February 1 – Now I’m A Believer

shutterstock_266960648-1000x500

I will say it until my departing days: God knows our address. It makes no difference if we don’t believe He exists, He is a loving Father who is able to acquire our undivided attention.

When I was younger, I spent a great deal of time stressing over the souls of loved ones; especially those who had animosity toward God. Maybe they were mad about some social injustice or an unexpected death of a close friend. Although they seemed to feel justified in requiring an answer from God, I couldn’t help but be scared for them.

Sometimes I would give my most diplomatic argument to try and help them see God in a more positive light, but the words never seemed to land in the right place. But one day, I realized they weren’t hurting God. He’s not petty, He knows man better than man knows himself. I am convinced, like this account with Darius, God has His hand securely placed on His sovereign plan and no one, but no one, is going to change it.

He knows every person’s soft spot and at just the right time, He can touch it. That individual will then articulate some of the most beautiful words of honor you’ve ever heard. Like these of king Darius:

For He is the living God

And steadfast forever;

His kingdom is the one which

Shall not be destroyed,

And His dominion shall endure to

the end.

He delivers and rescues,

And He works signs and wonders

In heaven and on earth,

Who has delivered Daniel from

the power of the lions.

Daniel 6:26b-27

So, don’t spend another moment sweating the fate of your ostentatious uncle, or anyone else for that matter. Pray for him, love him, and walk right before him. And leave the “button-pushing” to God.

 Then Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. Daniel 6:25-26 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: John 10:29 My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all [else]; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand.”

 

Advertisements

December 4-Blessed Assurance!

Luke 1:18 NIV:Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

 In 1999, God began to educate me about the difference between insurance and assurance. For about six months he had been guiding me toward full-time ministry. At that time, I was employed as a youth coordinator in Enid, Oklahoma. As the Lord started redirecting me, however, I really struggled with the potential loss of insurance coverage for my family. My dilemma came from a feeling of irresponsibility. But every day I saw evidence that God was calling my family to weave a thread of unity and harmony throughout His people, His body, and His church.

This call kept growing and growing in me and yet the insurance issue would always cloud my vision. One morning I was working through Psalms 23. All of a sudden, I found myself singing one of the old hymns of the church, “Blessed Assurance.” I can’t quite describe how clear the Lord revealed the power of assurance to me that day. While I was singing, it just dawned on me that the Lord was purposely drawing me to a place where I had to depend on exactly what He said. Insurance and assurance are related to one another. But a distinguishing characteristic of assurance, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, is “to give confidence by a promise or declaration.” In the old days, it was common for a kid to go down to the general store and pick up a few items, with the assurance that his daddy would take care of the bill.

Thank God for modern-day insurance and all the great benefits we receive from it. Along with your insurance, don’t be surprised if God draws you into a place where you will have to take Him at His Word, and His Word alone. It’s been many years since that day and we have seen some things! I can’t promise you it’s easy to do, but I can tell you the Bible will come alive and God’s Word will become more precious to you than anything in the world, as you lean and rely on His blessed assurance!

Suggested Biblical Meditation: Luke 1:18 and Genesis 23

December 2- Unannounced Answers

Luke 1:8-11 The Message

It so happened that as Zechariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was paralyzed in fear.

 We have a standard joke around the Dunford house when it comes to Daddy’s keys. There have been times (many times) when I didn’t place my keys on the little designated hooks by the door and of course temporarily misplaced them. I then did the next thing and asked everybody in the house if they’ve seen my keys. The majority of the people in my house are all under 15 so they don’t have a clue where the missing keys might be. But since it is considered a common occurrence, their momma has trained them with the right response to my question. I say, “Has anyone seen my keys?” And they say, “They are probably with your wallet!” Isn’t that cruel? I do believe, contrary to the overall consensus of the clan, I am getting better!

Maybe you can relate to misplacing something and looking for it frantically. When do you normally find it? That’s right, when you quit looking for it! Out of the blue, it shows up. Take this angle on prayer and God’s plan for a moment. He knows our needs before we ever voice them, but most importantly, He knows His plan and where we fit in it. Often, when we lay our cares in His lap (I Peter 5:7), He gives us a little glimpse of what’s coming, but He knows if we see too much, we’ll get to messing with it. (And worrying about it!)

Hang on to His Word today as a source of confidence that He will make all things beautiful concerning you and yours. Think on Luke’s account of how He worked in the lives of Zechariah and Elisabeth. Nothing’s changed, especially God!

Suggested Biblical Meditation: Luke 1 and I Peter 5

 

 

October 13 -That’s Why We Pray

Luke 11:1-3 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.”

We watched a movie the other night about a little boy going through a serious trial.   Everyone told him to pray. He heard the word “pray” over and over, but it didn’t really make much sense to him. So, instead of trying to figure it out, he decided to write a letter to God. He began to write Him a letter almost every day. He talked to Him like He was a friend who cared and someone who could help. He then began to develop an amazing sense of peace to which others were drawn. He began to see answers to his “prayers.” His confidence grew and everyone around him was affected by his trusting demeanor. Lives were changed because this little guy decided to talk to God.

 

I think prayer is a perplexing thing for most of us. It is one of those very important things that nobody knows much about. Yet, we talk about it all the time. “Pray for me, I need to get a job.” “Oh, we really need to pray for so-and-so, their mother is in the nursing home.” It can almost be an overused catch-all word that translates “Help me!”

 

Jesus talked about prayer many times. The Bible has hundreds of references to it. When Jesus taught the disciples the answer to their question about how to pray, He basically says, “Talk to Me. Get by yourself. Listen part of the time or you’re monopolizing the conversation. Be thankful for the everyday things. Talk to Me like you would a trusted friend, a friend Who has the power to change the circumstances. Most of all, be ready for Me to change you!” The next time someone says “pray for me,” or you need some prayer yourself, try writing your thoughts in a letter to God. Put a date on it and refer back to it. Be real, but be respectful. Cry if you need to, He hears that too. Most of all, get that Bible off the shelf and read. He’s been talking to you all the time, it’s all there in black and white.

That’s why we pray. “The greatest tragedy in life isn’t unanswered prayer, its unoffered prayer.” (quote by Adam Clarke)

Jennifer

Biblical Meditation: Psalms 54:2 Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.