He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:16,19 … More
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
We can watch our children suffer from many causes. They may get sick just because we live in a fallen world. They may groan under the consequences of their own choices. If they have followed the call of God on their lives, we will see their faith tested. Perhaps we’ve walked a similar road and we know how crushing testing can be. There will be moments when we cry out, “Lord, it’s hard to trust You with my child. Please strengthen my faith!”
As I watch my child come to the end of their resources as Jesus did in the desert of His testing, I will do about anything to end their torment. But the worst part of divine shaping is not the physical pain but spiritual anguish. To see childlike faith crack into pieces rocks a parent’s heart. I stay on my knees and ask God to preserve my child’s confidence in His love and promises.
I’m an over-achiever. I like to work hard and feel that I accomplished something. I enjoy stretching myself to learn new things. While none of these are bad traits, in ministry they can be dangerous. I can begin to believe that my efforts are what yield success. I would do well to remember that humans generate earthbound results. Only God gives rise to true spiritual outcomes.
Several years ago, I had a vivid dream. I was mixing together three unlikely ingredients in a bowl to make something to eat. Jesus was standing nearby so I asked Him about it. “What is this going to be, Lord?” He answered, “It’s going to be manna for the people you’ll be feeding in my name.” I was surprised because the ingredients were such that you’d never mix them together to create anything appetizing. So I said, “But how will these three things produce something edible? I don’t understand.” He laughed and replied, “The secret is in the wind.”
With that I felt a gentle breeze enter the room. It blew over the ingredients and stirred them up so that they rose into the air to form a swirl before settling back into the bowl. The Spirit had touched the common ingredients and transformed them into something supernatural.
Wind has always been a sign of God’s presence. Wind and breath are often synonymous in scripture. Jesus breathed on His disciples and filled them with a power beyond themselves. No longer limited but Spirit filled, the Gospel message would spill out of their mouths with power and passion. Continents would never be the same as these ordinary men were transfigured into agents of heaven. Without impressive credentials, people would say of them, “We can tell they have been with Jesus.” The spiritual wind accompanied them. It disturbed the deep. The vast emptiness of people’s souls was filled with the Bread of Life.
God walks on the wind. He begs to be invited and is anxious to intersect today with the ordinary. He is passionate to alter the common things. He dreams of restoring what the Fall has eaten away. Where are you languishing? Why are you panting from self-effort to repair something in vain? The wind promises to blow across the carnage of our lives. We are meant to smell the aroma of Eden. Wherever the Spirit of God will hover today, the landscape will change. Transformation begins with an awareness of my great need.
Oh, come, Holy Spirit. Amen
You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves. Psalm 80:6
Those who live without Jesus hope for things they cannot see and have no assurance of ever getting. “I hope I get picked for the team.” “I hope things work out okay.” “I hope I will be loved in my new marriage.” They watch us live by faith and taunt us as we assure them that our Father answers prayer and keeps His promises. We’re human though ~ and we ache as we seek to hang onto our hope. It’s easy to lose it in the company of those who try to talk us out of it.
Children of God hope for things they cannot see but know that what they hope for already exists. They have a Father who has promised it. They hope for heaven; knowing it will be there when they take their first gasp of celestial air. They hope for deliverance; knowing that there will be one whether on earth or in heaven. They hope for healing; knowing that the Healer is vested in them and will provide it. They hope for redemption; knowing that no pain is ever wasted. Why? God said so. Continue reading “Hanging On To What Others Ridicule”
You are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure. Psalm 102:27-28
Everything having to do with the Earth is in transition. The sun, needed to bring the flowers to full bloom, can also have scorching qualities, causing the blossoms to shrivel and die. Everything I hold in my hands is tenuous unless it is of the kingdom and will last forever. Is my trust in God? Should my wealth fail, will I spiral down into hopelessness or will my faith in God sustain me? If the favor of others fail, will I be unshakable in my identity? Continue reading “When Everything Is In Transition”
Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. Psalm 37:34
In the midst of desert experiences, the call to wait on the Lord can sound hollow. I want to know how long suffering is going to last? King David doesn’t throw out this challenge without personal experience. He had to wait over a decade to inherit his kingdom and had to also wait to see God’s purposes come to pass against his enemies.
James calls me to remember the prophets. As an example of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. James 5:10 Abraham received a promise but he never saw it fulfilled in his lifetime. Knowing that, would I ever say, “What a fool!” Instead, his faith inspires me. He believed that endurance would yield a nation, even if on the other side of his own death.
What about a parent who prays for a lifetime for the spiritual return of a child? Fifty years of praying amidst little encouragement can appear to be futile. Yet, when that child returns to God, yet when that child comes to Christ, would they say that their patience in prayer was wasted? Continue reading “Patience. The Virtue of a Fool?”
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
Many have prayed for the will of God, followed His voice, and experienced complete disillusionment when they found themselves in hostile surroundings. They blame God for being unloving or they blame themselves for being poor listeners. Hostility within the will of God is common and should not surprise God’s children.
Some years back, our family lived in a hostile environment. We begged, daily, for release. We were willing to move anywhere and do anything to escape our surroundings. Surely, we reasoned, God wouldn’t want for us to endure such a place. Yet, every request for a move away was met by the silence of God. Continue reading “Living Amidst Hostility”
I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. Psalm 66:17
There are many times I don’t know how to pray because I don’t know what God’s purposes are for a certain situation. If I know I’m going to lose my job, do I bear down in prayer to keep it, or do I just assume God is using that loss to lead me somewhere else? If I’m experiencing a tragedy, do I ask God to take it away or do I assume that, like Job, God has ordained this chain of events to further His glory in some way?
This is where a prayer life gets stuck. I don’t know what to pray for because I don’t know the will of God. Because I don’t know, I can abandon prayer altogether. That would be, and has been for me, a mistake. Continue reading “Crying Out Is a Holy Expression of Faith”