You’re with me every step throughout my day, and you can teach me to handle the stress and anxiety of my daily life. Show me how to create margin in my life that ultimately allows me to grow closer to you. I ask for wisdom to see where I need let things go, and courage to take the step of doing so. Teach me your love for me today, Lord. Amen!

Heeding His Call to Rest

Mark 6:30-31

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Our culture is plagued by busyness. I see families all around me being pulled into the pressure to have something on the calendar every night of the week, and a long list of commitments. Work, school, church, volunteering, gym, lessons, sports, holidays, clubs, hobbies, vacations, etc… and the expectation to look great and appear to be at peace in the midst of it all. Always coming and going. Always moving.

Now, take a deep breath. Jesus tells us to rest.

In Mark 6, the disciples were reporting to Jesus all they had done. Don’t we get caught in the trap of feeling better about ourselves if we have a list of accomplishments to report – to ourselves, to others, to God? But Jesus gently reveals to us that we’re going to forget to rest, to breathe, (to eat!) if we don’t slow down and gain stability.

“Come with me…”
We need to spend time with Jesus to be able to follow him and serve him.

“…by yourselves to a quiet place…”
Put your to-do list down. Put your phone down. Walk away from the work and the
people. Let his presence calm you and refresh you.

“…get some rest.”
What restores your energy? Nature, music, reading, exercise, art? Let yourself breathe
and think with no agenda. Finding margin might mean you have to schedule it. How
great would it feel to look at your calendar and see a block of free time? Not to scroll
social media or get another chore completed, but an hour to spend reading the Bible
and praising God!

Are you feeling weighed down by the expectations of our time? Jesus made us and IGS-Devo-Week2-Social-5.24he knows what we need. We need time with him. We need rest. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. …Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. …the burden I give you is light.”

Thought for the day: What can you rearrange in your schedule so you have time for refreshment? Are you currently working hard so that you can earn rest, or prioritizing rest so that you can do your best work? In the next day, slow down and spend some intentional time with Jesus. Thank him for the opportunities and gifts you have, but allow Him to remind you that His love is what gives your life purpose.

Prayer: God, I know I need more alone time with you. Thank you for always meeting me where I’m at and gently calling me to your heart. Please help me carve out time to spend in your refreshing presence this week. You are good and you promise to walk with me always. Thank you for offering rest. Amen.

God is at Work

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord
   and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
   when they carry out their wicked schemes.

How do you do when it comes to waiting in line? Do you ever find that your blood starts to boil when you’re in line at the grocery store, and the person in front of you is taking forever to check out? It always seems like they have a coupon for every item and they are paying in nickels. Inevitably, you switch lines and your new line slows to a stop. Or maybe you find yourself backed up in traffic, and you are already 5 minutes late to your meeting. It takes everything within you not to blast the horn at the person in front of you when the light turns green.

IGS-Devo-Week2-Social-5.23Waiting on things in everyday life can be frustrating, and it requires learning the discipline of patience. What is patience? Patience is simply the art of waiting without complaint. It is remaining at peace while life is delayed.

Psalm 37:7 says that waiting is a spiritual practice. “Be still and wait for the Lord and wait patiently for him…” What does it mean to wait on the Lord? Is God late all the time? No, waiting on the Lord means trusting God with today’s needs and tomorrow’s wants. It’s a dependence upon God as well as a belief that he knows the right timing for our lives. Waiting does not necessarily mean doing nothing. Waiting on the Lord can be active. It involves praying, listening, learning, growing, and following God as he directs our steps. You’ve heard it said, “good things come to those who wait.” It’s true. God teaches us, direct us, matures us, and develops us during times of waiting.

Are you waiting for something or someone right now? Be still. Wait patiently. Trust God. God is at work.

Thought for the day: What are you asking God to do? What are you learning through the waiting process? In what ways can you find peace in the midsts of hearing “not yet”?

Prayer: Jesus, help me to see that there’s purpose in the waiting, and that you’re actively working in my life. Give me peace as I wait, but the boldness to make the most of each day. Thank you for using the seasons of “not yet” to help me become more like You. Amen.