What God really wants

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0501 (Photo credit: kindagetmego)

… and find out what pleases the Lord. – Ephesians 5:10

A friend was planning her son’s birthday, and she wanted it to be fun for her son. She planned going to the mall, visiting the arcade, getting ice cream and anything else she thought her son would enjoy. At the end of the day, she asked her son if he enjoyed his birthday.

“It was fun. But we could have done anything and I would have liked it, because I just wanted to spend time with you. It seems we’re so busy that we don’t do that anymore.”

My friend could have asked her son what he would like to do for his birthday instead of assuming what he would like. We also could ask the Lord what would please him instead of assuming. We think that God would like us to do good works for him, which he does, but which ones? We can’t do them all, and he hasn’t called us to do them all.

It takes spending time with the person we love to know their heart and discover what it is that pleases them. We can’t assume it, or think if we enjoy it, then they certainly would, too. God desires that time with us … that pleases him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you do desire time with me. That’s hard to believe when you have the whole universe to consider … you want to spend time with me? Wow! Amen

Faith Tip: Find out what pleases the Lord by spending time with him.

Reckless Faith

Delanie praying (Photo credit: fishin widow)

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them. – Isaiah 11:6

There really is something special about the spirituality of children. Their hearts and minds have the ability to believe “recklessly” and while that can be a concern in regards to safety, in the realm of God and his kingdom it is a beautiful thing. They have the capacity to believe that God loves them and will take care of them, just because he’s God. It comes out in their words as they pray as I heard yesterday. Before every drama presentation, we gather as a team and pray. There was an unoccupied spot in the nursery, or so I thought, when a few children came in. I explained to them that we were going to pray and they could join us if they wanted. They enthusiastically wanted to join us, and their heartfelt prayers refresh my soul. It reminds me of how to come to God in prayer.

We do not live in a perfect world where the wolf will live with the lamb, but we will. God has promised that all the tears will be wiped away, there will be no more pain, and it will be eternal. Believing that promise should be the filter our prayers go through … not our doubts or experiences. If we can pray “recklessly” like the children, believing what we pray makes a difference, and then we live out the promise that is to come.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your promises to me. I know that you will fulfill them all. I pray that I can believe and surrender like a small child when it comes to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Practice praying “recklessly” with heart and mind wide open.

 

Give what you can … he does the rest

A powerful light shines in the dark.

A powerful light shines in the dark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.

As I sit here trying to think of a good illustration of when I am weak, I realize that I am weak all the time. That’s right … morning, noon and night I fall short. I am always amazed when God decides to use even me in his work.

Last night, we presented the first drama of the Wednesday night season. The five to seven minute sketch was enough to touch hearts. Newer actors on the team were surprised by that fact that something short that they did that we practiced over and over would have such reaction. Before we presented the drama, we presented the drama back to God in prayer for his use. God takes our offering and brings it to a new level. His power is shown in our weakness … and it is beautiful.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the fact that I am weak and you are strong. Your glory shines brightly through anything I can offer … I love that. Amen

Faith Tip: In all you do today, present it to God in prayer and watch with wonder his magnificence.

Let us say “Enough!”

There are those whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mankind. The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough” – Proverbs 30:14-15

I recently made a discovery in researching an article on the horror of human trafficking in West Michigan. It is a huge problem that I really knew nothing about. Now that I know it’s there, now what do I do? That’s always the hard part isn’t it … our response.

The term “leech” in the Scripture means a horse leech which was the belief of a vampire-type creature in biblical times. We all know what vampires do … suck the blood out of a person until they die. That’s exactly was human trafficking does … it sucks the life out of a person until they are no more. It is never satisfied and wants more and more.

The victims are men, women and children … what can we do to rescue, care for and prevent this evil from devouring people? It’s time to take the blinders off and put on the armor … if God is for us, who can be against us?

To read more on this, please go to my article at West Michigan Christian News.

Prayer: Lord God, I cannot fathom the depth of hurt victims of human trafficking experience. I pray that I can be a safe place for them to go … your sanctuary. Amen

Faith Tip: Do you know of someone suffering from abuse. How should you care for them? How would you care for a family member? Applying the same principles is a great start.

 

Who is the offender?

order up

order up (Photo credit: circulating)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

My husband and I were dining with another couple at a nice restaurant. When our food was brought out, my entrée was cold and the meat somewhat raw. I called the server over and explained the problem, but was polite and understanding. The couple with us was amazed that I didn’t get all upset and demand satisfaction. I wish I could say that I was always this understanding, but the truth is … sometimes my impatience shows through.

Allowing God’s Spirit to guide us in words and actions will be noticed. It is almost considered normal to demand our rights in this country with no consideration for anyone else. Revenge is on our hearts when we have been offended. We forget for that time span how we have been offensive. The grace of God shown through us says that we know who died for our sin and who put him on the cross. While yet offensive, Christ died for us.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times that I forget what you have done for me. There is no offense against me that measures up to the offense I had against you. You have taken the sting of death away by your grace and mercy. Amen

Faith Tip: If you have been offended or are offended today, look upon the offender as Christ looked at us from the cross.

Rejoicing rules!

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4

Yesterday was a difficult day of remembering as the focus on the attacks on September 11 have left a huge impact on all who were alive to see it. I’ve read many blogs and Facebook statuses of where they were that day and how it changed them. So it begs the question, “How do we rejoice when something so devastating has happened in our lives?”

The word “rejoice” has a much deeper meaning than the word “happy.” Happiness is more external in experiences we have had that match our preferences. Rejoice comes from the deepest part of our soul. True rejoicing can only come in connection with God. Bottom line, if it’s only God and us and that’s all there is in our life … Rejoice! We feel through our life that we need other things and people … these are gifts from the Lord because of his love for us. However, if it is all taken away, as Job said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the relationship we have where I can rejoice no matter what. It is my choice though. I pray that my eyes never stray from you so that I can stand strong when life is hard. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you struggling today? Try to take your eyes off your struggle and cement them on to Jesus. His yoke is lighter.

A whole new world

College Students Spending Time Outside

College Students Spending Time Outside (Photo credit: York College of PA)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

As I think about those going off to college, for many it’s a totally different environment than what they have experienced. More world views are expressed and many of those views most likely will not have a Christian worldview. I pray that the students can stand firm in their faith as the world tries to knock them off balance. It takes courage to stand strong.

It’s the same for all of us as we go out into the world. We are told what is acceptable in our culture and expected to align with it. However, many times the culture contradicts our faith and we may begin to feel wobbly in our steadfast stance. That’s when we clutch to the sword of truth and go into battle. We must remember though that it is a spiritual battle that we fight. We do not fight the people. We love them and pray for them for they are victims of the lies they have believed.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the opportunities when I care share your truth with someone who doesn’t know it. I pray that I can stand strong and not be pushed over by the world. Amen

Faith Tip: Make the choice now of how you will react when faced with something that comes against truth.