“And Moses built an altar, and named it ‘The LORD is My Banner.’”

Exodus 17:15, NASB

Jehovaj Nissi pictureRemember the fascinating story about Moses on the mountain, raising his hands while God’s people fought against the Amalekites? Do you recall how Aaron and Hur climbed up the hill with Moses, supporting his hands when he wearied of lifting them high? I’ve always loved that narrative as a demonstration of friendship’s tremendous value.

But there’s So. Much. More. to this incredible account.

First off, it’s critical to recognize that Moses held the “rod of God” in one of his hands–the very same staff he’d used to initiate some of the ten plagues … to part the Red Sea … to draw water from the rock. As he lifted it up for all to see while they waged war against their enemy, surely its prior role in God’s miracles inspired them to fight for victory.

Yet the rod itself wasn’t extraordinary. It simply served as the instrument through which God revealed His power.

You know, we all get tired from time to time. The Christian life involves many battles against the enemy of our souls. We all benefit from a friend or two in crisis moments. Sadly, however, we sometimes attribute our victories to the people around us or to the method God uses rather than God Himself. We say things to each other like, “I never could have done it without you,” rather than, “The Lord used you to help me through this.” While it’s good and right to acknowledge the part fellow Christians play in our successes, let’s never forget the Source.

Because when all is said and done, the LORD is My Banner.

He’s “the center of attraction on which people should pin their hopes.” HE holds the power, HE gives the strength, HE arranges us as Christ’s body so we can help each other, and HE pulls details together with a wisdom we can’t fathom. As we look to God and lift up Christ’s name, we’ll find:

“He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:29-31

Dear one, what battle rages in your life today? JEHOVAH-NISSI IS ABLE. He’s your Banner, your rallying place–the One you can always turn to. He provides safety and shelter along with direction.

He’s the God of victory.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving and much love to you in Christ,



photo credit: Sunset via photopin (license)


El Roi

“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘Thou art a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’”
Genesis 16:13, NASB

El Roi pictureAfter being used and mistreated, she ran away. I can’t blame her.

Hagar must have felt so helpless when Sarai gave her to Abram as his wife. No one asked for her opinion. No one considered her feelings. They just did what they wanted for their own benefit. Sarai conceived the idea, and Abram agreed to it. He slept with Hagar, who conceived a child.

Things went from bad to worse, and hard feelings erupted:

Hagar treated Sarai with contempt.

Sarai complained to Abram.

Abram told Sarai to do what she wanted.

Sarai mistreated Hagar.

So Hagar ran away.

Sometimes life feels unbearable, and we head the other direction as fast as possible. We don’t know where we’re going, but anywhere besides “here” looks attractive. In Hagar’s case, her feet carried her to the wilderness.

She thought she rested alone by the water, but “the angel of the LORD found her” (Gen. 16:7). God spoke and revealed Himself. He instructed Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. What??? Return to the woman who had treated her so terribly? Yes, God told her to go back. The LORD also promised to multiply Hagar’s descendants through the son in her womb, whom He named Ishmael. After hearing God speak, wonder overflowed as she responded, “Thou art a God who sees” (Gen. 16:13).

Hagar never was alone. Neither are we. Almighty God sees us.

My friend, I find incredible comfort in this truth. God sees, He knows, and He cares. Throughout every life experience we call our own, God steadfastly looks on.

So why doesn’t the LORD stop all evil? Hagar certainly suffered, and others are trapped in more deplorable circumstances than she faced. Maybe even you.

I won’t try to answer the complexity of why God allows evil to persist, except to insert that sin’s entrance into the world—through Eve and Adam’s choices—unleashed a magnitude of horrific results. Because every person is born with a sin nature, evil continues to infect every generation like a festering wound.

Yet since God sees, knows, and cares, He sent JESUS.

Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the invasive curse of sin. Just as He saw and spoke to Hagar while she languished in the wilderness, He sees and “has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:2), the Word who “became flesh” (Jn. 1:14).

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Dear one, what circumstance leaves you feeling helpless, ill-treated, or alone? I pray you’ll be comforted by El-Roi, the God who sees. Let’s look to Him as He looks on us with loving eyes, trusting Him to lead us “in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3).

Much love to each of you in Christ,



Just a Vapor

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
James 4:14, NASB

large_6345105963Death has been lurking around every corner these past couple of weeks. My beloved sister-in-law, a friend’s mother, a stranger who passed us on the highway, those shot down in the Malaysian airplane … all of them recently came face to face with death. While this topic can depress and frighten us, we live with the reality that death remains a natural part of life. None of us are exempt. Which leads me to contemplate…

If I’m just a vapor wisping through the atmosphere—here one moment, gone the next—what am I doing that really matters?

Yet JUST NOW realization dawns upon me: It’s not the doing, but the being that’s so critical.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Phil. 3:8

Years ago a Bible study friend presented the thought of being vs. doing, and I’ve never forgotten her wise words. In order to do anything of value in this life, I must first BE enamored with Christ. Who He is, what He’s done, what He’s doing and will do should fill my horizon. Truths about God Almighty should both create hunger and produce satisfaction within me. Gazing on His immense beauty, knowing Him—BEING with Him—will absolutely change me. From that state of being, God will reveal what activities I should undertake for His glory.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world…” (Jn. 8:12) 

And we are just a vapor—unseen, yet made visible in the light of Christ. 

Life only contains purpose with Christ.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Jn. 17:3

Dear friend, do you know Him?


Note: I’d like to give special thanks to my friends and fellow bloggers, Heather Halbert, Jeanne Doyon, and Andy Lee, whose recent posts have presented truths that God partially used to inspire today’s devotion. I love how He highlights specific lessons in a variety of ways, including my reading this morning of Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.

Much love to each of you in Christ,



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