Expectations, needs and answers to prayer

Have to say I love doing bible plans on Bible.com and to let you know how I use these plan_lbomplans: I read and meditate on the scriptures first before reading the devotion. Every time God speaks to me through scripture and so often the devotion adds something more. The plan I’ve been reading currently is no exception.

Firstly my own meditation on the scriptures:

‘ Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish.’ Job 8:7 (NET)

People around Job advising him that if only he paid more attention to the things of God this disaster wouldn’t be upon him. In the end we know that Job was vindicated and Job 8v7 although not a prophesy (or at least intended by Bildad’s first speech to Job, in an uncanny way it may have been the only right thing he said!

Likewise, when it comes to life, our vision and purpose it sometimes feels (actually usually starts with small beginnings) Job was faithful despite difficult circumstances. Right now, in the season of life I find myself in, I recognise I am in a new season. God said at the start of the year there would be changes this year. The temptation is to listen to the wrong voices, past experiences, even that of current employer! How do I know when I need to change something? For me I loose current peace, I know I need to do something.

I’ve just returned from a mission trip in Alcala La Real, in southern Spain. The theme verse was in Hebrews, so pretty fresh on my mind:

‘ Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ‘ Hebrews 11:6 (NET)

Job is a primary example of someone through hardship, remember he lost everything, continued to earnestly seek God, and God rewarded him – read the last chapter!

Personally I feel that I am at a crossroads here in Ireland. I’ve been in Ireland now for almost 10 years. My passion for intergenerational ministry (Kings Kids) has always been part of my DNA. To always pass on to the next generation, to celebrate relationships and praying of the Lord for a partner has felt wrong, but now I see I need to step out and be bold as the man (not the boy I think of myself) So God is preparing me for something new and I know I need to step out. This brings me on to the next scripture in my devotion I would like to share —

‘ When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple courts, he asked them for money. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” Peter looked directly at him (as did John) and said, “Look at us!” All the people saw him walking and praising God, He jumped up, stood and began walking around, and he entered the temple courts with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Then Peter took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. So the lame man paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. ‘ Acts 3:3-9 (NET)

Notice here, the need leads to an expectation followed by an answer, followed by the result. In this case the need was the lame man, yet the expectation of this man was for money, because that is what he is used too, so what he received (the answer he got) perhaps surprised him. Look then at the result:

‘ and they recognized him as the man who used to sit and ask for donations at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with astonishment and amazement at what had happened to him.’ Acts 3:10 (NET)

Notice the result was not faith in the onlookers necessarily! ‘astonishment and amazement’ does not equal faith. I can’t help wondering if there’s two things here we can learn that our a hinderance to us moving forward with what God is giving us in life:

  1. Institutional faith (notice the situation in acts, was outside the temple, people were doing what they were use too! They had their order of doing things and not even a miracle would change that. What is institutional faith? It’s not just that of religious denomination, whether church of England, Ireland, or Roman Catholic, but when instead of making faith n Christ our own we merely go through the motions of what is expected of our religious affiliation! I think Job’s friends were stuck in institutional faith rather than pressing in and making relationship with God their priority perhaps?
  2. Past expectations & Experiences, in Acts 3, the lame man expected money – in what he was used to after all  the years of begging. There is always a danger that we fall back on past memories of how we use to be in our relationship with God, our experiences of old (of course I’m not saying these are useful, of course they help inform us) is not to rely on them expecting God to move and act in the same way.

Finally, a word from the plan’s devotional from the author–

Jonathan Cann refers to the Hebrew letter, the yud, a small stroke of the pen, which marks the start of a big impact.

Life begins with the smallest strokes from God and we need to take on board that those small beginnings don’t start with a great victory (everything worked out) but like the yud, one small action, small step leads towards the victory. It therefore takes courage to step out from those small-beginnings.

This month I’ve taken a step of faith which I believe is part of that small yud of an action and I need to trust God to lead me as I take this step in a new direction.

Finally, this month I retake my TESOL course learning from last year I feel in a better place to complete, and then from September releasing myself from Spirit Radio full-time  to begin in a new direction. Please consider joining my support and prayer team. Right now I do not have the money needed for the TESOL course (I need 635 euro’s) and will be taking unpaid leave of 10 days (approximately) so travel, food and expenses is a step of faith – but I am excited as I take this step.

 

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