Talking Like Your Dad
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage. Acts 4:30-32 (AMP)
Think back to when you were a little baby. Most of us had parents who patiently taught us how to speak. Little by little we built a vocabulary and then learned how to make sentences. The Lord speaks things into being. “Let there be Light”. He wants to teach us how to speak like Him. He has given us His words in the Bible.
When we speak out the word we begin to talk the language of our Father. As time goes on and we learn more and more of His word, it is easier to speak it. Speaking words of life to our children, words of healing and hope to others. Speaking out loud the promises of God. That is Father God’s language.
As children we practiced with our parents repeating over and over the words they were teaching us. We need to practice speaking the Word of God. Little by little His words become ours.
Let’s talk like our Father.
Jesus is Lord!
Let’s Be Honest
8 Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 62:8
I have always seen myself as a resilient person, somebody who bounces back easily from adversity. I used to say I was like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. But I have had some truly difficult trials in my life that I could not bounce back easily from. I “suffered in silence”. But I made a mistake when I did that because I did not run to the one who could really help me.
Just last week I was reading Psalms at the breakfast table. I came across Psalm 62. I was reading Psalms because David was somebody who had many trials in his life but was dearly loved of the Lord. I wanted to see what he had to say about how to manage a trial. As I read, the words “pour out your heart” came flying off the page at me. I knew that the Lord wanted me to pour out my heart to Him.
What does that mean to pour out your heart? I think it means to let out in words all that you are feeling to the One who loves you. So I did. I told the Lord all that I was feeling – my fears, my needs , anxieties, worries and sadness. I put it all out there. I poured out my heart to the Lord. And a wonderful thing happened. I felt better! I felt calmer, relieved and safe again. By pouring out my heart I had taken refuge in Him.
Jesus is Lord!
131Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.3Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.5The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.11“What have you done?” asked Samuel. 1 Samuel 13: 1-11
It was by the Lord’s choice that Saul became king. It was the Lord who established him as ruler, but something happened to Saul’s perspective of things.
Notice that when Saul called the fighting men to come and join him in the fight against the Philistines they were very afraid! When they saw the might of the Philistines they quaked with fear, hid in caves and some left. Samuel had told Saul he was coming to offer the sacrifice. Saul saw that the men were starting to scatter. He had his eyes on his troops, not the power of the Lord! It is the Lord who wins our battles, not people. So Saul decided to take matters into his own hands and offer the sacrifice to speed things up and hopefully keep the men who were left from leaving before the battle. As a result of his impatience and lack of faith he lost his crown and the Lord selected David.
Aren’t we like that? How many times have I decided to “do something” instead of patiently waiting for the Lord because things were taking too long? When the Lord keeps us waiting it is hard – but He is worth it! He has the solutions to our problems. When we pray for help let’s lean on, rely on and trust Him to do it.
I had prayed for a job and I had to wait for it. Later I learned that the girl who had the job before me had left three days before I applied. The Lord had me there just at the right time to get the job. During my “waiting time” she had still been in the job. Also they had decided during my “waiting time” that a three month training period was needed for anyone taking that job. Guess what? I had no experience that matched that job, but the Lord gave it to me and it was in His perfect timing!
Jesus is Lord!
13 Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. Exodus 14:13
When Moses spoke those words the Israelites were standing between a huge Egyptian army on chariots and a large body of water – the Red Sea. Apparently, they forgot in that terrifying moment all that the Lord had done for them when he dealt with Egypt with ten plagues and how they had come away with the riches of the Egyptians and how He was still standing as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When Moses told them to stand still it went against every natural inclination. Fight or flight. The Lord said “Fear not, stand firm and see”. They finally did and the Lord made a way that was a miracle – through the Red Sea!
Being a person who constantly has to remind my self to let the Lord be Lord and to not get in His way, it has been a challenge to learn to just stand firm and not fear. But when I have done this the Lord has always acted mightily on my behalf.
When I worked for the County Health Department I had many opportunities to share the Gospel with staff and patients. Only one nurse had a problem with me and she would complain periodically about me. When she did I would get called into the Director’s office and be told to stop talking about religion. What a temptation to “speak my peace”, but the Lord always told me to keep quiet. Nothing bad ever happened to me and later the Director came to me in secret and asked me to pray for her son-in–law who had lost his job. I am thankful to the Lord for that great lesson in fearing not and standing firm.
We have seen that trials are for our good, purifying our faith and bringing us the characteristics of Jesus: patience, steadfastness and endurance. We have learned that trials are not punishments and that the Lord is with us during the trial. We found that the way to go through a trial is to let the Lord know what our needs are specifically and to fear not, stand firm and see him take care of all our needs and problems.
So the next time a trial comes we can say: “Woo hoo!”
Jesus is Lord!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is [a]coming soon].Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
Going through a trial is no picnic but the Lord has given us some clear directions for how to continue in His peace during the trial. He tells us not to fret or worry but to tell Him by specific requests what we need. I have learned to be accurate in asking for what I need.
I have a sister in the Lord who was in deep debt. She added up all her debt and came to an amount of one hundred thousand dollars. We prayed and trusted the Lord that He would cleanse her of all debt. A few months later – her debt was met and cleared! Praise the Lord! When I prayed for a husband I was very specific. I searched my heart and asked the Lord for a tall businessman who was a seasoned Christian who had no children and did not need me to support him. The Lord answered my prayers with my wonderful husband Walt who is all of the things I asked for and so much more.
Notice what happens when we ask and also thank the Lord for all that He has done and for what He is going to do especially during a trial. His peace comes to us. That peace guards our hearts and minds from attacks of the enemy.
Jesus is Lord!
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:1-2
As I look back on the trial of losing two jobs and moving to a new state I can see how badly my faith needed to be purified. I can also see how the Lord never left me. He wasn’t mad at me. He is a good Dad. I worked in Emergency Care for eight years.
We often don’t understand why things happen to us. But even if we asked the Lord to explain it all to us, we might be incapable of really understanding it. Think about when we were babies and our parents or family members took us to get our immunizations. As far as we could see it was a bad thing. Somebody was holding us while someone else stuck a needle in our leg or arm. Ouch! Even if our mothers told us what the needles did – giving us protection from disease, it would have been nonsense to two month old us. We got our shots at two months, four months, six months, twelve months, eighteen months and age five. Those shots were painful to us, but provided us with precious protection against diseases that used to kill thousands of children. Our moms got us those shots because they loved us. The Lord is the same way.
When we go through a trial He is with us. He doesn’t leave us for a second. Trials are for our good.
Jesus is Lord!
Trial to Triumph Part 5
3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Malachi 3:3
I had gotten the very job that terrified me. Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner, but I felt that the Lord wanted me there. Remember He had given me a heads up months before. So I surrendered myself to the Lord. I knew I could not do this on my own. The doctor that hired me told me that I would be given a three month internship with an experienced ER Nurse Practitioner and would not be expected to operate alone until she was satisfied with my skills. She taught me to read x –rays, suture, what labs to order etc. She was literally a God-send. I actually started to like the job. The Lord gave me favor with the doctors and staff. The job paid significantly more than I made up North.
There is a process to purifying gold:
First the gold ore is crushed.
Then it is placed in a furnace in excess of 1900 degrees Fahrenheit to elevate the gold about its melting point. Impurities are burned off in the furnace – but other metals remain.
In order to separate the gold from the other metals, chemicals such as mercury or cyanide solution are introduced. This causes the gold to coagulate and form nuggets and clumps of gold.
After the gold smelting process is complete, the gold is melted once more and poured into molds to form ingots.
Later the gold ingots may be used for various purposes.
When our faith is purified from self reliance, fear, doubt, reliance on money, people or things it is able to be firmly placed in the Lord. We can access the power of the Lord. Then the fruit of endurance, steadfastness and patience emerge, the way purifying gold brings out its clarity, shine, brilliance and usefulness.
Jesus is Lord!
11 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1
I was told to go for my interview for the State of Florida job to Tampa GeneralHospital. It is a huge trauma center and hospital. I thought “I hate working in hospitals”. After an initial intake with Human Resources I was sent downstairs to: The Emergency Room! Oh. NO! Yes, the job was for Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner. The very job I had thought to myself when the Lord put it in my heart – NO WAY! I had what I can only call a backwards interview. I was asked “Can you suture?” “No”. I replied. “Can you read x-rays?” Again I replied “No”. Then the doctor who was interviewing me said “Looking at your resume I see that you are an administrator!” “Yes”, I answered, but I can do the job!” What?! Did I just say that? The doctor left the room. I was left sitting there with the Nurse Manager. “Uh, should I go now?” I asked. “No”, he answered, “You got the job!”
During a trial our faith is being proved with the resulting fruit of patience, steadfastness and endurance. Faith has to be tried to remove other things which can mix with it making it ineffective.
Faith in God plus faith in money, people and things
Faith in God plus doubt
Faith in God plus fear
Or Faith in God plus faith in our own abilities.
Have you ever opened an electric cord? If you have you will remember seeing several pure copper wires intertwined. But what if one of the cords was made of lead? Putting the plug into the wall would avail nothing because the pure copper was mixed with something else. That is the way it is with faith. If it is faith plus something else we will not be able to access the power of the Lord.
6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].
A faith that is mixed with any thing else will cause us to be double minded.
I am glad that the Lord cares enough about us to purify our faith.
Jesus is Lord!
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness Malachi 3:3.
After losing my second job in six months, I was devastated. I had no clue what to do. My mother suggested that I come down to Florida where she and Dad had retired and see if I could get a job there. I agreed to give it a try. I prayed. And I surrendered to the Lord. I knew that I could not do it on my own. I went down to Tampa and got three job interviews lined up. The first one was with the State of Florida Health Services. I had no idea what the position was.
We are the McDonald’s generation. We don’t want trials to be difficult or last long. But consider this: Let’s say that we want to train Marines. So we come up with training and a testing plan. We want to test strength so we tell them to run ten feet, and then jump over a one foot fence, and finish by doing one push up. If we did that we would have one weak bunch of Marines. But in reality Marines do many, many push ups, climb high walls and run many miles and then are severely tested in realistic war games before they are sent out to defend our nation.
It is the same with us. A short easy trial is not going to build up any faith muscles. We need to trust the Lord to do what needs to be done for our good in His perfect timing and plan.
Gold being melted to remove impurities
Jesus is Lord!
Gold ore crushed
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. James 1:3-4
So after I calmed down from the shock of being told I was going to lose my job, I did begin to pray to the Lord. I applied for another job and two weeks later I started as a Branch Manager for a Home Health Agency. It paid more money but the office was in a bad neighborhood and it was a dull and dingy workplace. The workers were sullen. Five months later I got fired! Yes, me who never gets fired got fired. But several weeks before I got fired, an interesting thing had happened while I was walking down a corridor of St.ElizabethHospital on my way to a meeting. I heard the Lord speak to my heart. “Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner”. “Boy”, I thought to myself “I would never do a job like that! Too much stress, besides I don’t like emergencies”. I kept on walking.
There is a purpose to our trials. The proving of our faith brings out fruit!
Endurance – the ability to do something difficult for a long time
Steadfastness – being firmly fixed, unmovable
Patience – the ability to accept trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
This fruit makes us more like the character of Jesus. Think of the last week of Jesus’ life. He needed all three of these qualities to go through all that He did for our sake. If he did not have these characteristics he could have said “No way! I am not going through that!” But He did go through it for us.
Our problem as Americans is that we are used to having things fast. Fast burgers, instant messaging, fast computers, shopping online – so no waiting. We do not like to wait. We want our trials our way and over fast! Unfortunately, in order to grow in patience, endurance and steadfastness we often have to wait, sometimes for a long time.
Somebody told me that in the Middle East they are great at waiting patiently – sometimes as long as eight hours in a line. Try doing that to one of us! Yeah.
So we need to be patient when we are in a trial and let the Lord do what needs to be done in our lives.
Jesus is Lord!