understanding God's Timing

Understanding and Accepting God’s Timing

I was privileged to write for Gracefully Truthful on waiting. There is so much to learn about understanding and accepting God’s timing. I offer a piece of my study here; but, please read it all at Gracefully Truthful (link at the bottom)

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Fatalism vs Grace

Some people today, especially those without Christ, take on the same fatalistic approach as Solomon. “Que Sera, Sera – What will be, will be”.  Fatalism is a doctrine teaching that events are fixed in advance and human beings are powerless to change them. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) We might as well live life and accept what happens because there is nothing we can do to alter it.

This viewpoint leaves no room for God’s mercy and grace. It says God’s will as primary. They say,

“If it’s not God’s will for me to be saved, I won’t be saved.”  

(J. Vernon McGee)

In their eyes, God neither hears nor answers prayer. As Christians, we know it’s God’s grace, mercy, and love that bring us joy. We know we can talk with God, pray about our sorrows, and through prayer, effect change. He is the one who brings true peace to the human heart.

So, is it acceptable to question God?

In short, “YES”! The prophet Habakkuk questioned God about His timing and plans, “

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? 

He was not rebuked for his questions; his questions were patiently answered.  (Habakkuk 1:5-11)

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.

Understanding God’s Timing

God may not answer our questions in the manner or timeline we want, but, if our questioning is sincere, He will give us understanding and unfathomable peace. When we look back on our life, we will see that God’s timing is beautiful. I’m reminded of this prayer set to music by Maranatha Music.

“In His time, in His time. He makes all things beautiful in His time

Lord please show me every day as you’re teaching me your way

That you do just what you say in your time.”

Accepting God’s Timing

When my husband was forced from his job and we needed to move from our home and take early retirement, we wondered,

“God, what in the world are you doing?”

Sure, we had been praying about a change, but this wasn’t what we had in mind. We could only see what was plausible in the “mind of man.” But now, six years down the road, we have more understanding of God’s plans.

1) We now live near three of our children & their families,

2) we are in fellowship with several life-long friends than have been a great support to us,

3) we are within driving distance to doctors who treat my chronic illness, and

4) our daughter met and married a wonderful Christian man and they are in ministry together.

There’s more, but you get the picture. We didn’t know the plans of God whose purposes are so much more amazing than anything we could have considered. We held to prayers as Habakkuk did,

How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence, and you do not save? Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

And God answered,

Look …. be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.” (Habakkuk 1:1-5)

Continue Reading at Gracefully Truthful

Other Devotions on God’s Timing

How Distant is Your God?

How Abundant are God’s Good Things

Be Happy and Celebrate 

Want More Devotions Like This?

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Avoiding Spiritual Drift

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19-20

Drifting from safety

When my children were small, my greatest fear was taking them shopping. My son stayed right by my side, but my daughter was the curious type. She wanted to see everything. And it would only take a moment for her to wander away from me. She was a tiny thing and could get easily hidden within a rack of clothes. I would be frantic.

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Think before you speak

A Tribute to a Friend with Brain Cancer

A Godly Woman

I’m inspired by a godly woman from our church, Delores. A year or so before my illness, she ultimately healed from stage 4 brain cancer. She was a vivacious lady around 60 years old living life to the full. She and her husband ran the local annual rodeo and a western store. 

One Saturday evening, she laid down because she had a headache. The next thing you know, she was having a full-blown seizure. Soon afterward, we learned it was cancer. I have never seen someone have such a positive attitude. It was the most beautiful thing to see. She spoke life to the entire church during her journey to heaven. She would always tell us, “I’m just along for the ride.”

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creation groans

All Creation Groans For Our Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility–not willingly, but because of him who subjected it–in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:18-23

What were the sufferings of the present time and what future glory was Paul speaking of? vs18

Persecution of the church began from the very start of the church. Immediately in Acts we find the temple police and the Sadducees putting the apostles in prison (Acts 4) and stoning the Christians, including Stephen. (Acts 7) Some of this was in the leadership of Saul (later Paul).

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When Life Has Dealt You a Bad Hand

We tend to get this idea in our heads that Christian leaders have everything in perfect order; that they are always holding a good hand. We think that they have had a great Christian life and have never been tempted to sin or been through troubled times. But this is far from the truth. When we look through scripture we find that God oftentimes chooses the weak or the least expected to do mighty things for Him.

Where the Light Felll

I have said many times that we need to have more times of testimony. Times when we share about our troubles and weakness. And then also to share how God has gone through the fire with us. How can others be encouraged or know that God is an amazing God when we aren’t sharing these things?

As I picked up Phillip Yancey’s memoir, Where the Light Fell, I found the story of his life heartbreaking. But I learned some things in my reading that I will share with you today.


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kindness

How Kindness Leads to Redemption

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:4

God’s Nature is Kind, Tolerant, and Patient

The Amplified Version of Romans 2:4 describes the riches of God as “kind, tolerant, and patient; withholding His wrath.” Paul is reminding the saints of how God’s kindness led them to repentance. How He gently, drew the Romans to Himself, waiting patiently for them to turn to Him.

God is Long-Suffering

David knew of His patience and loving-kindness. It has been over a year when Nathan confronted his sin, David begged the Lord to restore fellowship with Him. The first thing David said was, “Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.” (Psalm 51:1

God’s Loving-Kindness is for Anyone

God did deal with him according to His loving-kindness and He still does for us. This kindness was not just extended to David but to anyone who would repent and turn from their sin.  My heart cannot grasp how good, kind, and patient God has been, not just to His own people, Israel, but for all of us.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –

Mark Twain.

Living Like Jesus Points Us to God

It is something that touches the soul of man. Our lifestyle will draw men to Christ. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “be kind… compassionate … forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you.

To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,.. Let your speech always be with grace, … seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person”.

Living like Jesus draws men to Himself. It causes one to “want some of that”. And when they ask us what is different about us, we should be “ready to make a defense… to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”.

How to Have More Kindness

In conclusion, while kindness may come more naturally for some, true kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit. It develops out of our willingness to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit. In her book, Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz writes,

“While you have the Holy Spirit within you, the cooperation of your full surrender, obedience, and faith is required to activate it.”

She quotes Dr. Alan Redpath, Moody Church,

“it is a moment-by-moment surrender to the moment-by-moment control of the Holy Spirit”

(qtd. Alan Redpath, The Making of a Man of God: Lessons from the Life of David,9)

It is a daily commitment to rise in the morning and give your day to the Lord. It makes all the difference.

Dig Deeper into Romans 2:4

I am privileged to share my studies at Gracefully Truthful. Click through to read more.

kindness
peace of God

How to Know the Peace of God

Isaiah26.3.IG

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

I was born on a Wednesday.

The following Sunday, I was in church and nearly every Sunday since then. My family was one who found themselves at church every time the doors were open. We also had family devotions … often. Sometimes this was at breakfast, other times, in the evening before bed. Every summer, we attended Holiness Camp .. even though we had a dairy farm to run, these times were not ignored or skipped. But these things, in themselves, did not save my soul. They were instrumental, but I had to make the decision to follow Christ myself. Each person must trust in Christ. Each one must personally make the decision to follow Him. As it is often said,

“God has no grandchildren.”

You cannot enter heaven on the coattails of your parents.

Trusting in Christ Will Cause You to Know Peace.

I think it was Rev Kelsey at Bethany UMC in Canton, Ohio that would end every sermon with a prayer that said something like “If there is anyone who has not responded to your call to salvation, let him have NO PEACE until he does so.”  I did not appreciate this prayer. I felt it was an attack on me. Until the day I walked the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus.

During my teen years, a bumper sticker came out that said:

By then I had given my life fully to the Lord and I really could appreciate the fact that peace comes from knowing Christ. That prayer by my pastor has stuck with me and it’s a prayer that I use as I pray for my children and my siblings’ children, “That they may know peace”. I pray that God will give them no peace until they surrender their lives fully to him. I pray that the sin in their lives will become so distasteful that they cannot enjoy it. And, instead, it will recall to them the things they learned growing up. And that they will be drawn to the Prince of Peace.

More Thoughts on Peace

I was recently honored to write about the Peace of God for the Gracefully Truthful Community. Click and follow the link below to read more thoughts on the peace of God.

 

-Mandy

PeaceofGod.pin

The God Who Fights For You

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17
God Fights for You
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Throughout the Bible we see that the godly are not exempt from troubles; however, God is always near to us. He is ever watching and He will help us through. Isaiah always shared comfort in that God was walking through those trials with us. He hears our cries and He provides what is needed as we go THROUGH the trial.

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not shaken

Even in the Night, I Will Not Be Shaken

Shaken to my Core

If you knew me in my young years, you know that I could have been the Dairy Poster Child. I grew up on a family dairy farm. Once I left the farm, it seemed that there was nothing to talk about but cows. There was nothing like a tall glass of fresh milk right from the bulk tank. It’s what I missed the most, I think. It took me a while to get past the taste of pasteurized milk and I didn’t dare drink 2% milk. When I visited a friend’s home, they offered milk, I would ask, “Is it whole milk?”

So when I learned that I have osteoporosis. It was quite a shock to me. For a day or two, I really could not grasp how it could be that my bones are not strong; that I was at risk for fractures and breakage. Adding this to all my other diagnoses was more than I could bear. Like David, I cried out to God, “How long, oh Lord? I can’t take any more problems. Please no more pain.”

God Speaks

Since I had morning appointments that day, I didn’t get to sit down with the Lord until that afternoon. (Maybe that is why I was so shaken… I had not invited Him into my day yet.) Anyway, God began giving me messages all day. As I did my study with Gracefully Truthful, He said to me, “I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Thank you, Lord, for this reassurance. I began singing this song the rest of the day.

Encouragement from Friends

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

They may have not known that what they shared was for me, but it was. All through the day, I received gracious words just at the right time. Have you ever seen a cross-section of a bone? It’s like a honeycomb. Unless you have osteoporosis… then it’s more like swiss cheese. See National Osteoporosis Foundation

The words of my friends were like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Friends offered up prayers. Sometimes it was just sharing a quote or scripture. They had no idea that God inspired them to share it for my purpose. That night my dear friend at Alabaster Girls post this prayer.

Father, I am loved by You, an extraordinary God, a good, good Father. Your love makes life worth living. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow.

You are my peace.

Thank You for Your grace that truly is sufficient to carry me through the difficult places. I don’t like the difficult places, Lord — You know that. And yet I find You there. You draw near and strengthen me. You pour out Your love on me and it quiets me, giving me strength.Help me keep my eyes on You, Lord.

In Your presence I find joy, courage, and the tenacity I need to keep moving forward.

Bless You, Lord. What a wonderful God You are.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Nan Trammel Jones, The Alabaster Girls

But I Still Tossed and Turned for Many Nights

All these things and more I have known since my youth. I know that God will not abandon me. I know He will see me through. But I am tired and my pain has been unbearable lately. Just the pain alone was waking me up and then my mind would start running away wondering what would happen next.

One of the girls from The Alabaster Girls group had friended me earlier that week but I was not “in the mood” to talk with a new person. She was from halfway around the world. And I wasn’t sure of her connection to me at that point. She kept gently prodding me to respond to her. But I like being the encourager and I didn’t have it in me to chat with someone new. Then she sent an audio clip… She sang “Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” And tears came to my eyes. It was my prayer. We chatted and I shared a bit of my story. She promised to pray for me.

Preaching to myself

On the second day, I saw the writing prompt for Five Minute Fridays – “STRONG”. I wondered, “Could I write about strong bones when it was so raw to me?” In the past, I have looked through my old posts to see if there was anything I could update and share. And there it was “When I am weak, He is Strong”. As part of that post, I shared an old hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint. I didn’t know it then, but Annie was orphaned as a child, and by her teens suffered severe arthritis and was soon wheelchair-bound. I’m learning more and more that it is those who go through great trials that have the most beautiful poetry and songs. Do you know her hymn, He Giveth More Grace”. That’s the grace God is giving me.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done

when we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun

He GIveth More Grace, Annie Johnson Flint

I Will Not be Shaken

Finally, I stumbled on this scripture which woke me up to realize that God has got this. I do not need to be shaken. It is quite appropriate with words like: “even at night”, “my thoughts trouble me”, “I will not be shaken”, “my whole being rejoices”, “my body rests securely”, “You will not abandon me”, “You will not allow your faithful one to see decay”.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Psalm 16:7-8

I Need to Memorize This Verse and Quote it in my Bed at Night

Interesting that just last year, verse 11 was my verse for the year. I should have read more of the context, eh?

A Word For You

Don’t allow the old devil to get you shaken. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus for in His presence we have abundant joy!

Mandy

5 Steps Toward Joy in Adversity

It’s easy to lose our joy in the world we live in. 

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on November 10, 2016 
 

Just watch the news or even just look at your own life, your failures, your unfulfilled dreams, the junk that life is throwing at you, and boom! you’ve fallen into the pit of despair. But I believe that we have a choice whether we stay there in the muck or find joy in the moment. The apostle Paul wrote of that joy sitting in a prison in Philippi. (Philippians 1:3-7) So if he can do it .. we can do it! Right? 

But how can we have joy in adversity? 

That is the question. And that is what I have been searching for this year. Let me share a few steps I am learning to take … 

1. Understand that joy and happiness are NOT the same things. 

You can have both or you can have one but not the other. The difference is the source. Happiness is a result of some outside force. It is dependent on our “happenstance”. We are happy because of what is “happening” to us. We are happy the day we graduate or get married or when we receive a gift. But joy is much different. It comes from inside of us. The scripture says … 

 The Lord is my strength and shield. 

    I trust him with all my heart. 

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. 

    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) 

If you take a look at the context of this verse (as with many of the Psalms) you will find that David was crying out to God. His circumstances were anything but good. He had enemies all around him, yet .. he was “bursting out in songs of thanksgiving”. Wow! Just knowing that the Lord was with him was enough to sustain him, to keep his joy. 

Steps Toward Joy Through Adversity: Understand #Joy and #Happiness are NOT the same Click To Tweet

2. Read a Psalm every day. 

As I mentioned before, nearly every Psalm begins with distress, speaking out the trouble he was in; but before he gets done, he is praising the Lord. There is nothing better for us than having an example set before us and the Psalms are it. Read one every day and you will be reminded of how awesome our God is. How much He loves you. 

3. Praise the Lord. 

We were created for praise. God made us for this sole purpose.

Psalm 148 says ” let every created being praise the Lord.”

Praise opens the door of communication with God. And that is what He desires. Being in His presence, in communication with Him fills us with joy. If we start looking for something to praise the Lord for, we will find it. There is always something to praise him for. I am reminded of a song the Imperials sang many years ago. “Praise the Lord“. It said,

‘When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams … Praise the Lord.” Every word of this song is on target. 

Praise the Lord by The Imperials

Let’s go back to that prison in Philippi.

Paul and Silas began praising the Lord. What happened next? An earthquake opened the prison doors, broke their chains, and ultimately the prison guard and his family were saved. That’s what happens when others see us being victorious in and through our struggles. We are always wanting God to take us out of the situation, but maybe God has placed us there to bring others to Him. 

4. Additionally, Give Joy to Others. 

shut-in crochet joy in adversity

I recall when I was single and lived far from home and family. I would get lonesome and depressed. So I would call home. Mom told me time and again, to get out and do something for someone else and it would help. You see when you give joy to others it comes right back to you. It’s one of those “reap what you sew” ideals. If we go around complaining and grumbling, we get grumbling and complaining in return. When we start doing for others and see the joy it gives them, guess what, we find that the joy rubs off on us! 

Since my health began to fail, I took up crocheting again. I learn to crochet way back in high school through the 4-H program. Never really got the hang of it. But I decided to give it a try once again. But I need a reason to crochet. So I started looking for who I could make something for. First there was a new baby, then a wedding. Then I decided I would make a shawl for all our shut-ins. That has kept me plenty busy. But here’s the catch … the absolute best part. When I finish a shawl. I can hardly wait to give it away. I am beside myself while I watch them open the package and take out the gift. And it’s not just a blessing that one moment. every time I see them, they speak again of how they love the shawl! And there it is .. abundant joy! 

5. Finally, some practical advice … 

A. Eat right. I know we don’t like to hear it; however, our tendency when we get down is to go eat a bucket of ice cream! Come on , you know it’s true. And I’m not saying that you can never eat ice cream. But do it with moderation. Slow down and eat a few bites. Be sure to enjoy it. And then get right back to eating right. 

B. Get your vitamins. Most of us are vitamin and nutrient deficient. So eat those fruits and vegetables. Resist the grains, bread, sugary desserts. You may need to have your doctor check some of those vitamin levels, such as Vitamin Bs and D. 

C. Spend some time outside EVERY day. Soak up some natural vitamin D. Take in God’s beautiful world. 

D. Do what your doctor says. Take you medications faithfully. 

E. Exercise. (Did I have to mention that one?)  Sorry. But it can help you feel better! 

Okay. I am #preachingtomyself here. But maybe you can come along for the ride and find your joy too! 

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