Tag Archives: personal time with God

04. A promise for every problem: God’s substance of faith

God’s promises are the substance of faith. Rather than trust God to meet needs our resources are insufficient to manage, we blame God for not providing more resources.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for….” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV).

“Just trust God?” How easy is that?

“Just trust God and it will be alright!” Has anyone ever given you this empty advice?

Empty? Yes, that statement is empty. It gives you no reason to trust God. There is nothing in that statement to base trust upon. For Christians who have learned faith by walking hand in hand with God through many trials, that gentle reminder may be appropriate. But for the Christian whose faith has not yet been developed, the encouragement to “just trust God” is unreasonable.

God never requires blind faith. God went out of his way in the Scriptures to prove himself. He provided miracle after miracle throughout the Old and New Testaments, and he recorded them as evidence of his trustworthiness. For those who are willing to take the time to learn to trust him, God will develop a foundation of faith that will outlast any storm. Trust is something we learn.

Competitors to faith: job security, financial stability, medical insurance…

We have the faith to believe that God can meet our needs. But do we have the faith to trust him to do it? There are many things that compete for our trust. Job security, financial stability, disaster preparedness, medical insurance, and retirement planning are some of the major competitors to our faith. Each of us could add other competitors as well, such as people we depend on, etc.

“Are you saying it is wrong to seek a secure job and stable finances, and to prepare for the future?” you ask. No, not at all. But it is wrong to trust in these things.

“Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21 NIV)

When things go awry, what do you think of first? Most of us do a quick assessment of our resources. For the Christian, God sees to it that our resources are never enough, for he wants to be our loving supplier. But we forget that. When we see our failing resources, we panic. Instead of trusting God to meet the needs our resources are insufficient to meet, we blame God for not providing us more resources!

We proceed to tell God how to supply our needs: “Lord, send me a job that will provide enough money to pay the rent.” God doesn’t need jobs and he doesn’t need money, though he often uses both to meet our needs. But he can work through any means at any time to be there for us. Don’t limit him!

God’s promises make our faith tangible

How do we get beyond the empty admonition to “just trust God” and apply it into a dynamic living part of our life? We can only “get there” by taking the time to allow God to develop this faith in us.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).

The promises have always been my favorite part of the Word of God. I’ve learned that for every problem we encounter, there is a promise. If we will take the time to find the promise God wants to give us in his Word for the current problem we encounter, we will discover a faith for this current need that we can never attain by an empty “just trust God.”

“For the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). God’s Word is what makes our faith tangible.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). “Substance” is something I can reach out and touch. I can grab it and hold it in my hands and keep it for my own. The only part of the Word of God that we can touch and make our own are the promises.

Think of it. Every Bible story would be meaningless to us personally without the promises. They would ring with the empty, “Just trust God.” Even the most meaningful Bible story of all, the story of how Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and offer forgiveness, would be worthless if God didn’t promise me that when I depend upon what Jesus has done for me I can have eternal life too! Our very salvation is based upon a promise:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

Ask God to give you a promise for your present need. Don’t turn lose of it. God wants you to hold him to his Word. He delights when you come to him and say, “Lord, I will not accept anything less than what you have promised me here!”

Take time to find the promise God has for you in his Word today!

How to find your promise in the Bible

  1. Browse through our Bible Promises topic category.
  2. Look in the concordance of your Bible for a keyword of a need you have: marriage, fear, disease, children, mother, etc. Check out all the references. Not every word will be listed, and you may need to find alternative words.
  3. Look for a promise online. Bible Gateway’s searchable online Bible is my favorite. It is available in over 50 versions and 35 languages. Just type in your keyword, or use the Topical Index.
  4. Purchase an inexpensive Bible promise book and check the topical index to find promises for your needs. My favorite Bible promise book is God’s Promises for Your Every Need
  5. Ask God to lead you to the promise he has for you as you begin to read his Word. There are promises on every page, and he has often led me to a promise for my current need as I have picked up his Word searching for answers to my need.
  6. Find a Scripture reference you can remember that is related in some way to your need and check out the cross-references to other similar Scriptures.
  7. Large Print Thompson Chain Reference Bible-NIV is my favorite study Bible. It is available in several versions, including KJV and NIV, and smaller pint as well. I recently ordered the large print version linked here to accommodate my failing vision. (Some reviewers report poor quality in some Thompson’s versions available now. The one I’ve linked above appears to be of excellent quality. To see more regarding this, click here.)
  8. Sometimes God will give us a Scripture promise through a sermon, a poster, or just sharing among friends.
  9. Topical List of Bible Promises from InTouch Ministries is a wonderful link that provides Bible promises on many topics:

Look now for a promise in God’s Word for your present need!

Ever wonder about doubt? We’ll discuss that next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

A woman’s priorities: Three most important things

3 most important things: Obedience to and spending time with God is our #1 priority. But there is no higher priority under God than being a wife. There is no higher calling than motherhood.

Time alone with God will change your life like no other.

Three most important priorities in your life

Do you ever get frustrated with all the demands placed upon you? Our world demands more and more all the time. We need to take time to determine what is really important.

I was asked an interesting question in a job interview once: “If you had to nail it down, what would you consider the three most important things in your life?” My perspective employer told me to think about it before answering, because he felt it was one of the most important questions in the interview. How would you respond to that question?

I told him I would not need to think about the first two. I explained that God must be first in everything, and that my family is the most important part of my life after God. I thought a moment about the third response. Several things vied for that position, but I decided that the thing that means most to me after God and family is my church. That was in 1990 and, as I update this in 2009, my priorities remain the same. These three things top the list for me.

However, for this study, I am going to list the priorities in our immediate family in the proper order. The top three things, then, will look like this:

  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Children

Family (husband and children) and a woman’s priorities

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man

–Genesis 2:20-22

Our primary calling under God is to be a helper to our husbands. That is why we were created. “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you'” (Genesis 3:16).

God placed a natural desire in us to make our husbands our priority. The friction of marriage tends to wear away at that desire. Then we bring that little baby home from the hospital — helpless and demanding — and we forget the first priority God gave us in our homes.

Motherhood is a high calling. But before motherhood we were given to our husbands as a helper. Many husbands are jealous of a wife’s time with the children. This is to our shame. Our husbands deserve better than second rate to the children. When we put them second we are not fulfilling the role God has given us as wives.

There is no higher calling than motherhood. But there is no higher priority under God than being a wife. They go hand in hand. Unless we get the relationships in our families right we cant be what God intended us to be. Caring for our children is part of meeting our husband’s needs. Our husbands want us to do that. They just don’t want to be sacrificed in the process. We don’t have to neglect our children to put our husbands first.

The Bible has much to say about our role as wives, as well as about parents — both husband and wife together. There are examples of Godly mothers in the Bible. But few verses are directed specifically toward a mother’s role in raising her children. This is because it is natural for us to mother.

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16) Many of us remember the anguish of childbirth. But when that baby was placed in our arms, the anguish was forgotten. We began to mother!

It is natural for us to desire our husbands too. But the part about allowing our husbands to rule is not so natural for most of us. This requires steadfast devotion to and faith in God. So God is careful to emphasize our role as wives more than mothers.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:3-4) Which is listed first in God’s command of who we are to love? Husbands or children? God’s order is husbands first, children second. If we follow God’s order our children will be cared for in the best possible way. God’s way is always right.

I am not advocating a mother subject herself or her children to abuse. I am suggesting we do not excuse ourselves for our rebellion against God’s plan for families because of our own selfishness. Much material on this website discusses our role as wives and mothers. Now we turn to our #1 priority.

God and a woman’s priorities

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). It is easy to say God is #1. But is he really #1 in your life?

“If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

What did Jesus say we will do if we love him? (Obey his teachings). Where do we find his teachings? (In the Bible). Do you love God enough to set aside a time each day to learn about his teachings? Do you have time for God? Do you plan ahead for this time of meeting with him in His word? Do you reserve a few minutes of your 24 hrs for him alone, or is your prayer life always “on the go?”

There is nothing wrong with “on the go” prayers. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). The Bible says, “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

But how can we say he is a priority if we are not willing to set aside a few minutes of each day to devote only to him? You may say, “I tried that. Didn’t work.” Here is what God says:

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway” (Proverbs 8:34)

“For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there” (Isaiah 28:10)

The King James translation of Isaiah 28:10 says it this way: For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little: (Isaiah 28:10 KJV)

God says it WILL work if you are faithful to do it and don’t give up. Some days you will feel God so near you can almost touch him. Other times you will read the Bible for days or even weeks and nothing seems to happen. But you are being fed.

Think of a special meal you enjoyed recently, something out of the ordinary. Yet, most of the time you probably eat the same type of food day after day. Either way, you are being nurtured. If you are faithful during the times you feel you aren’t getting anything out of it, God will be faithful to develop a foundation in your life that will be strong and secure. He will do it in tiny measures sometimes — barely noticeable — precept upon precept. But one day you will read a passage you’ve read many times. In an instant God will reveal a special truth to you, something you missed before — a special meal. The Bible will begin to come alive for you!

God’s word fits together wonderfully but it takes faithfulness to comprehend its wonders. I’ve talked with many defeated Christians. They come back over and over with the same needs. Yet I have watched God dramatically change the lives of those who are willing to make time alone with God the #1 priority in their lives.

This one thing – time alone with God – will change your life like no other!

Jesus replied: “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Loving our neighbor as ourselves takes care of everything else

  • home
  • friends
  • relationships at church
  • work
  • social life
  • mistreatment from others

But before we can get the part about our neighbor right we must get the part about making God #1 right. There is an old hymn that says:

I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, my Lord.
I love Thee, my Savior, I love Thee my God;
I love Thee, I love Thee, and that Thou doest know;
But how much I love Thee my actions will show.

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him…'” (John 14:23)

Do you love God enough to make time alone with him your #1 priority? Or do you keep putting him off?

  • When I get better organized…
  • When I get the kids in school…
  • When I get a better job with different hours…
  • When I have more time I will spend time with him.

That is Satan’s lie. It will never happen unless you chose to make it happen, unless you choose now — NOW — to make time for God! Do you have to think about whether you will comb your hair each day? Do you ever consider not combing it?

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7)

Is the God who knows the number of your hairs, who cares for the sparrows and says you are much more important… Is he less important than brushing your hair? Our time with God should be just that automatic like brushing our hair. It shouldn’t be up for question as to whether we will do it. He always waits for us. We can come to him any time.

Satan challenges us in this area like no other. Satan knows if he can defeat our time alone with God he can defeat us in every other area. Will you let Satan continue to defeat you?

What time would be best for you to set aside for God? Think of a time right now that would be best to set aside for God. If you don’t plan ahead you will never do it. Commit your heart right now to keeping this appointment with God each day this week. Don’t let Satan steal your time with the most important priority in your life.

What to do during your time alone with god

The concordance in the back of your Bible is wonderful. Use it to find passages relating to Bible people.

  • What made them great?
  • What made them fall short?
  • Notice how God worked in their lives.
  • How did they respond?
  • Learn from their examples.

Are you fearful? Look up “fear and “afraid” in the concordance.

Are you angry? Look up “anger.”

Search for God’s promises that meet your need. Are there conditions to the promises? Ask God to help you meet them.

When you come to the “begets and begots” and other things that seem boring skip them. God has them there for a reason and some day you will go back and uncover the wonderful truths in them. But for now don’t concentrate on the things you don’t understand. Just apply the things you do understand. None of us understands it all. The Bible has some very simple truths in it and some very profound. The Holy Spirit will teach us as we read it. The more we study, the more we will understand.

Spend time talking with God. You can be honest with him. If you don’t feel like praying, tell him. Like this: “God, I don’t feel like praying today. I’d rather be reading a magazine. But you are here, and I want to learn. I am struggling. Help me with this.”

He will hear that prayer…and he will open his word to you. Tell him all your heart things. He already knows. He just wants you to invite him to help. He doesn’t look at our failures to see where he can condemn us. He looks at them to see how he can help.

Your homework for the next week is this:

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is divided into 22 short sections. Read 3 sections each day during the time you have set apart for God. One day you will need to read 4 sections.

Meditate on what you read. Ask God to give you 1 verse each day that speaks to your need. Talk to God during this time just as you would talk to a friend. You may want to write your prayers.

Psalm 119 is a passage on the helpfulness of God’s word. It is written in the form of a prayer. By reading it you will be performing both Bible study and prayer.

God waits for you every day. He will be waiting for you at the time you have selected. Your appointment with Him is the only place you will find what you are missing in your life.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27) If you want that peace you have to spend time with Him.

When I was in high school, I used to dig promises out of God’s word and write them in the flyleaves of my Bible. The flyleaves of my Bible and a New Testament I had then are both covered with penciled promises. I have been a Christian since 1956. God has been faithful to every promise.

Here is my testimony about God’s promises:
“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them” (Psalm 119:140).

But there was a time in my young adult years when I didn’t have time for God. I was a defeated Christian. My world was collapsing around me.

He was waiting for me. I found answers with God. You can too.

For more help in establishing a daily time with God, click here. This will take you to our old website until I get things moved. We are in the process of moving the website to the site you are on now.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

16. Faith for the battle: Listening in God’s presence

Joshua found faith for the battle by listening in God’s presence, meditating upon God’s deliverance, and rehearsing God’s words. God told Moses, “Make sure that Joshua hears it.”

“Write this…to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it” (Exodus 7:14).

Joshua Rehearsed God’s Words

In chapter 15, we saw that Joshua remembered God’s deliverance and God’s banner. Joshua also rehearsed God’s words.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).

“Make sure that Joshua hears it.” God gave Moses the words to write to describe what happened, and God told him to read and discuss this especially with Joshua. God was nurturing Joshua’s faith. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God was preparing Joshua to be a man of faith.

God is challenging us today to study his Word that we might become God’s faithful women. We must accept the challenge. Only by faith can we pull our children from the edge of the sword.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

–Ephesians 6:10-18

We go to battle for our children against the armies of Satan himself. Our sword is the Word of God, and our shield is faith in God’s faithfulness. The victory is ours as long as we hold God’s banner high.

Joshua Spent Time Listening God’s Presence

Not only did Joshua remember God’s deliverance, God’s banner, and God’s Word, but Joshua also remembered his personal encounters with God as Moses’ aide. Wherever Moses went, Joshua went to assist and minister to Moses. Whenever Moses encountered God, Joshua encountered God also.

Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

–Exodus 24:13-18

When Moses received the instructions for the tabernacle and the ten commandments written on two tables of stone with the finger of God, Joshua was near. Joshua and Moses went together up into the mount of God. For six days, Joshua and Moses fellowshiped in the light of God’s glory. On the seventh day, Moses went farther, into the midst of the cloud, and he stayed there forty days and forty nights.

Joshua probably could not go all the way with Moses. But Joshua remained in the warmth of God’s presence. For forty days and nights, God spoke with Moses. God ministered to Joshua during this time as well. Joshua probably could not hear God audibly, but this was a time of refreshing for Joshua. Joshua basked in the glow from magnificent splendor of the glory of God. He meditated upon the ways God had delivered them. Surely Joshua rehearsed again and again the words of God that Moses had already shared with him. He experienced the calming atmosphere of the presence of God. And he waited in anticipation to see what Word God would give them through Moses.

When Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, Moses brought with him God’s instructions for building the tabernacle. But before the actual tabernacle was constructed, God would talk with Moses inside the makeshift “tent of meeting.” When God met with Moses in this makeshift tabernacle, Joshua was there:

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

— Exodus 33:7-11

Application

Joshua delighted in the presence of God. Just being in God’s presence while God spoke with Moses gave Joshua strength. It was during these times of refreshing that Joshua found the faith to go back into the battle.

Joshua remembered God’s deliverance. Joshua fought under God’s banner. Joshua rehearsed God’s Word. Joshua spent time in God’s presence. These things made a difference for Joshua, and these are the things that will make a difference for us!

I wrote earlier about Joshua meditating on God but, when I proofread what I had typed, I discovered that instead of typing “meditated,” I accidentally typed “medicated.” This may be the best rendering of all: “Joshua medicated on God.” As we medicate on God, our spirits are healed!

Thought to Remember

Like Joshua, we can win this battle if we remember our past encounters with God, and spend time in his presence through Bible study, prayer, meditation, and medication on our faithful God.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 2)

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted