DON’T WASTE THE WAIT

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. — Psalm 33:20–21

Have you ever noticed that there’s a lot of waiting in the Bible?

Abraham waited for an heir. Hannah waited for a child. King David waited for help. Israel waited for deliverance. But nobody likes to wait! As human beings, we like things to happen fast. Today is better than tomorrow. So it’s no surprise that some people in the Bible ran into trouble while they were waiting. Their waiting provided the perfect opportunity for their wandering.

Israel, fresh out of Egypt, is only one example. They had just seen the mighty hand of their Deliverer, experienced His gracious provision, and been blessed by His faithfulness. And yet, in a moment of waiting, they quickly wandered from God. In Exodus 32:8, we read,

They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf.

I can’t help but be struck by that phrase, quick to turn away. When God seemed slow to answer, they were quick to turn away.

How easily we can become discouraged, resentful, forgetful, impatient, and even disobedient when we’re waiting on God. Maybe you’re waiting for God’s provision. Perhaps you are waiting for Him to right a wrong. Or maybe you are waiting for God to fulfill a promise. Regardless of your waiting, don’t let it become an opportunity to wander. Be careful of being “quick to turn away.” Wait for Him in hope. Turn to Him in trust. God never wastes our waiting.

Father, help me wait in hope. Guard my heart against wandering, doubt, or resentment. Help me trust You and wait patiently for You. I know that You are faithful, good, and present, even in the waiting. In Jesus’ name, amen.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from In Faith Gateway

OBEDIENCE IN MARRIAGE

Ephesians 5:22-24 gives an important area of obedience.  While this is not popular in our society today, it is biblical, but is also often misunderstood.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

It is important to make clear that before God there is an absolute equality between men and women, between husbands and wives.  In fact, this passage does not say, “Women submit to men.”  It is purely a domestic situation.

Even with that understanding, the Bible says that husbands and wives are heirs together of the grace of life.  There is an equality before God between men and women and husband and wife.

What this passage teaches is that God has set up a system of authority in the home that needs to be followed, if it is going to be well with us.  In fact, this is even a military term.  To submit or to obey means to put yourself in rank under.

Friend, we are in a spiritual warfare, and there are spiritual forces that have been unleashed against homes and against marriages that would love to tear marriages apart.

God has designed a way for the home to function, and that is for the man to take the responsibility of leadership and for the wife to come under that authority.  When a husband truly loves his wife, and cares for her like Christ does the church, and the wife respects her husband, things will be well in the home.  That couple and that family will be magnets for the blessings of God.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Answers for Each day

WHY WOULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN, GOD?

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:3a (NIV)

There are three filters of truth through which I process life events:

  1. God is good.
  2. God is good to me.
  3. God is good at being God.

This is my starting place when looking at circumstances both wonderful and hurtful. These truths help me consider good things God might be doing, even with realities that don’t feel at all good. They bring me back to the goodness of God as the starting place for my continued trust in Him. These truths help settle my runaway fears and chaotic emotions when feelings beg me to question, Why would you let this happen, God?!

I’m not saying this is easy. I’ve had some really heartbreaking things happen in my life over the past couple of years. I had so many ideas of how my life should go, including notions of what a good God would and would not allow into my life.

I said I trusted God, but in reality, I think I trusted in the plan I thought God should follow. And when my life took shocking turns so far from my expectations, my soul shook. My peace evaporated. And everything in me wanted to run and hide and stop trusting God.

This is where we find Elijah in 1 Kings 19. If you’ve never read 1 Kings 18, I highly recommend it. It’s a chapter where we see God use Elijah to prove to the nation of Israel that He’s the one true God in a miraculous and powerful way. Elijah must have been on a high, seeing God do what he expected God to do. And in essence, Elijah looked good himself as the “prophet who won the showdown at Mount Carmel.”

But oh, how quickly things can change. How quickly Elijah’s absolute trust in God evaporates with one death threat from Queen Jezebel. First Kings 19:3a tells us, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”

The events taking place in 1 Kings 18 and then 1 Kings 19 are both spectacular and sobering. Spectacular as we see the Lord magnificently prove His supremacy and might to all of Israel. Sobering in that, in spite of God’s tremendous showing of power, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are not overthrown, and Elijah ends up running for his life into hiding.

Why was Elijah fearful and in despair? I have a feeling his desperation came from the same soul-shaking place I mentioned earlier — unmet expectations. Elijah probably assumed Ahab and Jezebel’s unholy reign would come to an end after the mighty feat of the Lord. Yet, that was not the outcome, and in that place of unfulfilled expectation, fear ultimately crumbled faith.

Even though Elijah experienced the miracle on Mount Carmel, he still succumbs to the fear of persecution. Elijah flees into the wilderness, exposing the truth that even a great prophet like Elijah is still human and falls terribly short in terms of both faith and affection for the Lord.

Even so, the Lord deals graciously and gently with Elijah — drawing him close with a whisper and giving him instructions of what to do next.

God doesn’t fix things the way Elijah thinks they should be fixed, but He does lead him. And isn’t it interesting the Lord leads him back through the wilderness? (1 Kings 19:15) After all, that’s often where God takes His people to teach them His perspective that blooms into deeper faith.

The Lord gives Elijah a second chance to face the same struggles before he ran and hid, except this time with right perspective and faith.

Elijah sees God’s plan is good — even if it isn’t the way Elijah would have written it himself. And the same is true for us. God’s plans don’t have to match our plans for them to still be good.

What can we personally take away from studying these events in Elijah’s life?

Perspective is the key to trusting God. And so often the clarity we need to see things from God’s perspective happens in the wilderness experiences we all wish we could avoid.

Maybe the three truth-filters which helped me can help you in whatever life circumstances that seem unfair, unreasonable or hurtful beyond what you can bear. Let God whisper His truth that He is good. He is good to you. And He is good at being God.

Father God, I’m so thankful You don’t condemn me for my fears. Instead, You have given me the gift of Your perspective-shifting, lie-sifting, head-lifting Truth. Help me use Your Word to preach truth to my own soul when I start to doubt Your goodness. Teach me how to use it as the powerful and effective weapon it is when the enemy tries to convince me I have been forgotten and forsaken. Let it remind me that You see me, You love me, and I am safe — both in Your hands and in Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV)

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Proverbs 31 Ministries

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD.”

(Romans 8:38-39, KJV)

WORD:

People may come and go from your life, but God is always with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His love goes way beyond any human love you have ever experienced. Human love may be conditional, but God’s love is supernatural; it’s unconditional and knows no limits. There’s nothing you can do to earn His love and nothing you can do to stop His love.

The Scripture tells us that His love is patient and kind. His love believes the best. His love redeems and restores you. No matter what you’ve been told or what you may think about yourself today, you are His most prized possession. There’s nothing that can separate you from His love! Remember, faith is activated by love. As you allow Him to flood you with His love, your faith will be ignited, and you’ll be empowered to live the abundant life He has for you!

PRAYER:

Father, thank You for loving me and setting me free. Thank You for working in my life and restoring the broken places. Everything I have I surrender to You. Fill me with Your perfect love in Jesus’ name. Amen

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Today’s Word

BE HIS EXAMPLE

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. — Matthew 5:16

Whether you realize it or not, you’re an example. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re too weak or inadequate to be one — there are people who look up to you and are watching to see how you live. And God wants you to be His representative to them.

Jesus came into this world as a Servant, humbly giving His life so that we would be reconciled to the Father. And God’s will is that we imitate what He did for us by serving others. We perform loving acts of service that meet the spiritual and practical needs of those around us so that they’ll grow closer to Him.

There are so many people around you in need today — not just physically or financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Everyone you meet needs someone to encourage him or her. Will you make time to reach out and show them the awesome, unconditional, sacrificial love of Christ? Remember, God sees everything you do in His name and will bless you for all you do in obedience to Him (Hebrews 6:10).

Jesus, show me where I can serve others with Your love and compassion. Work through me to draw others to Yourself. Amen.

My hope is in Jesus because He is worthy of my service.

See God

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. — Matthew 5:8

Do you want to see more of God’s work in your life and experience His presence in a more profound way? Would you like the capacity to perceive His protection and provision in your work, trials, relationships, and in every aspect of your existence? Jesus tells you the way: pursue purity.

When you purge your life of all the behaviors and attitudes that displease God, you clear your vision of the impediments that usually obscure His work in you. You receive a clearer understanding of how He’s behind every good gift you receive (James 1:17) and how He gives meaning to all your struggles (Romans 8:28). Without sin clouding your thinking and deadening your spiritual senses, you become more aware of how the Father is engineering all circumstances for your ultimate good.

So keep your heart pure by seeking and obeying the Lord. Invite the Holy Spirit to convict you through God’s Word and repent of sin as soon as you’re conscious of its presence. And in all things, do as He says. After all, obedience always brings blessing, and when the reward is seeing God, you’re receiving the ultimate desire of your soul. It’s certainly worthwhile!

Jesus, purify my heart and help me see You in every aspect of my life. Amen.

My hope is in Jesus because in Him is everything I need.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Faith Gateway

 

FOUR WAYS GOD ANSWERS YOUR PRAYERS     

”You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:11-13 NLT).

God always answers every single prayer—just not always the way you want—and he does it in one of four ways.

When the request is not right, God says, “No.” Just like parents say “no” to their kids for a hundred good reasons, God doesn’t owe you an explanation every time he says “no” to your request.

When the timing is not right, God says, “Slow.” There’s a big difference between a delay and a denial. “No” and “not yet” are not the same thing, and learning and accepting the difference shows spiritual maturity.

When the request and timing are right, but you’re not right, God says, “Grow.” He wants to do something in your life before he answers your prayer because you’re not yet ready to handle the answer.

When the request is right and the timing’s right and you’re right, then God says, “Go.” God often gives us the green light to our prayers—and it’s a reason to celebrate!

Luke 11:11-13 says, “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (NLT).

God is never going to give you anything that is hurtful or bad for you. After all, if even imperfect parents know how to give good gifts to their kids, won’t God, who is good and perfect, do even more for you? He is ready to answer your prayer—in his own perfect time and way

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren

HOW TO TRUST GOD’S TIMING IN YOUR PAIN

“‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT).

It is not God’s job to make every moment of your life easy. If he did, you would never grow up! You’d be immature, spoiled, and incredibly self-centered. That is not what God wants for you.

So when you’re in pain and you pray and don’t see the answers, should you give up? No. Your job is to keep praying and keep trusting God with the answer, because you know that everything he does and everything he allows in your life he will use for good. You accept a “No,” a “Slow,” a “Grow,” or a “Go,” because you know that God is a good Father, even when you’re in pain.

If a doctor does surgery on you and cuts you open, that’s going to cause some pain. But if that surgery saves your life, would you say that’s a bad doctor? No, because she just saved your life!

When God doesn’t immediately end your pain, he is saying to you in that moment, “My grace is sufficient for you, and you can handle a little pain and even a lot of pain in your life, because I am with you and I am going to use this for your good.”

I’ve had a lot of pain in my life. In fact, almost everything I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned through pain. I’ve learned nothing from pleasure. I’ve learned very little from success. But I’ve learned boatloads through pain. God is more interested in making me a man of God than he is in making me comfortable. And God is more interested in making you a man or woman of God than he is in making you comfortable. You will be comfortable for all of eternity in heaven, but right now, you’re in the grow-up stage, so you’re not going to get everything you ask for.

In Scripture, we read, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts’” (NLT).

While you’re praying at one level, God is thinking about your life at a much higher level and from a much bigger perspective. He wants good for your life even more than you do.

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren

T-R-U-S-T 

What does trust really mean?  Let me help you understand by using the word T-R-U-S-T as an acronym.

“T” stands for trust…which means that if you are going to trust Him, you have to take Him at His word.  Even if it seems like it is not true, you take Him at His word.  If we will take Him at His word, He will guide us through the course of life and bring us across the finish line safely.

“R” stands for rest.  The Bible tells us to rest in the Lord.  1 Peter 5:7 says, Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  Do not worry.  Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but you don’t get anywhere.

“U” stands for understanding.  Proverbs 3:5 says, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  Sometimes things just won’t make sense to your understanding.

“S” stands for speech.

The final “T” stands for thanksgiving.  We offer thanks to God in advance.  Philippians 4:6 says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  When we offer thanks to God, it is an expression of our faith.

That’s T-R-U-S-T!

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Answers for each day.

BE GENEROUS BECAUSE GOD IS GENEROUS

THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2018

As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

As followers of Christ, we need to remember to be generous.

Why is it so important to remember to be generous? Here are three ways it makes an impact on our lives.

It makes you happy. Acts 20:35 says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (NLT). Notice Jesus didn’t say it is not a blessed thing to receive. It does make you happy to receive. But the world will tell you that you will be happiest when you receive. Jesus turned that idea around and said that you will be happier when you give than when you receive.

It just makes sense. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (NIV). Every one of us wants others to be generous with us. Do you think that by sowing miserly selfishness you’re going to reap generosity from God and others? God says that’s not the way life works. There is a law of sowing and reaping. So if you want to reap generosity, you have to sow generosity.

It shows the world what God is like. The Bible says, “As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT).

When it comes to generosity, what encourages me is to remember the incredible generosity of God. Look at the world we get to live in. Look at the life he gave us. Look at the way he meets our needs. God is the perfect model of generosity. And when we are generous with others because of God’s generosity toward us, it points others to God.

Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart?

Are you ready to receive God’s gift of grace to you? It’s a simple prayer that will tell God you accept the gift of Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me, even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me — that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.

“I admit that I never even realized I needed a Savior, but today I want to receive the gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. I need to be at peace with you, and I need you to put your peace in my heart.

“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you. I prayer this in the name of Jesus, amen.”

STAY BLESSED

MEMORY BANK OF FAITH

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:4 (NLT)

It had been a long drive, and my stomach was growling like a bear. Since I’m a don’t-stop-until-you-get-home driver, I decided to enjoy the drive-thru dining experience. I called out my order into the bulky box, drove around the building and received my meal from a kind lady. Before I drove away, she said, “I just love your scarf!”

With an “Aw, thank you,” I prepared to drive away, but I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to give the woman my scarf. Rather than immediately obeying — and in total disregard for the patrons behind me — I took my sweet time and put up an argument.

Why, Lord? She doesn’t need this scarf. It won’t even match what she is wearing. Please. No. It’s my favorite.

Despite my stalling, I eventually came to terms with what God was asking me to do. Like yanking a bandage off a wound, I pulled my scarf from around my neck and politely handed it to the cashier. With a forced grin and clenched teeth, I said, “Here, I’d like you to have it.”

I was secretly hoping she’d say, “Oh no, I can’t,” so I could get credit for the obedience (pitiful, I know). But she smiled and said, “Thank you so much.” I drove away with my food and without my scarf. But the sacrifice of a scarf was nothing compared to what I’d deposited in my “Memory Bank of Faith.”

Building Spirit-filled trust works like receiving money. Each time we receive funds, we deposit the money in our bank account, where it remains until we need it. Our Memory Bank of Faith works the same way. As we obey, we experience God’s faithfulness.

We deposit His acts of faithfulness in our bank; then, when He asks us to do something we don’t understand, or maybe don’t want to do (like give away a scarf), we can make a withdrawal from our Memory Bank and confidently obey. Having previously experienced His faithfulness, we know that what He has asked us to do is completely trustworthy — even if it involves something unexpected.

You might be thinking, if obedience means giving away my favorite things, then I’m not sure I want to participate.

Yet as we begin to naturally respond to God with yes, we will realize that what we sacrifice or give away doesn’t mean nearly as much as obeying God. I wrestled with my initial reactions and desires to obey. I was tempted to hold on to my wishes rather than harness myself to God’s ways. It’s okay to wrestle with our reactions, but God longs for our final response to be yes. We can never go wrong when we say yes to God.

In the drive-thru, I was given the opportunity to obey the Spirit’s nudge and follow God’s Word, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4).

The next time the Holy Spirit nudges your heart to help a senior adult move her groceries to her car, assist a mom in carrying her family’s food to the restaurant table, or drive past the close parking space so another person can park near the door, obey. Each time you do, you make another deposit in your Memory Bank of Faith and experience God anew.

I’ll be the first to admit, trusting God through obedience can be fearsome, because we never know what He will ask us to do … even while ordering lunch at a drive-thru.

Lord, I long to participate in the work You are doing around me. Quicken my ears to hear You. Stir my heart to obey You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

John 14:15, “If you love me, you will do what I command.” (ERV)

John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (NLT)

STAY BLESSED

SOURCE: Culled from Encouragement for Today.