Devotionals
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August 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait?


I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2

No one loves to wait. We all know what it’s like to be stuck, or to feel stuck, like everything is out of our control and we’re just sitting tight waiting on someone or something else to move so we can get on with life and advance to the next thing. Waiting for something we really want is hard. We’ll often take shortcuts because we’re trying to skip the waiting if at all possible. To quote the famous theologian, Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Normally, when we’re waiting, we’re not waiting on God, we’re waiting on ourselves, or our circumstances to change.  We look around wondering what is blocking or holding up our progress. If we’re not careful we will miss out on something really special if we’re always trying to “hurry things up.”

 

The discipline of waiting is an important part of life. It’s where we learn to trust and display faith. It’s where we come to the end of ourselves. During these times, whether we realize it or not, God is posturing Himself to help when He hears our cry. Instead of trying to speed things up and get unstuck, God is wanting to do something deep inside of our heart that shapes and forms our character and dependence upon Him. Even in the midst of waiting, God is doing something. He’s shaping our mind and heart so that we can be an expression of Him.  When God says wait, it’s not because He doesn’t care or because He doesn’t want us to be blessed. He isn’t withholding His goodness, joy, or peace.

 

God utilizes times of waiting to shape and form us into complete dependence upon Him. God uses waiting to teach us how to trust His provision. In order to see this, we must shift our perspective. We tend to view waiting as if it’s a delay, but the two are different. The word delay means to hinder, impeded or to hold up progress while waiting is the act of pausing for purpose and preparation. We must shift our perspective from waiting to worship.  Our waiting is not just about us. It’s about the rest of the world also learning to see, hear, and trust God. It’s about pointing others to worship Him. Our focus should shift to God and what He is trying to do, instead of our own inconvenience and what’s happening to us.

 

The way to begin doing this is by focusing on the people and circumstances around us. We’ve got to move from just focusing on ourselves to focusing outside of ourselves. Growth happens when we stop viewing waiting as if it’s not a part of the plan and begin to realize that it is, in fact, a very strategic part of God’s plan.  Where is God trying to get your attention by causing you to wait? How would a perspective shift alter your response to these circumstances?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, when I find myself in a holding pattern, I’m often impatient. My mind begins to race about what is impeding my progress. Lord You know, that I want nothing more than to move and rid myself of the waiting I encounter. Help me in those moments of waiting, to know that You are at work. Jesus teach me pay attention to those times of waiting and be curious about what You are up to. May my waiting turn into worship. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




August 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you find yourself trying to speed up the waiting process?


I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26

 

I’m not one for sitting around. If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you I am constantly moving.  Staying on the move is my norm, even in my waiting. While standing in line at the grocery store, I sway back and forth. While sitting at the doctor’s office, I drive my wife crazy by tapping my feet.  Are my movements speeding up the cosmic forces of the universe, causing my turn to come any sooner? Of course not, yet I find the actions comforting.  I realize now that my actions are a way for me to try and control the situation. I’ve done this not only in the practical areas of life but spiritual areas as well.

 

Waiting can be frustrating because we feel like we have no say or control of the process in which we advance. We want things to move forward, and when they don’t, we’re tempted to take matters into our own hands. But when we do this, we’re relying on our strength instead of God’s.  The thing is God will sometimes put our lives on hold, so we can learn to hold on to Him. God doesn’t want us exhausting ourselves, trying to make things happen. He wants us to be still and know that He is God.  This doesn’t mean we check-out, but rather lean into the ways of the Lord. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but learning to do what we are told.”  Seek God in the waiting.

 

As we hunger for answers, we will be satisfied in His presence. Do you find yourself trying to speed up the waiting process? If so, how does that leave you feeling? Is the Lord your portion? In other words, are you delighting yourself in communion with God, or are you focused on feeling stuck?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, when I try to hurry things along, remind me that I am trying to work from my own strength, which will leave me feeling exhausted. Lord help me to relinquish control and allow You to work in the wait.  Jesus may we seek you and find you, become my portion so I will be satisfied by You alone. In Your name, Amen.




August 8, 2017, 12:00 AM

What are some things are you doing to compensate for the imperfections God has revealed to you?


Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

 

One time when I was a little kid, I was at my grandmother’s house playing in her bedroom, and I saw one of those round mirrors with a light circling the outside edge. I was so confused because I was used to seeing the big flat mirror like on the wall in our bathroom at home. This was one of those mirrors where, whenever you looked at it, your face got huge. I was even more confused when I couldn’t see my entire face in the mirror. I asked my grandmother, “What is this mirror used for? You can’t even see your whole face in it!” She explained that people used those mirrors to see really close up on their face so they can apply makeup to perfection, making sure no spots are missed. I was like, “Oh, ok…” and continued to play.

 

As I have grown older, I come to realize that most people don’t like being made aware of the imperfections they have.  I sure don’t wake up each morning thinking, “I can’t wait to look in the mirror and make a list of all the things I need to work on about myself!” The truth is that we all have things we need to work on. We all have habits that need to be improved or habits that need to completely disappear. Just like make-up mirrors that were created to see all the imperfections we have on our face, God’s word can be our mirror that we use to see all of the imperfections that we have in our lives so that Jesus can help us change them.

 

We run into to trouble when we try to compensate for the imperfections that God has shown us about ourselves. We try to us the makeups of life to camouflage them, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. It was a way to cover up what was imperfect, but the makeup didn’t fix the real problem. Just like we tend to not like what we see in the mirror, we also reflect to others what we want them to see, not what’s actually there.

 

The best way to work towards changing what we see in the “mirror” is being authentic with ourselves and with others. Realizing that we have something to work on is the first step towards freedom. We can’t look in the mirror noticing something needs to be changed and then forget about it when we walk away. We start to experience freedom when we look intently at the things we need to change and then ask Jesus to help us do something about it.  What do you notice in the mirror that needs to change? Has God shown you some ways that you are not being authentic with yourself or others? What are some things are you doing to compensate for the imperfections God has revealed to you?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, please help me to be authentic with myself and with others. Lord show me my imperfections and help me make the necessary steps to change them. Jesus help me to embrace the struggles I have and work towards becoming more like You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.




August 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

What prevents us from having a relationship with others like we have with Christ?


Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

 

One can’t understand an issue from afar. Asking questions that drive to the heart requires entering someone’s world. This action does not come natural to many of us, so we stand at the gates confused at what to do. We want to help, but don’t know where to begin. Understanding how to create depth in one’s relationships starts with studying the life of the relational God we worship. We have been given life through an encounter with Jesus Christ. Through this experience we were impacted and made a decision that began to shape us. This encounter was an investment; an investment on God’s behalf for us and one that transforms us through the development of an intimate relationship with Him. Over time our heart begins to reflect His very own.

 

The depth of this relationship requires more than simply a series of requests from God, but requires active participation through steps of faith; trusting God with each step before we take them. But, how did He do it? How did God develop this intimate relationship with us? How can His investment in our lives provide a model on how to develop relationships that go beneath the surface and encourage our walks? How did Jesus “lean in” to the issues He was confronted with on a daily basis? Entering our world and enduring everything it could throw at Him, Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness and struggles. From the time He appeared on the scene in a manger in Bethlehem to hanging on a cross in Golgotha, Jesus was experiencing what it was like to be human. He understands the circumstances we face and shows compassion, mercy and grace towards us. Jesus was willing to do everything in His power, including laying down His body, to offer help and a different way to live life. 

 

When you face trouble or life does not seem to make sense, what are you looking for? You aren’t searching for pity, a few words of wisdom, a lecture or a pat on the back along with the usual response of “hang in there..things will get better.” What you hope will be in your life are people who are willing to show compassion and walk with you as you take steps towards change. Sometimes you just need people who are willing to listen first and speak second. Using Christ as our model for intentional help, our goal as brothers and sisters in Christ, is to understand people’s story so we can better speak God’s Truth into their life. This allows us to see past the issue and come face-to-face with the person on the other side.  God’s relationship with us is anything but casual.

 

However, since we can’t move in with everyone we have a relationship with, we must take the time to get to know them. It is like the words of the old saying, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Taking the time to get to know someone reveals how much you care about them.  If all we do is focus on the circumstances or situations that people struggle with, we will completely overlook the individual that we are called to love. We have to be reminded God is the author of everyone’s story, which makes each story we hear unique along with the individual telling it. 

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank you for pursuing a relationship with me. Lord through Your compassionate example, I desire to reflect Your heart to others. Jesus may my words and actions point others towards You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




August 5, 2017, 5:00 AM

Is there a situation where you are struggling to see how God is working in the midst of it?


When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” John 18:1-11

 

In the midst of the chaos going on around Him, Jesus remains relaxed and calm. Even though He knows what awaits Him in a few short days, Jesus is at peace. Nothing catches Jesus by surprise. He knows everything that is going to unfold. Jesus realizes His purpose for coming to Earth is the cross. This is why He willingly laid down His own life. John is very deliberate about the picture he paints of Jesus. John wants his readers not to see a victim, push over or a coward. He doesn’t want you to feel sorry for Jesus as if Jesus had been defeated or that His hopes and dreams had been thwarted. John makes it very clear: Jesus is in complete control.

 

Take for instance verse 4. Jesus’ response to the guards approaching Him seems to mimic other things we see throughout John’s gospel. Time and time again, Jesus gives hints to the foreknowledge He possessed. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him and that Peter would deny Him.  Yet, in the midst of the chaos, God had a plan and this should bring us great comfort. Remember, the picture we hold of Jesus influences our actions and words more than we realize. No other picture has greater implications on the way we respond to this world than the way we view Jesus. If we hold a proper understanding of who God is, we are capable of responding with hope and confidence to any difficult circumstance we face.

 

But, it comes down to belief and submitting our ways to Him. Do we truly believe God not only knows our future plans and has control over them, but that He has our best interest at heart? Do we believe that even though we might be surprised with the situation we are facing right now that God is not?  Do we believe that God has the power to use that situation, including all the pain, mistakes, confusion, hurt and sin, to transform our character and give Himself glory?

 

There is hope in whatever situation or circumstance you currently find yourself in. You might think it is hopeless, but God wants you to know it isn’t. He’s in control and all He wants you to do is lay down your will for His.  Is there a situation where you are struggling to see how God is working in the midst of it? God has the power to use any situation, including all the pain, mistakes, confusion, hurt and sin, to transform your character and give Himself glory.

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to believe that You are in control even in the midst of the chaos. Lord may this belief enable me to trust You with its’ outcome. Jesus give me the confidence to lay down my will for Your own. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 106-110 of 283