Accepting Wise Counsel

accepting wise counsel

“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.

Proverbs 2:1-9, 8:34-35

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Vision For The Future

vision for the future

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.

Hebrews 11

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Believing Is Seeing

believing is seeing

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV

God loves love and faith.  Everything operates out of those two things.  Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, those are two very important keys to the kingdom of God.

Love governs our relationships — most centrally, our relationship with God.  If we love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength, then we want to meditate on His Word in order to be more like Him and please Him.  We will want to walk and talk each and every day with Him.  We will want to be quick to be obedient when He has a request of us.

Faith is the manifestation our love of God in us and God’s love for everyone through us.  Faith is the special sauce that creates power and momentum.  It opens up the impossible and allows God’s Living Word to flow through us to touch others, do the miraculous and change lives.

Father, stretch me.  Stretch my heart and faith muscles.  Make me fit and strong and nimble to do whatever You ask of me.  Thank you for Your Living Word and the life that flows from it.  I pray it will flow through me.

Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Hebrews 11:6, James 1:6

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Wait

Wait

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31 NASB

Depending on the version of the Bible you read, the first phrase may vary: those who wait, those who hope, or those who trust.  I like the word wait.

Wait: to be available or in a state of readiness

If I wait, it means I trust and hope in the Lord with enough confidence to:

(1)     not try to do it myself

(2)     not expect someone else to have the answer for me

(3)     be in a state of preparation, or get ready, for what God has for me

As I wait, I pray. I watch expectantly for God and give Him all glory for every good thing.

Father, prepare my heart for whatever You have for me.  Teach me to surrender my heart fully to You so that I can prepare each day for what You have for me.  Renew my strength so that through You I can soar on wings like an eagle and not grow weary. Restore me Father. Renew me.

Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 40:1, Isaiah 25:9

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Keep It Simple

keep it simple

16” Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,22 reject every kind of evil.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NIV

Rejoice always: Our joy is full in God

Pray continuously: The more we pray, the more we are able to rejoice!

Give thanks in all circumstances: If we pray without ceasing, there will not be a shortage of thanksgiving

Do not quench the Spirit: Be mindful. Carnal lusts and affections and earthly things extinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt: We are to value the preaching, interpretation and application of God’s Word in our lives.

Test them all: We must not believe everything.  We must be settled in God’s Word and hold fast to it.

Reject every kind of evil: Others will see the Truth in us if we maintain integrity and a pure heart.

Father God, search my heart. I repent for my hesitancy to step out in faith. Thank you for every perfect thing that You place in my path. Thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your grace and Your mercy. Thank you for Your patience with me as I learn to let go of more and more.  Thank you for stretching me and preparing me, Father. Thank you for trusting me. Holy Spirit, be my guide. Be my love. Be my bright light in the darkness.

Psalm 26:2-3, Proverbs 2:11, Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 2:15, Philippians 4:8

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Confessions Of An Instrument Pilot*

confessions instrument pilot

“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.

John 20:29, 2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7; Hebrews 1:1

*Confessions of an Instrument Pilot: 10 Steps to IFR Absolution http://flighttraining.aopa.org/magazine/2010/December/ifrtraining.html

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“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.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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