Our Father’s Love

Familiarity can rob believers of a reverent mindset.

Last week, I was reading a devotional book concerning John 3:16. It might have been the first scripture verse I memorized. It was for a Sunday school class at the age of eight.

If you’re like most believers who attended Sunday school when you were young, you also learned the verse. Probably you can still quote it today. The passage is rich in spiritual meaning with depths you can never fathom. As I was reading, a new thought came to me. Let me paraphrase it as it opened to me.

The Father loved me so much that He allowed His only Son to die in my place. The sinless One became the substitute for my sin. I didn’t pay the price for my sin, but Christ did. Why? Because Jesus loved me, too. My Savior said, “You trusted Me. Heaven will be your new home.” 

Though I have known Jesus for decades, the refreshing reality of my heavenly Father sending His Son was revitalizing. Also, that Jesus Himself was saying these words added more spiritual insight. 

Today, God, the Father, isn’t just sitting on the throne watching us. He is tenderly concerned about the minute details of every believer.

With that thought in mind, maybe you will pick up your Bible and reread John 3:16. This time read it slowly and methodically allowing the Father to show you some never-known thoughts about Him.

As a child of God, especially an older child, a trip down your spiritual memory lane will refresh your soul concerning our Father’s love for you. 

God’s Timetable

Keepsakes are reminders. Some are happy, others are sad. These experiences are reminders of mountain top experiences and the valleys throughout life.

On the wall in my office hangs a rock suspended by four push pins. The stone is flat and about two inches in diameter. While walking years ago in the midst of solving a dilemma, the Lord reminded me of David facing Goliath. The shepherd boy only needed one stone to remedy the difficulty. David’s confidence and reliance upon God was his strength for facing his giant.

The same principle applies today in our lives. Whatever your situation, you will be better off seeking God’s guidance for his direction, assistance, and timing. The Lord knows what is going on in your life. Actually, he knew about them before time began.

The amazing thing is God knows the outcome. He has a solution ready. The Lord is just waiting for you to ask for His help and be patient until everything is in place for you to experience His divine intervention. Often, we fail to wait for our wonderful God to act. We get in a hurry. Thinking we know His timetable better than our all-knowing God does.

The next time you get impatient, stop, and ask yourself, “Do I depend upon God? Am I willing to wait on Him? Does my problem need solving today, tomorrow, or later?” Would you wait for His answer? When you know the answer, then is the time for action, but not before. 

The way I learned this lesson is by making mistakes. Getting ahead of God is not a good thing. If you do, soon you will realize your mistake. Remind yourself God’s timetable is always best.

Patience to Wait

I was young, but now I’m not. What I am now took time. Many mistakes happened along the way. Somehow, I realized that these were all my mistakes. I was doing things my way, on my time—presumptuous of me.

Somewhere in my life journey, I realized I needed the Lord’s leadership. But how to get it was the question. Should I try this thought, or was it another? Neither one of them worked.

Psalm 40, verse one, states, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” I realized I was trying to manipulate God to get him to agree with my wants and desires. That was the wrong thought process. God doesn’t jump when we humans say jump.

God makes moves on His timetable, not in response to our commands. When God knows everything is in place, He will act, but not before.

In the meantime, we are to wait. Keep praying, keep believing, and most of all, keep our faith in Him. That takes patience. Sometimes, it is more than we anticipate. This verse has one word that speaks volumes to the saints of God. The word is patiently. God isn’t in a hurry. He knows when everything fits for the upcoming miracle to happen.

Our part is to learn the lesson of patience. There are times when we need patience about being patient. This lesson didn’t happen in my younger days. I was all about doing things with my strength and intelligence. Sure, those two traits accomplished a lot. But, not for God’s glory.

When Moses raised his hands, the Red Sea divided, but that was not the time for Israel to march through. The wind had to blow; the seabed had to dry. Then, the Israelites could go through on dry land. To start sooner meant mud up to their elbows. 

Patience is the best practice to experience the guiding hand of God!

Directionally Challenged

Old preachers frequently help churches. Usually, these churches are without pastors, but they often fill in when the pastor is sick or on vacation. Rural churches often need this type of help, especially the small ones.

Today was my day. The church was in the middle of nowhere, and only the members knew how to get there. Even hawks, rabbits, and foxes found it hard to find this church.

Directions to the location were simple, or so I thought. Turn left after getting off the Interstate. Go 5 to 6 miles and turn right. In another five miles, you will see the brick church with stained-glass windows on the right. Sounds simple. Right? Well, not for me.

I made the first left, and things were great. After eight or so miles, there was no church. I turned around to backtrack and made another turn. Turn right, then after three miles, I turned around again. Stopped at an intersection to make a phone call and to receive new directions again. After several more miles, I turned around again. I picked up my phone and asked GPS for directions to the church’s address. Bingo! I could follow these. I arrived at my destination in minutes and was on time. That’s good, since I was the speaker.

The moral of the story above is that technology isn’t bad if you’re willing to use it. New ways can be good. Making changes can enhance your life. However, technology doesn’t teach life principles, but the Bible does. My lesson is to use technology when it applies, but stick with the Bible to live right with God. 

One thing is sure: the Bible will help you if you’re directionally challenged in life. The Lord knew Bible principles would always be better for our lives. Don’t waste your life by wandering in the wrong direction. Ask God for help and make a U-turn. Life will be easier if you do.

Positions In Prayer

“Men ought always to pray” is the admonishment of Luke 18:1 (NKJV). So where and how should we pray? Does our physical position make a difference? The Scriptures give the believer a variety of positions in which to seek the Lord.

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God?”  2 Samuel 7:18

Daniel…knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Luke 18:13

Bowing Our Heads
Then the servant bowed his head and prayed, “I thank you, LORD God…” Genesis 24:26 CEV

Looking Up
Jesus spoke these words. lifted up His Eyes to heaven, and said: Father…John 17:1

Laying Prostate
He (Jesus) went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed Matthew 26:39

Lifted Hands
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands … 1 Timothy 2:8

Silent Prayer
Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. 1 Samuel 1:13

Crying Out
Jesus…begged God with loud crying and tears… Hebrews 5:7 CEV

Lifted Voices.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. Psalm 77:1 CSB

Secret Prayer
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6

Careful introspection reveals that it isn’t the position that matters, but the individual’s heart.

God is ready to listen to your heart anywhere, anytime, and any position you are in. The Heavenly Father is always available for your praises and petitions, so don’t let your posture be a hindrance. Pray!

Scriptures are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.


Self-confidence is reassuring to a point. Success is better if it lasts. Inner peace with yourself is surprising if you can maintain it.

This type of peace is more than the absence of conflict. Inner tranquility of the heart brings multiple benefits, like fellowship with those near and far away or overcoming hurt feelings. The peaceful highway of life has potholes, the kind where your tire shatters at 70 mph. The bumps are a jolt to your system at 40 mph. You can see the misgivings of life ahead when traveling at 10 mph, allowing you the time to swerve and miss them.

The fast lane of life permits you to cover a lot of territory, but rapidity has a downside. You don’t have the time to enjoy the precious little things of life, like playing with grandkids, having dinner with loved ones, or sitting in silence reflecting on God’s goodness to you and yours.

The next time you see an opportunity to help or encourage someone, seize the moment. Self-confidence isn’t needed. In fact, your success in life doesn’t mean anything to them. But, a helping hand shows compassion and will bring you an inner peace that words cannot fully explain. In this case, words aren’t necessary.

Reflection brings blissful satisfaction. Slow down and take some time to look at yourself in the mirror of life. Was it self-confidence or success that brought you to this point in life? Can you see a reflection of your inner peace?

Trials to Blessings

Joseph’s crime was listening to God. His brothers hated him for his dreams. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for a measly 20 pieces of silver (Genesis 37:28), not even the full price for a slave.

Potiphar, captain of Pharoah’s guard, got a real deal purchasing Joseph. Soon the young man was overseeing everything that Potiphar owned. But the devil stepped in, through the lustful eyes of Ms. Potiphar. She wanted what she couldn’t have—Joseph. So, the son of Jacob ended up in jail.

Even in prison, the Lord was with the new convict (Genesis 39:21). Joseph flourished. He became the overseer of the prisoners and the interpreter of dreams. He revealed the future to Pharoah’s ex-employees, the Cupbearer and Baker.

After their release, Joseph persevered two more years in prison. Then one day, Pharaoh couldn’t find anyone to interpret his dreams. That’s when the Cupbearer stepped in and said, “Oh! There is a prisoner who can tell Pharaoh what his dream is about.”

In comes Joseph; the clean-shaven prisoner said to Pharoah, “God will give me the meaning of your dreams.” Joseph said the dreams mean, “There would be seven years of plenty and seven years of drought.” Upon interpreting dreams, the ruler announced, “Now you are the overseer of everything in Egypt.” God used those years to bring Joseph’s family to Egypt.

God allows trials and misunderstandings in our lives. There’s a day somewhere in your future when the blessings of God will rain down on you. You don’t know when God will turn your trials into blessings. They may be in this lifetime or the next.

In the meantime, your only requirement is being faithful to the Lord. Faithfulness will not see you through every heartache. Your task is to remain loyal to the one who purchased you with his blood, Jesus!

The Helping Hand

Our world is divided. Technology can fill our brains with facts, but it lacks the distinctive touch of compassion. People need people. We need each other. The warmth of companionship removes an empty spot in our lives. While computers have voices, their sound is cold and factual, lacking the personal touch of sincerity.

God created Adam. But Adam needed Eve. Someone to talk to, someone to share time with. Adam was lonely. God intervened and gave Adam a helper—Eve. The two could walk and talk together. Enjoy each other’s company. Everyone desires companionship, someone to relate to.

Keyboards and screens can reveal knowledge but can’t convey emotions. Videos can’t bandage your heart and hug you when words aren’t necessary nor smile with your heartwarming approval.

God knew what He was doing when He created families—bone of our bones (Genesis 2:23), our DNA with flesh and blood, a heart that feels like yours. Technology cannot do that. The hard drive can store info but doesn’t have the individualized touch of love nor can it offer the sympathy that reaches out when you fail, get laid off, are in the hospital, or standing beside a grave.

There’s something still missing from all the advances of mankind in making life easier and faster—the warmth of the closeness of another individual. All our machines, computers, and luxury items are no match for your family, neighbor, or friend. God made you unique. Someone endowed with a conscience to do what is right for the less fortunate. An individual needing encouragement.

The opportunity in front of you is a gift from the Almighty. Make the best use of it.

Unexpected Delays

The day has a plan with every hour scheduled. You were proud of yourself for a moment. Everything fits into a specific time slot. Then puff, one unannounced event superseded everything. That’s life sometimes.

You are a young parent ready to walk out the door. Junior has a messy diaper, and the smell is overpowering. You know, the kind. The diaper couldn’t hold the load. The diaper is full, the clothes soiled, even the socks. A total change is in order.

All is well; you’ll be only a few minutes late. Once in the car, there’s this red light on the dashboard. The image of a gas pump is staring. Where’s the nearest gas station? An alternate route provides the nearest gas station. It’s another couple of minutes delay. After refueling, you’re on your way.

Soon traffic is at a standstill. Instead of sitting, you decide on another route. Now every stop light is red. This alternate road results in a 10-minute delay. You can feel the attitude change. The neck is red; the ears join in the color change. Calm down, you say to yourself. Just calm down. Everything will be all right.

You arrive at your destination. Emotionally drained. A glance in the mirror says it all. How can I enjoy myself? The last half hour has drained every ounce of anticipated joy from your heart.

Take a deep breath. And then another, talking to yourself helps. I’ll go in and put on a big smile and look happy while being a big hypocrite. That’s what most people do in this type of situation.   Once inside and you relax, pleasant conversations improve your attitude. All is well.

Sometime during the evening, you realize all things work together for good, even dirty diapers and unexpected delays.  

God Never Abandons You

Bad things have a way of finding you. Hiding doesn’t help because problems somehow know where you are. Denying they exist won’t work either. Unexpected issues come out of the blue.

Are you prepared for the mishaps? Yes, that would be a great answer. Most likely, your answer will be no.  

Situations, whether health, employment, or associations, have unexpected appointments with you. They come whether you are prepared or not. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33 ESV).  

When you read this verse carefully, one word stands out, and that word is “will”. Everybody has times of difficulty in their life. Notice Jesus did not say there is a possibility of future trouble. He warned you. Everyone will experience problems. They may be big or small, but they will appear.

However, with the unpleasantries, there is a promise. A guarantee from God. “I have conquered the world.” All our problems are of this world, not heaven. Jesus never abandons his children. He is with us in all our circumstances.  

God never, ever lies (Titus 1:2). God stated that promise in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament (Numbers 23:19). Our God always keeps His promises. Whatever your dilemma, God will help you (Isaiah 50:9). Your desired solution and how God answers your request may differ from your thoughts. That can be a huge pill to swallow.  

A word of encouragement—God always works things out for your best overall interest. Whatever His answer is, it is for your betterment. Maybe you need to do what I do when I don’t understand why things are the way they are. I claim Romans 8:28. “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.”

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