Catherine Saw Jesus

David Smith, the son of Robert and Catherine Smith, sent me the following story about his parents that occurred when they were pioneer missionaries in Kenya, East Africa.


His mother was sick with a 105° temperature. The doctor said it was spinal meningitis and told her husband, "There is nothing you can do but build her a box. She won't live." 


One Sunday morning she told her husband that if God did not do something for her that day she would not be there the next. Robert preached that morning, and then told the elders to take charge for the remainder of the day.  

He finished feeding the children the evening meal and was starting to wash the dishes when he heard his wife behind him say, "Bob, I will take care of the dishes."


He turned quickly and said, "Kitty, get back in bed. You're sick."


She replied, "No, I'm fine." Then she told him, "I was lying in the bed when I sensed a presence with me, and when I opened my eyes, I saw Jesus. He put His hands on my head and ran them down my body and the fever left me instantly." 


She sat down to write to her mother, and about the same time her mother was writing to tell Catherine about their morning service. Their pastor, Thomas Hermiz, Sr., was coming to the podium to preach when the Lord laid it on his heart to ask the congregation to pray for Catherine Smith in Africa. It was supper time in Kenya, but morning in Ohio. 


As they prayed in Ohio, Jesus entered into a little mud hut and placed His hands on Catherine and healed her.  


The two letters crossed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.  Her mother ended her letter by saying, "We don't know what the problem is, but we do know that the Lord answered our prayers. Whatever it is, take heart, for God will undertake." He already had.


Lord, reveal to me today who needs special prayer.


"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

Faith Despite Tragedy

In her book Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot told of her husband Jim's attempt to take the gospel to an unreached tribe of the feared Auca Indians. He and four other missionaries entered the tribe eager to make friendly contact.


Two days later on Sunday afternoon of January 8th, 1956, their five wives waited for the four-thirty scheduled radio contact with the five men. The time came and went with nothing but silence. As darkness settled down over the mountains of Ecuador, the five wives were waiting, praying, hoping that the next day would bring contact with the men they loved.  


By Wednesday, two bodies had been seen from the air but identification was impossible. That night Elisabeth Elliot wrote the following letter to her folks:


"I want you to know that your prayers are being answered moment by moment as regard me---I am ever so conscious of the everlasting arms. As yet we know that two bodies have been sighted from the air but not identified. Jim was confident, as was I, of God's leading. There are no regrets.


"Nothing was more burning in his heart than that Christ should be named among the Aucas. By life or by death, oh, may God get glory to Himself...I have no idea what I will do if Jim is dead, but the Lord knows and I am at rest. We hope for the final word tomorrow and trust our living Father who never wastes anything. All my love."


The next day, as the painful news was given to the wives that all the men were dead, Elizabeth lead the wives in singing:


"We go in Faith, our own great weakness feeling,

And needing more each day Thy grace to know

Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,

We rest on Thee and in Thy name we go."


On October 6, 1958  Elisabeth Elliot along with her small daughter, Valerie,  and another of the bereaved wives, Rachel Saint,  headed into the jungles to live and work among those same Auca Indians who had killed their husbands.


Thank You, Jesus, for this living demonstration of faith.
"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12).

Why Fast?

The leader of the Campus Crusade for Christ in Ethiopia reported they have 30,000 responding to the ministry. "It's all by prayer and fasting," he said. "Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines," Bill Bright declared. 


Jesus, who had fasted 40 days, told the disciples when they failed to deliver the demonized boy, "This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting." Evidently when we fast we will see some prayers answered that we would not see without this discipline. 


Jesus assumed we would fast and did not say "If you fast," but "When you fast" (Matt. 6:16). Even He was led by the Spirit into the desert to fast 40 days, but after fasting He returned to Galilee empowered by the Spirit. (Luke 4). There are no recorded miracles done before He fasted.


The purpose of fasting is to experience God's presence in a fuller measure. "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13o). Joel defines whole-hearted praying: "Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." "Then you will call and the LORD will answer, you will cry for help, and he will say Here I am" (Isaiah 58:9).


Humbling ourselves through fasting attracts the presence of God. Fasting is a biblical way to humble ourselves in His sight. King David said, "I humbled myself with fasting" (Psalm 35:13). Ezra "proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God" (Ezra 8:21).


Humility is one of the four requirements for God to hear as we pray for our land: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14).


Dear Lord, guide us into the fasting that will prepare the way for Your Spirit to be outpoured.


"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning" (Joel 2:12).

Emma Trusted Jesus

Emma and her husband were facing a desperate financial need. Emma said, "After struggling in prayer and begging God to supply the need, I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere." 

While continuing to cry before the Lord, God sweetly and tenderly rebuked her. "Don't keep begging. Can't you trust me?"

"Lord," she cried, "I do trust you."

At that moment, she knew she did indeed trust Him to supply their need. She began to sing, 

"'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His word.

Just to rest upon His promise,

Just to know thus saith the Lord."

Emma reported that all their need was supplied! When they needed groceries, clothing, a car, gasoline, medicine, or money for rent, God provided.

It is trusting in Jesus that brings sweet peace and the answer to our prayers. God understands our cries and prayers and He wants us to know that He is the solution to all our needs.

Thank You, Jesus, for never failing to answer the prayers we pray with faith.

"Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave" (1 Kings 8:56).

 

God Loves and Enjoys You

In Common Sense Living, Edith Schaeffer recalls being a girl in Shanghai, skipping beside Dr. Hoste, the director of the China Inland Mission. He didn't turn her away, but simply told her he was praying and that she could come along if she wished.

She walked with him a number of times, holding his hand and being very quiet while he prayed. She wrote, "He prayed for each missionary in the China Inland Mission, and for each of their children by name. He had the list with him, and he went through it. It was not just a recitation of names; he cared about each person and knew something of their needs. He felt this was his work."

Sometimes we act as though God's faithfulness to answer our prayers depends upon how we feel instead of remembering that His dependability to hear and answer rely upon His promises, not our feelings. "I don't feel like praying, so what's the use?" we may be tempted to think. We can encourage ourselves to be faithful by remembering verses such as Psalm 116:2: "Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" (NLT).

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you" (1 Sam. 12:23).

How to Pray Like Jesus

Passion originates in the heart of God. He who gave mothers hearts of passionate love yearns with deep maternal love for His children. He who created fathers' hearts is the great Father Himself. 

The passion of the Father's heart was passed on to His Son. 

Jesus' passionate love is now expressed through His intercession for us. "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

The same passion that was in Jesus' heart is in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, though, has no body of His own. His passion must be felt within us, the body of Christ. Jesus wants to live a life of intercession through His body on earth as He does in heaven. 

Passion satisfies God. Isaiah, speaking of the Father and His Son, stated, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11 KJV). It is equally true that when we pour out in prayer our strong desire for others, God sees and is satisfied with us.

Both Paul and Jude wrote that we are to "Pray in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20). We could read that as God saying, "Allow Me to express My passion through you."

Lord, I invite the Holy Spirit to express Your passionate longing for others through me.

"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9). 

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26).

 

The Lost Key

In How I Know God Answers Prayer, Rosalind Goforth said no answer to prayer ever brought more intense relief than the following incident.

She and her husband were missionaries in China in the early 1900s. Once while he was away preaching, she was persuaded to go preach at a four-days "theatrical" which brought large crowds. The four days there were enough to wear out the strongest because she had to face unruly crowds many hours daily. 

At the end of her stay, she turned her face homeward utterly worn out. Her one thought was to get to Wei Hwei for a few days' rest where her youngest children were attending school. She knew a sight of them would recover her energies better than anything else.

But when she got home she realized that she had lost the key of the money-drawer. It was Friday, and the train for Wei Hwei left on Saturday at ten o'clock. There was too much money in the drawer for her to leave with the key lying around somewhere. Besides, she could not go without money.

She started looking everywhere. Drawers, pigeonholes, and shelves were all searched in vain. After hunting for two hours, until she was too exhausted to hunt any more, she suddenly thought, "I have never prayed about it."

Stopping by the dining table, she lifted her heart to the Lord. "O Lord, you know how much I need a rest; You know how much I long to see the children; pity me, and lead me to the key."

Then, without wasting a step, she walked through the dining-room, hall, and women's guest room into her husband's study, to the bookcase. She opened the door, slipped two books aside, and there was the key. So near did the Lord seem at that moment that she could almost feel His bodily presence. It was not that she remembered putting the key there, but He led her there.

"His tender mercies are over all his works" (Ps. 145:9 KJV).

Dortha's Praise Stories

Dortha, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, decided to take Psalm 50:23 literally: "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." She learned to prepare the way for God's deliverance through praise, and she had stories to tell.

One time a drunken driver hit Dortha's front steps, knocking them loose. Her sister commented that she had the worst things happen to her, but Dortha praised the Lord anyway. The insurance company appraised the damage and replaced the old steps with much better ones.

Dortha's refrigerator door hinges were broken, and she had to prop the door each time she opened it. As she opened and propped the door, Dortha would praise the Lord. A friend who came by and got a drink from her refrigerator happened to be getting a different refrigerator that evening. She offered to exchange Dortha's at no charge and even had someone deliver it.

I am not sure I understand why praise prepares the way for Him to do His mighty works, but it is true. No wonder Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).

Some day in heaven we will be saying, "Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever" (Revelation 7:12), and when we look back over every detail of our lives, we will see God's goodness. His tender compassion was providing all we needed in every situation. He had not allowed anything but what could bring good to us and glory to Him. We will see reasons for praise in everything!

By faith, Lord, I want to choose the eternal perspective now.

"I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips" (Psalm 34:1).

Marilyn's Mother and the Word

Marilyn Meeks Beverley sent me the following bittersweet story about her family.

She wrote, "She lived only twelve days, yet my twin's life impacted our family for eternity. During the months that our mama carried us in her womb, she worked for a publisher who printed Christian tracts. Mama walked to work, and literally threw up every morning. Then at work she would proof the tracts filled with scripture saying that if we repent of sin, believe in Jesus Christ, the Cross, and His Resurrection and receive Him into our hearts, we receive a new life in Christ and eternal life. 

"On July twelfth, 1955, Mama went into early labor. We were born 2 1/2 months early. I spent the first six weeks of my life in an incubator. My twin spent two weeks, her entire life in an incubator.

"When my twin died, mama's heart broke. I had an older sister who died at birth, my brother was born, then mama had several miscarriages-then we were born. We were not expected to live so were baptized by the Catholic priest. 

"When I was able to come home, the battle was not over. I would quit breathing and turn blue. No one would feed me because they were afraid I would die, so Mama cared for me 24 hours a day. 

"Finally she broke from physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. She knelt by her bed and called out to God and repeated those words she had read day after day--for all have sinned, repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house, and for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life. 

"That day kneeling by the bed, she repented and believed and Jesus Christ met her there. From that day forward she prayed for the salvation of my daddy and other family members and one by one they were saved. She saw her children marry Christian spouses and her grandchildren come to Jesus. 

I praise You, dear Jesus, because You are faithful to use Your Word You prompt us to share even if we see no results.

"So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; it will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11 AMP).

 

 

 

 

God Notices our Offerings

In my Bible reading, I had come to Numbers 7 and wondered what I could possibly get from that repetitious chapter. As I often do, though, I asked Jesus to give me something from my reading, and He surprised me with a special thought.

God told Moses that every day a leader from each of the twelve tribes was to bring an offering and present it before the altar. As I read the complete list of what each tribe was to bring, I noticed that each tribe brought the same things. Twelve times it lists...

one silver plate

one silver sprinkling bowl each filled with fine flour

one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb a year old

one male goat for a sin offering

two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs

I thought, Why didn't God conserve pages in the Bible and list the men's names and then state only once what was brought? 

It occurred to me that God must have given such special attention to these details because the offerings were of such immense value to Him. The Bible is a record of God's thoughts, and He evidently loves to think on what is offered to Him. Each individual's gift was exactly what He wanted, and it needed to be noted.

In the same way, God notices each time a praise rises to Him from our hearts or any time we do something just to please Jesus. In fact, all we have to do to receive special recognition in heaven is to talk about Him to a friend.

Thank you, Jesus, for being so attentive to my expressions of love.

"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name" (Malachi 3:16). 

Welcome Your Imminent Guest

When we learn to commune with God, we come to deeply appreciate the quiet inner joy of God's abiding presence. Paul prayed that the Corinthians would enjoy communion with the Lord and ended 2 Corinthians with these words: "...the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all" (13:14 KJV). Ghost is an old English word for guest. May the communion--or fellowship--of the Holy Guest be with you all! Perhaps we take this Holy Guest for granted and fail to realize the magnitude of this Gift. 

When our spirits feel depleted, we can find refreshment. Time in His presence clears our vision and strengthens our spirits. 

What was the secret of Moses' relationship with God? "He kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.." (Hebrews 11:27 NLT).

Andrew Murray, commenting on this verse says, "Faith sees what others cannot see....The eye of faith can be trained to see God everywhere. Abide in His presence till the heart is filled with it. Recognize Him in every thing that happens. Seek to walk in the light of His countenance. Seeing the Invisible will make it easy to forsake the world and do the will of God." 

Communion is an attitude of loving contemplation of God, of seeing Him who is invisible. God gave us a longing for Himself so that He might satisfy it. King David said, "I will not enter my house or go to my bed...till I find a place for the Lord" (Ps. 132:3, 4). 

Thank You, Jesus, for rewarding determined desire with communion with the Holy Spirit. 

"God...is the one who invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:9).

He is Worthy

In the preface to The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer writes that we have lost our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. But how pleased God is with every attempt we make to gain that ability!

When Henry Nouwen visited Mother Teresa, he asked how he could live out his vocation as a priest. She said for him to "Spend one hour a day adoring your Lord." She might have said something else to a mother with young children, but she affirmed the truth that intimacy with Christ grows out of an intimate encounter with our Lord.

The amazing thing is that when we delight in and give our entire devotion to Him, we find we have the desires of our hearts. Joy floods our lives.

Our knowledge of what would make us happy is so superficial. But when we delight ourselves in drawing near Him, we receive what will satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.

Jesus is eager for our fellowship! When He told the disciples, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you" (Luke 22:15), He used an emphatic word for "eagerly desired." In other contexts, it is translated as "lust." He was saying, "I have set my heart upon having fellowship with you." Jesus is still longing for our times of drawing near Him in adoring silence.

Saint Thomas Aquinas remarked, "When we see Jesus as he is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore him."

Jesus, I come to adore You. 

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken...you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:8, 11).

The Toothpaste on Display

One day God is going to have an exhibit. All of His goodness to us will be on display. "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6, 7).

Paul is saying this: "All through eternity God wants the riches of His grace-expressed through His kindness to us-to be on display. All eternity His works in our lives will be exhibited. His goodness to us will bring Him glory forever!"

Details on displays are important. After painting our bedroom walls Tunisian rose, we saw a nail hole and my husband filled it with toothpaste suggesting that I cover the white spot with paint. 

Before I did that, my friend Sharon came over, and I invited her to see the new painting we had hung above our bed. I noticed that despite the new picture, her eyes went to that dot of white toothpaste.

I think of that when I read of the presentation of kindness God intends to make throughout eternity. He is not going to have one tiny flaw. A single failure to do us good would ruin His display. There will not be one time about which we will be able to say, "God, that detail, that pain you allowed in my life was not good." 

Jesus, give me grace to see in even the most difficult circumstances that You are always good.

"The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is nothing but goodness in him!" (Psalm 92:15 NLT).

 

 

 

Rosalind's Test

When Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth were in their fourth year in China as missionaries, their little eighteen-month-old son became very ill with dysentery. After several days' fight for the child's life they realized that he was dying.

Rosalind wrote, "My whole soul rebelled. I actually seemed to hate God. I could see nothing but cruel injustice in it all, and the child seemed to be going fast."

She and her husband knelt beside the little boy's bed. Jonathan pleaded earnestly with Rosalind to yield her will and her son to God. It was a long and bitter struggle, but she eventually told her husband that she would give her child to the Lord. Then her husband prayed, committing this precious child to God.

While he was praying, Rosalind noticed that the rapid, hard breathing of their little boy had ceased. She thought he was gone, and went to get a light. But when he examined his face, she found that he had sunk into a deep, sound, natural sleep. He slept most of the night. The following day he was practically well.

It seemed to Rosalind that the Lord tested her to almost the last moment. Then when she yielded her dearest treasure to Him, He gave back the child.

Thank You, Lord, for giving us strength to give You our best. 

"Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12).

You Are Not Forgotten

Jesus was in the boat with the disciples when they first encountered a storm (Matthew 8:24), but the second time they were buffeted by the waves, they were alone. Not until about three o'clock in the morning did Jesus appear to them walking on the water and saying, "I am here. Don't be afraid" (Matthew 14:24-27).

Jesus allowed them to be alone and in danger, much as a loving mother-bird thrusts her babies from the nest to teach them to use their wings. Jesus wanted to strengthen the disciples' faith so they would learn to be confident of His constant presence. 

In all their storms of temptation, He would be near. Even when they could not see Him, He would always be present to help them.

Sometimes when reading a psalm, I like to see what Charles Spurgeon commented on the verses in his Treasury of David. His thoughts on Psalm 91:15 are especially comforting. The verse gives God's wonderful promise: "I will be with him in trouble." Here is a bit of what Spurgeon wrote:

"Oh, that delightful sentence! 'I will be with him in trouble.' At other times God will leave them in the hands of angels: 'I will give them (angels) charge over them, to keep them in all their ways; they bear them up lest at any time they dash their feet against a stone.' But when they are in trouble, I will say to the angels, 'Stand aside, I will take care of them myself.' 'I will be with them in trouble.'"

Sometimes when we're in trouble, it seems as though the Lord has forgotten us, but His eye is on us. At just the right time, we will discover He is with us and that His delay was indeed good. 

Thank You, Jesus, that in every situation, Your intentions are for our good and Your glory.

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go...I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15).

Keep From Making a Wrong Decision

I was in charge of a luncheon and afterwards sensed that I had missed the Holy Spirit's direction regarding one of my decisions during that function. Wondering how I could have unwittingly done that, I began writing out the whole scenario, seeking what the Spirit wanted me to learn from this. 

As I wrote one line, He said, "Weren't you trying to impress the women when you made that decision?" 

Immediately, I had to admit that He who scrutinizes our motives was right. "That was why you couldn't sense what I wanted," He said. 

"All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord" (Proverbs 16:2). Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we usually fail to see our "selfish ambition and vain conceit." Only He can show us where self-glory affects our decisions. The first step in gaining a humble spirit is to allow the Spirit to help us identify pride in our lives. When we are intent on obeying the Holy Spirit, we welcome His revelation of our motives as well as His grace enabling us to be humble.

John Wesley wrote to Francis Asbury: "I study to be little and lowly." What a profitable discipline! God gently calls us to humble ourselves. Although at times, He may need to humble us, He prefers that we choose humility. 

"Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them," (Jeremiah 45:5). The Holy Spirit invites us to place ourselves where He is free to show us exactly what He sees. Is He pleased? That is the only question that matters.

Thank You, Jesus, for the joy and rest I have when Your approval is my highest desire. 

"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14).

"I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" (John 5:30). 

"Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Colossians 3:12 NLT).

 

A Way to Get Rid of Frustration

Confusion and frustration flooded Jeannine Brabon. She faced a situation that made her want to run. But where could she go?

As she prayed about her situation, God brought the face of Eleanor Burr who had been a great blessing to her during her years at Asbury College. The Holy Spirit challenged her, "Pray for Eleanor instead of yourself." As she began praying for Eleanor, Jeannine discovered a new joy. Her own anguish began to disappear as she visualized victory in Eleanor's life resulting from her prayers.

She continued this practice for several months until the Holy Spirit led her to write to Eleanor. She obeyed the leading although she did not know her very well. She felt sure Eleanor was unaware of how God had influenced her through her life.

Eleanor's response brought tears to Jeannine's eyes. "Now I know why these past months have been the best in my life. Overwhelming problems have seemingly faded away," she wrote.

Job wrote of having his captivity turned to freedom when he prayed for his friends. Jeannine's experience was similar. She wrote to Eleanor, "This has been the toughest year of my life, but as I focused prayer on you, God miraculously resolved my problems as well."

After that, Jeannine found that major and minor crises subsided as she prayed for others. She wrote, "If you want to experience Calvary love, enter your Garden of Gethsemane and allow the Holy Spirit to intercede through you for someone else. After that, you will not want to  confront perplexity in any other way."

Dear Lord, help me to confront problems by interceding for others just as You did on the cross.

"Pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16).

Adapted from A Watered Garden by Alice Huff and Eleanor Burr, published by OMS International

Our Faith Satisfies God

I had been lifting a need to the Lord throughout the day and that evening, the Spirit impressed upon my spirit, "Have I ever failed You?" It was a gentle reminder that He yearns for me to be confident of His care and to believe that He hears my prayer.

When Jesus was about to feed the 5,000, He turned to Philip and asked, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" (John 6:5). Jesus already knew what He would do, but scripture said He said this only to test Philip. 

Jesus would have been so pleased if Philip had said, "Jesus, I know You can provide for these people."

But Philip failed the test. "Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each to have a bite!"

It's possible that Jesus was testing Philip because He had reason to believe Philip believed in Him. He knew Philip had earlier declared to Nathaniel, "We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about!" Also, Philip saw Him turn the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Now that there was a new need, would Philip expect Jesus to meet it?

Perhaps Jesus still allows impossible situations in our lives to see how much we trust Him. It is one thing to say, "Look how faithfully God provided in the past!" But when there's a new situation, do we believe He will provide? 

Our Father longs to find children who trust Him just as a small child  those who confidently rest in Him knowing that their Father will provide. "They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord" (Ps. 112:7).

Faith is best shown, not in the moments when it's easy to believe, but when we rest in His faithfulness no matter the current circumstance. How satisfying our faith is to God. 

I praise You, Father, that you have great pleasure every time I refuse to doubt but instead remind You of Your promises.

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15). 

No Time to Be Bitter

"Put the best construction on what others do that you can," my mother would often tell me. I learned what that meant by watching her. She refused to believe others meant to be unkind and insisted on thinking they simply didn't know how they came across. She always tried to understand the other person's perspective. 

If a person is impolite and cross-tempered, maybe he is worried or in pain. Maybe he has been misunderstood or been misinformed about something we have said or done. Forgiveness is easier if we try to understand before we allow ourselves to condemn. 

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). The Wesley Bible comments on this verse, "No attitude is more godly than to forgive or to overlook a wrong. 

Love "keeps no records of wrong" (1 Corinthians 13:5),  or as the Amplified says, love "takes no account of the evil done to it--pays no attention to a suffered wrong." 

The Holy Spirit enables us to respond with His love when we ask. A single mom of two girls had been wronged by her sister. I heard her desperate prayer. "God, if You don't do something for me I can't do for myself, I'm going down and I'm taking my two girls with me."

Instantly, the bitterness against her sister was gone. "Today I can go into her house and know I hold no bitterness toward her," she said with both joy and relief.

Thank You, Lord, for the grace that You always have available for those who refuse to be bitter.

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Hebrews 12:15).

 

When the Answer Is Delayed

When we would say God answered prayer in the "nick of time," He would declare it to be "in the fullness of time" (Galatians 4:4). The secret to not losing heart when we are waiting for God to answer our prayer is in our learning to wait because we have faith that His timing is perfect.

The cupbearer who had promised to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph "did not remember Joseph; he forgot him" (Genesis 40:23).  Two full years passed before he remembered. Getting our hopes up and then having them dashed can work havoc on our faith. But Joseph was faithful despite God's delay.

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?" (Luke 18:7). It appears that God sometimes delays His answer, but His delay is not denial, so His delay should not discourage us.

Notes in the Wesley Bible comment on this verse, "God always does the right thing. It may seem to us that He delays. But from His point of view He acts speedily....The truth of the parable also applies to any discouraging delays in God's answers: we ought always to pray; we ought never to lose heart."

To"pray without ceasing" doesn't mean to pray without intermission but simply to not give up on our prayers. When the answer is delayed, God has not forgotten nor failed to hear. At just the right time, we will discover His delay was indeed good. 

Thank You, Jesus, that someday I will be able to look back and see that You answered my prayer in Your perfect time.

If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed" (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT).

"...those who hope in me will not be disappointed" (Isaiah 49:23).