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Aim High!

“He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. ” 2 Kings 14:3

In some cases, it’s ok to be mediocre. No one can be the best at everything and some things are not important enough to deserve our energy and time.

Other things, however, mean so much that they deserve our utmost.

I speak specifically to your heart toward God. Today’s verse gives a chilling description of the heart of King Amaziah. At first it sounds like he was getting a glowing review: he did right in the sight of God. The description quickly darkens when it says he didn’t do right like his ancestor David, a man after God’s own heart. King Amaziah was satisfied being “good enough”.

Call me an overachiever, but I want to do more than just get by in my walk with God. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t want there to be any area of my life that I am satisfied with the bronze or tin when the gold of knowing God deeper is available by His grace.

How about you?

When we start talking about being pleasing to God, the mind automatically looks at the mountain of times we failed before, but that’s not where we should focus. We must focus on the power God offers to help us persevere and overcome. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It begins with repentance and surrender. Are there morals you have let slip? Have you given up striving to hear Him say, “well done” because it seems nobody else is trying? The benefits of following hard after God far outweigh the “pleasures” of mediocrity. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

The cross was God’s way of reaching low to save us. Our best response is to aim high in pleasing Him.

Your Patience Will Pay Off

“and thus, having patiently waited, he received the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)

Have you been waiting a long time for God to fulfill a promise to you? So many times you feel it will never happen, and your frustration tempts you to either give up or try to make things happen. You may have even second-guessed whether you understood the promise right, but every time you revisit it, the promise is still there.

What do you do, then? You make a choice (again) to be patient with God. Remind yourself that a loving Father would never give a gift if the time is not right. Your circumstances and your heart are stomping and screaming for things to happen now, but you must tame their tantrums with patience. It may even help to remind them of past times of the pain they caused when you allowed them to push you to do something you now regret.

When the right time comes for God’s promise to become reality, the victory will be so much sweeter if it falls on a bed of patience than one jagged with thorns of regret at how poorly you waited.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19)

Keep in mind that while you are waiting, God has plenty for you to be doing now. If you focus on fulfilling today’s assignment, the sting of impatience might not bite as hard. What can you be doing and becoming today and now while you wait? I have learned that sometimes God’s delay is because He wants to work out the very weaknesses that would hinder my enjoyment of the promise if it came today. Trust that God is making you ready, My Friend. Let’s both renew our determination to be patient daughters as we wait on our Father’s best.

When Someone You Love Is Hurting

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Helpless. That is what it feels like when you have to watch someone you love suffer. Naturally, you want to step in and make the pain go away, but oftentimes you cannot.

Just because you cannot help in the way you wish you could does not mean you are helpless. God sometimes does not allow you to stop the pain because He is at work in ways you cannot understand. Still, you can do much to help.

First, you can pray. In the face of so much pain, this seems a petty act, but it is an act most powerful! Prayer invites God’s intervention and His presence. Prayer can bring peace even while suffering continues. Prayer can even form words in God’s ear that you are struggling to articulate (Romans 8:26). Though you may not see what good your prayers are doing, know that God is paying attention.

Another way to help when your loved one who is hurting is to listen. Do not underestimate what a comfort this can be. Listening is a gift of your time; an act that says you care what they are thinking and feeling. Not always trying to give answers but a safe place for venting, listening is a shoulder to cry on and to share the load.

The suffering of a loved one is never easy. It is often a difficult course in becoming like Christ. We get to know Jesus more as Comforter and Friend instead of Healer. Suffering is written into the core life curriculum for all of us, and now may be your loved one’s turn. The sidelines may not be where you want to be, but prayer and listening can make you an invaluable comfort when someone you love is hurting.

His Plan All Along!

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5)

People get antsy at the mention of predestination. I make no claims of fully understanding all the Bible says and means about it, but I do know this: the Great Creator had you on His mind even before He made the planet on which He would place you. Already knowing that you and I would mess up in a big way, He preplanned to adopt you as His daughter. The adoption was not automatic; you needed to accept His offer to be your Heavenly Daddy (John 1:12) but He prescheduled Christ’s provision so you could have an opportunity to choose Him.

Why did He do it? He did it because He wanted you and because that’s the kind of kind-hearted God He is. It was His will to have you for a daughter. His love and grace toward you has His glory all over it. It’s shining, overflowing, and joy-provoking.

In light of this, tell me again. Why do you listen to the voices that say you are worthless? Remind me, why do you put yourself down and say your life does not matter? (I sometimes fight those voices too.)

Whenever your feelings get cloudy about your worth, remind yourself that before you ruined your relationship with Him, He had already plotted to win His little girl back. Though you nor anybody deserves it, adopting you was on His mind all along.

Now That You Know Who You Are in Him…

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” (Ephesians 4:1)

How wonderful to bask in the knowledge of who we are in Christ and what we have in Him! Some criticize the current movement that focuses on the self-esteem and beautiful identity Christ gives us, but I believe broken and bruised Christians need that regular reminder. I believe God intended to fill His children with a healthy sense of self so long as the result points back to the One Who gave it.

Having said that, I also see danger if our Christ-given identity is something we only put in a frame and mount on the wall of our heart. God has bigger plans for us than just celebrating who we are in Him. That identity is a license to love with abandon. Because we we no longer need to find our worth in the wrong places and things, we are free to be who He made us for the benefit of people who don’t know Him yet. As emancipated slaves of sin, we become free advertisement of what a good Master our Saviour is. Since we have confident, around-the-clock access to the throne of grace (Ephesians 3:12) our load of requests need not solely be about us and ours; let us load His palace floor with the needs of others who, as outsiders, have no grace-privileged access to the throne room.

As believers, we possess the riches of all we inherited through Christ. Yes, God meant those riches for our enjoyment, but He also intended His bounty to overflow in service and love to others. Where is the flood happening in your life? Whose life is benefitting from your overflow now that you know who you are in Him?