Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

For Such a Time as This

Don’t ever doubt that God is at work in your life. He is working in you and through you to accomplish a greater purpose. You may not see it, but He’s doing something bigger than you could imagine.

Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? Esther 4:14

Esther was told that she may have become queen just so she could save their people from the plan to have all Jews killed. She didn’t just wind up in this position. Maybe God placed her there for the exact purpose of approaching the king to beg for the lives of the Jews because only she had the exact qualities needed to accomplish that task.

Three qualities Esther had that we can also use when facing a challenge: willingness, wisdom, and courage. First, she was willing. She didn’t immediately say no. So often we say no without even truly considering if it’s something God wants us to do. Also, Esther was wise. She asked her friends to pray, and she waited for God’s timing. During that time, God prepared the heart of the king, but He also prepared Esther’s heart. Finally, she had the courage to know that God was in control and would guide and protect her. She didn’t allow fear to discourage her.

What seems like an overwhelming situation or even an insignificant detail in our day or life, may actually be part of God’s plan and purpose.

We don’t always realize it at the time, but maybe where you are right now is because you were made “for such a time as this”.

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Strength Renewed

The Lord goes before youThe journey of life is often long and difficult. There are many obstacles in our way that cause discouragement, grumbling, and questions. Our circumstances may leave us feeling like the Israelites as God led them to the promised land. God had promised something better than the life they were leaving, but they faced many struggles along the way.

Exodus 13:17 says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.”Why not?The Israelites were finally free from slavery, and God was leading them to the PromisedLand. Why wouldHe make them go the long way? As we read on we see that travelling the shortest route would result in being attackedby the Philistine army. God knew if they faced a battle, they might turn and head back to Egypt.They simply were not ready.SoHe protected them from an immediate battle…

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Strength Renewed

Don't let anythingDo you ever feel that you are less of a Christian than others?  We often wonder why others have more faith or why some people seem to have it all together while we struggle daily.  Satan thrives on those insecurities and self-doubts and works diligently to convince us that we have less to offer than others.  Satan assures us that we are “nobody” and could never accomplish what Moses and so many others have done before us.  But God did not create all of us to be Moses.  He wants you to be the person he created you to be.  He has a special plan just for you.  God chose you to be you!

A famous Jewish quote says:  A rabbi named Zusya died and went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how…

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Strength Renewed

How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which it seemed the best response was to just grin and bear it? We often practice this technique in the small day to day annoyances so that we don’t come across as rude or cranky. We do it when we aren’t feeling well, and someone asks how we’re feeling so we don’t appear to be a whiner. How many times have you heard or said, “Suck it up, Buttercup”?  Many of us see this manner of dealing with adversity as a strong trait.

I’ve come to realize that even with the big stuff I tend to take this same approach.  It’s as if when I grin and bear it, that is proof of just how strong I am and how much faith I have. But instead maybe it just proves my lack of faith and that I am stubbornly…

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Cloud of Hope

What are you waiting for God to do in your life?  Are there prayers that seem unanswered or ignored by God?  Is He offering you small glimpses of hope that you’ve overlooked, misunderstood, or taken for granted?

We live in a fast-paced society where we expect everything to happen right away.  Fast food delivered right to your door, instant communication without waiting for the mail to run, elevators that move more quickly than taking the stairs, overnight shipping…the list just goes on and on.  So much of what we do, or want, or even need can be done almost instantaneously, and we often forget the satisfaction of receiving a long awaited response.

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is on top of the mountain after God had immediately answered his prayer for fire.  The Israelites had allowed the worship of other gods to separate them from the One true God. Elijah called a test between his God and Baal, the god of the sky. After hours of prayers, Baal failed to burn the offering.  Then Elijah said a short prayer, and God immediately caused a fire to consume the bull, the altar, and even the stones, which were all drenched in water.  After that instantaneous response, Elijah prayed for rain to end a three and a half year drought, but this prayer was not answered immediately.

Sometimes God answers “Yes” right away, and we are able to experience an undeniable miracle right before our eyes.  Other times His answer is “No”.  Maybe we’ve asked for something that is not in our best interest, or our desire does not match with His plan.  Then there are times when the answer is “Wait”.  Wait for rain, wait for healing, wait for answers.  God’s timing doesn’t always meet the instant satisfaction that We prefer, so we tend to grow discouraged when He doesn’t answer our prayers instantly. 

Notice what Elijah did when he didn’t receive an answer right away.  In verse 43, he sent a servant to look toward the sea for a sign of rain.  When there was no sign, he prayed again then sent the servant to look again.  It must have been frustrating after the miracle he had just witnessed when he prayed for fire, but Elijah did not give up.  He continued to pray, wait, and watch for God’s answer.  Seven times he prayed and sent the servant to look for a sign that rain was coming.

Finally, the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea” (1 Kings 18:44).  It wasn’t a sudden outpouring of rain, but it was the glimmer of hope that Elijah needed.  He knew that the rain was coming.  He knew God was answering his prayer!  It wasn’t immediate.  He still had to wait for it, but it was coming.  A cloud no bigger than a man’s hand was all the evidence Elijah needed to know that rain WAS coming.

Like you, I want instant satisfaction. I want immediate answers. More often than not, I’ve had to wait to God’s answer. But many times He has given me glimmers of hope.  Small hints of healing. A small cloud that is  God’s way of reminding us that He is still in control.  His answer may not be immediate, but He’s still at work in our lives.

When answers don’t come right away, don’t give up.  Continue to pray and keep watching.  Keep expecting to see His answer coming in the distance.  Keep watching for that small cloud of hope in the distance that indicates rain is coming!

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Change Your Focus

I learned a valuable Grammy lesson today.  No matter how precious that grand baby is, do not sit and gaze at her as she sits in the baby swing just swinging away! Somehow it caused a bad case of motion sickness. The room began to spin out of control, and  I suddenly found myself on hands and knees crawling on the floor unable to even stand and walk! Go ahead and laugh because I know how funny it sounds!

Once I managed to get off the floor, I spent the next few hours feeling faint, nauseated, stumbling around, and crashing on the couch trying to sleep it off. Little did I know that simply enjoying that sweet baby swinging would have such negative consequences.Grandbabies are wonderful, but combined with motion may create a hilariously funny yet miserable situation for Grammy.

Later I learned that all I really needed was a change of focus. I just needed to simply look at something stable more than I was gazing at Baby M.  If my focus had been on something unchanging, I would never have felt so miserable, and I could have spent much more time enjoying my new grandbaby.


This experience made me realize that sometimes in life, I also need to change my focus. We get so wrapped up in the things we enjoy that we often forget to turn to God for stability. He wants us to enjoy the people and things in our lives. After all, He’s the one who blessed us with those good things. But when we place those things before Him, we may find ourselves stumbling through life unable to stand on our own and wondering what went wrong.
When I find my life has become a miserable situation, maybe that too is because my focus is in the wrong place. It’s easy to let our problems become our focus. We dwell on the what ifs and if onlys, and soon our thoughts are consumed by a huge problem. Strangely, focusing on an obstacle tends to make that situation seem to  grow even larger, which makes us focus on it even more.  Eventually it seems as if our life is spinning out of control.  But when we can turn our focus to God, we’ll find that the problem actually seems smaller.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

Whether you’ve been focusing on the good or the bad, maybe it’s time for a change. Stop and check your focus. Are you spending all your time enjoying the good, but forgetting to focus on the One who has blessed you?  Or are you focusing on a growing problem instead of seeking the face of the One who can conquer all? It’s your choice. Turn your focus back to the Lord. You’ll see that He offers the stability that you need.

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How many times have you found yourself in a situation in which it seemed the best response was to just grin and bear it? We often practice this technique in the small day to day annoyances so that we don’t come across as rude or cranky. We do it when we aren’t feeling well, and someone asks how we’re feeling so we don’t appear to be a whiner. How many times have you heard or said, “Suck it up, Buttercup”?  Many of us see this manner of dealing with adversity as a strong trait.

I’ve come to realize that even with the big stuff I tend to take this same approach.  It’s as if when I grin and bear it, that is proof of just how strong I am and how much faith I have. But instead maybe it just proves my lack of faith and that I am stubbornly digging my heels in an attempt to do things on my own.

For weeks after my husband’s accident, God was literally carrying me through each day because I did not have the strength to even try and do it on my own at that point. A week or two after the accident, I finally had to leave the hospital to take care of some things at home. It was probably the first time that I had really been alone. I remember a feeling of peace as I drove listening to the Christian radio station and even joy as I began to sing along and truly worship God in the midst of the storm. Our situation was not what I wanted to experience, but it was much better than what I had expected to be dealing with. Even in the stress of our situation, I was able to praise God for all He was doing.

But as time passed, my life started to feel out of control as I began to dig my heels in and grin and bear it. I stopped letting God carry me.  I stopped depending on Him and began a daily struggle of depending on me. It’s not easy to admit, but that’s when I began to lose my joy.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were thrown in prison after being falsely accused and beaten with no trial. They were treated unfairly and placed in a horrible circumstance, yet verse 25 says they were praying and singing to God. They weren’t dwelling on their physical pain, unfair treatment, or difficult situation. They didn’t simply grin and bear it to prove their faith. They showed that faith by choosing to turn their focus to God.  Others in the prison saw and heard their faith including a jailer who along with his family was saved. After an earthquake (v26), salvations (v33), and a heart to heart talk from Paul (v37), the officials released them.

My experience is small compared to that of Paul and Silas.  But their response has helped me to refocus, not on the situation but on God and the peace and joy that He gave me months ago during the most difficult of times. I’ve learned that I must continue to choose joy and check my focus daily, and He will continue to give me the strength I need. Others will see that in my life and ultimately bring glory to God.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29).

“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).

God allows both small trials and big trials in our lives.  His desire is not for us to just grin and bear it.  He wants us to truly have faith rather than depending on our own strength. He wants us to find a way to focus on Him and rejoice through the trial. He will take care of the rest. Don’t grin and bear it. Choose joy!

 

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