Turn to the Father

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands (Deut. 8:10-16).

As a believer, when times of trouble come, I immediately turn to God. I stay in His presence whether I am totally focused on prayer or talking with Him while doing daily tasks. It’s easier to trust when we must, in situations where we have no control. But this is God’s desire in the good times, too.

God doesn’t enjoy our pain, in fact, it tears His heart too. In all their distress, He too was distressed (Isa 63:9a). Although He doesn’t initiate our suffering, He uses it to draw us into His fellowship so that He can dispense His love and mercy and bless us with His better plan.

When times are good, it is easier to lean on ourselves and forget the Giver of all good things. If I could only always be mindful of this and avoid what is documented time and time in scripture when pride led to destruction.

May His praise continually be on my lips.

Safe Space

Whoever dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps 91:1).

 Today there is so much talk about safe spaces where people are insulated from, well, just about anything that anyone wants to define as harmful, or hurtful, or even just uncomfortable. God doesn’t offer us that kind of isolation; in fact, His word (and my experience) shows that we grow in character and holiness through adversity.

If we look to Him in trust He offers us, not a safe space, but a fortress (v2). He doesn’t remove discomfort; sometimes we need it to grow, but He promises to be with us (v15). He protects us from the enemy’s snare [what are my personal temptations] (v3); terror by night [what are my fears]; arrows that fly by day [what are my arrows]; the plague that destroys [what plagues me physically, mentally, spiritually] (v 5&6–just read Psalm 91, it’s amazing).

Thank You, Father, that You have my back, in fact, You surround me so that “evil can not conquer me and no plague can come near my tent (v10).”

God is God

I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

A devotional by Oswald Chambers had this phrase, “As sure as God is God and you are you…” It got me thinking about the vast chasm between God and my human nature—His pure heart, my selfish heart; His foresight, my myopic vision; His unconditional love, my fickle emotions.

Quite often, the way He answers prayer is different than the way I would (we can all be glad about that). The more I pray for someone who needs to change, even if it’s legitimate, the more the Holy Spirit spotlights areas in my life that need to change.

Anyway, I’m glad that God is God and that He is still working on me.

All You Need is Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov3:5).

For a short time, as an adult, I took piano lessons from an old German man, Dr. Wagner (pronounced Vagner). I loved him, but I sometimes I would get frustrated because something was missing. Then one day he remarked, “Mrs. St Clair, you play with your head, not with your heart.”

That was many, many years ago and I have applied that to my life many, many times. Sometimes I act on what I think instead of what is in my heart. But the heart is not always reliable either. What’s worse is when I act from my head instead of in faith.

Over the years, God’s faithfulness has been evident so many times. What may seem logical to me may not fit His perfect plan for my life. I’m glad He acts from the heart when dealing with me, His work in progress.

More

All glory to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).

I have two thoughts on this verse. When God has answered, “Yes” to my prayers, He has amazed me by doing it in such a way that my limited mind had never imagined. I am reminded of jobs that I prayed for and how He answered with positions I would have never even pursued.

My second thought is that if He had not said, “No” to some of my requests, my life would be a hot mess at this point.

Through His power He is able to do ___*____ more than we ask or imagine. (*infinitely, exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond). And His love is equal to or surpassing that!

Mathew Henry’s commentary on this verse notes that “it is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls.”

Both Masterpiece and Work in Progress

But those whose hope is in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Is 40:31). 

From time to time, the Lord convicts me of things that I need to work on and change. And when I say “I” need to change, I actually mean that “He” has to change me. That definitely does not get me off the hook though. Although He could zap me into the perfect wife, mother, or friend, in His wisdom that is not how He works.

Easy lessons unfortunately are more quickly forgotten. Most things of great value come to us through struggle. They take self-discipline and persistence on our part, but He provides the power and strength to overcome and conquer.

It is so very true that we shouldn’t be quick to judge others because everyone has a struggle or burden. But blessed are those who have trust in the Lord because our ally is wise, loving, powerful, and will lead us on the most effective path to overcoming.

 

The Prayer That Never Fails

Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven (Matt 6:10).

Because He is a gracious father, there are many wonderful guarantees (promises) in God’s word. He even answers all our prayers. Of course His answer is either “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.”

But there is one prayer that always has a resounding “YES.” It is taken right from His word—Your will be done.

This is not as easy as it sounds because it involves total trust—trust that God has in mind our best interest and the best interest of those for whom we are praying (really hard for a parent). It is a prayer that puts the focus on God, not on us asking Him for what we want and how we think things should play out.

Jesus, yet again, was the perfect model for us. Even at the time before the excruciating suffering that He knew would be coming, He said, “Not My will, but Yours.”

The result of His trust will continue to pay off throughout eternity. So can ours.