Friday, August 03, 2012
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Have you ever needed wisdom to know how to handle a situation and then asked God for it, but then went about your own way trying to deal with the problem in your own understanding? I think we've all been guilty of doing that. We pray and then immediately go out and try to solve the problem through our own way of thinking and acting. Sometimes, we don't even give God time to answer the prayer. It's almost as if we have already made up our minds to do it a certain way, but we need to do our “duty” in praying for wisdom so even though we know what we're going to do we “cover” ourselves by praying. James says here that when we ask for wisdom we can know that God will give it! It's an assurance that He wants to give us the wisdom that we need to solve our problem. But there's a condition to receiving that wisdom.....we must ask in faith, without doubting! Hmmm.....that changes things, doesn't it?
Ask – Greek word aiteo – Strong's #154 – means to request, petition. The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in a higher position, such as an individual asking something from God, a subject from a king, a child from a parent, or a beggar from a person of substance. The word denotes insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.
I like the last line of that definition “the word denotes insistent asking without qualms....”. We ask God because He wants us to come to Him for wisdom. We don't have to worry that we will not be received; He is waiting for us to ask; “....not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.” This statement reminds me of my years in the mortgage lending business. I often distributed funds from construction loans where it was needed to pay for work that had been done. The funds were waiting to be distributed. It's like having a checking account. In the banking industry a checking account is known as a “demand deposit account”. When you write a check you are making a demand on the deposit in that account. When I paid funds out of a construction loan I made demands on the funds that were available in that loan. God's wisdom is available to us for the asking. We make “demands”, not as in demanding that God do it, but as in making a request on the deposit that we have in Christ Jesus. He is waiting for us to make a demand on His wisdom so He can fulfill the request!
We often don't give Him time to send the “funds”. But if we don't ask in faith we really don't believe that He will answer so we rush out and do it “our way”. We subconsciously doubt that He will give us what we have requested of Him.
Doubting – Greek word diakrino – Strong's #1252 Has two definitions: 1) To judge thoroughly; to decide between two or more choices; to make a distinction; to separate two components, elements, or factors; to render a decision; to evaluate carefully. 2) the word also connotes a conflict with oneself, in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, doubting, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear.
In this verse of scripture, using the illustration of the one doubting being like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, I would say that the 2nd definition is the one in which James is referring. Ocean waves, when tossed by the wind, move in different directions, one going this way and another a different way. The one who doubts is driven by their emotions; sometimes having hope that God will do what He has promised and other times being fearful that He will not come through for him. This causes a division in the mind, a mental conflict and a hesitation in believing God for what they have requested of Him. Faith and fear cannot co-exist. You either have one or the other.
James goes on to say that the person who doubts cannot receive anything from the Lord, because he is a double-minded man and is unstable in all his ways.
Wow, that's quite a statement! What does it mean to be double-minded? A double-minded man is a person who is drawn in two different directions. One minute he's believing God and the next minute he's wondering if God's word is really true, did he really hear God correctly and will God really do what He has promised. James says this person is not only unstable in his prayer life, but his instability portrays a lack of consistency in all areas of his life. He is unstable in all his ways; emotions rule and reign in his life, when God's word should be the deciding factor in which direction he takes.
So, how can we become “stable” in all our ways so we can be people of faith, not doubt? I am reminded of the story in John 20 where Jesus addresses Thomas' inability to believe. We get the name “doubting Thomas” from this story.
John 20:24-25 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Notice that Thomas said he had to see to believe; not just that it was needed for him to believe, but that he would not believe until he saw and felt the scars in Jesus' hands and side. “I will not believe”, he said. He was using his choice to believe or not believe to be ruled by what he saw; the sense realm.
But Thomas had an encounter with the Lord Jesus and this is what the Lord said to him:
John 20:26-29 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus said it took Thomas' seeing in order for him to believe. There can be two camps in the realm of believers: those who have to see to believe, which I refer to as “unbelieving believers” and those who, by faith believe what God has said without having to see it first. Thomas was an example of an unbelieving believer. His realm of belief only went so far. He knew the Lord, was one of His disciples so he had been around Him, had seen the miracles that Jesus had performed and yet when it came time for Jesus to be out of his sight, he couldn't draw on what he knew to be true to enable him to believe without seeing it happen in the natural.
We can be like Thomas and have to see to believe or we can be as Jesus said “more blessed” because we believe without seeing. The foundation for our belief comes from what God has said in His word. The truth and the yardstick of our measurements should be what we read in God's word, what He speaks to us through His Spirit and what we know of His character and nature. When we base our belief on Him and His word we will become “stable”, fixed and unwavering.
It was said of Abraham that he believed even when it appeared to be untrue because of what he saw in his body and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
Romans 4:18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
He believed, even when it didn't look like it would be possible, because he put his trust in what God had said, what He had spoken to him.
Romans 4:19-21 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being full convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Abraham's success came through his faith in God's ability to perform what He had promised. He knew that God would do what He said, even when the natural ability to bring it into existence where he and Sarah where concerned was not there. The reality of the promise did not rest on his or Sarah's age or his ability to perform sexually, but it rested on God's ability to perform. Faith believes God, not what is seen, felt or thought through the senses of man. Stability in our faith walk comes through hearing the Word of God, believing it and acting on it.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Do you need wisdom from God to know how to live life successfully? Ask Him and then believe and act on what He says! Allow your faith to be grounded in what He says in His word, not what you see around you. Faith grows just like a muscle, through use. If you can't believe God to provide for your monthly bills, how can you believe for a new house, new car, or a multimillion dollar ministry? If you can't believe for the healing of a headache, how can you believe for supernatural healing of a terminal illness? You begin small and as you exercise your faith and hear more of the word of God, your faith grows and you are then more stable and have the ability to believe for bigger challenges. There are no limitations to a person's faith ability! God will take you to wherever you exercise the faith in believing. He will be to you everything that you can believe Him to be.
Just as Jesus said to the synagogue ruler whose daughter died before Jesus got to his house to lay His hands on her for healing:
Luke 8:50 But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”
Jesus challenged the ruler to look away from the negative report that he had just received and look unto Him in faith believing that what He said He would do and his daughter would be made well, which included being raised from the dead! Jesus said she was just “sleeping”, not dead! Faith moves beyond the natural into the supernatural!
What do you need to believe about your life today? Is is for healing, financial provision, wisdom to know how to move in a certain situation? Whatever it is, God has it for you! Will you believe Him today?
Father, I thank You for the wisdom You have for us for the asking. I thank You for being a God who longs to give to His children what they have need of. Thank You for not withholding any good thing from us as Your children. Thank You for being faithful to Your word so that we can place our trust in what You say and know that You will perform what You have promised. Father, I pray that our faith will be strengthened as we read and study Your word and listen to Your voice. I pray that we will find our stability for faith in You, through hearing and practicing Your word in our lives for the little things so we can believe for the bigger things that You have promised. Thank You for not giving up on us but for being patient in helping us to grow and be rooted and established in You so we can walk by faith and not by sight! May we be blessed in believing without having to see first. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. I believe I receive when I pray in Jesus' name! Amen.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Numbers 13:33 “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The Lord told Moses to send spies into the Promised Land that He was giving them to check out the land and see what it was like and what the people were like. So he sent twelve spies into the land, one for each tribe of Israel, and they brought back a report to him and the people Here is their report:
Numbers 13:26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. They they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
They went into the land and saw that it was just as God said it would be; a land flowing with milk and honey; a land flourishing with large fruit. God had promised them their Promised Land and it was true, just as He had said! But......even though they saw what God had promised the giants that lived in the land were bigger than the promise of God and they didn't see any way past the giants!
Numbers 13:28-33“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. “The Amelekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Of the twelve spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land to see what it was like, ten came back with what God called an “evil” report and two, Joshua and Caleb, came back stating that even though there were giants in the land they should go up at once to possess the land because they were well able to overcome it. The ten with the evil report struck fear in the hearts of the whole nation so that they believed that they could not overcome and take the land. God said that Joshua and Caleb were the only two out of the whole group of spies that would see the Promised Land because they had a different spirit in them in that they wholly followed the Lord their God. (Numbers 13:24; Numbers 32:12)
The thinking that kept the Israelites from entering the Promised Land was that they did not believe God but believed what they thought about themselves. Their mentality about themselves put restraints upon their ability for success. They saw themselves as grasshoppers and the giants as being bigger than anything they could conquer. They did not believe that because God was giving them the land that He would certainly enable them to defeat the giants and give them the victory in conquering them. They believed a lie over the truth! They saw themselves in a negative light and it affected everything they wanted to accomplish.
How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as who God says you are or do you measure your worth and your ability to succeed by what is going on in you and around you in your life? Are you more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus as God says you are, or are you living “under the circumstances” of the problems of your life? How you see yourself will determine where you go in life. Truth always supersedes fact! The truth of God's word is what we need to use to determine our worth and ability to perform not what we see happening in our lives or the success or defeat of what we have attempted to do through our own talents or abilities. Past failures do not determine your future success! You may have failed in something, but that does not mean you will have a repeat performance in upcoming challenges.
Paul said in Romans 8:31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
God sees us as more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! He is for us and if He is for us then who can stand against us? The Israelites were limited in what they could do because of their preconceived thoughts of themselves. They believed what they saw over what God said. They were walking by their senses instead of by faith. They could not enter into the Promised Land because of unbelief.
Hebrews 3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
God did not let them enter into the Promised Land because they did not believe Him. He said they could not enter in because the word that they received was not mixed with faith. They didn't take what God said as the truth; they looked at their situation and believed it over God's word. The word that God gave them about their situation was mixed with fear, not faith, and so it did not benefit them the way it should have. God was not pleased with them because they did not receive what He said with faith so that they could have what He had promised.
Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
We have to mix faith with the word of God. If He says we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then we must mix faith with it, believe it and act on it.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Whatever you see in His word that describes who you are in Christ Jesus is what you must mix with faith to cause it to be profitable for you. If you believe your own thoughts or what someone else thinks about you or how you feel at the moment or the negative that you see happening around you, you will not succeed because how you see yourself determines where you go in life.
Proverbs 13:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.....
How we see ourselves in our hearts is what we will speak out and act on. When we believe what God says about us we will begin to speak it out and act on it. Then we will have great success!
Father, I thank You for encouraging us to believe You above all else. You speak the truth about Your children and You expect us to believe that truth and receive it into our hearts so we can be all that You have created us to be. I pray for my friends today that might be struggling with low self-esteem. I pray, Father, that You will reveal to them just how important they are to You; that they might see that You gave everything for them; You gave Your very own Son to die for them that they might have eternal life. That is the greatest gift anyone could have given anyone else. Father, may they see themselves as You see them. Help them to receive the truth in Your word about themselves instead of the lies of the enemy. Thank You, Father, for showing them who they are in Christ Jesus. I pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Lamentations 3:22-24 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
This is how God thinks of us every morning. It is because of His mercy that we are not condemned; His compassions that do not fail. They are new every morning. When God looks at that one who has placed His trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, what He sees is the blood of Jesus covering him. He sees what Jesus did on behalf of that person that cleanses him from sin. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son that we might not perish, but have everlasting life! This should give us hope! When we get up in the morning we should just thank the Lord that His grace has been extended to us; His salvation has made us whole; we have been forgiven.
Mercy – Hebrew chesed – Strongs #2617 – kindness, mercy, lovingkindness, unfailing love; tenderness, faithfulness.
God's mercy is His unfailing love expressed through kindness, tenderness and faithfulness. His compassions are new every morning.
Compassions – Hebrew racham – Strong's #7355 to fondle; to love, have compassion upon, to have pity for.
God's mercy causes Him to show tenderness to His children like a parent who would pick the little child up and hold him close to His heart, fondling or caressing him as a parent who kisses and holds his child. God sees us as His very own little children. We are precious in His sight.
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Because of what Jesus did on the cross on our behalf we now have a place in the family of God. We, who have invited Jesus into our hearts by faith, have received the Spirit of adoption, or the Holy Spirit, whereby we can now call God our Abba, our Father! We are no longer alienated from Him but have been brought near through the blood of Jesus! It is because of God's mercy that we are not consumed; His compassions never fail; they are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness!
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
If you have never invited Jesus into your heart to be your own personal Savior and Lord, the price has been paid by the blood of Jesus for you to come into the family of God. He is waiting for you to make the choice to live for Him. I would like to pray with you to do that. If you would like to receive Him please pray this prayer with me:
Father God, I come before You in the name of Jesus and I confess to You that I am a sinner, both by birth and by choice. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that You are God and that You gave Your very own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me that I might be saved. I confess that You raised Jesus from the dead; He is alive today and I confess Him as my Lord and Savior. I thank You for saving me. I vow to live for you every day of my life from this point on. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed with me to receive Jesus as your Savior I would like to welcome you into the family of God. That is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. You are now “born again”; born of the Spirit as well as of the flesh. Jesus lives within you through His Spirit and will walk with you through every day, every trial and tribulation that you may encounter. You now have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Friends, if you have asked Jesus into your heart but are struggling with a difficulty in your life today, just know that God loves you; He wants to bring you out of the difficulty so He can bring you into the good plan that He has for your life. Jesus said that in this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) The Amplified Bible says it this way:
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
Jesus said He has deprived the world of it's power to harm you and has conquered it for you! Hallelujah! You don't have to suffer through life's problems. Pray and ask the Lord what you need to do in your situation to bring you out of the difficulty! He will give you the wisdom and direction you need to win the battle. Just be confident in His power to overcome what you are experiencing. He has perfect peace for you in the midst of the storm. All you have to do is receive it and act on it.
Father, I thank You for depriving the world of it's power to harm us! Thank You for taking the sting out of the problems we encounter. Thank You for giving us the victory through Christ Jesus! We are over-comers in You, Lord Jesus! Thank You for living in and through us to Your honor and glory! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
We have a little poodle that hates to get a bath. If she even gets the hint that it's bath time she runs and hides under the bed. She seems to sense it and we dare not ever say the word BATH in her presence or she will tuck her tail and run. We have started using the word “shampoo” as she hasn't figured that one out yet. But we have found that make life so much easier for Abby! So now we have to promise her a “doggie cookie” for all difficult chores, such as baths, hair cuts, and even going out to potty sometimes requires a “cookie”.
So when life is difficult for you to handle, just remember life is so much easier if you take a
I thought I would offer you a little lighter side to my personality today with an inside look at what goes on within when I am stressed, excited, happy or sad! Those emotions incite a rage within me that feels like I have the living within me!
Usually when we have extreme cravings for sweets it is an indication that something within is out of balance. For women, it could be that "time of the month" when the hormones are raging; or it could be a deeper immune problem where the adrenal glands are stressed and releasing too much cortisol into our systems, but whatever it is if we will eat healthfully both physically and spiritually we will find that life will be easier. And unfortunately, eating cookies usually just aggravates the problem.
So, with that said I think I'll go have me a
Won't you join me?
Oh well, I saved you from having to ditch your healthy living program today for a cookie! There are some days when I just have to lighten up and eat a cookie!
Father, bless my friends with a good day today! May they walk in the light of Your love and experience the goodness of Your presence. I pray, Father, that we will each seek You for our significance in life and not try to “feed” our emotions when it is really a spiritual hunger that we are experiencing. Even though we've looked at a lighter side of things today, I pray that we will always understand that deep within we have a spirit man who needs the nourishment from Your Spirit, Your Word and Your Presence! May we seek You with our whole hearts! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Genesis 16:8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are your going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
Hagar, Sarai's maid ran away from her because she mistreated her. She suffered an injustice at the hands of her mistress.
How many of us have suffered injustices at the hand's of another? We see and hear of it all the time in our world as evil grows more prevalent. The mistreatment of children, women and even the elderly. God sees all the injustices that are taking place in our world and He cares!
The angel of the Lord told Hagar to go back and submit herself to Sarai.
Genesis 16:9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”
I have often wondered why God would ask Hagar to go back into a situation where she was being mistreated. It seems so unjust; so unfair. The heart of compassion that I have for the hurting says, “no, run away, as far away from it as you can get.” And yet, my ways are not God's ways. He often asks us to do things that seem to us as “over the edge”. But God had a plan to bless Hagar's life and if she had continued to run away from her uncomfortable situation it would have changed the course of God's plan to bless her life.
The angel of the Lord went on to tell Hagar a little bit about that plan:
Genesis 16:11, 12 And the Angel of the LORD said to her: “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
The name Ishmael means “God hears”. God heard Hagar's crying; He saw her distress and He came to her aid. God understands and cares about the injustices in our lives. He is a restorer of those things that have been stolen from us. He blesses us in the midst of the injustices and gives us a glimpse of the good future that He has in store for us. Even though Ishmael would be a man that would constantly be in disagreement with his brothers, Hagar knew that God saw and heard and understood her situation and was there to bless her through it.
Genesis 16:13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “have I also here seen Him who sees me?'
Hagar was in the desert. There was no one around her. She had sat down by a spring of water in the wilderness and yet God saw her there; He came to meet with her in her despair and disappointment. She called His name El Roi, the God who sees.
God sees everything that happens to you. He is aware of the injustices and He often directs us to stand up and confront the wrongs in our lives because until we confront the fears that come along with the injustices we are held in bondage to the lies of the enemy. God asked Hagar to go back and submit herself under Sarai's hand. There was something that God wanted to do in Hagar's life that meant that she would have to submit herself unto her mistress. We can't fully understand God's ways until we do things His way. Submission is God's way. He asks us to submit to those in authority over us so He can have an open channel to work through. As long as we are adamantly set on doing things our way in our time we are not open to allowing God to work in His way and timing. It is as we submit to those over us that we prepare an open avenue for God to move in our situations.
I remember a time in my working career when I was employed as an office manager for an insurance agent. He was a former military man, very harsh in his mannerisms and communications with people; definitely not a “people person”. He had me in tears my first day before noon and yet God had given me the job; I knew I was there at His will and every time I prayed about leaving He would not release me. This one particular time I was very upset about a situation that he had asked me to deal with in relation to a person in the community that I felt was not my place to handle. It was regarding something personal and even though I was his office manager I felt that he should have handled his own personal communications. I had prayed about the situation that morning and as a part of my devotions that day I was reading out of a Bible that I had purchased to give to one of the youth in our church. It was a New Century translation and I was reviewing it for accuracy before giving it to the Youth Director. My reading that morning was in Ecclesiastes 10. I began in verse 1 and when I got to verse 4 the Lord spoke to my heart:
Ecclesiastes 10:4 Don't leave your job just because your boss is angry with you. Remaining calm solves great problems.
I was floored! I had just prayed about leaving my job, one more time. I was miserable in his employment. Such injustices constantly happened. Every new employee we would hire would cry on my shoulder because our employer was so harsh and difficult to work for. They never stayed and yet God wouldn't let me leave! Why, Lord! I don't understand why I have to stay and others get to leave. God knew I needed preparation to lead through submission to the authority over me. He continued to speak to my heart through 1 Peter 2:18-23:
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps; "Who, committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
Could this really be God's way? Does He really want us to bear with those who are harsh and hard to get along with? Jesus gave us an example by not reviling in return for the injustices done to Him but instead committing Himself to Him who judges righteously. He turned the injustices over to God for Him to deal with.
God always has a "come back" for every "set back" you encounter!
Romans 12:17-21 says: Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now, before you leave saying that I am in favor of women and children staying in abusive situations, please listen to my heart. I believe the key here is found in verse 18: If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. There are some situations where it is just not possible to live in peace. Those would be the situations of extreme abuse, where a person's life is in danger. I do not believe God wants a woman to stay in a relationship where her life is in danger or the lives of her children are at risk. Put distance between you and the abuser! God is in the delivering business and He will make a way for you to be freed from the abuse. Take it and then let God deal with the abuser!
But in situations such as I have described in my experience with my employer, He had a blessing waiting for me that could only happen if I stayed in that situation. As my employer progressed towards retirement God impressed upon his heart to reward me for the years of service in his employment. He always paid me well; he never wanted me to work if it was snowing outside. He would begin pacing and looking out the windows as it snowed until he would finally say, “I think you need to go home; I don't want you driving in the snow.” When he sold his agency at retirement he told the new agent that I was a part of the deal; if he didn't keep me in his employment and honor my salary and benefits he would not sell his agency to him. It wasn't until three years after his retirement that God released me from working in that agency and gave me a new place of employment in my own town close to my home. I worked for him for eight years and three years longer in the employment of the new agent. During that time I learned the beauty of submission and how God blesses people through their attitude of humility towards those who are in authority over them.
1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you,
God resists the proud, but gives grace, unmerited favor, the ability to do in and through you what you can't do for yourself, to the humble. When you submit yourself to the authority over you, you are opening the door for God's grace to move into your life. And in due time He will exalt you; He will lift you up and bless you as you cast your cares upon Him.
God always has a "come back" for every "set back" in your life.
This morning I ask you these questions: “Where have you come from and where are you going?” What are you running away from? Are you fearful of the injustices that have been done to you? Are you allowing God to be your defender or are you trying to defend yourself? God has a blessing with your name on it! The centurion in Matthew 8:8, 9 told Jesus that he knew the power of authority because he, himself, was a man under authority and he said to his soldiers that were under him 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes. He then told the Lord to only speak the word and his servant would be healed. The power of submission! Jesus responded to him:
Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
Could it be that submission to authority is tied to God's idea of “great faith”? According to Jesus it is.
Father, I thank You for seeing every injustice done to Your children. I thank You, Father, for protecting the defenseless ones. Thank You for delivering them from harm and protecting them from evil. Father, for those who are struggling with submitting to the authority that You have placed over them, I pray for them to have courage to live at peace with those around them. I pray that You will show them that You are working in their situations. That you are bringing deliverance and freedom as they submit themselves to you and their superiors. Be close to the brokenhearted, Father, and heal their hurts. Strengthen them and give them peace! Thank you, Father! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
God has a “come back” planned for every “set back”. Will you believe Him?
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