Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7: 23)
I am sharing with you something that came bounding at me in my prayer time yesterday. As I was praying about some specific decisions in my life, I was telling the Lord about how inconvenient it would be if He wanted me to go this way, but that I was willing to do whatever He thought was best.
I heard in my heart, “Do you really have a ‘yes on file’ with Me?”
The odd concept startled me, then challenged me. Have I already determined in my heart and committed to “yes,” no matter what God asks me to do?
Now don’t mistake my challenge for the unfortunately popular and erroneous belief that if you submit to God, He’s going to send you to the worst place you can imagine to do the thing you’d most not like to do. That fear has been propogated by none other than the father of lies in hopes of inspiring you to keep away from the Lord. No, God uses our divinely-implanted talents and strengths and provides opportunities that allow us to be who we most are. He’s not some big ogre in the sky who delights in making His kids miserable.
At the same time, He knows better than you or I know where and how our abilities and experiences, infused with HIS strength and power, can make the biggest differences to others. and bring out the best in us at the same time When that opportunity opens up, and the Holy Spirit nudges you or me to step in, we may not be free from anxiety or delighted with our removal from the comfort of the familiar.
But I ask myself (and I encourage you to do the same,),”Do I have a yes on file with God?” Have I made the life-changing decision that He is God, not me? Is the only real zuestion, “What is God saying to me?” not, “Will I do what God is saying to me?”
I’ve heard it said that a conviction is a decision already made. I believe that God has been reminding me that obedience is also a decision I must go ahead and make. Knowing that up front makes it far less complicated to do the right thing when I am tempted to rely on my fickle emotions for guidance.
I have re-affirmed to God that He has my yes on file. Does He have yours?
Dear Lord, You are my God, and I am Your daughter. I know that You know what’s best for me, how I can be most helpful to others, and how I can best grow in You. You know me better than I know myself. I pre-say, ‘YES!” to where You lead me. Open my spiritual eyes and ears so that I may hear You and act on what I hear!
Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5: 16, KJV)
The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. (James 5:16, The Amplified Bible)
If ever there was a time for believers to pray, it’s now. The monster Hurricane Irma has followed on the destructive heels of Hurricane Harvey. People legitimately feel threatened as the forecasts for Irma’s U.S. landfall remain uncertain. Those in our geographic region are having post-traumatic memories of Katrina, and they wonder, “Could it actually happen again?” Others in Texas are painfully and painstakingly picking up the pieces of their lives and properties.
To make the high anxiety “a little” worse in our world, impulsive, power-hungry, and sadistic rulers taunt other countries with threats of nuclear and hydrogen bombs on their mainlands. People in the U.S. are beyond tired of the governmental turmoil and chaos, no matter which side of the aisle they support. Let’s face it. Circumstantially, this world is in a mess!
So what are we to do? Staying obsessively glued to cable TV isn’t the answer. That practice only increases anxiety! Use the OFF button on the remote.
It’s time for us to pray, really pray!
I’m talking about moving beyond the casual, “God bless and protect us all.” When is the last time you persistently and intensely, over time, communicated with God, laying all of yourself before Him in surrender? God has called us as believers in Christ to “stand in the gap” for others, praying as fervently for the needs of others as we do for ourselves and our loved ones.
Spiritual maturity does not mean you become more confident to be able to stand on your own two feet. Growing up in God means that you develop what I call “chronic desperation,” understanding how desperately you need Him even when times are more peaceful.
Further, if God asks it of us in a given situation, we must be ready to take action toward problem solutions or others’ recovery, showing His Love toward all our neighbors. (And Jesus taught us, “neighbors” has a very broad definition!). In other words, He may call us to be His Hands and Feet, an active contributor to the answers to the prayers we offer!
The days in which lukewarm Christianity is “workable” are past. (It never was; actually. Jesus addressed that quite clearly in the Book of Revelation.) Our God and these crazy times are calling for boldness – boldness in prayer and boldness in action.
And about Hurricane Irma? Join me in praying and believing for an odd turn into the ocean and away from direct hits on additional land, then followed by an unusual dissipation of that storm. Pray for all who have already been affected. Please pray for my pastor and the mission team from our church to successfully and safely get their flight out of Cuba today. Pray for those suffering from Harvey’s destruction. Pray for our country and its leaders. Pray for our world.
As I was thinking about this devotional last night, a Facebook friend’s post last caught my attention. Thank you, Claire Nix.
“If you pray REGULARLY, IRREGULAR [Spectacular, Miraculous, God-Ordained] things happen on a REGULAR basis.”
Pray, people of God!
O God, You know the current condition of the beautiful world You created. We know that Your plan for its complete redemption is fully in motion. Thank You, Lord, that we who are in Christ are secure in You, no matter what happens in this temporal world. I pray, God, from the bottom of my soul, turn the hurricanes. Protect lives and property. Heal and spiritually enlighten the leaders of this world. Help us, O Lord. Please help us all!
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2: 14-16)
A pet peeve of mine is when someone does not participate in the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done part, but they are quick to take pot-shots from the sidelines at those who do.
You’ve encountered chronic complainers in your workplace. You’ve met them in your church. They may even be uncomfortably close to you on the family tree. They have the uncanny power to clear a room when they walk in the door.
Here are a few questions to ponder.
~How are you and I going to be lights in a dark world if our own attitudes are also dark?
~How can we be positive influences for the Lord if no one wants to be around us and certainly doesn’t want what we have?
~How can we possibly inspire hope when our words are those of doom and gloom?
Perpetual grumbling is a habit that can sneak up on you. Pay attention to your reactions.
~ When there’s a bothersome issue, do you offer a complaint or a solution?
~ Do you tell others how they should have done it better, or do you get busy making it better?
~Do you find yourself more and more miserable, or do you enjoy the spirit of working together with others to make a difference?
Think about ie…
God, I want to be a problem-solver and not a grumbler. Holy Spirit, give me wise ideas for action, and motivate me to get to work instead of getting on other people’s nerves! I do want to always be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.
Way back in grad school, we studied the classic book, Working, by Studs Terkel. Mr. Terkel said, “Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread.” How true that is! I am so passionate about helping people discover and fulfill their purpose in life and infusing all that they do with meaning.
(I just can’t say “no” to the temptation here to let you know that I’m starting a series of “purpose retreats,” the first to be held Sept. 29-30. Let me know if you’d like info on the retreat and purpose coaching.)
The voice of weeping shall be no more heard. (Isaiah 65: 19)
Last night I watched story after story of flood survivors in pain, thankful for breath but reeling from their losses. They spoke of their investments from a lifetime, gone; and even more importantly, loved ones, gone. The devastation is sickening. My heart is so heavy, and I cannot even imagine the weights of theirs.
Deep grief: it’s one of the most painful emotional experiences of life. No one I’ve ever met has been permanently exempt from it. It’s gut-wrenching, and it feels as if it will never end. Some losses forever burn themselves into your heart, but God heals so that the intensity of the grief is no longer overwhelming and debilitating. You learn to function again in your unwelcome new normal.
But one day, for the believer in Christ, ALL the grief will be over. The world will be set right. We will be reunited with loved ones who went before us and introduced face-to-face with God!
Yesterday, a grieving mother shared with me some words of comfort she’d found in a message by Charles Spurgeon. I want to share it with you.
“The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships nor blighted prospects in heaven. Poverty, famine, peril, persecution, and slander are unknown there. No pain distresses. No thought of bereavement saddens. They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified. No ‘evil heart of unbelief’ prompts them to depart from the living God. They are without fault before His throne and fully conformed to His image. Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. They weep no more, because all fear of change is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They dwell within a city that shall never be stormed. They bask in a sun which shall never set. They drink of a river which shall never dry. They pluck fruit from a tree that shall never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessing shall co-exist with it. They are forever with the Lord. They weep no more because every desire is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything which they have not in possession. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, all the faculties are completely satisfied. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite beautitude. That same joyful rest remains for us. It may not be far distant. Ere long the weeping willow shall be exchanged for the palm branch of victory, and sorrow’s dewdrops will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss. ‘Wherefore comfort one another with these words.'”
Yes, let’s comfort one another with these words and with the sure knowledge that the troubles we are facing will not last forever. What will last forever is the Love of God and His beautiful promises about our eternity.
Holy Spirit, You are the Comforter while we are in the throes of the pains of this world. I rest in the blessed Hope and in Your overcoming power now, and I am excited about the day when all of these crazy struggles will end.