Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 5)

Seek Strength

It’s can be a blessing and a curse, but I always have a plan.

On Saturday, we arrived home at around Noon after a whirlwind trip to Austin and San Antonio, which included a three-car automobile accident while I was in the Alamo City. My plan was to rest for a couple of hours, then head to church around 3:00 p.m. It seemed like a good plan until about 2:30 p.m. when it was time to get up from lounging. To my surprise, I was still energy depleted and couldn’t move. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Oh yea, I was hit by a truck. At that moment, I realized my car accident on Friday had taken more out of me than I thought and I needed God’s strength. I prayed, Lord, I need for you to revitalize me so I can attend church, as well as the class afterwards. That’s when I heard, “It’s okay to rest.”

God wasn’t going to infuse me with his strength at this moment because He knew the real reason I was so tired. Because of a hectic schedule, I had not taken a Sabbath rest in weeks and now He was forcing me to rest. In order to recover from both the accident and weeks of work, He knew I needed to take it easy for a full day. I was on low power, even before my car accident.

1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.”

There are times when we can’t go another step.

In our own power, we can’t fulfill the “to do” list.

We are unable to handle the dire situations surrounding us.

It is during these scenarios that we must seek the strength of God.

The Holy Spirit may tell you to put it all aside for one day and rest, like He did me. He may supernaturally fill you with strength so you can continue on with His power pack.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

The key is to not push and try to move forward in your own strength when your energy is waning. It takes humility to say, “I can’t do this anymore. I need some help.”

I’ll admit that I can be stubborn in this area. I tend to operate on reduced power a lot of the time, but that is not what God wants from us. He desires for us to rely on Him for our strength. He wants us to acknowledge the power source.

The Apostle Paul, a guy who had an impressive resume, often admitted that he relied on Christ’s strength, both physically and emotionally, so he could fulfill his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. When at one point his support system of friends disappeared, Paul made this statement to his spiritual son, Timothy: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Timothy 4:7). God gave Paul strength when he was emotionally depleted due to betrayal.

Do you need strength today? Then seek strength from an unlimited power source, Jesus Christ. He promises to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) and that includes providing the strength we are lacking to accomplish His purpose for our lives.

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 4)

Seek Things Above

I was in San Antonio for a ministry trip yesterday, trying to drum up support for our “Level-Up San Antonio” Conference on May 18th, and was headed out via a major thoroughfare, Loop 1604. There was a traffic accident ahead and cars were slowing down to almost a stop. However, as I looked in my rearview mirror, the van behind me didn’t appear to be slowing down fast enough. I pumped my brakes to send a message. You need to take your speed down! It was too late. The impact on my SUV was hard and the van behind me was hit by the truck tailing him as well. Was I okay? Were the others okay? By the grace of God I seemed to be fine, although stiff today.

I exited my vehicle. As I saw the driver of the van, who turned out to be a doctor, and three young men who drove the other large truck, I thought, How should I handle this? I realized that this accident was an opportunity to be a witness, even though I was not at fault, and a victim. I decided to seek things from above in the midst of a difficult situation. Colossians 3:1–3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

I prayed, How do you want me to encourage these people? I first told them I’d been on a ministry trip and was on my way to Austin to have dinner with my son and his fiancé. The three men from the last vehicle pointed to the crosses they were wearing, indicating they were believers. Then I said, “It’s by the grace of God none of us are injured.” They all agreed.

I could have yelled.

I could have pointed fingers.

I could have cried.

After all, I wasn’t sure my car was drivable and there was a lot of damage that needed to be repaired. But I trusted God in this situation. I sought higher ground and gave the scenario to him.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—;think about such things.”

I even sought patience when the police took about an hour to get to the scene. It was 90 degrees in San Antonio yesterday! But in the end, my car was deemed drivable, so I praised God for that. I said goodbye to all and exhorted the young men to stay connected to the Lord. They said, “You’re a really nice lady.” I chose to be thankful for the fact that God gave me the strength to handle the situation gracefully and that I was able to drive my car and make it to dinner with my family. On the way to Austin I also thanked the Lord that I was okay.

Are you facing a difficult situation today? Try to live on a higher plain. Ask God to help you see it from His eyes. Be his representative in the midst of conflict. Seeking things above is a discipline, but always the best choice as we try to make a difference for Christ.

 

Lay to Rest Our Past by Dr. Lynnette Simm

Today’s blog is provided by our new Pearls of Promise Creative Director, Dr. Lynnette Simm. Dr. Simm, with degrees in psychology and education, has been a college professor for nearly fifteen years. She is a contributor for Focus on Fabulous magazine and a freelance editor. Married over twenty years, Dr. Simm, her husband, Madison, and their two amazing daughters live in North Dallas, Texas, where she continues working on her writing. She is the author of And the Day Came, an inspirational memoir. Contact her by email: drlms96@gmail.com or on Facebook.

In September, the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah was celebrated and then ten days later, Yom Kippur. For the Jews the ten days between holidays are a time for celebration, reflection, and introspection. A New Year and a new start, which all lead to the Day of Atonement and Repentance, Yom Kippur. During this time people are to reflect on their past sins and ask for forgiveness. Restitution should be given and received. Old sins and debts should be released so a new year can begin.

The idea of letting our past not define our present or future seems to be a hot topic these days, so ask yourselves, “When does our adulthood (maturity and experience) overcome our childhood (immaturity and impulsiveness)? When are we not seen as who we were, but who we have become? When will our mistakes be seen as scars in a battle we are fighting and winning, as proven in our behavior since?”

Some people are habitual in their mistakes/sin. They get caught up in the temptation, and the enemy just swallows them up. Some people are evil. We live in a fallen world where there is evil. Plain and simple. But some people make mistakes, either out of ignorance, naivety, stupidity or even because they listened to the enemy, YET they learn. They change. They mature. They seek forgiveness. For these people, when is the change enough? For example, a child steals from the local convenience store, and they are marked as a thief for life. A young adult is promiscuous, and they are labeled loose and immoral for life. A student cheats on an exam, and they are branded untrustworthy for life. FOR LIFE?

Why is it when people “find out” how another person messed up, all their work since then is called into question?

Why hasn’t the behavior since their transgression signaled a learning process?

Like walking, we learn slowly and we do fall, but when we get up and learn, we are praised. When did that stop in our personal lives? If we are to learn from our mistakes, why then are those mistakes held against us? This is not to say that there are not consequences for our actions. However, how can a person ever overcome their mistakes when others use their mistakes to solidify our character?

A person’s only solace comes from knowing that those who truly know them, have acknowledged they have changed. That they were created anew in God’s image. In the Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old has passed away. But what most people forget is to read on to verse 18 which says, we have been reconciled; therefore, are now commissioned to minister reconciliation for others.

The New Year is here for those of us who follow the Gregorian calendar. During this next season, winter is the time to shred the old and begin anew. We can all use this time to peel away our mistakes, guilt, and shame. Process what you have learned. Count all the blessings, even the small ones. Become the NEW CREATION our Lord intended us to be. Strip away the old and forgive. Let go of the past mistakes and give each other the ability to learn and earn our trust again. Allow yourself to be forgiven and give forgiveness. Let the old sins die and let people see you ANEW.

 

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 3)

Seek Peace

“We’d love to bring our Level-Up Conference to Baja, California.”

I was on Messenger, chatting with a pastor friend from Ensenada about the possibility of taking a team of bilingual evangelists and inspirational speakers to stage an event at his church. After I typed those words, I thought, What am I doing? How would we pay for all that airfare? I’ll need an interpreter!

It was like an out-of-body experience. But here’s what I know. If this is of God, he’ll provide the way and the funds. It’s taken me a long to get here but I have peace that “The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). I don’t fret about the mountain of details anymore. What about you?

Peace is a trademark of Christianity but believers often lack this attribute of the faith. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in seeking the peace of God. Psalm 34:14 says, “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” 

The peace of God is beyond our understanding. It’s when we have peace despite the bad diagnosis. It’s the calmness in our soul when a family member has gone down the wrong path. Peace when the marriage turns upside down, knowing that the Lord can work miracles, if He chooses. We have to trust God in our scenarios because we know that with God all things are possible. Our peace during trials is a witness to others who long for peace.

So how do we find the peace of God in our lives?

The Bible is clear about the pathway to peace.

We must first acknowledge that peace is a blessing from God (Psalm 29:11). It is a gift that we only receive when we believe in the One and only Creator of the universe. We acknowledge His rightful position in our lives as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We realize God is the only one who can give us peace. Peace is not something we can wish upon our lives or redeem from a vending machine. Psalm 4:8 says, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” It’s a byproduct available to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

When we don’t have peace about a situation, then perhaps it is not God’s will for our life. Our heavenly Father is a God of clarity. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” I’ve often walked away from opportunities when I have not felt peace about them.

We only have peace when our goal is to live a righteous life according to the Word of God. How many times have you known that what you are participating in is a sin but you keep doing it? There is not peace in that. Instead, inner turmoil reigns and the stress shortens your life. Proverbs 3:1–2 says “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring peace and prosperity”

We are called to seek peace in our relationships. Have you ever known someone who enjoys “stirring the pot?” Or someone who’s held a grudge against a family member for what seems like a lifetime? That is not of God. Instead we should understand that pursuing peace in our families and friendships is a calling beyond our capability, yet doable through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).

It’s possible to have peace in every situation. That may seem far-fetched but Colossians 3:15 says the peace of God can rule in our hearts. The apostle Paul knew the infiltrating nature of peace. When praying for the Thessalonians, he said “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

We have been given a blueprint for peace through the Word of God. When angst and confusion take over, claim the promises about peace in the Bible. Seek peace. It’s a download available to all who believe.

 

Seven Things We Should Seek (Part 2)

Seek Wisdom

Something is wrong with my eyes.

My contact lenses started fogging up on a regular basis so I replaced them, thinking it was just a protein build-up.

Then the problems continued to happen.

Because I always have a “need to know,” I’ve googled my symptoms (several times) to find out what could possibly be wrong. I need someone else’s wisdom to figure this out. In the end, I suspect what I’m experiencing is caused by allergies, but will go to the eye doctor on Monday, someone wiser than me, to receive a diagnosis and hopefully some eye drops.

What about you? Have you ever needed information and spent a morning doing an internet search to find answers to your medical questions? What about the research you’ve done when purchasing a new car or other product?

What if we searched for God’s wisdom like this?

I realized years ago that I didn’t want to be wise in my own eyes, so like King Solomon in the Bible, I asked God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

When writing these blogs, I didn’t want to share my wisdom—I desire to impart the wisdom of God working in and through me.

And why wouldn’t we crave a form of wisdom that stretches us, and is higher and greater than what or finite minds can fathom? We might think we’re smart but the Apostle Paul reminds us that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” and that the thoughts of the wise are “futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:19–20). God’s wisdom trumps our wisdom every time.

So how do we seek God’s wisdom?

Start by reading Proverbs. In this book of the Bible, penned by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, it says we can begin our quest for wisdom by having a healthy fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) and because of that, we will want to please our Maker and know what God expects of us by studying His Word. When we delve into the Word of God, Proverbs 2 tells us to search for wisdom in the Scriptures as if we are searching for silver or hidden treasures. Start your time of reading by asking God to reveal His heart and mind to you. Proverb 2:7 says He’s stored up sound wisdom in his warehouse, just waiting to deliver it to you.

There have been many times when I’ve asked for the Holy Spirit’s direction in a matter, and because I’ve prayed for His wisdom, the answer is nothing I would have ever fathomed on my own.

Let’s not be wise in our own eyes.

Let’s be wise using God’s eyes to view our situations. He has a much better vantage point than we have and can see the past, present and future.

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13–15).

 

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