A Prescribed Time

“For I have assigned you a number of days…” (Ezekiel 4:5 NASB)

God is precise in His timing. He has a beginning and an end for every season. Many times, we feel that God has dropped us off somewhere without reason until we’ve passed every test and accomplished every task to His exact specification. Not so! God places us specifically in line with His purposes. He knows exactly how long it will take to complete HIS will. God is the master of the machinery.

Just because you fail doesn’t mean it will prolong your season. Don't let failure define you. Let it refine you. God's intention isn't for you to succeed as much as it is to be aware of your total dependence upon Him. When we fail, we learn more about God's character, His loving kindness, His patience, His faithfulness, His grace, etc. God’s assignment isn’t dependent on you fulfilling the task. If it were, it would mean the responsibility of accomplishing God’s purpose is up to you, that He is relying on you. Know that whatever God is doing will be accomplished in HIS prescribed time.

So, take in all the sights and sounds of your current assignment. Change your perspective. The moments now will be memories that will serve to your advantage at the next level. Don’t stress out when you mess up. God knows what HE is doing. HE is faithful to complete what HE started (Philippians 1:6). God called you and HE is faithful to bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5;24). You didn't start it, so you can't finish it. God is the author and the finisher of your story (Hebrews 12:2). Take heart! You WILL finish strong!

Clarity in Confinement

"Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the second time while he was still confined in the court of the guard..." (Jeremiah 33:1 NASB)

God spoke clearly to Jeremiah while he was in confinement. Sometimes we think that God doesn’t speak to us in our difficult times. However, God can and wants to show us things that only we can see and hear when we're in the pits. When you feel stuck in life, ministry, relationships, your career, finances, etc. try to silence your anxious thoughts long enough, and be open to hear the Holy Spirit regarding your situation. (Psalms 96:10) Of course this will require that you let go of your pride as well (James 4:6). And don’t believe the lie that you’ve done something wrong to get where you are. Often, our trials are clear indicators, and even the results of what we did right. Sometimes following God's will lands us right in the middle of temporary trouble. Resistance from the enemy is a part of doing thing's God's way. For example, Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord, and then he had to go build a boat. Grace and favor don't necessarily mean it will be easy. Sometimes when God’s favor is on your life, things will be more difficult for a season. Just, be careful not to let the dry times discourage you, steal your faith, and pass you by without being sensitive to what God is up to around you. And no matter what happens, know that God is moving mightily on your behalf in the silence.

Trying or Trusting

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15 NASB)

We’ve all failed at loving God in our thoughts, words and actions. Just read 1 Corinthians 13 (The ‘love chapter’) and you will quickly realize how you have failed at love. But just because we fail at loving perfectly doesn’t mean we don’t love God at all. Only God’s love is perfect. Many of us don’t really believe God loves us in spite of… Grace teaches us that God loves us without conditions or reservations. When we truly grasp this we will end up living better for God accidentally than we ever could on purpose.

We will never love God perfectly this side of Heaven. That's why we need to stop trying and start trusting. In other words, our focus shouldn’t be on our love for God but on His great love for us. It’s the only way we can fulfill the great commandment, which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Our love has limits. God’s love knows NO LIMITS! It isn’t what terrible sinners we are but in what a wonderful Savior He is. Religion says you must do things to get to God. Grace says Jesus already did all that was necessary to get to you. We don’t do good to get God. We get God to do good!

Obedience is inspired by true love and awe. When we dwell on the love of God for us, true reverence, devotion, admiration and awe-inspiring wonder is the by-product. We must understand John 14:15 from a grace perspective. John is not saying that we love God BY keeping His commandments. He is saying if we truly love God, we WILL keep His commandments. In other words as we allow God’s love to fill us, nothing will be able to stop us from obeying Him. Obedience is a result of God’s Love working in us and loving through us. His love ignites the flame of our obedience!

So how do we increase our Love for God? It is certainly not in trying to obey Him more. That only wears us out. Our love is deficient. God’s love is ALL SUFFICIENT! Therefore, the only way to truly obey God is to allow His love to minister to us. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). In other words, as our understanding of God’s love increases so does our ability to live out our faith for Him. This is what John meant when he spoke of God’s love being perfected in us (1 John 2:5; 4:12-18). It’s like the old song says, “O how I love Jesus, BECAUSE He first loved me.” Our love grows for God only to the extent that we grow in our concept of HIS LOVE FOR US!

Are you trying or trusting?