How long, Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save? Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted. Habakkuk 1:2-4 HCSB
There is a pandemic in our country that is far worse and more dangerous than COVID-19: Racism. We are seeing the outrage and anguish of the injustices of hundreds of years where white people have perpetrated deliberate acts of egregious, malfeasance against black people, as well as people of other races, while others stood by as accessories to the crimes, doing little or not enough.
NOW is the time. TODAY is the day. It’s time for us to do something. You and me–let’s be the change we are looking for, both through our daily interactions with others different from ourselves and through civic involvement. A few books that may help with personal introspection of your own prejudices: 1. “Me and white supremacy” by Layla Saad 2. “Off the RACE Track: From Color-Blind to Color-Kind” by Steve Simms 3. “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu 🚦
“Give us each day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3 HCSB
When the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years, God provided manna from heaven to feed them each day, allowing them to only take the amount needed for that day. During this 40 year period their clothes never wore out! Before you and I jump to judge them for their complaining when God provided everything they needed, we need to turn our vision inward at our own behaviors. How often do you and I complain there’s nothing to eat when we have a refrigerator full of food, yet the food we have is not the food we are craving? How often do we say we have nothing to wear when in fact we do have clothing, but we want something new?
Whether your cabinets are full or empty, seek Him to fill your void with peace and contentment with what He has already given, and trust He will continue to provide everything you truly need when you need it.
“O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,” Psalms 88:1-4 ESV
Its rough to wake first thing in the morning with sadness and dread in your heart. Overwhelming grief zaps our strength and mental abilities. But the God who created emotions understands and longs to comfort us in these seasons of hopelessness. He does not expect us to, “Buck up, butter cup.” Far from it! Rather than abandoning you when you are depressed in spirit like some friends or family, our Heavenly Father waits with arms wide open. Will you take your anguish to Him?🚦
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24 NLT
You know this verse; you’ve sung the song in church seemingly a million times. But this morning you just aren’t feeling it. Perhaps you’ve had little sleep for days on end. Or your marriage is on the rocks. Or you just lost your job and have no idea how you will pay the bills. No matter the reason, there’s no place in God’s Word telling us to only worship in the good times. We look to Him who made heaven and earth and who rescued us from sin for our strength and refuge.
“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Psalms 121:1-2 NLT
“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.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT
Choose this day to lift your hands in praise and adoration because He lives!🚦 #StoplightDevotionals
“We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.” 1 John 4:19-20 HCSB
“Love” and “hate” are both action words. If your behavior shows kindness, care, devotion, and sacrifice, then “love” is an apt descriptor. On the other hand, deceitful, self-serving, thoughtless and disrespectful actions can be appropriately described as “hate.”
God showed us how much He loves us by becoming a man for us and suffering a criminal’s death, all so that you and I would be able to have a relationship with our Creator. THAT is love.
What are some ways you can demonstrate love to another human today? 🚦?
“God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.”
Psalms 63:1, 5 HCSB
You’ve been on the road all day. You ran out of water hours ago, and you barely grabbed a bite of breakfast before heading out this morning. As you pull off the highway your mouth waters as you salivate on thoughts of a big, juicy steak, creamy potatoes, a fresh salad and a giant glass of iced tea. Just think about that dessert menu! Five-layer chocolate cake, Bourbon pecan pie, creme brule’…
Do you seek God in this way? During the dry, parched seasons do you try to fill the emptiness with controlling your food, whether healthy or not, buying clothes, or decorating and re-decorating your home? Perhaps you escape to HGTV, books, or social media.
Let God be that escape. Run to Him first thing in the morning to see what He has for you today. Let Him whisper to your heart, breathe life, quench your thirst and fill your hunger with his satisfying Word. During the stress-filled day when you are tempted to seek refuge in pleasures offering only, fleeting comfort take a few moments, instead, to meditate on His message and praise Him for who He is and the amazing things He has done. He invites you to dine with Him at His banquet table today. Will you accept the invitation?🚦￼
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity.”
Psalms 90:12, 15 HCSB
“Slowly flow the days…swiftly fly the years,” is the message I sang at a wedding years ago, lines from “Sunrise, Sunset” of “Fiddler On The Roof.” How many times have you heard yourself talking about the day dragging only to later look at photos of days gone by and comment on how time flies?
What would change if you practiced living in the moment you have NOW rather than getting by, waiting impatiently for it to pass? God wants us to find the joy in the middle of our mess. Right here. Right now. Not after you lose ten pounds, the bills are paid off, your health is better. During your hardest season ever seek Him with all your heart, and you WILL find the joy. 🚦
When you are down where do you seek solace? The bottom of a bottle? The latest fashion clothing? A five-star meal?
Why not instead let despair drive you to God? Choosing to seek Yahweh during those times when you least feel His presence will take you to Sanctuary–that place of sacred refuge where the Most Holy dwells. Seek Him continually, pursuing Him vigilantly, and you will find Him. Refuse the cheaper forms of fleeting consolation in favor of Divine Presence that fills the darkest corners of your soul, and in that space your sorrow becomes sacred.
“God is in the sanctuary.” John Darby, theologian
But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 HCSB
When my sons were very young, only three and five years of age, the three of us flew to Washington DC for a two week trip to visit their Dad where he was working for the summer. Having never flown with children￼, I had no idea what I was in for trying to haul luggage through an airport to get to the shuttle to go to our hotel. The suitcase was heavy; the kids were tired, and I was just about at my end when someone saw us and offered to help.
Sometimes I find myself trying to haul a seventy five pound bag of emotional junk through the cavernous hallways of my mind, as well as to my workplace and on social outings. What a gift to recognize there is a better choice—Jesus. You and I can take our burdens and baggage to the altar where our Heavenly Father waits with arms open to hold us and love us and lift those heavy weights we were never meant to drag around. Cone to the altar. 🚦
“But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 6:6 HCSB
Books upon books have been written about prayer. Some of these imply or straight up tell us our prayers are best heard and answered by God when we use their specific formula or types of words for prayer. Please, friends, know that God is not in wait for a formulaic prayer. He is not a genie in a bottle that needs to be massaged a certain way to get what you want. Rather, He longs for you to come to Him with your whole, undistracted heart. He aches for you to put Him first each day, acknowledging Him as Creator and Lord of the universe. He waits for you to earnestly seek Him to plead you heart’s desires for your hopes and dreams.