Expectations

When I was about ten years of age the Sunday school department of my church had a contest to see which boy or girl could bring in the most visitors during a set time period. The prize for the winner would be a new bicycle! I was determined to work and bring in my unchurched friends, and I did! At the end of the contest period it was determined that I did indeed have the highest total. I was then awarded my prize…a brand new watch! I’m sure it was a fine watch, but you can only imagine my disappointment! I don’t remember now why they changed the prize, but I do remember the way my heart dropped to my feet. My expectations had been disappointed; I had been let down!

That was a good lesson for me and I’m sure my parents gave me good counsel. I could be thankful for my friends that came to church and heard the Gospel, and I knew the Lord was pleased with that. The greatest lesson, however, comes from the fact that people will disappoint us when we put our expectations on them, but the Lord never will! Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. When God says He’s going to do something we can bank on the fact that He will do it! We will never be let down when we let Him be our expectation. Husbands, bosses, pastors, family, friends, and Sunday school teachers will all disappoint, because they’re human, but I can look to my God and be sure that I can trust in Him for all that His Word says! That means He will:

  • Save all that call on Him – Romans 10:13
  • Keep us secure in Christ – Ephesians 2
  • Never leave us or forsake us – Hebrews 13:5b,6
  • Hear us when we pray – Psalm 34:17
  • Reward us for the works we’ve done – I Corinthians 3:13, 14
  • Prepare a place for us in heaven – John 14:2,3
  • Come and take us home! – I Thessalonians 4:16

The list could go on and on! The truth is that we can trust our God to do what He says. What are you putting your expectations on today? Men will reward a “watch instead of a bicycle,” but God will always deliver!

Fat and Flourishing

Recently I heard a young person say, “I never want to get old! It’s so depressing!” The reason for their statement was that they had heard an older person complain, fuss, moan and gripe about everything that was happening around them. It’s easy for any of us to get into a state like that – no matter how young or old we are.

If someone followed you around today would they say, “I never want to be in my 30’s! Being a mother is too stressful!” Or “I hope I don’t stay single all my life; single people are selfish!” How about, “Women in their 40’s sure are moody!” spare me from that! There is truth in the statement, “You are what you have been becoming.” So, what are you becoming?

I love Psalm 92:12-15. It reads: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. This passage tells us what a healthy older person should look like; they should be bearing fruit and be fat and flourishing! Fruit belongs to youth, but those that grow in grace keep on bearing fruit even in their later years. Aged believers have had experience trusting in the Lord and should have a sweet mellow temperament that feeds those around them. Why do they do this? To show to the world that their God is upright, their rock and a holy God!

I love what Spurgeon notes about this passage. He says about the older believer, “however feeble his outward man may be, his inner man is so renewed day by day that we may well envy his perennial peace. Perennial peace! That’s peace that’s long-lasting like the daffodil or tulip that will pop up again this spring. As we grow in the Lord we should have peace and contentment that keeps popping its head up through the soil of our lives. No matter if it’s been cold, or the “ground is hard.” We have a God that is leading us, teaching us and enabling us to grow old in such a way that we’re bearing spiritual fruit and are fat and flourishing!

Let’s all take a look at how we respond today to the difficulties the Lord allows in our life and ask ourselves: “Would people would envy my perennial peace, or would they shun me because of my continual carping instead?”

A Song of Praise

Did you find yourself humming this morning while you were getting ready for the day? Is there a song that is “stuck” in your mind from the weekend? Was it a song of God’s goodness or of praise to Him?

Psalm 59:17 says, Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing; for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. Even if you’re not a morning person, or even if you can’t carry a tune there should have a song in our heart if we’re saved. Who else could be our strength today? Who else will stand today to defend us when the enemy strikes? Who else will show such mercy as our great God? NO ONE!

“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one! No not one!”
“What a friend we have in Jesus…”
“No one ever cared for me like Jesus”

What song is on your lips?

Driven to Prayer

I just finished reading a captivating book called, Relinquishing my Dreams, by Sue Burrows and Tricia Bradley. The subtitle is “How to Survive a Prodigal.” This is the true story of one family that dealt with their daughter’s rebellion beginning when she was fourteen years of age. The book also includes survival tips in each chapter, biblical characters to study, and then it ends with a Bible study of twenty-six different Bible characters that will help one to have hope and know how to deal with their prodigal. It’s excellent.

It’s not surprising that one of the characters that the authors study is David. David had a prodigal son named Absolam. Though I haven’t done the study in my new book yet, I did just recently read Psalm 55 where David addresses the hurt and pain he’s experiencing because of a betrayal. This came in the form of an old counsellor of David’s – Ahithophel. Now this man is giving Absolam counsel – against his father. Wow! A double whammy!
David reflects on his relationship with Ahithophel in the early years. In Psalm 55:12-14 he says, for it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide , and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. David is referencing Ahithophel’s betrayal in II Samuel 17 where Ahithophel says to Absolam: Let me choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid; and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only.

It wouldn’t be half as bad if we would read that Absolam cries out, “No! How could I do such a thing as to betray my own father, the king?” But sadly it reads instead, And the saying pleased Absalom well…

Is there any burden so great as the rebellion of your own child? How did David deal with this pain? We read in Psalm 55:16, 17 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. David found comfort in prayer. He reminded himself that God would hear him. Note that he doesn’t just whisper a prayer, he’s crying out!! He’s desperate for God’s help and intervention.

None of us like the thoughts of going through something as hard as what David is experiencing here, but it will do to us what it did to David – it will drive us to our knees. It’s as though that burden is bearing down on us until we are bowed down. It’s that place where we realize that the greatest resource we have is prayer. Whatever your burden is today, whether you’re dealing with a prodigal, financial struggles, health issues, relationship problems or your own flesh, let it drive you morning, noon and night to cry out in desperate prayer. David’s God is your God. Divine help is on the way!

The resource table at Boones Creek will be making the book, Relinquishing my Dreams available soon.

Contemplating Thanks

Can you believe that a week from today is Thanksgiving? It seems like autumn just started and now the holiday season is upon us! If you’re like me and find yourself covered over it can be so easy to let Thanksgiving come and go without a whole lot of contemplation about your gratitude. Oh, perhaps when everyone sits around the dinner table we’ll be asked to tell what we’re thankful for and then we’ll contemplate our blessings, but why not begin today? Here are a few suggestions to conjure up your gratitude to the Lord:

  • Using a dry erase marker, make a list on the bathroom mirror for your husband/and or children to tell them why you’re thankful for them.
  • Before dinner each night this week have everyone write down why they’re thankful for a particular family member, then read them before or after you eat.
  • Spend your whole prayer time in praising God. Don’t ask Him for anything!
  • Sit down and write a card to someone (or several) to tell them you’re thankful for them and why. Send it in the mail.
  • Make a list of blessings in your prayer journal and keep adding to it all week.
  • If you have small children give them construction paper leaves and write on each one something they’re thankful for. Make a tree in the hallway or their bedroom wall with the leaves.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; for praise is comely for the upright. Psalm 33:1

Faith’s Booster Shot

One of my most treasured possessions is my prayer journal (pictured here). It appears that Liza loves it too! It’s probably as dear to me as my Bible. In it I list the things I want to pray for each day of the week. Below a family member’s name I’ll list the specific needs of their life. On the salvation page are lists of names that don’t yet know Christ. The missionary page holds the names and places of those serving the Lord on some foreign field who have written with requests detailed in their prayer letters. The church leader page lists the deacons serving at Boones Creek and their wives. It is my privilege to lift up each one of these and pray specifically for them. Proverbs 15:8b The prayer of the upright is his delight. Imagine that!

What a blessing it is to watch how God answers my prayers; not always exactly how I asked or when I thought it should happen, but He does answer. Then I go back to my journal and place a big check mark there next to the request as well as the date it was answered. Going back and looking at the check marks is like getting a booster shot of faith. It’s a reminder that God is on the throne and is listening to my feeble prayers. Wow!

Just this week I watched Him care for the needs of our daughter, Whitney, who was in need of housing by Thanksgiving. My specific prayer was that she might find a cozy apartment that some family had built over their garage. My thinking was that it would keep her from the sometimes noisy situations of regular apartment living, would probably be more reasonable rent-wise, and would also provide safety. She had looked all over and at many different situations, but none really panned out. THEN someone told her about a basement apartment they had heard of. It’s a ground level basement created for a family’s daughter a few years ago. “It’s beautiful!” were Whitney’s words when she described it to me. It’s bright, clean, homey, and very nice – perfect for her needs! We will be moving her in this weekend!

God is so good and I praise Him for answering my prayer. No it wasn’t up over the garage, but God knew my heart and provided for her in a way that only He could do. A huge “check mark” is there next to that request now, reminding me that God answered again! Another booster shot! There are many more requests on my list that I’m still praying about, but my faith is resting in my great God that delights in my prayers.

What recent requests has He answered for you? Tell me about it in the “comment” section of this blog!