Devotions Archives

Not to Be Ministered Unto

Ladies,
I’ve had this tract in my files for years. I remember reading it years ago and feeling very convicted. As I was recently preparing a devotion, I came across it again. I was thrilled when I found it on the web. I hope it is a blessing to you and you can use it as you minister.

                                        WHAT MADE YOU CROSS?
                                               J.H. HORSBURGH, M. A.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

A great fact is here stated concerning the Son of Man. The speaker is our Lord Himself, who in this, as in all matters, left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

                                                   THE INCIDENT
The incident that gave rise to His words is a sad one. Two of His disciples, James and John, wanted to be ministered unto by being granted the chief places in His glory (Mark 10:35-37). When the others heard it, they were highly indignant, for they wanted to be ministered unto by having the chief places themselves. But out of the ferment the Lord brought good. He made it an occasion to remind His disciples that they were not of the world, and that their distinguishing mark must be lowliness and readiness to serve one another.

                                          THE MASTER’S EXAMPLE
“Jesus called them unto Him” (Mark 10:42). Notice the tenderness and pathos here. He had been telling the Twelve about Himself — of the awful betrayal, the cruel sufferings and indignity, the shameful death that awaited Him at Jerusalem (Mark 10:32-34). Surely their hearts are melted? Nay, they seem unable to think of Him. They begin to quarrel among themselves as to who should be the greatest. Picture their flushed faces, their angry tones, their violent gestures! “But Jesus called them unto Him,” and gently quelled the storm. Earthly rulers, He tells them, exercise lordship over others: “but so shall it not be among you: but whosoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, and whosoever of you desires to be first must be the bondslave of all, for even the Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45). In a word, “remember that you are My disciples. The disciple must be as his Master.”

                             “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO”
Evidently this is something which closely concerns us all if we are Jesus’ disciples. It tells us something of what spirit we should have and what our life ought to be today and every day.

The passage tells us that the Son of Man came to minister. This is a great subject. It is not that incidentally He ministered unto a few or too many; but He came to minister. It was His set purpose.

But this wonderful passage tells us something else about the Son of Man. He “came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.”

We are apt to slur over this, to forget it or perhaps to pass it by altogether unnoticed. The disciples of Jesus are to be “even as the Son of Man” in coming to minister. Yes, and the disciples of Jesus are to be “even as the Son of Man” in coming “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO.”

                                      A PERSONAL TESTIMONY
If a word of personal testimony may be allowed, I should like to say this. In the ups and downs, the wear and tear of daily life, there are few passages of Scripture, which search me as this does. It convicts, rebukes, and condemns me. It is always finding me out! It seems to knock me over at every turn! And, yet, how it encourages, quiets, strengthens, comforts, and helps me!

                                  COMING TO BE MINISTERED
This coming to be ministered unto is the spirit that is in the world. It is at the bottom of disagreements in the nursery, fights in the school, quarrels among private individuals, wars among nations. And, alas! not only in the world is this spirit prevalent but in the Church also. As Christians we do not adequately realize–perhaps we hardly realize at all–how much of sin and failure, how much of vexation and discontent, how much of peevishness and irritability, how much of discord and unhappiness in our lives is due to our COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, instead of coming not to be ministered unto.

Are we not too often cross, vexed, rasped, indignant? Sometimes we show it by a foolish exhibition of temper; sometimes we restrain ourselves, but there the nasty feeling is! And why? — in all probability because we have come to be ministered unto and have been disappointed.

The fact is, we are always wanting to be ministered unto by people, by circumstances, by fortune (“luck,” perhaps you call it), by the weather, by something. To be ministered unto is so natural, so necessary, so proper! We have been brought up to expect it. And if we are thwarted, as we often are, we are apt to get cross, sulky, moody, nervous, and perhaps end by making ourselves miserable, and others too.

How different it would be if, like the Son of Man, we always “came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO”! Take a few illustrations:

                                          YOU ARE SLIGHTED?
You are slighted, ignored, brushed aside. Or your employer, or employee, does not show you proper consideration. Or your neighbor does not treat you with the respect which is due to your position, your abilities, your character. You feel it very much; in fact you are quite upset about it. Why? Is it because you came to minister, and were deprived of the privilege? No, not that at all. It is because your feelings, your rights, your gifts, your position, your dignity, your importance were not recognized. YOU were not ministered unto. And you came to be ministered unto. Hence the storm!

                                             YOU ARE JEALOUS?
Or consider that most hateful thing, jealousy. What is it? Another is praised or put before you. Another does better than you. Another is more fortunate than you. The honor, the success, the money, the popularity, or the reward has gone to him. You wanted it for yourself. You came to be ministered unto. And because he has been ministered unto, and not you, you are jealous!

                                      “NOT RIGHT TO IGNORE ME”
“But it was not right,” you say, “He had no business to ignore me, to snub me, to treat me as he did. And it was most unjust; that other person ought not to have been placed over my head.” That may be perfectly true, and we make no excuse for wrong and injustice. But you are a disciple of Jesus (I am speaking only to such), and I ask you–if you had come, like your Master, “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO but to minister,” would you be feeling so sore and angry and jealous? The trouble is, you came to be ministered unto.

                                                 NOT PRAISED?
You have been kind to someone. You have rendered him a service. It has cost you something to do it. Naturally you thought your goodness would be appreciated. And it wasn’t, at least not as much as you think it ought to have been. You expected profuse thanks, and quite a little fuss to be made over it. And your friend took it coolly.

You are disgusted. You wish you hadn’t helped him. And you feel half inclined to say in your haste you will never do anybody a kindness again! Why? You have ministered unto another; you have helped someone who was in need. Yes, but you have not been ministered unto. You wanted to be thought exceedingly good and kind and generous. That is to say, you expected to be ministered unto by the thanks and praise, and a little flattery too, perhaps, of the other. Yes, when we come to be ministered unto we do meet sometimes with severe shocks!

                                               NOT CONSULTED?
You are a person of excellent taste, sound judgment, and good common sense. And you find your advice has been ignored–perhaps it was not even asked–in a matter, too, in which you pose as an authority. You cannot understand it. You feel rubbed the wrong way. Your spirit within you is ruffled. Your equilibrium is quite disturbed. What is the trouble? Is it that you came wanting to minister to your friend, and by neglecting to take your advice he has got himself into a sad mess? Not at all. As it happens, he has managed very nicely indeed without your help. The trouble is this: you have not been acknowledged. Your reputation as an “authority” in the matter of taste or judgment has not been ministered unto. You came not to minister but to be ministered unto. And you have been disappointed!

                                   ARE YOU A PUBLIC SPEAKER?
You had been announced to speak on a special occasion. A good audience assembled, and you noticed with peculiar satisfaction that Mr. X., a well-known and influential Christian man, was present. You had a great subject, and waxed very eloquent. At the close you felt extremely pleased with yourself, and you naturally expected Mr. X. to come up at once, grasp your hand, and thank you warmly “for such an able, interesting, and moving address.”

But Mr. X. walked quietly out of the hall without a word! How crestfallen you were! The joy you had felt was extinguished like a snuffed out candle! How was this? You had had the opportunity of ministering to a number of people. But this was not quite what you came for. In your heart of hearts you wanted that speech to minister unto you. It is the old trouble again. You came to be ministered unto.

                                             ABOUT YOUR WORK–
You are a professional man, or you are a man of business. You are doing fairly well. You have enough for all your needs. But you have set your heart on great things. And your success has fallen short of your expectations. This is weighing on your mind. It is a daily trouble to you. You are feeling constantly depressed. What is really at the bottom of it? Is it that you came to minister, and you are disappointed not to be able to minister as fully as you hoped to do? No, not that. But you desire to gratify yourself more; you want to make a bigger show, to be thought more of; you covet to be rich. And your desire for these things is not gratified. You are not ministered unto!

                                                   –AND PLAY
Even our recreation is disturbed by this “coming-to-be-ministered-unto” spirit. You went in for a race, a competition, a game. You failed: you were beaten. How “horrid” you felt! To this day that feeling haunts you!

A Cambridge athlete won a race three years in succession. If he could win it the fourth year, it would be a record. And he was expected to win. But he lost! I am told that for weeks he never smiled. He wanted that race to minister to his fame. He wanted people to be able to point to him and say, “He has done what nobody else has done.” And, because he was not ministered unto, he was crushed.

“The Sorrows of the Playground!” If truthfully written, what tragic stories the book would contain!

Do you play golf? Have you ever seen, not a child, but a full-grown, well-educated man stamp wildly up and down the ground because a poor little golf ball did not minister unto his conceit by going where he desired? Have you ever heard of quite important personages being rendered so unhappy at not being ministered unto by their refractory little golf balls, that they had to give up the game?

“But,” you reply, “in our sports and competitions we are out to do our best and to win. Our aim is to be ministered unto.” Yes, of course. But, after all, it is only a game. And a disciple of Christ must not take his games too seriously. Even on the playing fields he can manifest the “came-not-to-be-ministered-unto-but-to-minister-to” spirit. When he is beaten he can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that in losing he has been the means of ministering unto the winner.

                                           CHRISTIAN SERVICE
But to return to something more serious than sport. You are engaged in Christian work. You are a Sunday school teacher, or a district visitor, or a church officer. Or perhaps you help at the Mother’s Meeting, the Band of Hope, or the Mission Room. Now you are thinking of giving up the work. Why? Has your health failed? Have you not now the time for it? Are home duties too pressing? No, none of these is the reason. Then you are not wanted? Is there no longer need of your services? Is the opportunity to minister withdrawn from you?

No, the need is as great as ever. The door of opportunity remains wide open. Then why are you giving up? Well, you are tired of the work, so you think you will drop it. You expected it would be an interest to you. It would bring you into touch with others. It would give you a position in the church. In fact, you thought you would like it. And you did like it for a time, but now you are tired of it.

Ah! We are now beginning to understand. You thought the work would minister unto you. And as long as it ministered unto you, you were willing to go on with it. Now that it no longer ministers unto you, you will give it up. But “the Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life….” And are not you His disciple?

These are only a few illustrations. They may not be applicable to you. But think it out, and whatever may be your walk in life or your relation to your fellowmen, you will be surprised to find how much of your unrest, how many of your troubles, arise from this same cause–COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, instead of coming to minister.

                                               JARS IN THE HOME
You and your friend are living together. Your mutual happiness is interrupted by little jars. You are quick, and your friend is slow. You are economical, and your friend is extravagant. You are punctual, and your friend is unpunctual. You are a very tidy person, and your friend is untidy. You like everything done in your own particular way; your friend does them any old way! So there is constant friction. But why? Is it because you cannot minister to your friend? No, indeed. It is because your love of tidiness or whatever it may be is not ministered unto.

Or perhaps you are the free and easy person, and you are annoyed because your happy-go-lucky way is not ministered unto!

Suppose you both try coming NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister and to give?

                                                   MERE TRIFLES
It is astounding what a number of little things disturb us. Your plan for the afternoon is upset. You desire a wet day; it persists in being fine. A visitor calls just when you want to go out. You are asked to sing, and your voice is husky and does not do you credit. The answer to your letter has not come. Your request is not granted. You are interrupted in the middle of an interesting book. The pen won’t write. The dress doesn’t fit. The fire won’t burn. Something is wrong with the dinner. The children are so noisy!

Sometimes everything seems wrong. There is nothing big, nothing we can lay our finger upon. But we are always coming into the world with our likes and dislikes, our whims and fancies, our wishes and hobbies, our fads and foibles; and if we are not ministered unto in these little things, we are apt to be distressed and to get put out with ourselves and with everybody else.

                                               THE HAPPY WAY
I am persuaded that the happiness of our lives depends enormously on the spirit in which we come afresh into the world each day. If we come to be ministered unto, we shall soon be fretting and inwardly fuming. But if we come NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, it will be very different. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is happier to minister than to be ministered unto. And it is far nobler: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20:27).

                                              A WORD OF CAUTION
Now for a word of caution: Our text does not say that we are to be like Stoics; that whatever happens we are not to feel it. Annoyances, rubs, disappointments–the things that we have been talking about — -of course we feel them. (They would be of no use to us if we didn’t feel them.) But they need not distress us. Someone has said: “You cannot prevent a crow from alighting on your head, but you can prevent its building a nest in your hair.” When we come to be ministered unto, we harbor a grievance, we exaggerate it, we give way to it, and we let it build its nest and hatch its mischievous eggs.

When we come NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, we do not harbor the grievance, we give it no welcome, we pay it scant attention, we are too occupied to trouble about it. Let us be like Jesus. He was always too busy thinking of others and ministering to them, to concern Himself as to whether He was being ministered unto, or not. One sovereign remedy against touchiness is to be busy caring for your neighbor.

                                   ANOTHER WORD OF CAUTION
Again, our text does not say that we are not to be ministered unto. It does not say that we are always to be slighted, never courted: that we are never to meet with success: that no rewards and prizes are ever to come our way: that we are to go about the world looking for injustice, insults, and ill treatment. Nothing of the kind. There is no harm in being ministered unto.   The Son of Man was often ministered unto, and He appreciated it very much. We shall often be ministered unto, perhaps all the more if we do not expect it. The harm is in coming to be ministered unto instead of to minister: in wanting to be ministered unto: in seeking it, setting our heart upon it, and in being disappointed, chagrined, ruffled, and cross if we are not ministered unto.

We have lingered long talking about this failing–COMING TO BE MINISTERED UNTO–because it is so prevalent, its consequences are so sad, and chiefly because so many of us who are habitually guilty are unconscious of the fact.

                                                     SELF MUST DIE
And now for a few brief words concerning the remedy: Be well assured that at the bottom of the trouble, and in all its ramifications, is SELF. And this old enemy Self must be mortified–put to death. We must give Self no quarter. “I send you (self) my best wishes for your birthday: I hope you are dead,” wrote one. And she was right. “I seemed spoiled for everything but to see (the self in) people die,” wrote another. And she was right. SELF MUST DIE.

With this fact in view, in what a different light must we regard NOT BEING MINISTERED UNTO. Welcome disappointment! Welcome hardship! Welcome slight! Welcome thorns and pricks! These may all be turned to excellent account. To fail in getting what we want may be a piece of good fortune! To be thwarted may be so good for us! To have our wishes crossed may be a positive blessing! To be trampled upon may be a splendid thing! For every time we are not ministered unto, a fresh opportunity is given for Self to die! And the person who snubs us may well be regarded as a friend for administering to our archenemy–SELF–a stout knock on the head! SELF MUST BE MORTIFIED. For it is only as Self dies that we can live the happy and victorious life.

                                              CHRIST MUST LIVE
But it is not enough that Self dies. Something else must happen. Christ must live. Self dying–Christ living. And it is in proportion as Self dies in us that Christ can live in us. Let us not then be afraid of death–death to the Self–Life. It is only as Self dies and Christ lives in us that we shall be able to come fresh into the world each day “NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister,” and in our tiny measure to give our lives, to sacrifice OURSELVES, for the glory of our God and the good of our fellows.

                                                        A RANSOM
We have not considered at all the last and most precious part of our text: “The Son of Man came . . . to give His life a ransom for many.” (“A ransom for all”–I Tim. 2:6.) Yet, if this should catch the eye of one who is not Jesus’ disciple, this is the part for you to consider.

“The Son of Man came.” He might have stayed in His home of Glory: but He came. And He has given His life a ransom for you. Sin–your sin–has brought you into the grip of God’s Holy Law. Neither good resolutions nor amendments can undo the past. You stand condemned.

But on Calvary’s Cross Jesus has made a full satisfaction for your sins (I Pet. 2:24; I John 2:2). He has died to set you free from the penalty and power of sin. Come, then, as a sinner to God, repenting, and trusting in the atoning blood which has been shed for you, the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7). And in a moment all the past is blotted out, and you stand before the Judge justified, no longer Satan’s unhappy slave, but a blood-bought son of the Eternal God.

“Redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ” (I Pet. 1:18,19). Now you are called to fellowship with Him, and are privileged henceforth to become a working partner in your Heavenly Father’s business. “He ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth” (Mark 3:14)

“His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face . . . and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5).

Prairie Book Room

Three Hills, Alberta, Canada

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Do You Struggle with Being a People-Pleaser?

If you are  a people-pleaser, you might need to redirect your focus to become more concerned with what pleases God than with what pleases others.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 Remember If I WANT to Keep My Focus on Pleasing God

  • Seek to know His will in each situation of your life.
  • Don’t think that you have to do everything you are asked to do…even in the church!
  • Remember when your heart’s desire is to please God, you will be able to put others’ needs and desires in a healthy perspective.
  • Learn to budget your time by prioritizing your life and determining how much time you will allot for specific people and activities.

                           Priortize by Order of Importance

Your relationship with God
Your family (marriage, children, parents)
Your employment (If you work outside the home)
Your  personal time (time alone with God, time alone with self)
Your church

God should always be number one in your priority list. The problem is that if you’re a people-pleaser, you think that being “a good Christian” means that you must please everyone. You tend to believe that you are putting God first when you say yes to every good cause, especially if it is a church-related.

How do I figure out how to budget my time commitments?

1. Recognize that God wants our families to be number one under Him. When we get over-committed to the point that it robs us of our time that we should be giving our families, it is time to say no.

2. Make sure that we budget some time for ourselves. Jesus was a person who had a vision, a purpose, and a consuming passion, yet when He needed time for Himself, He took it?

Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

The Lord had been up all night healing the sick and casting out demons and was exhausted. Instead of expecting His Father to give Him supernatural strength to continue, He recognized His need for rest and rejuvenation.

In order to nurture our relationships with our heavenly Father, we must budget a quiet time with Him every day. Unless we feed on His Word and allow the Holy Spirit to energize us for the work He has called us to do, we won’t be able to recognize the opportunities He sets before us. It is during our quiet times that the Holy Spirit can help us put things into perspective and guide us into making wise decisions concerning the demands others put on our time.

When God reigns at the top of our list of priorities, we can trust Him to show us where to place other people, ourselves, and all our other involvements. When our relationship with God is right, our relationships with others will fall into place.

Missionary Story

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffedby the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall-decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone.

Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself.

Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three. This family loved the little girl and was afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed and the Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and went straight to a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a white baby… the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village… All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.

For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa?” she said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”

“It’s all right Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.”

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life… “Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together.

Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.

“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24:Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He then followed with Psalm 126:5: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

(An excerpt from Aggie Hurst, Aggie: The Inspiring Story of A Girl Without A Country [Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986].) Permissions: Feel free to reproduce and distribute any articles written by Randy Alcorn, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this information, not protect or restrict it.

What Is Faith?

If someone asked you this morning, “What is faith?” How would you answer that question?

The root word of ‘faith’ is PISTIS. That word is a noun.

FAITH – PISTIS means faith, belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction, faithfulness.

The root word of ‘believe’ is PISTUEO. That word is a verb.

BELIEVE – PISTUEO – to trust in and rely upon, commit to the charge of, confide in, have a mental persuasion.

What a great thought that my faith is the act whereby I lay hold of God’s resources, and I become obedient to what He has prescribed for me. I put aside all my self interest and self-reliance, and trust Him completely. It is an absolute surrender of the whole of my being and a complete dependence upon Him. It is wholly trusting and relying upon Him for all things. It is not just a mental assent to the facts and realities of His Word, but it is a deep inner commitment to the convictions which have come to me through His Word. By faith,  I have a firm conviction that I can fully commit my life to God’s charge and be assured that He knows what is best for me.

When God’s Gifts Aren’t Wrapped How You Hoped

Written by Paul Chappell  December 23, 2016

Life has a way of handing us unexpected and unwanted packages.

A pink slip from your employer.

A bad report from the doctor.

An eviction notice from the bank.

A harsh email from a strained relationship.

Too often, the package delivered with your name on it isn’t a present you want.

The first Christmas was wrapped in an unusual set of circumstances: Joseph and Mary having to make a difficult journey in the last trimester of her pregnancy…and then to have to give birth in a stable.

But the way Jesus chose to come reveals that the “surprises” in our lives that look so foreboding to us truly are unusual packages of God’s grace.

So what do we learn from the first Christmas about what to do when life hands us unwanted packages?

Trust God’s Providence

Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was no accident. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning where Jesus would be born.

Seven hundred years before Mary and Joseph began the difficultly-timed journey to Bethlehem, God had instructed the prophet Micah to record, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Life is full of unavoidable circumstances. We can expend our energy in futile efforts to change them. We can spend our time stewing in bitter resentment over them. Or we can trust God’s providence in the midst of them.

Although we may not see God’s hand of providence for years to come, we can trust that anything out of our control is filtered by the hand of our loving Father. He will not allow into our lives anything through which He cannot fulfill his promise in Romans 8:28.

Showcase God’s Grace

The presentation of Christ to this world was not the way we would have planned it. And I think we can safely say it is not the way Mary would have planned it either. (What mother wants to lay her newborn in a used feeding trough?)

But, with the enabling grace of God, Mary’s response to the unusual package of the manger magnified God’s grace, rather than opening it up for question.

Mary could have complained. She could have become angry toward God. “God, first You make me travel ninety miles when I’m great with child, and now this?! Couldn’t I at least have a comfortable room and clean surroundings in which to give birth? Why would You do this to me?”

Because Mary and Joseph received the incredible gift of Jesus—with no expectations of how He should be delivered or presented to the world—they deflected the attention from themselves to the manger.

And the manger became a showcase of grace where shepherds knelt in worship of God.

Wholly Surrender to God’s Will

Why did God choose Mary? The complete answer to that question is known only by God. But it is significant that Mary was willing—truly submitted—to receive this unusual, and in some ways heavy, gift.

Sure, there was great cost involved for Mary. But she yielded to the Lord, bore the cost, and cherished the gift.

God isn’t looking for the strong or searching for the famous. He gives His most precious gifts to those who will simply yield their wills to Him.

Our problem is that we see what looks to us like distasteful wrapping, and in our selfishness, we plead with God to take back His gifts.

Not so with Mary. She simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

What To Do with Your Gift

What about you? Are you staggering under the load of an unusual package—one that you never would have chosen, but have no way to release?

Are you struggling to understand the unavoidable circumstances that have come into your life?

Are you disappointed in the harsh realities of failed expectations?

Tiptoe to the Bethlehem stable. Gaze on a weary young mother, required to travel far in her last month of pregnancy—only to find a barn in which to give birth. See a crude manger. But don’t look solely at these wrappings. Peer beyond, into the manger, and see the face of God!

Yes, Christmas is a gift. And sometimes God sends His greatest gifts in the most unusual packages.

Trust His providence.

Showcase His grace.

And wholly surrender to His will.

In time, you will learn that God gives the best surprises.

(This post is adapted from chapter 3 of Christmas Is a Giftavailable also on kindle.)

Satan Wants to Defeat You and Your Church Today

Have you ever thought about this? “Satan is very organized with his team of demon. He has assigned certain demons to you, your church, and your people to try to defeat your church and everything you do.”

As we begin this New Year, we must be aware of Satan’s tactics as He tries to defeat us.  He will try to deceive us by targeting our minds and the people we serve. He will use his weapons of lies.  His whole purpose is to make us doubt God and be ignorant of His will for our lives. His goal is for us to believe his lies instead of God’s truth.

You might be thinking, “You just don’t understand…there are times in my life when I feel so helpless and weak that I don’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.”

Paul must have known that his fellow Christians had those same feelings when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to defeat Satan…YOU MUST STAY IN GOD’s WORD! The only defense you have against Satan is God’s Word.  How do you do it?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

  1. Present your body. The first thing to do when you wake up and set your feet on the ground is to tell the Lord, “I surrender my body to You, and I am preparing for today’s battle.
  2. Present your mind. The next thing to do is do reach for your Bible. Present your mind to God for spiritual renewal. It is only through God’s Word that we can renew our minds and transform them.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t read long chapters. As you are reading…, stop…when you get to a passage that speaks to you. Meditate on that passage. Memorize a verse that will help you in your battle for the day. I came across a wonderful app for memorizing Scripture. (Scripture Typer)

  1. Present your will. You do this by prayer. The Word of God and prayer always go together. Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Whatever you pray, always pray according to God’s will…not your own will.

Now it’s time to put on God’s armor. My husband and I got matching T-shirts for our Christmas pajamas that said, “Put on the armor of God…in smaller print below that it said…put on the whole armor”

Sometimes we go out of the house with partial armor on, and Satan attacks us in an area where we are not protected.

  • Girdle of truth: Since Satan is a liar, we must oppose him with God’s truth.
  • Breastplate of righteousness: Since Satan is our accuser and reminds of us our past sins, we must remind ourselves that we are justified through Christ’s righteousness. The breastplate covers our heart. Often Satan uses people—including Christians—to slander and accuse us, and we are tempted to fight back. But we must not allow these fiery darts to penetrate our armor.
  • Shoes of peace: Our shoes help us keep our footing…helps us from falling down. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
  • Shield of faith: We have the promises of God to quench those fiery darts. That is why it’s so important to memorize Scriptures. When Satan hurls those darts…hold that shield up reciting a promise!
  • Helmet of Salvation: 1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. Depression and discouragement comes to all of us but…Praise the Lord…we are saved and we have the hope that soon Jesus will return and take us home.
  • Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God is our defensive weapon. A material sword must be handled with physical power, but the Spirit of God enables us to use the Word of God effectively to defeat Satan. Our Lord always said, “It is written!”

 I came across a prayer in Warren Wiersbe’s book The Strategy of Satan that is a great prayer for us to pray every day:

Father, thank You for the provision You have made for victory over Satan. Now, by faith, I put on the girdle of truth. May my life today be motivated by truth. Help me maintain integrity. By faith, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. May my heart love that which is righteous and refuse what is sinful. Thank You for the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith, I put on the shoes of peace. Help me to stand in Christ’s victory today. Help me to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. By faith, I take the shield of faith. May I trust You and Your Word today and not add fuel to any of Satan’s darts. Thank You that I can go into this day without fear. By faith, I put on the helmet of salvation. May I remember today that Jesus is coming again. Help me live in future tense. Protect my mind from discouragement and despair. By faith, I take the sword of the Spirit. Help me remember Your Word and use it today. Father, by faith I have put on the armor. May this be a day of victory.

Thanksgiving Promises

WHEN YOU COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, BEGIN HERE

Thank God for His Promises to Us

By Dr. Paul Chappell | November 19, 2015

When you begin your Thanksgiving gratitude list, what do you include? Most of us probably begin with God’s gifts of salvation, family, church family, and friends. We then move to tangible gifts such as shelter, clothing, vehicle, and financial provision. If we stay at our list long enough, we add events and highlights of the past year.

I want to encourage you this year to add a new category to your list. This category represents one of the greatest reasons to be thankful—and every item on the list can be found between the covers of your Bible.

What is it? God’s promises. Through God’s promises we have comfort for today and hope for tomorrow. Regardless of what we’re facing in the moment, God’s promises provide an unending reason for gratitude.

If you want to count your blessings, begin with God’s promises! Here are ten to get you started:

1. God’s presence: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.—Hebrews 13:5

2. God’s protection: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.—Genesis 15:1

3. God’s power: I will strengthen thee.—Isaiah 41:10

4. God’s provision: I will help thee.—Isaiah 41:10

5. God’s leading: And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.—John 10:4

6. God’s purposes: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.—Jeremiah 29:11

7. God’s rest: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.— Matthew 11:28

8. God’s cleansing: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9

9. God’s goodness: For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.—Psalm 84:11

10. God’s faithfulness: For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake.—1 Samuel 12:22

Devotion: Developing Friendships

Devotion given at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Mineral Wells, TX Ladies Brunch, 5-7-16

A survey was taken of 300 people. Included in this survey, the people were married, single, men, and women between the ages 18-82. Each person was asked to write a brief definition of a friend.

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around. Someone who has tactful truth and not afraid to tell you you’re slip is showing.”

“One who knows you well, but still loves you.”

A person who understand you, appreciates your view and is loyal to you. Someone who has common interests.”

Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts your for who you are, and it faithful to you when the chips are down.”

We will never find a perfect friend because we all have faults. I love this definition of a true Christian friend.

A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.”

Four Types of Friendships

There are some friends that we would give our last dollar to, yet others we only speak briefly when we meet them at church or at the grocery store. These are our acquaintances or casual friends.

We might have 500 acquaintances each year, but have fewer than 7 friends. We can develop many acquaintances through shopping, working, and church, yet we would not call them good friends . We see these people on a regular basis…we know them by their first name… and may at different times initiate social contact with them.

  1. Acquaintances: These are friends we meet at work, friends from church, friends in our neighborhoods, and even some of our relatives.
  2. Personal friends: These are friends we have made through the years and we want to remain close to them.
  3. Mentors: These are friends who have contributed to our lives in teaching or guiding ways. These could be friends who counseled us through difficult times in our lives.
  4. Intimate friends: These are the friends to whom we can pour out our hearts. We share our deepest feelings and hopes. They meet us at our point of deepest need…we just enjoy being with them. These are the friendships that have lasted for years.

Even our Lord had intimate friends. Mark 5:37  And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

What are some of the things we need to build good friendships?

Foremost…friends must know Christ: As Christian women, we have a different basis than non-Christians for building friendships because we have the Lord and His resources to draw on.

Of course, we want to develop friendships with those who don’t know the Lord, but our goals for developing those friendships are to lead those new friends to Christ.

Developing friendships take TIME and EFFORT: Two great pillars for building a good friendship are time and effort. Sometimes it takes months and years to develop a good friendship.

  1. LOVE: First element of building a good friendship is love.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. Some people build friendships with others for selfish reasons. If a person has money or position, everyone wants to be that person’s friend. Make sure you build your friendship on love not on what another person might be able to do for you.

  1. ACCEPTANCE: Second element of building a friendship is acceptance. Acceptance does not always mean that you agree with everything your friend does…but praise the Lord, Jesus accepts us, even when He doesn’t agree with everything we do.

If we get judgmental with our friends, it slams the door on building good friendships. There is a difference between sharing the truth in love and judging another person’s motive.

Our world uses false foundations for developing friendships.

Possessions…What do they have?

Performance…How well do they do? Our society is very much performance oriented. The world tells us that we will be accepted if we perform well at school or in the business world.
Position…How important are they? This is based on their performance.
Appearance…How do they look? We live in a world that worships beauty and youth. The girl who is not beautiful has a far better chance of being a happy wife!  Beautiful people get used to being praised and expect it all their lives. When wrinkles come or strength declines and lose the praise of others…what do these women have left? Nothing.

Friendships built on these false foundations are based on the limitations of human love and not God’s love. They are superficial and will not last.

Think of the consequences of using these foundations.

If we begin comparing ourselves with others, we feel forced to compete and begin to feel alienated from people because we will either feel inferior or superior. When we feel inferior, we feel jealous, threatened and insecure and don’t want to be around those people. When we feel superior, we become conceited and obnoxious and no one wants to be around us.

II Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: …comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

It is interesting that the original meaning of Competitive meant  Strive Together toward a Goal.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Our friends can provoke us or stir us on to greater ambitions. In fact, it was a dear friend who inspired me to write my book.

  1. TRUE UNDERSTANDING: Third element of building a good friendship is to develop true understanding. This only can come from God Pro 2:6..the Lord giveth wisdom and understanding.

How do you develop true understanding? By listening. Learn to give advice sparingly. Pro 18:13…don’t answer a matter before you truly listen.

Listen closely to what the other person is saying. Let him know that you really hear what he is saying. Ask questions to clarify what he is saying…then summarize what you have just him say.

Think before you speak…respond very carefully. Take a moment to think about what you are about to say before you just blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Remember you will not be able to take back your words once they come out.

  1. SACRIFICE: Fourth element of building a good friendship is self-sacrificing. What does it mean to sacrifice…it means you are willing to give up something that is more important to you for something that is less important. Make mental notes of your friend’s struggles…send her a text or a card. Remember her birthday, anniversary, or other important dates. Be willing to reach out even if it costs you. How much time have you spent praying for a friend when she is going through a very difficult time. Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

David desperately wanted a drink from well.  2 Samuel 23:15-16 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

What a sacrifice David’s friends were willing to make for him. If his David’s friends were willing to sacrifice their lives for David’s request, why would he pour out the water that he wanted so much?

First, it showed his honorable disposition and his repentance for his own weakness.
Second, to let his men know that he had said something unadvisedly.
Third, it showed a denial of his own appetite. He longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem…but, when he got it, he would not drink it, because he would not gratify his own foolish desire.

David’s example of pouring out the water  on the ground not only showed that he had rule over his own spirit, but it also showed his devotion towards God and his tenderness toward his servants. David couldn’t believe that his three brave friends would risk their lives to bring a drink of water back for him.

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT: Fifth element of building a great friendship is encouragement. Some friends drag you down. Encouraging others increases their self-esteem and causes them to have more positive outlooks on their situations. Friends either drive us to God or away from Him.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  1. LOYALTY: Sixth element of a building a great friendship is loyalty. Everyone wants a friend with whom he can trust. Loyalty means that you will defend your friend when someone gossips or criticizes her. A friend keeps a friend’s secrets to himself.

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

That verse tells us that when we cover and forgive an offense, we seek love, but if we repeat or harp about a matter, it separates even close friends. If we are a true friend, we will not gossip about our friends’ faults…we will be quick to forgive them.

Loyalty is the key element to true friendship. If we repeat something that a friend has entrusted to us, that will probably be the end of our friendship because he will never come to us in confidence again.

  1. FUN: The last element for building a great friendship is fun. We must be able to laugh and have fun…but still be serious. Find something to do that you both enjoy doing. (Host a potluck, go for dessert and coffee, take a cooking class together, roast marshmallows, watch a Christian movie) Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Cheerfulness in our spirits influences our bodies. When we are depressed, it dries up the marrow in our bones.  Marrow is a special, spongy, fatty tissue that is found in our stem cells. These stem cells transform themselves into white and red blood cells and platelets. These blood cells and platelets are essential for our immunity and circulation.

The Secret of a Friend

Some people always seem to know,
How to make each day worthwhile;
They know how to catch the sunshine,
And how to wear it in their smile.

And they always seem to have,
A little time that they can spare;
Especially, when you need to know,
There’s someone who really cares.

They always take a sincere interest,
In all the things you say and do;
And when others turn and walk away,
They stay, and help you see it through.

They are willing to give of themselves,
In ways that never seem to end;
In our heart they have a special place,
That’s why we call them our friend.

Strongholds That Hinder Our Prayers

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The word translated “strongholds” in this passage also means “fortresses or to make firm.” Just like military forts are established in firm places such as hilltops, Satan attempts to establish strong forts in our minds to hold our thoughts captive.

Paul defines strongholds as arguments, pretensions, or thoughts that set themselves against the knowledge of God. Any beliefs entrenched in our own thinking that are contrary to God’s revealed truth are Satan’s strongholds. It is these strongholds that hinder  our prayers.

Satan’s strongholds fill our minds with fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and failure. They are thoughts that tell us there is no hope for our current situation so why should I bother to pray…not even God can help me out of this mess. It is these strongholds that make us doubt God and His power.

Consider these strongholds and Scriptures to counter attack these thoughts:

• My husband is hopeless. He’ll never change. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

• I’m just a carnal person. I’ll never be free from lust. Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

• I’m getting older…I feel so useless.  Feebleness and disease are inevitable. Psalms 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

STRONGHOLDS in our minds are formed three ways.

1. Arguments contrary to the knowledge of God: These are not usually arguments with other people but are battles in our minds that we come to conclusions by our own reasonings.

2. Pretensions contrary to the knowledge of God: These can happen when we exalt our own reasoning over God’s Word  and depend on our own way of thinking.

3. Thoughts contrary to the knowledge of God: These are the thoughts that we allow Satan to plant into our minds to deceive us into thinking that those thoughts are our own thoughts…but, in reality, they are thoughts against God’s will.

These strongholds are formed by:

• Reasoning a situation in my life without looking to God for guidance.
• Drawing my own conclusions without consulting God’s Word for validation.
• Justifying my situations above God’s revealed will in Scripture.
• Devising a scheme to handle my situation that is contrary to God’s will.

These strongholds can hinder our prayer lives by turning us into double-minded people. We, on one hand, profess to live by God’s Word, yet at other times, we allow our lives to be directed by our own reasonings. We pray, “Lord, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” yet in our mind, we are considering Plan B by using our own reasonings…just in case God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should.

Neil Anderson says, “Double-mindedness determines to have a Plan B of human reasoning to fall back on in case the Plan A of God’s revealed will doesn’t come through. As long as we hold a Plan B in reserve, we’re not able to pray with faith and confidence for God’s Plan A to come through. Double-mindedness leads to instability and weakness and makes us unstable in our faith and ineffective in our prayers. Much is at stake when we try to embrace God’s agenda without letting go of our own.”

Our strongest weapon to break a stronghold in our minds is to use God’s Word. I love how Jesus always used God’s Word to defeat the devil in the wilderness. Jesus listened to each of Satan’s reasons. With each reason Satan gave, Jesus refuted them with the Word of God.

James gives us four steps to destroy strongholds in our minds:
James 4:7-8. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

First Step: I must submit to God’s will and acknowledging His Will in my life.

Second Step: I must resist Satan and expose his lies by using God’s Word.

Third Step: I must draw near to God in worship. When I draw near to God in worship and resist the devil, two things will happen: God’s Will becomes clearer to me, and Satan’s strongholds become weaker.

Fourth Step: I must cleanse and purify my heart. How? By asking God to show me any way that I have used my own reasonings and been double minded. Then ask for His forgiveness for not depending on His guidance and His Word. By doing this, I can confidently enter God’s Presence with a clean heart and a single mind to pray and to worship Him.

God’s Timing Is Not Always Our Timing

Have you ever felt as if God was not answering your prayers the way you told Him to answer them and at the exact time that you told Him to answer them?

God promises to give us the desires of our hearts but not always according to our time table. We must not rush God and leave the timing with Him.

God has a plan for each one of His children, and He wants what is best for them. He always answers prayers in three ways … No … Yes… and… Not at this time. Sometimes we must wait before God gives us the desires of our hearts. It is our human nature to want to rush things up for God and do things in our own strength.

The following story is a great illustration about how a little boy tried to help the caterpillar become a butterfly.

One day a little boy was playing outdoors and found a caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. His mother agreed he could keep it if he promised to take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar, placed plants in it for the caterpillar to eat, and put a stick in it for the caterpillar to attach itself. Every day the boy watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed on the stick and started acting strangely. The boy anxiously called his mother. She watched the caterpillar for a minute and then explained to her son that the caterpillar was making a cocoon, and it was going through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly.

The boy watched the changes of the caterpillar with amazement. Thinking it was taking too long and too much of a struggle for the butterfly to emerge, the boy took a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly came out of its cocoon, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings and had to spend the rest of its life crawling around like this, and it was never able to fly.

Sadly, the boy learned that it was necessary for the butterfly to struggle to get out of its cocoon. It was during this struggling process that the butterfly pushed fluid out of its body and into its wings. If the butterfly didn’t go through that struggle, it would never be able to fly. This boy’s intentions were good, but his helping hurt the butterfly.

Consider Joseph and how God worked in his life. Every step of the way in Joseph’s life..in the pit…in the prison, and in Potipher’s palace, God was working out His perfect will. God needed a man in place to accomplish His perfect will at His perfect time. Think about Esther! God put her in a position of influence at the exact time to save her people.

Many times we want things in our lives that might hurt us. Because God knows us and knows what is best for us at the exact time, we must be patient and wait for His perfect timing. We must give God a chance to work and to work by His exact timing.

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