Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13
Is your belief system so ingrained that it guards you against temptation? If so, then certain issues have already been settled in your heart. Think about how beneficial that is: When you face certain situations in which you must choose whether to obey God, you don’t have to struggle. Why? Because that decision has already been made.
A settled mindset makes decisions easy because you don’t have to debate the pros and cons of submitting to temptation. Because your mind is already committed to obeying God, it won’t matter whether yielding is more convenient or profitable.
We find this in the example of Peter and John. Threats would not stop them from doing what the Lord had commanded. That’s the kind of commitment we should have when living according to our convictions.
When you are committed to living by your convictions, God will both strengthen you to stand firm and comfort you in any suffering that results.
When we go through the trials, troubles, and tribulation of life there is always the temptation to think that God has forgotten us.
During such times, we tend to think that God is far away from us, that He does not really care for us, and that He has forgotten all about us. Although it may not seem like it at times, the message of Isaiah says that nothing could be further from the truth.
We are always before the eyes of the Lord. Although God may allow the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life into our lives, we should not draw the conclusion from this that He does not care about us and that He has forgotten about us. Indeed, “The LORD will lead you. He himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid!” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
God really cares about us. God has not forgotten us. He has the pictures of us to prove it.
Matthew 5:1 says, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside and sat down.”
America is in a hurry! Time has skyrocketed in value because of its scarcity. Jesus invites you and me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…” (Matthew 11:28). He invites us to leave behind the budgets, the bills, the deadlines; and walk the narrow trail with him to the sacred summit.
You can tell the ones who have been there. Their difficulties are just as severe, but there is stubborn peace that surrounds them…a contagious delight sparkles in their eyes. And in their hearts reigns a fortress-like confidence that the valley can be endured, even enjoyed, because the mountain is always only a decision away.
David, the great king of the bible, counsels that there is one particular blessing of the Lord that we should search for. We should search for His strength. People who search for the Lord are people who know that trying to accomplish anything on their own apart from His strength and ability is a losing proposition.
Trying to go it alone apart from the Lord leads us nowhere and wears us out. Searching and seeking for the strength of the Lord is an absolute necessity if we are to accomplish anything in this world that is worth accomplishing. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Why is it so easy to lie? Telling a falsehood is something we all did as children, but lying can trip up even longtime Christians. The underlying motive for giving in to deception is usually a desire to protect ourselves in some way. We lie to get out of trouble, to avoid an unwanted situation, to profit financially, to receive acceptance, to bolster our image, to hide our flaws, or for other self-serving reasons.
Are you willing to commit to speaking truth even when it’s costly? Altering income tax information, falsely enhancing your image on social media, or ignoring a miscalculation in your favor on a receipt isn’t worth the loss of character that comes with deception. Seeking to please the Lord and letting Him handle the consequences will always be the best course of action.