See God Working In Your Life

 We See God’s Wonders By His Grace. God Made These Things For Us To Know Him.
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Jesus Healing The Blind

 

The Eternal Truth

by Inspiration Ministries

The teraphim speak iniquity, and the diviners see lying visions and tell false dreams…Therefore the people wander like sheep, they are afflicted, because there is no shepherd. Zechariah 10:2 NASB

In the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, two men competed for power during the 6th century BC. One of them, Cleomenes, decided to eliminate his rival, Demaratus.

To settle the issue, the men submitted their dispute to the oracle at Delphi. But instead of waiting for a judgment, Cleomenes decided to fix the outcome, secretly paying a bribe. As a result, a prophetess announced a decision that led to Demaratus’ banishment.

Cleomenes thought he had won. But when his bribery became public, he was forced to flee. Eventually, he went insane and committed suicide. This whole process was possible only because so many Spartans trusted their gods and oracles like the one at Delphi.

The prophet Zechariah spoke of a similar time when God’s people stopped trusting in Him, but looked to various “teraphim,” which could be employed in divination. They also trusted in diviners, who employed demonic powers to discern their answers.

These diviners saw “lying visions” and told “false dreams.” In fact, these “diviners” could be bribed and manipulated. They might have provided temporary “comfort” but their words were “in vain”…deceptive and misleading. In reality, none of these people spoke for God.

Today, the world is filled with voices offering answers, and many claim to know the future. But remember that there is only one God. Make sure to place your faith in Him. He cannot be manipulated or bribed. He always speaks the truth. The uncompromising truth. The eternal truth.

Be Sheep

By: Pauline Hylton

Now that I’ve been a farmer for almost two years, I’ve learned a few things.

For instance, I can tell you that a bushhog is not a pig hiding in the undergrowth — it’s a machine. And straw and hay are not the same — just ask a horse. Did you know chickens do not need a rooster to lay an egg? I do. Now.

I can also tell the difference between a sheep and a goat. So can the Lord.

If you take a look at Matthew 25:31-46 you can see what I mean. Jesus speaks of a day when He will judge the earth. Verses 31-33 state this:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (NIV)

Jesus goes on to clarify what He means. In the story, the sheep represent true believers and goats represent those who claim to believe but are not. The ‘goats’ show they are not true believers by their lack of action.

I’m not saying anyone earns his or her way to heaven, not only is that impossible, it’s unbiblical. I’m just sharing with you what God’s Son said.

And what He says is important. Life-giving. It’s also life-taking — like that passage.

In a world where people mention God or Jesus or spirituality, it’s important to understand what it means — or perhaps, what it doesn’t mean.

When people mention god, it doesn’t mean they are speaking of the God of the Bible. People like to dress god up to look like them. Kind of like the Greeks did — a god who is okay with promiscuity or lying or cruelty.

The Great Jehovah transcends all of that.

These ‘goats’ talk about Jesus as a great man or a prophet, or one way to God. Yet Jesus says

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus demands exclusivity.

Someone might say, “I’m a spiritual person.”

My response is “But are you a saved person?”

You might receive a shocked face if you say those words to someone — even an angry face, and in some countries, you may receive imprisonment or torture or even death. That just means you’re a sheep.

And then some of you who are reading this may be goats and may not even be aware of it. You may be serving in your church and receive a perfect attendance Sunday School pin. But it means nothing because you do it all for the wrong reasons. Perhaps pressure from your family, or tradition, or church is another form of social networking for you.

I have one word for you — repent! Turn from trusting in your works or your idea of God and turn to Christ today.

Or face His judgment tomorrow.

Listen to verse 41 in the last part of our Matthew passage:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (NIV)

Don’t be a goat, be a sheep.

Your forever depends on it.

Discovering Your True Self

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He answered her not a word (Matthew 15:23).

He will be silent in his love (Zephaniah 3:17).

It may be a child of God is reading these words who has had some great crushing sorrow, some bitter disappointment, some heart-breaking blow from a totally unexpected quarter. You are longing for your Master’s voice bidding you “Be of good cheer,” but only silence and a sense of mystery and misery meet you –“He answered her not a word.”

God’s tender heart must often ache listening to all the sad, complaining cries which arise from our weak, impatient hearts, because we do not see that for our own sakes He answers not at all or otherwise than seems best to our tear-blinded, short-sighted eyes. The silences of Jesus are as eloquent as His speech and may be a sign, not of His disapproval, but of His approval and of a deep purpose of blessing for you.

“Why art thou cast down, O… soul?” Thou shalt yet praise Him, yes, even for His silence. Listen to an old and beautiful story of how one Christian dreamed that she saw three others at prayer. As they knelt the Master drew near to them.

As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her in tenderness and grace, with smiles full of radiant love and spoke to her in accents of purest, sweetest music. Leaving her, He came to the next, but only placed His hand upon her bowed bead, and gave her one look of loving approval. The third woman He passed almost abruptly without stopping for a word or glance.

The woman in her dream said to herself, “How greatly He must love the first one, to the second He gave His approval, but none of the special demonstrations of love He gave the first; and the third must have grieved Him deeply, for He gave her no word at all and not even a passing look.

“I wonder what she has done, and why He made so much difference between them?” As she tried to account for the action of her Lord, He Himself stood by her and said: “O woman! how wrongly hast thou interpreted Me. The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her feet in My narrow way. She needs My love, thought and help every moment of the day. Without it she would fail and fall.

“The second has stronger faith and deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people do. The third, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the finest quality, and her I am training by quick and drastic processes for the highest and holiest service.

“She knows Me so intimately, and trusts Me so utterly, that she is independent of words or looks or any outward intimation of My approval. She is not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstances through which I arrange that she shall pass; she trusts Me when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel;–because she knows that I am working in her for eternity, and that what I do, though she knows not the explanation now, she will understand hereafter.

“I am silent in My love because I love beyond the power of words to express, or of human hearts to understand, and also for your sakes that you may learn to love and trust Me in Spirit-taught, spontaneous response to My love, without the spur of anything outward to call it forth.”

He “will do marvels” if you will learn the mystery of His silence, and praise Him, for every time He withdraws His gifts that you may better know and love the Giver.
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The Cost Of Sanctification

Romans 5:1. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 15:15-16. “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23. “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Sincere or Insincere?

by Inspiration Ministries

When you fasted and mourned…was it actually for Me that you fasted? When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves? Zechariah 7:5-6 NASB

As exiles in Babylon, the Jews faced overwhelming problems. In this seemingly hopeless situation, some sought God. Some even devoted themselves to fasting. They appeared to be sincere, but God knew their hearts and their real motivation. He knew they really just sought to please themselves and get praise from others.

God wanted them to know that they were not fooling Him. He knew they really did not care about Him or His Kingdom. They really did not desire purity or want to obey Him. They just were going through the motions and appearing to be religious. God would not honor their superficial, hypocritical actions. He wanted sincerity, hearts that were broken and lives that genuinely cared about Him.

He wanted people sold out for doing what was right, and putting their faith into action. People who demonstrated their faith, who “dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion,” who “do not oppress” or devise evil in their hearts against others (vs. 9-10).

The Bible makes it clear that God looks beyond our actions. In fact, He looks deep into our hearts to see our real motivation and true priorities. He isn’t moved by people who engage in religious activities just to impress others or appear spiritual. He wants people who genuinely love Him from a pure heart.

In your life, make a commitment to seek God. Fellowship with Him. Know His Word and put it into practice. Don’t be content with superficial Christianity or religious activities. Be sold out for God and His Kingdom.

 

Let God Be God

From: Ray Stedman.org

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Ecclesiastes 3:14

How different this picture of life under the sovereign lordship of a living God is from what most people think God is like! A popular book for Christians on the topic of sex explains the truth that God has designed sex for pleasure. But it is not merely sex that is designed for pleasure; all things are designed for human pleasure. If you think a certain thing in and of itself is going to produce lasting pleasure, however, you will miss it. The secret is that it is the knowledge of God in that relationship that produces enjoyment. We are not in the grasp of the Great Cosmic Joy Killer, as many people seem to view God. God delights in human enjoyment.

The Searcher says that all enjoyment must be discovered by realizing that God is in charge, and He will not bend His plan for anyone. God has sovereignly, independently, set up the plan of life in a way with which we cannot interfere. He has done so in order that people should revere Him.

All through the Bible we read, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Until a person recognizes and trusts the superior wisdom of God, he or she has not begun to fear God. This fear is not abject terror of God; it is respect and honor for Him. If you attempt to live your life without the recognition of God, ultimately you will find yourself, as the Searcher found himself; empty, dissatisfied, and restless, feeling that life is miserable and meaningless. The secret of life is the presence of God Himself.

Most of the struggle of life comes from our wanting to play God ourselves, wanting to be in charge of what happens to us. That is true even of Christians. When God refuses to go along, we sulk and pout and get angry with Him. We throw away our faith and say, What’s the use? I tried it, but it doesn’t work. What a foolish statement! God will not surrender His prerogatives. Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it—God has made it so in order that men should revere him.

God Helps His Servants During Trials

Matthew 5

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

 

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Daniel in lion’s den                                                             Joseph sold by brothers
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                                                                                              Jesus on Judgement throne
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The tower of Babel

 

 

 

God Never Fails

By: Felix Kwabena Donkor

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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

After playing an active part in my Church’s beginning of the year fast in January, I was expecting a smooth sail through the year 2016. Little did I expect any sudden disappointments for the year given my spiritual preparation! But I was taken aback when one bad news after another came in rapid succession, leaving me wondering if it was worth starting the year with a prayer and fasting period.

I had applied for a project and was earnestly looking forward to being awarded a contract. I did not get it. I had also encouraged a colleague of mine to apply. The day I got the bad news, he met me on my way home and thanked me for my encouragement and prayers for him with this project, because he was successful with his application! He asked me if I also got a positive answer. I jealously congratulated him and was so mad at God! In my eyes I was more qualified and felt God must be playing favorites. I even thought maybe Christianity was not for me—I must be in the wrong religion in the first place! But you can see my pride and spiritual immaturity in this narrative.

As an intercessor I prayed for these brethren, that they will be successful, and here I am complaining why I was not the chosen one! Mercy!

As a human being I always want things to go my way. I have a myopic view, unlike God who has the big picture and my best interest at heart. But I erroneously was expecting the Lord to make my life a bed of roses without challenges or difficulties. I was treating God as a genie, doing whatever I wanted and God would always bless it.

However, all things work together for those who love Christ. Not only what I see as good, but also the ones I consider bad in my human understanding.

As I desire to grow in my spiritual walk with God, I have come to understand that it will come with trials and challenges which I must embrace as I seek His wisdom and guidance through all the changing scenes of life.

Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-18) answered steadfastly that no matter how hot the furnace may be they will not succumb to the gods of the world, I have learned to follow their example of following the Lord unwaveringly—telling myself no matter how dire my circumstances may become, His word shall still reign supreme and upon it I lay anchor.

 

 

 

Love Changed Us

John 13
2   The evening meal was underway, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas,
the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.…
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God’s Whispered Guidance

By: Diane Markins

The day of departure was drawing near and Ziggy, our aging Rottweiler was losing strength and mobility in her legs. The doggie doc encouraged me to “give it a little more time” as he believed she could turn a corner and recover enough to live a good while longer.

When your family grows up, it also grows apart. Everyone has busy and varied schedules. This was a rare and special family trip to the dunes planned, with all our motor toys, where most of my family would be present. My husband, kids, parents, in-laws, and some friends were all looking forward to a great time together. A couple days before the trip, God whispered in my ear that I should stay home.

How could I expect a dog sitter to deal with special needs and possible complications? Would anyone care as much or be as attentive as I to her pain and basic necessities? Huh uh. So I reluctantly announced my decision to stay home. My husband felt terrible but the vacation wouldn’t happen if he stayed home because he was in charge of bringing the base RV and biggest toy. I encouraged him to go ahead with the trip as planned. I know the Lord loves animals because they are one of his most precious creations and a gift to his children. John 1:3 says,

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (NIV)

The first night was rough because she was having a lot of pain and could only stand up with my help. I didn’t get much sleep and prayed fervently for her sudden improvement. But God’s response was one of mercy, not healing. The next day she went into a rapid decline and by evening was unable to get up, stand, or even walk without help. Lifting a 100-pound dog from the floor, then partially carrying her outside is as difficult as it sounds. I had to call on kind friends about every two hours all through the night to come help me take her outside for potty breaks. She was hurting and exhausted. I knew it was her last night and that her misery would soon be over.

In the morning I lay on the floor, nose-to-nose, looking into her eyes as the vet administered the concoction that would end her suffering. I stroked her face and spoke of all her favorite things, “You’ll have treats, go for walks, go for rides and go swimming.” She gazed back into my face and responded with familiar expressions (albeit subdued) until the light was gone, and so was she.

It was brutally painful and I hated it … but I wouldn’t have traded it for a month of family vacation. I comforted her, loved her, and stood by her until her last moment. God had me there for “such a time as this.” The rest of the family, especially my husband, was protected from having to see her suffer and I was blessed to be there to make a crucial decision and stay with her until her life was finished.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

I’m grateful for God’s whispered guidance and so glad I listened and obeyed, for it would have all been much different if I had left Ziggy in someone else’s charge. Has He been whispering to you lately? What might you miss if you don’t listen?

 

The Apple of God’s Eye

by Inspiration Ministries

After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. Zechariah 2:8 NASB

“The apple of my eye.” It’s a phrase that expresses particular affection. God uses it to describe just how special His people were to Him: For they were “His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and…kept him as the apple of His eye” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10 NKJV).

Hundreds of years later, God still felt this intense affection. How often they had disappointed and disobeyed Him. They had rejected Him and worshipped idols. They had been so unfaithful that He had been forced to send judgment. Yet they still were the “apple of His eye.”

God warned other people to realize this special relationship. Israel was precious to Him, His prized possession.

Does this mean Israel could do whatever it wanted? No. Because God loved His people, He promised to correct and discipline them (Proverbs 3:12). But the Bible tells us special judgment will come to those who take advantage of His people.

We also are warned that God’s blessings in our lives are tied to our attitudes and actions toward His chosen people! We need to remember just how special Israel is to God. He promises to watch out for them. And to take appropriate action against those who oppose them. For the adversaries are trying to block His purposes.

Today, remember to pray for Israel. And show compassion and concern. Just as in the times of Zechariah, they are the “apple of His eye.” God promises blessings for those who bless them. He will watch them, defend them, and judge those who harm them.

Are You Ready To Be Poured Out As an Offering?

 
Psalm 62:8   Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
 
Psalm 142:2  I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.
Titus 3:6    whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Philippians 2:17   But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

 

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Patrolling the Earth

by Inspiration Ministries

Behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing…with red, sorrel and white horses behind him…“These are those whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.” Zechariah 1:8-10 NASB

It was a time that could have seemed dark and hopeless for God’s people. Their homeland had been devastated and their temple destroyed. They were exiles in a land ruled by a man possessing seemingly limitless power.

Yet God wanted Zechariah to realize that He had a different perspective. Showing how He viewed their circumstances, God gave him a dream in which he saw a man riding a horse, with three other horses behind him. From within the dream itself, this man said, “These are those whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.”

In an instant, Zechariah understood that God had not forgotten about His people. The Lord saw everything that was going on. And He had everything under control.

God still knows what is going on in the world. The Bible says that His eyes “move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB). Even when we cannot see Him at work, He is watching us. Even when events don’t make sense, He knows what is going on. And He is shaping world events to accomplish His purposes.

Right now, remember that you can trust God. Let Him take away your burdens and give you His amazing peace. Seek Him with your whole heart. Serve Him. And worship and praise Him. He is watching out for you.

 

DEVOTION FOR TODAY — FEBRUARY 5TH

A Note Of Joy

From: Authentic Christianity

This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness

Ecclesiastes 2:24b-26a

The true message of this book is that enjoyment is a gift of God. There is nothing in possessions, in material goods, in money; there is nothing in people themselves that can enable them to keep enjoying the things they do. But it is possible to have enjoyment all your life if you take it from the hand of God. It is given to those who please God.

Wisdom and knowledge have been mentioned before as things you can get from under the sun, but they will not continue. To have added to them the ingredient of pleasure, of continual delight unceasing throughout the whole of life, you must take it from the hand of God. The person who pleases God is given the gift of joy.

It is wonderful to realize that this book teaches us that God wants us to have joy. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul said, [He] richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). It is God’s desire and intent that all the good things of life that are mentioned here should contribute to people’s enjoyment; but only, says this Searcher, if you understand that enjoyment does not come from things or people. It is an added gift of God, and only those who please God can find it.

How do you please God? In many places in Scripture we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. It is faith that pleases Him, belief that He is there and that everything in life comes from His hand. Underscore in your minds the word all. Pain, sorrow, bereavement, disappointment, as well as gladness, happiness, and joy—all these things are gifts of God. When we see life in those terms, any and every element of life can have its measure of joy—even sorrow, pain, and grief. These things were given to us to enjoy.

This is also the message of Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It is also the message of Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

All I Can See

Ministering Angels Attending To Jesus.

All I Can See

By: Anne Cetas

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Return to Me

by Inspiration Ministries

The Lord was very angry with your fathers…“Return to Me…that I may return to you…Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.” But they did not listen or give heed to Me. Zechariah 1:2-4 NASB

Born in Babylon during the Exile, Zechariah grew up without any firsthand experience of his homeland. Yet God gave him unusual insights into unfolding events in Israel and throughout history.

Zechariah knew that many fellow exiles had been somewhat sensitive to God’s message. They could look back and realize that their forefathers had ignored His warnings. But they didn’t seem able to grasp the warnings He had given them.

God had tried to tell them that judgment was coming, unless they repented and made changes. His message? “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”

But they didn’t listen or change. These exiles knew that God wanted to bless His people. They just needed to “return to Me that I may return to you.”

The same message rings true today. The Bible reminds us that God wants to bless us. The problem is that, too often, we have not been good listeners. In our own ways, we have defied and disobeyed Him. We have violated His principles and ignored His warnings, and have no one to blame but ourselves.

However, there is hope if we heed this message. We, too, need to return to God.

Today, make sure that you listen to God, live according to His standards, and obey His Word. Humble yourself before Him. Pray and seek His face. Pray for your country and your leaders. Pray for a move of God’s Spirit.

Ears Were Made For Listening

Mark 7:35

And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly.

Mark 7:37

They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Matthew 11:5

the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

 

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Unstaggering faith

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.’ Romans 4:19–20

Suggested Further Reading: Exodus 5:22–6:13

If your heart has been set upon any special object in prayer, if you have an express promise for it, you must not be staggered if the object of your desire be farther off now than when you first began to pray. If even after months of supplication the thing should seem more difficult now of attainment than ever it was, wait at the mercy seat in the full persuasion that although God may take his time, and that time may not be your time, yet he must and will redeem his promise when the fulness of time has come. If you have prayed for the salvation of your child, or husband, or friend, and that person has grown worse instead of better, do not cease praying. If that dear little one has become more obstinate, and that husband more profane even, still God must be held to his word; and if you have the faith to challenge his attributes of faithfulness and power, assuredly he never did and never will let your prayers fall fruitless to the ground; and I repeat the word, that you may be sure to bear that away with you, let not the fact that the answer seems farther off than ever be any discouragement to you. Remember that to trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust him in the dark—that is faith. To rest upon God when everything witnesses with God—that is nothing; but to believe God when everything gives him the lie—that is faith. To believe that all shall go well when outward providences blow softly is any fool’s play, but to believe that it must and shall be well when storms and tempests are round about you, and you are blown farther and farther from the harbour of your desire—this is a work of grace.

For meditation: The assumption that smooth progress indicates God’s favour and that trouble is a mark of his displeasure is not a safe one. Our circumstances often prove the opposite to be true (Luke 6:20–26).

 

A Funny Thing about Prayers

By: Pauline Hylton

A chicken landed on my head. “Ladies, be patient, I’m getting your food.”

Who knew two years ago I’d be feeding 75 hens, collecting eggs, and selling fresh produce at farmers markets?

God did.

The truth be known, I prayed for it. Not necessarily for the chicken on my head, but I prayed the Lord would move us to a new state, a new ministry, and a new life. I asked Him for a deeper faith in Him, and that my husband would be known in the gates — not me.

He answered, but not like I thought He would.

A friend of mine said, “If you can figure out how God is going to do something, that’s not how He’s going to do it.”

Ain’t that the truth.

He moved us to 66 acres to start a farm and a new business. We’d never grown anything, much less made a living doing it. In fact, until college, I thought olives grew with the red things in them. We are completely dependent on God for everything — so are you friend, you just haven’t realized it yet.

Then, He plunked us down outside of Mayberry RFD with my 94-year-old mom who needs a lot of my attention. So it’s not me the people at our church know — I can’t get there as often as I’d like — it’s Tom. In fact, he’s teaching a Sunday School class on Hebrews. Go figure.

My two prayers answered, just not how I would have done it.

Prayer is powerful.

This year, I’m praying for three things and they’re not even original. Moses prayed them after the golden calf incident. They’re found in Exodus 33:12-23.

First Request

The first request of Moses is in verse 13. He asked to know the Lord. That’s my heart, too. I want to know him like I know a close friend.

The other day while driving the 50-mile trek to Bible Study Fellowship, I turned off the radio to speak with God.

“Okay, Lord, I know you are glorious and I want to begin with praise, but before I forget, I’d like to pray for the lady who lost her son this year. I know she’s hurting and since I’m 55 and will forget to pray for them later, I’m letting you know now. I know You understand.”

Then I noticed the fog resting in the valley alongside Pilot Mountain. My grandmother’s favorite scripture came to mind—Psalm 121:1-4:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (NIV)

“Thanks, Lord for the mountains and all the creatures on them. When I view your creation, it makes me appreciate and love you more. And by the way, I’m glad You don’t sleep.”

Our conversation ebbed and flowed and contained times of relaxed silence. What I’m trying to say is that it was comfortable. I’m getting to know Him better and I’m glad.

Second Request

Moses next request in verses 14-16 was for the Lord to go with Him. In fact, he tells the Almighty that if He doesn’t go with Him, Moses would rather not go.

I’m praying the same. Often in the rush of the morning, I forget my dependence on Him. I rush off with my agenda in hand instead of His presence — not only that, when I don’t depend on His presence I only have my power, which is puny.

My desire is to experience the joy of His presence and the strength of His guidance.

Third Request

Moses’ final request is in verse 18 when He asks God to show him His glory. And God says yes.

Wow.

That is a big prayer. It was so big that God had to hide Moses in the cleft of the rock and only showed him His back. (I can’t wait to see that instant replay in heaven.)

I’m praying big prayers, too. How will He answer?

I don’t know. I do know one thing, if I can figure out how He’s going to do it, that’s not how He will.

And that’s okay by me.

Jesus Healed and Restored Lives

 
Many people Jesus healed were considered to be hopeless. When Jesus came to a village, He brought hope, healing, and renewal to people’s lives. Jesus can do the same thing today for you.
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Offering Our Best

By: Anne Ferrell Tata

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“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices — gum resin, onycha and galbanum — and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.” Exodus 30:34-37 (NIV)

Notice God’s instruction, “It is to be salted and pure and sacred.” Have you noticed God is a God of Precision? He loves details. He is a pure and sacred God. He is Holy.

As followers of Christ, we too, are holy … set apart. Regardless of our profession, we ultimately report to the CEO of all CEOs! I work for a ministry. Part of our organization’s mission is to encourage people to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. It is hard not to be humbled by this calling. It is a tremendous responsibility and one we take seriously.

This Scripture in Colossians is one I try to keep at the forefront of my mind:

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

And yet, often I fall short. There are times I complain. Sometimes I am not happy about a change in policy or procedure. Other times, I have had conflict with a co-worker. Yes, it is hard to do everything as unto the Lord. It is difficult to do everything with excellence, and yet I strive.

During one season of struggle, a dear friend and colleague made a simple comment in passing, but her comment had a huge impact on me and my work. “This is our Father’s Business, she said. A fresh perspective. A renewed outlook I immediately adopted. I work for my Heavenly Father’s Business, and He deserves my best. He deserves excellence.

In the passage above, we read how God provides Moses with laser-focused and precise instruction for the construction of the altar and preparation of the oil and incense.

God has His reasons for everything. The incense was to be burned on the golden altar every morning and evening. It was to be left burning throughout the day and was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance.

The incense was a mixture of expensive and rare spices, and it was to be used only for the Lord and not for any other purpose. The composition of the incense is a reminder that God is entitled to the best resources, the best materials and the best of His people.

How can we not be excellent? How can we not be in the details? In everything we do, every email we send, every meeting we attend, every phone call we make, every conversation, we must do as unto the Lord.

How do we know God wants this? He told us in His word:

“He has told you, o man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (ESV)

While we may not burn incense from an altar day and night, we can offer God our best. We can be mindful of His goodness and love and show others. We can be kind, humble, encouraging and extend grace. We can keep my friend’s words at the forefront of our minds. Whatever our job, whatever our calling, we work for our Father’s Business.

In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid meIsaiah 49:2

“In the shadow.” We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of colour, or appreciate neutral tints – the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.

But fear not! It is the shadow of God’s hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.

The photograph of His face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver; He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.

He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within easy reach of the hand, and guarded jealously.
Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer

In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has “evening glories” now, as well as “morning glories.” The “evening glory” will not shine in the noon’s splendour, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.

If all of life were sunshine,
Our faces would be fain
To feel once more upon them
The cooling plash of rain.

–Henry Van Dyke

Deeper Love

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The Heart

by Inspiration Ministries

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! Psalm 139:23 ESV

Deep within us lies the truth. Not the superficial things that others see. Not our own preferences or how we hope to be perceived.

Our true self can get buried beneath layers and masks, so that even we cannot recognize it. We might accurately identify the symptoms, but incorrectly label them as the cause of our misery. Or we might overlook the layers entirely. We need to dig deep to uncover the core of our being, and often we’re afraid to probe as deeply as necessary.

But God reminds us that He goes beyond the surface. He knows the deepest things about us. For He “sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God calls us to recognize these truths and realize how important this understanding is to our relationship with Him and to our spiritual maturity. Instead of being concerned with the approval of others, God calls us to focus on getting our hearts right with Him. To love Him not in superficial ways but “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Jesus pointed out that many religious people (even leaders) did not understand God’s concern for the deeper things. Citing Isaiah, He said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).

Today, give God permission to search your heart and mind, revealing deep things to you. Be sensitive to His Spirit, and love Him with your whole being. Make Him your highest priority.