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.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Flattery

Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” (Joshua 9:6 NIV)

Flattery
Not too long ago my 4 year old grandson came up to me and with the most angelic face he could muster up he said, "Grandpa, you are the best Grandpa in the whole wide world." However, my first thought was "what does he want, or what did he do?" Did he break something or does he want something from me? I was convinced that he was buttering me up for some reason so I prepared myself for the worst.

Ok little guy, hit me with your best shot, I can take it! Then do you know what he did? He just gave me a hug and walked away! He didn't want anything. No candy, and nothing was broken. He simply came and told me that because he loves me. I was floored! That just doesn't happen very often. It seems that people most often have some ulterior motive behind such praise. This time it was just honest, open, no strings attached praise.

Then I read Joshua 9:3-16 and took notice of how slick the people of Gibeon were. They took flattery to a whole new level! They were praising the Israelites and God left and right, telling them how wonderful and powerful they were. But all the time they were flattering them, their real motive was to trick them into a covenant. Hmmmm ... empty praise with a personal agenda ... startling! And the Israelites were gullible enough to believe them.

It started me thinking that certainly I, as well as many other followers of Christ, tend to offer up empty praise in hopes of having our wants and desires met. I believe that God's heart is saddened a little by the praises that come to him for all the wrong reasons. If I had found that my grandson's praise for me was due to the fact that I was the only one who could reach the cookie jar, I would have been very disappointed. But my heart leapt when I found out that the praise was born out of love. No tricks and no treats. Just love.

God must love that kind of praise. Maybe that should be a challenge for all of us Christians. Take time each day to just praise God with no conditions, questions or petitions. Just praise born out of our love for him. Garry Bouwman

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