Mundane Monday: While We’re Waiting

waiting

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if He was like us.

Scriptures of the Day:

Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day.”

Genesis 52(b)

“Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Exodus 6:9

“Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.”

Perspective.  Trust.  Faith.  Hope.  We can say that we have these character attributes, but it is not until we are in the fire that we see what we are made of.

Scripture provides beautiful snap shots of God’s faithful leaders as they faced kidnapping, betrayal, imprisonment, abuse, fear and testing to follow and obey God when the task at hand seemed insurmountable.

God told Joseph ahead of time through dreams that one day he would lead his brothers.  He did not know what it meant at the time, but He knew God had spoken.  Joseph knew his brothers intended to harm him.  He was right, but he did not stop there.  Even while in prison, He credited God with any wisdom that He was given and hoped beyond hope that somehow God would make sense of it all.  It would take two years for the cupbearer to remember his promise to not forget Joseph. While it seemed like Joseph was forgotten and rotting in prison, God’s promises and plan still stood.

God told Moses ahead of time that Pharaoh would be stubborn and hardhearted.  He promised that ultimate deliverance was His plan.  Moses fretted and feared, but he kept on putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next obedient thing God called him to do.  He kept reciting the promises of God and kept on keeping on.  Even though Moses told the people of God that God was going to rescue them, their focus was on their suffering. They could not have hope, for the abuse and hardship extinguished their faith.

God told Daniel what He was going to do ahead of time, too.  Daniel’s example of faith even when it went against the law of the land resulted in beautiful fruit and God’s ultimate deliverance.

God consistently has given amazing promises and prophecies and fulfilled them all.  That is Who He is. Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we base our view of God as if God was like us.

God is not a man that He should lie, yet when we are waiting for His promises to be fulfilled, we often lose sight of His goodness and promises and begin to give in to fear and despair.

But maybe some would say that God’s promises are not for them.  Not according to God’s word.  All of His promises are yes and amen for those whose hope is in the LORD, to those who have been called children of God.  God is able to help us to overcome our discouragement when we feel forgotten.   Those who went before us modeled how we should wait.  Being obedient.  Meditating on God’s promises.  Hoping at all times.  Radical faith.

Maybe you are in the desert right now, waiting for God to deliver you.  He is able to make a bloom in the desert and to make you fruitful in your suffering.  He said it and He will do it as we seek Him in that place and look to our faithful Deliverer!  As we look to Him, we begin to forget our troubles and recognize that the deliverance we seek is not all about us. God’s purposes touch the lives all around us, and as we seek His comfort, a testimony is written to help the ones who come behind us to look to their God in times of trouble.

Lord, help us to wait expectantly for You, knowing who You are and trusting in You at all times.  You are faithful!  You are good!  Thank You for your strength and grace in the fire and please encourage all who are waiting now to look to You, for their hope will never be disappointed.

Thoughtful Thursday: True Prosperity

True Propserity

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Reconciliation with the Almighty God of this universe is the greatest wealth we can have.

Scripture:

Job 22:21-28

21 “Reconcile yourself with God, and be at peace with him; in this way your prosperity will be good. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and store up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; if you remove wicked behavior far from your tent, 24 and throw your gold in the dust–your gold of Ophir among the rocks in the ravines– 25 then the Almighty himself will be your gold, and the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and will lift up your face toward God. 27 You will pray to him and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. 28 Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” 

I’ve heard of people longing to win the lottery – even going to great lengths on strategies to hopefully help them land the winning number – and end their woes.  Thing is, the people who do win often end up destroying their lives.  What happened?  Wasn’t prosperity the solution to all of their troubles?

Some preachers have taught that world wealth is a given for those who are in Christ. People who are poor by the world’s standards must just not have enough faith to obtain the wealth God planned for them.  I don’t buy it and I have never played the lottery, either.

Like Paul, I have known what it is to be in need and to have an abundance.  In both times, I praised God.  I did not want to forget God when He blessed us, nor did I want to blame Him when we were unemployed and sued into financial woe.  God was faithful through it all. Both circumstances were not easy.

In times of prosperity, materialism, comfort and apathy threatened to woo us into a backslidden, religious state.  In times of financial hardship, we had to adapt and go without. We cried out to God and gained things of value that wealth could never give us.  A deeper walk with Him, a deeper trust in Him as He provided in creative ways, and learning contentment – precious treasure earned in challenging financial ordeals.

My children and I look fondly on the times when we craved food that we could not purchase due to a limited budget, then the LORD impressed on other people’s hearts to bring us that very food.  It was very specific and amazing to see God’s faithfulness in even the smallest of things.

The greatest riches we can ever achieve were given freely to us and can never be lost. Eternal treasures purchased for us by the blood of Christ, the cost for our reconciliation to God.  Nothing compares to this prosperity.

Lord, thank You for giving us Yourself, the most precious gift ever.  Please help us to be a grateful people and to share what You have given to us with the world.

Worshipful Wednesday: God With Us

Pursue a relationship with God - God with us

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Christianity is the only religion where the One true living God is near and living within His people.

Scriptures of the Day:

Genesis 39:2

“The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”

Genesis 39:21

“The LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”

Ever feel like God has forgotten you?  I am sure Joseph can relate.  Being thrown into a cistern with no water then sold as a slave to his ex-family – the Ishmaelites – was not exactly the appearance of favor by God.

After Joseph had climbed his way to a position of status with Potiphar, once again he was betrayed.  Being thrown in prison for a deed he did not commit must have made him feel as if God was not taking care of him.  How could God allow the wicked to prosper?

But it was in the dark dungeon that God spoke to Joseph and once again gave him favor. Joseph could not see all that God was doing, but that did not mean God wasn’t doing it.

His purposes were much higher than Joseph’s personal comfort and His plans were far superior to any that plan Joseph could have dreamed.  Joseph  might have thought the dreams he had meant solely that he would be in a position of power.  Ultimately, it was not about Joseph, but about the salvation of all his people and the glory of God.

Our perspective is changed when we see how small our view is in light of God’s sovereignty.  We might not understand why we have to suffer or why things have to happen the way they often do, but if our motivation is God’s glory and not our own selfish gain, then we begin to understand how amazing our living God is and how we can trust Him.

Joseph could not have imagined the methodology employed to save his people, but God sees everything.  This same God also lives in each person who chooses to believe in Him and receive the gift of salvation.  He chose to be with us when He came as a babe to offer His life for our sins and now He dwells in us and speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.

God desires relationship with His creation and has gone to great lengths to demonstrate His love and faithfulness toward us.  Right when Joseph’s life seemed jaded, the very next sentence God says He was with him.  With him in the cistern.  Chained with him in the dungeon.  That is our God.  He never leaves us and promises to be with us at all times.  He truly is Emmanuel – God with us – and worthy of all praise!

Lord, thank you for loving us and making a way that we could have fellowship with You.  your love is extravagant.  How You brought the Holy and unholy together never ceases to amaze me.  Thank You for living inside me and teaching me daily, moment by moment.

Truthful Tuesday: Relying on our Reliable God

Reliability of God.jpg

Inspirational thought of the day:

Whether or not God give us what we want, His character and faithful promises testify to His reliability at all times.  

Scriptures of the day:

Isaiah 45:19

I have not spoken in secret, in some hidden place. I did not tell Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain!’ I am the LORD, the one who speaks honestly, who makes reliable announcements.

Isaiah 43:12

I have revealed and saved and proclaimed– I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.

The well-known game of “Trust” in which you close your eyes and blindly trust someone to catch you has been used many times as an illustration or object lesson to demonstrate surrender in a tangible way.

The thing is, people let us down and sometimes we trust only to have people break that trust. As time goes on, we learn to diligently guard our heart but can also begin to get a hard heart that does not let fallible man in.

Jesus did not entrust himself to man, yet He made Himself vulnerable to sinful man and died for him.  He chose the route of humility and unconditional love for a stubborn people who could never return such love on their own.

God has made it obvious that He keeps His word.  He went to extravagant measures to tell His people ahead of time what He was going to do. Every prophesy foretold – fulfilled. Radical deliverance from the parting of the sea to fire from the sky.  Yet His people still doubted.

As a parent, it would hurt deeply if my children did not trust me or my heart toward them. My desire is only for their good and blessing.  What must it do to the heart of God that the people He lavishly chose and called into relationship with himself do not trust Him, despite Him giving His Word and Holy Spirit?

When people promise us something they never fulfill, we have a choice to love and forgive like God did for us.  We fail God over and over again.  Yet He remains faithful.  His example and His Holy Spirit can enable us to be reliable to those around us and help us to rely on Him, as well.

Lord, help us to rely on You at all times instead of trying to find solutions to life’s problems on our own.  

Mundane Monday: Get Up and Fight!

Curve Ball

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The curve balls in this life weren’t meant to defeat us, but to challenge us to rise and play ball.

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

I love baseball.  There was nothing like watching my son play and play hard.  But the imminent fear of a fly ball whacking you in the face was always looming in the corner of the minds of the spectators.

I have witnessed such incidences many times.  One woman was knocked unconscious and taken away by an ambulance, some ball players themselves were carried off the field and still other spectators foamed at the mouth for the opportunity to lunge and catch the ball . . . all pressing on, for the love of the game.

This past week I sat in the hospital for three days while my son had surgery for a broken femur – not from a baseball game, but from a slow bicycle ride.  His roommate, however, had several crushed bones in his face from a baseball.  My darling husband, too, also has a lump on his face from the time he took a shot from the ball himself.

Sometimes life throws you crazy curve balls.  The question is, do we pick up the ball dealt to us and play or let ourselves get socked by the balls and defeated when they come our way?  After sizing up the speed of a ball, my preference would likely be to dodge a fast ball if I do not think I have the ability to catch it.

I well remember pitching to my two older brothers who could whack the tape ball we played with to a lightning speed in no time.  Those lessons coached me well.  Stay alert!

But sometimes you do not have time to dodge a ball nor the skill.  Ugh, while I mention the words “dodge” and “ball” in the same sentence, another vivid memory appears in my mind as the last chosen on a team at school and the first one smacked with those balls. Oh, what fun, right?

Back to my sweet son.  We did not expect a casual bike ride to turn into three medical facilities, surgery and great pain.  It is still stupefying to consider how it happened.  But it did.  In the moment, I noticed I did not respond as I had before when traumatic times occurred.  There was a peace.  Unexplainable.  Sadness gripping my heart for my son, but a calm, nonetheless.

God gave a presence of mind to consider that where we were was temporary.  It was also allowed by Him and a mission.

Would we waste the brief opportunities that came our way with the people we would meet, or would we share Christ, our biggest blessing, our very life, to those around us?  One shot to handle the ball and to bring God glory.

My son is growing in his faith and it was absolutely precious to see Him have to depend on God and to grow in His strength and faith in Jesus.  As we read Scripture aloud and prayed in that hospital room, God did His part.  The hardest thing, though, was for my son to face His enemy – the pain he was in.  The only way to recovery was to walk through the pain and to make a choice to take the ball, the circumstances dealt to him, and push through. He had to choose to face his pain and get up and fight.

You see, our enemy throws sucker punches and sometimes we want to give up.  Dizzy and lying on the ground, it seems impossible to get up and fight.  But the only way to victory is to accept what happened and to fight.  Not with the weapons of this world.  It might be on our knees, reading His word or it might mean doing really hard things, but in the place of pain we have a Savior walking with us through it all, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes all you can do is hang onto Jesus’ robe and cry out.  That’s ok.  That is the best place to be, actually.  It can be easy to grow discouraged when challenges rise in our lives, in particular multiple balls coming our direction at the same time. We don’t expect them nor appreciate them often in the moment. Unless . . . we view them as an adventure and view ourselves as being in the hands of a loving sovereign God Who is sending us on a mission.  Will we accept?

Lord, help us to see You in all of life.  Help us to seek You as our coach in every circumstance and to not grow weary in well doing.