Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Encouraging Words

I think I must have posted a thousand times on this list how it seems that the Lord sends encouraging words through fellow Christians at the exact time that I need them. I want to share some of what has been shared with me the last several days. If you are struggling with believing in the dream that the Lord gave you, read on. If you are struggling with your faith, read on. If you are struggling with the FACT that God is bigger than any adoption discouragment, read on!
"Deborah's Legacy: Walk by Faith, Not by Sight"
Glynnis WhitwerSenior Editor "P31 Woman Magazine," Proverbs 31 Speaker

Key Verse:2 Corinthians 5:7, "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord - for we walk by faith, not by sight - we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." (NAS)

Devotion: Deborah lived during a time when the Israelites were oppressed by the Canaanites. Just a generation earlier, the Israelites had defeated Canaan, but time passed, and the people of God grew complacent. Despite God's warning to remain pure, the Israelites intermarried with their enemies and started worshiping their gods. And the Canaanites, under the rule of Jabin, had grown powerful and cruel. It is into this setting that God appointed Deborah, a prophetess, to be a judge. The position of judge was the most powerful position at that time in the nation of Israel. Although she wasn't the military leader, she was the spiritual leader. This was a powerful position for any person, but for a woman it was extraordinary. As a prophetess and a judge, Deborah received divine knowledge by the Spirit and was accustomed to interpreting God's will. In addition to that, God chose Deborah to be the rallying point for an entire nation against their oppressor - the Canaanites. But Israel was like a confused group of kids compared to the might of the Canaanite army. In the midst of these odds, Deborah heard God's voice and spoke it. She sent for the leader of the military and told him to gather 10,000 men and go to the Kishon River, where the Lord would give Israel success over their enemies.I'm sure if Deborah looked at the rag-tag group of Israelites with her own eyes, she might have considered God's words to be impossible. How could this group of downtrodden and overwhelmed people rally and oppose an army the size and might of Jabin's army?

Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps it's with your responsibilities at work or at home. Maybe you've been living in a difficult situation for a while and you are losing hope. Perhaps you look at the world around us and you feel the overwhelming oppression of sin.

Many people give up beleiving God's truth in the face of the overwhelming odds. They start walking by sight and not by faith. It's easy to see that people are compromising the Word of God at an alarming rate - just like the Israelites did 1000s of years ago. Christians step willingly away from God's directive and feel justified doing so because it's acceptable in the culture, or legal.

But God's truth and character has not changed. He still calls us to obey Him when it doesn't make sense. He calls us to keep our eyes focused on Him, instead of looking to the left and right. Deborah trusted that God would do what He said. And God proved Himself faithful. When the Israelites obeyed, God routed the enemy and brought victory and freedom to His people.

You and I can trust God too. God is still looking for women to stand up for His truth in spite of overwhelming odds. Look what happened when Deborah did. Her family and her nation were freed from oppression. What might God want to do when you walk by faith and not by sight?

My Prayer for Today:Heavenly Father, I praise you for your goodness and faithfulness. It's difficult to keep focused on your truth in the midst of discouragement. Help me walk by faith in You and not faith in my circumstances. I trust that you are able to do more than I can imagine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Trust God in All Things

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." Psalms 9:10

Trust is an act of worship; one that can be incredibly difficult, because to fully trust God, you have to embrace a virtue no one enjoys very much: patience in the midst of trial.Over and over again, the Bible highly suggests we trust God in all things--especially when life seems more "prunish" than peachy. The inference is that when we trust Him, our issues will fall into place. We will have some semblance of order (wouldn't it be nice to have that again?), and we will know the peace of God.In other words, life will be good. Obviously, that doesn't mean everything we're struggling with will suddenly correct itself, and we won't have tension anymore. Not at all. All of us have seen life be uncommonly hard, dirty, sweaty, and difficult. All of us have bled all over the place, and have been wounded and are still being wounded.Let God Be In Control

However, when our priorities are straight, we see with the "Eyes of God." Do we see everything? Again, not at all. But when our priorities are straight--meaning, God is the God in our lives, and we know it and let Him be, we see what He sees, at least in part. We know suddenly that He is completely, absolutely, and irrevocably in control--and because that's so, we have nothing to fear.

At one of the early churches I pastored, I learned an important lesson about letting God be in control of my problems. I had some elders get upset with me, and for one night, I thought they might be right in what they said. But that night, the Lord came to me in a dream and spoke to me."Do I know everything about the future?""Yes, Sir, you do," I replied."Did I know you would do what you did?""Yes, Sir, You did.""And I knew that, and I still called you to be the pastor at this church?""Well, yeah...Are You sure you wanted me to do that?" But I knew He did. I knew that I knew that I knew. "Yes," I finally said, "You did."What He said next I will never forget. "Therefore, if I knew what you were going to do, and I still chose you, then they have not come against you, but they have come against Me, and I will deal with it."So I backed off, and God dealt with it. He Chose You

So what does all of this mean? It means that what you are going through right now, is led by One and One alone. Does He know your future? Yes. Did He know you would do what you did to get yourself into the mess you're in now? Yes. And even though He had plenty of opportunity to rat you out and write you off as a failure...did He still choose you to be where you are and do what He's called you to do? Yes.You have nothing to fear. God is perfectly able to keep your head above water, even if the mess you find yourself in was entirely your fault. He can keep your checkbook in the black, your name on His roster, your hand in His. Never let the enemy convince you otherwise.

Your destiny is worth far more than you can imagine.

John Paul Jackson

VERSE: I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. -- Psalm 119:60 http://www.SearchGodsWord.org/desk/?query=Psalm+119:60

THOUGHT: Obedience is faith put into practice. Without action, James 2 reminds us that our faith is not real. So without arguing, let'squickly obey, even when we don't fully understand why because we'veseen God's love demonstrated to us in Jesus, and we've seen theprotection that his will has for us when we obey him.

PRAYER: O God, give me a heart that is quick to obey and a faith that is quick to express itself in action. I want to please you with mywords and thoughts, but even more Father, I want to live a lifefull of your character, wisdom, and grace. Help me to quickly obey your voice. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.
And finally, this is a portion of an email sent out by Jenny Groothius (www.messestomiracles.com) and it spoke so directly to my heart that I wanted share with you all.

"A good little piece of advice someone shared with me once is "Never doubt in the dark what God has showed you in the light." I know sometimes when there are huge delays or obstacles in my path, I am too quick to conclude, "Oh well, it must not be God's will" when what is actually going on is satanic opposition.

I think Joseph in the Bible is a great example of this. God gave him a dream, he shared it with his brothers, and then all hell broke loose. I wonder if while being in slavery, or when thrown into prison when unjustly accused by Potipher's wife, he ever wondered, "What a dumb dream I had.......it probably wasn't God at all........." when actually it was about to be fulfilled before his very eyes. Cling to the dream God originally whispered to your heart. It never seems to be the timing or the way we thought it would be.......but He who has called you is faithful and He will bring it to pass.

During our adoption journey we lost 5 referrals, then lost one of our babies the day before we were supposed to fly home. I remember clearly being in Liberia with 2 biting, fighting girls and burying one baby while the others languished in a nasty Liberian hospital and asking God, "Did I mis-hear you God? This is more pain than I ever signed up for, and Your word says your yoke is easy and Your burden is light and this feels like neither." And almost a year later I can say that He has done exceedingly beyond all that I could have dared to ask or hope for.

It's like childbirth, the pain is intense but the rewards are so worth it. Adoption (or any other God-sized dream He has placed in your heart) is the exact same way, the pain in your heart feels as though it will kill you sometimes, but the joy that comes later brings you back to life."

Love, Anita


Christina 2:11 PM  

Thank You. I needed that.