May 25 – Tips for Everyday Life – His Will, Not Ours

Read James 4:13-17

Like many of you, I tried to plan my life. I had a five-year plan and all the next steps thought out.

I think I started planning my life in 8th grade when I was knee deep into my journey in musical theater. It was all I wanted in life. It was shortly after my 8th grade year began that I would tell my mother my plans to move to New York City and pursue theater. And there I was, graduated from high school, moved to NYC and spending a summer semester in the school of my dreams and succeeding, only to find out that financially my scholarship wouldn’t allow me to attend a conservatory. Like many of you have learned over and over in your life, God had a different plan. Yet, He has used that situation and part of my story to teach me and grow my relationship with Him.

I wanted my name in lights, He wanted my attention. I wanted applause, He wanted to be my stability. I wanted to be the star, He wanted my heart.

When looking at what James is writing in chapter 4, I can’t help but think about the fact that I still struggle with this. I still try to plan my life out. I still try to be in control and every day, at least once, I fail at surrendering my will for His.

Take a look at Jesus in the garden. He goes before the Lord. I can see Him now, on His knees before the Father, and weeping at the thought of the pain and heartache to come and yet, at the end of this raw emotional moment with the Father, Jesus says the most primitive 5 words…

“Not my will but Yours”.

Is this easy? No. Is this something we will constantly fail at? Yes. Is this something we have the power to do?


There is power in the name of Jesus. He lives within us and it’s by that very power that we are able to go back to the throne room on our knees and surrender to the Lord. To be raw and real and tell Him exactly where we are with our circumstance but walk away, knowing that He has our best in mind.

A very wise woman once told me, “Not every decision has to be super spiritual. Not every decision has to be prayed about for months and years at a time, begging for the Lord to show His will. Sometimes, when you are walking hand in hand with Jesus, sometimes He just wants you to make a decision…He will let you know His will.”

That was some of the best advise I have ever received because I was tormented by the thought of not doing God’s will with any decision, because of my past of wanting to live for myself and for life to be about me. I learned to accept the grace and freedom in my relationship with Jesus, knowing He would always show me His best. I just need to surrender constantly.

Not my will, but His. May He be honored in everything we say and do.

Kelly Lawson

May 3: The God Who Comes Through – He quenches our thirst

Read Exodus 15:22-27 (cf. Jn. 4 and Jer. 2:13)

In these verses the people were physically thirsty but didn’t have any water that was fit to drink.  Once again, Moses prayed and God supplied their needs by having Moses put a piece of wood into the water to make it drinkable. God took care of their physical thirst. 

However, there are more ways people can be thirsty.  There is the physical thirst, but there are also emotional and spiritual thirsts that people don’t often recognize.  There is a thirst to be accepted, to be loved, to be wanted, to be recognized.  Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount talked about people who would hunger and thirst for righteousness. With all the complaining that the Israelites were doing to Moses even after experiencing God’s miraculous power, maybe they were thirsty for something other than just water.

The woman at the well, who met Jesus, was, as the old song title says, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. She had been married 5 times and the man she was living with wasn’t her husband.  Since she was at the well in the afternoon instead of the morning like all the other women in the village would have been, she was probably rejected by them and was thirsty to be accepted. She probably put on a “good face” and pretended that their insults and looks didn’t hurt, but they did. She was emotionally thirsty!

Jesus saw through all of it and offered her living water that would quench her thirst, and she would never be thirsty for love and acceptance again.

Just like Moses took the piece of a tree that God had provided out in the desert to make the water sweet again, He supplied a branch off of His own family tree, His son Jesus, to quench her spiritual thirst.

And Jesus is here to quench our thirsts too, if we will let Him.

The Lyrics of the song, Come to the Well, by Casting Crowns says it all:

“I have what you need
But you keep on searchin’
I’ve done all the work
But you keep on workin’
When you’re runnin’ on empty
And you can’t find the remedy
Just come to the well

You can spend your whole life
Chasin’ what’s missing
But that empty inside
It just ain’t gonna listen
When nothing can satisfy
And the world leaves you high and dry
Just come to the well

And all who thirst will thirst no more
And all who search will find what their souls long for

The world will try, but it can never fill
Leave it all behind, and come to the well

So, bring me your heart
No matter how broken
Just come as you are
When your last prayer is spoken
Just rest in my arms a while
You’ll feel the change my child
When you come to the well”

What are you thirsty for? Be honest!  Leave it all behind and just come to the well of Living Water, take a deep drink and thirst no more!

Pat Arnold

October 6: Jesus and Moses

Read Deuteronomy 18:9-22

Even there on that east bank of the Jordan, the Promised Land laying before their very eyes, God gave His children glimpses of Jesus Christ, His Son Whom He’d send for their redemption and saving.

God refers to Moses as a “type” of Jesus several times throughout the Bible. It means, the story God gave Moses typifies, points to, the story of Jesus Christ the Messiah. So when Moses told the people of Israel that God would raise up a prophet like himself, He tipped His hand for all to hear the truth that He had a rescue plan even back then.

In the MacArthur ESV Study Bible, John MacArthur points out six ways Moses’ life typified Jesus. They are as follows:

  1. Moses’s life as a baby boy was spared from the carnage of a tyrant king whose power-hungry life led to infanticide. Remember Exodus 2 when Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses in a basket in the Nile after his mother hid him in the reeds? Compare that with King Herod’s rage in Matthew 2 when he heard about the king of the Jews being born in Bethlehem.
  2. Both Moses and Jesus gave up a royal lifestyle for the good of God’s people. Moses gave up the right to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Jesus gave up His rights as the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
  3. Moses’ words in Numbers 27:17 foreshadowed Jesus’ assessment when he referred to the children of Israel as sheep that have no shepherd. Both had deep compassion for God’s people.
  4. Just as Moses stood before God on behalf of His people and begged His forgiveness and mercy, so Jesus Christ stood in our place before God’s judgement so that you and I could know His mercy and grace and live real life in Him. In fact, the author of Hebrews says Jesus always lives to make intercession for (those who draw near to God through Him).
  5. Both Jesus and Moses spoke with God face to face. Moses on Mt. Sinai. Jesus, God Himself had come from the Father, communed with Him throughout His time on earth and then returned to Him when He ascended into heaven.
  6. While Moses mediated God’s covenant of the Law with Israel, Jesus Christ mediated the new covenant. The one that lets you and me have a relationship with Him through His blood.

Even then, God had a plan to make a way for you and me to know Him, to be saved from the Law He knew we could not keep. That way has always been, will always be, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


October 4: Joseph Foreshadows Jesus

Read Genesis 41:1-57

The land of Egypt was the center of the earth. All eyes turned there.

But chapter 41 is only a small portion of a larger installment that spans from Genesis chapter 37 to chapter 50. It is the story of twelve brothers…the sons of Jacob. Prophetic dreams made it clear that one of the brothers, Joseph, was to have an important, dominant role among them. His jealous brothers sold him to merchants who carried him off to Egypt.

And here in Genesis chapter 41, Joseph interprets dreams which depict years of abundant harvest followed by years of famine. Joseph, this descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was given the responsibility of helping Egypt prepare for the famine.

As a result of Joseph’s preparation, Egypt became the center of the earth. Apparently the other peoples on the earth had not been given the same divine foresight of the coming famine. It seems that they did not have their storehouses filled with food in anticipation of widespread hunger. Word spread quickly that Egypt was the Wal-Mart of the world. In a small microcosmic way, the promise extended to Abraham was being realized. The nations were blessed through one of his descendants.

News of the food supplies even spread to the rest of Abraham’s descendants…Joseph’s brothers…the very ones who had sold him into slavery. Their eyes also turned to Egypt. There, they encountered Joseph…first of all without realizing who it was. Through a series of unusual requests and responses, the brothers experienced reconciliation. In fact, Joseph’s father, brothers, and their families eventually uprooted from their land and settled in the land of the pyramids.

God rescued His people from famine and starvation. He used one of His own, Joseph, in order to bring it about. In fact, Joseph’s actions resulted in the feeding of countless thousands around the world.

Another glimpse of Jesus Christ, Joseph is but a foreshadowing of One who does much more than save people by satisfying their temporal hunger for food. Jesus satisfies the deepest longings of the heart…and He saves those who express repentant faith in Him from the eternal ramifications of sin.


October 3: Jesus and Isaac

Read Genesis 22:1-19

God’s story included unbelievable tests along the way.

Did God really ask what I think He did? As if reminding Abraham of the incredible value that Isaac had, He told this dad what we today can neither fathom nor expect to hear,

Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there… (Gen. 22:2)

It was a test. Was Abraham’s trust in God implicit? I mean think about a couple of key questions that went unanswered.

1. “Who in his right mind would ask a father to sacrifice his son?”

2. “Just exactly how are you going to fulfill your promise of a nation through Isaac if he is no longer in the picture?”

We have no evidence that God provided an answer to question #2 in advance. By faith, however, Abraham drew his own conclusion. Isaac had been the product of a miraculous birth. Beyond the age of childbearing, God had allowed Abraham and Sarah to conceive. Surely God could bring about a miracle at Isaac’s death…a resurrection. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary.

God provided a goat in Isaac’s place. That’s significant. God has a way of providing for those who obey Him by faith. There is a mountain, Mt. Moriah, whose name reminds us of that…and a goatskin that gives testimony to that.

As to question #1? Who in their right mind would ask a father to sacrifice his son? The same One, who as a Father, would later allow His own Son to be sacrificed. Motivated by extreme love for people like you and me, our Heavenly Father, gave His Son Jesus.

Abraham’s story was a foreshadowing of another Father/Son sacrifice…God’s miraculous provision for us. But though this sacrifice wasn’t interrupted in the final seconds, it ended miraculously. It ended in resurrection…the same outcome Abraham had anticipated for Isaac (Heb. 11:17-19)!

Abraham passed the test. He expressed confidence in God’s plan in spite of the unusual divine request. God’s plan to make a great nation through Isaac was not foiled. And God tipped His hand, allowed us a glimpse of Jesus, as He foreshadowed a day when He as a loving Father would allow His own Son to be sacrificed.


Correction for today’s “Love and the Law”

Dear Reader,

Thanks for your commitment to growing in Christ by spending daily time in the Scriptures!

I noticed early this morning (and several of you noticed it to) that I grabbed the wrong graphic of the 10 Commandments. Below you will find what I intended to include. Thanks for your commitment to Every Day with God!

In Christ,


Ten commandments

October 21: 1,000 Years and Beyond

Read Revelation 20:1-15

Perhaps you remember New Year’s Eve, 1999. It was the celebration of a significant turn of the calendar into a new millennium. People sure made that New Year seem significant . . . Y2K scare and all. It represented the start of a new thousand year period. One thousand years is a long time . . . but it is not yet eternity!

One thousand years represents the time frame during which Jesus will reign here on earth after His return at the revelation. Though that is a long time, it represents another important part of His story and man’s rescue. Consider what happens during that time.

At the beginning of that time, Satan will be bound and thrown into the Abyss. After years and years of wielding his influence, he will be powerless, unable to deceive the nations!

This will be unlike any other time period since the fall of man with unprecedented peace and visible righteousness on the earth as Christ rules with an iron scepter (Rev. 19:15). But, this is not yet eternity.

At the beginning of that thousand-year period, judgments will take place. Those living at the end of the Tribulation (Matt. 25) and those martyred for Christ during the Tribulation will be judged. The unredeemed will be cast from His presence, while others (especially martyrs) will have opportunity to reign with Jesus.

This millennium experience will also be unparalleled in nature as wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and bear will live together in harmony instead of predator/prey relationships. Even children will be able to play with cobras and vipers. That certainly doesn’t happen today!

At the end of that thousand-year period, Satan will be released. It is amazing to read how his deception will find a quick following of multitudes. But this uprising will be easily squelched by God, and Satan himself will be eternally eliminated from the picture.

If you know Christ, you will have returned with Him and will be part of the glory of those thousand years. That’s something to celebrate! It is a very true and absolutely real hope! But what about your neighbors? Can they celebrate this hope with you? Does your friend on the other side of town know the real hope of Jesus Christ, the One who conquered death on her behalf?

This weekend, Grace Church will celebrate our hope in a special way! Why not invite your friend, your neighbor, your co-worker to join us for this Welcome Weekend so they can be there — for 1,000 years and for eternity?


October 20: 1000 Years

Read Zechariah 14:1-21

As Zechariah closes with more “on that day” prophesies, he draws our attention to the centrality of Jerusalem and to the Lord, who will personally come to this city and reign as King. This prophecy was not fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. It is still ahead and will be fully experienced at His second coming at the end of a seven-year period which is often called the “tribulation.”

What do we know about this future reign of Jesus?

It will be global. Verse 9 tells us that “He will be King over the whole earth.” That is difficult to fathom. During our lifetime, we have only been familiar with a world that includes multiple countries, many governments, and countless leaders. We anticipate, however, a day in which Christ will be the one and only ruler over all the earth.

All opposition will be squelched. At the beginning of His millennial reign, Satan will be bound and unable to exert his influence in this world (Rev. 20:1-6). Meanwhile, any who contest the reign of the King will experience the force of His iron scepter (Rev. 19:15).

It will be a time of economic, social, and physical blessing. Unlike our present time, justice will be the rule. By God’s grace, inadequacies of food and income will not be widespread like they are today (Joel 2:21-27).

Creation will experience transformation. Geographical locations like the Mount of Olives will be different, as indicated in verses 4 and 5. Even animals will relate to one another differently as predator and prey will no longer have their current instincts (Is. 11:6; 65:25).

While all of this may sound like eternity, in reality, it will last 1,000 years. Revelation 20 gives us this time frame. While this period does represent a long time, there is a terminus.

Don’t worry. Even though that thousand year period will come to an end, the following era of human experience will be an unending period of sinless, painless life in the presence of God, with a new heaven and a new earth. It will be a time where things are better even than what will be experienced in the Millennium.


October 19: Soul Cleansing

Read Zechariah 13:1-9

There is something so refreshing about a shower after a few hours of yard or garden work on a hot, humid summer day. Letting the soap and water cleanse your body of the sweat, dirt, and grass that clings to your body is a good feeling.

But while physical cleansing can be a pleasant experience, soul cleansing is often painful. It is that experience that Zechariah describes as he prophesies of future days for Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (v. 1,). Although the thoughts shared here are specific for that nation, there are some parallels for those of us in the church.

What does that cleansing look like? In the process of soul cleansing, what can we anticipate?

1. The removal of idols (v. 2). I’m guessing that most people you know do not have stone or wooden images in their homes . . . images that represent unseen deities. Meanwhile, it is a very possible that there are those objects or priorities that we allow to compete for the position that God alone wants to fill. Remove those from your life.

2. The elimination of false prophets (vv. 3-6). The prophets indicated here were not speaking words that God revealed. Instead, whether out of ignorance or out of an attempt at personal gain, they presented teaching inconsistent with God’s. With all of the technological advancements, many voices and messages have access to your ear. Are their some you need to eliminate?

3. A reduction in number (vv. 7-9a). Zechariah describes only one-third who survive the cleansing process. Although it is unclear whether this third represents the only true people of faith or not, the New Testament tells us that there are people who claim a commitment to Christ but don’t really have one (Matt. 7:22, 23). Would you make the cut as a genuine follower of Christ? First John 5:11-13 can help you know.

4. Faithfulness through testing (v. 9b). Refining and testing require challenges and adversity. According to Romans 5 and James 1, those experiences will characterize the lives of believers. Are you allowing those kinds of experiences to enable you to come to reflect the person of Jesus in your life?

Embrace the process of soul cleansing today!


October 18: Someday

Read Zechariah 12:1-14

A few years ago over Memorial Day weekend, our family got away for a few days with family in Kentucky. In the midst of an upscale housing development spread across rolling hills, we noticed a beautiful home surrounded by acres of green grass and a white wooden fence. Inside the fence were horses. There was a sign at the edge of the road identifying the owners, the Huffman’s. But, in larger letters yet, was the name they had ascribed to their horse farm. The sign read:


My guess is the owners had always dreamed of the day when they would have a property like that. For years, they had spoken of “Someday when . . .”And now, they are living their “Someday.”

The last three chapters of Zechariah depict a “Someday” for Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. Actually, the repeated phrase in these chapters is “on that day.” Sixteen times over these three chapters, the Lord draws our attention to “that day.”

The description is not one of a large house, green grass, grazing horses, and a white fence. Instead, it is of a day when God’s chosen people would no longer be the underdog. They would be able to withstand and even be victorious over her enemy nations. It was a day when Jerusalem would be an “immovable rock.” How these words must have caused the readers in Zechariah’s day to dream of “that day” . . . to speak of “someday.”

The average “Every Day With God” reader is not a blood descendant of the nation of Israel that has experienced immeasurable adversity over the centuries. Meanwhile, most every one of us has experienced opposition and challenges. Just when you thought you were on the upswing, something new came along and beat you back down. Be encouraged. You can dream of a “someday.” But only if you, like the nation of Israel, look on the Lord with faith-filled, repentant contrition (vv. 10-13). You see, “He was pierced [crucified] for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed”(Is. 53:5). Recognizing what Christ did for you causes you to repent . . . but it also enables you to dream.