The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stay focused in the face of oppposition

Nehemiah 2:19    But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us.  "What is this you are doing?"  they asked.  "Are you rebelling against the king?"

Nehemiah had a prestigious job with the king.  He was the cup bearer which meant that he served drinks at the royal table.  It doesn't sound like a high ranking job to us in this day, however, in Nehemiah's day that position was only given to trustworthy and loyal people.  In this time, there was a high incidence of plotting to kill kings and officials and the cup bearer was a protector of the king through testing of the drinks.  Sometimes the cup bearer was required to taste some of the drinks in order to check for poison before the king drank.  This was also a job of courage. 

During Nehemiah's important position, God began to call upon his heart to go to Jerusalem and lead the people in the rebuilding of the city walls.  The job in which God was asking him to do was not glamorous.  He would first need to motivate the people in the city and convince them to work along side him.  Remember, the wall had been destroyed many years before and no one had taken any initiative to repair it.  Nehemiah was required to convince them that they had civic responsibilities to their city.  He also dealt with a financial crisis regarding the city. 

Nehemiah was obedient to the job that God called him to do.  Obedience required him to give up his high ranking position, move to another town and work with people who were less than cooperative.  He was met with opposition, mockery and ridicule. Some of the people made fun of him for leaving his job and viewed it as a negative move. 

Opposition is to be expected when God asks you to take on jobs or duties that fulfill his purpose.  When you accept a call to obedience, just go ahead and put on your armor, because you will need it.  Whether it is a squabble over how Bible School should be presented, a disagreement about a church dinner or carpet color, or opposition against a large project or entire ministry,  Satan will find a way to oppose you.  Sometimes the opposition will come from close friends and family, other times it will come from beyond your circle.  Some people will even hope that you fail at your task or ministry. 

I can tell you without a doubt, that God will accomplish his purpose through you in spite of any opposition you may encounter.  Your role is OBEDIENCE.  God will police those who oppose you.  If God is stirring in your heart to begin a task or a full time job that serves him, your role is to:
                 -1. be obedient and accept the position
                 -2. stay focused on the task and mission
                 -3.  stay in tune with God and what he expects from you
                 -4.  keep working, no matter what anyone says or does.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God. 

John 15:13  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

These two verses come to mind as I think about our military people, both currently serving and veterans that have served in the past.  I stand in awe of the courage that our military personnel put forth in order that I may live in freedom.  I am so grateful for their willingness to serve our country and defend our freedoms.  I have compassion for the families of those who have sent their young sons into service and war, some to never return.

We take so many of our freedoms in this country for granted.   We tend to forget that founding of our country and the establishment of our constitution involved men and women who were willing to lay down their lives in order that we may live in freedom today.  We lose sight of the fact that our military today, hundreds of years past the founding of our nation, continues to protect the establishment. 

Our military personnel are peacemakers.  While war is not peaceful, our military fights for us to have a peaceful day-to-day life.  We can go to and from our daily activities because our brave soldiers are defending our peace.

Today, as we celebrate Memorial Day, may we have a grateful heart for our military personnel, both past and present.  Let us pray for those who have served, for the families of those who have lost a loved one, and for the active members of our military.  May we take a moment and thank a veteran or write a note to an active military member.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

We can depend on God's heart!

Jeremiah 17:5-8  This is what the Lord says:  "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

This passage contrasts those who trust in the strength of man versus trusting in the Lord.  In times of trouble, those who trust in human beings will find themselves spiritually weak.  Their strength will have little reserve from which to draw.  In the time of this passage, the people of Judah were trusting in false idols instead of God.  They were fruitless people.  

If we place our trust in the hearts of men, then we will find that we will often be disappointed.  We can depend on God's heart. Those that rely on God in times of crisis will find that strength is plentiful.  There will be strength to endure and a reserve of strength for helping others.  Reliance upon God gives us the same promise of survival that the tree in Jeremiah 17:8 shows.  When we put our trust in God, we are well rooted and our lives will be fruitful. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Spiritual Perception

Spiritual Perception

Matthew 16:15-17  "But what about you?"  he asked.  "Who do you say I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God".

I enjoy sharing my childhood memories and experiences with our children.  I remember a particular time when we were talking about televisions.  I described to them my memories of the various television sets that we had while I was growing up.  I recalled the time when our first color tv set arrived.  I was around 13 years old.  It was a huge floor model with decorative cabinetry.  One was required to physically get up from the sofa in order to adjust the volume or change the channel.  One of the children asked what type of tv we had before the color model.  When I told them the other tvs were black and white models, their eyes were wide with disbelief.  The youngest child, about seven at the time asked this, "Mama, in your childhood was the world in black and white or could you see in color?"  I imagine that in her mind she thought my vision or perception changed to color instead of the tv set offering a different view of the shows.  I always chuckle at how our children think we grew up in the pioneer era!

We can relate this example to spiritual perception.  In Matthew 16:15-17,  Peter confesses who Christ is.  In this particular time period, many of the people were confused about the Messiah.  The did not readily grasp who Jesus was and what he had come to earth to do.  There was much confusion and denial about his purpose and his existence.

When it comes to Jesus Christ, do we only see in black and white?  Are our eyes only fixed on certain facts or details about who he is and what he can do for us?  Do we absorb all the colorful details of who Christ is?  Do we perceive him as having a limited amount of power in our lives?

First and foremost, Christ is our redeemer, offering salvation and life of eternity in heaven.  He is also much more on a daily basis.  He is a comforter in times of discomfort (John 14:16).  He is a teacher offering us instruction for everything we encounter in life (John 14:26).  He is a counselor (Hebrews 4:16).  He is our friend (John 15:13).

If you are only seeing in "black and white" in the sense of missing spiritual perception, then it is time to upgrade to the "in color" model.  If you perceive that Christ is limited in who he is and what he has to offer, then it is past time that you explore the power of his existence in your life.  Confess who he is and believe that he can take care of all matters in your life!  Check your perception in order that you will see all the details of the power and glory of knowing Christ. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We must step out of the frame in order to see the whole picture.

Proverbs 19:21  Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

We must step out of the frame in order to see the whole picture.

Remember in elementary school the yearly class photo?   I remember every year "picture day"  when we would go to the school library to have our pictures made.  We would try hard to keep our clothes clean, food off our faces at lunch, and we would brush our hair multiple times to have it just right.   Our classes usually consisted of three rows of students.  The front row sat on the floor, middle row sat in chairs and the back row stood.  I was always in the back row due to my height.  The teacher stood beside the back row.  Same photo line up every year, grades 1-7.  Oh, the sweet memories!

When standing in the back row of the line up, I could see the person to the left and right of me and directly in front.  I could not see the students on the far ends nor could I see the ones sitting on the floor.  So when we received our class picture, it was always fun to spend time absorbing all the details of how everyone else looked during the picture.  Were they smiling or making faces?  Did anyone have messy hair, food on their faces, or eyes closed?    We could see happiness in faces and sadness in some.   All these details could not have been observed while in the back row during the making of the photo.  Seeing these details required us to step out of the frame of the picture and look at the whole scene. 

When we are in situations in life, often we must step out of the frame in order to see the whole picture.  When at times we cannot understand why our plans are not going as we would have them, we need to absorb all the details of the picture.   We easily fall into only being aware of what is going on to the left and right of us, only absorbing the details in our immediate vicinity.  God can see the whole picture-every tiny detail.  He has a plan for each of us and that plan involves His purpose and His will. 

Often times we can see clearly to the left and right of us, however, we have difficulty seeing ahead of us into the future.  This is where we must have faith and trust that God will produce a perfect picture of all the details for us.  We must rely on him place every detail exactly as it should be. 

If you are trying to understand why a situation has not worked out as you had intended, ask God to show you the whole picture.  If you are frustrated or disappointed because the plan has seemingly failed, ask God to give you wisdom to understand His purpose or to show you what His will is for you.  Don't be afraid to step out of the frame in order to see the whole picture.  When we can see the picture in the way that God looks at it, we can readily accept when things  do not go as we had planned.  I have found that most of the time, we will come to see the big picture in each situation as we progress toward God's purpose for us. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

We cannot go east and west simultaneously!

Psalms 103:12    as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

We must model the same forgiveness in our dealings with one another that God has offered us.  If we are forever remembering the wrongs committed against us, we must wonder if we have truly forgiven.  If we continuously remind others that they have caused us hurt or angst, we must ask ourselves if we have really let go.  If we feel the need to hold on to the thoughts of wrongs that have been committed against us, then we still have some unaddressed forgiveness issues. 

When God forgives our sin, he removes it from our record forever.  Psalms 103:12 is symbolic of how far He has removed our sin from us.  God is telling us in this verse that east and west will never meet up.  When you think about the east and the west, think of it this way: we cannot travel toward the east and west at same time.  We can never go in an eastward direction and a westward direction simultaneously.  If we are in the east and are going eastward, it is necessary to turn around and change directions in order to travel westward.  Therefore, the east is far, far away from the west in terms of direction.       

The same is true about forgiveness.  We cannot forgive while turning around and moving toward unforgiveness.   We can truly only move in one direction or the other.  We either advance toward forgiveness or remain traveling in the direction of unforgiveness.  God does not forgive and at the same time review our record of wrongs.  Likewise, our actions and attitudes must reflect forgiveness in its entirety.  We are expected to view forgiveness in the same fashion as we receive it.

He has removed our transgressions.  The slate has been wiped clean.  The record of wrongdoings has been expunged.  May we offer the same clemency to others who may trespass against us. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Are you being kissed by an enemy?

Proverbs 27:6    Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

Life's hurts and trials can sometimes leave us frazzled and struggling to find which end is up.  We may become so involved with the situation and emotions that we cannot reason the truths nor sort enemy activity from friendly activity.  We may experience kisses from an enemy without recognizing what has taken place.

No one wants to be wounded by a friend.   No friend wants to inflict a wound on a friend.  However, when a true friend has your best interest at heart, there may be times when unpleasant advice may be necessary.   A friend's advice is a valuable opportunity, especially if we are struggling with the right path to take.  

When seeking people to give you advice, it is necessary to seek out people that have your best interests at heart.   An enemy may whisper what you want to hear or tickle your ears with justifications of how a situation is acceptable.  A true friend is not afraid to help you understand the reasons that a decision or situation may not be acceptable in God's eyes.  Even when a friend's advice may be painful or not what you want to hear, it is valuable.

We are to come together, encourage, lift one another up and also teach one another to be accountable to God.   Offering advice is more than simply telling someone what you think should be done.  Giving advice should be a teachable moment that uses the Bible as a reference to all the "could have, would have, should have" statements.   Giving advice and receiving advice should not be taken lightly.   If the advice does not line up with the Bible, we may cause a person to stumble and there are clear warnings in the Bible about that (1 Cor. 8:9 and Mark 9:42).  

Are you being kissed by an enemy?  An enemy does not always present itself in obvious form.  Many seemingly friendly people are used by the one enemy, Satan, to accomplish his work.   When you seek and receive advice, check with the Bible to see if it lines up with God's word.   Advice from friends should be an extension of what the Bible tells us to do in every situation.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Plans to give you hope"

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I have relied on this verse many times in my life as a reminder of God's promises.  It also offers comfort when the future seems to have many uncertainties.  Yesterday, I was inspired to look at this verse from another angle.  God opened an opportunity for me to take The Sweet Stuff clothing trailer into an impoverished area nearly three hours from my home.  I had prayed for such an opportunity for a long time.  Many people in this area are impoverished due to the circumstances around them.  There is no industry close by, very few job opportunities, and the nearest mid-sized town is 30 miles away.  Numerous folks living here are second and third generation members of poverty stricken families partly because of the geographical location.  

Too often, society wants to look upon poverty stricken people as being there because they are lazy or have attitudes of entitlement.  This may be the case for some people, however, yesterday I saw a different side to the story.  As I distributed clothing and talked with the local folks, I realized that many people have lost hope.  They have lost hope in their situations, they have lost hope in humanity, perhaps they have even lost hope in themselves.  

Their stories saddened me.  Families living in one room buildings without utilities.  Other families had lost children because they simply couldn't afford to care for them.  Some situations were not necessarily news to me but as I listened to their hearts, I heard cries of the need for hope.  They need someone to care about them.  They crave someone that loves them enough to offer them a future.  

My prayer focus for today is simply this:  May we look for ways to share the hope that God offers to the people around us that have lost hope.  May we proclaim that God will protect them and give them a future.  May we teach each and every person that we encounter how a relationship with God will help them regain the hope which has been lost.  

Thank you Lord, for sending me into new territory.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to see glimpses into the big picture of your desire for us to be disciples.  Show me what I can do to offer hope to those around me.  

There is much mission work to be completed very close to our own addresses!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is your job a career or a fulfillment?

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12   He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks a great deal about working and accumulating things on earth.  He comes to the realization that neither working solely for money nor material possessions will provide lasting happiness.   The old saying "you can't take it with you" is precisely what Solomon came to realize about working to earn and accomplish.   He had the realization that when he was gone from earth, all his material things would stay behind and that some of the people that would gain his possessions would not appreciate all the time and efforts that he had put into gaining them.  Perhaps Solomon's greatest realization was that our work should be with an eternal focus.

Our work on earth should be satisfying but not in the sense of satisfaction from material things.  Our pleasure from working should be found in enjoying our gifts from God, serving Him, and serving others.   A job or career should not only be about fulfilling our own personal goals but should also be centered around the purpose that God has for us in that career.  In verse 11, Solomon says "yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end".  We are only a part of God's eternal plan.  We have a purpose and job to do while we live here on earth.  We should strive to fulfill the eternal thirsts that God has set in our hearts by realizing that we can never be completely satisfied with pursuits of earthly pleasures and accumulations.  We can be happy with when we trust God to fulfill us through our work on earth. 

If you are unhappy with your work, pray for an attitude of eternity to burn within you.  Seek the happiness that comes from serving others which in turn serves the purpose that God has set for you.  Seek fulfillment in knowing that your part of God's eternal plan matters! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Broken Hearted

Job  30:15    Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud.

Job was a man that suffered immense tragedies in his life.   Along with his extreme loss of his family,  possessions, health and his position, he was also mocked by the younger people.   They even mocked the way he suffered.  Talk about a lack of compassion. 

Verse 15 conveys such deep emotion and raw honesty.  Job cries out about his fear and anxiety.  He was insecure and worried.  He even felt like he had lost his honor, that his name was no longer respected. 

Job's situation typically brings to mind a man of great patience, endurance and steadfast faith in God.  I am certain that he felt broken in ways that seemed unbearable at times.  I would like to focus on his broken heart.  Think of a time in your life when you have suffered.  Maybe it was the loss of a marriage, job/finances, family member or close friend, friendship, health, pet, or home.  Maybe you have suffered broken dreams.  Whatever the loss, think of how your heart felt; the fear that terrorized your mind, the worries and anxieties that kept you awake at night.  Can you recall the despair that left your heart feeling empty and beyond repair?  Now, multiply that times 10 and perhaps that will come close to how Job suffered. 

With the thought of the brokenness, I also want to focus on compassion (on our part).  When we hear of the suffering of others, do our hearts break or do we acknowledge that the situation is bad yet move on with our busy lives?   When we listen to someone describe their brokenness and suffering do we merely hear the words or do we hear the emotions, fear, and distress? 

Let us make it our personal prayer to be more compassionate for situations no matter what the source of the suffering.   May our hearts feel the brokenness along with our our friends and family members.  I pray that we will have a burden for the brokenness of others and that we will not forget what it is like to hurt and worry.  Hurt and brokenness are in the eye of the beholder and we should not discount any one's suffering.  When we pray in earnest for others, God will hear our intercessions.                                               

Prayer focus for today:  Lord, I ask you to pierce our hearts with a deeper level of compassion.  May we not only hear the hurts of those around us, but also be concerned with the hurts of others.  We cannot always fix the brokenness of others but, God, we know you can! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Dealing With Broken Emotions

Psalms 147:3  He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 31:25  I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

Hearts can be broken in many ways.  A heart is broken when intense emotional stress occurs.  The stress can be from a single hurtful event or cumulative events over a long period of time.  In essence, a broken heart means broken emotions.  A broken heart has the potential to cause problems in various areas of life for many years following a hurtful event.  A broken heart has great potential for causing bitterness and all its by-products.

Psalms 147:3 is a praise for what God can do for a broken heart.  He can and will heal a broken heart and bind up the wounds that keep us from enjoying life and moving forward.  He does not want a heart to be broken.   He wants our hearts to be full of love and good things.

If you are experiencing anger, sadness, or bitterness, you may want to examine your heart to see if these effects are from brokenness and unresolved emotions.  The event may have occurred many years ago, however the brokenness can still effect yourself and others in your life.  Healing the brokenness may include unpacking each and every occurrence, feeling, and thought.   Go ahead and unpack it!  Bitterness and lingering anger are useless, fruitless pieces of emotional baggage.  They take up space in our daily lives that could otherwise be occupied with productive, positive feelings.

Dealing with emotions, especially those that carry hurtful memories, may not be a pleasant experience.  It is vital that we deal with them anyway.   Release those pent up feelings, face them, grieve them, and allow God to bind them up forever.   Experience the catharsis that will lead to a peaceful heart and a freeing of the mind!  God can replace your sorrow with joy.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Perfect love is filled with grace, outlined in compassion, and built upon sacrifice.

1 John 4:18-21   There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.   We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, "I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command.  Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Let's get real here.  There are some people that are difficult to love.  There are some people that have a difficult time loving us.  I have experienced both sides.  A friend of mine once made this statement, "sometimes, you have to love them like you find them".  That seems to be all we can do sometimes.  Honesty, that is all that we want to do sometimes.  God expects more from us.

Why does love, such a great emotion, come with so many difficulties?  First of all, if the giver and receiver are not on the same page with their perception of love, then there will be trouble.  Love can produce fear and insecurity.  It is not designed that way, but when events happen in life that distort the true meaning of love, then negative emotions arise pertaining to love.  1 John 4:18 tells us that there is no fear in love.  There is no fear when the love is perfect.

What is perfect love?  Perfect love is the love that God has for us.  He showed us his love when he sent his son Jesus to the world.  Jesus modeled perfect love and then died so that we could fully understand love in its perfection. This love was full of grace, outlined in compassion and built upon sacrifice.

It is difficult for us as imperfect people to love one another in a perfect manner.  Mainly because we are not willing to make sacrifices.  Let us repeat that:  We are not willing to make sacrifices for one another.  We are not always willing to give the time and energy that perfect love for one another requires.  We find it difficult to continue to offer our brothers and sisters compassion and mercy.  We often do not want to try to understand someone on a deep and intimate level.  Our attitude is often that we have enough things of our own to do besides helping a friend to bear their burdens.

Love requires work.  Whether the love is a friendship, family relationship, marriage, or our relationship with God, it requires time, attention, focus, and effort.  Love that is perfect, first and foremost, requires a love for God.  Through that relationship, we can learn to love others.  We also can gain strength and a desire to love others when we accept a loving relationship from God.

I pray this today:  Lord, help me to love you with the same perfection in which you offer all of us.  Through this love, show me how to love others, even when it is difficult.  Give me the strength, wisdom, and desire to understand how to love others.  If I present myself in a way that is hard for others to love me, then grant me the insight to be more lovable.  May your perfect love for us help us to experience a perfect love with others.  May that love be filled with grace, outlined in compassion, and built upon sacrifice.  AMEN

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Unresolved Anger

James 1:19-20    My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 

What is anger?    Why do we experience anger?    Anger is a strong emotion within usually follows an injustice or being "wronged".   The physiological response in the body produces an increase in adrenaline which leaves us with the instinctual "fight or flight" option as a response.  This occurrence is what causes the heart to race and the warm rush throughout the body.  Many times it also leads to a reaction with the tongue before engaging the brain.   

Is anger wrong?  No.  But how we deal with feelings of anger can lead to wrongdoings.  Anger must not manifest into retaliation, lashing out, or sin.  Anger becomes sin when we attack the wrongdoer instead of addressing the situation/problem.  Anger must not be allowed to linger.  Lingering anger prolongs forgiveness and allows roots of bitterness to grow.  Physical problems may arise from unresolved anger. 

At times it is necessary to experience anger in order to let go and reach a place of forgiveness.  Notice I said EXPERIENCE it.  That means within yourself and it does NOT mean that we use the anger in unacceptable ways.  It is important to deal with anger in a way that does no harm to others.  No one else should be on the receiving end of our dealing with emotions. 

Why do some people become angry over situations that would not slightly upset others?  Anger is related to our internal disposition.  Attitudes about forgiveness and unconditional love for others are factors that affect how we perceive injustices in our lives.   When unresolved anger exists, the slightest offenses will produce the strong emotion partly because the person is reminded of all the offenses that led to the unresolved issues.   Super sensitivities and being easily angered are indications of deep unresolved issues that may not have anything to do with the current offense.

An angry disposition is a hindrance to righteousness.  It is like an internal volcano awaiting eruption. Unresolved anger also disrupts inner peace.   

If you are easily angered, I encourage you to pray for God to reveal to you why you respond in this manner.  Seek the unresolved issues or any forgiveness that may need attention so that you can improve your disposition and be free of this destructive emotion.  If someone close to you is easily angered, pray for him/her as well.  Realize that there must be issues that need to be resolved and that he/she need your prayers.  It is time to seek peace.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"My Time or Your Time"?

1 John 5:14-15  This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.

We live a few miles from the Central and Eastern time zone line.  The line is crossed halfway between our town and the towns adjacent to us in two directions.  Historically, the towns adjacent to us have been where many people from our county travel for work.  Our time zone is one hour behind the other two towns.  Common vernacular in this area includes phrases such as "fast time or slow time", meaning the time in our town for the hour faster time.  Another common phrase is "my time or your time" which is asked when making plans or appointments with folks in the other time zones.  It has always been a part of the language here.  Visitors or people that move to the area may find it confusing as they adjust to the lingo and living near a time zone line.

Today's devotion will focus on "my time or your time".  When we schedule appointments or make plans, it is often the case that we wish to make those arrangements on "my time".  In other words, we want to suit our own schedules by making plans that are convenient for ourselves.  The same can be said for prayer life.  Let us be honest, so many times when we pray for answers or solutions to situations in life, we want the resolution in "my time".  There are even times that we may pray, "God, let your will be done", however, in our minds, we are thinking that we want his will to be done, but please let it be on "my time".

Reflecting over the years as specific prayers have been answered, I can recall how many times I tried to do my part to help God answer those prayers in "my time".   I often approached doors that I thought would be great openings for opportunities for the prayers to be answered.  Anyone else ever stood in front of a door and twisted the knob thinking that it should take care of that for which you have prayed?  Not only were most of those doors before me closed, many of them were also dead-bolted, padlocked, and secured with a log chain.

Then when I least expected, at times when I actually would focus on several other prayer subjects, the doors opened and the prayers were answered in God's time.  Sometime the door seemed to open like  an overhead garage door.  It raised itself up and created a large entryway in answer to my prayer with details that I could never have imagined being behind the door.

God does not live near a time zone.  He has one realm of time-His.  While the answer to my prayers at times seemed like an eternity in coming, God saw it as perfect timing.  He doesn't want us to ask, "my time or your time?"  He does not want us to focus on when we feel the time is right for details in life to fall into place.  He simply wants us to trust.  He loves to hear us pray and ask for things, "in his time". 

Waiting is difficult especially when we feel an urgency to see things happen in life.  I can say that many times in my life, God has shown me the importance of waiting for things in His time.  His time frame is the best time for all the details to fall into place.   

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Exclamation Points!!!

Matthew 10:30   "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

 God knows how many hairs are on your head as well as the head of every other person in the whole wide world. 

Allow that to soak in for a moment. 

God also knows every detail about you and your life. 

Every one. 

Good, bad, ugly, or sad. 

He is completely aware of the suffering that each and every one of us experiences.   He understands the troubles with which we wrestle.  He hears our cries.  He is all knowing of our fears and insecurities.  

He knows every period, comma, and question mark.  In this world, we have many thoughts that end with question marks.  We wonder why things happen.  We question why people choose to participate in hurtful acts and behaviors.  We find it hard to understand the evil that exists around us.  

Allow God to turn all the question marks of life into exclamation points.  Allow Him to take away all the fear, doubt, and worry that will lead into insecurities.  Give all the negative thoughts and uncertainties over to Him.

If you are struggling with letting go of negative feelings, disappointments, self doubt, bitterness, or any other feeling that hinders the exclamation points in your life, it is time to LET GO.  We are powerless to the things of this world that cause us have so many questions.  Surrender your helplessness and give all the question marks to God. 

He is sovereign! 

He is omnipresent!

He is omniscient!

He is omnipotent!

He can provide each and every one of us with exclamation points to place at the end of our thoughts and concerns!