Daily Archives: October 18, 2020

Have Faith In God

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When You Don’t Like God’s Plan

If God has a plan for your life, and you have a plan for your life, whose plan do you think is better?

During my senior year of college, I attended a conference called Senior Panic. The term aptly described me. Graduation loomed just months away, and I wasn’t sure which path to pursue. But I knew what I didn’t want — ministry.

So, when I sensed God’s call to join Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ), I resisted. Strongly. I was sure our perfect God had made His first mistake. He had the wrong gal.

Like Jacob, I wrestled all night with God. Like Moses, I offered up every excuse why He should pick someone else. Not only was I not qualified, but the idea of living in a hut in the jungle also didn’t appeal to me. And I was sure, if I completely surrendered to God, that is exactly where He’d send me.

But God wouldn’t relent, so worn out from resisting, I surrendered.

During my staff interview, a woman asked me how sure I was of my calling. “100%,” I said, “because this is not something would choose.”

Cru accepted me — on PROBATION — of course. Hadn’t I already told God about my limited Bible knowledge and lack of ministry experience?

Training and Transformation

At staff training in Fort Collins, Colorado, my heart softened. I realized I wanted to serve Christ wherever He decided to put me. On completion, they assigned me to a team in Boston — instead of a hut in the jungle.

Our team director modeled a close walk with the Lord. He taught us how to study the Bible in a simple format. He assigned us to spend two hours with God every morning before our staff meeting. The Scriptures began to speak to me like they never had before.

I learned to savor my time with God. His Word became fuel for my soul. It’s no exaggeration to say my life was transformed. As my love for God and His Word exploded, a passion to connect others to God’s heart was born.

I met my husband on staff and after 11 years in youth ministry, we sensed the call to pursue training in biblical counseling. That led us into different venues of ministry.

After serving God in vocational Christian ministry for many decades I can say, God didn’t make a mistake when He called me. I now realize He doesn’t call us for what we can do for Him, but for what He can do in and through us.

God’s plan is not always easy. Sometimes it includes setbacks and suffering. But we can be sure it’s always best.

Do you have a plan for your life that collides with God’s plan for you? Let’s go back to our opening question, whose plan do you think is better?

The only way to live a life without regret is to live a life of surrender and obedience.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

 

Let Me Take Care of That for You

by Debbie Holloway, crosswalk.com

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

I recently had a bit of a three-ring-circus to deal with trying to pay a toll. Our lovely Richmond, VA is indeed a beautiful city, but we sure do have some tolls. In fact, depending on where you’re going and from where you’re coming, you may have to pay 3 or 4 tolls in one trip. That happened to me a few weeks ago. As I left the office (right in the middle of the city) and headed southside to visit a friend, I realized too late that I didn’t have enough cash to pay the final toll. With a sigh, I asked for a receipt from the toll booth and went on my way.

I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say I talked to far too many people on the phone, hand-delivered my toll payment in some city office, and still got a “Toll Violation” notice in the mail. This resulted in mild deflation of my spirits. My family said, “Debbie, don’t worry. Just call them and explain.” I tried to, but was informed that not only was there no record of my payment, but that I would be forced to pay an extra $13 (on a 70 cent toll!) for a vague “Administration” fee.

Come on, I kept thinking. I’m just trying to live my life and pay my toll.

In one last valiant move to get some help, I walked back to the aforementioned office on my lunch break the next afternoon. As it so happened, a high ranking administrator happened to be there right when I was. As I explained the situation, he made a copy of my toll notice and immediately got someone on the phone.

“I can dismiss this for you,” he said.

“What do I need to do?” I asked, skeptical. “Who do I need to call and follow up with?”

“Nope. Nothing,” he said. “Here’s my card. If you get another notice, just call me.”

I left the office that day with a spring in my step and a burden off my shoulders. I was no longer going to be hounded by the toll agencies!

“See, we told you,” my family said. “You shouldn’t have worried.”

Isn’t our relationship with Christ a lot like that, sometimes? I feel like I have worried and fretted about so many things, only to realize in retrospect that God was trying to tell me, “Baby, let me take care of that for you.”

Jesus told his disciples,

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

 

Praying for Persecuted Christians

From: InTouch ministries

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Each year more than 200 million believers around the world suffer for their faith—especially in many parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Where oppressive governments make Christianity illegal, churches are bombed and defaced, and followers of Jesus face imprisonment, torture, or even death for their beliefs. It’s not uncommon for the faithful to risk their life attempting to escape such regimes.

This oppression is devastating. But for us who can more freely express our faith, it presents an opportunity to support those who can’t safely proclaim Christ. Jesus tells us that we can ask for anything in His name (John 14:12-14). Let’s make time to pray that our brothers and sisters around the world will have courage and endurance—and that God will make a way for them to safely gather in worship.

Think About It

  • Peter encouraged the early church when it faced persecution (1 Peter 4:12-14). What are some ways we can uplift those suffering for their faith?
  • Are there tangible ways you can support the church around the world? Discuss ideas with your family, small group, or pastor.

Self-delusion

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ Luke 13:24

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 12:15–21

I marvel not that so many are deceived, when I see the careless way in which you deal with religion. When men have to do with their estates, they are very careful; they fee a lawyer to go back over the title-deeds perhaps for two or three hundred years. In trade they will hurry hither and thither to attend to their commercial engagements; they would not launch into speculations, nor would they run great risks; but the soul, the poor soul, how men play with it as a toy, and despise it as if it were worthless earth. Two or three minutes in the morning when they first roll out of bed, two or three odd minutes in the evening, when they are nearly asleep—the fag-ends of the day given to their souls, and all the best part given to the body! And then, the Sabbath! How carelessly spent by most people! With what indifference do you lend your ears too often to the preaching of the Word! It is an old song; you have heard it so many times; heaven has become a trifle to you, hell is almost a jest, eternity a notion, and death but a bugbear. Alas! it is a marvel that there are not more deceived. The wonder is that any find the gate, that any discover eternal life, when we are so, so mad, so foolish, so insane, as to trifle where we ought to be awfully in earnest, and to play and toy, where the whole heart is all too little to be given to a work of such dread, such everlasting importance. God help us, since it is so easy to be deceived, to search, and watch, and look, and test, and try, that we be not found castaways at the last!

For meditation: Satan does not need to deceive us, when we are doing his dirty work by deceiving ourselves. Beware of delusions of wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18), self-satisfaction (Galatians 6:3), hearing God’s Word without applying it (James 1:22), a loose tongue (James 1:26) and claims to sinless perfection (1 John 1:8). These are all paths to self-deceit.