“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 NIV
I have found that doubt and unbelief contribute to me being slow to act in obedience to God’s Word. It keeps me from moving forward. The more often doubt and unbelief weigh into my decisions, the more delays keep me from receiving my heart’s desires. It can be a vicious circle. The more delays, the more doubt and unbelief. It may start as a little thing. It can continue to grow and rob me of more and more of what God has for me. Sometimes others see it before I do. Their wisdom and counsel are a breath of fresh air. They give me new perspective to take back to the Lord in prayer.
Father, I repent. Help me be sure-footed and know that You are always with me. I am never alone! Keep me firmly rooted in Your Word as a discipline to my heart. Give me faith to move forward and believe for the best! Keep my heart humble and accepting of wise counsel.
39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB
All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?
Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime? Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?
That’s a tough question. But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose? How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?
Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life. I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best. Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love. Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.
“Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Voice
Why do you think God asks us to watch over our heart? I think it is because it is central to everything we do, say, think and feel. Everything that comes out of us, originates from our heart. If we are co-dependent, it’s because of an injury to our heart. If we are narcissistic, it’s because of an injury to our heart. If we are angry, violent or hostile, it’s because of an injury to our heart.
If our heart is guarded, really tucked into God for safekeeping, our hearts can operate in a healthy way. God can heal every injury to our heart. We still have to do our part and take our hearts to Him. We have to learn His ways in order to walk through life with a protected heart that is equipped to love others and see others the way that God sees them. It is a love that is not of this world. It is a love that supersedes any love we have ever known. It is the love of sacrifice and eternity. It is the greatest love story ever told.
Search my heart, Father. Let me place no other thing before You. Guide me. Please keep my heart straight. Holy Spirit, great Comforter and guide, keep me close to You in all matters. Keep my heart. Tend to my heart. Guard my heart.
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV
I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation. It means we lean INTO it. We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat. It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.
I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air. It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.
I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus. However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me. That I was staying afloat by supernatural means. I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God. I still struggle. I still mess up. I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance. Ugh. I know it will get better! I am so thankful that God never gives up on me. Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.
I remain thankful. I know God never leaves me or forsakes me. Even when my hard head gets in the way!
Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy. Teach me to pray. Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You. Teach me Your ways.
“So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19 NASB
Unbelief. Skepticism. Doubt. Distrust. Suspicion. These words all have a harsh edge to them. They have an intellectual questioning, reasoning or arrogance that we know better.
Confidence. Full trust. Integrity. Strength. Honor.
These words are powerful. It’s like a special additive that super-charges your engine. In order to operate in this state of mind, it’s an “all in” kind of thing. There is no room for doubt and unbelief.
This is where God wants us. He wants us to reside in full trust. Full confidence. In integrity and strength and honor. We are the conduit, but He is the power. He is the fuel that powers it all. In order for Him to ignite the fuel, we have to be able to rest in Him. Not wrestle and fight Him with our intellect and reasoning. Not hanging onto things out of fear.
Fear is a weight that keeps us from being air born in our faith. Picture a hot air balloon. There are all kinds of weights to keep it on the ground prior to take off. The weights have to be jettisoned in order to get the lift required to fly. Similarly, we have to jettison fear in order to rise above the natural and the expected. We have to jettison fear in order to embrace flight. We have to let go in order to grab hold of something new and different.
Remember. God’s thoughts and ways are different than ours. Be open to new and different! Get ready to fly!
Lord, help me trust Your wings and Your destination.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14 NIV
Sometimes I feel awkward and unsure. Fear can have a tendency to creep in. When things get intense, I can be fearful of making a mistake. It can trip me up. But God is always gentle with me. He always reminds me that He loves me. He doesn’t try to set me up. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. All He asks is that I am willing. I have to have a heart that seeks His.
The enemy wants to derail me, but God knows my heart. He knows I have a loving heart. I have to stay true to that place. Use wisdom. Use discernment. Use them both with confidence.
Father, thank you for Your encouragement. Thank you for reminding me of Your love. Thank you for making me perfect through Your Son Jesus. Thank you for showing me Your ways and using Your perfect love to chase away any lingering fear.