Piles of dirt. Deep ditches and holes in the ground. Giant earth-moving machines manipulating the landscape. Random pipes pointing skyward. Something is going to be built, but what?
Somewhere, someone holds the blueprint and an artist’s conception of the finished project. Every ditch has a purpose. Every pipe has a destiny. Foundations are being prepared. And one day, the world will see the dream unveiled.
In our daily lives, we often confront “deep ditches” of disappointment and emptiness, and random events that seem to have no meaning. We live with commotion and shifting scenes that disrupt the harmony we long for. There seems to be no reason.
But wait! Be assured that Someone holds the blueprint and is in the process of creating something new and beautiful. We are “works in progress” in God’s ultimate plan. Nothing is by accident. The “digging” He does is for a purpose. The changes and shifting landscapes are preparation for something far bigger and grander than we can imagine!
Our challenge is to trust the Architect and work with Him—even when we don’t understand. One day we will see — and rejoice.
I will allow God to build His character in me this week when I face obstacles, disappointments or things I do not understand.
When You Give
Complete this sentence: “If I won the lottery, I would……”
Most people have a “wish list.” Pay off the mortgage. Get a new car. Invest in stocks. Others may have more philanthropic goals. Sponsor an orphan. Support a worthy cause. Build a church.
There is no question that money has power to make things happen. A sudden windfall can change a person’s life, and potentially the lives of many others. But should we wait for that financial miracle before we do something significant with our money?
Jesus urged His followers to “lay up treasures in heaven.” To invest in that which would have eternal dividends. To give in a way that would make a difference in someone’s life now, and for eternity.
The rich ruler who came to Jesus could have used his resources to alleviate poverty and change many lives, but he chose not to do so. He walked away sad—and spiritually bankrupt. Yet a poor widow received divine commendation when she gave just two coins — all that she had — to the temple treasury. Giving is a matter of the heart.
What would you give to God if resources were unlimited? Why not start now? God calls us to give according to what we have, not what we wish we had. What’s in your wallet?
I will set a new goal for giving to build God’s Kingdom, starting this week.
Now that the 21-day fast is ending, what did it mean for you? For many people, fasting is a matter of doing without something you want with the hope of gaining something you want even more. The true purpose of fasting is achieved when the “something” you want more is more of God.
The question, then, is not “What are you fasting from?” but, “What are you fasting for?” The focus is not on what we give up, but on how we can be empowered to give. In other words, fast forward — beyond personal desires and requests. Fast with a view to move in the direction delineated in
Undo heavy burdens.
Free the oppressed.
Share your bread with the hungry.
Bring the poor (outcasts) to your house.
Clothe the naked.
Provide for your needy relatives.
God’s chosen fast is a fast from selfishness and unconcern. It is a call to personal mission. The needs are all around us. Fasting opens our eyes, and fuels our desire to give, to love and to serve.
I will begin to “fast forward” this week by reaching out to a need I am already aware of through a visit, a gift, a phone call or a prayer.
Earthquakes and Faith
While earthquakes are not common on the east coast of the United States, west coast dwellers have learned to live with the occasional quivering of the ground beneath them. But long before that shaking is felt, things are happening in the depths of the earth. Tectonic plates are moving and rubbing against each other, breaking up rocks, and releasing energy. When it seems that all is as usual and nothing is happening, unseen forces are at work. Waves of energy are moving in all directions, putting pressure on the earth’s surface. The ground begins to vibrate. Suddenly, everything could change.
What a picture of the unseen power of God! When we pray, we touch the heart of God. He sees. He hears. He loves. And He begins to work in our behalf. It may seem that nothing is happening. We begin to doubt God’s concern for us. Time passes. But beneath the calm surface, circumstances are being rearranged. People are being moved into place. Angels are being dispatched.
As we wait in faith, we begin to sense the spiritual tremors that tell us the answer is on the way. Then, suddenly, things begin to change.
Earthquakes can move mountains. So can faith.
I will trust what I see to the infinite power of the One that I can’t see.
When we pray, we usually have an idea of what the answer should be. We have pinpointed a need or desire, and our focus is narrow. We have no idea of what the sweeping implications might be. We simply want OUR mountains moved.
God always has a bigger plan — one we can’t begin to visualize. And He has infinite ways of implementing it. His answer may touch many lives beyond our own.
Irv Mason was an alcoholic. His wife prayed daily for his deliverance. She was grieved by the misery his habit brought to their family, but she wouldn’t give up. She didn’t argue, chide or rebuke him. She loved him — and prayed. Her answer came when Irv gave his life to Christ—and poured the liquor down the drain. End of story? No. Irv became active in church. His son, who also felt the effect of his mom’s prayers, became a pastor. Her prayers had a far-reaching impact.
When you pray, don’t underestimate the power of your intercession. It can reach heaven and rearrange things on earth. God’s answers are often more expansive than our requests. The ripples go on and on, down through future generations. Prayer is the beginning of all good things.
I will pray for my family this week.