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.
32” Do not offend Jews or Greeks or any part of the church of God for that matter. 33 Consider my example: I strive to please all people in all my actions and words—but don’t think I am in this for myself—their rescued souls are the only profit.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 The Voice
I cringed a little when I read “do not offend anyone.” That sounds impossible! Some other versions read “do not give offense” or “do not cause others to stumble.” At first this really felt burdensome. This goes for both outside the church as well as inside the church.
Then as I read on to verse 33, I saw clarification. I realized I was looking at this through a people pleasing lens. It is impossible to please people all the time. If I look at it through the lens of God’s Word, I just have to stay true to that. Now that’s not always easy either! However, it is only possible to begin stepping in that direction if I let go of people pleasing. I have to use the ways of Jesus as the filter for my actions, not other people.
I have to look at people through the eyes of Jesus to see what they need. I have to look past behavior, choices, and circumstance. I have to simply look at a person’s heart. That is what Jesus did best. He looked at a person’s heart, diagnosed what they needed and met that need of their heart. Without fail, that was found pleasing to all who would receive Him. That is what it is always about: rescuing and transforming lives.
Father, help me to keep my kingdom glasses on as I look at people. Let me see everyone through Your eyes.
1”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV
When I read these words, I think of every minister, preacher, missionary, evangelist – every Christian — to be surrounded by people that walk and talk like Jesus because of their personal imprint on hearts around the globe as an incredible testimony! Wow. Think of all the people in the world, on our block, in our sphere. We have God’s mail we are supposed to deliver! This is why I always ask God to search my heart. I don’t trust my heart but I always trust His. His hand in my life can do things that I may not be able to see or touch or ever know about. It all counts for His kingdom. If others can simply see Him in me, He will do the rest.
Bless these words from You, Father, and make them a meditation of my heart. I praise Your Mighty Name! I praise Jesus, Your Son, the Name Above All Names! Make me into a living letter from Christ. Make me into Your image. His image. Continue to write Your words on my heart, Lord. Make me that vessel that Your living water can flow through freely.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,“ 1 Peter 1:8 NIV
I recently read an article entitled “Confessions of an Instrument Pilot.”* As I read through his points of discomfort, they really resonated with me in my faith walk. Here are some excerpts, see what you think:
“A year ago I raced through my…training, learning just what I needed to know…according to…minimum standards.”
“I met the requirements…But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with exercising that privilege.”
“Now I find myself anxious…without another…pilot beside me.”
“I lost faith in my abilities to interpret and visualize an approach. The idea of…deviating from what I had planned puts me on edge.”
“If I had trained harder, I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable….”
I find that when everything is rosy and I feel God’s favor in my life, I am relaxed and calm. However, when things get bumpy and I don’t see or understand why, I get edgy.
I can see the similarity between instrument flying and walking in faith. Both have to trust what is unseen. The pilot has to trust the instruments and their readings regardless of their sensations. As a Christian, I have to trust God’s Word and my relationship with Him regardless of my desires. Just like the pilot, I can’t always see where I am heading. I have to trust the instruments that God has given me (His Word and the Holy Spirit) to guide me.
Thank you Lord for Your tools and Your flight plan! Help me trust You more every day and not deviate from Your headings. I believe in You. I love You. You fill me with inexpressible joy.
*Confessions of an Instrument Pilot: 10 Steps to IFR Absolution http://flighttraining.aopa.org/magazine/2010/December/ifrtraining.html
“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.
“Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 The Voice
It all starts at the heart. Everything grows and springs forth out of our heart. Our words. Our motives. Our plans. Our intentions.
How can we learn to be content with what we have?
- View material goods as given by God to be used wisely
- Work hard to earn and save money
- Give to the Lord’s work and those in need
- Remember to be thankful and to enjoy what God gives
Lord, tend to my heart. Teach me how to be a good steward with every blessing that You give. Help me to use all things with a kingdom mindset.