Selah

Psalm 32:7 (WEB)

You are my hiding place. You will preserve me from trouble.
You will surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
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Waiting On God

Genesis 16:1-16

God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.

Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).

Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Colossians 1:9-10

Philippians 4:6 says that it’s good to bring requests to the Lord, and we do often ask Him for certain blessings, desired outcomes, and healing for loved ones. But there are times when, in God’s omniscience, He determines that a “no” would ultimately result in greater good.

So, what supplications can you be sure are in accordance with His will? Paul recorded specific petitions he made on behalf of the Colossians, and you can offer these life-changing prayers for people in your own life as well.

First, request that they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In this way, you are asking God to give them direction and the ability to see life from His viewpoint.

Second, ask that they “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). The only way to succeed in this is through the control of the Holy Spirit—He fills hearts with a longing for God and creates the desire to please Him through obedience.

Third, pray that their life would count (v. 10). There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful. Many Christians assume that to have an impact for God, they must volunteer in numerous ministries at church or become a missionary or pastor. But the truth is, effectiveness in God’s work depends on what He calls each person to do.

Too often, Christians pray for others only during hardships. But Paul continuously lifted up the Colossians to our Father (v. 9). As you mention others by name to the Lord, consider the areas that the apostle addressed.

 

Heavenly Silence

Why Isn’t God Speaking?

Job 34:29

The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole. David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2). Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him. And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …

He wants our attention. We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life. When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready. If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him. If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others. When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.

It’s Time To Look Up and See Our Saving Grace

Jude 1:24 (WEB)

Promise 270: I will keep you from falling until you joyfully stand blameless in My presence.

Unity In Trials

Unity In Trials
Should it come as a surprise when we go through trials, especially prior to the Feast of Tabernacles?  Sometimes we may experience “heavier” trials, perhaps having the feeling of being alone, that there is nobody out there who can help or comfort us.  It’s quite normal to have that feeling at times but we need to understand that EVERYONE goes through trials and EVERYONE suffers in their own way.  We go through trials for the purpose of our individual course towards perfection.
These particular tests affect each and every one of us.  Not all trials are the same for each of us.   Our responses and reactions, our strength and our faith are always being tested.  Do we pray to God when we are facing difficulties, asking Him to give us strength through His Holy Spirit?  Or is it in the back of our minds, not valued as important enough?  Is prayer just something we do when we have the time for it, when it’s convenient, sometimes even forgetting to pray altogether?  Do NOT neglect the power of prayer for anything, because, as Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
But we are human and we still think like humans, process thoughts by using our carnal minds, and at times give in to sin.   We can quickly change that way of thinking because we have something the people of this world don’t have who have not been called by God. We have the power of the Holy Spirit that we received during our baptism! God’s Holy Spirit helps us distinguish between right and wrong, which is why it is important to pray to God to grant us more of His Spirit when we are going through difficulties, and why it is so important to replenish it daily.
We shouldn’t be afraid when we go through trials, but it’s never a bad thing to ask ourselves why we may be going through certain trials.  Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  And 2 Timothy 1:7 continues on saying, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
David understood this, and he also faced many difficult trials. He pleaded with God with fasting and prayer and knew that he had to change.  He was not too proud to admit that he sinned when he recognized it and bitterly repented. He was still punished, but God accepted his repentance and he was forgiven.  After all, he was a man after God’s own heart.  His heart was in the right place.  He loved God’s law and he received strength from God.  He didn’t have anything to fear since his absolute faith was in God (compare Psalms 27:1; 118:6).
Our trials may be different from other’s trials, but we all go through trials for we are ALL being tested.  And that is why we pray for and comfort one another, because we are never alone.  It’s a unified effort!
Just as our beliefs and what we preach is unified, we then are to speak the same thing, agree that there are no divisions, be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).  We need to be of one mind (1 Peter 3:8).  Romans 12:16 adds that we need to be of the same mind toward one another and not be wise in our own opinion.  If we think that we can make it on our own, saying that we don’t need the church or the ministry, don’t need to keep God’s law and just do what we believe is correct in our own eyes, we will fail.  Where do we put our trust?  Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us the answer.
Yes, God will direct our paths, but God also provides help because we are not alone.  Who can understand the Bible without direction, explanation and guidance? God provides help for the purpose of teaching (compare Ephesians 4:11-13; Acts 20:28).  We are to be helped by the ministry because we have a work to do.  But we need to be of one mind.  How can two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3).
To be truly unified we also must have humility (Philippians 2:1-8), we must have peace (Ephesians 4:3) and we must have love, which is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14).  Are we doing enough?
We ALL go through various trials.  Through unity of like mind, we receive strength and comfort from God and our brethren (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We must allow God to help us when we go through difficult times. We must not take Him for granted nor His Church nor all the things that He has given us. Rather, we need to really think about what His purpose is for us.  Why are we here? What are we commissioned to do?  We ALL have a part—individually and as a whole.

 

Overcoming Obstacles

Matthew 17:14-21

Nothing is impossible for the heavenly Father. No obstacle confuses God or poses any kind of challenge for Him. Though we know He is sovereign over every situation, we have trouble maintaining this perspective, just like the disciples in today’s passage. Too often when difficulties arise, we …

Experience a shift in focus. During trials, we tend to take our eyes off the Lord and instead see only our problems. The longer we look at our circumstance, the larger it seems. As we dwell on it in thought and conversation, our mindset can become very negative. Though God still has a direction for us to take, we are no longer concentrating on His purposes.

Develop an incorrect assessment of resources. In our troubles, we start taking inventory of our own strength and abilities. When they prove insufficient, we become discouraged. The truth is that we don’t have what is needed for life’s trials—Jesus Himself told us that. (See John 15:5.) But God’s capabilities are unlimited, His power is never-ending, and His wisdom is complete. We need to take stock of His resources, not our own.

View obstacles as barriers. For the obedient believer, impediments represent opportunities, not problems. The Lord can demonstrate His awesome power through our difficulties. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.) At such times, we grow in our faith and learn more about our Father. If we view hardships simply as troubles, then we can miss demonstrations of God’s love, power, and wisdom.

Start each day committed to a Christ-centered focus, a dependence on His resources, and an “opportunity” mindset.