We Will See Him

Heavenly Faces

Genesis 32:30

So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”

Red Faces

Jeremiah 6:15

“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD.

Shining Faces

Numbers 6:25

The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;

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His Wonderful Faces

From: Our Daily Bread

His Wonderful Face

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  1 Chronicles 16:11

My four-year-old son is full of questions, and chatters constantly. I love talking with him, but he’s developed an unfortunate habit of talking to me even when his back is turned. I often find myself saying, “I can’t hear you—please look at me when you’re talking.”

Sometimes I think God wants to say the same thing to us—not because He can’t hear us, but because we can tend to talk to Him without really “looking” at Him. We pray, but we remain caught up in our own questions and focused on ourselves, forgetting the character of the One we’re praying to. Like my son, we ask questions without paying attention to the person we’re talking to.

Many of our concerns are best addressed by reminding ourselves of who God is and what He has done. By simply refocusing, we find comfort in what we know of His character: that He is loving, forgiving, sovereign, graceful.

The psalmist believed we ought to seek God’s face continually (Ps. 105:4). When David appointed leaders for worship and prayer, he encouraged the people to praise God’s character and tell stories of His past faithfulness (1 Chron. 16:8–27).

When we turn our eyes toward the beautiful face of God, we can find strength and comfort that sustain us even in the midst of unanswered questions.

Lord, let the light of Your face shine upon us.

Seeking the face of God can strengthen our faith.

 

Glynnis Whitwer March 24, 2017
I Want to Be Right!
GLYNNIS WHITWER

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” Romans 1:17 (NIV)

My desire to be right is strong. Something in me always wants to prove my point, not make mistakes or let others see my weaknesses.

For years I gave into that prompting. But rather than making me look good, it had the opposite effect. It resulted in too many last words, over-quick responses and a guarded heart. It affected my relationships, because while it looked like righteousness to me, it appeared as judgement to others, unloving and self-centered.

Apparently I’m not the only one who wants to be right. Last year, I attended a conference where a speaker described three markers in our lives that guide our decisions: We want to look good, feel good and be right.

This was confirmed a few weeks ago when I fell down while leaving church. I was talking with my husband, looking up at him, when my foot hit a raised crack in the sidewalk. I had no chance to catch myself and went down hard … knees, arm, then face. The walkway was crowded and lots of people stopped to help.

Thankfully I was more embarrassed than hurt. My husband helped me up, apologizing for not catching me, and we left to join our kids for lunch. Other than a slightly red cheek, no one could tell I was hurt. But at lunch, I told my kids about the fall, and one of my son made a comment that confirmed this innate desire to look good.

He didn’t ask how I felt, or if I was in pain, he asked, “Did anybody see you?”

I had to laugh, because that was exactly what embarrassed me: Other people witnessed my fall.

Years ago I wouldn’t have laughed. My pride would have been so bruised, I probably would have ruined the lunch. But I knew my son cared about me, and his question was an honest one. It’s what we all think when we goof. Who saw it?

The Lord has done an amazing work in my life. He’s revealed my desire to always be right is based in pride, and that pride always sets itself up against others — first God, then those around me. It’s been a complicated process to uncover pride, but with God’s help, I’m learning to identify it and confess it quickly.

I’ve learned the hard way; God hates pride. Jesus’ harshest words were for those religious leaders who always wanted to be right and appear right. He knew their hearts were in the wrong place, and He called them out.

Jesus didn’t scold those whose weaknesses were evident. He didn’t shame the prostitute or the beggar. He didn’t publicly correct those struggling with sin. Instead, He welcomed them to come to Him and receive mercy and forgiveness. Jesus always led with love.

This longing to be right surely was put there by God. Except we were meant to desire being right with God more than man. Even then we mess it up by trying to do follow every rule, and make sure others do too. That’s not the kind of “right” God wants.

Jesus introduced the kind of rightness God wants and it is through faith, not works. As our key verse says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:17).

Faith must come first if we are ever to be free of this unhealthy need to be right. When we stop striving to control every circumstance, and simply trust God as the Provider for all our needs, it becomes less about us, and more about others. Then we can love generously as Jesus did.

Whew! What a relief that is. It’s exhausting always needing to be right. And while there is a place to do things correctly (as in editing, which is my job) I can separate that kind of right, from the pride-tinged “right” and choose to live by faith in Jesus.

Lord, thank You for removing the expectations that I need to be right. Help me lead with love in every situation and put others before my need to look good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Hurry Up and Wait

From: Get more Strength.org

“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly” Proverbs 14:29

One of my all-time favorite school teacher stories is about a kindergarten teacher who at the end of an exasperating day had to put boots on all 31 of her students before she sent them out in the snow. As she struggled to lace up the last boot on the foot of the 31st student, the child looked at her and said, “These aren’t my boots.” Thinking that she would have to go back and re-boot the whole class, she furiously ripped off the boots only to hear the kindergartener say, “They’re my sister’s boots, but my mom let me wear them today.”

Does life ever try your patience? Of course it does. There is just something about being born on this planet that makes us vulnerable to snap, often destructive, responses to life’s inevitable stress.

What is it that pushes you to the edge? Is it that guy who keeps cutting you off in heavy traffic or your daughter who keeps snapping her bubble gum every 10 seconds? It’s different for all of us, but we’ve all experienced that temptation to explode when somebody or something stomps on our frayed nerves.

I hate to up the pressure, but it’s in moments of near-nuclear explosions that we find out how closely we’re walking with the Lord. Galatians 5:22 says, “And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.” When life takes us to the edge, it’s easy to tell if we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit, or whether our old nature is going to step up to manage the situation.

Being patient doesn’t mean that we morph into milk-toast people for Jesus, with no fire in our belly. But the kind of patience that the Spirit wishes to produce does bring restraint to our anger. Anger always clouds good judgment while patience helps us stand back and evaluate the tension in a constructive way. As our text says, “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”

Patience says “no” to our “gut reaction” to do the first thing that comes to mind. When your gut reaction is: “I’m quitting this job right now!” patience says, “Why don’t you give it a few days and pray about it. Think about how this will affect your future and your family.” Patience gives you the space you need to make better decisions. An impulsive “I’m heading to the dealership right now to buy that new car!” may need patience to slow you down long enough to ask yourself, “What’s wrong with the car I have? Is there anything better that God would want me to do with the money?”

And, patience may just get your anxious little self out of the way so that God can accomplish what He has in mind through the trial that has you so frazzled. The psalmist helps us when he says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:13-14 NASB).

And Isaiah assures us that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31 NASB).

So all together now: Let’s take a deep breath, step back, and patiently wait for Him to manage your response. No wonder patience is called a virtue!

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