Friday, September 12, 2014

Spillovers

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5 NAS)

Spillovers
Sipping a cup of coffee or tea is a pleasure for many of us, but have we ever wondered why a cup is usually accompanied by the saucer? The answer by a forum participant at Answers.Yahoo.com is it “keeps spills contained, provides a rest for the teaspoon, protects the table from the teacup's heat, and it looks elegant.” That, in essence, summarizes the role of a saucer to a cup. Its purpose is to provide containment for overflowing or drippings that flows down the side of the cup, besides looking good for those specially designed.

When King David in Psalm 23:5 said, “My cup overflows,” he was referring to God’s goodness and lovingkindness toward him, which more than abundantly exceeded beyond mere sufficiency. All of us, without a doubt, would like to be blessed far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think, but life in the real world is not always overflowing with milk and honey. Sometimes, we need to go through times of living humbly, and at times when blessings are found lacking, spillovers may temporarily be sufficient to see us through our desperate need (Psalm 23:5-6; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:12).

The story of Ruth in the Old Testament is an example of the Lord’s provision, love and care for us during difficult times. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, were so poor she had to pick food fallen on the ground left behind by harvesters gathering the crops. So when Ruth rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants and said, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her” (Ruth 2:15-16).

Gleaning from what is left behind on the ground is similar to the role of the saucer keeping in containment the spillovers from the cup. As humbling as it seems, spillovers might sometimes be the only means by which we are able to keep our loved ones and ourselves alive while we wait. During such times when our cup is not overflowing with plenty, humility to pick up leftovers may be the only solution to make ends meet.

Is our cup overflowing? Praise the Lord and forget none of His benefits. Is our cup empty with only spillovers in the saucer? Fret not, God will not leave us wanting and will restore to us all that we need. In the meantime, stay open to alternatives and do not despise roles that are seemingly humbling, so long as they are means to sustaining our loved ones and ourselves. Just as not all cups and saucers are designed elegant or beautiful, we need not concern ourselves as to how others look at us. Look ahead, for the days are coming when we shall rise again with cups overflowing and the saucers spilling over with plenty to bless others (Psalm 103:2; Job 42:10, 12; Joel 2:25).

Have this attitude in us while waiting, to keep deception and lies far from us. Seek God to give us neither poverty nor riches so we might not have too much and disown Him or be in want to steal and profane the name of our God (Proverbs 30:8-9).

Dear Lord, thank You for overflowing our cups with Your blessings, and for emptying our cups at times to lead us back to You. Open our eyes amid our struggles to see the roles we can play to make ends meet, so we might be able to provide for our loved ones and ourselves. Keep us looking up and looking out while we wait. Put away deception and lies far from us and give us neither poverty nor riches so we might not deny You or profane Your name. Restore to us, beyond spillovers, Your abundance so our cups might once again overflow with Your blessings to extend help to others who are struggling.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Unlocking the Power

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19 NIV)

Unlocking the Power
Those of us who use a smartphone or handheld tablet computer would probably be familiar with apps like OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive or Google Drive. These apps allow users to store photos, videos, information and other type of files remotely on the ‘cloud’ or the Internet using borrowed space provided by vendors on their storage devices, servers or computers. Files uploaded to the storage are secured through an algorithm built into the respective storage device, similar to the lock and key. Users who wish to retrieve their files from storage must first have the right key, which is the login user ID and password, in order to unlock the lock to access the system’s storage space.

Securing the things we consider important under lock and key is nothing unusual, but securing ourselves under closed doors out of fear is. On the evening of the first day of the week after Jesus’ death on the cross, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:19-21).

As followers of the Lord, we have been sent to share the gospel to the yet unsaved. But many a time, we ‘lock’ ourselves behind closed doors when it comes to sharing. Although we have been empowered with the Holy Spirit, we are fearful of what others would think of us if we speak out for the Lord. In so doing, we fall into the danger of being like the teachers of the law and Pharisees who shut the door of the kingdom of heaven and would not let those who are trying to enter get in. How sad it would be for us if by our actions or avoidance we prevent others from coming to the Lord (John 20:22-23; Matthew 23:13).

Are we ashamed or fearful of sharing the gospel? Are we preventing others from knowing the Lord by the way we live or by our action? Are we living out Jesus Christ in us? Are we waiting and still searching for the key to unlock the confidence in us to boldly share God’s grace and salvation to the world?

God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace. For by grace we have been saved through faith, and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so no one may boast. Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (2 Timothy 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 1:16). 

Rather than securing ourselves behind locked doors the next time around when opportunity knocks, let us let the Holy Spirit be our guide, and He will teach us what we should say. For He who dwells in us is greater than the one who is in this world, and He is the key to unlocking our confidence and boldness in God, of power, love and self-discipline (Luke 12:12; John 16:13; 1 John 4:4).

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us the key to unlocking Your power through the Holy Spirit to confidently and boldly share the gospel and the testimony about You. Help us not hold back the sharing of the faith to others that we might not unwittingly be the ones to prevent them from coming to You or from receiving salvation. Guide us what we should say so that Your grace may be extended to the yet unsaved through faith to accomplish Your purpose.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Discipleship

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NAS)

Discipleship
When asked what are the pros and cons of living in the city, a New Yorker replied that “public transportation is the best thing since sliced bread.”

“Hop on a bus or train for about $2 a ride and it takes you to most places in the city,” wrote the New Yorker nicknamed ‘meep meep’ in a discussion thread at Answers. Yahoo.com. “It’s easy access and you don’t have to deal with gas or cars. A lot of things are easily available. You can go out and find record stores, button stores, any type of cuisine … lots of diversity, which helps you expand your horizons when it comes to knowledge, culture and friendships.”

On the flip side living in the city, however, is “it can be extremely impersonal” ‘meep meep’ continued. “Overcrowding can be very annoying … the air’s not what you call good quality … everything’s a tad bit more expensive.”

Like the good and the bad about living in the city, many people today think of faith and belief in God as something worth their while only if it yields returns of invested time, perhaps getting blessed with material wealth or opportunities to connect or network with people of prestige. Notwithstanding the fact that God promised in His word He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, there are sadly some of us who fall away fairly quickly when living the Christian life becomes too difficult. To these people, faith is all about the pros and cons.

What a contrast in the days of Jesus’ ministry on earth when discipleship is all about giving our all to follow the Lord (Luke 14:33).

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple,” Jesus said. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). 

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38).

By this, of course, Jesus is not saying we should hate our parents, spouse, children, siblings or even our own life because of following Him. It just means Christian discipleship requires that above all we put Jesus first in our lives and carry our own cross in enduring afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, and whatever is disagreeable to the Christian faith, even death, to follow after Jesus. 

Are we following Jesus the way expected of a true disciple or are we weighing the pros and cons? Are we putting Jesus first in our lives above all else? Are we willing to take our own cross and bear up in the face of whatever is disagreeable to the faith?

Discipleship demands we live our lives for Christ, knowing that to die is gain. Whoever clings to his or her own life will lose it, but the one who loses his or her life for Christ will find it (Philippians 1:21; Matthew 10:39).

Dear Lord, we desire to put You first in our lives, above everything and everyone else. Forgive us for the times when our minds waver and deliberate the worth of following You, especially when things are not going well for us because of keeping the faith. We know You have given us Your all when You willingly laid down Your life on the cross to save us, and You deserve our all. We would not ask for anything else in return for our ‘invested’ time or the time we spend with You, for better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Grant us strength and a willing heart to bear up and carry our own cross, for You alone are our worth and our salvation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Till Death Do Us Part

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33 NAS)

Till Death Do Us Part
As the bride walked down the church aisle with her father giving her hand to the bridegroom, the joy overflowing from within the soon-to-be married couple was beyond words could describe. Some months and years later, however, the feelings were no longer the same. Before long the couple discovered love alone was not enough to sustain their marriage. Staying together till death do us part became elusive—a vow too difficult to keep.

Marrying at an early age, less education and income, living together before marriage, premarital pregnancy, and no religious affiliation, among many others, are factors contributing to people at higher risk of divorce, according to an article at Divorce.USU.edu. The most common reasons people give for their divorce are lack of commitment, too much arguing, infidelity, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in the relationship, lack of preparation for marriage, and abuse.

But what does the Bible say about divorce or separation? Some faith-based counselors suggest there is only one valid reason for a married couple to separate—if a person puts others in the family in danger.

Jesus, during His ministry on earth, was asked by some Pharisees as a test “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” Jesus’ reply was what God has joined together let not man put asunder. “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” the Pharisees asked. Jesus said to them it was because of the hardness of their hearts Moses permitted divorce, but it was not so from the beginning. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” Jesus said (Matthew 19:3-9).

Marital infidelity, drug abuse, and non-support are some reasons also considered for separation, wrote Jack Wellman on October 29, 2011 at WhatChristiansWantToKnow.com. “But since we know that God hates divorce, the person or couple should seek marital counseling (Malachi 2:16)” he advised. 

So what does it take to keep a husband and wife together? The Bible’s advice: a husband is to love his wife as himself, and the wife must respect her husband. A wife is to submit herself to her husband so that if he does not believe the word he might be won over without words by the behavior of his wife. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. A husband is to be considerate, living with his wife, and is to treat the wife with respect as the weaker partner and heir with him of the gracious gift of life (Ephesians 5:25, 33; 1 Peter 3:1, 7; Proverbs 12:4). 

Besides sacrificial love and respect, faithfulness is also important in keeping a marriage together. Of the many lessons my wife and I learned in our marriage life is that a lasting and bonding relationship begins with accepting one another for who we are in spite of our failures, flaws, past, among other things. Mutual understanding and the willingness to give and take in loving care for one another are crucial. Hide nothing from each other, share joys and sorrows together, and hold each other up especially during trying times. Like a cord of three strands that is not quickly torn apart, a husband and wife, even if in a strained relationship, with Christ as the center of the family can stay strong and move on together (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we feel like calling it quits with our spouse over matters that are not unresolvable. Help us sustain and grow our relationship as we cast our cares on You. Do not allow us to live with regrets the things we have permitted or done in the past that result in the strain we are facing today. Use all our broken pieces to make something beautiful, so we might get our lives back together and move on ahead with You as Lord and the center of our lives. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sheep and Goats

All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:32-33 NAS)

Sheep and Goats
A shepherd caring for both sheep and goats knows the two do not graze well together, so it is often necessary to separate them while they are feeding. Sheep prefer to eat short, tender grass, weeds, and clover, while goats prefer to eat leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs, according to Dallas small farms examiner, Cindi Hinton, in her article at Examiner.com.

This was what Jesus meant when He said He will separate all the nations gathered before Him from one another when He returns in glory with all His angels. Just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats and puts the sheep on his right and the goats on the left, He will do the same to separate the righteous from the wicked.

He will sit on His glorious throne and say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But to those on His left, He will say, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:31-46).

For to the right are the ones who are true to the Lord whose hearts and minds are one with God in loving and caring  for those in need. But to the left are the ones who are not of the Lord and whose hearts and minds are filled with vile, wickedness, selfishness, pretense and the like, devoid of love or care for others.

Jesus our Lord is the great Shepherd. He knows the ones who are His and is able to separate them from those who are not. “This separation will be so exact, that the most inconsiderable saints shall not be lost in the crowd of sinners, nor the most plausible sinner hid in the crowd of saints,” described Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary. But every one shall go to his own place (Psalm 1:5; Ezekiel 34:17; Malachi 3:18).

Are we assured of our place in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior? Are our hearts poured out to God our Father with Christ in us and His Spirit guiding and working through us? Are we so in love with the Lord to want to reach out and feed His sheep to meet the needs of the hungry and thirsty, to clothe and take care of them?

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep,” Jesus said. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” (John 10:11, 14). Do we know Jesus personally and intimately? 

For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation. If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. This is the assurance that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son, Jesus. Whoever has Jesus has eternal life and will not be disappointed, but whoever rejects Jesus will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him (Romans 10:9-11; John 3:36; 1 John 5:11-12).

Let us choose life and experience a personal God who loves and cares for us intimately. 

Dear Lord, thank You for loving and caring for us. You, O Lord, know every one of us who are Yours, and You know who are not. You see our hearts and know our thoughts. Protect us from those among us who disguise themselves as Yours that we might not fall prey to deceit or ill intent. Work in us every good thing that is pleasing in Your sight and give us the heart of a shepherd that loves and cares to reach out to those in need. To You be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Complementary Condiments

“Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:50 NAS)

Complementary Condiments
All of us know the importance of salt in preserving and giving flavor to food, but few would ever think of pepper as an essential to our daily diet. So how did salt and pepper become a pair? The story dates back to the seventeenth-century in French cuisine, as written and told at various sites on the Web. Spices were considered by French chefs as ingredients masking the true flavor of dishes. Pepper was the only spice that did not overpower the taste of food. The pair had since become complementary condiments and is today typically found as a set of shakers on tables in most restaurants. 

Life as a follower of Jesus is like salt and pepper. We have been called to be the salt of the earth to preserve the world from putrefaction and moral decadence. But many a time, challenges and sorrows, like pepper that spices up and sometimes burns, come along to accompany us and shake us up. Just as salt and pepper are seldom placed alone without the other as table condiments, so it is with trials in the Christian life. These two go together, for everyone will be salted with fire so our work will become evident as proof of our faith even though tested by fire (Mark 9:49; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:7).

But if the salt in us become tasteless because of too much ‘pepper’ or the entanglements of this world, then we need to get ourselves back on track with God to make it salty again. Otherwise, we might find ourselves no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49-50).

Are we feeling entangled because of the challenges and sorrows we face or the enticement of this world? Are we finding it difficult to be the salt of the earth with ‘pepper’ constantly hindering and sticking close to us?

Unless we accept the accompaniment of trials and tests in our lives, no amount of pep talk to ourselves will help us make progress or grow our faith. Nonetheless, just as pepper does not overpower the taste of food, so it is with trials and tests. No trial has overtaken us but such as is common to man. God is faithful and will not let us be tried beyond what we are able to bear, but with the trial will provide a way out so we may be able to endure it. Blessed are we who perseveres under trial, for when we have stood the test we will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12).

Grant us, dear Lord, the strength to withstand under trials so we might grow in faith rather than be found worthless in the end. Give us the heart to accept whatever comes our way as part of our progression and growth that having been salted by fire, we would come forth pure for Your purpose and work. Do not let the challenges, sorrows, entanglements, and the enticement of this world trample us underfoot, but help us persevere and bear up, that after having stood the test we will receive the crown of life.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Taking Notes

Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11 NAS)

Taking Notes
Note taking is a habit I have acquired over time. When I was a student, I took notes during class, and I still do the same today. I jot down on paper my thoughts and the things I read during morning devotion every day. It helps me better internalize what I have learned from the word of God.

Over the years, note taking has seen a dramatic shift from the use of pen and paper to the use of keyboard, keypad or the stylus pen on e-paper via applications for electronic devices. While for many people, taking notes on a laptop is faster and more legible than writing with a pen, U.S. psychological researchers have found that electronic note taking methods could be harmful to academic performance as it encourages ‘mindless transcription.’ Students putting pen to paper, on the other hand, displayed a better grasp of concepts they had just learned and retained more understanding in the long run, according to an article of February 5, 2014 by Sarah Griffiths at DailyMail.co.uk.

The researchers, Dr. Pam Mueller of Princeton University and Dr. Daniel Oppenheimer of UCLA, observed that students using laptops were more likely to take more notes than those using a pen. Students using the old fashioned way took fewer notes with less verbatim recording, but remembered more facts and understood more concepts from the lecture. Findings from the study suggest that taking notes with a pen rather than a laptop leads to higher quality learning and is a better strategy for storing and internalizing ideas in the long-term.

Using electronic devices or a laptop to take notes is of course absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, in many cases, doing so might be helpful because of its portability and availability wherever we go. Mindless transcription or taking notes without understanding, however, is a different story. If we fail to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit, the speaker, our pastor, or lecturer is saying at a particular point of time, no amount of note taking will help us when we attempt to understand it later. 

Are we too busy transcribing notes on our electronic devices that we fail to pay attention to what we have heard or read? Are we finding ourselves helpless without our digital gadgets to remind us what we need to learn or understand? Are we writing down our thoughts and what we have read from God’s word every day?

The Bible exhorts us to treasure God’s word in our hearts that we might not sin. A good way to do that is to begin reading God’s word daily. Start today, if we have not already done so, and write down on paper our thoughts the things we read during our quiet time with God. Doing this will help us better grasp God’s word and retain greater understanding in the long run as we internalize what we have learned.  

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us the tools to write down our thoughts and what we have learned from Your word, so we might better retain our understanding. Help us internalize Your precepts and teachings in our daily living to pay closer attention to the guidance of Your Holy Spirit and not carelessly let any learning or opportunity pass us by. Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, and we delight to meditate and dwell in the understanding of Your word.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8 NIV)

Waiting
Sometimes it is so difficult to keep the faith, especially when our prayers are seemingly not getting answered. We have sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but all the things we and our dependents need are not added. Day and night we have asked, sought, and knocked, but the doors are not opening. We have believed we would receive, but we have not. We have cast our cares on our Lord, but the cares remained unresolved and have snowballed. Out of desperation, we cried out to the Lord and looked up in expectation, but have received only silence. We have waited, perhaps for an extended period spanning years, and have now reached the end of the rope with no knot to tie or hang on. In earnest, we pray for God to answer our prayers and seek His grace and sufficiency to grant us the means to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive. 

Such a sense of helplessness and despair are probably not uncommon to some of us. The sons of Korah, like us, were also facing stressful times when they wrote in a maskil that their tears have been their food day and night. Their souls were in despair and they cried out to God, “Why have You forgotten me?” (Psalm 42:3, 5, 9).

Do we sometimes feel we have been forgotten or wonder why God takes such a long time to answer our prayers in spite of our earnest asking, seeking, and knocking day and night? Did not our Lord immediately reached out His hand and took hold of Peter when he cried out, “Lord, save me!”? Is it possible God’s silence means His answer is “No” when we ask Him to meet our basic needs and the needs of our dependents? Would a father give his son a stone when he asks for bread, or a snake for a fish, or a scorpion for an egg? (Matthew 7:7-11; 14:30-31; Luke 11:11-12).

During times of helplessness and despair, our response should be like that of the psalmist to long and thirst for God as the deer pants for streams of water. Believe the LORD to direct His unfailing love in the day and His song with us in the night. Hope in God for we will yet praise Him, our Savior and our God (Psalm 42:1-2, 8, 11).

Dear Lord, we are in desperate need of You to keep us and our loved ones living. We have waited for a long time, and we are now at our wits’ end as to how to go on from here. Give us this day our daily bread and supply to us all our needs. Grant us Your bountiful blessings that we might not have only tears for food day and night. Do not let our souls be downcast within us, but remind us of Your unfailing love. Direct us in the path we are to walk and place Your song within us, for we will yet praise You, our Savior and our God. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

From the Belly of a Fish

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:1-3 KJV)

From the Belly of a Fish
One of my favorite meals is fried catfish. But in the case of Jonah, he was not the one eating the fish but the fish ate him or at least swallowed him. We all know the story how God told Jonah to go preach to the citizens of Nineveh. And how Jonah disobeyed Him and boarded a boat headed toward Tarshish instead. 

Then God sent a big wind; the people on the boat were afraid, and Jonah admits he is running from the Lord and insists that the men throw him overboard. To give them their due, they did not throw him over immediately but tried to make it to shore. When the winds got worse, they gave in and threw Jonah into the water and the winds calmed. 

That is when it happened. A large fish swallowed Jonah and there he remained for three days and night. It was during this time that Jonah repented from his sin of disobedience, and was redeemed by the grace of the Lord.

There is more to the story of Jonah but for today let’s look at God’s saving grace. God could have wrecked the boat Jonah was on. He could have let Jonah drown in the sea or He could have let the fish truly consume Jonah. But He didn’t. He gave Jonah the opportunity to repent. God was not happy with Jonah when he disobeyed, but He still loved, protected, and offered redemption to him. The same as He does for us when we are disobedient. Isn’t God good? Karen B. White

Dear Lord, thank You for always protecting us and for Your willingness to forgive us of our sins when we ask. Please help me to be obedient to You in all that I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Eye Healing

For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37 NIV)

Eye Healing
"You have an incurable eye defect. You will never be able to drive a car!"

When the eye specialist said these words, they meant very little to me, as I was only a child. But once I reached my mid teens and watched my brothers and friends passing their tests and driving cars, I felt robbed. I ached so much inside and dreamed of driving my own car.

A few months after becoming a Christian I prayed so much for God to heal me. Many times at church I went forward for healing. But after having those same words repeated to me again by an optician when I was 21, and realizing I still had the eye defect, cut me to the bone. It broke me.

After a while I came to the conclusion that it wasn't part of God's plan to heal me, so I got on with my life serving God. Many years later however when I was married, I felt the Father whisper to me, "Get your eyes tested." I did, this time I was told a different story. "You should have no problem passing the eye test." Sure enough I took lessons and passed my driving test.

All those years ago, God didn't say no to my healing, He said WAIT.

Firstly God healed me. We have a relationship with a living God, who is in full control. He has the final say. Even when the world says No! God can say Yes! He makes the impossible, possible. What an awesome God we have. There is nothing he can't do.

Secondly, I had to wait for that healing in God's time, not mine. His timing is perfect and He wants the best for us. We have a habit of racing ahead of God, but sometimes we need to learn to be patient and keep in step with Him. God has His own agenda, He knows best.

In the day of my trouble, I will call to you, For you will answer me. (Psalm 86:7 NIV)

And finally God always answers our prayers. We may not get the answer we want, but remember God knows our needs. Sometimes it's a YES, Sometimes it's a NO, but also remember He might be saying WAIT. Phil Russ

Father, what a wonderful, powerful God You are. We thank You that You are so much bigger than anything. You are still a God of miracles today. Help us to be patient and learn that sometimes we need to wait, and keep in step with You, and even if You do say No sometimes, we know you have our best interests at heart. Amen.

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