Our Value to God = PRICELESS!

Our Value to God = PRICELESS!
"Allow God to place His own values." - A.W. Tozer

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Waiting on God

Psalm 27:4 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Throughout history God’s people have had to wait on Him. From the time when God instructed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and it took them 40 years, to now when women take 9 months to have a baby, we have all experienced the __trial__ of waiting on God. People are waiting on God as they wait for their medical diagnosis. Students waiting for their test scores. People in pain waiting for their trial to be over. Or simply waiting on God for the next season of life to begin. The list goes on and on. No matter what season of life we are in, we are always waiting on God in some way.

I remember as a child wanting so bad to be an adult so I could stay up late and do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. As human beings, we do not like to wait. We often grumble and complain, trying to rush through the waiting period. Even waiting for a phone to charge or a stoplight to change causes us frustration. We stress and we rush when we don’t have all the details.

We live in a world that is filled with the consumer mentality: We want what we want and we want it right NOW! However, what we must remember is that while we are in a hurry, God is usually not. Take the story of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus was sick. After Lazarus died, Jesus came and the two sisters accused Jesus of taking too long. (see John 11)

But as much as we hate it, there is so much good that comes from our times of waiting.

5 Reasons for & Benefits of Our Waiting:
1. Preparation & Development 
Babies, for example, must develop and physically mature before they are brought into this world and can survive on their own.  Waiting allows us the time to change. It builds patience and character.  When we wait for small things, this leads to patience in the bigger things. Moses was brash and impatient, but his time of waiting allowed him to become a great leader.

Romans 5:3-4 “ Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

2. Builds Anticipation
We cherish things more when we have to wait for them.

James 1:4 “…let patience have her perfect work.”

3. It Is Wise
Too often we make foolish decisions in the heat of the moment and later feel regret because we did not seek God first or wait on Him.

Just as God is patient with us (forgiving us time and time again and giving us time to become more like Him), we should be patient with God and trust that He is still at work even when we don’t see immediate results.

4. Builds Intimacy with God
Waiting on God leads us back to Him by reminding us of our dependence on Him and that He is ultimately in control of every area of our lives. It allows us time to surrender to God’s story. No matter how much we stress and worry and try to rush through the waiting period, life runs by God’s watch and not our own.

People who have had the most success eternally are those who have the most intimacy and dependence on God.

Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
    to the one who seeks Him.”

5. God’s Story of Redemption
God is writing a bigger, redemptive story than we could ever imagine. And this story does not revolve around us, but rather around God alone. Our individual stories are part of a grander story where God is the Author. God uses the waiting room to rescue us from our own plans and the little kingdoms we have created for ourselves.

Waiting is not a sign that the world is out of control, but rather it is a sign that the world is under the care of a wise, loving, and all-powerful God. This means we can rest while we wait, because we can trust that God is working His story for our Eternal good and for His glory.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

So what?

What to Do in The Waiting Room:
1. Rest in God
Trust in His purposes and His timing.

Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

2. Serve the Lord
Don’t wait for God to fulfill your desire before you serve Him.

3. Prepare Yourself
Prepare yourself for what God is preparing for you.

4. Be Obedient (to what He has already shown you)

5. Receive it with Joy!
Rejoice and be grateful.

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait, but what you will become as you wait. God is just as much interested in the journey as He is the destination.

What we must note is that we learn some of life’s greatest lessons from delayed gratification. The Lord promises to reward those who submit to His timing. We may never fully understand why we are in the waiting room, but the good news is that God never asks us to wait without Him.

Waiting on God is what many of us would consider a trial, but it is actually a ___blessing___ from God.

While I’m Waiting by John Waller

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A New Season of Whispers from God

John 15:4-17
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.”

The question God convicted me of last night was this: If we aren’t changing, turning more into the likeness of Christ, then how does that help others? How do we change the world? How will God ever be glorified through our lives? It can’t. We can’t! He can’t!!! God reminded me that we must be continually be surrendering to His Will and opening our heart to Him if we ever plan to make a difference in the lives of others for Christ. We are nothing without Him. Without His love.

God’s Word says, “We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Christ is the ultimate source of love. Unless we are in His Word and on our knees in humble prayer, we cannot see His face and we cannot be overwhelmed with His love for others.

We ask, “Where is the love in this world? Where is the compassion?”

The answer is that we have left it at the foot of the Cross. The love we are looking for is the love God intended for us to extend to others. Sadly, for generations we, yes even us believers, have continued to turn our backs on the one true God, our Father and Creator. We have rebelled against His commands and against His guidance, while chasing after life on our own terms. As a result, we have ultimately caused our own pain and destruction.

But God says we can do life another way. In John 15 (the first Bible passage I used in this devotional) we see the promise God made for us even before He created us. He says that if we seek Him above all else and draw close to Him, He will be with us. He will fill the deepest places of our hearts and transform us to become more like Him.

The question remains…
How long will we refuse His love?

…..How long will YOU?

“I Am Nothing” – Shawn McDonald

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Elevation Church: Found Favor (Part 2)

Read Nehemiah 1:11, 2:4-6, 18; 1 Samuel 2:26

These are just a few stories of where God's people find favor with Him - even at a young age!

God's hand is on us in a special way, even before we know it!

Just like Esther found favor and saved a great nation, you too can affect everybody around you by finding favor with God.

Jesus is the ultimate example of God's favor for us.

Luke 2:52 - "Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people."

Pastor Steven Furtick's (Pastor of Elevation Church) definition of favor:

The favor of God is the guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose in and through your life.

When you've found favor with God, you have the confidence that God is with you and for you to accomplish everything He's called you to do. You have the divine ability to seize opportunity and overcome opposition, because Jesus is fighting for you.

Unfortunately often when people ask for the favor of God, they expect favors from God. We can't pay Him back. Favor isn't fair. Fairness ended when Jesus died on the Cross and took our sins on His back. You don't want to play the favor game according to fairness. Favor isn't fair and you don't want it to be.

Favor is God deciding to be good to you just because He wants to be good to you and He wants to show the world who He is through your life.

God is fighting for you and the devil doesn't stand a chance against a child of God! :)

With God's favor your life WILL get harder - how else would God show His power over your circumstances if your life wasn't hard? God doesn't give you His favor for your convenience. He gives you His favor for His purpose to accomplish it through your life. God shows us favor not to make our lives easier, but to make His presence in our lives even bigger and more real so His purpose can be fulfilled.

Jesus found favor with God and it led Him to the Cross. With favor we learn to endure, trust, and have faith in God.

When we seek God's favor we will find it. You don't have to feel God's favor in order to find it.

"God's not going to give you the kind of help you're asking for because He wants to give you more help than any human can give. He Himself wants to be your source." - Holly Furtick, wife of Pastor Steven Furtick

Elevation Church: Found Favor (Part 1)

Exodus 33:12-13

Moses talking to God: "...I have found favor with you... don't forget that this nation is Your very own people."

We should do this too - give to God what is His; Our families are His to do with what He wants, similarly are our lives, ministries, careers, etc.

When we show dependency to God as Moses did here, we will find His favor.

vs.14-16 We see Moses saying/admitting He can't take a single step without God - DEPENDENCE!

God's favor on His people distinguishes us from everyone else (see vs. 16).

**God's favor gives you an opportunity, but your response and obedience determines whether or not you will seize it.**

The Bible is an anthology - the story of who God is.

Favor is not a formula. It doesn't always work "like this" or "like that." God cannot be contained to a formula. If someone is struggling, that does not mean they don't have God's blessing or favor. (See the Book of Job) In Job, God trusted Job enough that Job would stay faithful to Him even in great struggle.

Here are a few Pastor's opinions of what favor means:

"Favor is God doing for you what you can't do yourself."

"Favor is God's goodness displayed in an individual's life in such a way that only He can get the credit."

"Favor is a relationship with God of great confidence where no matter what you know that with God you're going to come out on top."

"Favor is the acceptance, approval, and assistance of God awarded to us through the finished work of Jesus."

"Favor is God graciously working to optimize your life and your circumstances for your good and His glory."

Whoever God used in the Bible found favor with Him before He even used them.

Examples: Genesis 6:8 Noah

12 - Abraham: God blessed Abraham so that he, in return, could be a blessing to others

18 - Abraham prayed that he would find favor in the sight of God

God's favor is not limited to any circumstance or situation. God's favor can find you wherever you are and bless you even in the hardest times of your life.

Read Ruth 2:10

Similarly to Ruth, people who find favor with God can't even believe they are where they are and they know it's the Lord that got them there.

When you find God's favor it doesn't make you arrogant; it makes you humble. When people say they have God's favor, they're acknowledging their dependence on Him and saying it's Him who got them where they are. It's arrogant not to say this.

When you find favor with God, it's about realizing you're already blessed and that He wants to bless you even more! :)

LifeChurch.tv Sermon Notes - Because of You

The local church is the hope of the world.

Mission statement of LifeChurch: to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ

1 Thessalonians 3:7-9

"We have been greatly comforted...because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life, knowing you remain strong in the Lord. How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God."

When you walk in obedience to God, you're not surprised by the miracles of God.

It's impossible to please God without faith.

We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The Church does not exist for us. We are The Church and we exist for the world.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love & Respect: Chapter 1 (Part 1)

Getting on the Crazy Cycle is all too easy. Recognizing that you're on the Crazy Cycle and learning how to keep it from spinning out of control is possible if husband and wife can learn how to meet each other's basic needs for love and respect.

Unfortunately, when a wife feels her husband is unloving, her usual approach is to complain and criticize in order to motivate her husband to become more loving. However, this usually proves about as successful as trying to sell brass knuckles to Mother Teresa.

Husbands are generally assured of their wives' love. Nevertheless, when wives show dislike, he interprets it as disrespect and even contempt. So the husband decides he will motivate his wife to become more respectful by acting in unloving ways. You see where this is going... it's a vicious cycle!

In regards to Ephesians 5:33, God commands wives to respect their husbands without conditions.

To say the least, doing something when you don't really feel you want to do it is counterintuitive. Therefore, this passage must be acted out in faith. God has ordained that wives respect their husbands as a method to win husbands to Himself. As a husband opens his spirit to God, he reopens his spirit to his wife. No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect.

Wives want their husbands to appreciate how much she loves him, and she yearns to feel more love from him. The best way to love a husband is to show him respect in ways that are meaningful to him. Such respect lets him feel his wife's love for him and ignites in him feelings of love for his wife.

End note: Keep things light - this releases tension.

Love & Respect: Chapter 1 (Part 1)

Part 1: The Crazy Cycle

Without Love - She Reacts - Without Respect - He Reacts

Chapter 1 - The Simple Secret to a Better Marriage

"Those who marry will face many troubles in this life..." (1 Corinthians 7:28)

This is why communication is so important!

You can be right but wrong at the top of your voice.

Tension has a way of tearing down your self-image.

"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." - Ephesians 5:33

The Love & Respect Connection is the key to any problem in a marriage.

How the need for love and the need for respect play off one another in a marriage has everything to do with the kind of marriage you will have.

A husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey this command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love. A husband is even called to love a disrespectful wife, and a wife is called to respect an unloving husband. There is no justification for a husband to say, "I will love my wife after she respects me," nor a wife to say, "I will respect my husband after he loves me."

When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband. When a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. Similarly, when a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband.

If husband and wives do not learn how to control this "Crazy Cycle," it will just go round and round and where it stops nobody knows.