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God’s mind

 

… do according to what is in My heart and mind. 1 Samuel 2:35

 

A while ago I read a book called Our Elegant Universe. Most of the book was over my head. The author, a scientist, was trying to explain to nonscientists what scientists think they are discovering about the smallest particles in the universe, about how time works, about hidden dimensions. I have no reason to believe the author was a Christian. Regardless, I wrote him a letter and said, “As a person of faith, I appreciated your book because I always like to know what my Father in heaven is up to.”

Our universe is so complex that the collective efforts of 7 billion people are not enough to figure it out. I don’t know how much angels know, but the only one who knows it all is God. God is so smart that He uses wobbly, fragile, ignorant human beings to accomplish His magnificent eternal purposes. God is so smart, that it requires all eternity for Him to unfold to you the customized plan He has for your eternal life.

The same good God who feels so deeply, has thought through everything and has it all figured out.

Dwight

PS. What drives addiction? How can we overcome life-controlling issues? On 9/14/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming addiction.

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Where is life taking us

 

… do according to what is in My heart and mind. 1 Samuel 2:35

 

God has a heart and God has a mind. In His mind is the wisdom to lead every person, every culture, every generation. In His heart are enormous reservoirs of sorrow and joy, pain and delight, love and hate, anger and peace.

Every day God endures humanly unendurable pain, weeping for those He loves. And every day God rejoices, delighting in those He loves and in His certain eternal victory.

This is life’s journey: to feel God’s heart and to know God’s mind.

Dwight

PS. What drives addiction? How can we overcome life-controlling issues? On 9/14/2019, our Inner Wealth topic will be overcoming addiction.

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Eyes to see

 

“My heart rejoices in the Lord…” 1 Samuel 2:1

 

In 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hannah prays after she gave Samuel to the Lord. It seems a strange prayer, if you think about it. Here a barren woman finally conceives and gives birth to a child. She then takes that child and gives him to the Lord.

What does she have left? She has nothing. Yet, read the prayer. This is not the same woman who stood weeping before the Lord a couple years earlier. Something profound has changed.

The Lord gave her a son, and she gave him back to God. Once she gave—and she gave everything she had—God opened her eyes to see how rich she was, and how good God truly is.

Read Hannah’s prayer (below) and be encouraged today.

1 Samuel 2

1 Then Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

2 “There is no one holy like the LORD ;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 “Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 “The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
upon them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails;
10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

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The first chapter

 

…the LORD had closed her womb… 1 Samuel 1:6

 

We sometimes wonder, deep down, if God knows what He’s doing. Read 1 Samuel chapter 1. A woman experiences the pain of being childless, and God stands up and takes full responsibility for it. If that wasn’t enough, as a direct result, a rival gloats and provokes (verse 7), a husband doesn’t understand (verse 8), she feels deep hurt (verse 10), she is falsely judged (verses 13-14), and she experiences great anguish (verse 16).

This part of the story had to be written first. Without Hannah’s pain—so arbitrary and meaningless all by itself—there would be no great prophet Samuel.

It seems to me that so much of human experience is just this—the first chapter of the story. We don’t have answers to our questions because the answers don’t come in chapter one.

The same Author who brought Samuel to Israel, who made Joseph ruler of Egypt, who emptied the tomb—that same Author is writing your story and mine.

Dwight

PS. All of us sometimes fail. How do you bounce back? That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 9/7/2019.

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Hiding places

 

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 1 Samuel 10:22

 

In this passage, the prophet Samuel was introducing Saul to the nation of Israel as their new king. At God’s direction, Samuel had previously identified Saul as king. To confirm this, Saul was selected by a random drawing when all the tribes of Israel gathered to choose their king. But, instead of stepping up to the plate, Saul hides.

Why do we hide? Let me suggest the reason: Because we know too much of ourselves and not enough of our God. God is calling us out of hiding, to be clothed and covered by the good work He is doing in our lives.

Dwight

PS. All of us sometimes fail. How do you bounce back? That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 9/7/2019.

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Where is heaven?

 

Now the dwelling of God is with men… Revelation 21:3

 

We think of heaven as a destination—you die and go to heaven. We think of it as a place or a location—streets of gold, the celestial city. We think of it as relief from all our troubles—no more sickness, no more grief, sadness, suffering or pain.

All of these things are true, of course. But at its essence heaven is the presence of God. This is one reason why the unrighteous are not permitted in heaven; they wouldn’t like it. They could not bear the presence of God.

This is why heaven is eagerly desired, not just by us, but also by God. He wants to be with us. He wants His place in our lives to grow and expand until every part of our heart is touched by the presence of God.

This is why we don’t hide from God. Whatever we hide from God cannot be filled with His Spirit, His presence.

Is there a heaven on earth? Yes, there is. Whatever part of our lives contains the presence of God; that is heaven on earth.

Years ago I asked the Lord what heaven will be like. Here’s what I sensed He said in reply: “I’ll be there and you’ll be there. That’s what really matters.” And that is what matters in this life—the presence of God, filling us up, and spilling over on everyone around us.

Dwight

PS. Dealing with difficult people. That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 8/31/2019.

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Truth

 

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations… Revelation 20:7-8

 

Adolph Hitler said, “If you tell a lie to a hundred people a hundred times, a hundred and one people will believe it.” I guess he should know.

Why does Satan deceive? It’s simple, really. He deceives, because if we knew the truth, deep inside, who would want what he has to offer?

Who wants to be a slave, when you can be free? So Satan will try to fool you into believing that you will have more power if you are a slave. Many will believe him, and offer their hands and feet to the chains.

We live in a world darkened with layer upon layer of lies. But, the longer I live, the better truth tastes to me.

Deep inside we need to know the truth about ourselves and the truth about our God. Once we do, nothing will sway us. Today I am thankful that Jesus came to be the Truth in our lives.

Dwight

PS. Dealing with difficult people. That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 8/31/2019.

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Blind faith?

 

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6

 

Without faith we can’t have a relationship with God.

But it’s important to understand that God doesn’t ask us to jump off a cliff with our eyes closed. It’s not that kind of faith. God doesn’t ask us to believe without any confirmation. He doesn’t ask for blind faith.

From miraculous answers to prayer to transformational meetings with Jesus, I’ve experienced God dozens of different ways. And that’s no fluke. It’s meant to be the norm for followers of Jesus. God expects us and invites us to experience Him. “Taste and see that God is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

In addition, we don’t throw out our reason when we embrace faith. There are thousands of good reasons for following Jesus. Here’s one of them: From the get go, many have hated Christianity, and wanted to shut it down. Why didn’t they do it? Early opponents to Christianity could have easily shut down the faith I now embrace. All they needed to do was produce the body of Jesus Christ. Believe me, they wanted to. But they couldn’t. The tomb was empty. The soldiers they hired to guard the grave were powerless to stop the Son of God from returning to life.

Never think God is calling you to blind faith. God is calling you to a beautiful and reasonable journey with Him, enriched by experience, reason, and faith.

Dwight

PS. Dealing with difficult people. That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 8/31/2019.

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We are not God’s laundry

 

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. Revelation 20:4

 

For many years, I figured God’s only interest in me was convicting me of all my sins and generally making me feel miserable because I was such a rotten guy. I would never have expressed it that way, but deep down, that’s how I usually felt.

But read the Bible! We are not God’s laundry. God has bigger plans for us than just washing us, so He can set us on the shelf and look at us. God is looking for ways to pull us into big roles. He is looking for people through whom He can unleash big dreams. When God fills our lives, He doesn’t get smaller. Our lives get bigger.

Dwight

PS. Dealing with difficult people. That will be our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 8/31/2019.

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Overcoming

 

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. Revelation 12:7-8

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

 

Some people think that God and Satan are locked in some kind of cosmic duel, each vying for supremacy in the universe.

Wrong!

If God fought with Satan even for an instant, Satan would be utterly destroyed in every possible sense of the word.

While Satan has always been fully responsible for each one of his evil choices, God has always used Satan to accomplish His own good purposes.

God sends his servants—angels and humans—out to overcome the devil. In Revelation 12, the devil loses his place in heaven and he loses his grip on the children of God. Angels toss him out, and our brothers and sisters in Christ finish the job.

Who are these overcomers? Let me suggest that they are ordinary people, just like you and me, living life in the grip an extraordinary God.

Dwight

PS. How do you overcome disabling beliefs? That’s our Inner Wealth topic on Saturday, 8/24/2019.

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