Days, Sometimes Years, of Preparation!

I have been pondering the humbling sensations God causes us to experience in preparation for use in His kingdom.  Moses was reduced to 40 years as a shepherd.  He had grown up as an Egyptian prince, with everything done for him.  Now as a shepherd he had to do everything for himself.  He was holding the very job he had been taught to despise.

God was preparing him for leadership.

He learned the ways of the people he would be leading.

He learned about life in the wilderness where they would be wandering for 40 years.

My personal comparison was the ten years I spent teaching in the elementary classroom after completing a doctor’s degree in School Administration, majoring in supervision and curriculum development.  Repeatedly I faced, “What are you doing teaching elementary school with that degree?”  While humbling, those years were preparation for founding and directing Center for Women’s Ministries.

Jeremy Taylor counsels, “Never be ashamed of your birth, your parents, your occupation, or your present employment, or the lowly status of any of them.  Be willing to endure whatever His will brings, to be content in whatever state you are in and be ready for change, when it arrives.”

God may use unexpected sources when communicating to us, whether people, thoughts, or experiences.   Be open to God’s surprises.

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Bible “Waiters”

In the Bible we find many people who had to ‘wait on the Lord.’ Just as believers today must patiently wait.

Noah waited for God’s timing before leaving the ark.

Moses waited on God on the mountain.

Job waited for God’s answers.

Isaiah waited for God to work in Israel.

Jeremiah understood the need to wait quietly for God’s salvation.

Hosea warned the people to return to God and wait for Him to work.

Micah waited for the God of his salvation.

Zephaniah explained that the Lord wanted His people to wait for Him.

Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for God’s kingdom.

The disciples were ordered by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Believers are called to wait for Heaven, for the promise is sure.

If you are waiting, you are in Heavenly company!!

From Bible Notes on Job

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Lessons God Taught Job

I am rereading the book of Job.  These are notes from my new Chronological Life Application Study Bible.

 Job was not meant to know the reasons.  He would have to face life with no answers or explanations.  It is better to know God than to know answers.

  1. We live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished.
  2. A good man can suffer for no apparent reason.
  3. Faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless.
  4. Faith must be built on the confidence that God’s ultimate purpose will come to pass.
  5. Believing and obeying God does not shelter us from life’s calamities.
  6. Adversity destroys superficial faith.
  7. God is never caught off guard by our troubles and is always compassionate.
  8. God created our emotions and it is not sinful to express them.
  9. Four reasons we suffer:
  10. Consequences for bad decisions and actions
  11. Suffering shapes us for special service to others
  12. Sometimes it is an attack by Satan on our lives
  13. Sometimes we don’t know why we suffer.

These are notes from only chapter 1.  I’m expecting additional insights as I read.  May these bring new understanding to you as you experience suffering.

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When God Created Mothers. . . By Erma Bombeck

When the good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of ‘overtime’, the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?”  She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; Have 180 moveable parts. . . all replaceable;  Run on black coffee and  leftovers;  Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;  A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; and six pairs of hands.

“It’s not the hands that are causing the problem.  It’s the three pairs of eyes that a mother has to have.  One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows.  Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Come to bed.  Tomorrow. . . .”  “I can’t,” said the Lord,” I’m so close to creating something so close to myself.  Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick. . . can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger. . . and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly.  “It’s too soft,” she sighed.  “But tough!” said the Lord excitedly.  “You cannot imagine what this Mother can do or endure.”  “Can it think?”  “Not only think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.  “There’s a leak,” she pronounced.  “It’s not a leak, it’s a tear.”  “What’s it for?”  “It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride.”  “You are a genius,” said the angel.  The Lord looked somber, “I didn’t put it there.”

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National Day of Prayer – 2017 By Anne Graham Lotz Chairman of National Day of Prayer 2017

We worship You, God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You are the living God of our nation’s founding fathers.  When we pledge our allegiance, it’s as one nation under You.

You have given us victory over our enemies.  You have blessed us in our bustling cities and in our beautiful countryside.  You have blessed our ‘fruited plain’ so that we have had an abundance for ourselves and for others.

You alone are our Hope for the future.  If we as a nation do not get right with You, no one in Washington can reverse the downward moral and spiritual spiral.  We approach You with fear and trembling, as we confess our national sins.

We turn to You with tears of shame and a heart of fear for the judgment we are provoking.  We repent of our sin.  Please, God, do not remove Your hand of blessing.  As we return to You with humility. . . with a desperate sense of urgency.  Please!  Return to us!  Hear our prayer.  Forgive our sin.  Heal our land.  For the Glory of Your Great Name. . . . JESUS.

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Secrets of Friendship with God

  1. Constant Conversation   –  Worship is an attitude.  Our motive in prayer is to honor God, not control Him.
  2. Continual Meditation  –  Thinking about His Word,  God reveals Himself through His Word.  God will share His secrets with you if you develop the habit of thinking about His Word throughout the day.  Prayer lets you speak to God, meditation lets God speak to you.
  3. Be honest with God –  about faults and feelings.  God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but He does expect you to be honest!  Confess anger and bitterness toward God.  Bitterness is the greatest barrier to friendship with God.

However, all of God’s closest friends – Moses, David, Abraham, and Job had bouts of doubt. Expressing doubt is sometimes the first step toward the next level of intimacy with God.  God is not offended when we wrestle with Him. – wrestling is personal contact and brings us close to Him.

  1. Obey God in faith  –  When we obey, even if we don’t understand, we deepen friendship with God.  Obey God, not out of fear or compulsion, but because we love and trust that He knows what is best for us.  God treasures simple acts of obedience.

Intimate friendship with God is not an accident.  It is a result of conscious pursuit!

From ‘Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren

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I’m a Disciple of His

This was found written in the office of a young pastor in Zimbabwe, Africa, following his martyrdom for his faith in Jesus Christ.  May this Easter season we have the same testimony.

“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  I have the Holy Spirit’s power.  The die has been cast.  I have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made – I’m a disciple of His.  I won’t look back.  Let me not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.  I am a disciple of Jesus.  I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me.  And, when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. . . MY BANNER WILL BE CLEAR!”

From:  Signature of Jesus, by Brennan Manning

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Troubles and Hardships By Thomas A’ Kempis

“Sometimes it is good for us to have troubles and hardships, for they often call us back to our own hearts.  Sometimes it’s good that people speak against us, and sometimes it is good that we are thought of as bad and flawed, even when we do good things and have good intentions.

Such troubles are often aids to humility and they protect us from pride.  We are sometimes better at seeking God when people have nothing but bad things to say about us and when they refuse to give us credit for the good we have done.

We should so root ourselves in God that we do not need to look for comfort anywhere else.”

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Ladder of Humility By Benedict of Nursia

“Everyone that exalts himself shall be humbled and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12   Every exaltation of self is a kind of Pride.

Step 1   Reverence for God.  He sees all and even knows our thoughts,

Step 2   Doing God’s will – rejecting our own will and doing God’s will wins the crown.

Step 3   Obedience to others – because of our love for God, we submit to others in obedience.

Step 4   Enduring afflictions – those who have faith must bear every disagreement.  They that preserve unto the end shall be saved.

Step 5   Confession – We must confess all our evil thoughts and evil actions to the Lord.  He forgives.

Step 6   Contentment – Be content in all things.  We are to be content with the meanest and worst of everything.

Step 7   Self-reproach – believe that without God’s grace we are a reproach, humbling ourselves.  By this humbling we learn from God.

Step 8   Obey the rules of the construct by which we live – home, church, government.

Step 9   Silence – withhold our tongue from speaking until we are asked.

Step 10   Seriousness – not easily provoked to laughter, not foolish in behavior.

Step 11   Simple speech – speak with few and sensible words, gently, and not with a loud voice.  The wise man is known by the fewness of his words.

Step 12   Humble in appearance, not only humble in heart.

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Unresolved Issues Bring Pain

“Every pain or negative emotion, unless physical related, is rooted in an unresolved issue or event in your life.

70% of inner pain is rooted in unforgiveness

20% is unresolved personal conflicts

10% is everything else

(From Experiencing Spiritual Breakthrough, by Bruce Wilkinson)

The way you respond to suffering determines whether that hurt makes you better or bitter.  To be bitter is a choice.  When the root of bitterness springs up, it not only destroys inner peace but can also cause physical illness.  Bitterness defiles all it touches, beginning with the one who is bitter, but extending to other relationships.  The one embittered becomes enslaved to the one to whom the bitterness is directed.  (Notes in the Women’s Study Bible.)

“Behind people’s grumpy poses and most puzzling defense mechanisms, behind their arrogance and airs, behind their silence, sneers and cause, Jesus saw little children who hadn’t been loved, and who had ceased growing because someone had ceased believing in them.” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennen Manning)

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