Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me. – Psalm 86:1-7 [ESV]


It is 2:26am.

Would in their right mind is awake at 2:26am?

Night shift workers, yes. Local TV news anchors, sure. Police officers on duty, absolutely. People with anxiety, unfortunately.

I’ll let you guess which of these four has me up typing at this inhumane hour.

And 2:26am feels like such a lonely time. At least it is when your body feels like you’ve drank three pots of coffee and you haven’t had any caffeine in hours.

Here’s the wonderful thing about 2:26am. Despite how you feel, you are not alone.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

Psalm 46:1-3 [ESV]

God doesn’t sleep. He is always awake. He wants us to run to Him in all times, good and bad. He wants us to give Him our burdens and cares. The LORD is always with us, always good, always true to His promises.

Go to the LORD with all your worries. There is nothing too hard for God. You won’t shock Him. Let Him care for you. Put down your burdens and rest in Him. Focus on GOD with gratitude. Don’t ponder your troubles. Think about the LORD. Praise Him!!

So, whatever has you up at 2:26am, don’t lie in bed and fret. Take this opportunity to talk to God. Spend some time with Jesus. Grab your Bible and read some encouraging Scriptures.

Don’t grab a cup of coffee though. Not if you hope to get back to sleep any time soon.

Mr. Know-It-None

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There are lots of things people fear. Some fear speaking in public, causing them nightmare about standing on stage in a crowded auditorium wearing only their underwear and a microphone.

Some fear death or illness. Others flying. Failure. Job interviews. Spiders. The dark. The Bogeyman. Reruns of Clutch Cargo (hey, that dude’s off-center moving human mouth superimposed on his idle-still cartoon face was freakily troubling).

I think all fear is rooted – in one form or another – in the unknown. We don’t know for sure the outcome of the situation we find ourselves in. And, let’s face it, we humans like certainty.

But here is the simple truth: we don’t know how things are going to turn out. We don’t know what the end result will be (except for the whole on stage in your underwear thing, which most likely will never happen unless you’ve made some very questionable career choices).

We are not as “in control” as we like to think.

And not knowing the end result of whatever you’re facing is actually okay.

We may not know the end results of the situations we face. But God does.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways”, declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Here’s the way I see it. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He knows all things so He knows everything in my life. He’s above all things, so it’s all in His control. And He is everywhere all the time so, wherever I’m headed, He is already there.

Not only that, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). He’s already working out the details. I don’t know what He has in store. But I know it’s going to be beneficial.

So remember God’s message to Isaiah:

Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 Behold, all who are incensed against you
    shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
    shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
    but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
    shall be as nothing at all.

13 For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:10-13 (ESV)

Remember, you can rest in the LORD. Trust in Jesus, knowing He is working out your life for your good. There are no accidents. There is no luck.

And that’s a good thing.

Rest in His love. Trust Him despite what you see or think or perceive. Don’t stare at circumstances. Concentrate on the Solution.

Be thankful. Be joyful. Be peaceful.

Love God. Love others. Accept that we don’t know everything, but we are under the wings of God Who does.

Rest easy. There is nothing to fear in Jesus.

Unprecedented Pastors

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I’m just going to jump right in and say it.

Ask it, that is.

And I don’t mean to sound presumptuous. You may already be doing this. If you are, don’t stop. In fact, turn it up a notch.

Here is my request, plain and simple and very important:

Pray for your pastor.

Pray with fervor for your pastor.

The job is demanding. Pastors have to be leader, staff coordinator, supervisor, strategic ministry planner, vision caster, faith leader, teacher, counselor, mentor, business manager, writer, public speaker…

Not only do pastors juggle the same pressures the rest of us do (life/work balance, bills to pay, family ups and downs, rough days…), they also have the added pressure of a flock to shepherd, and the expectations of that flock.

Now, add COVID-19 to the mix, and all the uncertainty this pandemic has brought. Pastors today have to deal with the (in)ability / wisdom to gather in person, the safety of parishioners coming to worship, the need to be creative and flexible to work through unprecedented road blocks to find solutions to keep the church afloat and thriving (thank you Lord for Zoom and parking lots).

Chances are your pastor(s) are dealing with stress on a far higher level than before.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented prayer.

Please take a few minutes and pray for your pastor. Not only that, drop your pastor a line – a card, an e-mail, a phone call, some sort of encouragement to lift your pastor’s spirits.

Remember, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV).

Love God. Love one another. Seek the LORD first and always. Be a blessing.