Then Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
Do you know that if you want to do anything important for the Lord in this lifetime, you will not always have the approval of people? In fact, many times people will despise you, mock you, lie about you, and condemn you – even Christians, mostly Christians!
Why is this? Shouldn’t Christians all work together? That would be nice, but people who walk in faith and are doing what the Lord calls them to do intimidate others, especially Christians who are not as faithful, who are in disobedience, or who are ignoring God’s call on their lives.
If you want to win popularity contests, you better decide right now not to do much for God. But, if you want God’s approval, you have to acknowledge that there will be those who will mistreat you and say ugly things about you because of your faith and your stand.
We can take a lesson from Jesus Himself. Philippians 2:7 says He made Himself of no reputation. And, as you know, He was mocked, lied about, spit upon and was even killed for His faith and stand!
Today, make it your mission to be a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser!
Keep the faith!
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” With all the voices competing for our attention – people, media, TV, the devil, even our own voice – how can we tell which one is God’s?
We have the complete bible, which is the inspired Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 1 Timothy 3:16-17 God’s voice never tells us to take a direction that is counter to what His Word says. If you have need of direction or have a decision to make, go see what His Word says about it first.
We also have the Holy Spirit residing in us. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 As you feed on the Word, the Holy Spirit will quicken it to your remembrance as you have need of it for specific situations in your life. This is why it is so important to keep making “daily deposits” of the Word into your heart. The Spirit will quicken the Word already deposited in your heart in a variety of ways. Often I have been stumped about a problem and all of a sudden a scripture will *pop* into my brain; it is the exact road sign I need to direct me to the answer I need. In other words, I am hearing God’s voice.
The time you spend in the Word and communing with Him will help you get to know Him more and more. You will have a plumb line in which to compare all the other voices you hear – if they don’t line up with what the Word and the Holy Spirit speak, you know they are not of Him.
Read 1 Samuel 3 about how Samuel became acquainted with the Lord’s voice. And give thanks that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts!
Keep the faith!!
When you are walking in God’s will you become an open target for the enemy. He sees you, in spite of all your fears and other obstacles, still doing what God has led you to do. It doesn’t make him happy – in fact, it riles him up and the intensity of his attacks on you increases. For example:
- You have stepped out and faith and started that business God showed you was His will for you and almost immediately you are bombarded with customer complaints and false accusations.
- You make the decision to tithe in faith, even though it seems to make no sense because of your already strained bank account. You write that tithe check and sow it in love and faith, and then – WHAMMO – your car and washing machine break down at the same time!
- You have been wanting to make a career change and, after much prayer, you believe God has said, “Go for it!” So you take that new position, hopeful and in faith, and the company bankrupts right after you start and you are now looking for another job.
- You are going about your business, helping many others in many different ways – sowing faithfully into their lives love, finances, prayer, counsel and time. All of a sudden, you experience loads of technical equipment troubles. You are ignored by most anyone that matters and you thought would help you. People verbally assault you for no reason. You feel beat up, battered, and wonder, “Why the heck do I even bother anymore?”
What do you do?
Well, the human reaction is to react, to lash out, and to cast away our confidence. The natural reaction is to scream “God! I trusted You. I thought I was doing what YOU wanted me to do; why did it go wrong?” My favorite line is “Good girls are supposed to get the reward!” What do you do when you are doing good, walking the right path, sowing into the Kingdom, yet you are attacked and don’t get the reward?
One: You must know the enemy does not want you following God’s plan! He wants to steal the love and Word of God from your heart. He will do anything in his power to stop you. He will send people onto your path to assault and offend you. As the prince of the air, he will cause all sorts of technological troubles for you. He will do whatever it takes to FRUSTRATE and DISCOURAGE you to get you to give up. We must know this; we must know our enemy and be aware of his methods.
Two: You need to rejoice! Do not rejoice in the trouble itself, but rejoice in Him! (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Three: Allow yourself the time to get from One to Two! Don’t beat yourself up if your first reaction is “Ouch! God! This hurts and I am angry and hurt!” Just don’t stay in that mode.
Four: Stay on the path you were on before the obstacle or offense was thrown at you! Don’t give up on your mission from God. Galatians 6:9 says, “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”
Five: Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7 At some point, the devil will take a break because he sees your persistence and perseverance.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Notice that is says “have overcome”! That means you already have the victory, no matter the attack! God is bigger than it all!
Keep the faith!
One day, years ago, I was working in my home office and I heard God’s still small voice whisper to me, “Get up and make cornbread muffins for Larry and take them to him.” I was busy with my work and argued, “But Lord, not now, I am so busy.” A few minutes later, the voice spoke again, “Tina, get up and make cornbread muffins for Larry and take them to him NOW!” Again I argued, “Lord, I don’t have all the ingredients and will have to go to the store.” Silence.
By this time in my Christian walk I knew enough not to argue with “The Voice” anymore; I got up, went to the store and came back to make the muffins. As I was getting the cornbread ready to go into the oven, I began thinking about Larry and wondering why God would ask me to do this, and why do it at this particular time.
Larry’s heart was kind; he was always there when someone needed help. All of us neighbors loved when it was Fish Taco Night at Larry’s house! He made a mean fish taco and welcomed everyone in to eat. But, Larry had a sad side, too. He was a couple of years out of a failed marriage, was estranged from his 20-year old daughter and his fishing rod and reel business had taken a downturn. He hid the sadness from everyone for the most part. As the muffins baked, I began to pray for Larry. I asked the Lord to bring him comfort and show him that, despite the problems he faced, his future could be bright.
Once out of the oven, I put the muffins in a basket and went next door to Larry’s. I knocked a couple of times and there was no answer. I was getting pretty fed up. “God! Why did You tell me to make these if he wasn’t even home?” I turned around to leave, but sensed I should knock one last time. I pounded on the door this time.
The door opened a crack. I could see Larry, tears streaming down his face, with a shotgun in his hand. It was clear that he had been sitting there ready to take his life. He said, “Tina, I just asked God, ‘please, if You are real, help me!’” He was more distraught about his life than anyone could have known. But, of course, God knew.
Long story short, we were able to talk and get him some help; he is a very happy man to this day. He called me “My Angel” from that day forward. However, we all know I was not an angel; I was just obedient to the still small voice.
Granted, not all situations are as life threatening, but we so very much need His direction in every area of our lives. 1 Kings 19:11-12 shows us that God can speak to us in large and boisterous ways, but usually He chooses to speak to us through His Spirit in a “still small voice”. That is why it is imperative we spend quiet time alone with Him to be able to hear that voice and to know it is His. This voice will guide us in all matters, big and small, if we are wise enough to hearken to it.
I urge you today to listen for His voice – and obey it when you do. The rewards are incredibly worth it! Who knows? Maybe it will save someone’s life, literally.
Keep the faith!
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
There is a common saying among religious folks: “Seek His face, not His hand.” Another version: “Seek the Giver, not the gifts.” While this sounds pious and humble, it is not very truthful nor scriptural. In fact, it can be very condemning to those who are in need of answers and help from the Lord.
Human beings need both! We want to see Him, His face – to know Him, to love Him. But, as His children, we also seek His hand, His power in our lives. Seeking Him and seeking His hand go together! We not only long for Him to move in power on our behalf, we need Him to act!
Take a look at just a few of the numerous times the bible records David desperate for God’s hand to move on his behalf:
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me, O Lord, make haste to help me! Psalm 40:13
Help me, O Lord my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy….Let my accusers be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle. Psalm 109:26,29
But You, O Lord, do not be far from me, O my Strength, hasten to help me! Psalm 22:19
I encourage you to not let false piety be placed upon you by well-meaning yet misguided brothers and sisters. Don’t let them detour you from boldly going before your Father! Seek Him with confidence that you will see Him and His power in your life!
Keep the faith!
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22
What do you do when you are lining your life up to the Word of God, purposefully choosing to do His will, and life still seems to be not working right? We all have been there. We’ve made our decisions to get sin out of our lives, to ‘do it God’s way’, thinking it will bring us victory and success; yet, nothing changes – or worse, it gets more unpleasant.
Some real-life examples:
You’ve made a decision to tithe based on the Word – Malachi 3:8-12, Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. You’ve heard the testimonies from so many who said, “The moment we decided to tithe, blessings came pouring in!” The Word promises that you will be blessed if you tithe and you believe it. Yet, you tithe and the refrigerator and the washing machine and the car all break down the same week! The money you tithed would have covered all the repairs.
You decided to dedicate your business, or your job, to the Lord based on the Word – Proverbs 3:6, Deuteronomy 28:3-13, Deuteronomy 8:18 and Matthew 21:22. You believe fully that God has your back and that He will prosper the work you do, giving you the power to get wealth, just like it says in the bible! But, you lose three clients, you lose a big contract, your hours are cut at your job or you are laid off, and you are now wondering, “If this is prospering, I wonder what failing is?”
After hearing so much about what must be done in the natural to restore good health, and based on the Word – 1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Jeremiah 33:6 and 3 John 2, you chose to drastically make better choices in your diet and lifestyle. You felt confident that, once you began honoring the temple of the Lord, you would feel terrific and be full of energy. Instead, you don’t feel that same bountiful level of health others say they obtained when they did the same thing. You feel blah and are left wondering if all the sacrifice of the foods you love and the pain of exercise are worth it.
You wonder, “Where the heck is God in all of this? I thought He said there was a reward for doing the right thing?” Psalm 18:12 says, “The Lord rewarded me for doing right….”
So, what do you do? You have a few choices, actually. You can give up and throw in the towel saying, “Why did I even bother? I should’ve known God would not come through for me.” Or, you can go numb because it hurts too much to keep trying to do the right thing and never get the prize. You could even choose to determine that this Christianity stuff really IS a hoax, created for those who don’t have a brain!
The only real choice you have is to keep on keepin’ on! One of my favorite preachers talks about what to do between the “Amen” and the “There-It-Is”. He says, “Having done all you can to stand, stand some more!” Ephesians 6:13. In other words, don’t give up!
At the same time, you cannot get into murmuring and complaining, moaning and groaning about it. Yes, there is a time to be honest with the Lord. Tell Him you are in a quandary. Tell Him you don’t understand why His Word says one thing but another is happening. You can share your struggle with a like-minded close friend or mentor, but don’t share it with the world. Afterward, you must choose to buck up, and endure like a good soldier.
Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. James 4:7
We must make a choice to base our lives on the Word, not on the circumstances our senses can see, hear and feel. Another one of my wonderful teachers always says, “The power is in consistency”. We didn’t get where we are at overnight; God rarely gets us out of where we are overnight. As it was with the Israelites when they finally entered the promised land, it is with us: “Little by little I will drive them out before you….” Exodus 23:30 Slow and steady wins the race! Consistency has power.
Don’t give up! Hang on tight! Keep on keepin’ on!
And……always – Keep the faith!!
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4
The other day I heard a preacher say “God works the night shift!” and I thought how true that is!
I have not had a full night’s sleep in many months. It has been frustrating to say the least. I go to sleep right away, but every night, somewhere between 1am and 3 am, I wake up. I am awake for at least one hour, though it is usually for two to three hours; finally, sleep comes again about 5am, just about when it’s time to get up!
The thoughts that whirl though my mind in the wee hours run the gamut from my kids to finances to the upcoming election to the eternal. Sometimes there are some very panicky thoughts: Where is the money we need going to come from? What will happen to this country if the liberals win? Will my husband’s mother ever get better? Are my kids going to be ok? When will I be able to close the big deal? How can we help all the people who come to us in need?
I have found the only way to stop these anxiety-ridden thoughts is to speak out loud and command them to stop. Seriously. I say aloud, “Devil, it may be true that I don’t have the answers right now, but God does. Stop bothering me about it now, go talk to Him!” Then I pray. I mostly pray in the Spirit because I don’t always know how to pray, or for whom. I also make the choice to think on all the troubles and situations God has brought me through before, and that helps me to know He is there helping me through the current batch!
Other times, there are some yucky thoughts spinning in my head: Why do you procrastinate so much? When are you ever going to lose some weight, fatso? How can God love you when you screw up all the time? You always blow it, when are you going to do it right? Who do you think you are that anyone would want to read what you write? You’re already in your 50’s, what have you accomplished in this life?
I’ve learned that I have to take control over them immediately or else I will slip quickly into a pit of despair. Again, to stop them I speak out loud, “Devil, in the name of Jesus, I command you to leave me alone. My Dad loves me and thinks I’m swell, even if I am not perfect. If you have a problem with me, go talk to Him about it!” I start thinking on the scriptures that speak of giving our cares to the Lord and about how faithful He is to us. Praying in the Spirit usually takes me back to sleep.
Some nights I know God has tapped me on the shoulder just to talk to me! Those are the nights I ask Him, “OK Lord, who do you want me to pray for now?” Usually, one specific person will come to mind and I will pray over that person; sometimes many people will be brought to my memory and I pray for them all. Again, because I don’t always know what to pray, I often pray in the Spirit.
I keep a notebook, pen and flashlight on my nightstand so I can write down things that come to me during these quiet hours. Many times God will give me the title for an article, or the solution to a problem I am having, or someone He wants me to talk to, or even a new recipe I can create! I have found that writing these things down lets me put them out of my mind for the time being, and brings clarity in the morning. It is easy to forget if I don’t memorialize them.
The best part of not sleeping? It reminds me that God does not sleep! He is always on call, always at the ready, to commune with us. Lately, I must say, I have been asking Him, “But, do we have to do it at 3 am?” Yet, I know this season will pass. But while it is here, I am grateful that He cares.
Keep the faith!
Spending time alone with God is one way you can get to know Him and know that He is good! Seeking Him early each day will cause your day to be blessed and prosperous.
I remember, years ago, when I was a single mom and a business owner, never seeming to have the time to spend with the Lord. I was extremely busy, yet still wanted to get to know Him better. My bed felt too good in the morning to get up extra early, but if I waited until evening I would fall asleep or be so overwhelmed by the day’s activities I put off going to Him. I felt so burdened to spend time with Him and bemoaned the fact to Him often!
One day I heard the Lord clearly say “Get up at 4:30 in the morning!” My first thought was, “WHAT??? You’ve got to be kidding! I already get up so early! 4:30? Are You sure???” But, He bugged me about it and I determined to do as He said. When I struggled with it, I heard Him say, “It only hurts when it is time to get up!” Wow. Isn’t He good? It’s so true. When the alarm goes off it hurts, but once you are up it is no problem. After all these years of getting up early and spending time with Him, I cannot imagine starting my day any other way. (Since I sold my business, 4:30 is no longer when I get up, but I still spend my first time of the day with God.)
There is biblical precedence for doing this! Even Jesus spent time with the Lord in the wee morning hours:
Mark 1:35 Now, in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place and He prayed.
Ezekiel 12:8 And in the morning came the word of the Lord to me.
Psalm 5:3 My voice shall Thou hear in the morning, Oh Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.
Psalm 63:1 God You are my God. Early I will seek You.
Psalm 88:13 In the morning my prayer comes before You.
Psalm 133:8 Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning.
Luke 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him.
Even the Proverbs 31 woman knew to seek Him early: v 16: She rises while it is yet night and gets spiritual food for her household.
I encourage you to start your day off right by spending time with Him – the rewards are great!
Keep the faith!!!
God is Good!
A collection of Inspiration about God’s Goodness, by Faith Mama – aka Tina Marino
Click here to read or download pdf: God Is Good
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.”
2 Timothy 1:6
What are you to do when it seems nothing is going right? When there is no light at the end of the tunnel? When it appears that your hopes and dreams are never going to be realized?
You are to do as Timothy was instructed to do: Stir yourself up!
What does it mean to stir oneself up? In the above scripture, the word “stir” in the Greek means: to kindle, to inflame one’s zeal, mind and strength. God puts all we need into us, but He does not do it for us – He tells US to stir ourselves up!
The word is also used in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 5:24). The Lord told David to stir himself up and go out and slay the Philistines, and that God would go before him. In this case, the Hebrew word for “stir” means: to be decisive. In other words, “make a choice”. David could have chosen to stay behind, but instead He stirred himself up and charged forward – trusting in the Lord. It is important to note that David did have a choice. So do you, so do I.
So, what does it look like? When you don’t want to get up, you get up and get going anyway. When you are afraid to do the things you need to do, you do them afraid. When you are sad, you praise God anyway. When you are tempted to give up, you go to the Word and fill yourself up with hope.
Keep your eyes on the prize – He is faithful!
Keep the faith!