Tag Archives: Trust

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

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God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

Back to Goliath

28 Mar God Is With Us

Continued from last week . . .

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

In the beginning David didn’t have much of a part to play in the battle that was taking place. He was just there to deliver food to his older brothers. I think it so odd that the war was so close that David could walk the distance to deliver food for his brothers. And, to think – they could actually hear the giant, Goliath, yelling obscenities at them.

David was struggling with the fact that not one soldier was doing anything about this enemy of theirs. He questioned them about it, wondering why someone didn’t shut him up. The truth is that they were all afraid. They had heard of the giant’s reputation. No one had ever survived his attacks. They knew that to fight him meant sure death.

David’s reaction (remember, he was just a boy – not a soldier) was one of great wonder and frustration. He reprimanded the soldiers for allowing this man to dishonor them and God with his taunting. David’s brothers made fun of him and told him he didn’t have a clue about anything because he was just a shepherd boy. They demanded he go back home and leave the Goliath to them.

David didn’t go home. He went out into the desert to pray. As he prayed his faith grew stronger. He went back to where the soldiers were and offered to fight the giant. Of course, they laughed and jeered at him, and  made fun of him. His brothers were embarrassed and even questioned why God had anointed him to be the future King instead of one of them.

David went to Saul, the reigning King, and asked for his permission to confront Goliath. King Saul also denied his request telling him he could now allow such a young boy to be subjected to sure death. David didn’t quit there. He continued to present his case to the King until he was finally given permission to fight Goliath. The other soldiers gathered burial clothes for David and attempted to deliver them to David’s brothers. The brothers were angered and refused the burial garments. Saul tried to persuade David to put on his armor and carry his spear, but David refused. They were too big for him, and too heavy.

Amazing!

God had seen in David a man after His own heart. He knew that David had faith in Him and that he would follow Him in obedience, not looking at circumstances, and not doubting God’s provision and protection. Can we say that about ourselves? At what point would we have given in and given up? Apply this to your situation today. What Goliath are you confronted with – a difficult circumstance – the loss of a job – not enough money – a failed relationship – illness? There are many Goliath’s in our lives. Some we feel confident to face. Others, not so much.

The most amazing part of this story to me is how much negative reaction was happening around David. No one even gave his request to fight Goliath a tiny bit of thought. The had already accepted defeat. They even believed this giant was so big that even God couldn’t stop him!

After warning David again and again, they realized they couldn’t stop him so they just gave in, expecting Goliath to kill him. In the movie, David’s brothers asked him what he was going to do since he wasn’t going to take the King’s weapon? David replied, “I don’t know.” Have you ever been there – said that? I have.

David made his way down the mountainside right into the enemies’ camp. All the while the enemy soldiers were taunting him, laughing at him, and making fun of him. David kept his eyes on Goliath who was also jeering at him and laughing at him. This is what he said to the enemy soldiers:

1 Sam 17:45-47 “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” NIV

David just kept staring at him as he reached down and gathered five stones. As Goliath threw his head back in laughter at David, David released the pebble from his sling which hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him immediately. The soldiers stopped jeering and gasped at what had happened. King Saul’s soldiers, watching from the mountain began to cheer for David’s defeat of the giant.

Back to Our Personal Goliath

This Bible story is more than an “old movie.” This event took place. What some call “Bible Stories” were written down by God’s chosen men, inspired by His Spirit. They were recorded so that we could learn about God and His ways, and so that we could get a better picture of how vital our relationship is to Him AND our obedience.

I have personally faced a few giants in my walk with God. David’s encounter was and is uplifting. He made it a point to trust in God and not in himself. He knew that he, alone, could not win the battle. He wasn’t even sure just how to proceed. What he did know was that God is bigger than any giant we face, but we can’t just wander around in fear, murmuring to ourselves about what we’re going to do. It also doesn’t help to begin accepting and preparing for defeat!

Walking with God is our assurance that we can face any giant – any – with God at our side. We will always be victorious, even if things don’t turn out exactly like we want them to. With God, HE takes the weight of the load off our shoulders, as we put our trust and confidence in Him and as we seek Him for answers – and the most important part  – that we obey as He directs us.

 

 

 

What Is Your Goliath?

22 Mar

Watch Out For The Giants

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

I’ve been facing Goliath for several months – circling him with my sling, trying to work up the courage to let God be God, and to trust Him to guide that small stone from my sling to the Goliath that I face. While circling my thoughts run rampant. “What if I miss the target?” “What if I make things worse than they already are?” “Maybe I should just drop this sling and stones and just run.” “There must be another way out.”  Goliath was a giant – he was huge, and scary. His voice thundered and he roared at the soldiers, and they were all afraid. No one had ever escaped this giant. To fight him meant sure death in their eyes.

This story in 1 Samuel describes how we feel when facing the giants we face in our lives today. I have been facing several for months now and have allowed them to beat me down so far that everything seemed hopeless. I admit that reluctantly because now that I have come out of it I am disappointed that I allowed it for so long. It happens slowly – very slowly. That’s why the enemy can beat us down so far. We get our eyes off Jesus and begin to give in to negative thoughts.

How It Happens

Here’s how it happened with me. It wasn’t obvious or intentional. My focus changed gradually to my circumstances and my lack – things I wanted and couldn’t have or make happen. That’s when the reasoning takes over and the doubting. Dread steps in along with fear. Worry takes over working itself up to outright fear.

The trip down wasn’t obvious. Everything seemed to be going along the same as usual – until it wasn’t. I was already praying and doing all I knew to do, thinking I had a handle on everything. I found myself walking around my home asking God what was wrong with me. Depression and lethargy were taking over every moment of my day. This was my Goliath.

So, What Do I Do About It?

I had already been praying and searching for answers – doing all I could to force myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had been fighting a bad chest cold and cough which was making matters worse. After about six weeks I began to feel better which immediately made my outlook better to begin with.

God seemed to be sitting back and letting me flounder. I’m not blaming Him, I just don’t   understand why it takes so long sometimes for me to get it! But – in the process – I am discovering things about myself that need to be fixed. And, so I did.

A couple of days ago I was watching a very old movie that caught my eye, simply called “Goliath.” I knew the story. It caught my eye because many years ago God had nudged me to read and study about David and Goliath. I was going through some traumatic things and His Word in the Bible is always encouraging.

I had heard the story from childhood and all throughout my adult life. I have read it many times. (Hint: Never assume you already know it all or that God’s Word, even though you might have memorized it, isn’t new every morning.) God’s Word is progressive. It IS new every time you read it.

Back to the movie. At first it didn’t seem very exciting – the scene was in a desert with only sand and rocks and soldiers. Didn’t matter – I was multi-tasking – playing solitaire on my tablet. I looked up every now and then to catch a glimpse of the characters. I especially wanted to see who was cast to play David – the young shepherd boy God had anointed to be the next King. I also wanted to take a look at Goliath to see just how big and mean he looked. He looked about like I suspected. But . . .

David – the young shepherd boy who would one day become King as God had decreed and Samuel had anointed – that was a different story. He wasn’t as I imagined him at all. He truly looked like a young teenage boy.

God Doesn’t Look At Things The Way We Do

Saul’s soldiers were dressed in sharp-looking uniforms with great helmets, shields and swords. The opposing group looked very scary and mean. Goliath was taunting God’s men saying awful things about what he was going to do to them, and his mission was accomplished – they were scared. They had heard of his reputation and knew that no one had every survived his attacks. None of the soldiers would volunteer to fight him.

David just happened to be there to deliver food to his brothers. It’s hard to imagine a war where the men are so close that they can yell at one another, but that’s how it was. David heard Goliath taunting the soldiers of God and couldn’t believe that they were allowing him to do so. After all, he was God’s enemy and David couldn’t understand why Goliath was being allowed to  get away with his taunting and his  threats.

Continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith vs. Doubt

24 Mar

I want to have strong faith. I know I have the faith of a mustard seed, but I want never to doubt! I don’t know if that is possible.

I have lived the majority of my life as a child of God. So, I have had many opportunities to trust God. Sometimes, I didn’t trust Him at all. At other times, my trust was limited.  It was easy to have “faith” when I was fairly certain of the outcome.

Earlier in my walk with God, I knew about doubt and faith and being double minded. I found that I wavered a lot, just not intentionally. I wanted to believe. I knew, in theory, that I could trust God and that He could do anything.  I also knew from sitting under many years of teaching from the Word of God, what faith was all about. But, it took years for me to really get it.

Now that I am a senior citizen, I can say that although I would like to have learned about the subject of God and His ways quickly and then “graduated,” that just isn’t God’s way.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t have need of a day-to-day relationship with Him. My relationship with Him wouldn’t  grow, nor would I have learned what it means to really trust Him – following the Holy Spirit as He leads me through life.

Scripture says that I must pick up my cross daily, and follow Him. I can relate it to a relationship with a significant other. As we grow old together, we continue to learn new things about each other as we face life’s challenges. As I walk daily with Jesus Christ, my Lord, my relationship grows deeper and I come to know Him more as I walk in obedience to Him – I even learn about His ways when I don’t walk in obedience.

With each trial I face, I have the opportunity to either trust Him and follow Him in obedience, or not. Either way, if I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I can get to know Him and even myself, better. Trials aren’t sent as punishment or because God doesn’t care. Trials come for many reasons. Possibly, I act in disobedience – maybe not even on purpose. Or, something happens beyond my control. What is important is that I take everything to Him in prayer.

With each step that I take in my daily walk with God, I learn to trust Him more and more. I find contentment and peace as my relationship with Him deepens.

I have reached a place that I know, without any doubt at all, that God knows what is best for me. He will not fail me. Even when I make mistakes, He is there to help me. I have no doubt – none – about that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have trouble, disappointment, or even sorrow, in my life. It means that God is with me every step of every day. If I allow Him to, He will teach me by His Holy Spirit, to rest in peace and trust Him with the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have doubts about circumstances and whether I am doing what is right.  And, I even doubt sometimes if God is going to do what I ask – the way I ask – when I ask. But, the bottom line is that I do not doubt that He will do what is best for me in His time, not mine.  My part is to yield to Him, trust Him and know that His ways are higher and better than mine.

What I can’t do is get upset and rebellious when things don’t go the way I want them to.  If I really want God’s best, I have to follow Him and trust Him. Otherwise, I get into trouble and have to humbly ask Him to forgive me and then to show me the way back.

God has proven Himself faithful to me again and again. He knows me so much better than I know myself. He knows what I like and what will make me happy. So, I can trust Him and not doubt that His ways are truly the best for me.

I have witnessed God’s miracles again and again, in the worst of circumstances.  God is so amazing – there aren’t words to express how good He is. Not because of what He can do for me, but because He loves me so much. His love is the same for everyone – we just have to receive it.

Just Because You Can’t Do It, Doesn’t Mean God Can’t!

2 Jul

Don’t Limit God!

What God has given me for you today pertains to any limitations you have placed on Him regarding yourselves and your abilities. This means in your personal life, as well as, in your ministry.

If you are limiting God this is what you are doing:

1. YOU are placing boundaries around what God can do and what He cannot do. YOU are telling Him that He can go THIS FAR, but no further.
2. YOU are telling God to what extent He can move in your life, YOU are placing restrictions on your vision, your money, your work, your ministry – your life in general.
3. YOU are RESTRICTING God because of the limits you are placing upon Him.
4. Remember, God gave you a FREE WILL. YOU make choices daily. It is not His plan for you to be limited in any way.
5. FAITH is the substance of things unseen.
6. You will see by the examples listed below what limiting God in your life can do.
7. More than likely you SAY just the opposite. But, take a close look to make sure. Ask God IF you are limiting Him and ask Him to show you HOW you are limiting Him.

In Numbers 13 God told Moses to send out 12 men, the leaders of each clan of the children of Israel to check out the land He had given them. Check it out:

 I believe this was one way for God to prepare His people so they could get ready for the job that was before them.
 The Bible identifies the men – they were hand-picked by God. They were the leaders of their clans.
 They saw that the land was full of giants. There was a bountiful supply of fruit. The grapes were so big that two men carried a cluster back home to show their people.
 Then came their report. Out of twelve men, 10 of them were afraid and doubted God. I guess they thought that what God gave them to do wasn’t possible.
 The doubting 10 leaders spread their doubt, unbelief and fear among the people. They were responsible for inevitable punishment of their people.
 There were only two men (Joshua and Caleb) who said “Lets go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with them said “We can’t do it. These men are stronger than we are. Then they said: “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
 What they were saying was “to those men we looked like grasshoppers, and to US – we looked like grasshoppers. SO – THEY win!” They didn’t even attempt to do what God told them.
 They didn’t even stop to think that God would not have sent them to the land and told them to look it over to scare them out of their wits! He wanted them to prepare. To get ready to take the land that was their inheritance. He had already proven Himself to them and promised to be with them.
 When these leaders went back and gave their people this bad report, what do you think they did?
 It is important that you see the influence you have as a leader.
 Whose report will you believe? God’s – Your’s – Satan’s?
 This is what their people did: “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
 Do you know who God held accountable for all the murmuring? THE LEADERS!
 Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people that it was a good land, flowing with milk and honey and that they could take it. God would be with them. They begged the people not to rebel against God. But the people stoned them for their good report! Can you imagine! Then the glory of the LORD appeared before the people. Uh Oh!
 This is what God said to Moses: “How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.”
 Moses begged God not to do it. He interceded on behalf of his people.
 So, God pardoned them because of Moses’ prayer, but because those men saw His glory and His miracles and still tempted Him by not listening to what He told them, He denied them the privilege of entering into the promised land. They had to wander in the wilderness until they were all dead.

Only Joshua and Caleb and the younger generation were permitted to leave the desert after 40 years of wandering. Once they reached the promised land, only Joshua and Caleb had faith in God’s promise to give them the land. The other clan leaders let fear and grumbling rob them of the future God had planned for them.

Only Joshua and Caleb trusted God enough to encourage the people to take the land. God honored their faith. Only Joshua and Caleb and the children under 20 years of age were allowed to enter the land God has promised them. All those who doubted God let fear and unbelief rob them of God’s best. Instead, they lived out the remainder of their years living in the desert.

Comfortable?

26 Jun

As God’s children we are sometimes led into areas we are unfamiliar with. In the Scriptures there are stories of many who were called by God into unfamiliar territory or tasks that appeared to be way out of their comfort zone.

In Genesis we are told that God told Abram (later called Abraham) to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household to go where God would later show him. Wait for it . . .

What in the world would you do if God placed that instruction in your heart? Oh, and did I forget to say that Abram was 75 years old at that time. So, in case you are thinking you’re too old – think again.

Further, the Scripture says, “So, Abram left, as God had told him”. Okay, I’m sure I can imagine what you may be thinking. I don’t have the space to say it all here. However; if you think God wouldn’t ask something of you without giving you a map from beginning to end, you are mistaken, my friend. That is what faith is all about.

Besides, I’m sure God may have directed many of you reading this, already. And, if so, how did you respond? I can probably guess at many of the questions and excuses that you could come up with.

“God, are you talking to me?”
“I must have imagined that.”
“Surely God wouldn’t tell me to do that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I can’t do that. How would I . . . ”

You see, the very lives we live follow God into many unknown areas and uncharted waters if we are truly listening to Him and letting Him direct us. It may not be about going to a “far country” as God instructed Abram. But, it may be a tug at your heart to do something else which may take just as much faith. We can’t map out our lives like we do a vacation. When we walk with God, life gets very interesting at many levels. Besides, a “far country” is anywhere that is unfamiliar to us.

Think I’m a little out of balance? Well, it’s okay if you think that. Sometimes I’m not so sure myself. But, I do know this. I trust my God in heaven. I know His voice, and I follow His direction to the best of my ability.

Do I make mistakes? You can be sure of it. Will I again? I’m sure of it. Why? Because I am most certainly human. But, I have plenty to say about how faithful God has been to me in the midst of many a trial and many a storm. Most of them took me on a journey of not knowing exactly where I was going or how I was going to get there. AND, about another million questions. My peace came from within, knowing that God would never fail me because He never has.

Each journey I take with my Heavenly Father, takes more of my trust and faith. And, each journey gets more exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. God knows where I’m going – that’s what is important.

Walking with God doesn’t allow for being in a rut. Don’t like being uncomfortable? Neither do I, but I want what God wants for my life and that usually means being a bit uncomfortable. It also means not coming to a dead-end. My friends, God wants you still kicking until He calls you to your mansion in the sky. If you sit down and get comfortable you’ll miss out on some exciting things.

Do You Know Where You Are Going!

13 Jun

THE BIG TRIP

Whether you know it or not, God is taking you on a journey. Meditate on the following questions. Open your heart to receive new insights into what God is asking of you.

1. Think about one or two things you are facing that are new to you or that you are not sure about.

2. When you plan a trip there are things you know and things you do not know. Think about the things that are new to you and what challenges they present. Ask yourself if these things are keeping you from doing what God is asking of you.

3. The Destination – Do you know the destination? Did you choose it or did God?

4. Do you enjoy the journey, or do you just want to get to the destination? Most of us just want to hurry up and get where we are going. God doesn’t get in a hurry. There are milestones along the way for you to manage. Don’t let them frustrate you or cause you to turn back. This is the most important part of the journey.

5. If you chose the destination are you willing to let God change it? Or, are you determined to go your own way? Make sure it is a God thing and not just a good thing — because all good things aren’t necessarily God things. His hand is upon those things that He has called you to do. Don’t waste your time with something that does not have His blessing on it.

6. If God did choose the destination, are you charting the course (telling God how to do things)? God doesn’t need you – you need God.

7. How much of your plan is based on past experiences and things you know? This can be a major problem when you are walking in faith. Let God do the leading – He will probably take you down a path you have never been before – Check with Him continually – Make sure you are not just doing what you always do. God may have a much better way — IF you will allow it!

8. What part does fear, anxiety, not knowing the outcome — driving you and to what extent? Oooo – hard one! Remember, God said “Fear not, for I am with you”.

9. When something unexpected happens, do you automatically assume you’ve made a mistake or that you must be headed in the wrong way? Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. Think about the Israelites when they left the only home they new and followed Moses to the promised land. They wanted to turn back at every obstacle. They would rather have lived in the slavery they knew so well than to fight for what God promised them. They just wanted to sit back and let Him do it all for them.

10. When you get where you think you’re headed and it is different from what you had planned, do you try again to go back? Or, do you seek God for you inner peace to determine what your next step is? – DON’T GO BACK! God is able to take you out the front door!

11. Would you just as soon stay where you are or do you really want to take the trip God has planned for you?

12. Do you want to see (learn) new things along the way?

13. Are you willing to let go of what you believe the outcome is to be and let God give you something better? It may not always look better to you. That’s where faith comes in. Trust God. He knows what you want more than you do! Really.

14. Do you understand that “better” to God has a different meaning than “better” to you? Can you, and will you, trust Him to see you through to the end?

15. How many times along the way are you tempted to turn back?

16. How many times have you actually turned back? What were the results? Do you think that means God can’t get you back on track? Charles Stanley says “God always knows how long it will take you to get where you are going and He knows when to start preparing you”. Your timing is not God’s timing.

17. Do you think God could/would change your course or destination along the way? Would you let Him? Or, would you determine that the enemy had come to steal from you? God will definitely change your course many times. He wants you to let him do the driving. I once heard a teacher say that following God is like going through one of those car washes where you stay in the car. God wants you to “Put it in neutral, take your foot off the brake and your hands off the steering wheel”!

Some Hints:

Don’t limit God with the way you are praying.

Don’t do things the way you have always done them before.

Do what you need to do and leave the rest to God.

Experience the lessons in the journey – don’t miss it while anticipating the destination.

When you get where you are going – don’t turn around and go back!

Let God surprise you – trust Him with the parts you don’t know.

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!

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