Tag Archives: Timing

At The End Of The Day

10 Jan

As a project oriented person, I get up early and sometimes decide there isn’t enough time in the day to meet all my deadlines. That “feeling” gets the best of me and I start the day all wrong.

I have answered a call from God to lead a prayer team ministry for my church and have committed to spend time with Him each morning in intercession. I am usually excited about it.

Some days my workload is so heavy that it is difficult to sit still and focus on prayer. So, I decide to skip my appointment with God and go right to work. That decision is based on a thought placed in my mind by Satan who comes to kill, steal, and destroy.

When I listen to the thoughts in my mind, rather than to the Holy Spirit, my days are usually filled with confusion, turmoil, and frustration. When the day is gone I have accomplished very little. I realize that my precious time, with the one I love the most and the one who trusted me enough to call me to the ministry of prayer, was stolen. He called me to stand in the gap for His people. Instead, I let inner turmoil and unrest get the best of me. I yielded to the deceitful lure of the clock not giving me enough time to meet deadlines in my work-day. I should have kept my appointment with the one who promised to direct my steps.

At the day’s end I look back at the time I wasted. At first, guilt creeps in because I knew better. The enemy managed to gain control of my first thoughts that morning. And at the end of the day, he tried to condemn me for listening to him. At the same time, he whispered in my ear just how little I must love God not to spend time with Him as I had promised. The enemy was attempting to steal my peace again. Quickly, I shut him down. Then, the conviction of the Holy Spirit turned my heart to God to ask for forgiveness, which was immediate. The Holy Spirit gently instructed me that if I had spent time with Him first, my day would have been much better.

God is the one who makes all things work together for good and blesses the work of my hand. He is the one who tells me I can make my plans but He will direct my path. He is the one who gives me the wisdom and knowledge I need to make my day successful. God is the one who rebukes the devourer for my sake. And, with His help, I can successfully finish my daily race.

The day’s end is determined by the day’s beginning. The choice I make at the beginning of each day to spend those first moments with my Lord or to proceed without His direction will determine what I accomplish and how emotionally, physically and spiritually spent I become. I want my day, every day, to begin with Him, remain in Him, and finish with Him. At the end of the day I want to hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant“. I want to feel His peace in my spirit, knowing I have given everything to Him.


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Our Least Favorite Subject – Obedience – God Is Not Santa Claus!

14 Jun

He Walks With Me

Obedience to God is the key to so many of the things we desire from Him. I am not referring to material things or things on our “wish list”, or to getting our own way all the time. It’s not about having all of our prayers answered just the way we want them or living in a perfect world where there are no problems and life is easy. It also isn’t about a life of wealth and health and utter bliss.

If you are looking for a life where true love exists with no heartaches, and your heart can be at peace when everything around you is failing – going wrong in almost every sense of the word – then, I believe this series of devotionals can help you.

I’m gong to write about finding The Way – true peace in the midst of every storm. It is about learning to trust in the One True Source that can give you everything you need. It is about following through. It is about timing – His timing.

My challenge to you and my purpose in writing this is for you to consider that God wants more of you – not for you to DO more – but for fellowship and friendship with Him.

Where do you look for peace?

God’s Word, is real and sharper than a two-edged sword. It really is. It is so alive and so full of God’s love for you and His direction for every situation in your life. You can have peace – the kind of peace that can’t be explained. It’s a peace you cannot find in all your money. You can’t find it in your mate, or your children or your grandchildren. It isn’t in the toys you love. These are ways to spend your time that may occupy your time and distract you. They may take your mind far away from reality. But these are only temporary fixes.

Your peace won’t come from drugs, alcohol, sex or food. These things may help dull your senses and satisfy your flesh. However, none of these things really give you the peace in your heart you so need when your life is falling apart and your heart is breaking.

We have all seen how hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters, can wipe away all the precious material possessions we all hold on to. When some sort of catastrophe visits our doorstep and begins to take away all that we have held in our minds to be the things that make us who we are, what happens to our peace then? Who do we turn to?

What happens when the world as we know it – our world – is shattered and everything we found our comfort and contentment in fails us? We try to hold it together. We do all we can to make it right again. We struggle and fight within ourselves until we feel our hearts will never mend. We cry out to God and make vows and promises we can’t keep. We try to bargain with God and plead with Him to make everything okay again. We’re disappointed and angry when He doesn’t jump in there and make miracles happen to prove He is God and to show us He will make things okay for us again.

What did you do wrong?

We even come to a point where we’re angry at Him and embarrassed that He could let us down in such a way that our friends think we couldn’t be living right. Surely, we must not be following all of the rules. There must have been something different we could have done. If we had, our lives would be proof of it. We would have everything in order and we would be like the Joneses – with perfect houses full of goodies and great cars and beautiful and perfect, well-behaved children. We would have lots of friends and the most up-to-date clothes – whatever toys our hearts delight in – great health – perfect holiday celebrations and nothing to worry about. That would prove God loves us and we’re living the good life, wouldn’t it?

After all, God said, “Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart”. He said it – did He mean it or not? Well, if I don’t have everything my heart desires, does that mean I’m not good enough or that I am not doing enough for God? Okay, then. I’ll join one more Bible Study or volunteer for a committee to show just how much of a Christian I am. I’ll work a little harder at making everyone see what good person I am. I’ll lose some weight and bring my wardrobe up to date – dye my hair – have some cosmetic surgery. Then everyone will see that I still have what it takes. They’ll envy me and see what a good person I am. I’ll surely feel better about myself.

I know something that will really help me feel better. I’ll buy some more toys. I’ll get new furniture or a big new car – a bigger, newer, faster computer – the most up to date cell-phone or smart phone.
I’ll drink away my sorrow or my shortcomings. I’ll take a few more pills so I won’t have to think about all of the things that bother me. I’ll join another group. I’ll find another mate. I’ll turn up the volume on my IPOD and drown out everything that is trying to bring me down. I’ll eat some comfort food. I’ll buy something that will make me feel better.

Have you gotten the picture? Do you see what we do – what we call living? Can you see what lengths we go to so that we will have peace and joy? Do any of them work for you when your life is falling apart or when you are hurting so much inside? Do any of these things last when you are all alone?

What, then, if anything, is the answer? Where can I find peace and joy? How can I be content? Is it possible?


Come back later — This devotional is continued
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Everyone Is Watching You!

12 Jun

Let’s get back to Lydia. Lydia was raised as a pagan, worshiping idols, but she knew something was missing. She renounced that and became a proselyte (a new convert). God had prepared her heart and upon meeting with Paul, she became a believer. Clearly, Lydia immediately embraced Jesus and her new-found place in His kingdom. Her heart was filled with joy and gratitude and a desire to share Christ. She also immediately wanted to do her part to further God’s message and to minister to His servants.

How could we possibly know all this through the brief mention of Lydia in the Bible? Scripture does not say all of that. Oh! But it does. All throughout God’s Word we learn of God and His ways. We learn through the examples in stories we read about. From that we can determine that Lydia responded just the way God wanted her to. Lydia had no Scriptures to read. She had not heard the gospel before meeting Paul on that divinely appointed day. She hadn’t heard how God wanted her to behave. What she did have now, that she didn’t have before, was the Holy Spirit of God living in her heart in leading her in the way to go!

Lydia had and not read any self-help books or watched any TV preachers, or even gone to church and sat under Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders. She “just knew” in her heart what to do by the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Lydia was also humble, as evidenced by the way she spoke to Paul and Silas in invited them to her home.

Let’s bring this story into the 21st century. We don’t much like being around grumpy, whiny people who are always negative and always complaining. The spirit within us rejects this. There is just something about a joyful, smiling individual who offers encouragement and a positive attitude. Our day is brightened and our hearts changed and uplifted. That’s what God is all about. He is a good God. He has given to us promise after promise throughout His Word. We can learn from the Scripture that loving God and following Him doesn’t promise us a life without trials and tribulations. We may also suffer loss and pain. The good news God has for us is that Jesus came to overcome the world and to make us also overcomers through Him.

God wants us to learn dependence upon Him. He wants us to trust Him and let Him lead us. Our actions and our reactions tell others just how much we love and trust God. We can say it all we want. Our actions may confirm what we say or negate what we say. If you think no one is watching – be aware – everyone is watching.

This doesn’t mean we should do everything we can to make others think more of us or like us more. Actually, that would totally backfire. It may work briefly but in time, it would become obvious. The point is, every life around us is on display, today, in this time, more so than ever. Think about those we see every day and the thoughts that run through our minds as we observe them or listen to them. It doesn’t take long for us to notice things that we like or dislike, or things we agree with or object to. Know that the way we live our lives for Christ becomes clear to those around us. Just be careful not to judge. That is not our place, but God’s.

Let Lydia be an example! Live with an open heart, a humble spirit, the joy of the Lord, a willing and serving heart, and a desire to tell others about God and His love. Lydia was brave, conscientious and hospitable. She had a giving spirit. Lydia had been searching for truth and when she found it she knew in her heart her life was forever changed. She wasted no time opening her heart her life and her home to God’s people.

We can also see through Lydia’s actions that she was wise. Lydia was not presumptuous but humble. She presented herself to the men of God in good taste and in reverence. Lydia was a gracious hostess and not intimidated by these mighty men of God. She was confident, yet respectful in approaching them with an invitation to her home. We can surmise that Lydia was experienced in how to approach people and how to present herself because of her ability as a seller of purple, a much sought after item in those times. But, she did not see herself as inferior to these mighty men of God. Nor did she “get in their face”. She was humble in their presence and wanted to be used by God to do what she could to help them. She started with what she had.

Start with what you have. Don’t wait for something to come along that you perceive to be necessary before you can serve God or His people. He gave you gifts and talents and knowledge that only you have. Let Him use you – just as you are!

Another Sinner – Used By God!

12 Jun

Lydia was a woman of substance. She grew up in paganism and became disillusioned with it. She wanted more. Lydia had something very special – an open heart. God had a plan for her life and saw to it that she was at the right place at the right time to receive Him into her life.

Scripture tells us that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” We are all called, some just don’t answer.

Lydia loved her family. It has been determined that she was a widow. We pick up her story when she was away from home on a business trip. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatire, famous for its dyeing trade.

It is interesting to note that Lydia had not yet accepted Christ. She was not a child of God. Or, was she? We have the advantage of seeing Lydia’s story from start to finish, through God’s Holy Scripture. We read it in God’s Word, after the fact. God is omnipotent, He sees it before it happens! As a matter of fact, He orchestrates all of the events.

God is always in control. Sometimes, it doesn’t appear that way to us. Circumstances become overwhelming and we just can’t seem to get a handle on things. We do all we can. We take the steps we know to take. This is the point where Scripture tells us to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We are told to rest in Him as we go about our daily routines.

It is too far out of reach for us to understand how God can orchestrate –arrange our lives – everyone – so that all things work together for everyone’s good. Just think about it. That is exactly what He does. Knowing this should help us to rest in Him, as we are told through the Scriptures. We don’t actually take that as a profound direction. But we should. This story of Lydia and Paul will help us understand a little about how God works all things together for good.

Paul was a mighty man of God by the time he met Lydia. He had been forbidden to preach in her hometown. Interestingly, God arranged for Lydia to be on a sales trip in the same city where Paul was ministering. Had she not been away from home she would never have been where God had arranged for her to meet Paul and be introduced to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

On that day, Lydia was at the gate on the Sabbath for her own purposes –to gather with her people to pray. Paul and Silas also journeyed to the gate on that Sabbath. Paul, Silas and Lydia were brought together by the providence of God. This is an example of how God’s plan is working together to bring about good. Paul was shut out of Bithynia and silenced in his journey through Mysia and was now in the same place as was Lydia!

In this case, all circumstances were changed in their lives. God brought them together, and Lydia was introduced to Jesus Christ and became the first European convert. God had prepared Lydia’s heart and opened it to hear and receive Paul’s words.

Why is this story important enough to be in the Bible? Lydia is only mentioned briefly in the Scripture. She was enough of an example for us that she was mentioned by name that we might follow her example.

Meditation upon God’s word is important. If we read through it quickly without understanding, we can miss valuable insights that God has for us. As God gives us revelation to these insights our faith is increased, our trust in God becomes stronger, and we learn more of how to walk in peace and not to fear our future. God is always in control.

God brought His mighty Apostle, Paul, together with this widow proselyte by rearranging both their circumstances. As soon as Lydia heard Paul’s message and believed in Jesus, her heart was at rest. Her destiny had been changed for eternity!

Lydia immediately, with her family, took a stand for Jesus. Her heart was full of excitement and gratitude. She wanted to give back. It did not take weeks or months, it was immediate. The joy of the Lord was now in her heart. Her life had been changed forever. It now had meaning and purpose. Some people never apply the truth they hear. They are hearers only, not doers. Some think what they hear is for others and not for themselves.

Lydia wanted to show her gratitude and invited God’s servants to her home to abide there. God knew Lydia would respond and step forward to provide what his servants needed. Once again, we see God providing for His own.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Although there aren’t many verses of Scripture in the Bible about Lydia we can learn many things from her example. In fact, Lydia sets an example for all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Amazing is the fact that one individual made such an impact that the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Acts to tell her story. Of major significance here are the actions of Lydia upon her conversion. We get a glimpse of how we are to behave in the world around us to show our love for God in our actions. We don’t have to be someone special. Like Lydia, God can use as in a mighty way even if we are a salesman.

There are many people today who only learn about Jesus through our actions. We are not always free to discuss our beliefs with those we love or those we see on a regular basis. When we do try to “preach” at someone and they are not receptive, we are then scrutinized with our every move, and especially every mistake or failure. This indicates clearly that our actions have made more of an impression than our words.

Additionally, we need to realize that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts – not an individual. It is not our words, or our prayers – really, it’s not even our actions that change a person’s heart. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who tells us in his Word that He knew us while we were being formed in our mother’s womb. Still, our actions as we listen and obey God, following His lead, show the world there is something different about born again believers. Even we, as believers, recognize other believers by their actions, as well as their words.

Continued Tomorrow. . .

It’s Never Too Late

1 Jun

OK, I just couldn’t wait to point out some more interesting things about the story of Ruth.

The main thing is that this story should definitely let everyone know that no matter what our situation – no matter how much we may have messed up – it is NEVER too late for us to turn to God. We may not know we need to – Ruth didn’t. He will lead us out of our sin and into His amazing promised life. No, it won’t be a life without problems or bumps in the road – but if we will not get in such a hurry, He will show us how to straighten out those curves in the road.

We may not know how to get out of our mess! God knows. He doesn’t expect us to jump from one frying pan on the fire to another. He just wants us to recognize where we are and look to Him for answers. Remember, God isn’t a “microwave” God. It’s okay with Him that things don’t change in an instant. When His word tells us that “All things work together for good for those called according to His purpose” – nobody knows better than He does that it takes precious time for things to work out. Otherwise, we may jump from one mess to a bigger mess!

I also think that some of us believe that when we finally decide to “follow God” we have to “do something” – like some sort of event must take place. Not so. God just wants us to live our lives, acknowledging Him. That means we turn to Him with every decision and ask Him about it. That may involve searching His Scriptures, or seeking wise (Christian) counsel. When God knows our desire is to please Him, He will move mountains in our behalf. But, it is usually not in a big, attention drawing way. It is our daily step by step walking – in our daily choices. The hardest part is to move with focus, keeping our emotions under control.

Consider Ruth. She left all she knew. That was very drastic but she knew in her heart that with her new family she had witnessed the love of the living God. Oh, I’m sure she didn’t realize that at the time. She just knew that in the midst of her new family, things were different. She felt the love and compassion – the fruit of the Spirit. She knew she wanted more of it. It was different enough to cause her to leave all she was familiar with.

When you read and meditate on this story of Ruth, you see that her way was not easy. She didn’t take charge. She followed Naomi, meekly. She was first of all, a servant, which is what Scripture tells us that all followers of Christ must be. She respected the position of the older Naomi. She wasn’t afraid to work – to humble herself. Ruth died to her emotions – her fear and anxiety. She listened to her wise mother-in-law and followed her instructions. Ruth didn’t pretend that she knew more and that she had better ways to do things.

Well, guess I have to stop for now. I just see so much in this story that will encourage those who feel that they are in too deep – that there is no way out. God has an answer for that. Stay tuned.

God’s Timing

2 Jan

Time – none of us have enough of it. When we do manage a little “down time” we find ourselves so exhausted that when we try and “do nothing” – quilt knocks at our door.

It’s interesting to me that God’s timing remains constant. He isn’t concerned about man’s deadlines or other legalistic rituals. At times we remind Him that we have an upcoming deadline and just want to make sure He is aware of it. (Well, what can I say?)

I’ve witnessed many times how God brings us right up to the edge (of what seems like a cliff) and then just before “it’s too late” He rescues us. Let me add that in reality God is never too late. He is always on time (remember Lazarus).

Actually, I’ve witnessed times in my life where God “missed a deadline” (mine, of course) because He had a much better plan than I did. Imagine that! He can cause men to overlook rules, regulations and laws on our behalf.

Here’s the catch – God wants us to learn that in order for us to be in His will and receive His best we must forget about our own timing and learn to trust more in His. If a deadline passes us by it’s not because God missed it. Don’t proceed until you have His peace. A deadline is not in God’s vocabulary. And the biggest lesson I think we learn from this is that we need to give God time for His timing – not ours. If we will learn to do this, we will truly learn to walk in the peace that passes understanding and discover that nothing can move us because we know that we know God is in control!

Ask me how I know this!!

 

 

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