Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 3

Seven Reasons Why We Know God Loves Us (Part 4 of 7)

4. He’s patient with us.

Patience is a virtue, but somehow it was omitted from my DNA.

Long grocery checkout lines.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Slow replies.

All require a silent prayer. Lord, please help me to be patient with this situation.

For some reason, I am more patient with people than I am scenarios. I guess I remember how many times I’ve tried other people’s patience, so I want them to show me the same grace. What about you?

But not everyone doles out hall passes. Short fuses abound, and explosive tempers often destroys relationships. Many walk away from a friend or loved one because their patience is depleted. Perhaps that is your story.

But here’s a beautiful fact about God. Because our heavenly Father loves us so much, he is immensely patient with us. He doesn’t write us off when we disappoint Him and is exceedingly patient even with those who reject Him.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

That’s why the “bad guys” stick around for so long. He’s giving even them extra time to repent and turn their lives around.

The Apostle Paul understood the patience of God because the former persecutor of Christians was a recipient.

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).

Paul’s saying if Christ was patient with me, a murderer of believers, he’ll be patient with anyone.

Here’s the challenge.

How can we be more patient with the people around us? You know, the way God is patient with us?

Have we written someone off because they seem beyond help? They’ve hurt us? They never listen?

Maybe today’s the day we pray for more patience from our loving, patient, heavenly Father. He’s waiting for us to tap into his strength and endless reservoir of patience.

 

Seven Reasons Why We Know God Loves Us (Part 3 of 7)

3. He Prunes Us.

My last year in television was a rocky one, and at times painful. After a stint on national television, I was back working at the CBS affiliate in my hometown, San Antonio, and didn’t feel I was part of the station owner’s plans for the future. After a long stint on the weekday sports, I was moved back to weekend sports, and wasn’t given the choice reporting assignments anymore during the week. The handwriting was on the wall.

When I look back on this period of my life, it still breaks my heart. I had a passion for sports, and loved my work, but my passion for the Lord was greater. I later realized this transition was part of God’s pruning process. I had to leave television in order to fulfill His plan for my life. He moved me into a fulfilling public relations job, where I had more time to serve in ministry, as well as answer a call to seminary. I could have never done that with a haywire television schedule of nights and weekends.

Pruning is not easy.

It hurts.

It can be emotional.

You can feel unwanted.

But our heavenly Father often prunes us out of his love for us. He either sees we are overcommitted, or he wants to direct us to a different place where we can be more fruitful for His purpose. John 15:2 says God “cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

In her daily devotional, Birthing the Miraculous, missionary and popular speaker, Heidi Baker says, “Pruning is not always removing something dead or diseased; sometimes God decides to prune good areas of our lives—areas we love—because He wants something even better to grow there.”

Are you being pruned right now? Has your favor been lifted at your workplace or in a ministry? Ask God if He is using these circumstances to change your direction. Lay this activity at the altar and be ready to give it up if our loving God tells you to let it go. Trust that there is something better around the corner.

Seven Reasons Why We Know God Loves Us (Part 2 of 7)

2. Free Will.

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Yesterday some of our team members met to do some detailed planning for our September 29th Pearls of Promise “Level-Up” Women’s Conference, and for a while we were parked on décor.

“What color scheme do we want?”

“Should we have teal flowers on the wall?”

I didn’t feel that resonated with a “fighting the battle” theme, but then we decided to incorporate camoflauge into our decorations. Now we’re talking! That seemed appropriate for a conference with a goal of warring against those things that try to take us down.

But here’s a horrifying thought. What if there were no decisions to make?

What if everything was decided for us? What to wear. Where to work. Who to marry.

What if we were God’s robots, who said and did everything he programmed us to say and do?

That would be boring, right? However, we’d probably not know the difference if our minds worked that way.

Fortunately, they don’t. Out of God’s love for us, he gave us free will, but with that gift comes a responsibility. He allowed it because he wants us to choose Him.

He desires for us to pick righteousness, not evil; he wants our navigation set on the narrow path, not the wide, destructive route. He longs for us to decide to love Him with all our hearts, mind and strength, and when we do, Psalm 147:11 says it makes Him happy. “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).

Think back to your school days about the first time someone of the opposite sex, who you secretly liked, liked you back. Didn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? That is how your heavenly Father feels when, out of our free will, we choose to believe in Him and want to follow His Son, Jesus.

The negative side to free well is that some people choose wrongly. They opt to do evil. They decide to hurt people. And they don’t choose their Maker. I know all of that breaks God’s heart, but it was the price of His sacrifice to give us free will.

Today, I want you to chew on this aspect of God’s love for you and thank Him for giving you a right to choose. Ask Him daily to help you to never abuse this gift of free will, and to make choices that will further His kingdom.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6­7).

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Friends, we want to invite you to our annual “Level-Up Women’s Conference coming up September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake. Level-Up your identity in Christ, Level-up your warrior heart to fight every day battles, and Level-down the wounds in your life! Today-Tuesday, you can buy one ticket and receive the second one for ½ off. Just go to our events page, follow the link and use the promo code: LevelUp at: http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com/events/

Also, Lisa’s book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love is now out on Amazon. Get your copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Only-Father-Ever-Knew-Fatherless/dp/1724779273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534245891&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Only+Father+I+Ever+Knew

 

 

Seven Reasons Why We Know God Loves Us (Part 1 of 7)

1.    His Protection

On the same day I found out that one of my college classmates died, I received this photo from a close friend. I was apparently celebrating my college roommate’s (Debbie) birthday and by my attire, must have just come off the softball field. Back in the day, Lone Star Beer sponsored our team, and we were pretty good, winning the Seguin city championship. I was the All-Star pitcher that year, but the following season, my pitching arm betrayed me so I was moved to a different position, but that is another story. Because of our sponsor, I remember the kegs that would roll in post-game, and we would proceed to celebrate our victory.

Over 14,000 days later, I am still alive, and I believe it’s because of God’s protection over my life. When you hear about one of your peers passing away, you come face-to-face with your own mortality, and realize it is only by God’s protection and grace that he allows us to serve Him another day. The photo brought back many happy college memories but because of my shirt, I also recalled the numerous times I drove while intoxicated in college, whether it was after a softball game or post-weekend party.

Putting excessive drinking away by the end of my college years, I still came close to possible death numerous times. I remembered the near-misses I’ve had over the years on the highway, the time I was hit by a car, a health crisis, and crash landing in a helicopter. I don’t take God’s protection for granted and pray for His protection daily, for myself, my family and for my friends. I believe we have no concept of how many times the Lord diverts us from disaster during our lifetime. And why does he do it? Because He is our loving Father.

One of the promises of God’s protection is found in Psalm 121: “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, or the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;  the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121:5–8).

If God ever lifts His protection, it may be that we’ve strayed from our allegiance to Him. That’s why I try to enter His presence every morning, and lay my life before Him. Every breath I breathe and second I exist belongs to Him, so I want to give it all back to Him. I know I am not capable of always protecting myself and I have no control over what other people do.

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve been protected by God for a reason. Think back to all the times when you breathed a sigh of relief after another car narrowly missed you on the highway, or the time the health scare was averted. Was that a stroke of luck, or was it God’s protective hand guiding you to safety? Today will you thank your heavenly Father for his protection? He loves you enough to give you another day.

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Friends, we want to invite you to our annual “Level-Up Women’s Conference coming up September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake. Level-Up your identity in Christ, Level-up your warrior heart to fight every day battles, and Level-down the wounds in your life! Friday-Tuesday, you can buy one ticket and receive the second one for ½ off. Just go to our events page, follow the link and use the promo code: LevelUp at: http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com/events/

Also, Lisa’s book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love is now out on Amazon. Get your copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Only-Father-Ever-Knew-Fatherless/dp/1724779273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534245891&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Only+Father+I+Ever+Knew

 

 

 

Does Parenting Ever End?

“I’m probably never going to live here again.” Those were the words of our youngest son, Bret, before he left for college this week. He’s twenty-two and still has over fifty hours of school to complete in order to graduate. That means he will stay on campus next summer, and probably the following fall to get his requirements completed. After that, he hopes to walk straight into employment overseas.

His words keep replaying in my mind. Could it be that our season of child rearing is over?

It seems like yesterday when Bret entered the world, a month before his due date. As a small group of friends gathered to celebrate his birth, our preemie emerged, weighing seven pounds, eight ounces. However, he didn’t cry like most babies do at birth. Instead, he bleated like a lamb and quickly turning grey. As it turned out, his lungs were not completely developed so they whisked him off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Bret was in NICU for nine days, hooked up to an oxygen halo. I remember how difficult it was for me emotionally. I desperately wanted to hold my newborn but it was a few days before I was allowed to do that. He had to remain connected to the oxygen because his lungs needed to mature. One of the nurses said, “You’re going to have your hands full with this one.” I asked why she thought that. She said, “Bret doesn’t like the oxygen halo and keeps trying to remove it on his own.” Her words turned out to be prophetic.

Bret is an independent thinker, often pushes the limit, and wears his hair long. At 6’5”, he stands out in a crowd. However, I still love him, even though we do not always see eye-to-eye.

And here’s the truth for all parents. Just because our children are out of the house doesn’t mean we’re completely done with parenting.

One of the most important thing we can do as moms and dads is to pray specific prayers over our children daily. Bret was brought up in the church, but there are many opposing influences in the world that want to take him down. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It is only through intercessory prayer that we can battle the enemy that wants to hold our children hostage.

I am a believer in the old proverb, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). It does not say that he will never drift from the faith. It means that one day, he will come back to it.

And that is my hope. My son may not ever return home to live, but I pray daily that he will come back to the rock that I stand on, the one that has given my life meaning for so many years, Jesus Christ.

Our job as a parent is never done.

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