Do you hear the Father calling?

Do you hear the Father calling?  He is quietly calling out to this generation, and His message for His children has not changed….

Do not fear.  My child, I love you.  You are My prized possession, why do you think otherwise?  Do not be deceived.  As a father disciplines the son he loves how much more do I bring discipline into your life?  I am refining you My child.  As pure gold and precious silver, I am refining you.

Do not seek to escape the refiner’s fire.  Do not seek to find an easy path.  I have brought you into the fire and through the fire I intend to take you.  There will be seasons of pressure, but I am with you, and I give you rest in the midst of the pressure.  You must rest in Me every moment of every day.  I am with you!

I have not given you a Spirit of fear, so do not be afraid.  I am with you.  I go before you and I come behind.  I am to the left and to the right.  I am always with you and I love you.  My child, I love you more than you can know.  My love for you is deep and wide and nothing can separate you from My love.

Do you hear the Father calling?  He is calling.  Stop for a moment today and listen.  Stop for a moment every day and listen.  Oh how He loves you!  Quiet your heart, be still and tell Him, “Lord, your servant is listening.”   And listen, for He is calling.

 

 

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Bold as a Lion

“…the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1b)

Do you ever feel timid? Do you ever feel afraid? You don’t have to.

Be bold as a lion!

And here is the secret. The righteous are bold as a lion because Jesus is their source of righteousness. And when the righteous are right with Jesus, fear vanishes. You won’t even understand where it goes. If there is fear give it to the Lord. The psalmist wrote, I sought the Lord, and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

And what does He replace those fears with? Well, lots of things….love, peace, joy, and boldness. That’s right, when you seek the Lord, when you are right with the Lord, His righteousness makes you righteous, and this promise from Proverbs is yours to claim. The righteous are bold as a lion.

Now if you are thinking, that seems too simple…think about it like this. The Lord has already promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is always with us. But, we forget this, don’t we? Why do we forget? Because we get weighed down by the cares and concerns and fears of life. We start to try to figure it out, which of course leads to more fear.

But Jesus is always right there waiting for you to seek Him. As a follower of Christ, did you know that He goes before you? Isn’t that what it means to follow? And not only that, but He comes behind you, and He is to the right and to the left. If that is not enough, He hovers over you and He prepares the path you are meant to walk on.

It is the path where we choose, isn’t it? Do we choose the path of righteousness, where we are bold as a lion, or do we choose a different path. He goes with you on every path you choose. That is His promise, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” But on the path of righteousness, on that one path, that the God of the universe has prepared for you, that is the path where righteous lions walk. Choose the path of righteousness, and be bold as a lion!

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Sometimes, the answer is no…

You have read, “Ask anything in My Name, and it will be given to you.”

So why then, are some of our prayers answered with a resounding NO?

There are many mysteries of God and many secrets hidden within the hearts of people as to why prayers go unanswered. Here I am specifically writing about when the prayer is answered, but the answer is no.

In My Name, does not simply mean, that if you use the phrase “in the Name of Jesus” when you pray that He will give you everything you ask for. It means that you are agreeing with Jesus in what you are asking the Father for, and He will give you anything you ask for that He agrees with.

Think about it like this. At the place I work, one of my senior leaders from time to time will ask me to do something. If he knows that what he is asking me to do may require some doors to be opened, he will say to me, “Tell them that Mike asked me to reach out to you.” He is essentially saying, “when you ask them for help, ask them ‘in my name.'” It is always amazing to me when I give someone a call or send an email, and I say, “Mike asked me to contact you…” just how quick and complete the response is.

When Jesus says ask anything in My name, He is a saying, when you go to the Heavenly Father in prayer, say to Him, “God, Jesus said I should and talk to you. You see, well, we need food, we need shelter, we need help with.…, I’m really struggling with…., I’m really discouraged about…., I need wisdom.” And your Father in heaven knowing, that Jesus agrees with you in these requests because they are promises He has given you from His Word, will give them to you.

But sometimes we bypass the Son, and we go straight to the Father. “God, I really want….will you give it to me, in Jesus Name, Amen.”

This is like me going to HR at work, and saying, “You know, Mike said I should talk to you about a raise.” What’s going to happen? HR will call Mike, and because I took for granted our relationship, the answer will be no, and I probably will be in pretty hot water.

If we bypass the Son, if we take for granted our relationship with Him, we have no right to go to the Father. The Door won’t be opened. The answer will be no.

But, when we go to the Son, He will meet us where we are, and He will guide us through His Spirit according to His perfect will, and we will pray according His perfect will. When you pray according His perfect will, in His Name, It will be given to you.

There is relationship here. That is what it is all about. Did you know that Jesus wants relationship with you. He does. He died for you, so that you can have relationship with Him. Who does that? Jesus!

So if we find that we have not asked God for something according to His perfect will, and the answer is no, what should we do?

Look at an example from the life of King David. David had a child who was very ill, and He asked God to heal him. This is a good request right? Well yes, but if you unpack this a bit, you learn that this child was born out of an adulterous affair. And in order to cover up the adulterous affair, David sent the women’s husband, who was a friend of David, to most dangerous front in battle. And if that’s not enough, David, had the rest of the men retreat leaving this poor man alone to die. David’s actions against this man were nothing short of Murder.

But looking at his sick little child, David asked God to heal him. He asked God for something that was good. But, for reasons known only to God, it was not according to His will. The answer was no, and the child died. Look how David responds.

“Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” (2 Samuel 12:18-20a)

He worshiped the Lord.

Regardless of how the Good Lord chooses to answer our prayers, I believe our proper response to every answer is a heart of thankfulness and worship toward the Lord God Almighty. It is easy to say thank You when the answer is yes. But sometimes, the answer is no. Such times truly test the attitude of our hearts toward our God.

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God Appointed Change

Recently, I was very discouraged with my work, and a good friend of mine said to me, “If you were your own life coach, what would you tell yourself?” And I said, “Get a new job.”

Horrible advice!

When you are discouraged in your work, that is not reason enough to look for a new job. You first need to understand what it is that you are discouraged about, and ask yourself, “Do I have the ability to change anything about this circumstance?” Once you have asked and answered this question, then and only then should you consider if now is the time to pursue a new job. The fact of that matter is that the very circumstance that is bringing you discouragement might just be an obstacle that the Good Lord has placed in your way so that you learn to look to Him and press into Him for the strength to overcome.  And until you do, He will keep this obstacle before you.  Looking for a new job will only add to your discouragement.

Is the change you seek a God appointed change? Or are you simply looking to escape pain and discouragement?  These questions demand answers before you embark on a search for a new job.

The Bible tells of a group of people who faced discouragement in the work that they did. They were the exiled people of Israel, and through circumstances, ordained by God, some of them were sent back to Israel to rebuild the walls of their city.  Many came against them, and mocked them.  Still they pressed on, for this was their God appointed change.

There was one man in particular named Baruch, who worked differently than the rest.  The Bible tells us that Baruch “zealously repaired another section” of the wall.  (Nehemiah 3:20)

I think in the midst of discouragement, rather than falling away or looking for a way out, many times, we need to press into the Lord and work zealously, so that we can put the discouraging obstacle behind us, in order to move on to what the Lord has planned for us.

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I Was Running!

There is a great scene in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump of Forrest, as a boy, being chased by bullies. Of course, it was an unfair chase, because the bullies were riding bikes, and Forest was slowed down by the braces he wore on his legs. Suddenly, the camera shows his knees bending, the braces breaking off his legs, and little Forrest takes off running down the lane away from the bullies.  And in the words of the grown up Forrest, “From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!”

Now when Forrest Gump was a man, he went on a run back and forth across the country, and when he was asked, “Why are you running?” he said, “I just felt like running.” He had no particular destination, he was just running.

If you think about it, most of us are running somewhere. We are running after a desire, or we are running after a person or a dream. Some of us run after success, while others run from thing to thing so that their minds don’t have a chance to rest. And many of us run to addictions to escape pain, or fear, or regret. While still others are like Forrest, and they are just running.

Why are you running? Where are you running? When will you get there? Will you get there?

The book of Proverbs tells us, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

When you run to the Lord, you know the destination.
When you run to the Lord, you can stop running aimlessly.
When you run to the Lord, you are secure in a strong tower, and the book of Hebrews promises that He will set the course you are meant to run.

“And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12: 1b-2a).

Run to the Lord, and take a rest from all aimless running.  Allow Him to establish the path that He intends for you to run, then run that race with all your might.

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Rhythms of Life

In spiritual matters we can fool ourselves, and think that we are trusting when we are not; but we cannot do so about rent and food, and the needs of our body. They must come or our faith fails. – A. B. Simpson

Sometimes our greatest tests of faith, come in the simplest day-to-day needs. And I am convinced that God delights in revealing Himself to each of us in the simple daily rhythms of life…our need to eat and drink, our need to sleep and rest, our need for clothes and shelter. These simple, yet essential needs of life teach us to trust Him. And more than this, He uses these simple needs to teach us an even greater lessons about our spiritual needs.

Look at what God’s Word teaches us about our spiritual need for food and water.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Look at what God’s Word teaches us about our spiritual need for sleep and rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary…and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Look at what God’s Word teaches us about our need for spiritual clothing.

And I shall send upon you The Promise of my Father…you shall be clothed in power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Look at what God’s word teaches us about our need for spiritual shelter.

God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

God knows about your physical and spiritual needs, and He uses all of life to point you to Himself. He knows what you need. So “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ …for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matthew 6:31 & 32)

No matter where you are today, and no matter what you are facing. He knows. You can trust Him.

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Save Me!

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him…
(Mathew 14:30-31a)
Sometimes, when we are afraid, the answer is so simple, but the words can be so hard to say.

When Peter was afraid, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

He didn’t tell the Lord how to save him. He just said “save me!”

And the Lord responded immediately. He didn’t go and get a boat, or stop and say, “you know Peter, you really should have kept your eyes on Me.” No, He saved him immediately, and once he was safe, then the Lord gently instructed him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mathew 14:31b)

And look how He saved him, “He stretched out His hand and took hold of him.”

He took hold of him!

If you find that you are frightened, or you are in a situation that is bigger than you, cry out, “Lord, save me!” Allow the Lord to reach out His hand into your situation, into the waters that cover your head, and take hold of you. He will take hold of you and you will be secure in Him. And once secure, listen to the Lord as He gently instructs you, so that you will learn not to be afraid.

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Dry Places

We must not be disappointed if the tides are not always equally high. Even at low tide the ocean is just as full. – A. B. Simpson

I have often wondered why the Lord leads his children to dry places in life…places where it seems that the Lord has somehow taken a part of Himself from us, as if that were possible. It is in these times that our hearts are most tempted with discouragement, our faith most tempted with doubt, and our eyes most tempted to tell our feet where to walk. When these times come, we must remember that the fullness of the Lord is always with us, and we are meant to continually turn to Him.

We are not always called to mount on wings like eagles, nor are we always called to run. There are days when we are simply called to walk. Remember that no matter what the Lord calls you to, at all times His fullness is with you. He never leaves you nor forsakes you. So while emotions may be low, and there are few hints of the warm excitement of the Holy Spirit stirring the heart – still His fullness is in you, and He is whispering, “I love you my child. Why are you so downcast? I love you. Walk with Me…just walk with Me.”

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Open Doors

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

I spent a season of my life as a small business owner. It was one of the most rewarding and challenging times of my life. Through prayer and hard work, my business partners and I had gone from a small start up…to gaining control of the local market share. Our ways were committed to the Lord and He had blessed us greatly. But then the unexpected happened. We failed…or at least in the eyes of man. The market that we controlled, vanished. Revenue streams that promised great wealth, disappeared. And the business that I had invested 5 years of my life to and planned to work in all of my life, became a shell of its former self and it was time to move on. I spent the next 3 years of my life questioning, “Why had God allowed this in my life?” In the end, the answer was simple…because He did, and He is God, and I am not. Through it all, I learned a very important lesson:

That which the Lord has established, none can change.
The door which the Lord has closed, none can open.
The door which the Lord has opened, none can close.

What is the Lord establishing in your life? Do not be afraid to walk through the door that He has opened, and do not question it, for His blessing is waiting on the other side.

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Tiresome Journeys

…Jesus, tired from the journey, sat down… (John 4:6)

I think too often we forget the humanity of the Lord. I think this is because the very fact that He lived as we do, here on this earth, makes Him all too real. The humanity of Jesus presents us all with the crisis of deciding what we will do about Him. Will we receive His offer for relationship?

But, the fact remains, He did live a fully human life. He breathed in and out. He ate food. He drank water. He had a family. He wept. He slept, and in the morning He would get dressed for the day before Him. He became tired while on a journey. And one day He died.

Are you tired from the journey you are on? Have you lost hope in your journey as you move one day closer to the grave. Jesus knows. He sees you on that very journey. For while He was fully human, He also is fully God. Being, fully human, He lived a human life and He understands everything we face. Everything, right up to the agony of the knowledge of death and of death itself. It is true that He died, but being fully God, He rose again, and He lives. He lives to give you hope. He lives to give you comfort. He lives to give you victory. He lives to give you joy, and to make your joy complete.

Are you tired from the journey? He lives to give you rest.

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