Is This Uncomfortable?

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)


Note: This post comes from Kim Devore, the LVStudents Director at LakeView Church.

This past year my family and I left home, friendships, and family to move to a land where we knew no one. We planned to remain near to our family and many friends. However, God had other plans, and He called us to unfamiliar territory: Wisconsin. This move was filled with excitement for a new beginning, yet also with a fear of the unknown. “What if the job does not work out?” “How will the kids navigate their new high school as a senior and a sophomore?” “What if our kids choose friends who make poor choices?” “Can I really homeschool my 11-year-old while chasing a 2-year-old?” “Who will our friends be?”… The list of questions went on. With all the fear and worry, we were very uncomfortable through this change.

When God calls us to move, it is not always comfortable. His calling can look very different for each of us: grow a family, change jobs, change schools, move to a new house, a new state, a new country, etc. When God is moving and asking us to move, in whatever area of our lives, it can be scary. Fear is often what holds people back from following God’s call. And this fear sometimes comes from the enemy working hard to try and stop the work God has called us to do. Our fear, then, tends to be bigger than our faith.

We can find some peace knowing that God’s calling His children to something uncomfortable is nothing new. Throughout Scripture, we see many instances of this. For example, Noah walked out in faith by trusting God and building a massive boat to survive the catastrophic flood that was to come. Scripture does not directly speak of how uncomfortable Noah and his family were during this time, but let’s take a moment and think about it. We know that Noah had to bring “two of every creature” (Gen. 6:19) into a ship that was about half the size of the Titanic. He and his family shared their space on the ark with all those animals for 150 days. I’m guessing the smell and constant clamor caused many sleepless nights. Noah probably would have preferred to be in his old bed and tent, but he was faithful and obeyed God’s calling.

Being called is not always easy or comfortable, but remember God’s promise that He never leaves us and goes wherever we go (see Gen. 28:15a, Deut. 31:6, Josh. 1:5, Isa. 41:10). We just have to take that step of faith and trust that He has a great plan and purpose for each one of us. When we put our faith and hope in God, we can see the beautiful and wonderful blessings He has already granted. We may not know or understand our future, but we trust that God does, we embrace the now, and we praise God for each blessing He has provided and will provide. May God bless you and walk with you through each journey.


Thanks, Kim, for being a guest contributor!

Full Confidence

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” (Proverbs 31:11, NIV)


I have blogged my way through the entire Book of Proverbs, writing about the conversations I have with the Lord in my quiet time. My goal over the 31 weeks was to take a chapter each week and meditate on it, listening to what God might be saying and sharing it with you. And now we’re on the final page of Proverbs! I hope you’ve found this little series helpful.

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a very famous passage describing a “wife of noble character” (v. 10). Most Old Testament scholars agree that these verses do not describe an actual woman, but rather combine the strengths of several women into an “ideal woman” who can serve as a role model for all women. Reading through the passage, she can serve as a role model for men, too!

Verse 11 caught my attention. Often (not always) when I am reading the Bible devotionally to meet with the Lord, a verse seems to “wiggle” or stand out, like it was highlighted or bold font. Of course, it’s not actually wiggling on the page, but it catches my eye and doesn’t let go. That twinge in my heart when I read it, the way it draws my eyes to it, these are signs that perhaps the Lord wants to speak to me through that verse. So, I read it again, more slowly, in context, listening. Why did God bring that verse to my attention? What is it saying that I need to hear? I reflect and meditate on that verse, and talk to the Lord about what comes to mind. It is during that time that He sometimes speaks directly to me through the still small voice in my heart (read 1 Kings 19:9-18 for more on the still small voice, or the “gentle whisper”).

This morning as I pondered Proverbs 31:11, the word trust came to me. The woman described in these verses has the full and complete trust of her husband. Trust is foundational to every human relationship, not just marriage. Trust takes a long time to earn but can be broken in a moment. Once trust is shattered, it may never be rebuilt to the same extent it was before, or it may take years to regain what was lost.

Trust must be given to you, you cannot take it for yourself. I cannot force Corinne or anyone else to trust me. I have to demonstrate through integrity that I am worthy of her trust, and then I must walk in integrity in order to keep her trust. It is the same in every marriage, every friendship. The challenge is this: If you were your spouse or your friend, would you trust you? Knowing what you know about yourself, what you say when that person isn’t around, what you do when no one else is watching, what you think about that no one else ever knows… would you trust you? Are your thoughts, words, and actions full of integrity and honor? Do you live a life worthy of full confidence?

My prayer for the week is that the Holy Spirit will reveal an area of our hearts that lacks integrity, that we will confess that and become more trustworthy.

Surely You Know

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4, NIV)

Yesterday at LakeView I felt led by the Lord to give an invitation for people to repent and declare their faith in Jesus, to be saved. In some churches I’ve attended something like this would be handled through an “altar call.” That is, we’d have had prayer partners at the front, and we’d have invited people to step out and come forward to pray and receive Christ. In a couple of churches, they even had an actual altar, a bench at the front of the church before the stage where people could come and kneel to pray.

I didn’t give an altar call yesterday, I did the old “every head bowed, every eye closed” routine and two people raised their hands to receive Christ. PRAISE THE LORD! However, I keep wondering if I should’ve challenged the people gathered to take a more declarative step…

I’ll be transparent. My church background, with its dysfunction, has put fear of altar calls in me. There have been a few times at LakeView when I felt nudged to invite people forward for prayer for one reason or another but chickened out. The culture of our church is not an altar-call culture. What if no one comes forward? Will it seem like the service was a failure? Will people think I’m not a good pastor? Hello, pride, there you are again. I’d sure like you to be crucified in me so that Christ can live in your place!

This morning, when I read Proverbs 30:4, I felt the challenge from the Lord. (Sidenote: It’s amazing how God can give a rebuke without condemnation. He is incredible!) Why do I let fear and pride influence my actions? “Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!”

As I reflected on these words, the last line held my attention. “What is his name, and what is the name of his son?” His name is Jesus, and His son’s name is… me. I’ve been born again into His household. My confidence and sense of self-worth shouldn’t come from whether or not people respond to an invitation. Neither should I be afraid (whether afraid of failure or wounded pride) to be obedient when God stirs my heart. Our job is to obey faithfully and let God produce the fruit. If we do what He tells us to do, then we cannot fail because the definition of success is obedience, not results.

My prayer for the week is for those who accepted Christ yesterday (please join me in that), and for God to remind you who He is what His son’s or daughter’s name is, yours. Be humble, yet confident in who you are in Jesus.

Music, Revelation, and Instruction

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (Proverbs 29:18, NIV)

Every now and then, I come across a worship song that is so rich in its music and lyrics that it feels like a feast. When an artist is able to match the revelation of God in Scripture with music that fits the message in tone and emotion, something amazing happens. Some of these songs become timeless classics, like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Because He Lives, and How Great is Our God. Others may be less well known or less often sung, but are no less moving. Some of my favorites are Great Are You Lord, This is Amazing Grace, Christ Be All Around Me, and This I Believe (The Creed).

Music has long been recognized as a powerful tool for instruction. It brings together mind and heart, word and emotion, and it seems to stay with us–ever had an annoying song stuck in your head? I believe the power of music to serve as an expression of our hearts, a reinforcement of our faith, a remembering and retelling of the great saving works of God in the world, and a tool for instructing new believers in the faith are all reasons why God tells us to sing (see Ps. 5:11; 33:1-3; 101:1; and too many others to list here). Music is a powerful medium of God’s revelation and wisdom’s instruction, and we are blessed when we participate by singing in worship.

Here’s a new song I found recently by Chris Tomlin. The style is a little different and the lyrics are a wealth of truth, revelation, and wisdom that bring glory to the One who is worthy. Take a few minutes to listen and let the Spirit soak your soul as you do. My prayer this week is that this song will bless you as much as it has blessed me in recent days.


Guilty Conscience?

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

Proverbs 28:1 NIV

Ever get called into the principal’s office? Or have your boss leave you a message: “I need to chat with you for a few minutes when you get in”? Then you probably know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, when you know you’ve done something wrong, but you can’t figure out what it is. You have a guilty conscience. Or maybe your spouse or a good friend suddenly becomes sickeningly sweet and does something too nice. Immediately, you think, I wonder what they did? They must have a guilty conscience.

All of us struggle with feelings of guilt from time to time. If you don’t, beware! You may be infected with the sin of pride more deeply than you realize. A guilty conscience can come from three sources, and it is important to discern the source so that you can deal with it appropriately.

The first source of feelings of guilt (also known as conviction) is the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8), who convicts us of sin that we need to confess. The Holy Spirit is never wrong, and He often brings to my mind sins that I had forgotten about, or areas of my life that I haven’t ever fully surrendered to God. We feel guilty because we are guilty, and God is bringing that conviction to our hearts so that we can confess our sin and be set free (see 1 John 1:9). If we don’t confess the sin in our lives, we cannot receive His forgiveness, and that will lead to worse things in us than just a guilty conscience.

One way you can recognize the conviction of the Holy Spirit is that He will bring specific things to you to confess. He will remind you of an unkind thing you said to someone, reveal a pattern of pride, show you that you’re not generous, or bring to light a hidden sin or habit. This most often happens when worshiping, listening to a sermon, reading your Bible, or praying–God speaks directly to your heart with conviction. Now, God is not in the business of convicting us for no reason. When He convicts, it’s for the purpose of confession, repentance, forgiveness, and freedom. His conviction will never come with condemnation for those who belong to Jesus (see Romans 8:1). So, when He convicts, it will be specific and will put in your heart a desire to come to God, rather than run from God.

The second source of a guilty conscience is our own conscience! God has given us all a conscience to detect sin in our lives, but we must remember that our conscience is not always right. Sometimes my conscience detects “sin” that isn’t really sin. And sometimes my conscience doesn’t pick up on sin in my life because I’m blinded by pride. When you’re feeling guilty about something, it’s important to process that with the Lord in prayer, and turn to Scripture for guidance. A pastor I know once said, “Your conscience isn’t always right, but it’s always wrong to violate it.” Often, my conscience isn’t very specific, but when I pray about what’s bothering me, the Lord reveals the specific sin causing the guilt. In this way, our conscience really can be a guide that brings us to God.

The third source of guilt is spiritual attack. The name Satan literally means “accuser,” and he loves nothing more than to accuse us so we feel guilty and unworthy of God’s love. He will bring up past sins and try to convince you that you haven’t been forgiven and God could never love someone like you. He may try to falsely accuse you, but he doesn’t have to–we’ve all sinned enough that he has plenty to work with! The surest way to detect this form of spiritual attack is that it comes with condemnation and leads you away from God. Rather than inviting you to come to God, confess, and be free, it pushes you away from God into a pit of despair that leads to further sin.

Whatever the source of your guilty conscience, the answer is always the same: bring it to the Lord. If you’ve already confessed that sin, thank God for His forgiveness and walk boldly in your freedom. If you haven’t confessed that sin, thank God for the conviction (whatever the source), confess, repent, be forgiven and set free.

My prayer for the week is that you get to walk in the freedom of forgiveness that cost Christ so much.

Tested by Praise

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise.”

Proverbs 27:21 NIV

Although I don’t have any firsthand experience with refining metals, my secondhand understanding is that they are refined by fire. You take a piece of ore, which is rock or sediment that has traces of the gold or silver in it, or a chunk of metal with impurities, and throw it into a smelting furnace. The metal melts into a liquid, and the impurities (also called dross) can be separated out resulting in pure gold or silver.

Gold’s and silver’s impurities are revealed by the fire in the furnace. Your and my impurities are revealed by praise. Compliments test our humility and can expose such dross in us as pride, selfishness, vain ambition, jealousy, and more. It’s not wrong to take pride in a job well done or to receive a compliment from someone else. The question is, what do I do with that praise? How does it cause my heart to react? Do I return the praise to God, giving thanks for the work He has done in and through me?

Remember James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” Nothing we have is from our own hand. God gave us the skills, talents, abilities, and opportunities. Receive a compliment for being faithful with what He’s given, but don’t forget that He’s the one who gives–and takes away.

Perhaps the most telling test of praise (in my experience) is how a person reacts when someone else receives praise, but they don’t. We’ve all been there. Someone comes up and compliments the person standing next to us, but neglects to give us the same regard. When someone else is praised and you aren’t, what happens in your heart? Jealousy? Anger? Discouragement?

Here’s the thing. As Christians, we should really only care about the praise of One: our great God and Savior. If we never receive a single nice word from another human being, but the Lord says, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” then we have received the highest praise of all. So, when someone else is complimented and you aren’t, give thanks that God allowed that other person to be encouraged, and remember that one day the One who alone is worthy of all praise will tell you just how proud of you He is.

My prayer for the week is that some praise or compliment will reveal to you an impurity so that you can confess and be free.