Sometimes I Wonder…

JOB



“Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?”

-Job 21:7 NLT


“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. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

-Psalm 37:7-9 NLT


“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”

-Isaiah 48:10 NLT



Sometimes I wonder why it always looks like the wicked succeed, then I’m reminded that the wicked are not succeeding because they are perishing. One can be wealthy and successful by every worldly standard and yet be spiritually bankrupt. Success in the eyes of God is vastly different from how the world sees it. God takes you to heights unknown when you are following Him and He blesses those who are walking in obedience to Him.

There may be trials along the way to get to the destination God has for you, but those trials teach you endurance and perseverance. You are not refined in the times of good, but you are refined in the furnace of suffering. God is the one who will make you come out as gold. Just remember to keep your eyes and your mind fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith, and He will be the One who gives you perfect peace as you keep trusting in Him.



REFLECTIVE PRAYER Heavenly Father, You, O God, are the Author and the Finisher of my faith.  I will continue to keep my eyes and my mind fixed on You because in You alone there is hope and peace.  You are the True Joy Giver.  You are the One who upholds me with Your victorious right hand, and You have made me more than a conqueror.  Lord, help me to always remember that no matter what comes my way, no matter what circumstances I find myself in, You will be the One who shapes and refines me and brings me forth like gold.  Guide me as I walk along this narrow way for Your grace is the wall of protection around me, the netting that catches me when I’m falling, and Your grace is my covering.  Lead me to the destination You have for me.  Help me to carry out the tasks You have assigned me, and may my spirit always yield to You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Much love to you all,

Linda A. Knowles

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Give Rightful Place To GOD

Psalm 139vs23-24



Idols cannot give us life.  GOD, however, is the Creator;  He is the Giver of Life.  “…yet my people have exchanged their glorious GOD for worthless idols,”  (Jeremiah 2:11).   An idol is anything or anyone that takes away GOD’s rightful place in our lives.  To exchange GOD for temporal things is foolishness.  Why would we exchange GOD who is the glory and the lifter of our heads (Psalm 3:3) for something else that is incapable of giving us life, for something which fades or withers away, something which eventually breaks (1 John 2:17).  Why exchange GOD who is eternal for other things which are not lasting?



“You must not have any other god but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”  -Exodus 20:3-6

Since we are commanded not to have any other gods but the Almighty GOD then we must take hold of GOD, and cling tightly to His truth for He is our Sustainer (Psalm 54:4) and He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  When we love GOD, with our whole heart and soul and mind, we won’t want to hurt or displease GOD.  We demonstrate our love for GOD by giving GOD His rightful place in our lives and obeying all He has commanded us to do.  First place in our lives is not for anyone or anything else.

GOD alone is sovereign, worthy of all glory, honor, and praise for Who He Is.  He is worthy because He is GOD and has demonstrated His love and mercy to us by bestowing His love and His blessings lavishly upon His children.  GOD is to be our First Love.  Nothing can give us lasting joy except for GOD, and there is nothing that can replace GOD in our lives.  We can try to replace GOD in our lives, but that would be breaking GOD’s commands which would displease GOD and cause us nothing but heartache.



“So that I may take hold of the hearts of the people of Israel.  For because of their idols, they are all estranged from ME.” -Ezekiel 14:5


“So humble yourselves before God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinner;  purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between GOD and the world.  Let there be tears for what you have done.  let there be sorrow and deep grief.  Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” -James 4:7-10



Let’s not pull away from GOD, but let’s be faithful to our GOD and not dessert Him for things which are fleeting.  Instead, let’s worship Him in spirit and in truth, giving Him our very best because He gave us His very best, loving Him because He first loved us.  GOD is worthy of us following Him wholeheartedly.  We should never give Him our leftovers, but give Him all the honor due Him because He is GOD. 



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are Sovereign.  There is no other who compares with You for You are glorious and majestic in all Your ways.  Forgive me for the times I have put other things before You.  I never want to displease You.  Help me to always remember that You alone are GOD and You want the best for me.  Thank You for allowing me the privilege to be able to draw close to You.  Thank You for being mindful of me and for lavishly loving me.   Thank You for forgiving me.  Because I love You, I will do as You command and walk in Your ways.  Guide me into all truth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles

 

 

Follow Him Wherever He Leads

2 KINGS 6.

Hope, trust, faith, and belief in GOD are never misplaced, and with GOD, all things are possible.  Our GOD is able to do far above and beyond what we could ever ask or think.

He is the LORD who delivered His people out of slavery, the LORD who made the blind to see, made the lame to walk, and the One who calmed the sea.

The GOD who did all that is able to take you through whatever you’re going through.  He is able to get you through to the other side.  Whatever mountain you are facing, He is able to help you climb.  He is the GOD who specializes in the impossible.  Is there anything impossible for Him?  Nothing is impossible for Him, but without Him, you can do nothing.  He is the One who will strengthen you and supply you with the strength you need.  He is the One who will lead you through the storm.  He is the Cleft of the Rock where you can take shelter from the storm.  Rely and depend on Him for He is GOD.  He will never disappoint you.

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“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” -Romans 8:15

When you are a child of the Most High GOD, you’re surrounded by the Heavenly Hosts, protected, and safe in the arms of GOD. Just follow Him wherever He leads, and know everything is going to be all right.  Remember GOD knows what you need before you even ask Him.  He has supplied all you need to get through whatever place you find yourself in at the moment.  He cares about you and does far beyond what you could ever ask or think.

Keep your mind fixed on GOD.  Trust in Him, and He will keep you in perfect peace.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are so good.  Thank You for being my Shelter.  There is no other GOD like You.  You are the Sure Foundation, and as long as I stand upon You, I know I cannot sink.  You have me engraved in the palm of Your hand, and I know You have not forgotten me.  Be with me, LORD, for with You, I have no reason to fear for You have not given me the spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind.  Thank You for taking me this far.  LORD, my help comes from You alone for You, O GOD, are my Portion forever.  You are my Shield and my Fortress.  Thank You for the work You are doing in me and the work You will continue to do in me.  Have Your way in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



May GOD bless you abundantly,

Linda A. Knowles

Let God Handle Your Enemies

EXODUS



“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!” -Isaiah 8:9-10


Your enemies can devise all the schemes and plans they want to try to take you down. They have one major problem; they have to get through the blood of Christ in order to get to you. They can come up with clever word games and other manipulative tactics, but they can never thwart the plans of God for your life. The Word of God is not chained, and when the Word of God goes out, the Word of God will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies cannot be stopped by any mortal. Immanuel (God With Us) is a declarative name, and because God is with you, you are made victorious. The Lord Your God is your Immanuel, and God being with you rescues you from the clutches of the enemy.  “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  Keep standing on the promises of God and obeying His commandments as He is fighting your battles and as He is taking care of your enemies.  Always remember the battle belongs to the Lord.



REFLECTION:  “If you love me, obey my commandments,” (John 14:15) Christ said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”  In dealing with your enemies, you do not deal with them as the world does.  You don’t pray for their demise or for something bad to happen to them.  Vengeance belongs to God alone.  As a child of the Most High God, you are to continue walking in obedience to the teaching of Christ and to know, as well as to keep at the front of your mind, that your responsibility is to love your enemies and do good to those that hate you.  If you love the Lord, you will obey Him and His teachings and keep trusting in Him to take care of those who are against you.  Let God be God, and you remain blessed by loving your enemies, praying for them, and doing good to those who hate you.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, to You be all the glory.  You alone are God, and You said vengeance belongs to You.  Bless my enemies by meeting their deepest need to know You and who You are.  Lord, teach me how to do good to my enemies and show me ways to bless them.  Forgive me for the times, I have desired revenge, and help me to remember Your ways are not my ways.  Help me to remember you work all things out for good.  Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen me as I continue to do Your will and obey Your teachings.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 50:7

Linda A. Knowles

Times of Desperation Are The Best



GRACE 2



You might be thinking, “Seriously, Linda? Times of desperation are the best? Are you crazy?”  Probably, but I have had a lot of time to think about desperation since I have been through desperate situations myself as well as knowing some others who have found themselves in situations and circumstances beyond their control. I have thought a lot about people in the bible who have found themselves in the most dangerous or crazy situations.  *Let’s face it. We’ve all had those moments where we have come face to face with trials and not knowing what to do in those situations… those situations that have had us laid out before the LORD, those situations that have had us completely at the end of ourselves, that have us carefully tuning in to hear GOD’s voice speak, paying more attention to what the Word of GOD has to say, and clinging to GOD more than we usually do.


“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” -Psalm 34:6 (NLT)

Are these times pleasant when we are going through them?  NO.  However, those are the rawest of moments where GOD can work WITHOUT US trying to help HIM because there is nothing of self to get in the way because we have given up the situation to GOD, completely surrendering whatever it is to HIM.  That’s where GOD wants us: FULLY SURRENDERED TO HIM, relying on HIM, not just in the bad times but in the good times as well…  in the time of blessings and in the time of tribulations.  *In the pages of Scriptures, we see Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah who all lived for GOD, served GOD, and did great things for GOD.  However, they all went through trying times.  Through it all, they clung to GOD with steadfast devotion and unwavering loyalty.  Their success did not come by walking an easy road but by walking a narrow road paved with humility, suffering, persecution, and all while walking in obedience to GOD who upheld them no matter what the circumstances or situations they were in.  GOD worked everything out for their good and for HIS purposes, and GOD can work things out for you just as HE did for them.  Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were blessed for enduring their times of trial, those desperate situations.   Remember it was desperate times which took Joseph from the cistern to the palace (Genesis 37-41), Daniel from the Lion’s Den into prosperity (Daniel 6:28), and Nehemiah from cupbearer to heading up the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-9).  

REFLECTION “For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses,” (2 Kings 18:6).  You can be like Hezekiah who did not depart from following GOD but kept the commandments of GOD.  Cling tightly to GOD at ALL times.  Be faithful to the GOD who has been faithful to you and who has kept you.  Be loyal to the GOD who has not let your enemies triumph over you.  Walk with HIM and follow the LORD’s commandments, obeying Him with wholehearted devotion.  Without GOD, you can do nothing.  With GOD, you are an overcomer and made victorious. *PRAYER Heavenly Father, Your power is made perfect in weakness. You are the Horn of My Salvation, and You are the Wellspring of Life.  No matter what the circumstance, good or bad, I will put my hope and trust in You for with You all things are possible.  Thank You for times of desperation because, in those moments, You teach me and show me more of Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and Your grace.  Thank you for making my feet like a deer able to climb the mountain heights You have set me on, and when I come to You to have my strength renewed as I wait upon you, let me rise up with wings like an eagle.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”  -Isaiah 50:10

That Is The God We Serve


“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…”

Acts 17:28


AWESOME GOD

In Christ, we are never alone because GOD is with us.  Our LORD and our GOD tells us we can come to Him anytime, that eloquent words are not needed to come to Him.  He welcomes us to come to Him and talk with Him anytime, that we are not bothering Him, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden,” and to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” because in Him, we have all that we need.  He tells us to trust Him.  We cannot do this life on our own.  For certain, we cannot keep ourselves alive because He is the One who gives us every breath we take, and “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

 

This life and everything in it is fleeting.  There is only ONE thing that is certain and sure.  ONE that is eternal as everything else is frail and temporal.  That ONE is Jesus Christ, the only Sure Foundation.  While there are mere mortals who try to rise up and take claim to be messiah, there is ONLY one Messiah.  His name is Jesus Christ.

He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Sure Foundation, the True and Faithful Witness.  He is the Lamb Slain Before the Foundation of the World.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Bright Morning Star; He is the Source of Life, the Root of Jesse, the Offspring of David, and the One Who Sits at the Right Hand of the Father.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  He is the Eternal One, the Fourth Man in the Furnace, The Son of the Living GOD, The Firstborn of All Creation, and He is the Living GOD.  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Anointed One, The Messiah, The Ancient of Days, The Savior, and The Soon Coming Lion of Judah.

He is truly the All In All who defines His own children.  His children are not defined by any man.  His children are accepted into the beloved, bought with His precious shed blood, and they belong to Him.  And if He be for them, who can be against them?  Absolutely no one.  Our LORD and SAVIOR is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is the Everlasting GOD, Emmanuel, and He is The Wonderful Counselor.  He is altogether lovely, the Sweet Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, and His love is better than the finest wine.  THAT’S THE GOD WE SERVE. 

He is the Prince of Peace that breaks down walls of hostility, The Cornerstone, The Lamb of GOD, and He is the Light of the World.  He is indescribable, and He is The Discerner of the Hearts of Man.  He is Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding.  There is none like Him, and there never will be.  He is Hope, and He is Healing.  He is the Good Shepherd, the Image of the Invisible GOD, and He is awesome, worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.  He is glorious and majestic, perfect in all His ways.  Our GOD: The Manna From Heaven and the Living Waters.  THAT’S THE GOD WE SERVE.

 

PRAYER:  LORD of Glory, You are awesome in might and in power.  You, O GOD, deserve all honor and praise because of who You are.  You are merciful, and You are the Giver of Life.  You hold the waters of the earth in Your hands and Your voice is as of the voice of many waters.  Thank You for Your unfailing love and Your compassion that fails not.  Sovereign GOD and King, to You may I always lift my voice and sing and glory in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Linda A. Knowles

 

 

 

Fix Your Eyes On Jesus

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us,” (Philippians 3:12-14).

As children of God, our goals are to know Christ and to be like Christ, and to be all that Christ would have us to be, putting on His mind, taking on His ways, following His example of servanthood which He modeled for us.

Always remember, Christ is your hope.  He is your salvation, and in Him, you are a new creation.  Do NOT live in your past because if you live in your past, you won’t be able to move into your future.  God has plans for you.  So run the race with your eyes fixed on Christ.  Press into God through prayer, and allow the Holy Spirit to empower you.  The Lord will reveal to you what you need to change and show you what you need to do and what you should be.


“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need,” (Matthew 6:33).


PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are my All in All, My Everything. You have redeemed me and bought me with a price.  You healed and saved me.  My past is behind, and I will go on into the future You have for me because You, O God, have ordained my steps and have plans to give me hope and a future.  Thank You for the work You have done in me and for the continued work You are doing in my life.  Thank You for saving me and setting me free to do Your will and to walk in the purpose You have created me for.  Let Your Holy Spirit have His way in my life and fill me with all of You, O God, until there is nothing left of self.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Linda A. Knowles