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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.

Take Heart!

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

If God is everywhere at all times (and He is) and has all power and knowledge, how can we doubt that He is in control?

Reading the book of Esther rekindled in me a fascination at the precision in God’s timing. I love how God inflicted insomnia on the king when Haman just happened to enter the palace to arrange to have his godly enemy killed, only to unknowingly write a prescription for his own death! My heart chuckles with delicious revenge when Haman is ordered to parade Mordecai through the streets loudly declaring the praise he thought he was going to get for himself.

Do you agree that it’s easy to see God’s timing and activity in this true account, but harder to see it in our own lives sometimes? We wonder if God is even working on our behalf, or we second-guess His willingness to make things happen for us.

Take heart, My Friend. God has not forgotten you nor has His power to work in your favor dwindled the least bit. What you need is patience and trust; patience to wait until He deems the time is right and trust that He will do what’s best when it’s best. Remember that His agenda is bigger than what you see and is worth whatever discomfort you may be experiencing right now. Besides, no one ever got a premature answer and been glad about it for long.

Because the all-seeing, all-knowing, all powerful God is also always faithful, you can be SURE He is even now causing all things to work together for good in your life. Don’t let your eyes do your believing for you; instead let your faith usher you all the way to the day when God fulfills His promise.

The World Needs you

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Don’t be fooled by their happy faces, they need Jesus! It is the cultural norm and pressure to look as though they have it all together, but do not believe it for a moment. They feel the emptiness inside and figure they just have to muddle through the best they can. They don’t know that joy and purpose await them in Christ. Jesus may be the last Place they think to look for fulfillment. Maybe in their mind He’s a buzz-kill, a wet blanket, and a trap to a bunch of rules they can’t keep. The Lord may even be Someone they saw others claim to know, but no power or example sparked to make Him attractive.

This is where you and I come in. We are a walking advertisement for the truth and power of the gospel of Jesus. Now, this is not an invitation to pretend to have it all together. This is not the addition of one more heavy brick to your already heavy list of “shoulds”. It is something much more amazing than that: an invitation to simply let Christ in you do the shining through everything you are already doing. Let Him shine through your smile, your demeanor, your work, and your responses. People will notice because so few people are doing that kind of shining. They are used to negativity, backbiting, cheating, and rudeness. Christ’s light shimmering through you will give them hope. Make mention of God’s goodness every chance you get.

The world is starving for love with no ulterior motive, for genuine care and concern… they crave Jesus, but they don’t know it. Your light shining in your corner of the world is just the flesh-and-blood advertisement they need. This makes you invaluable, My Friend.

Go forth and shine today!

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.