“And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15
Waiting is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but it is part of what it means to be a servant of God. Because your life is hidden in Christ, His agenda is what matters most. Because His agenda takes precedence over your own, waiting for His timing is as common as flour is for a baker. God has the arial view, if you will, and you can only see from where you are on the ground. Waiting is wisdom, My Friend. You would not want to rush what God is up to in your life or the lives of those for whom you have been praying. If the Almighty is not in a hurry, who are you and I to be in one? Ask the Lord to give you His perspective so that you can experience the peace that is also a part of being a servant of God. Determine not to be like the child for whom everything must happen right now. Exercise child-like faith that your Divine Parent knows what is best and that you can trust Him by choosing to be patient.
I believe that faith makes the Father smile. Because it is impossible to please Him without it (Hebrews 11:6) you and I can be confident of His pleasure when we put it into practice. So, how is your wait, My Friend? Is the Father finding pleasure in your behavior in your waiting season? I can assure you mine is not what it needs to be. I am learning that patience is in my best interest because it brings about the rest I am always asking God to give me—the growth too. Patience helps me slow down enough to savor where I am right now, whatever that season may be. It enables me to devote the needed attention to whatever God has placed in my hand at the moment instead of straining to get where I think I want to be. I also have to keep telling myself that if I choose to do today well, I will be ready for the day I have been longing for when it comes.
Pray with me: Father, forgive me for my impatience. Help me to trust You and to remember anew that You are in control and that this is all I need to know. Help me to be faithful in what You have for me to do right now knowing it is every bit as important as the thing I think I would rather be doing. Thank you that by your Spirit, I already possess the patience I need. Give me grace to allow its release in my life so that I can be pleasing to You in my waiting season. Amen.
“He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. ” 2 Kings 14:3
In some cases, it’s ok to be mediocre. No one can be the best at everything and some things are not important enough to deserve our energy and time.
Other things, however, mean so much that they deserve our utmost.
I speak specifically to your heart toward God. Today’s verse gives a chilling description of the heart of King Amaziah. At first it sounds like he was getting a glowing review: he did right in the sight of God. The description quickly darkens when it says he didn’t do right like his ancestor David, a man after God’s own heart. King Amaziah was satisfied being “good enough”.
Call me an overachiever, but I want to do more than just get by in my walk with God. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t want there to be any area of my life that I am satisfied with the bronze or tin when the gold of knowing God deeper is available by His grace.
How about you?
When we start talking about being pleasing to God, the mind automatically looks at the mountain of times we failed before, but that’s not where we should focus. We must focus on the power God offers to help us persevere and overcome. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
It begins with repentance and surrender. Are there morals you have let slip? Have you given up striving to hear Him say, “well done” because it seems nobody else is trying? The benefits of following hard after God far outweigh the “pleasures” of mediocrity. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
The cross was God’s way of reaching low to save us. Our best response is to aim high in pleasing Him.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44
I know at least one person who hates my guts. She takes every opportunity to heckle and criticize me. I learned long ago that reasoning with her does not work.
I would be lying if I said sometimes I don’t want to retaliate. The world’s tactics for dealing with haters is to hate back bigger and show who’s boss. This has no place in kingdom life. Jesus said to love our enemies and to pray for them. Not easy.
My hater won’t let me near her, so I love her by praying for her. I pray she finds the peace she needs, I pray for resolution in her mind over how she thinks I wronged her. Her issue is not really with me but her perception of me.
What about you and your haters? Are you asking God for grace to love them? It’s tough, I know, but loving them keeps their poison from destroying you. May God give you strength to do this, my friend.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
I have a friend who seems gifted at connecting people to resources that they would never know about otherwise. When she shares the information, she gets this passionate twinkle in her voice because she enjoys being a bridge for meeting needs.
Jesus is the best Resource for every imaginable need, my friend. If you need a job, His omniscience and love can connect you to the right people and the right job. If you struggle with depression, He offers joy unlike any other. If fear plagues your spirit, confidence is His specialty. Call on Him!
As you interact with all the hurting people in your corner of the world, you may not have all the answers, my friend, but you do know Jesus Who is the Solution for every possible problem. It’s not by accident that you are in their life hearing about their need. Don’t be afraid to drop His name. Talk about how good He’s been to you. Allow God to use you as a bridge connecting their need to the One Who most delights in meeting it. It’s your calling. It’s your privilege
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18 NIV
Can you walk in the rain without your shoes getting wet? Of course not. It is equally impossible to express boundaries without someone getting mad about it. As Christians, we can be overly worried about making others mad. Of course we are never to provoke others through misconduct. We live in an age where people are offended by the slightest thing so we may be tempted to be silent just to keep the peace.
Jesus never focused on people’s responses to the truth. He determined to do the Father’s will. The response His listeners gave was their business. He knew that God had given every person a free will. He let them exercise it however they chose, but He never changed His message. You and I must have the same focus.
Boundaries are a form of expressing the truth. Boundaries are a gift from God. If you allow others to break those boundaries through intimidation, you suffer for it. I know it is uncomfortable when people respond with anger when you say what they don’t want to hear. Know that it is the truth they are responding to, not you. Pray God softens their heart and opens their eyes, my friend. This is a spiritual fight, and you have already won when you speak the truth.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
I read chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians today and was struck by the vulnerability Apostle Paul showed his original readers. Apparently he needed to debunk some nasty rumors that had been going around about him. He was more than a little hurt that his friends believed them. Have you ever been in that position where the people you love believed the worst about you? Of course it hurt! I love that Paul did not pretend he was ok with what happened. I love that he was open with them about his feelings. I hear the struggle and the woundedness in his words. However, I most admire that he let the truth, not the rumors, be the ground he stood on. His conscience was clear before God and that was enough for him. That has to be enough for you. For me too.
People’s opinions go up and down, and if we live or die by them, we will be sea-sick emotionally. Jesus calls us to be steadfast in our allegiance to Him because at the end of the day, His opinion is all that matters. Be sure, He will check our motives and tell us when we are wrong. His unconditional love gives us confidence in the face of His correction. Nobody can do us quite like Jesus can, my friend, so I encourage you to trust your heart to Him in a way it is unsafe to do with anyone else. No one else has given so much for our security so no one else deserves our heart like that. This is the truth. Let it set you free from the flimsy opinion of people. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) KJV
“Devote yourselves to prayer….” Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
I had a boyfriend who only enjoyed our time on the phone when he had something to say. When it was my turn to talk, he fell asleep. He also broke up with me around the time of my birthday so he didn’t have to buy me a gift, but he conveniently reunited with me around his birthday. Tell me, was he devoted to me?
Now, apply this same principle to prayer. Today’s Bible verse commands us to be devoted to prayer. What does that look like? Maybe it’s easier to say what it does not look like. It does not mean talking to God only when it’s convenient. Doing all the talking is also not a sign of devotion. “Breaking up”with prayer when God does not answer on our timetable is also a poor example of devoted life prayer. Falling asleep during prayer does not have to mean we lack devotion, but if we prayed throughout the day in a conversational way, snoozing might be easier to keep at bay.
Do you sense you may need to deepen your devotion to prayer? I sure do. Prayer is more than talking just to say we did it. It is speaking to the very God Who initiated the conversation with us, and Who loves to hear from us. Pray with love in your voice, pray throughout your day, and the devotion will be there!
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31 (NLT)
It took me three weeks to get back to my sewing machine. This is not good. Sewing is my therapy. It keeps me sane as I create something beautiful. I love being alone with my thoughts with Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown singing in the background. Ahh.
Sitting there in my happy zone, nagging thoughts kept popping into my head. “You need to send those cards you promised, and you need to return that phone call. You also need to throw a load of laundry into the wash so you have….” On and on the voice nagged. Finally I stopped long enough to say out loud so the devil and anybody else could hear, “You know what, there is NEVER going to be a time when there is not something else I need to do. I have let you talk me out of my fun time for three long weeks. I need this time every bit as much as those other tasks need getting done. I am tired of waiting for permission to have fun. I am taking the time for me right now!” It felt so good!
How long has it been since you made time for activities that refresh your spirit? Nobody likes a martyr and everyone else’s needs don’t have to come before yours all the time. Your refreshment needs to be a line item in your time budget. You are responsible to make sure it happens. Jesus had a full schedule healing and doing miracles, but He also took time to refresh Himself. Be like Jesus and rest. Do something that brings you joy and don’t let anyone, including yourself, talk you out of it.
“And let us run with perseverance(B)the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1c (NIV)
I know that growth and change are hard, my friend. I know some days you wonder if you will make it, and you may even wish you had not started. In those moments, remind yourself what put you on this journey in the first place. What dire or unpleasant circumstance were you experiencing that made you know something had to change? It is easy to forget when growing is painful that the pain of not growing is a thing too! Ask God to help you if the temptation to quit is threatening to send you retreating back to old ways. Nothing good is waiting for you back there. You have wasted enough time doing the same old things and getting worse results. You have come farther than you think, and your reward is closer than you know.
You are trying to build a better existence for yourself and the people who love you. Do not let them down after coming so far. Don’t let yourself down. I promise your hard work will be worth it. Ask God for the strength you need. Renew your mind. Take the next step forward even if it’s a tiny one. Then do it again until you are in that zone where champions live. This is a zone where quitting sounds ridiculous, and the only thing you see is momentum. No one can do this for you, my friend. You have a Helper Who loves you more than you can wrap your mind around. He offers you His strength. Take itand stay in the race.