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 

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humble king missing piece

How to Find the Missing Piece in Your Life

excerpted from Humble King – Gracefully Truthful Journey Study

There is a God-shaped hole in our hearts. 

Our family loves Kincaid paintings. Of course, we were never able to purchase a painting, so we did the next best thing; we bought, assembled, and framed puzzles. What an accomplishment to finish the gorgeous pictures by placing the last piece! 

However, my husband enjoyed hiding away a puzzle piece so he could place it into the last open spot. It became a fun routine at our house and the kids went straight to Daddy to find the last piece. 

One Christmas

One Christmas, however, he didn’t take a piece, and yet, one was missing. Initially, the kids didn’t believe him, but eventually, the truth sank in; oh, what a disappointment to have a hole in the middle of the picture, leaving it incomplete! We framed the picture anyway, taking a piece from the unseen edges to try to fill the empty space, but our eyes were immediately drawn to the patched-up place every time we looked at the picture.

The God-Shaped Hole

Just like the unfinished puzzle, there is a hole in our hearts in the shape of God. The piece was removed way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God, separating us all from His Presence. 

Oh, the ache we feel over lost fellowship with God! We know something is missing, but often, we are not sure what (or really, Who). So we might try to fill the emptiness with other pieces like family, love, success, drugs, alcohol. But nothing really fits. 

missing piece
IMage created in canva with a Gracefully Truthful image

There is nothing like having the right puzzle piece.

The following Christmas, as we brought out the decorations, we found the missing puzzle piece! It had somehow fallen off the table into one of the boxes and was stored away. How appropriate to have found the missing piece at Christmas! Just like our family, if we keep searching for God (our hearts’ missing piece), we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jeremiah 29:13 missing piece
image provided by FaithLife

All who accept Christ as their personal Savior have the Holy Spirit living within them, guiding and directing their lives. Indeed, God is with us now, but one day Christ will return to earth, righteous and victorious. He will set up His Kingdom, removing all evil. 

-Mandy

Read the complete devotion at

gracefully truthful
https://www.gracefullytruthful.com/enough-day-11-humble-king/

Making Plans.. But God

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.
Proverbs 16:25, 33

making plans But God

I want to remind you at this point that these are proverbs. That is, they are wise sayings that are typically true. It’s not a hard and fast rule; just usually the way the chips fall.
On the other hand, we can trust that God is in control. In this same chapter, verse 33 states, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”

We Can Be Affected by Others’ Bad Decisions

making plans

God is watching, but He has also given all of us free will. The decisions of others around us can cause our plans to go sour. We are always affected by the waves others are making.
Let me say this: It is always best to seek the will of the Father cause He’s got your back. Even when things go wrong, He sees the whole picture and He can work even better things out because of our troubles. (Romans 8:28)
As an example, let’s look at Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. (Daniel 3) They followed what was right in God’s eyes. They would not bow down to the King’s idol; therefore, they were thrown into the furnace. A Very Hot Furnace, mind you. But God definitely had their backs. There He was right in the middle of the furnace with them. And when the king had them removed from the furnace they didn’t even smell of smoke. The King was so amazed that He worshiped the One True God. (at least for a while)

Sometimes It’s Our Own Fault

There’s this problem of self-righteousness. That is, we actually think we are following God’s plan but we have been deceived by Satan. It “seems” like the right thing to do. But in truth, we are justifying our viewpoint as “the right thing” when we are actually going against God’s plan.

Consider Saul (later Paul, the great missionary). He was educated by Gamaliel, an expert in Jewish law. He knew the letter of the law and was considered a great teacher of the law. Before his conversion, He thought the members of The Way were apostates. He was commissioned to go about and arrest them or even kill them. He was at the stoning of Stephen approving the event.

It important for us to examine our hearts carefully to be sure that we have not twisted the law of God. Studying His Word daily with prayer is the most effective way to keep our focus on God’s plan and not our own ideas of what is right.


How Do Be Sure We Aren’t Self-Righteous?

Stay in the Word – Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Prayer – James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


Be Careful How You Live –

Ephesians 5:15-20 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.


Be Filled with The Holy Spirit – 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

Fellowship with Oher Believers (accountability) – 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,


Praise God – 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Making Plans with God!

Mandy

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ABundt are the things of God

How Abundant are God’s Good Things

I am Confident of This…

19 How great is the goodness
    you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
    blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
    safe from those who conspire against them.

You shelter them in your presence,
    far from accusing tongues.

psalm 31:19-20

Seeing the Good Things of God in the Land of the Living

Oh! How I truly believe that God has so many good things in the land of the living. Don’t you love that word “lavish”? Webster says it means “extending or bestowing profusely.” Wow! that is cool! That is a lot of goodness, my friend. And I am choosing to look for it this year.

Hidden in His Shelter

I am hidden in the shelter. this reminds me again of Psalm 91. God has us in his pavilion. We are protected from all the evil that is going on all around us. That gives me such a feeling of peace inside. I know, no, I am confident that God is going to protect me this year from whatever may come across my path. I am safe in the arms of God!

What About You?

Are you confident that You are His? Do you fear the Lord? This is not a fear of being scared of Him. This is a fear that reverences God. You see the awesomeness of His character and you believe fully in Him. It the love we have for him mentioned in the SHEMA.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Trust in God today with all your heart. If you need more information about following after Him, just follow this link.

Confident in Him;

Mandy

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January Legacy Linkup


Three Things we Gain in God’s Presence

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Yesterday, I received a new book in the mail! 7 Feasts – Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. I’m so excited to dig in. I knew that there was a feast coming up later this month so I thought maybe I should go ahead now and start digging in. Lo and behold, Today is the Feast of Trumpets. Obviously, I decided to jump right into the middle of the book and find out how Christians can find Christ in this Feast.

The use of trumpets for the Jewish faith indicates the Presence of God. Oh, how we need the presence of God. God first came to the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt when they arrived at Mount Sinai. I never really noticed in that passage how the trumpet sounded. Notice the sounding in this passage…

On the third day, when morning came, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and a very loud blast from a ram’s horn, so that all the people in the camp shuddered. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the sound of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.

Exodus 19, csb

I’m reminded also of Isaiah’s meeting with God in the temple. It’s quite awe-inspiring. Read Isaiah 6. We can certainly, see how Isaiah was moved to repent in the presence of God.

What We Find In God’s Presence

three things we find in his presence

But since Christ’s death and resurrection, His Holy Spirit actually lives within us. Here are three benefits we have not that we can live in His Presence daily…

We Have Rest

And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

We Have Joy

You reveal the path of life to me;

in your presence is abundant joy;

at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

psalm 16:11

We Have His Protection

How great is your goodness,

which you have stored up for those who fear you.

In the presence of everyone you have acted

for those who take refuge in you.

You hide them in the protection of your presence;

you conceal them in a shelter

from human schemes,

from quarrelsome tongues.

Psalm 31:19-20
Goodness of GOd in His presence
created in Canva with free images

What blessings these are in this day of trouble. I want to stay in His Presence, don’t you?

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

This Bible study is exciting and moving, even for a seasoned Christian as myself. I get so blessed connecting the traditions set forth by God in the Old Testament to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like the A-Team said at the end of each episode, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Image by chanwit whanset from Pixabay

Names of God

Finding God in the Pain of Life

Do I Know Pain?

Finding God in the pain of life

Yes. I have known pain; as the short, fat girl who was always chosen last to years of chronic pain, to the pain of betrayal and deceit that crushes your soul. I have felt physical pain and emotional pain. But there is something else I have known – I am finding God has become my Faithful Friend.

Over the years, I have found God to come through no matter what kind of pain I might be experiencing. I like to share with you some of the things I have learned through my pain.

Finding God in The Early Years

In those early elementary years, I truly found him as a true friend and the Lifter of my Head. He chose me from the beginning of time as his child. I am grateful to have had an earthy father who showed me the love of The Father. My favorite place to be was in my Daddy’s lap. This helps me see myself, even now, climbing into my Father’s arms anytime and He holds me secure.

The Challenging Teen Years

In those challenging teen years, He showed Himself as my Creator. He gave my value when few others did. He was my Rock and my Deliverer when I was treated unfairly and My Refuge when I needed a place to run.

Early Adult Life

In college and early adulthood, I was far from home. He became my greatest teacher as I grew from trial to trial with grace upon grace. He kept me stable as an Anchor and my Sure Foundation when I wasn’t sure life was worth the trouble He became my Source of Life.

Family Life ~ Ministry Life

As a mother and pastor’s wife, He became my Overcomer as I learned new and sometimes hard lessons. He was my Refiner when I realized that I needed to change my attitude or improve my actions.

When my husband was betrayed by the church and we were turned away, we found Him to be our Promise Keeper, our Joy, our Protector, our Provider.

Finding God In Sickness

And now as I struggle with chronic pain, He is my Great Physician and Healer. Although physically, I haven’t been healed, my spirit is whole. “And He walks with me and talks with me and calls me His own.” He has become my Shepherd, as I quote Shepherd’s Psalm when I face sleepless nights or facing a painful injection or procedure. I recently found this new life verse:

Psalm 73:26; pain of life
created by Mandy in Canva.com

Through it all, He is the God that Sees Me. He knows exactly where I am and what is happening. He holds me in the palm of His hands. In fact, he has inscribed my name there and I am safe! (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Friend, No matter what pain you may be feeling today, I urge you to seek Him in your pain because He can be found just as He promised.

Feeling Your Pain,

Mandy Farmer

I had the privilege of writing more on this topic for Karen “Girl” Friday today. Click here to read more.

Free Downloadable

Visit Deborah Haddix who also wrote about the Names of Jesus this week. She offers a free downloadable Names of Jesus Study Challenge

Mighty Fortress

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:

Martin Luther

Over at Gracefully Truthful,[GT] we just finished a study on some of the Names of God {HE}. I love these studies because we get to know God so much deeper. We realize how He truly is an amazing God is and how He can be all things for us. If you don’t see Him in one name, go on to another. Trust me, if you seek Him, He will be found.

A mighty Fortress
created by Mandy in Canva

I wrote for GT on El Gibbor ~ Mighty God. I hope you will find a moment to go and read. In the meantime, that study got my thinking about our Almighty God. I was reminded of this old hymn written by none other than Martin Luther. Do you remember it?

Read through the lyrics of A Mighty Fortess

What attributes of God are meaningful to you today? Does this song give you victory as you face the evils of today? It does for me!

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

A Mighty Fortress is our God, Martin Luther

Enjoy this arrangement of A Mighty Fortress by David Wesley and Recorded by Christians around the World

One Extra Note

If you would like to be a part of his next virtual choir. Listen for instructions at the end of the above video. Submissions are due by the end of June.

Sing to Him;

Mandy Farmer
Mighty God

Mighty God, Please Stop the Madness


The Madness.

Earthquakes. Raging Fires. Hurricanes, Flooding, Food Shortages, Pandemic diseases. Riots in the Streets. When does it stop Lord?

If you love us wouldn’t you save us from these evil times?

You are mighty to save, we know you can do it. [Zephaniah 3:17]

Where is God when you need Him?

God IS a Mighty God

MIghty God El Gibbor

It is true. God is a mighty God. His mightiness is seen in the heavens. [Psalm 19:1] With a word, He created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1] While in space, Astronaut John Glenn said, “To look at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is impossible”.  

Throughout the Bible, we read about God using His might to save the people. He destroyed evil with a flood; He saved the Israelites from Egypt with His might by sending plagues and finally led the people through the Red Sea, drowning the Egyptian army. Then He walked in the fire with the Hebrew children saving their lives and showing His might.

Again and Again, He showed up with great power. So why not now?

He Sent Jesus to Save us

The prophet Isaiah pronounced that God would send a savior, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

Consequently, the Israelites expected the Messiah to come as Mighty God, a warrior to overthrow their enemies and to set up His Kingdom.  But God had something different in mind. The Messiah came humble, meek, and mild. The Israelites could not grasp this plan of God. 

God’s Ultimate Plan to Save

The Mighty God indeed had the power to set up His kingdom at that time. With just a Word, He calmed the seashealed the sick, and raised the dead; however, these miracles were only to show us that He was indeed Mighty God. This was not His ultimate purpose.

What man really needed was not a rescue from slavery and tyranny. It was not for better health or wealth or to even have “peace on earth”. What man really needed was redemption from sin.  

God showed up in all His might that Easter morning when He raised Jesus up from the grave, defeating the power of sin and death.

Mandy Farmer
what God wants is to remove our stony hearts and give us tender, responsive hearts. #mightGod #mightytosave Click To Tweet

Interested in More About Our Mighty God?

Join me at Gracefully Truthful, a women’s online Bible study, where I have written in more depth about

HE: El Gibhor, The Mighty God

My post for the above-mentioned study will publish at Gracefully Truthful on Friday, June 19. But this link is good today and tomorrow on the Name of God, El Olam: Everlasting God

We Sometimes Link Up With these Blogs

Angy God Loving God

The Difference Between God’s Wrath and Man’s Anger

Questions about God

angry God Loving God
image credit free photo Pixabay

It is often asked, “Why is God so angry in the Old Testament and so loving in the New Testament?” But if we look closely we will find that God shows a lot of love in the Old Testament. And indeed, we can find His anger in the New as well. So possibly, we need to understand the difference between God’s wrath and man’s anger.

Let’s Dig into God’s Wrath vs. Man’s Anger

Man’s wrath most often comes from being wronged or misunderstood. It is usually motivated by selfishness and focuses on punishing, hurting, or destroying people while perpetuating, or justifying one’s own sin and selfishness.

GT Angry Loving God

God’s Word says, “…the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”. (James 1:19-20) Notice the connection between understanding and anger found in Proverbs 17:27, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”

The wrath of God is righteous anger. It is “revealed from heaven” (verse 18). God is holy and righteous, and He cannot be in the presence of sin and evil. He is angered at the evil ways man has chosen to follow while He upholds all that is right and just. He is angered because He loves His people deeply, but sin has separated Him from mankind. (Isaiah 59:2)

Man’s Attempt to Live a Pure Life

Under the law of the Old Testament, man could not live a righteous life because they would always fail to perfectly keep the whole law. The law reminded them daily of their sin. They felt the guilt and the wrath of God every time they broke the law.

Every year they would return to the temple with sacrifices to atone for their sin as they asked God to forgive them. But it didn’t stick because the blood of animals can never atone for sin completely, only a perfect sacrifice could do that. (Hebrews 10:4) Sin and its guilt always returned. (Hebrews 10:2-4)

But under grace in the New Testament, there is forgiveness once and for all because Christ, as the perfect sacrifice, gave Himself for us. (Hebrews 9:26) There is no condemnation for our sins when we are in Christ! (Romans 8:1-4)

Christ, the High Priest, has opened the way for us to be completely forgiven, once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of this Covenant of Grace, God’s love seems more prominent than His Righteous anger.

Do you have questions about God and the Bible? Follow the Questions study at Gracefully Truthful this month for some answers. If you would like to dig deeper on the subject of God’s anger, continue reading my post at Gracefully Truthful Online Bible Studies for Women this week under the theme – Questions. My study will continue on Thursday, March 5th on GT.

Mandy Farmer