I’ve seen so many news stories in the last few weeks that show terrible people relationships. News about people killing folk who will not stay in a relationship with them. Stories about people killing folk who have stolen what a person thought was their own love. Stories about people in relationships with the spouses of others. Stories about people taking what belongs to others by force – sometimes power, sometimes material things; about people considering themselves higher than other people; people thinking themselves perfectly right – and others as perfectly wrong. It amazed me as I was listening to a story, and the only thing they had in ‘common’ was what they both called their belief in Christ. Their hate and distaste for one another were immense! The desire for what the other person had was crazy! But the biggie is that their reflection of Christ was completely absent!
As I go about to and fro in the world, it would benefit me to remember the state of these people. Why? Because I am less likely to judge when I understand that nothing within them would restrain them. Now with that said, what about believers who live this way? Are they indeed believers?!?!
It is imperative that I now shun my responsibility to my brethren in reminding them that the Holy Spirit living in them is sufficient for restraint or escape from temptation. I pray for salvation; for the brethren, I pray for their maturity in Christ.
I am asking God to teach my heart to know when it is time to teach an unbeliever. I am asking him to move me in swiftly when it is time for reproof – as in the life of a believer. May my heart be ever sensitive to God’s leading and may the hearts of my brethren heed to the leading of His Holy Spirit.
When Lloyd and I were first starting out in ministry, I used to tell the wives that I didn’t trust my husband, but in God. This sentence worried some people since they didn’t comprehend what I meant. I don’t mean to imply that I expect my spouse to behave badly; rather, I recognize that my husband will never be able to meet every demand in my life since he, like me, is made of flesh. Hubby will, without a doubt, fail me in some way, and I will, without a doubt, fail him in some way! Just cannot meet EVERY need in my life.
Please keep in mind that I am married to possibly the best man on the face of the planet! He is kind to me; he is loving to me; he is patient with me; he tenderly cares for me; he is careful to protect me; he is a good friend to me; he is my very best friend; he makes me laugh; he rejoices in my joys; he feels my sorrows, and though I truly believe Lloyd is the perfect guy for me — he, my LSC, is certainly Is Not Perfect!
When we embarked on this journey as husband and wife, we made intentional decisions to return the marriage to God. We understood early in our marriage that it was best to have no expectations from one another and to rely solely on God in all circumstances. This approach, I believe, has given us both a great deal of pleasure in the ways we bless each other. That may not be clear, so allow me to explain. — In general, Lloyd and I have duties in our marriage: Lloyd takes care of the car, I make sure there is nutritious food in the house, Lloyd will be the provider, I will be the counselor, and so on. While Lloyd and I were both aware of these expectations, none of us held the other to them. We never assumed that the other would be ideal for any given role. He committed to love me as Christ loves the church, and I committed to respect and build Him up as the head of my family; and we agreed that the rest would be taken care of by Our Father’s lead and His guidance. What has happened in these 28 years and 6 months is that when I cook for Lloyd, he is truly grateful because he knows I could choose not to. I am sincerely grateful when Lloyd has the car serviced and fills it with gas because I know he could chose not to. Now, neither of us has ever chosen not to serve the other, but because our trust is in God, not in each other, each act of love is a true blessing that is warmly accepted and graciously offered!
Because it worked in our marriage, we applied it to our relationship with God in all things. Rather than expecting Him to meet our expectations, we just rely on Him to do what He does as God and Father. Instead of living with a sense of entitlement to His benefits, we choose to walk with a sense of humility before Him, setting our petitions before Him and leaving them there. We transitioned from saying “”Good job, God!” to “Wow! Thank you, Father, for your generous care for us!”
Many Christians have reduced God to the role of “Genie.” We declare, “God is a Healer,” as if our words demand that He heal, rather than saying, “God is a Healer,” and putting that ailment at His feet, expecting only that His will be done, and bracing ourselves to be startled by the extravagant nature of His tremendous love. We do the same with each of God’s attributes, such as Provider, Peace Giver, Keeper, and so on. What if we made the decision to expect that we can rely on Him and determine that no matter what happens, we will respond with heartfelt gratitude? He has informed us that we will face trials and should rejoice in them; how can we do so truly if we are continually expecting Him to fix them to our liking rather than expecting Him to work them out for our good and His glory?! I’m not suggesting it’ll be easy, but I believe He’ll give us the strength we need to respond correctly. He is the King! He is right! His ways are all good and holy! Will you not put your trust in Him today? Expect nothing; only rely on God!
Midnight is equaled to a time of trouble and distress. (Late in the midnight hour, etc.) In the midnight hour we picture ouselves as lonely. But what if we decided, in those moments, not to despair – but to pray and praise?
Besides the obvious benefit of freeing our own minds and hearts from bondage and distress, who else would be made free? As believers in the power and presence of God, the time has come for us to pray & raise through our midnight … so that we can be set free!!
And our freedom will lead others to be free.
In the midnight hour – Paul and Silas worshipped their way to freedom, not just their own, but the freedom of all!
I pray that our Father will give us hearts that know how to turn to Him at midnight. When all seems dark and we feel alone, let us be found praying to Him and lifting Him above the situation. Praying that others see our attitude of praise and be freed from their own oppression, depression, doubt, fear … that they will be free indeed!
Father – thank You for Your word that has made us free!
When hearing a preacher who communicates the truth clearly, we must give honor where it is due. Often we praise their oratory gifts, but truthfully we should marvel at God’s presence in them as He bears testimony of His grace. You see, He is The One who gives “utterance”! He gives them the words. He Speaks Through Them. He grants them the boldness and the power. And if we see miracles — truthfully, we must acknowledge that God, Himself, has manifested by granting the miracles as a testimony to His grace! There is little to do with us, apart from obedience.
A true man of God speaks and ministers with reliance upon the Lord, who testifies to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. (Acts 14:3) In other words, speaking with clarity and boldness; and signs and wonders that follow, are evidence of God’s own testimony and His enablement — not the skill or faith of men.
Father, Help us not to be carried away by our impressions of men. Place in our hearts an acute awareness of Your desire to testify in and through us – concerning Your grace. Purify our hearts that we may be worthy of use by You! Grant that the world will see You and not us — and know that You, Our God, are The One! Humble us Lord — and teach us to humble ourselves. Gie us hearts that will give ALL glory to The One to whom it is due!
Brenda Waters – “First giving honor to God, who is the head of my life. In whom we live and move and have our being, to whom all honor is due. Now to the pastor, elders, saints and friends and, to the sinners if there be any. We’ve come to lift up the name of the Christ who died. To whom all honor is due. The Word says render unto Ceasar what is His, Withhold not good from them that deserve it. We’ve come to lift up the name of the Christ who died and to whom all honor is due. Why don’t we praise Him, to whom all honor is due!
Because in my weakness I might fall to despair; because in my pride the enemy might lead me astray; because in my strength I might think too highly of myself … Lord, please be every moment near me!
Protection from the enemy; guidance so that I won’t wander; wisdom from You for daily life; strength in weakness; nearness to You always and for everything — I need Thee! O! I need Thee! Every hour I need Thee!
Psalm 38:21 LORD, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God.Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, do not be far from me!Don’t dump me, GOD; my God, don’t stand me up.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39