Delay is not Denial

 

Today’s Bible Journaling verse is Isaiah 53:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.”  This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”  This week we are looking at seeking counsel, and as I began my Bible Journaling, I was having a difficult time deciding just what direction I wanted to take.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so to speak, as I’ve already done a post on seeking counsel, and so I was talking to my husband about what direction I should take, whether to continue with the topic of seeking counsel or go a different direction.  He said something that has kind of become his mantra.  He said that a main tenant of counseling is, “Delay is Not Denial.”

As he was talking, the idea of God’s timing is not ours, came into my mind.  We are in an “instant” society.  Everything seems to be instant this or instant that.  Instant coffee, TV dinners in the microwave, instant communication with texting, and on and on it goes.  Patience is not an idea that seems to be popular these days.  I’m reminded of the lady who prayed, “God give me patience and give it to me right now!”  As funny as that sounds, a lot of us are just like that lady…patience is not our strong suit.

But God says that His ways are not our ways…His plans for us, His ways, are higher than ours.  Psalm 90:4 says, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” (ESV) God sees things a whole lot differently than we do, and to us it seems as if He takes way too long.  When we are seeking His counsel on a matter and we are waiting for the answer, it may seem as if He will never answer.  But remember, “Delay is NOT Denial!”  It doesn’t necessarily mean that the answer is no, it may be that it isn’t the proper time for that answer.

So, what should we do while we are waiting?  Continue to seek God regarding the matter.  Read His Word to help discern what it is God is telling us and wait patiently for the proper timing of our request to be fulfilled.  Is there something that we need to do to prepare for the answer?  Maybe there is something about ourselves that needs to be resolved first before the answer can come.  Maybe the circumstances about the situation are not all in place yet for the answer to come.  All these things may have an effect on when the answer comes.

God’s plans are for our good, He sees the end from the beginning.  He sees the big picture, where we can only see just a small part of the plan He has for us.  Many times, we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives.  Continue to seek His counsel, continue to wait on His timing, and wait patiently.

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God Keeps His Promises

Today’s Bible Journaling is from II Corinthians 1:20, “For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God.” (CSB) Today has been one of those days…I am convinced that there is something about this study that the enemy doesn’t want brought out. I woke up this morning and took a bath and when I got out of the tub and got dressed, I got so dizzy I could barely stand. My hubby had to help me to a chair and bring my hair dryer and things so I could dry my hair and then brought my vitamins and medicine and breakfast to me because I could hardly stand up without the room spinning. After sitting for a while, eating my breakfast, taking my meds, and drying my hair, I began to feel better. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, my hubby went downstairs to the basement only to discover that the sewer had backed up into our basement and left about 4 inches of water down there.

All these things have been a distraction this morning and have made it hard to concentrate on my journaling. I said something to my hubby about how I thought this was a Spiritual attack, and we prayed together and rebuked Satan’s attempt at distracting us from what God had called us to do, my hubby and his work on his commentary on the book of Revelation and me from my Bible Journaling and blog.

As I’ve been thinking about all of this, I look at the Scripture and am reminded first of all that God has made promises to us. The second thing I am reminded of is that God keeps His promises. Every promise He has made in the past, He has fulfilled. There are promises for the future that we can be certain that He will make good. His promises are “Yes!” That means He intends to keep that promise! We can trust Him! He will never turn His back on us, He will never make a promise and then break it. Because of that we can say, “AMEN!” God will receive the glory because others will see how God has kept His promises in our lives.

With the situation today, God has always promised His protection. The water leakage could have been much worse, running into the house, but thankfully it didn’t because God has promised protection over us and our property. My illness could have been much worse, causing me to go to the hospital, but it wasn’t because God had His Hand on me and in effect, told the dizziness, “This far and no farther.”

The same is regarding the devices Satan tries to bring into our lives to distract us from following God. I think of Job and the trials he had. Satan wanted to throw everything including the kitchen sink at him to prove to God that Job would turn his back on God. But God gave Satan limits…God told Satan that he could do what he wanted but he couldn’t take Job’s life. (Job 1:6-12) Satan does have power, but he can only do what God allows. That should give us peace because we know that Satan is allowed to do only so much, even though it seems like the end of the world, God will not let him totally destroy us.

We can trust God because of His promises. We can trust that He will fulfill those promises, we can trust that we are safely in His Hand. We can have faith that whatever happens, God is with us and we can run to Him for security and safety. He is our Abba Father and He loves us. He will not allow anything to happen to us that isn’t under His protection or will. Are you facing trials that seem to destroy you? Trust God, He promises to keep you in the safety of His Hand. Has He kept promises He made to you? Then give Him praise and relate those fulfilled promises to those around you. Not only will it encourage you, it will encourage others also.

Count the Cost

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Luke 14:28, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he enough to complete it?” (NASB) I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not much of a planner. Give me a daily planner and you will most likely see an empty planner! Although, if I have a specific task to do, say planning a party, I will figure out all I need.

I have never been one of those “This is where I want to be in five years” kind of people. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that all my planning goes out the window, because God has my life and He knows where He’s taking me, I’m just along for the ride. For example, I moved from Ohio to Montana and said, OUT LOUD, “I will never move cross country again!” WRONG! Ten years later I moved from Montana to Southern Illinois! It was a God thing for sure. I often tell people that when I made that statement God just laughed and said, “Oh yeah?”

On the other hand, there is something to be said for planning. Jesus used the example of someone building a tower. When my first hubby and I built our house in Montana, we had to sit down with a contractor and draw out our plans so he could draw a blueprint. That blueprint was his roadmap on how much material he needed and the exact dimensions and placing of each room in the house. Without the blueprint, he wouldn’t be able to build a strong, sturdy, house that would withstand the elements.

Our lives are like building that house. Without a goal or a plan, we wander aimlessly through life, not knowing where we are going. Are there parts of our lives we would like to change? How badly do we want to change them? If we are intent on changing, then we must sit down and “count the cost”. What will it take for us to make that change? Will there be discomfort in changing…most likely there will. Are we willing to endure the hardship to make that change? What steps must we take to bring about that change? All of these things need to be considered when we come face to face with parts of our lives that we are unhappy about or want to make better.

Planning means taking the time to evaluate what it is we need to be doing, how we are going to go about bringing that change, and above all…praying for God’s help in moving forward to overcome during the hard times and becoming the person He has created us to be. I know what needs to change in my life, and this year I need to be intentional about bringing about that change. My first issue is getting the courage to actually start! I guess I’m more of the “I need a swift kick in the pants” type of person.

For example, I need to lose weight (don’t we all?) That involves dieting and exercise. I’ve fallen off the diet wagon this past year and gained all the weight I lost. A lot of it has to do with exercises…my back pain has kept me from getting into it again. However, if I don’t get up off the recliner and get moving, I’ll be in worse shape than I am now. So, I need to make the time (set an alarm? schedule time? be determined?) to get this done so that it will help me lose weight. I need to be committed to sticking to my diet…no more munchies of potato chips and pretzels…but eating healthy snacks, and in limited amounts. I’ve lost the weight doing this and I know I can do it…I just need to make up my mind and be determined to get this done.

The same applies with our Spiritual lives. We must sit down and be determined to change or move forward in areas that will draw us closer to God. That may involve scheduling a Quiet Time with the Lord…if it means putting it on your calendar, then do that, as a reminder that you need to spend time with God. I’m not a morning person, so praying and reading my Bible when I first get up is not good. I can barely function much less concentrate on what I’m reading, and have it stick. So, I do my Bible Journaling, which becomes my Quiet Time with Him, later in the morning or sometimes in the afternoon when I can retain what I’m reading and praying for His guidance in what I’m supposed to do, in journaling and in life.

We are at the beginning of a new year, and it’s a good time to decide how we are going to go about doing what it is God wants us to do, and how we can follow Him closer, so that we become the person He has created us to be.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from John 1:29, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (KJV) At first glance, this seems to be a strange verse to equate with Christmas, but when we really understand why Jesus came, it fits perfectly. Often, we don’t think about Christ’s sacrifice when we think about the Baby in the manger. However, the two are so interconnected that we really cannot separate them.

God had a plan set up to save us from the very foundation of the earth. He needed a way to deal with sin. There had to be a punishment for rebellion against Him, for after all, that is exactly what sin is…rebellion against God. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV) Every single one of us has had rebellion in our hearts toward God. When we decide in our hearts to disobey God, there is a consequence, and with that consequence comes a penalty. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV) Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

We cannot pay the penalty for our sin. We cannot work our way into salvation, we can’t buy our way into salvation, only through Jesus’ sacrifice are we redeemed, are we made pure. God requires a perfect sacrifice, without blemish, without sin, pure, and by the shedding of blood from that sacrifice. There was only one who could fulfil those requirements, and that was Jesus. Jesus, who was born of a virgin, the Holy Son of God, who walked this earth and experienced everything we do, and who knows just what we go through, yet He was perfect. The book of Hebrews says He experienced everything we do “yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 KJV)

The four Gospels look at Jesus from different vantage points. The book of Matthew shows Jesus as our King, the book of Mark views Him as the Servant, the book of Luke shows Him as the “Son of Man”, whereby Jesus shows His compassion toward those who are considered outcasts, and the book of John shows Jesus as the Son of God. All these attributes of Christ are given to us so that we understand more clearly Who He is, What He came to do, and Why He came to do it.

Without the Cross, Jesus’ birth is just another baby that was born. Without Jesus’ birth as the Son of God, His death on the Cross would just be another execution. The two are tied together. Jesus’ story is complete only when we include His miraculous birth and His redeeming death on the Cross.

Then, once we know and understand Jesus’ plan for us, we have a decision to make. What will we do with this information, what will we do with Jesus? We must choose to accept His loving sacrifice. He took the penalty for our sin to save us from having to meet that requirement of death for our sin. What better way to celebrate His birth than to accept Him as our Lord and Savior!

Dear reader, if you have never chosen to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord, now is the perfect time! Just pray and ask Him to come into your heart, to be the ruler of your life, to forgive you of your sins, to cleanse you from all of your sin, past, present, and future, and then promise to allow Him to be the Master of your life, and to follow Him all the days of your life, serving Him in all that you do. My friend, He will do just that, and as He takes over, you will find peace, joy, and contentment.

My Heart is Full!

Today, I am deviating from the normal Christmas entry for this month. My heart is so full because God has answered my prayers. I have been praying for my family for a very long time, some are not Christians, some I’m not sure, and some are very solid in their faith. One, has been going through a struggle because of an issue in the family that has come to a crisis. The first thing they did was contact me and let me know what was happening. They were completely sidelined by the issue and began reaching out to me for help.

They asked for Scripture to help them through, anything that would give them answers. So, I gave them a packet of material from the Christian Network I used to work for, which included pamphlets on reading the Bible, becoming a Christian, things that would help them out. They assured me that they had a Bible and had tried to find Scriptures to give them hope, but they were having a difficult time. I gave them Scriptures to start with and encouraged them to continue seeking God’s Word for help. I also gave them information to help in the crisis.

They told me they were planning on going to a local church for a Christmas concert. That alone sent me flying! They haven’t been in church in years! They posted on social media that they had gone and really enjoyed it! Praise God! So, I wrote to them and asked how things were going. They told me they were reading the book of John, a chapter a day, and using Bible study helps to help them get understanding. But, the 17th chapter of John was a little confusing for them. They asked me if I could help them understand. So, I emailed to them and tried to help them understand what the chapter was about.

They also told me that they were continuing to go to the local church where they had gone for the Christmas concert. They told me that they had found the website for the church and they were looking at past sermons. Today, my heart is so full of praise to God! He has answered my prayers. They are actively searching and desiring to be in God’s Word and seeking to be in church to gain more understanding about Who God is and why He loves them so much!

Today my heart was searching for Scripture to Journal to express my joy and gratitude for God’s Faithfulness in answering prayer. I found Psalm 118:21, “I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.”

What a loving, faithful Father we have! He knows our hearts, He knows our desires, He knows our struggles, He knows our joys, and He answers our prayers! He is a Good, Good Father! I’m on the verge of tears! Thank you, Jesus, for being so faithful, for loving my family member so much that You will do anything to draw them back to you. I’m thinking about how I can journal so much joy, and I’m really struggling with what to do. But I know one thing! God is Faithful!

At Christmas time many are in despair. It is not a happy time for them. Many have lost loved ones, some are dealing with depression, or do not have a good relationship with family members and getting together just brings strife. I’m here to tell you that God knows all about it and if you will only tell Him what is on your heart, He will answer! Right now, the song, “You Never Let Go” is playing and it just verifies the fact that God loves us so much that He won’t let go of us and He will answer our prayers, He will walk with us through joy, sorrow, struggles, good times and bad. He is FAITHFUL!