Category: <span>thoughts by Jon Walker</span>


Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.John 6:68-69 (NIV)


Even if we don’t understand God’s plan, we need to respond to his direction.

In fact, when we don’t understand God’s plan that we need to be very focused on doing exactly what he directs us to do.

God allows us to choose to do his will, or to not do his will, and often, he asks us to make that choice before we know the specific details of his plan. That’s because part of his plan is to develop in us a trust – where we trust God’s character and his benevolence.

He develops within you an attitude of prior commitment, a desire to do his will. Part of the strength that God gives you to “do all things through him” is the ability to choose to do his will, even before you know what it is.

But this is where many people stall in their steps toward being on mission. They get into a battle of wills with God, wanting him to reveal his plan first, and only then will they decide whether or not to respond.

But that’s not the way it works. God wants you to decide in advance that you’ll do what he tells you to do. He’s calling you to trust him with complete abandonment, believing that his will is the best plan for your life and believing that he will strengthen you to do all the things he asks.

You may not be ready to do that yet, but God will even give you the strength to be honest about that. God will not be surprised by your transparency if you say, “Father, I’m not sure I’m ready to do your will. I don’t know if I want to do it or not.” He already knows about your hesitancy.

But allow God to strengthen you in this area. Tell him, “I don’t know that I’m willing to step out in faith without first knowing everything that’s going to happen, but I’m willing to be made willing.”

One reason God doesn’t give you the full picture of his plans for your life is that you may be overwhelmed by what you see. Since it is a God-sized mission, it may appear impossible for you to complete. But that’s the point—there is no way you can fulfill your mission without God and his strength.

As you take steps of faith, and your confidence in God increases, he will reveal more of the plan.

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  We Plan – God Directs

God’s Plan or My Plan?

Perplexing Journey


thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans 3:20 (NIV)


We tend to think of life as a balance sheet that we’ll eventually present to God. As long as our good deeds outnumber our bad deeds, we are acceptable to God, right?

“God forbid this to be true”, says the apostle Paul. “For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it” Romans 3:20 (NLT).

Here’s the truth

You can’t be good enough, and that’s okay. There’s no way you will ever meet God’s standard, but the Good News is you don’t have to because Jesus covers your sins, allowing you to become intimate with God. This freedom, in Christ, means you can be who you were meant to be and live how you were meant to live. Love God and live accordingly!

If God’s not keeping score, why should you? No matter what you’ve done, God loves you and wants you in his family. The blood of Jesus covers your sin, and the Holy Spirit is teaching you from within.

  • What are ways you tend to keep score with God?
  • Why do you do this?

Ask God to help you trust him more.

By Jon Walker
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FURTHER READING

•  Get Rid of Guilt 

•  Where Your Choices Can Lead You

•  The Balanced Life 

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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

God wants you to teach someone who can then teach someone else.

  • He wants you to teach others about the spiritual insights he’s deposited in you.
  • He wants you to teach others about the practical steps you’ve taken to become more and more like Jesus.
  • He wants you to teach others about the ways he’s stretched your faith.
  • He wants you to teach others how they can discover life in Christ.
  • He wants you to teach them the skills necessary to go on mission.

God’s plan calls for us to tell others about Jesus and then to disciple them so they can disciple others. You may be wondering if you’re capable of doing this, but the apostle Paul says you can make a choice to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom . . .” (Colossians 3:16 NIV) It is God who teaches through you, giving you a supernatural wisdom and confidence to tell others about Jesus.

Frankly, you have more knowledge, training, and resources at your disposal than believers did in the first century Church, and yet they were able to be a witness to the world (2 Timothy 2:4). More importantly, God is with us in the same way that he was with them.

Trust the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to flow from you and give you the words and the wisdom you need to tell others about Jesus.

By Jon Walker
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Making a Difference

•  Going Deeper with God

  Forgiveness – Yourself / Others

thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69 (NIV)


Because the well runs dry, we know Jesus is the river of living water (John 4).

Because the storm rages, we know Jesus is the Lord of the storms (Matthew 14).

Because the floods overwhelm, we know Jesus is the rock on which to build (Matthew 7).

Because the foundation shivers, we know Jesus is the cornerstone that will not move (Matthew 21).

Because sickness comes, we know Jesus is the healer (Matthew 4).

Because we’re bankrupt through the debt of sin, we know Jesus is our redeemer (Galatians 3).

Because we grieve, we know Jesus is the voice calling from the shore, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21).

Because we’re full of doubt, we know Jesus is the nail-scarred palm inviting our touch (John 20).

Jesus taught in the “nasty now-and-now” because he knew disciples with focused faith are never made in the classroom; we’re made in the uncertainty of life as we come face-to-face with “I can’t, but God can.”

If we will allow it, our circumstances drive us deeper into the heart of God, and we change because we have believed and come to know the Holy One of God (John 6:69).

By Jon Walker
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FURTHER READING

Speak Peace To That Storm – by Deborah Y

• God’s Peace in the Storms of Life – by Alec Niemi

Storm Survival –  by Penny Cooke

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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  Numbers 13:30 (NIV)


God wants you confident in the truth that, through him, all things are possible.

Your focus will determine your behaviour and it will influence your faith.

When the Israelites first approached the borders of Canaan, Moses sent scouts into the Promised Land to assess the situation. Ten of the scouts came back with reports that focused on the giants in the land, men so big and powerful the scouts feared they could not be defeated.

However, two of the scouts remained focused on the promise from God that he would hand the land over to the Israelites. One of those scouts, Caleb, silenced the others when he said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).

He was focused on the magnitude of God, not the magnitude of any giant challenges ahead. Today you may see many giants that challenge your faith — giants of time and energy, finances and resources, fear and faithlessness.

God wants you to be confident that he’s pouring his strength into you so you can do whatever it takes to defeat these giants. God says you can take possession of an abundant life because he is with you.

By seeing his hand sweep away the personal giants in your life, you’ll be even more confident that you can do all things through him who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

What are you thinking

  • What are you facing today that seems too big to handle? Are they too big for God?
  • Do you focus your day by studying God’s Word in the morning? How would doing so give you confidence in God’s strength throughout the day?

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

• Our Confidence – by Phil Ware

Confidence in the Lord – by Charles Spurgeon

Our Confidence by Joshua Lim


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.” John 9:18 (NIV)


When Jesus healed the man born blind, the leaders of the Salvation-by-List crowd initiated an investigation to determine exactly what happened. Yet, it appears the List-Leaders had already determined the outcome. So, when they found facts that didn’t support their predetermined conclusions, they just kept searching until they could find something that did.

Years later, John bar Zebedee, a witness the investigators ignored, shows us snapshots that reveal the flesh-weapons used by the List-Leaders:

  • Closed mind and closed eyes. In this story about blindness, we learn that seeing is not always believing (John 9:13–16). The List-Leaders could see the truth running counter to their pre-judgments, so they simply rejected the truth.
  • Discredit. The Salvation-by-List crowd asked the man, formally known as blind, who’d healed him (John 9:17). When he said it was Jesus, the leaders attempted to undermine the credibility of God’s anointed, which is perhaps the oldest flesh-weapon we use: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 NIV). Did God really mean ____?
  • Demand. The List-Leaders returned to the question: “What did He do to you?” (John 9:26 (NIV). They demanded an explanation because their focus was on the how instead of the “wow!” Standing in front of them was a man who’d been born blind, but now he could see—wow, God! Instead, they insist on knowing exactly what happened and how it happened, walking by sight and not by faith (the opposite of 2 Corinthians 5:7)

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

• Abundant Life for the Asking – by Bill Bright

Courageous Living – by Mary Pinckney

Fireside Wisdom – by Gail Rodgers


Thoughts by All thoughts by Jon Walker

But go and learn what this means:I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13 (NIV)

He cradled the roses in his left arm like a running back carries a football. He debated with himself over which would be best: a solitary rose or a dozen roses wrapped with baby’s breath. He went for the dozen, thinking the more, the better when you’re trying to tip the scales back toward the “nice guy” side.

So he carried twelve deep-red roses just on the edge of a beautiful bloom. They’d cost him plenty, but that’s the price you have to pay when you let someone down. Today was their anniversary. There were dinner plans, a night of romance, whispered words, and tender kisses.

A wonderful, “sweet dreams are made of these” night—that he forgot.

Forgot because he was under pressure at work to complete a project; forgot because he needed to do well, not just because of ambition, but because he needed a promotion. The money was tight, and he wanted to be able to support his family in a better way.

The roses were a huge expense, but it was a necessary sacrifice to make it up to his wife and to make him feel better about his guilt. He owed her more, but this would be the start of earning his way back into her favor.

But now the image dissolves, and you see you’re the one carrying the roses and you’re bringing them to Jesus. The roses represent your “sacrifice,” those things you do to try to make up for your bad behavior, to make up for your sin.

But Jesus says he doesn’t want the roses, not if they’re delivered as a guilt offering for your sin.

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

• Misery and Mercy – A Devotional by Sue Braid

Jesus Desires Mercy, Not Sacrifice – A Devotional by Jon Walker

Grace, Peace and Mercy by Daniel Forster


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

In faith, I know these things to be true:

  • God is full of love and grace, and he fills me with his love and grace.
  • God’s work within me is to clear a channel for his love and grace to flow through me into the lives of anyone and everyone I meet.
  • I may not be there yet, but I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
  • And I know “God is able to make all grace abound [in me], so that in all things at all times, having all that [I] need, [I] will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  • He will make my joy complete because I no longer live in darkness, but I now live in the truth and have fellowship with God (1 John 1:4; 1 John 1:6).
  • Through the “Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” I am, at all times, filled with grace, mercy, and peace (2 Corinthians 13:14).

This is what I believe to be true and I will walk accordingly, allowing God to do his work in me from the inside out. Father, make it so. I believe; help my unbelief.

Question: In which area(s) of your faith (perhaps some listed above) can you pray today: “I believe; help my unbelief”?

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  The TRUE Foundation

Truth – A Devotional by Katherine Kehler

Steps to Truth – Devotional by Christa Hardin


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.”  Ephesians 4:13 (TEV)


When I played golf, I thought I was doing pretty well just to get the ball somewhere on the putting green.

The truth be told, my main goal was to reach the green without majorly embarrassing myself, so I was satisfied even when my ball made it somewhere near the fringes.

One day a local golf pro told me that the key difference between an average golfer and one who is excellent is this: The truly great players shoot for the hole, not somewhere near the hole or somewhere on the green. They aim directly for the hole.

He told me, “You should make the hole your goal.” My intelligent, thoughtful response was, “Yeah, right! That’ll be the day.”

I didn’t think I’d ever be able to hit the hole, so I didn’t even try. The reason so many of us get stuck, unable to move deeper into intimacy with God is because we don’t think it’s truly possible, at least for us. And so we don’t even try.

But it is possible to mature, “reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.” We need to practice at it, and that’s called discipleship. We need to help each other grow, and that’s why we have small support groups.

But the good news is this: God himself is working within us, bringing us into alignment with the very image of Jesus. Aim for Jesus and not just the fringes of faith.

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  I Had Three Basic Goals in Life – by Norm Brown

• The Goal – A Devotional by Phil Ware

Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting it?


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


Please open your Bible and read Psalm 131.


My older sister, Lori Hensley, a very serious prayer warrior, once taught me to meditate on Psalm 131 to help me move toward God’s peace that passes all understanding:

We keep our hearts humble. This doesn’t mean we have a low opinion of ourselves. A humble heart means we know our position in Christ, and so we stop being responsible for the things of which we were never responsible. This frees us to live like God intended and allows us to make uncluttered choices that will move us closer to God.

We show the maturity of a weaned child. The nursing child demands attention now, but the weaned child trusts and is content to wait. We quietly center ourselves on God, peacefully, without agitation and anxiety, and trust God is actively supporting us.

We hope in the Lord with confident expectation. Truth says God will answer our prayers; he will respond to our needs; he will pave the path before us now and forever (Psalm 18:36).

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  Soul Quiet – by Kristi Huseby

•  When Silence is More than Being Quiet – by Kyle Norman

•   Restores My Soul – by Phil Ware


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men


Think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” (1 Corinthians 1:26 NIV)


Jesus never looked down on others, and that gave him the ability to see them as people.

They weren’t users, consumers, or customers. They were people in need of a relationship with him, not a ‘dos-and-dont’s‘ religion.

Once we understand our identity in Christ, we will begin to see people in a similar way. We will see that they are eternal beings, created in the image of God. We will no longer use their circumstances or sins to define who they are; we will see who they are through the eyes of Jesus.

This perspective, so different from our natural tendencies, brought out the best in the people Jesus met. He saw their true value, and, as a result, they came to know their true value.

Consider:

  • Jesus saw a woman who would sin no more when others saw a woman caught in adultery.
  • Jesus saw a man who was able to see when others saw a blind man.
  • Jesus saw a man picking up his mat to walk when others saw a cripple.
  • Jesus saw a huge yet hurting heart when others saw a wee little man named Zacchaeus.
  • Jesus saw an articulate disciple when others saw a tax collector named Matthew.
  • Jesus saw a woman of willing sacrifice when others saw wasted perfume.
  • Jesus saw a stable rock for building the Church when others saw an impulsive, impetuous disciple named Peter.
  • Jesus saw men who did not know what they were doing when others saw evil men pounding nails into a cross.

Our objective is to stop seeing others from our limited perspective and to start seeing them in the way God sees them, encouraging the best of others, bringing them to the one who wants more than all the world what is best for them — Christ the Lord (Luke 2:8-10).

Thoughts – – Think of someone that you have looked down on. When God looks at you and this person, what similarities do you think he sees?

Try to spend one day seeing and hearing through the eyes and ears of Christ.

How does it change the way you see others? How does it change the way you treat others?

by Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  Humility – by Phil Ware

•  Attribution Error – by Julie Cosgrove

•   Ask For Wisdom – by Kathy Cheek


thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men

“Seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (TEV)


There are all kinds of reasons houses sell quickly or take a long time to sell, but I’ve always been particularly attentive to Christians who put a house on the market because they are responding to God’s call.

I’ve watched as those houses sell the same day they’re listed, but I’ve also seen them take forever to sell, forcing the families to pay for a place to live while still paying the mortgage on an empty house. One of my friends, after waiting two years for his house to sell, eventually donated it to a non-profit organization, getting him out from under the monthly payment, even though he lost all his equity.

Yet, I believe in God’s economy, and that means he can sell any house at any time he desires.

So why is there sometimes a huge delay?

Because God’s goal is to get us focused on Kingdom thinking and Kingdom finances. God is continually pushes us into places where we can develop more faith, places where we must make a choice between trusting him and leaning on our own understanding.

Perhaps God delays because he wants us desperately looking for him and how he provides, helping us to develop the faithful attitude of gratefulness.

Many of us are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11:

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

But that verse is actually part of a “Letter from God” to the Jewish people who are being held captive in Babylon. They want to go home to Israel, but God says it isn’t time yet. He tells them, “Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children. You must increase in numbers and not decrease. Work for the good of the cities where I have made you go as prisoners. Pray to me on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too” (Jeremiah 29:5-7 TEV).

God says it’s going to be a while, so make a life. Don’t invest your energy in hopes of leaving; instead, invest your energy in the people around you. Don’t be physically present but mentally somewhere else, thinking of the future or the past, thinking of someplace else. Following Jesus requires that we be fully present in the present.

God also says pray for the place you live, because as it prospers, you will prosper. He says,

“Seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 TEV).

Thoughts:

  • What are the differences in the world’s economy and God’s economy? In which do you place your trust?
  • What steps can you take to more fully invest in the place where God has you — in your neighborhood, workplace, or church?

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  Keep in Touch with Him – by Doug Lim

•  Lost Dreams by Marilyn Ehle

•  God is Working Through Our Circumstances –  by Doug Lim


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)


The only way you will fulfill God’s destiny for you this decade is to rely on God’s strength. And that means you have to confess ‘I can’t’ before you can agree ‘God can.’

Otherwise, we’ll just keep thinking there’s still some ability (competency, sufficiency) in us that will allow us – independent of God – to do the things he expects of us during this Decade of Destiny.

We’ll continue to believe, wrongly, that we can do some things, perhaps all things, apart from God. We’ll keep applying the pretzel logic that we can make decisions disconnected from God that somehow keep us connected to God’s plans for us.

And when we make choices disconnected and independent from God, there is little difference between the way we live our lives and the way non-believers live their lives.

But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT)

You have the Holy Spirit inside you. You have the ability to understand when God is telling you to take steps toward his goals for your life. Ask him to teach you to hear his still small voice and to help you take the steps he tells you to take. Then, look for the ways he guides you through the decisions and details of your life.

For the next few weeks, keep a list of all the times you sense God giving you direction. This will help you to see that he is at work in your life and that he has a constant interest in the details of your life.

by Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  I Can’t Stand it Anymore  by Sue Braid

•  Learning to Give Control to God – by Helen Lescheid

•  Salvation Explained


thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men

O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” 2 Kings 19:15 (NIV)


Surrounded by 185,000 enemy troops, who comprised an army that had never lost a battle in its conquest of the world, King Hezekiah listened to a message that, in essence, said, “Surrender and we’ll let your people live as slaves. Otherwise, we’re coming in to kill.

With nowhere else to turn, Hezekiah took the matter to God. If it were my crisis, my prayer would probably start like this: “God, do you realize that there’s an army surrounding us! They’re planning to kill us in the morning! Why aren’t you doing something about this?”

But Hezekiah praised God before anything else: “O Lord, God of Israel . . . you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

He sought God first, in worship, before asking for anything. He voiced the truth that God was bigger than the bogeymen outside the gates of Jerusalem. Then, almost as an afterthought, Hezekiah said, “Oh yeah, there’s this big army outside. God, we don’t know what to do, so we’re looking to you.

When we maximize our problems, we minimize God’s greatness and we also minimize—in our minds—God’s ability to handle our problems.

Hezekiah acknowledged God’s sovereignty and power over the facts of the situation, and that lifted the crisis above the thinking of mere men and placed it right into the loving lap of the One, True, Supreme Being of the universe. We can’t, but God can.

The next morning, Hezekiah looked out across the enemy encampments that surrounded his people and he saw the invading army laid waste by an Angel of God (2 Kings 19:35).

God, we don’t know what to do, so we’re looking to you.

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  How to Pray

•  Hailing the Chief

•  Salvation Explained


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thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men

“Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised.2 Corinthians 1:12 (MSG)

In order to get through what you’re going through, focus on who God is — his unchanging nature. Regardless of circumstances and how you feel, hang on to God’s unchanging character.

Your circumstances cannot change the character of God. God’s grace is still in full force; he is still for you, even when you don’t feel it.

Remind yourself what you know to be eternally true about God: He is good, he loves you, he is with you, he knows what you’re going through, he cares, and he has a good plan for your life.

Raymond Edman once said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.”

Thoughts:

•    What has God told you in the light that you now doubt in the dark?
•    Why do you doubt God now?
•    Talk about this truth: Your circumstances cannot change the character of God.

By Jon Walker
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Further Reading

•  God, Our Source of Life

•  My Lord, My Companion

•  Salvation Explained


thoughts by Jon Walker Thoughts by Men