God's purposes are not always as they seem!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Acts 16:26-30 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

At first glance, it would seem that God allowed this earthquake to take place in order that Paul and Silas would be set free. The earthquake came and their bands were loosed. There was nothing holding them back. They could have fled immediately — wouldn't have you?

But no — Paul and Silas waited…and as a result, the jailer and his entire family were saved!

Many times we assume God's reasoning for doing the things He does. The Lord may have released us to walk through a door that He has clearly opened — but He may also have other purposes in mind. Let's not be so quick to assume. There's no hurry. God won't shut a door if it is His divine will for it to be open!!

Let's be patient and be sure to be led by the Spirit of God. These are amazing times we're living in. We don't want to miss out on God's perfect will!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

Speak "saltly"!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Col 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

What is it about salt? And how do I season speech with it? Gracious speech is sweet, yet Paul says to season it with salt.

A friend of mine makes this interesting breakfast of quinoa grain mixed with some oatmeal, coconut oil, dried fruit and nuts with some date honey to sweeten it. Then..might seem strange, he adds salt. Salt brings his healthy breakfast to a new level of flavor. Salt carries all the other flavors to a new level of palatability. It brings a wonderful balance to the sweet porridge.

Take out the salt in any recipe and there's something vital missing. What is it about salt? By itself, salt doesn't taste so great. It's too strong. Yet add it to the recipe and its power becomes the very thing which brings life to the food.

I think salt is that element of God's truth that enhances, preserves and strengthens us. Speech seasoned with salt will encourage or warn, it will impart life and prevent decay from setting in, or stop it in its tracks. Stopping decay is reversing a fundamental element of the Fall. Salt is vital to life and salted speech is too.

Believers need to be "salty" in a world that is falling apart from the suffusion of sin and decay.

Our message is sweet. God forgives, He loves, He brings eternal life. Yet these wonderful truths exist in an awful context of death and decay which we must not ignore by only speaking graciously. We must add salt.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

Patience — Oh what a lesson!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Patience is one of those attributes that you cannot learn by reading about it. It's a quality that can only be acquired by persistent, enduring, practice– and for me it's a drill that I go over, and over, and over again!

The original Webster's dictionary offers this definition of patience: "the suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness, from a kind of heroic pride, or from a Christian submission to the divine will."

Reading this definition two things really struck me – first, "endurance without murmuring". I, for instance, get so frustrated sitting in a traffic jam… counting the wasted minutes when I could have been doing something useful! Yet, what an opportunity for me to choose to quench the inner fumes – and use the delay to work on my patience!

The second thing that really hit me was, "a Christian submission to the divine will." How many times are we placed in a difficult position, or forced to deal with an "impossible" situation? Or perhaps, an "impossible" person? These circumstances are always opportunities to grow in patience – or to learn to submit to God's providential will, and often, to minister in some special or unique way.

Is your patience being tested today? Great! Remember, love is (first of all) patient. [1 Cor. 13:4] The Lord is training you toward godliness –- and godliness is moving toward perfect love. With so much work to be done, He is really wanting to work this quality into your character now -– to perfect your love, and with it to transform the world around you for His glory!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

Learn to Wait!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Psalm 27:13-14 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Today, Europeans are bracing for electrical outages today as a solar eclipse visible today will disrupt solar generated power straining its electrical grid and teens in Europe are preparing to live without any electricity, and (can you even imagine) – without a cell phone! For the first time in their lives they enjoyed the privilege of experiencing what life was like decades ago.  Forced to slow down, unable to text or "Facebook", everyone who lost power entered a "moment" of technological communication silence, and they waited anxiously for the powers that be to restore their normal life patterns. How many actually enjoyed this, or found some kind of relief from the tyranny of communication technology, I wonder? How many actually took any time out to “wait on the Lord”? I have to wonder if the Almighty had much more company than He was used to during this time. I kind of hope so…

The above passage speaks of "losing heart" except for the expectation of faith in the goodness of YHVH. How long could you go without electrical power before you might begin to "lose heart"? At what point would "waiting on the Lord" become your only source of hope or encouragement? How much, really, do we depend on earthly power? And how much on the power of God? Webster’s definition of "wait", is “to stay or rest in". It's a quiet place of abiding. And this kind of waiting is expectant, because in it you are awakening your conscious relationship with the God of Creation, and you have every reason to expect His comfort, love, and restorative power to flow from your communion with Him.

But for many of us, it's hard to enter silence, isn't it? So when the power goes off, we fidget until it's restored.

Is your heart weak and your earthly strength just about dried up? The word says, "Be of good courage, and wait on the Lord"; there is power and courage to be received simply by waiting on Him. Having experienced it countless times I can tell you confidently, He will renew your strength, encourage and prepare you for whatever comes next. So I say, again, “Wait on the Lord!”

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

Show me a sign!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

A king was seated in a garden, and one of his counselors was speaking of the wonderful works of God. "Show me a sign," said the king, "and I will believe." "Here are four acorns," said the counselor, "will you, Majesty, plant them in the ground, and then stoop down for a moment and look into this clear pool of water?" The king did so, "Now," said the other, "look up." The king looked up and saw four oak-trees where he had planted the acorns. "Wonderful!" he exclaimed, "This is indeed the work of God." "How long were you looking into the water?" asked the counselor. "Only a second," said the king. "Eighty years have passed as a second," said the other. The king looked at his garments; they were threadbare. He looked at his reflection in the water; he had become an old man. "There is no miracle here, then," he said angrily. "Yes," said the other, "it is God's work, whether he did it in one second or in eighty years.

Some of us are in need of answers today. We've been crying out for the Lord and feel like He's not listening. But He is! And He has a plan far greater than any of us could ask or think!

Be encouraged! Let's choose to trust that God has great plans for us in the making, regardless of whether we can see them right now. His timing is PERFECT!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Patience