God designs (a 40-day devotional series)

(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection.  I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)

I have no doubt that God has a sense of humor.  Just when I was beginning to wonder if He really cares about some hardships in our family, He designed a blessing so specific for us that I laughed out loud.

Over the past few years, we’ve been through several significant challenges: difficult relationships, lack of clarity for future ministries, financial questions and more. So I decided to be more intentional to build our understanding and faith in the Lord Jesus by reading through the entire Bible over the year and praying as a family every night.

Genesis had gone pretty well, but it began to be harder to hold the attention of our teens in Exodus.  Then came Leviticus. Although Leviticus is one of my favorite books, explaining the many nuances of Jesus in the sacrifices plainly, quickly and personally is tough.

We had just finished revisiting the design of the Tabernacle in the book of Numbers, but there were still lots of passages that confused and bored my teenagers. Even my wife and I struggled at times.

Then, last week out of nowhere (yeah right), a fellow Chaplain announced that he was hosting a Saturday-morning workshop on the Tabernacle. There was even a free Christian concert and lunch afterward. But he said he was having trouble getting people to sign-up. I submitted our names immediately.

Our kids were not at all happy.  In their mind, I had obligated their entire Saturday morning for even more study of a subject they had already seen as complicated and maybe even irrelevant. My wife and I gently but firmly informed them that all four of us would be going.

Ensuring that they got up early, got dressed in better than dirty means and holey t-shirts, ate some breakfast and left with us in reasonably good moods was a little challenging. But we did it.

And the whole morning was wonderful.

The teacher gave an engaging presentation of coloring drawings of the Tabernacle, practical explanations of each piece, and compelling Scripture references revealing their fulfillment in Christ. Our kids listened intently through the two-hour teaching. A different couple had donated color, laminated handouts on the Tabernacle. And they had not coordinated with the teacher, yet the pictures, definitions and Scripture references were identical. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The program after the teaching was just as phenomenal. Our teens loved the concert and sat with several of their close friends over lunch.

God had designed several specific blessings for us. The training helped our whole family see Jesus more clearly and practically in the Tabernacle; the beautiful and diverse singing and musicianship in the concert reminded each of us that living for Jesus should be bold and exciting; and the lunch and fellowship (which were actually funded by the visiting orchestra and singers) demonstrated God’s gracious provision for the most basic of our felt needs: food and friends.

I had doubted His attention to our needs, but He designed specific care for each of them.

God willing, over the next few weeks I’ll write devotionals on some of the detailed pictures of Christ in the Tabernacle: God’s design for relationship with Him in holiness by grace. Until then, be encouraged that God is always orchestrating blessing for His people.

Pun intended.


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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.


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