The Holy Waiting Room

Time business concept.

We are continuing our “best of” devotional series this week. We will return with new offerings next Tuesday. In the meantime, this devotion was written in May of 2013 but is a timeless reminder about how we need to handle waiting on an answer from God.

To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place (Psalm 28:1-2)

I desperately needed an answer from God and I gave him until midnight Thursday to respond.

My friend and I had been on our knees about it on Thursday morning, tearfully asking for clarity in a situation that had been hovering for a long while.  I was at a fork in the road and needed to know which path to go down. I knew the Lord was with us and heard our prayers so I watched for his reply.  I even helped it along by reading his Word that afternoon. Thursday night, I read an entire book on prayer. Both enlightening, but no obvious word on this situation.  Maybe a devotion would come in on my phone giving me the answer.

Nada.

Two days later, I am still waiting for a word from the Lord on this scenario.  Didn’t he have mercy on us and see his daughters’ weepy request?  Doesn’t he realize we are asking to make sure we are in his will rather than going against his will? I believe he knows our hearts.

Why is God silent sometimes?  If you are not asking a prayer for the wrong reasons and your heart is right with God, then I think his silence means “to wait on him.” He doesn’t want you to make a move physically, emotionally, or mentally at this time.

I think God often asks his children to wait on him.  During that time of waiting, we develop patience and the Lord finds out if we really love him enough to trust him in the silence. I believe King David had to wait on God for answers numerous times because he mentioned it throughout the Psalms. Psalm 27:14: Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.  Psalm 37:7: Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…Psalm 40:1: I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  

It appears that God made David wait often but David trusted God while he was in the Lord’s holy waiting room.

While I would like an answer to my prayer sooner than later, I am trusting that the Lord will respond eventually.  Even though I am disappointed in the silence, I know he loves me and will answer when the timing is right.

What are you waiting on?  Has God not answered one of your prayers yet? Trust that he will answer it in HIS timing, not yours, and while you are waiting, praise him for his eventual answer to your plea.

Miraculous Mothers by Lara

 

Today’s devotion is provided by Lara. For the past 15 years, Lara has worked in high-level governmental communications but has also had a call to ministry, and will be entering Dallas Theological Seminary this fall. She met Pearls of Promise Founder Lisa Burkhardt Worley when they worked together in public relations at San Antonio International Airport. When Lara came to the airport, she was going through a very difficult stretch, as her mother was terminally ill. It was during that time that God put together a very special relationship that will last a lifetime!

Miracles happen every day. I’m one and you are one too. We are born and the God who created us knows what each day will look like until we return to Him. During these days on earth, He sends others into our lives to help shape and mold us into the person He intended us to be.

For me, the person I call my spiritual mother, responded to her pastor’s challenge to “…fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you” (NLT 2 Tim 1:6), and share her faith with a new person. So she did at work. She was then my boss, and now Lisa Burkhardt-Worley is my spiritual mother whom I love and am so grateful to for her faithfulness and obedience. Over the past 13 years, she has taught me about the Father’s Love.

The Father’s Love can be shown in so many ways, and being a mentor to a younger person is something I highly support. Recently, I was invited to my Pastor’s home in Aledo, Texas to celebrate the church’s pairings of mentors and mentees who meet each month to share life and discuss our faith walk. Lynn, the pastor’s wife, made us all lunch and then we sat and shared what this fellowship has done in our lives.

My church mentor, Kathryn, is also a great Godly woman of faith who left her home in Chicago to plant a church in Texas in the 1970s where she met her husband. Now they have five children and mentor many more people at our church in Fort Worth.

This Mother’s Day in addition to celebrating the birth mothers in our lives, I’d like to give a shout out to all those women who show the Father’s Love in such a meaningful way by encouraging another spiritual daughter, and most likely changing her life for the better. This is a miracle because those seeds of love, time, and attention will sprout miraculous fruit in both ladies’ lives.

We know; we’ve seen it! I don’t even want to know or imagine what my life would look like had Lisa not put herself out there and shared her faith in Jesus and encourage me to begin my own journey. Over the years she has watched me grow and stumble, and just like a mother, has been there to cheer me on. I hope that she realizes how truly blessed I am to have her.

Would you think about that person in your life who you know is feebly stepping one foot in front of the other trying to make it Home? Would you maybe reach out and just spend a little time showing that person that you care, and encourage them to push in and press in to the Father? I’ll do the same. Only by the Grace of God and his miraculous love would I be able to offer this to another person. What a gift!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful women who give life in so many ways! Bless you.

 

 

Just Stand Still

 

little girl jump ropingAre you one of those people who doesn’t sit still until you collapse in exhaustion late at night? “When I was four years old I remember my grandmother asking me, “Lisa, can’t you just stand still for a minute?” I was active then and I am still active now. For me, being still is a discipline.

But I am discovering that when it comes to our personal battles, God works best in our lives when we stand still and don’t try to control our circumstances.

It worked for Moses.

When he and the Israelites were scurrying out of Egypt after 400 years in captivity, the Egyptian pharaoh changed his mind about giving the Israelites their “get out of Egypt free” card and pursued them. In their terror, the Israelites said encouraging things to Moses like: “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14:11)

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

mosesMoses wasn’t kidding. He and his people didn’t even have to throw a stone. God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites made it across. This time, when they looked back in terror, it was because they saw the Egyptian army swallowed up by the sea as it closed its watery doors on top of the soldiers.

What is your personal Red Sea? The one that you need God to part? Do you long to walk through it to safety?

I am finally beginning to learn that striving isn’t always the best way to accomplish a goal. When we surrender our lives, our children, our spouse, a job or a ministry to God and let him lead us in these areas, often times we only have to pray and stand still and watch him work. But it may take a while to see results.

Years ago, a woman in my Sunday school class worried about her husband’s eternal security. His health was failing. She prayed fervently but nothing she said or did changed how he believed. She hesitantly decided to take a trip to see her son in another state and left her husband with a caretaker. While she was gone, the caretaker led her husband to Christ. My Sunday school classmate said, “I guess God just needed me to get out of his way!”

She finally stood still and let God work.

I love what author and speaker Karen Ehman said in her Let.It.Go. Bible study, “God called. He’d like his job back.”

We have to remember only God can change hearts. It is God who provides favor. He is the one who clears a path through the waters when they threaten to overtake us.

We are probably all guilty of controlling and manipulating situations. I used to try to lead God on the Pearls of Promise dance floor but now I’m letting my heavenly father twirl me around, and it’s a lot more fun and less anxiety-filled. That’s just ministry. I still have some other control issues that need tweaking. I like to drive rather than be driven, lead rather than serve (but Gpd is working on that), fix rather than let things run their course.

How do we control our propensity to control?

Sometimes we have to stand still and trust and know that whatever happens is what God desires and if it doesn’t happen, it’s OK.

In what area of your life do you need to stand still? Ask God to help you loosen your grasp on whatever scenario you’re trying to control and he will part the waters if you let him.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

 

The Snare

 Ephod“Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.”

 The story of Gideon is one of transforming insecurity to security. It is about overcoming weaknesses. It is about believing what God says about you rather than what the world says.

God told Gideon he was a mighty warrior. He didn’t trust it was God speaking to him at first, but after several holy communiqués, Gideon finally accepted his new moniker.

God told Gideon to conquer the Midianites and that he would do the work. With only 300 men, shouting “A sword for the Lord and Gideon!” the Midianites were rattled and turned on each other with their swords. Gideon pursued and conquered those who ran away.

The Midianites, one of the Israelites’ arch-enemies, were wiped out, thanks to Gideon. The Israelites were so appreciative they asked the military leader to rule over them.

Gideon then replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

It was a beautiful response and appropriate, after Gideon, who once called himself the “least” in his family was transformed into a mighty warrior. He knew the awesome power of God. He saw God’s hand in his life. God gave him victory after victory, whittling 22,000 fighting men down to 300 so the Lord would get the glory. Gideon knew God was the ruler and because of that, he turned down the kingly robes to put them on the rightful king.

But then Gideon made one request that would tarnish his impressive finish in biblical history. He asked that each of the Israelites give him an earring from their share of the plunder. The weight of the gold came to 1700 shekels (about 100 pounds) and Gideon made the gold into an ephod (a sleeveless garment worn by Jewish priests) and placed it in his hometown of Ophrah. Scripture says “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.”

Gideon built an idol.

How could he after all he’d seen God do in his life? After God encouraged him and handed the Midianites into his hands, it seemed to be a slap in the King of King’s face.

But maybe he was thinking, It’s just one little idol. In reality, it was a snare and an opening that eventually led to increased idol worship in Israel.

When Gideon died, the Word says the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals and did not show any loyalty to Gideon’s family. Gideon was a leader, and even though it was one little idol, he set an example that idols are OK. It unfortunately brought him some disrespect and affected how his family after him was treated.

What is your ephod?

I think it’s safe to say we’re all guilty of hanging onto at least one idol, or maybe we have several tucked away. It could be something materialistic like a car or a house or something shiny like the golden ephod. It may be a habit, a job or an inappropriate television show.

What are you doing about your ephod? Are you willing to tear it down?

It can be a snare that will take you away from worshipping the one true God and could open the door for family members to accumulate even more idols than you.

Anything that takes the place of God is an idol.

What can we learn from Gideon’s story? How can we live an idol-free life so our children will carry the torch once ours goes out? How can we set examples as leaders in our family and our community?

In my own life, I’m praying for God to take away any snares I might not even be aware of. I don’t want to detract from the good God has done in me and through me. When I die, I don’t want people to say, she lived a righteous life but….

What about you?

Overcoming the Locusts

locusts“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25)

Joel 2:25 is a verse about God’s restoration. This passage is referring to the future restoration of Israel, but it also applies to us, because we can claim God’s restoring power in our own lives when we surrender all to him.

I know, because God began to put my life back together two days after my father died. That’s when my husband was born. God knew before I was born that the locusts would gnaw through many of my years as a fatherless child, so in his love, he implemented a plan so I’d have a more secure future as an adult.

It worked. Today is my 28th wedding anniversary and I’m thankful God is a restorer

What about you? How has God redeemed your life?

If you look back to the time before salvation to your existence today, you may be amazed at how far you’ve come.

I was a gawky girl with coke-bottle-lensed glasses, unsure of myself in so many ways.

Never dreaming I’d one day be working in television.

Never dreaming I’d have my own family.

Never dreaming I’d be used by God in ministry.

Never dreaming I’d have enough to eat or plenty of clothes to wear.

But God pulled me out of the locust-ravaged terrain and planted me in a fertile valley.

He can do the same for you.

All you have to do is surrender your life to Christ and God will restore much of what appears to be lost. He alone can give you the desires of your heart.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 37. Over the past year, I’ve been signing our Pearls of Promise devotional books with this passage:

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Our father in heaven is a restorer but he wants us to first trust him and delight in him. Once we do that, the locusts don’t have a chance.

 

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