Page 1 of 5

Girl in thought

When God Disappoints Us


Some of the greatest challenges to our faith are those moments when we must endure the cold blight of a disappointment. The greater the anticipation, the greater the disappointment when we fail to receive what we have anticipated.

There is no shield that can keep away the days that come to teach our hearts submission to God's will and purpose for us. There are no roses so fragrant that they dismiss for us the tingling sensations of brokenness that come upon us when we see our expectations cave in.

It comes as if it will not leave, but you can be sure that is not so. It will go, and the sun will come again and rebuke the clouds that have hidden the light of God's purpose from shining through to you.

As much as it pleases God to bless you, there will be moments when everything you try goes up in smoke. There will be moments when the one you counted on most walks away and leaves you groping through blinding tears and wailing questions of why. Plans and goals can be circumvented by the most disappointing of times, leaving you learning the art of patience and the acceptance of a denied request.

Nevertheless, there is within the human capacity a tenacious instinct of survival that kicks in when we are at our lowest. It enables us to succeed through the storms of life. They will not overthrow you if you learn to trust God even when you can't trace Him.

You may not know why you have had to face the chilling winds of despair, but trust God to renew you. Just live on.

He is so wise. He knows the greater truths that can only be realized by beholding both today and tomorrow in one glance. He must, as a good father, deny requests that would insult the greater destiny He has prepared for those who are His.

"Submission" is a word many hearts resist even when they read it in the Word. But submission can be a friend to the struggling heart of a victim that has been chained to the will of God. Rather than burn your hands and hearts by wrestling to break free from the grip that holds you, just submit.

Why would you resist the One to whom you have entrusted your future? It is safe to trust Him. He will not fail you.

He watches out for you, and His eyes are keen! When He says no, you ought to say yes! He would never interrupt or embarrass you if He didn't see something ahead that necessitated the answer He gave.

The real issue is a matter of trust-trusting the Father to know what is best for any of us. He will not withhold any good thing from you. If it were good, He would have said yes.

That thing that is not coming to you may seem good. But either the timing is wrong, or from His position He can see that the future of it is bleak. I have always believed that people who thank God only for delivering them from what happened are just scraping the surface of praise. The real praise comes when you start thanking Him for what could have happened but didn't because of His swift grace!

Celebration should be leaping out of your heart. Trusting God transforms calamity into testimony. Knowing He cares too much for you to abuse you and is too wise to be wrong causes a wounded heart to serenade the heavens. When we begin to know Him rather than just serve Him, we can trust His vision, His wisdom and His insight, even when He does not explain what we thought we needed to know.

Many people rejoice about the opening of doors. I can understand why the heart sings when the hand of God moves the obstacle out of the way. The eye can see the way made, and the feet begin to dance toward a brighter future.

But I want to challenge you to go a step further into the deeper sovereign truth of a closed door. We can readily accept His authority when it is used to perform what we know to be a favor. The real challenge of submission is to submit when the human will would have chosen another way. This is the graduation exercise of faith and the commencement service of a trust for those whose dependency and reliance is upon the manifold wisdom of God.

It is significant to understand that the shut door is just as much a move of God as the open one (see Rev. 3:7). It is an action predetermined by the wisdom of a Father who knows what is best. He does emphatically shut doors. There is no purpose in any of us trying to pray open, work open or pry open what God has shut.

If the door is closed by the enemy, and he is trying to get you to give up on your dream, prayer and praise will unlock it. But if the door is closed by a sovereign decision of an all-wise God, and prayer and praise do not open it, then you must accept His decision.

That doesn't mean the door cannot be opened. It just means that "no man" can open it. If God doesn't open the door, it cannot be opened. If He doesn't do it, you don't want it to be done. There is a difference between a door Satan has jammed and a door God has locked from you.

It may not be a permanent lock. God may be saying, Not at this time. If it is a timed no, it may be God's way of bringing you to a place of submission. Only a praying heart that turns to Him can determine the answer. Prayer does work. If you pray, He does have the key, and He can open the door (see 2 Chron. 7:13-15).

If in prayer the hinges do not move and the latch does not unclasp, then we must conclude that God has for our betterment shut the door. Do not pout like a child who has become accustomed to getting his or her way. That response says you have not accepted discipline.

Perhaps the need for discipline is what has shut the door in the first place. The spoiled child may be getting weaned from the tantrums and sulking that accompany the untrained. This is hard, but it is also right!

I want you to learn the art of rejoicing when He says no. Rejoice, because if Satan is at work, your attitude will make his efforts futile. The enemy will get discouraged if you don't encourage him with your depression!

But I also want you to learn the ability to thank God when the answer is irrevocably, unalterably and emphatically no. It may sound insane, but trust me on this. It is all good! You see, He is working on your behalf.

Some of my greatest moments with God have come when I said yes to His corrections and decisions. Satan was defeated, and God was worshiped by my trust in His sovereign will for my life.

Doesn't that hurt? At first, but when I remind myself of God's love for me and rest in the knowledge that He would never hurt me, disappointment dissipates and love emanates from the comfort of His embrace. I am His child. I relax and say thank you.

Our problem is that we have never been loved by anyone in the way that God loves us. We have nothing with which we can compare His love. If we could ever fathom it—His love alone would heal the aching of our broken hearts. He absolutely adores each one of us.

Recognize that He has been speaking to you through all your circumstances. He is the One you need when life has wounded you and you have fallen from your nesting place like a bird. It is His hand that catches the falling soul. Then He casts it to the wind and commands it to fly again.

You have been called out and separated by God. You were not created to be popular. You were not called to cliques or clubs. You were chosen to fit in the hands of God who has already accepted you.

How I want you to know the height and the depth of His unfathomable love for you!

You would not be so critical of yourself or so worried about public opinion if you were to know the opinion of God. His thoughts toward you are good and not evil.

Some of you have never been secure in the love of your natural father, and it affects how you view your heavenly Father. But He made the ultimate sacrifice just to prove to you the authenticity of His love.

You may not see it or understand it, but He absolutely loves you. Not just when you are right. He loves you even when you are wrong. That is what gives you the power to right the wrongs you've made.

You are special and vibrant, full of potential and possibilities. You are the daughter of a King, who spared no expense to pay the ransom that delivered you from the things that held you hostage.

A no from Him is as sweet as a yes. Your life is about to crescendo into a symphony of praise. When His plan unfolds, you will be glad you didn't settle for your own way.

Go quickly into His presence; climb upon His knee; lay your head on His breast. Cry if you must, but talk to Him. Let Him cleanse you of sin and purge you of pride. He loves you just as much when He says no as He does when He says yes.

T.D. Jakes is the author of several best-selling books, including Woman, Thou Art Loosed!, Help, I'm Raising My Children Alone and The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord. He is the founder and pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. read more

Prayer

Prayer That Fuels Your Attitude

I had just spent three hours in the emergency room, yet could not sleep the entire night because I was so filled with God's joy. A few hours before, life had been as good as it could get. I was on stage speaking to about 13,000 people, and then just like that, I was being rushed to the hospital. I had just walked off the stage, sat on a stool and lost my balance. I fell backward, tried to catch myself, but it was too late. My shoulder had ripped away and my body went into shock. I couldn't move, and the pain was literally the worst I had ever known.

When your body goes into shock, you lose your sight and your heartbeat gets weak—or at least that was my experience. As we waited for the ambulance to arrive, a woman put her hand on my face and said, "Just rest right here." It was the most gentle touch I have known in the midst of physical pain. It was the only thing that brought me comfort.

The next few hours were filled with pain, until they got my arm back into place. But something happened that is so hard to explain. It was like the wind. I can't explain it, but I feel it and know it was there. I felt the joy of the Lord. I can't explain the situation and don't want to rationalize it, but God got my attention. I was humbled, but in the moment, I felt His amazing strength.

The other day, on Chicago Talk Radio, I was asked, "Sam, how does prayer play a role for someone who is going through all these hard times?"

My response was: "Here is what I know. God is not so much in the business of changing the circumstance as He is in the business of changing us for the circumstance. When my body wants me to pray, 'Lord, take this away,' I have learned to pray, 'God, make me bigger and stronger to overcome this.'"

Whether you have a great attitude or one that is idle and can't get above the bar of average, we all need something to add fuel to our outlook. At the end of the day, I have to recharge my cell phone for it to be effective and do what it was meant to do. The same goes for us. As a Christ follower, our attitude needs to be fueled to get through the adversity that we face daily. Every day our attitude will be tested. That is a given, so here are some points to remember to keep your attitude fueled by faith:

1. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). Renewing your mind involves resting. It requires feeding on God's Word. God's Word is living and active, and it can empower your attitude to be joyful no matter what you are going through.

2. You are not a victim; you are just on a journey called "life." Nobody wants adversity, but God is greater than whatever you go through. "For Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth'" (Rom. 9:17).

3. "Do not dwell on the past" (Is. 40:18). You cannot change the picture behind you, but you can determine the picture you walk toward in front of you.

4. Change what you think about, and you change what comes about. Create a positive anchor for your attitude. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Phil. 4:8).

Attitude drives our actions and creates results. The question is, what is fueling your attitude?

Sam Glenn, "The Authority on Attitude," is a sought-after motivational speaker, author and workplace consultant. He is also the founder of Attitude Digest magazine, a quarterly print publication and online community aimed at inspiring those in the workplace and beyond (see www.attitudedigest.com and www.samglenn.com). Sam got his start speaking for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association more than a decade ago.

 

This article originally appeared in New Man e-magazine. read more

Candle

Learn to Annihilate Gossip

We grieve the Spirit by saying what comes to mind that is not honoring to God.

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. —Proverbs 26:20

Gossip. What an ugly word. I hate the word. It is what sells millions of cheap and tawdry magazines at the checkout line in a supermarket. I so despise them that I like to think I am above this stuff.

I may not read these magazines, but I am just as guilty as those who do read them when I myself hear with glee that a person I don't like has been found out—and I pass it on; or I repeat news of something unflattering about an enemy or a person who has wanted to hurt me in some way; or I make a person feel good that I know would relish news of their enemy's difficulty. James says the tongue is a fire (James 3:6), and when I enter into conversations like this, I grieve the Holy Spirit.



Gossip is a defense mechanism to preserve our self-esteem. It arises out of an inferiority complex; we build ourselves up by tearing others down—or enjoying hearing that they are in trouble of some kind. It is a poisonous habit that betrays our insecurity and lack of spirituality. If gossip makes us feel better, we are self-deceived.



We may claim to be Spirit-filled, sound in our theology, faithful in our commitment to the church, zealous in worship, and have devotional lives that are highly admirable. But when we grieve the Spirit by saying what comes to mind that is not honoring to God, we become the very examples James laments: we praise the Lord and curse men.

James asks, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”(James 3:11). If the well in us—the Holy Spirit (John 7:38–39)—overflows, one expects the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23). But when the Spirit begins to speak through us, and instead of love, joy, and peace, suddenly there emerges anger, vengeance, and envy, something has gone terribly wrong.



The Holy Spirit will not produce gossip, anger, revenge, or any other fleshly reaction any more than a fig tree can bear an olive or a grapevine bear a fig (James 3:12–16). It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to produce other than the fruit such as love, joy, peace, and self-control. If we say we are Spirit-filled, then let us display the fruit of the Spirit.



Excerpted from Controlling the Tongue (Charisma House, 2007). read more

Learn to Move On

Many of God's people are not schooled in the art of moving on. We spend a lot of our time stuck, not able to move beyond what happened yesterday.

Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem.’ ”
—1 Samuel 16:1, NLT

This passage from the Bible indicates that Samuel had reached a place in his life from which he needed to move on. Ever been there? Like it or not, we all hit this type of place periodically in our journey of faith.

Unfortunately, many of God’s people are not schooled in the art of moving on. We spend a lot of our time stuck, living in the past, never able to move beyond what happened yesterday. We’re unskilled at navigating new beginnings.

The Bible shows us that life is a succession of closures and new beginnings. God said to Abraham, “‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you’ ” (Gen. 12:1, NLT). We see this pattern demonstrated time and again in the lives of God’s choice servants.They are required to let go of the old and step out in faith toward the new.

Closure is one of the great keys to moving forward in life. When we don’t understand its importance, we often get stuck in our yesterdays or simply grow comfortable with the way things are.

It is foolish on our part to believe that nothing in life will ever change. Everything changes! Our characters develop, our personalities blossom, our attitudes change, and unfortunately, our bodies grow older.

The definition of the word “closure” is “to bring something to a close; to bring to an end, to resolve and finalize it in your thinking, to move beyond.” It’s the act of resolving to let something go. Most often, closure is a decision; it’s an act of the human will. Sometimes it is easy, at other times grueling. More often than not, it is purely an act of faith; feelings catch up with you later.

Many who are struggling with a decision to move on in life will battle incessantly with ambivalence. Ambivalence is the emotional turmoil one feels when weighing the pros and cons of life’s decisions. As uncomfortable as it is, ambivalence is actually a part of the process and forces us to fully examine our decisions in light of good judgment. Ambivalence must be endured as we process life.

Is it possible the Lord is saying to you, “You have mourned long enough”? Could it be that you need closure in an area of your life? Undoubtedly, God wants to take you into something new. Are you ready for it?

  read more

Praise Him in the Meltdown

Learn how to fight discouragement in times of adversity.

Last year was not an easy year. On the national front we endured a divisive presidential campaign, a mortgage crisis, soaring gas prices, low consumer confidence, renewed tensions with Russia, bank failures, layoffs, selloffs, buyouts, bailouts and meltdowns—plus a storm that almost wiped Galveston off the map.

It was also a tough year spiritually. Moral failures and divorces among Christian leaders have left many disillusioned. Politics has bitterly divided the church. Ministries have had to cut back because of the economic downturn. Some of my friends are joking about buying “I SURVIVED 2008” T-shirts. read more

The Key to Life

I first got excited about the word years ago when I read what my husband's mother had written in the front of a Bible she gave Ken for his birthday: “Ken, precious, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.”

I had never heard anything like that. And we needed a lot of “things,” so that Scripture got my attention. I started studying the Bible to learn more.

What I found changed my life. I discovered that the Bible is a treasure house. I found that God's Word would meet every need. That was such good news to me that I got excited about it!

The Bible tells us that the Word is life to us. It will quicken us in our spirits. Psalm 119:25 says, “Quicken thou me according to thy word” (KJV). E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible says that passage means “Give me life” or “Keep me alive according to Thy word.”

When our spirits are quickened, our flesh is also quickened. As I study the Word, something happens on the inside that I can almost feel physically.

The more I give myself to time in the Word and prayer, the more revelation I receive and the more accurately I live my life.

When we receive revelation from God's Word we become like the man described in Matthew 13 who found the pearl of great price. He recognized that what he had found was worth everything he had.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (vv. 45-46, NKJV).

The manifestation of the kingdom of heaven-heaven taking over our aff airs, making our bodies well, saving our children, causing us to prosper and so on-is worth everything we have. It's worth every effort we make to experience it. We must get into the Word if we desire to learn about the kingdom of God and understand how it operates. To obtain victory in any area, we must find out what God has said about the matter in His Word. After that our part is to believe-to trust and know that His Word is true. Then we must set our words and life in agreement with the Scripture.

It's important to decide that the Word of God is the ultimate truth in every situation (see John 17:17). Jesus said, “'And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'” (John 8:32).

When you find out what the Scripture says about a particular situation, faith can be established in your heart, which will influence your soul (your mind, will and emotions). Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

You can't stand effectively on “blind” faith. You must have a “knowing” faith, and that comes from believing wholeheartedly what the Word promises. You know God has spoken it and declared it to be so, and you know you can depend on that.

Keep the truth of the Word going in your eyes and ears until it comes out in faith-filled words and is manifest in your life. God has provided you with a lifetime of benefits.

Remember: It is God “who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children” (Ps. 103:3-5,17-18).

Considering the blessings the Lord has in store, isn't it time for you to dig into the Scriptures and begin to believe what they say about you?

Get excited about the Word-and your life will be blessed!


GLORIA COPELAND is co-founder and vice president of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her husband, Kenneth, are known for their teachings on faith, healing and victorious Christian living. Their daily TV broadcast, Believer's Voice of Victory, airs globally on more than 300 stations. Gloria is also an internationally known author whose works include To Know Him and Blessed Beyond Measure (Harrison House). read more

Take Charge of Your Fleshly Desires


What’s up with Paul and the struggle with his flesh? Shouldn’t this spiritual giant have been beyond such a struggle? Why would he need to take drastic measures to control his body? read more

Need Wisdom?

Need wisdom for daily living? Most of us do!






Wisdom is the predominant theme of the book of Proverbs. That's why it has been referred to as the "wisdom manual" for daily living. It's designed to provide common sense and skill in dealing with everyday problems.

Wisdom brings balance to our lives as we endeavor to live in this high-tech "information age." Acquiring it is top priority, our text says—"the most important thing you can do!"

Solomon begins the book by saying, "The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom" (1:2). In essence, he is saying: "I am writing so you can have a personal encounter with wisdom." He emphasizes the importance of wisdom by mentioning it more than 123 times in this one book.

The Hebrew word for "wisdom" is hokmah. It's a multifaceted noun that means "to have skill, intelligence, and sensibility, judicious prow, to be endued with reason." Wisdom is simply the ability to live skillfully in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

King Solomon uses the feminine gender and first person to characterize wisdom. Why does he present wisdom as a woman? Some scholars lay the blame on his heightened preoccupation with women. However, since all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (see 2 Tim. 3:16), there must be a deeper purpose.

I believe the Holy Spirit is giving us a physical picture of spiritual truth. Think about it: From the natural standpoint woman is appealing. So is wisdom. She is desirable and unique among the species. Wisdom also holds these qualities. In the creation account, woman is represented as the crowning of all God's creation—the completion of humankind. Wisdom too brings fullness and completion. It is principal, first and necessary.

Solomon refers to wisdom in first person to set forth the truth that wisdom is speaking directly to each of us. For example, in Proverbs 8:6-7, he writes: "Listen to me! For I have excellent things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and hate every kind of deception."

By using first person, the Holy Spirit is making wisdom personal rather than presenting it as mere information or knowledge. Therefore, wisdom becomes intimate, real and animate. Wisdom takes on the nature of a close, personal friend.

Do you need wisdom? The book of Proverbs focuses on this topic more than any other book in your Bible. Why not avail yourself of it? Grab your Bible—and wise up!

Read John's Blog read more

Subcategories

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit