I am back from recovering from a flu shot. Some of you might think that a pretty lame excuse for not posting in my blog. Well, friends, let me tell you that as you get older the impact the flu shot has on your body is significant. So, now that I am rested and feeling better I am back to posting.
Today is Monday and the start of another week. If you’re like me, when you woke up this morning you probably started thinking about all of the things you have to do. Not only today but the rest of the week. OK, so your busy taking care of business and providing for your family but what about the spiritual side of your life? Have you planned any time in your schedule this week for reading the bible and praying? Figuring out how to serve the Lord along with your other activities is important too.
In tomorrow’s post I am going to ask the question, “What have you done with the life God has given you?” I would venture to say that question might cause a number of us to stumble but the importance of the question can’t be overstated.
Anxiety. That’s a feeling that I would venture to say a lot of us have had over the past year or so. If you’re like most, you wonder what the President is going to do next. Then there’s the economy. With the recent storms, a lot of rebuilding will have to take place in millions of people’s lives. In the political arena, there is a lot of infighting and a general consensus that nothing seems to get done.
That’s a lot of stuff to be anxious about but remember this, God is sovereign. The enemy will throw a lot of garbage your way but examine the truths which sustain your belief in God. Make sure one of them is etched with the words “My God is sovereign!” Then, be anxious for nothing!
Take God’s Word and internalize it, trust Him to do what He says He will do, and then relax knowing that God will provide all your needs, according to His riches in glory.
Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His disciples to keep asking, seeking, and knocking while trusting the heavenly Father to give what is good to His children (Matt. 7:7-11). And in Philippians 4:6, Paul urges us to respond to anxiety by praying about everything. Therefore, it’s obvious that God wants us to come to Him with all our needs and concerns.
1 John 5:14-15 assures us that the Lord hears and answers our prayers. However, this promise is accompanied by one very important stipulation: We must ask according to His will. But how can we know whether our request is what He desires? Much of God’s will is clearly revealed in Scripture, but what are we to do when an issue is not directly addressed in the Bible?
Though we’d like to feel confident that the Lord will hear and answer, at times our prayers seem like shots in the dark because we have no idea whether they align with His will. If we dare to admit it, there are also times when we just want God to do what we ask, without regard to what He desires.
If we want to pray effectively, our goal should not be to offer up quick, thoughtless, or self-willed prayers in hopes of receiving speedy answers. Instead, we must learn to pray wisely and wait patiently. Along with voicing our concerns and requests to God, we should also offer ourselves up in submission to our Father, as Jesus did in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39). When we are yielded and obedient to the Lord, His Spirit guides us and provides the wisdom we need in order to pray according to His will.
After encountering the prophet Elijah, King Ahab may well have thought, Of all the nerve! Just who does this guy think he is? Bursting onto the scene as if out of nowhere, Elijah confronted Israel’s wicked king with a message that would soon disrupt life throughout the region.
The validity of the prophecy rested with the Source, not the mouthpiece. Elijah was a man of great faith who spent time alone with the Lord and listened to Him carefully. The prophet could pass the message on with boldness and authority because he knew and trusted the One from whom it came.
We can’t expect our Father to communicate with us in exactly the same way that He spoke to the Old Testament prophets, but the process of receiving His message hasn’t changed. It starts with being alone in His presence and listening as He speaks through His Word. But it shouldn’t end there.
Prophets had the responsibility of telling the people what the Lord revealed to them. Similarly, we’re to share with others what we learn from God’s Word. Devotional time with the Lord is not just about our own interests and needs. The Father reveals His truths to us so we can share them with others.
Begin each day alone with God in His Word and in prayer, listening as He speaks to your heart. Believe what He says in Scripture, apply it to your life, and then share with someone else what He has revealed. Be bold and remember that the authority of your message comes from Him.
(reblogged from Charles Stanley | In Touch | 8.1.2017)
God has promised to supply all our needs, yet fulfillment is sometimes slow in coming. What could be the problem? Perhaps we are.
When our Father fails to meet our expectations, we generally look outside ourselves for the reason. But while God’s love is unconditional, many of His promises are not. For example, Philippians 4:19 is a “family promise”—it can be claimed only by those who rightly call the Sovereign of the universe “Father.” His unlimited resources are not available to men and women who reject salvation through Jesus Christ. Moreover, when we look at the whole framework of Scripture, we see that the Lord makes obedience a condition for fulfilling our needs. (See Psalm 81:10-12.) He will not condone sin by blessing us while we rebel against Him.
Expecting God to keep a conditional pledge when we aren’t meeting its requirements is even more unwise.
Think of yourself as part of an army at war—which is what you are, in a spiritual sense. A top military priority is to keep the supply line open, as victory is impossible if the soldiers are weaponless, cold, and starving. Our willful disobedience allows Satan to cut our supply line from the Lord. Restoring that connection is a matter of repentance. Those who walk in God’s way are protected, provided for, and satisfied (Psalm 81:13-16).
Taking a promise out of its biblical context is very dangerous. Expecting God to keep a conditional pledge when we aren’t meeting its requirements is even more unwise. The heavenly Father keeps His word but rightfully expects us to do our part.
Thankfully, His expectations of us are not burdensome but reasonable. What He requires is that we simply love, honor, and obey Him.
The Hebrews who left Egypt had concrete proof of God’s existence and commitment to them. Yet when the time came for them to claim their promised land, they hardened their hearts against the Lord and refused to believe He would give them victory over the people living in Canaan. So they rebelled, resisting Joshua and Caleb’s pleas and coming up with justifications for their disbelief.
God responded with harsh discipline: 40 years of wandering in the desert until those adults who resisted Him were dead (Num. 14:33-36). Because He considered the lesson about their resistance and discipline so important, the Lord reiterated it in the New Testament (Heb. 3:7-11). He didn’t want people to repeat the Israelites’ mistake of hardening their hearts against Him.
The way to a hardened heart is gradual. It begins with unbelief—that is, hearing but not accepting all or part of God’s Word as true. Instead, a person rebels, choosing to manage his or her affairs without the Lord. This involves ignoring the conscience or justifying unscriptural behavior; eventually, the heart becomes so calcified that the individual is no longer affected by the whisper of God’s Spirit.
It is dangerous to persist in choosing our own way. Not only does the Lord discipline those who rebel against Him; He also withholds opportunities and blessings. If we take seriously God’s warning not to harden ourselves against Him, then we must choose to be obedient. Over time, as our heart grows more tender and receptive, we’ll find that we are unable to make a wrong move without being convicted by the Spirit.
Reblogged from Charles Stanley | In Touch | 6-10-2017