Flower

Flawless

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~Wordless Wednesday~

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Not By Human Effort

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The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent – to an individual or to humanity as a whole.  David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2).  Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him (Job 34:29).  And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to.  Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise.  There are also other reasons for His silence – He may be choosing to remain quiet because…

He wants our attention.  We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him.  Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life.  When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us.  To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready.  If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him.  If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others.  When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better. 

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing:  God’s quietness is always for our good.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, October 7, 2017.

 

How to Bloom

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The pathway of faith has divine purpose, and we’re to obey the Lord, no matter what.  But even when God’s direction is perplexing, we can count on the fact that He is good.

Walking obediently with Christ doesn’t guarantee an easy life, which is obvious when we consider Paul.  He encountered all kinds of hardships, including shipwreck, persecution, and beatings (2 Cor. 11:23-27).  Keep in mind, though, that nothing can touch a child of God without the Father’s loving permission.  He uses difficulty to strengthen and correct believers – and eventually as a tool in achieving His plan.  Also remember that the Lord protects His followers in their suffering, just as He kept the apostle safe in situations that seemed impossible to overcome.

Adversity can tempt us to ignore the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  But we will ultimately regret such a decision, as God doesn’t spare us from the consequences of our sin.  However, He never lets go of His children, whom He will continue to protect and guide throughout life.

Walking in obedience and trust is the only way to true peace.  As Paul sat in an uncomfortable Roman prison where his life was in danger, he encouraged believers not to worry but to trust the Lord and pray with gratitude (Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:6).  Doing so leads to experiencing His perfect peace.

The only wise way to live is to believe in almighty God and follow wherever He leads.  That is the road to contentment, fulfillment, protection, and peace.  Are you journeying on the pathway of faith?  Or is something holding you back from all God intended for our life?

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, July 28, 2017.

Reliance

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Faith is not something tangible to be taken like medicine.  It is an attitude of trusting and believing.  But even our ability to believe is a gift from God.  No matter how much faith we have, we never reach the point of being self-sufficient.  Faith is not stored away like money in the bank.  Growing in faith is a constant process of daily renewing our trust in Jesus.

Jesus was telling the disciples that they would face difficult situations that could be resolved only through prayer.  Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives.  Effective prayer needs both an attitude-complete dependence-and an action-asking.  Prayer demonstrates our reliance on God as we humbly invite God to fill us with faith and power.  There is no substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem unconquerable.  

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, (2003), Tyndale House Publishers, April 15.

Transformed, Not Conformed

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The Apostle Paul lived in an age when sensuality, the pursuit of pleasure, and rebellion against the Lord were prevalent.  In response, he wrote letters urging Christians not to follow in the ways of the world.  Like those early believers, we are to pursue godliness by…

Presenting our bodies to God.  Our total being-mind, will, physical body, personality, and emotions-are to be turned over to our heavenly Father (James 4:7).  Submitting ourselves to the Lord requires both a definite decision to give Him control and a daily commitment to remain under His authority.  By surrendering to Him, we position ourselves for godly living.

Becoming living sacrifices.  The Christian life is built around the concept of sacrifice.  Jesus left the perfection of heaven to dwell among a sinful people so He might reconcile us to God.  He offered up His life for our sake-to make payment for our sins (1 John 3:16) and to bring us into His family.  And as believers, we are to follow His example.  Paul called it a living sacrifice, because it is ongoing and repeated daily.

Life is full of options.  Many decisions involve a choice between following God’s way or our own.  Maturing Christians will increasingly sacrifice their own desires and embrace His will.

A life of godliness is characterized by a heart and mind bent toward the things of God.  Although we will live imperfectly, our aim should be to obey His will and please Him.

Commentary from In Touch Devotional, by Charles Stanley, May 1, 2017.