Benefits and Resources in the Desert Places

It is in desolate, desert times that one can find a place where:

  • One can encounter God.
  • One can see how God provides.
  • One wrestles with and conquer temptations (Luke 4).
  • In separation and loneliness one can enjoy close fellowship with God.
  • One can hear clearly the voice of God.
  • God proves Himself. He is able (Ephesians 3:20).
  • God shows forth His power and provision. Both are abundant and overflowing.
  • God takes another opportunity to show His love for us (Song of Solomon 2:4).
  • God spreads a table in the midst of all that threatens.

What spiritual resources do you need in your desert?

  • Is it provision? “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8). “Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, ‘On the mountain of God, he sees to it’” (Genesis 22:14, MSG). “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (NKJV).
  • Is it Healing? “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26, NKJV). “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2).
  • Is it deliverance from a problem? “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears” (Psalms 34:4, NASU). “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.  Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Psalms 27:1-3, ESV).
  • The baptism of the Holy Ghost to fill your thirsty soul? “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. ‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39, NASU).
  • Is it salvation in a weary land to the nomadic (wandering) lost? “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS” (Matthew 11:28-30, NASU).
  • Is it to do the impossible and improbable? “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
  • Is it to supply your needs? “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Dinner in the Desert

Dinner in the Desert

My thought today is built around a question. I’m not the first to ask it. I won’t be the last. “Can God prepare a banquet in the desert?” (Psalms 78:19, God’s Word Translation). And don’t tell me you have never asked it. “Can God provide in my poverty?” “Does God care in my calamity?” “Can God turn my hopelessness into hope?” “Can life and laughter spring forth from my dreadful, dilemma?” “Can God turn my pity into a party?” Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes! I can hear a resounding, deafening “Yes!” Where is the proof?

Given the pick the last place one would likely want to live is a desert. It is usually a dull, depressing, dismal, dark, dry, deadly, dusty, dirty, desolate, despondent, drifting, place; deficient of moisture, plant and animal life. Add to that it is flat, featureless, and full of fear. It doesn’t stop there. The desert is mostly hot; hostile, and horrific. Sandstorms and sadistic storms decrease visibility and increase hopelessness.  Its sad status boasts of supporting very little life, is lifeless, and lonely limited to wandering, homeless nomads. It is an empty, eerie environment. 

The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara, in Northern Africa, covering over nine million kilometers and twelve countries. What a waste! One third of the earth’s mass is desert.

There is hope, however, in the desert. Animals, plants, and people do learn to survive. The desert contains great amounts of valuable, usable, mineral resources spread over their entire surface.

At times, we find, falter, or fall into a spiritual desert experience. It is an opportunity for us to grow stronger gleaning from the spiritual resources prepared for us. It is here in the midst of all the negatives that God turns the table. Words shift to able, available, abundant, overflowing, rushing, supply. Not only does He turn the table, He prepares it.

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love”

(Song of Solomon 2:4, ESV). I’ve heard that little song for years and have never really understood what is meant. Now, I have a better understanding.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end” (Psalms 23; God’s Word Translation).

“Parable of the Great Feast: Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, ‘What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!’ Jesus replied with this story: ‘A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready’” (Luke 14:15-17, NLT).

Dinner is ready.

What do You “C” in Crisis?

What is your constant in times of chaos?

What is your contentment in times of contention?

What is your courage in times of concern?

What is certain in times of confusion?

What is your connection in times of confinement?

What is your commitment in times of challenge?

What is consistent in times of change?

What is your can-do in times of cannot?

What is your carefulness in times of carelessness?

What is your comment in times of conflict?

What is your consecration in times of consternation?

What is your compassion in times of concern?

What is your calibration in times of correction?

What is your comfort in times of calamity?

What do you “c” in times of chaos?

How you “c” changes the contemplation of your circumstances compellingly!

Words about Words

Allow me to write a few words about words.

The right word

Said at the right time

In the right place

To the right person

In the right way

And for the right purpose

(The Expository Files)

They say sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Don’t be disillusioned:

Words stick.

Words sting.

Words strengthen.

Words scar.

Words hurt,

Words heal.

Words help,

Words hinder.

Words reconcile.

Words ruin.

Words bless.

Words blister.

Words build.

Words break.

Words create.

Words corrode.

Words carry.

Words chain.

Words affect.

Words advance.

Words promote.

Words pollute.

Words amend.

Words anger.

Words inspire.

Words insult.

The choice is your’s to make. What will be your choice today? My prayer is I will often have a “word fitly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11). Words do not fade; they or falter. They can be forgiven, but seldom forgotten. They can increase faith or fear.

One word, good or bad, can change an entire day, maybe even a lifetime. I sometimes say, “I don’t have bad moods. I give them!” How stupid! I don’t want my words to shred or splinter, being accused of assault with a deadly weapon. I find myself using sarcasm as if I don’t know it means to literally shred someone’s skin. It is a sharp and satirical attempt to be funny. Who am I kidding? Would it surprise you that I’ve literally stopped writing, and found a place to pray. Someone suitably said, “The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart.” Words are seeds that are sown. They grow gardens—either weeds or wonders.

Dr. Seuss, in his wit and wisdom wrote, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” Remember that, when you speak words.

Words challenge

Words count

Words convict

Words change

Let your words build somebody’s world today.

The Tortoise Formation

Scripture tells us God is our shield and buckler (Psalms 91:4). What’s the difference between the two? One was a hand weapon worn at the arm; used to protect from the direct hit of the enemy. The other covered or surrounded the whole body.  God is our big shield and our little one—double trouble for the adversary of our soul.

The Romans had a strong, tight formation called The Tortoise. Soldiers carried huge shields and when they did the Tortoise, they arranged themselves into a rectangle, interlocked their shields around and above them. From the outside you could only see a block of shields and maybe a myriad of eyes. With no gap in the shields, the soldiers inside the Tortoise were safe.  The formation was so tightly knit, it formed an unbroken surface, without gaps. Men could walk on the surface. Horses and chariots could ride or drive over it.

The soldiers did not stand still; neither should we.  They moved toward their enemy’s archers in a calculated and strategic development. Once they got close enough, the archers were history. Not one of those in the tortoise formation would get hurt. As Christians bind together, we get together and protect each other.

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those [believers]… [For my hope is] that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in [unselfish] b]love” (Colossians 2:1-2. AMP).

I know we can’t collect together physically in this tortoise formation. Doesn’t look like those soldiers adhered to social distancing. But, we certainly can unite in our thoughts, in spirits, in how we treat each other, and we surround each other with our prayers and love.

No wonder Michael W. Smith sings (and so should we), “This is how I fight my battles….It may look like I’m surrounded. But I’m surrounded by You.”