No Competition

No Competition

Romans 2:11 (AMP) For God shows no partiality [no arbitrary favoritism; with Him one person is not more important than another].

The Lord blessed us with five wonderful and unique children. Each one an individual with their own personality and purpose. If you ask them, they have a preconceived notion about who they are and where they fit in the dynamic of our family. Our youngest is quick to concede that we stopped having children after having her because “we saved the best for last.” Yet when our first grandson was on his way, she struggled at the thought of her position as “baby” might be challenged by the newcomer even though she is well in her teenage years. Insecurity is a dangerous thing. It roots in our heart and mind as the enemy casts doubt in whatever area it is allowed to exist even in our relationship with God – the Father.

God shows no partiality or arbitrary favoritism to anyone. He sees us all as beloved children with different callings and purpose arising from the anointing us by Christ and His Personal Design as Creator. Unique and individual – there is no one else in the world that can fulfill the Plan of God for my life but me. He is omnipresent. God sees everything and everyone from beginning to end. He put time in order along with our steps promising that not a detail of our life did not have good potential. Yet still sons and daughters of God struggle in our inabilities and weakness to perceive and accept the unconditional love of God for each of us. Competition rises from comparison amongst the Body of Christ. We must learn to love each other and see each other as God sees us. We must learn to love ourselves and see ourselves as the significant people He created and called us to be empowering us by His Grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:14-15 (AMP) Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

The bond of unity is our purpose that leads to fulfillment. However, if there is constant competition between members of the same body it becomes dysfunctional. For example, if my right hand wrestled with my left hand all the time, what would I ever get done? If my left foot was always trying to trip my right foot, I wouldn’t get very far. Our perception of God’s Purpose and Plan for our life must be based on the fact that I am a Child of God with a designated purposed and carefully defined plan. No one else can fulfill my destiny. The assignment given to me by God is for me and me alone. Comparison is the thief of joy because we evaluate our gifts and talents according to someone who is not called or created to do what God ordained for us.

We cannot bind ourselves together in unity without complete confidence in God’s Love for us and His Perception of us. We are His Children. Just as our natural children have a place in our family, we have a position in God’s Family that no one else can fill. When our son had cancer and lingered on the verge of death, no one would dare say, “Well, at least they have four other kids if anything happens…” Why are we so quick to think that the Lord sees us with a herd mentality? What makes us think that we are easily replaced? Grace is enough to bind us all together because we do not have to fight for it. It is freely given to us by God who loves us unconditionally and completely. He gave His Only Son to die a brutal and horrible death for us – we are His Beloved. He treasures us. He will leave the ninety-nine just for the one. That one is you. That one is me.

Romans 8:28-29 (AMP)  And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

We must have great confidence in God’s Love for us as individuals to have the peace of mind to become one body in Christ. All other relationships will grow and prosper in the revelation that you are God’s Favorite. He has a plan and purpose only you can accomplish. There is nothing and no one that can separate you from God’s Love because it is individual. He knew you and everything about you choosing to love you and sacrifice His All just the same. Me, too. It all applies to me personally as well. When I am tempted to compare, criticize, or concede – I must respond with confidence. God loves me. He loves me on purpose. He doesn’t lie or change His Mind. Each person in the Kingdom has a place in its government and function. The enemy will lay traps to entangle us or make us think we are not good enough to fulfill God’s Purpose or obtain his Promise. Truth is I am the best one for His Plan, Purpose and Promise for me. We are all important and significant to the Lord. Didn’t He prove that when He gave His Son for us? You are God’s Favorite You! Remember that today…walk in it…live in it!

Philippians 4:7-9 (AMP) And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.

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Rejection

Rejection

John 12:47-50 (MSG) “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”

What a different world would we live in if people did not fear rejection? Rejection is the feeling of being refused. Rejection can be delivered from either party. What in the world is Christ saying in this passage? I don’t understand. “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him.” To the organized religion called church that is a preposterous notion. To hear the Word and not do it most certainly must bear a consequence. Not in the face of grace, it can’t. To allow condemnation of any kind is to reject the idea that His Grace is enough to overcome every weakness. God will never reject the repentant heart that makes its way through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Rejection is not a Kingdom principle but an earthly choice made by mankind to choose something else.

Jesus came to save us. He came to heal us, restore us and revive us again as sons and daughters of God. His Purpose was not to judge the world yet it is the heavy mantle of many to not only judge each other but themselves. There is a difference between judgment and accountability. One is terminal the other can be life giving. Throughout my lifetime, the Lord has placed many in my life who hold me accountable to the Word of God. I have also faced many judges and harsh critics. The purpose behind the pain is the determining factor. Was the point of the lesson to tear down or build up? Jesus came to build a Kingdom but in doing so He had to tear some things down and rebuild them.

John 2:18-22 (MSG)  But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.” They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

The Jews were more than upset – they became downright irate when Jesus said that He could rebuild the Temple it took 46 years to build in three days. Thank you Jesus! That’s exactly what He did. On the Cross, the Jews recounted his words completely ignorant that He was doing just that. He was tearing down religion to make way for a relationship. A love covenant with mankind that could never be destroyed or threatened again. No more condemnation but overflowing grace that could strip down every stronghold and overcome every obstacle between the Father and His Beloved Children. Now God’s Love pursues us. There is no longer rejection but open relationship if we allow it.

So if there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ and no judgment in Him, what about sin? Accountability to the Word of God and reconciliation to Jesus Christ are fulfilled in repentance. Turning from our way to pursue Him. Religion is a change of habit. Repentance is a change of heart. One leads to a good life and a successful church. The other leads to eternal life in the Father’s House. I wonder today if the rejection felt by many is not rejection but a call of repentance. A gentle urging by the Son to come back to the Father and experience His Love. If we experience punishment – it is not of the Father. To experience permission comes when we give up our way to encounter the fullness of the Word and freedom it delivers.

Matthew 7:1-5 (MSG) “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

After eating with a friend, have they ever told you that you have something in your teeth? Or maybe just gestured it as not to gain attention? How do you feel in that moment? A little embarrassed. Quickly trying to dislodge the speck, leaf or pepper from your pearly whites? You may ask them, “Did I get it?” Did you get mad at them for pointing it out? Of course not! You didn’t want to go around for the rest of the day smiling and conversing with your meal on full display. How much more embarrassing would that have been?

God has placed people in each other’s lives in the Body of Christ to act as iron sharpening iron. We have many acquaintances in life but then there is that one friend the Lord sends to be our accountability partner. If you do not know who that is, then look for them. The point of our partnerships in life is beneficial. The enemy works night and day to destroy godly relationships especially the sharp and pointed ones that enable us to discover God’s Purpose and encourage us to follow His Plan. Relationship is essential for it is the currency of the Kingdom and its greatest commodity. If we do not learn to hold each other accountable, it will become judgment in our life. Those who celebrate us but never convict us to be more of who Christ created us to be will one day become our critic because the relationship is not based on the Love of God but man’s preferences. The fine line between critical people and committed people rests in their convictions. Do they serve a Savior who always accepts and loves regardless of our willingness to follow Him? Or do we have conditional love that doesn’t believe in the God of all grace? Without true repentance there is only religion. We must learn to love and learn together in the Body of Christ without judgment or condemnation but unconditional love and amazing grace.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (MSG) It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Am I really being rejected, condemned or judged? In most cases, yes. It is human nature. The dangerous game of comparison that feeds our pride to keep it alive. However, it is of vital importance in our spiritual life to evaluate those relationships that are rough around the edges to see if God is actually but an ironclad friend to be an accountability partner. Even the caring friend who points out the debris in our smile offers a slight sting at the revelation that our salad is on display for all to see causes a bristled reaction. It is only human nature, but in the end it produces a change. You work to right the problem and so it is with God. The commitment of our Lord at work in us with the help of the Holy Spirit is to engage in a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and then each other. When we feel rejected, we seek isolation. Remove ourselves from the haters, if you will. But maybe they aren’t haters at all but the true lovers of our soul? Food for thought and learning for life straight from the Word. Lord, show me the people who I have rejected that You have placed in my life with purpose. Examine my heart and illuminate any dark seat of judgment my pride has established. Point me in the way of everlasting life to build your Kingdom one person at a time in Jesus Name! Amen!

Proverbs 27:17 (MSG) You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

Too Important

Too Important

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

If another is overcome, gently and humbly help the person back on the right patch. Be careful not to fall into the same trap. Share each other’s burdens. Obey the Law of Christ in this way. If you think you are too important to help…am I too important to help another? What is it that keeps me from reaching out to or aiding another believer or any other living breathing thing? Who is considered collateral damage in the battle for the Kingdom? No one. According to Jesus, all of Heaven rejoices when the one who is lost returns. So I wonder today, if the trap in which I have fallen is that of becoming too important?

We all fall in the category of “too” something at any giving time. Too busy, too tired, too stressed, too overwhelmed, too broken and, yes, even too important to do the work of Christ on a daily basis. The enemy has a plethora of excuses that he introduces as valid to use to explain our lack of obedience to Christ. They all may be true but not necessary. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed and given the same number of hours in any given day. From that point forward, we make the choice of how to spend that time and invest ourselves in this thing called life. I love to hear someone tell me about how busy they are or hard they work. I have been guilty of boasting the same. The truth is the investment of our time is only as good as the seed sown in the space of it.

Maybe time is not the issue you are facing, but trouble. Sick of all the trials and troubles in our life – people build a wall around their heart and make the conscious choice to disengage. Enough is enough. People are not perfect and when expectation is given to them – they will fail. Everyone does. It is not a lack of wanting to be faithful and true, but simply the sad condition of a fickle heart and wayward thinking that keeps us from always doing the right thing. Paul summed it up in Romans 7 – we want to do what is right but inevitable do what is wrong. Thank you God for your unconditional love, overpowering grace, and endless mercy that allows me to try again each day despite yesterday’s shortcomings or total failures.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT) Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

I am responsible for my own conduct. Talk about straightforward. Pay careful attention to my own work in life, the Kingdom and relationships and then I will find satisfaction. Comparison is a joy killer. Not only that it paints over the picture God has painted in our heart and mind for fulfillment with some kind of replica of life that is not for us and we are not prepared or predestined to live. Comparison creates an image of a standard that is not God’s Standard for my life. If I allow the world to influence my standard of living, I miss the blessing that comes when I align my life and choices with God and His Word. Comparison kills contentment allowing jealousy to take over and kill any satisfaction that faith is growing in me. It chokes it out with a root called bitterness that excuses my lack of attention or commitment to faithfulness as I begin to build something that I was never intended to live in a place I was not supposed to be. The grass is always greener on the other side, if I keep my eyes on other people’s grass it will kill my own.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Because Christ has given us absolute and total freedom, I choose how to live and the seeds sown in my life each day. Am I sowing willingness? Obedience? Faithfulness? The Fruit of the Spirit is known to be:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When these are the seeds sown in our life according to God’s Word, they are the fruitful reproduction within us. What are you “too” important to do today? It just may the stronghold limiting you from achieving your maximum potential.  If something is needed, are you willing to do it to the glory of God? Or is it subjected to your pride first? As pastors, ministers, leaders, teachers, and true believers, there is not task beneath us. If our church sidewalk needs to be swept, we do it. If a toilet needs to be cleaned, we do it. If it means forgiving for the umpteenth time, we do it. If it means offering love and kindness rather than taking offense so be it. No matter what the task or responsibility if we are not willing to do it – then it is not good enough for our brother or sister to do. I wonder what might happen if we humbled ourselves to Christ rather than striving for some higher position. What if we were willing to sweat for the Kingdom? What if we decided to get dirty to build it? What if we would humble ourselves in all things? I believe this is the kind of brokenness that gives way to true stewardship in Christ. It is not what we are willing to give that is an acceptable offering, but rather when we will give our all for the Kingdom of God no matter how messy, uncomfortable or chaotic it may be just to because we love Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:9-10 (NLT) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Are you tired of doing the right thing? Are you sick of always trying to be good? Are your ready to give up? When dealing with life and people, sometimes these feelings rise up within us. God is greater than our feelings. Pride must go down for His Glory to rise up through our humility. “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.” This transcends to every part of our life from our family to friends to fellow church members to acquaintances to complete strangers all the way to our enemies. Ugh! That’s a lot of good on days when I don’t feel like it.

Matthew 19:29-30 (NLT) And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

I don’t always make good choices. I do not always keep my flesh and feelings under the tight rein of the Holy Spirit. There are many times I do the absolute opposite. The world sets a standard for comparison that never has a finish line. Just when you think you arrive, the destination changes and so do the expectations. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Standard of Living does not change. It is a life of humility. It is to forsake being the greatest so that others can see the Light of His Loving shining from within. When we are too important to share the love of Jesus no matter who they are, what they do or how they treat us – we miss the mark completely. Our standard is to love God and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. The long list of excuses marked “too” begin with a feeling of self-importance that allows pride to live in us. Pride will always take God’s Place in our heart and mind. It will keep us from the blessing that comes with knowing Christ and eternal life. God show me the areas of my life today where I feel “too” important and help me to eliminate them by sowing new seeds from Your Spirit today.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Hearts and Hands

Hearts and Hands

Luke 10:38-42 (Message) As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Balance. Life in balance. God designed and ordered our life with particular steps to fulfillment. Each one has a purpose for our heart and hands. I struggle between the personalities of Martha and Mary. I tend to be more of the Type A personality of the hardworking sister. Driven by labor, responsibilities and working. I find great satisfaction in a clean house and well-ordered life. The concept of control even in the smallest of tasks gives me security. I am learning to live like Mary. The worshipper who did not worry so much about her duties but focused on Christ. In the brief visit of Jesus to their home, Mary understood the importance of sitting at His Feet. Martha was overloaded with worry and stress to please the Lord and make His Visit pleasurable. Both ladies were noble in their efforts. Their actions demonstrating their fondness and admiration of Christ, but then the joy killer called comparison set in.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Theodore Roosevelt) How do we admire the beauty and worth of another without questioning ourselves? Comparison with myself and the person who God created me to be as mirrored in His Word will bring improvement as I grow, develop and mature in Christ. However, when I compare myself to others it breeds only discontentment and a lack of fulfillment. I am conforming to a standard other than that purposed for me. Psalm 139 reminds me daily to praise the Lord for who I am because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a purpose all my own. Promises aligned perfectly to fulfill that purpose and not that of another. My perception of life must be through the Father’s Eyes in the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Otherwise, I have set the standard too low…less I digress.

Comparisons can make you feel superior and other times inferior. Neither serves a useful purpose in the life of a believer. We are called to build a Kingdom. No two members will be the same. Each has a place, purpose, plan and promise which is in direct correlation with that of another. The enemy uses comparison to tear down the Body of Christ especially women. The media projects images of who we should be and what to believe. It creates a stirring that there is something to prove or improve in all of us. This may or may not be true but the kind of change society promotes is temporary but we are everlasting beings created by a Sovereign and Forever God who far outweighs today or tomorrow living in the vastness of eternity. His Son reserved a place for us there that has our name on it. Will He recognize us when we arrive?

The woman at the well in her conversation with Christ was told that true worshippers will do so in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) I believe that Martha and Mary demonstrate the two distinct personalities that the Lord carefully molds into this kind of worshipper. The one who does so in spirit and in truth. Mary was the spiritual worshipper. The one who couldn’t get enough of Jesus. She would sit at his feet, ignoring her household task, to “hanging on every word.” Martha, on the other hand, she was the worshipper in truth. She was busy preparing a meal for her guest, overseeing the task at hand, she was getting ready because she knew His Visit would be brief and she wanted to honor Him. At this point in time, Mary chose the essential. But wait there is more…

John 11:20-26 (Message) Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.” Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”  “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

Lazarus had died. The sisters were mourning their great loss when Jesus arrived. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet Him while Mary remained in the house. Martha decided to engage the Lord and went to Him. I am sure she had some questions. Where were you? Why didn’t you come sooner? We needed you, Lord. Engaging faith is demonstrated in Martha who took her matter straight to Jesus while Mary stayed in her mourning. See Martha was not the one driven by emotionalism. She was a woman of action. Jesus shared with Martha in that moment just as He had taught Mary at His Feet. Her brother would experience resurrection power and new life right before her eyes that day.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (Message) Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth.

The truth in Deuteronomy is applicable today. Our heart is the place of God’s Perspective. He looks deep inside our heart to determine the changes necessary in fulfilling our purpose. We must do the same. Our attitude and actions must relate to and live in relationship with Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. Mary may have been lazy. Martha may have been lax. Their purpose was not defined by personality but rather by the Person of Christ. The Lord did not leave them the same in each encounter. To Martha – He gave her permission to rest. To quietly spend time in His Presence. To the worker, Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it…” (Matthew 11:28-30 – MSG) To the others, He says, “Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” (Isaiah 35:3-5) To both the Lord says, Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.” (Ephesians 6:6-7 – MSG)

Romans 12:4-6 (Message) In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

I wonder news for you today! It doesn’t really mattered if you came wired like Martha or Mary. You are you because God decided you were an important part of the Body of Christ. We must learn to worship in Spirit and in Truth. Knowing the Word of God and doing as He says. It creates unity in the Body and harmony in the Kingdom. God finds great pleasure in harmony. It releases new anointing and opens the windows of Heaven. We need Marthas. We need Marys. We need every other personality the Lord saw fit to create for His Kingdom. The key is aligning our lives to Christ and with each other as one. “Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” What a wonderful truth! You are the Light of the world – a city on a hill – you will shine in your time! Be the heart of Jesus today. Be His Hands. Be one with each other. It’s His Purpose for our life.

Philippians 2:1-2 (NLT) Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Chasing the Wind

Chasing the Wind

Ecclesiastes 11:4-8 (NLT) Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. 

Saturdays are precious in our family. Five work days and one day of church worship leave only one for my husband and I to do spend time with our children and do some chores around the house. To wake up when we want to and dawdle through the day is quite nice rushing through the week. The alarm this morning did not greet a happy and expectant employee ready to jump up and seize the day. With a sigh, I immediately began to pray and thank the Lord for the opportunity I have in the workplace and the great weekend that we had. Gratitude seems to change my attitude. It is a great help when the dark cloud of drudgery tries to overshadow God’s Goodness, His Grace and His Glory in our life.

This Saturday an industrious spirit took over as Spring Fever was in the air. Our neglected front porch is right outside the windows of the study where I write. As the morning sun beamed brightly through the windows, I decided to wash away the residue of a long winter and pollen that collected as spring arrived. Armed with all my supplies, I tackled the windows inside and out. The front porch of our house was barren. There really was no point upon our arrival and many other areas of our “new” home that needed our attention, but an image filled my head of two porch rockers. Well, you know the old saying, if mama ain’t happy then… well you know the rest. My husband and I headed to our favorite date place or the home improvement store. Loading a hand cart with two black rocking chairs, a couple small palms and a can of black paint along with a couple other “necessary” items – we headed home. After some assembly required, the two rockers were just as I imagined. We sat down to overlook our work for the day. The yard was manicured, the windows washed and porch cleaned – all the details in place. Sitting in the cool breeze, just rocking along, I realized that the newest chapter in our life had finally arrive. Our littlest girls are almost grown. The three older ones all in their twenties and living their lives. Me and my best friend rocking on the porch in the chairs that will be the place to rock our grandchildren, visit with friends, or maybe even share the greatest love story ever told with someone who is hurting. I have named the two chairs – one is satisfaction and the other will be contentment.

“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.” If a perfect life were possible, grace would not be necessary. Since people are not perfect, the ability to live such an existence escapes them. To live this live pursuing our dreams and working for our goals outside of satisfaction and contentment is chasing the wind. I believe this is the meaning behind 3 John 1:2. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Funny that it comes in 3 John and not 1 John. The prosperity of our soul is satisfaction. The confidence in Christ born of faith is called contentment. Both are qualities birthed by trust, yet hard to grasp much less hold on to in a world that lives according to immediate gratification and a constantly changing perception of what will bring these two qualities. If it were power and wealth by the world’s standards, there would not be so many people who end their life in the height of success because of dissatisfaction and disappointment feeding a disease called depression or fueling the fire of anxiety buffered by mood altering drugs and pain killers. So many talented people who no matter how successful could not catch the conditions they desired most – the peaceful stillness found in two rocking chairs on a front porch in the county.

“Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.” Balance is the art of both hard work and peace of mind that is very hard to achieve outside of Jesus Christ. Striving becomes thriving when this balance is achieved. God gave us goals, dreams and desires when He placed eternity in our heart. Without a perspective of heaven or His Kingdom including the blessings and benefits that His Children have there, the joy and peace marked satisfaction and contentment are impossible. The Lord planted a seed in you and I called faith. It is the substance of all that we hope for. Unless this seed is cultivated in every area of our life – it will only bloom where it is planted. A diversified life will only contribute to stress and worry increasing our burdens but Jesus invites us to “yoke our life with Him” and He will partner with us in all our endeavors sharing the heavy load of responsibility that weighs us down in life giving us a precious promise called rest. (Matthew 11) You have the potential of prosperity in you. It will yield the two things you desire most but we must work into the fields and furrows of our heart to be incorporated in every endeavor of life or we are just chasing the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:11-12;17 (NLT) Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

The Lord has a plan for our life. Recorded before our birth (Psalm 139), it is a good one with a future and hope. God didn’t design our life for disaster. God promises to hear our prayers. He will be found by those who look for Him wholeheartedly. This is an important detail often missed in a world that cries “what is in it for me.” Life. Jesus died to give us a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) All of us. He didn’t go to the Cross just so you and I could just make it but that in Him find live a prosperous life according to God’s Riches in Glory. To restore the glorious standard of living that sin had taken from us but Jesus came back from the grave to give us. He didn’t force us to take the Keys to the Kingdom but rather offers them to us each day. Our willful disposition fostered by the old Elvis anthem, “I Did It My Way” will find many in the same position that the world renowned “king of rock and roll” did. A man who could have had anything he wanted, denied himself nothing, reaped a huge reward for all his labors and fully accomplished in his industry died in addiction. We must seek soul satisfaction or risk putting all our efforts into a success that will never reach the innermost part of us. Without faith it is impossible to please God – without faith there is no satisfaction and contentment continues to wave in the wind at those who pass it by.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 (NLT)  So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1) The realization that every good thing in our life is from the Hand of God can change one’s perspective. The greatest revelation is that of Romans 8:28 in the promise that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” To find truth in the words and apply trust to them will change our lives forever. To believe that every good thing in our life is a product of God and not self or random fate is one thing, but to also see the potential of God in every situation and know that He will work it in our favor – now that my friend is life changing and soul altering. Soul satisfaction comes from faith that trusts God and believes in His Goodness even on our worst day.

Ecclesiastes 4:4-6 (NLT) Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.” And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

Comparison is a joy killer. It comprises faith because it plants a seed of envy that will bloom into bitterness. God has no favorites. Before declaring the grass is greener in someone else’s yard, perhaps one might ask what fertilizer they use. See God uses every detail of our life for our good. Before comparing our life journey to another, one might decide if it is worth the cost. We are a masterpiece – each one of us an individual work of God with his or her own process of completion. The end result is the same. The process is different. To be jealous of another displays disbelief in God’s Purpose and Plan for us. It destroys satisfaction. It corrupts contentment. A seed demonstrates the growth process in God – one must first die to self. Our present form must be completely undone to incorporate His Goodness in every facet of our life until His Love completely overtakes us and trust allows all good things to grow hidden in our new heart – new life – new creation. To prosper without satisfaction and contentment is not to a blessing. Any form of prosperity does not change our heart but simply magnifies what is already in it. The Lord offers us the Mind of Christ. We must know Him, trust Him and believe Him to have perfect peace that is not challenged by condition or circumstance but leads us to safe harbor every time. The truest blessing of prosperity is a satisfied soul resting in the Peace of God even in a stormy situation.

Ecclesiastes 5:15-20 (NLT) We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us. And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind. Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry. Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

I love our new rocking chairs. I love the front porch. The wind feels good blowing on my face. I love the promise represented called satisfaction and contentment. I know they are a product of age and maturity. There is no need to chase the wind for it will blow where it will. Looking back, I do not see the broken life that I have lived and all the bad things that have happened. I do not look ahead with fear, worry or stress but I sit there rocking and thinking of all the good things that the Lord has done for us. Our youngest daughter sits at our feet with playing with our little dog laughing at her antics. She is the last of our children who is growing up so quickly before us. But I am not afraid my role as mom will soon be over. Sitting next to me is my best friend and soul mate given to me by a gracious God. Our journey has not been easy but it has been worth it. From the beginning, we decided to be yoked with the Lord. He has carried us to this point. As I continue to rock envisioning children running around the yard as the days turn into years, I ask the Lord not for more of anything but to continue this work in my heart. Give me a wealth of satisfaction and rich contentment to fill every nook and cranny of my heart. There is nothing in this world worth more than a prospering soul. It shines a new light on an ordinary life magnifying far greater potential then hard work and motivation could ever afford. To find satisfaction is really what we are after no matter how hard we try to seem confident and uncaring. We want to be loved just as we are in a world that cries to take – maybe God wants us to give. You cannot give to others what you do not possess yourself. It is common sense. You cannot share the fathomless love and endless grace of God with others until it is found within ourselves. You cannot faith it until you make it. Faith is a solid footstep in God’s Direction. Real love and true faith produce satisfaction in life because they are the seeds that God planted in us and faith in Jesus will begin to grow. Once our soul is satisfied, the sky is the limit literally as the windows of Heaven open and His Light reveals all the blessings in our life and sends down all every promise day by day.

I Timothy 6:6 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great worth.

Hunger Games

Hunber Games

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (NLT) For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

The Hunger Games trilogy is a futuristic novel set in post-apocalyptic times. The Capitol society is marked by extreme wealth and power over the twelve Districts who are the product of past rebellion live in extreme poverty. As entertainment, each year one boy and girl from each district is chosen by a lottery system to fight to the death in the public arena which is broadcast for all to see. The winning participant and their district will be supplied with food, supplies and riches. The Capitol continued to exhort its power over the Districts this way. I cannot imagine. How horrible to think that a child would be selected as a sacrifice for that which is freely given to us in the earth? This was the inspiration for the writer after reading Greek mythology’s account of Theseus and Minotaur – as punishment for past crimes, Athens were required to sacrifice seven boys and seven girls. Even as a child, she was stunned by the cruelty. Her writings are also influenced by society’s public display and entertainment called reality television. We make sport and competition in the name of entertainment. Yet the reality is that cruelty and poverty are rampant in a world inhabited by a Kingdom of more than enough. Sons and daughters of the Most High King who join the numbers of impoverished ones of the districts rather living in the life their Father has given them.

Though the concept of The Hunger Games is futuristic, it can be compared to the reality of life. The rich get richer and poor get poorer is a frequently used statement. Dependency is created by need. Those in need of something must find a source to provide it if they cannot produce it themselves. The Districts had rebelled against the Capitol and were now being punished with poverty. Kept in a perpetual state of need, it would take a rebellion to obtain their freedom. In the subsequent books of the series, this is exactly what would happen. I am not promoting the trilogy called The Hunger Games. I am only aware of the books and concept of the series. I am challenging the impoverished mindset of God’s People that keeps us captive and stagnates our purpose to set the captive free.

“For God provides seed to the farmer and then bread to eat.” Our family has been committed to tithing for almost twenty years now. For eighteen years, it has been our commitment to pay God the 10% that He requires up front as an act of obedience. Before I lose you, this is about you tithing but a personal testimony of harvest and favor. In all those years, there has not been an unmet financial need in our family. Every bill paid, lights that turn on, transportation and of course, food on our table. The kids all had diapers and clothes. Not a single natural need has not been met. But wait there is more, we have also been able to help others giving to missions, feeding the hungry and other noble efforts. I hope I haven’t lost you yet. Giving the Lord His Requirement and also sowing seed (yes, seed) in offerings has also produced a hidden abundance in our life. During spring cleaning and organizing closets, I always find things that we no longer need, want or use. Some of it, I give away to those in need. The rest of it, I post in online resale sights or set up a garage sale. I cannot think of a time when the Lord has not supplied our needs, or given us more than enough. I do absolutely believe that two Biblical Truths are in full operation. Tithing, as well as, sowing and reaping. God’s Abundance is hidden in our life from the devourer. But it is often the “hunger games” of life that allow us to connect with the Source of Life.

In Luke 15, we visit the home of loving and wealthy father with two sons. He loved both of them exactly the same and cared for them equally. There was no favoritism in him and all that he had was to be their inheritance. As you may already know, one son chose to take his inheritance and leave his father’s home losing everything. Ready to eat slop with the pigs came the realization that even servants in his father’s house were well-cared for so he would go back, beg his father’s forgiveness and serve him. You may also know that the son who remained true to his father and home was overtaken with jealousy for his brother. He had done both of their jobs while his brother was out carousing. When his father welcomed his lost son home, the brother refused to come to the celebration. He was mad. He couldn’t understand the grace of his father. See the estate and wealth did not mean as much to this man as his precious and dear children. This is the Father’s Love that is given to us as His Children.

Luke 15:17-20 (NLT)  “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 

Our Father is the Source for our life. Nothing can separate us from His Love for us. His Compassion longs for our safe return. Jesus promised to prepare a place for us. (John 14:1-3) I have a home in His Kingdom that is mine. It is an individual inheritance not offered to anyone else. A place in His Presence just for me with my name on it. There is no need for insecurity and doubt because God does not have favorites. There is no competition for a place in God’s Kingdom. It has been given to you when you accepted the Keys to the Kingdom from His Son, Jesus Christ. All that is to be done is follow Him home. Humility accepts God our Father as the Source of Life and lives according to His Standard of life. It takes us out of the rat race, fighting our way up the corporate ladder and no longer subject to the dog-eat-dog world. We are given more than enough according to His Riches in Heaven.

Luke 15:28-32 (NLT) “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

The son who stayed with his father did not feel that his brother was worthy of celebration. His jealousy overtook him so that he did not see the obvious. “You have always stayed with me, and everything I have is yours.” As Christians, it is human nature to fall in the trap of the other brother. To have it all but lose sight of it. Pride robs us of satisfaction with the weapon of comparison. We cannot see the blessings and promises coming to pass in our life and the abundance hidden in our closets blinded by envy. When those who have been used and abused by the world show up on our churches, we tell them of God’s Great Love, His Grace and His Compassion but do we show it or even share it with them? Or like the jealous brother set requirements based on our willingness or unwillingness to welcome them home just as they are. I am a Child of God. My inheritance is secure in my relationship with my Father through Jesus Christ. I do not have to compete with anyone for His Attention, His Supply, His Provision or even His Abundance in my life.

Like 12:16-21 (NLT) Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

It is important to have a rich relationship with God. Who wants to serve a Father who does not have enough to care for all of his children? The richness of our Father should be filtered through us His Children. It is called generosity. We have seed to be put in the ground that is stored in silos of fear and greed that mark the impoverished mindset. Like the widow who kept her “oil” sealed in a bottle for a “rainy day” found that there was more than enough to care for her family for the rest of their life, we have more than enough but it is hidden behind fear of lack and no trust in the Father’s Love and Resources. The prodigal son had to lose it all to realize the resources in his father’s house. His failure humbled him and he returned to his home. The woman lost her husband who she perceived as her source only to find that God had already provided her with more than enough.

A rich relationship with God through Jesus Christ amply supplies our life with favor and resources. Seeds of potential are hidden away tucked in the dreams and desires of our heart. Rather than building bigger barns to house God’s Surplus in our life living in fear that His Grace, Love or Mercy might run out – what if we built bigger windows and doors to let it all come pouring out? A rich relationship with God is marked by trust that He does have a Kingdom with streets paved of pure gold and that He is a Good Father who cares well for His Children.

Matthew 15:32-34 (NLT) Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”

Jesus did not just believe in feeding people the Word. He believed in feeding their bellies, too. Unmet need creates desire. When we send the hungry and hurting off with a kind word and hug around the neck when what they really need is food or their utility bill paid, what message are we sending? Are we Children of the King or kids on welfare? I do not have to participate in hunger games. I am a Child of God who has supplied all that I need and desire in abundance. As my soul prospers, so will I. I am ordained for increase, multiplication and reproduction in this life. I have access to the riches in Glory. In fact, obedience stores it up for me according to God’s Kingdom. Generosity is my opportunity to give it my life away. To let go of this world and claim His Kingdom.

Man’s economy is based on supply and demand. Creating desire so it can make something to fill it. It does not want you to be satisfied or content but always leaving you wanting more. Buy a new cellphone and before you can run the battery down there is a newer and shiner version being hawked as the best. We have more than enough. An endless supply flowing from the windows of Heaven, it is accessed by generosity and giving. How? Generosity is good seed. If we give to others expecting nothing in return, it is a seed of faith that says, “I believe my God supplies all my needs according to His Riches.” It will grow into a harvest in our life. Seed left in silos will also die, rot and decay. Its purpose is unfulfilled. It is destine to be nothing. When sowing good seeds of faith not just in word but in our works, it becomes a harvest of abundance in our life. There is an equal and personally identified inheritance for each child of God individually. It cannot be earned. It is our birthright. To tithe protects us from the devourer but it is our offering that demonstrates faith and confidence in God who is more than enough.

I John 3:16-18 (NLT) We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

Still Waiting – A Devotion

Still Waiting

Psalm 62:1-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. 

 

I still hate to wait. I am a very impatient person. Over the last three years of my life, I have had to wait a lot. More than I ever thought possible without me losing it completely. Doctor’s appointments and endless consultations for our son have made waiting inevitable. Those are just the day-to-day waits meshed together with the line at the grocery store, slow teller at the bank, and the traffic just to get home every day. It is not uncommon for an outburst of hysterical laughter to blurt out when I encounter yet another delay in my timeline. I have come to expect it. There is a fine line between waiting on God and standing in a rut. Waiting on God requires expectancy. It is an act of faith and trust in the Lord that keeps us bound to His Presence in complete confidence that He will deliver just as He promised. If I let go of my hope and expectation that God will finish the good work begun in my life, than I am in a religious rut of saying all the right things, doing what everyone thinks I should and becoming weary in my well doing. For those of you (including myself) who are still waiting, God is sending out His Word to us to today. Like the receptionist, who tells us, “You’re the next one on the list!” The Holy Spirit whispers to our spirit and soul, “You are not alone. He’s coming. You are next!”

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in Him.” Our faith in God is bound by confident hope that He will do exactly what He says that He will do. God intends to do more than we can think to ask for. (Ephesians 3:20) His Way is perfect. He tells us that He will perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) I must decide do I want God’s Perfect Plan or my comfort zone. God also says that He will make goodness come from every detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) He promises to complete the “good” work that He has begun in each of us. (Philippians 1:6) Why all the scripture references? The Word of God is my guarantee that I can have what He promised. If I hold tight to the Word of God, wrap it up in my faith, make it my confident hope, AND wait expectantly – I will have it in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Why me? Why now? Why wait? Sometimes when the wait is extending in frustration, I get the inclination to leave. I was waiting with my oldest doctor at a walk-in clinic. She had a sinus infection and needed an antibiotic. It was nothing life threatening. I have been in that situation countless times over the last few years. They were busy that day and we were a walk-in so we were being worked in. As people came in after us but were seen before us, I watched my daughter become more agitated by the minute. She fidgeted and fussed in the chair. She was sick and tired of being sick which also applied to her wait. I offered to take her to another center down the road in an effort to be seen more quickly. Finally, I asked the nurse how much longer as we wavered between waiting and leaving. She smiled and said, “You’re next!” Within minutes, they called her name and about fifteen minutes later we were on our way. Now, I knew that they would see my daughter. I was confident that they had exactly what she needed. Leaving would have only prolonged the process… The only way that we will have all that God has promised is to wait expectantly and patiently until He completes the work that He has begun. Are you confident of God’s Love for you today? That is really what it all comes down to. How sure are you that God is for you? How much do you believe that He is working every detail for your good? If you believe that you will see God’s Goodness now in this lifetime, you will wait patiently for Him. It will take bravery because the world will work hard to convince you that God is not real, He is not for you, and waiting is dumb. It will take courage as the enemy wages war on you in this vulnerable position of personal weakness totally reliant on God’s Strength and Power. Yet, those who decide to wait patiently on the Lord will see His Goodness by His Grace.

Luke 15:25-29 (NLT)

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” Comparison to anyone other than Jesus Christ lowers our standard of living. Comparison kills faith leaving room for doubt. When the brother returned home, the one who remained with his father was mad. He was hurt. The hardworking and dedicated older son began comparing himself to his younger foolish brother. Red flag, red alert, danger Will Robinson! I am guilty of this and you are too, if willing to admit it. We see the “good” things happening to other people and begin asking the Lord, “Why not me? Why not now? What have I done wrong?” We become envious and jealous not really knowing what is going on behind the scenes. I have had this conversation many times with young Christian woman who look at my family now assuming that it has always been this way. They don’t think someone like me can relate to someone like them. I am not ashamed of my past because God is perfecting it. He is making good on every detail (even my mistakes) and its working in my life. When the younger son returned home, the older brother refused to join the celebration complaining that although he had remained faithful and committed to his father – there was no celebration in his honor. His father reminds the angry son, “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” (Luke 15:31-32) The Father is whispering to us today, “My child, you have always stayed by me and everything I have is yours…” There is no need to become jealous of what God is doing right now in other people’s lives. Do not compare your life as a believer to anyone else’s life. By remaining faithful to God and waiting expectantly, EVERYTHING that He has is yours in the Name of Jesus! We have all been the prodigal but by the Grace of God that flows in the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ we become His Son and Inheritor again! It will be worth the wait. You aren’t missing out but in full preparation to receive all that God has for you with the wisdom to turn it into prosperity rather than squandering it in the world!

Psalm 38:14-15 (NLT)

I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer for me, O Lord my God.

I do not recall ever pausing to reflect on these verses but today in the silence of waiting on the Lord they make total sense. I have long since stopped running around telling everyone what the Lord is telling me. In Habakkuk 2:3-4 it says, “Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” The Lord told the prophet “write my answer plainly on tablets”. He did not tell the man to go share it with the world just yet. He did not instruct him to seek the counsel of men. Write it down. I keep a journal. I strongly encourage every believer to keep one. Psalm 38 says, “I choose to hear nothing.” God said it so that seals it. “I make no reply.” Stop telling everyone your business. Do not expect that to embrace everything God is doing in your life and strongly support it. I have one example for you – Joseph! I am waiting on You, O Lord. You must answer me. When God gives you a vision, dream, idea or Word – write it down first. Pray about it. Talk to the Lord about it. When the time is run – He will tell you to run with it. You run the risk of disappointment, delays and detours when you decide to seek the counsel of man because it is an act of doubt and disbelief. It opens the door to distraction. Put a lid on it. Zip it. Wait on the Lord!

Psalm 5:2-3 (NLT)

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

 

I am still waiting because God is teaching me to patiently and expectantly wait on Him to act rather than racing off trying to do it myself all the time. Is that you today? Perhaps, that is why you are still waiting, too. Or maybe God is just not finished lining up everything perfectly. You may be willing to settle for less than His Best, but that is not the kind of Gift Giver our Father is. Each morning – every day – we must learn to make it a habit to bring our requests to the Lord and leave them there remaining in His Presence as we wait for Him to do what His Word says. I have waited impatiently and it is very unpleasant at times. But when I give it to the Lord and choose to wait expectantly and strive to remain patient, I find that He fills me with a peace that passes all understanding and even in the most critical of times there is joy even laughter. Trust in God promotes a lifestyle of joy and peace rather than stress and anxiety but the only way to discover it is wait and see. I pray to no one but you! How many other people do you lay out your dreams, visions, plans and even problems to before taking them to Jesus? Yeah, me too. I am learning the simplicity of giving them all to Jesus and waiting. It is a process. No one wakes up with the gift of patience. They are a hard lesson learned. Especially for all those hard-headed, strong-willed, flesh-driven believers like me. Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for me. It helps me in my weakness. I will be a lifelong learner when it comes to patience. I am still waiting for many of His Promises to come to pass but I will wait expectantly. I will wait patiently (or at least do my best to try). I will settle for nothing less than God’s Best even if I must wait for it (and wait for it some more). God is good. His Promises worth having and according to His Word when I wait in His Presence everything He has belongs to me! I’ll take it even if I have to keep waiting for it!

Psalm 37:7 (NLT)

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.