Waiting on God…

Acts 9:6 “Get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do”

Where is your life right now? Are you content? Where do you see
yourself in five years? It is interesting to note that God awaits our stepping into the water before …

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that

cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them

that diligently seek him.”

Waiting on God

How do you find God’s will? Is it something you just stumble
across one day, like a one-dollar bill in the parking lot? Does it come
in the middle of the night, awakening you the next morning with a fresh
sense of purpose and direction? Is it something that God forces into our being?

Or is it something deeper-a process of ongoing “baby steps” that lead to ultimate fulfillment?

In our fast-paced society, answers can’t seem to come fast
enough. Too often, however, we forget that God operates on a different
timetable than we do. When it comes to seeking God’s will, we want to
know everything at once. We expect His entire plan for our lives to be
brought to us on a silver platter. Yet God sees far beyond our need for
immediate resolution.

If God began by showing us where we would end up, we would
likely do our best to get there as quickly as possible, with little
consideration of His timing. Think about it this way: if you were given
instruction to travel from Miami to Seattle, from one corner of the
United States to the other, how would you go about doing it? Some might
take the scenic drive through the mountains, others might stick to the
coast and the waterways, and some might opt for the quick flight over
everything. The point is-we all would go about traveling from Miami to
Seattle in different ways.

Never aware of what lies ahead, we may fly right into a
turbulent storm, suffer from car trouble on a deserted highway, or lose
our way altogether. But God sees the storms ahead of us; He can steer us
in the right direction and away from the pitfalls of self-effort. Often,
He may simply ask us to take two small steps and wait on further
instructions. And often He may direct us into the storm. It’s that principle of storms building character and spiritual maturity. Discovering God’s will doesn’t happen overnight.

Following Saul’s Damascus Road experience in Acts 9, God did not
say, “Saul, I am going to make you the greatest missionary for the
Christian faith in the history of mankind.” Instead, He simply told Saul
to travel to Damascus and “it will be told you what you must do” (Acts
9:6). From there, the Lord led Paul from city to city and country to
country, using him every step of the way to spread the gospel through
the world. Day by day, God will guide us and direct us on the path we
must take.

Now we may ask, “What if I mess up? What if I get off track?”
Fortunately, God is a God of second chances. Moses ran from God; David
strayed away from the Lord on many occasions; Peter denied Christ. God
is fully aware of our human nature-He knows we will make mistakes. His
will for our lives is not a one-shot opportunity. But if we do get off
track, we must simply re-focus our attention on Him, rather than our
circumstances.

Ultimately, if we are in tune with God, we can trust that He
will reveal His plan for our lives. Not only does this involve praying
and asking God for direction, but, also, listening to Him and meditating
on His Word. “Be still,” the Lord tells us, “and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV). It’s hard to listen to God and know His will if we
are constantly doing the talking. That is why it is so important to
listen to Him and meditate on Scripture.

Where is your life right now? Are you content? Where do you see
yourself in five years? Today, begin asking God what He would have you
do next. Listen to Him, understanding that answers may not come at once.
Ask for patience and wait quietly. Through His grace, you can
confidently walk in the will of God.

* * * *

From In Touch Ministries

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may
prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This one becomes more relevant daily as our world picks up speed and not in a healthily spiritual direction!!!

Gen 2:1, 2 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

Please Slow Me Down, Lord…

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding in my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the
singing streams that live in my memory.

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations –
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child,
to read a few lines from the good book.

Slow me down, Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of your enduring values,
that I may grow closer to you.

Remind them each day that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew
great and strong because it grew slowly and well by your design.

Phil 4:6, 7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplications, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passes all understanding shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian…

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian

The title of today’s challenge sounds a bit strange. And if you are not a ‘born again’ Christian you have no chance of understanding and accepting it. We live in a world where many teach that health, wealth, prosperity and the total absence of suffering brings fulfillment. And of course, our human nature totally agrees with that thought. There are even teachers professing to be ‘born again’ that teach the same. They teach that to experience otherwise reflects a weak faith or sin. While it can be a result of sin the scriptures never proclaim that if we suffer for the gospels sake it is a lack of faith. Actually, it is just the opposite.

When we are drawn to Jesus as our Savior and we dig into His word to find meaning for our lives and we hear that, “”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Wow, that stops us dead in our tracks. Many, who never study and never grow from the milk of God’s word to being able to handle the meat of God’s word never even address this question.

Can it really be true? If I am to live for my Savior who died for me can I expect some level of persecution? The answer from scripture is a loud yes. If the world disliked and even hated Jesus and we profess what He professed then the world will not like us either. That’s a tough one to swallow. Like you my flesh prefers that people would like me. And what if I am experiencing zero persecution. Does that mean my spiritual priorities are not correct? Yes, that could be the case. Ouch! We can only know that by asking God to answer that question and then we must do something contrary to our human will. We must truly be open to the answer. Remember the answers to prayer are yes, no and wait. Yes, is not the only option God has. When I hear no or wait it does not mean that God did not answer my prayer.

There are promises in the word of God that don’t seem much like promises to many believers. Persecution is one of them. Scripture proclaims that all whose purpose of heart is to live godly lives in this present world shall (certainly) suffer persecution, as did their Lord. Maybe we contemplate such verses and think they should say something like, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be appreciated for their goodness and rewarded with approval, good health and fortune while in this world.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul said to the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” We probably would be more comfortable if that were to read, “For unto you it is given…not only to believe on him, but also to be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.” But it doesn’t say that. Reading and allowing the Word of God to change our lives are two entirely different things. Are you a reader only? Ouch, another convicting question.

So why would I want to be open to persecution??? As noted in James we are in this life but for a short time. Our lives are but a vapor that comes and disappears quickly. Our time to serve our Lord is short. This time on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to eternity. And if you are a believer you will spend eternity with God. There is also a judgment seat or awards ceremony for believers. The judgment seat is not to judge our sins that Jesus took care of but to award us for services rendered while on this earth. I would rather hear, ‘well done’, than to hear how I missed the prize or to hear a silence because of lack of commitment on my part while on this earth.

We are to serve out of obedience. Disobedience is viewed by God as a tragic sin. Check it out over and over in scripture in both the OT and the NT. God never accepts disobedience. Our sins are washed away by Jesus blood so my salvation is secure. While works cannot save us they are very important after being ‘born again’. Serving Jesus while on this earth is now or should now be my focus! And when done correctly it will bring some level of persecution.

Remember persecution comes in many different ways including verbal, lost friendships, physical punishment, lost job opportunities, etc. In America at least for now the verbal, peer pressure and life style issues are the greatest persecution we see. So maybe all is not lost with that slap in the face that you just received, literal or figurative. Pray and think before you allow your fleshly frustration to take over. It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be for His glory!!!!!

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

God knows ALL…

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.

Who knows All

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…                                                       God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…God has sustained you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

When you realize life is for eternity and only Jesus can save you…God awaits your calling upon His Son to save you.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…GOD KNOWS ALL!

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
gently and lowly of heart, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I Cor 13:11 “When I was a child I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

Time Gets Better with Age…

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing
“Silent Night”. Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either. Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what
they are doing and wave back. Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes
me clean it up again. Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try
cheering someone else up. Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my
parents are strict with me. Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of
advice. Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great
pleasures. Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed
me there. (Or gotten there before me)Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live
so that no one will believe it. Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t
know how to show it. Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a
little note. Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his
or her need to cast blame on others. Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the
phone. Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles
these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights. Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet
full of pills. Age 52

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a
life. Age 58

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you
miss them terribly after they die. Age 60

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your
children, work to improve your marriage. Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
(but not often) Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on
both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But if you focus on doing God’s will, loving your family, meeting the needs of others, doing your work with joy, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually
make the right decision. Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72

I’ve learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth,
I’ve seen several. Age 75

The Importance of Israel…

The Importance of Israel….

Is our nation’s support of Israel important? As with all of the important questions in our lives the word of God holds the answers. You do not have to depend on the feelings and emotions of our world. So, listen carefully. Much depends on it.

Zechariah 14:12 “Now this will be the plaque with which the Lord will
strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their
flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their sockets, and
their tongue will rot in their mouth.”

God has a special place in His heart for the Jewish people.

Exodus 6:7 “Then I will take you (Jewish Nation) for My people, and I
will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who
brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will
bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.”

Some say, well yes but that was in the Old Testament. How about today?
The scriptures proclaim that because of sin the Jewish people lost their
promised land and were scattered throughout the nations. They also
proclaim that God will restore them to their land in New Testament times.

In 1948 Israel once again became a nation recognized as such and the
struggle to survive continues.

Jeremiah 3:3 “For, behold, days are coming, ‘declares the Lord, when I
will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah (OT Northern &
Southern Kingdoms)’. The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the
land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it.'”

The caution for us……..

Gen 12:3 “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses
you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

But how about the Gentiles? Does that mean we cannot be a part of God’s family?

Fortunately no, it does not mean that. When Jesus came the first time He died, was buriedand rose again so that all of mankind has the opportunity to be a part of His Church and family by placing their faith in His sacrifice for our sins. The following verse is just one of many in the scriptures talking about the gospel going to both Gentiles and Jews.

Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel:

God can use everyone, if…

Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.”

God can use everyone, if…..

Have you ever felt like you were too small in the Christian community for God to do His mighty works through you? You feel that your level of scriptural knowledge is inadequate or that your looks or speaking abilities are such that God could never work out His will using you as His messenger.  I have felt that way many times and it is comforting and challenging to see that so many others who have portions of their lives recorded in scripture have felt the same. The question this morning is this; Can I be used by God regardless of my spiritual level of training and regardless of my abilities.

I have recently been moved by God through His word to see that God uses the weak to accomplish much. I find that if I make myself available to Him and depend on His wisdom instead of my own that I can be used by God to perform His will and it does not get any better than that.

The following are just a very few of those mentioned in the Bible with the same issue. Many did not question that God could use them but many did. And regardless of their level of faith our God was able to mold, change and use them.

  • Joseph was the youngest of 11 sons prior to Benjamin being born (Gen 34-37). God used him to save His people from the slavery that Israel would later in history be subjected to. He went through many terrible experiences from being sold by his brothers as a slave to lies him from Potifers wife causing him prison time as a result of God’s plan for the restoration of Israel. He accepted those trials (James 1:2,3) and stayed faithful to God.
  • Moses said when told by God that He was going to use him to lead the rescue of Israel from Egypt;

o   Ex 4:10 “And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue”

o   In spite of his early level of faith God used him mightily and he is one of the major names in scripture of those who served our God.

  • Ruth was not even an Israelite but God used her as a part of the family line to send His Son to a lost world through. (Mat 1) And all of us Gentiles say; Thank you Jesus…….!
  • Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho and not an Israelite but was used by God as a part of the family line to send His Son to a lost world through. (Mat 1) And all of us Gentiles again say; Thank you Jesus…….! Rahab is mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. Wow!
  • Gideon felt based on his families’ standing in Israel he could not be used by God to lead them. God showed him that if he depended on God it was possible. He was used by God to lead Israel in conquering the Philistines while being outnumbered 300 to 135,000. That’s a ratio of 450 to 1. It leaves no question about Who defeated them.  Listen to Gideon’s first reaction to the call of God;

o   Judges 6:15 “And he said unto him, Oh, Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

  • King Saul of the OT is a name we typically relate to a troubled man but did you know that he started off on the right foot in serving God but quickly fell into the sin of pride. But yes, he was one showing us a servant coming from a family with that type of high standing in Israel. God truly chooses His servants from all levels of society and not just the philosophers or those with very minimal spiritual knowledge.

o   I Sam 9:2 “And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a young man and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”

  • Mary a young woman who loved God was not from any family of high spiritual importance within Israel but was blessed by God her Savior and used as part of the family line that introduced God the Son to a lost world.

o   Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”

  • Saul of the NT soon to be renamed Paul was a Pharisee or a Spiritual Leader in Israel who as a Pharisee did not believe Jesus to be God. God changed all that and he became one of the mightiest servants of Jesus found in scripture.
  • The 12 Apostles included 7 Fishermen, 1 Tax Collector and 4 with unknown occupations but probably tradesmen with limited to no spiritual training.

o   Acts 4:13 “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

o   Isn’t it awesome our Savior can use folks such as us fishermen…………..!?

o   Mat 4:19 “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

  • Elijah a mighty prophet of God was only one of two people to ever be taken from this earth without dying physically. Much can be learned from his service for our God when we commit to the same. (1 and 2 Kings)
  • Solomon was the son of King David who had wisdom according to God that no man could match or ever will be able to. The Holy Spirit using Solomon’s life left for us (II Pet 1:20, 21) the following truth for us to follow;

o   Eccl 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”

From those mentioned above you can see that God can use people from every level of society to accomplish His will. So, we should never say never to being able to used by God. There is one very important ingredient in each of the above being used by God and it applies to our lives as well. You must 1st;

  • John 3:3 “ Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

And then you must;

  • Rom 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

You must then recognize Who will be the source of strength to accomplish God’s will.

  • Phil 4:13 “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.”
  • II Cor 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”

Where do I and you stand on these requirements this morning?