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.
“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.
2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3 NIV
Wow. This is not a very pretty picture. Wanting what I do not have so I take it. Asking for what I want and not receiving because my motives are wrong. Motives for my own pleasure.
God loves us more wildly than we can imagine. But when we are afraid we have a hard time trusting that there is no trickery in God. Because our hearts are injured we become greedy and try to grab what we think should be ours.
To get out of my own brokenness, it helps to stay focused on the present. When I look too far out I start to flounder. It is when I stay engaged in the present that I am in a better position to rejoice! Savor God’s blessings. Savor His provision. Savor the abundance. It keeps me in a frame of mind to count my blessings and celebrate the moment.
Father, thank you for coming alongside me, my ever-present Help in trouble! My ever-present Guide and Counselor!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Jesus shared His teachings and His life with us so that we can have peace in Him. This world brings trouble. So what is the opposite of peace?
Disagreement. Hate. Discord. Agitation. Disharmony. Distress. Fighting. Frustration. Upset. War. Worry.
God is all about relationship. He made us to crave, desire and require community. All the words above seek to disrupt or destroy relationship. They destroy peace.
Much of our technology of today has wonderful efficiencies and opportunities for more connection. However, they are not replacements for relationship. Connection can be very superficial. Relationship is deeper. It requires characteristics like trust and interdependence and giving and sharing. There is a mutual investment. It understands imperfection. It operates in forgiveness and acceptance.
Father, show me how to operate in your peaceful ways that build trust and faith in my relationships with others. Help me not to engage in behaviors that disrupt or destroy.
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21 NIV
Prosperity: a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition.
Most frequently this is associated with financial prosperity or wealth. Stretch your mind to consider a broader definition of Wealth: an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount.
This could be anything! Children, community, business ideas, health, customers, love, hope, joy, faith, friends, as well as financial prosperity. I’m sure the father of the prodigal son felt prosperous when his prodigal came home. There was no price and no money that compared to having his precious son return home.
So here is my plan: Submit to God daily. Rest in Him. Ask Him for everything I need. Ask Him when I need to move and when I need to be still, and ask for a wrapping of wisdom and a sensitivity to His voice around it all!
So Father God, make Your plan my plan! Let the abundance flow!
“6 If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7
What does walking in the darkness look like?
It’s stubborn and bull-headed. It’s untrusting of God. We continue to try to maintain control and agendas. We want what we want when we want it. Because we are not well suited for that, we get distracted by having too many balls in the air. It is very “me” focused. We get wrapped up in what we are about instead of looking to our Father. We lose sight of His ways. We become insensitive, inflexible and disobedient. Maybe even thick-skinned. Hard-hearted. We think we know best. We take detours from God.
What does walking in the light look like?
We stand, trusting in God and His word. We surrender to His will. We spend time learning and applying His principles to our lives. We walk a different way; His way. We keep our eyes on Him. We stretch ourselves to walk in what we cannot see. Ever trusting God. We become sensitive, pliable and obedient to His will. We surrender to His love and (sometimes) correction to keep our hearts straight. We seek to see each other through His eyes. It’s beautiful when we see each other with His eyes.
Father, thank you for giving us all Your love and offering a better way. Help me to trust You more every day.