The Glorious Freedom
Basing Expectations on Truth
Dr. Charles Stanley
Forming expectations on the basis of preconceived ideas is a rather common practice—even the disciples missed important truth in this way. Christ told them repeatedly that He was going to be crucified and raised to life after three days. Their physical ears heard His words, but the message wasn’t able to penetrate their hearts and minds.
Although they were convinced that He was the Messiah, their assumptions about how and when His kingdom would come kept them from hearing Christ’s “alternate plan.” They were looking for a Savior who would overthrow Rome and set up His kingdom on earth during their lifetime; then they would rule with Him. Jesus’ words of death and resurrection were so contrary towhat they anticipated that they just couldn’t accept them. Since they hadn’t understood the promise of the resurrection, when their Messiah died, their dreams were dashed. They quickly descended into the despair of hopelessness and unbelief (Luke 24:10-11).
From our present perspective of knowing the outcome and purpose of Jesus’ first visit to earth, we might wonder, How could they be so dense? But before we judge them too harshly, let’s remember that we, too, often have predetermined ideas about how God should work in our lives and in the world.
God’s ways won’t always match our mindset because He works from an eternal perspective and we often see only the immediate. We must remember that His ways are best. Just think, if He had followed the disciples’ plans, there would be no forgiveness of sins. Let’s drop our expectations and trust Him.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org/.
Choose to Give Praise
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23, NIV).
Friend to Friend
My husband, Dan, grew up driving the family ski boat, pulling various family members and friends across some lake as they learned to water ski. Consequently, he is an excellent boat driver, especially for children or any novice on skis. Both our son, Jered, and our daughter, Danna, learned to ski behind a boat driven by their dad. I knew they preferred Dan to other drivers but did not realize just how important it was to them until someone else tried to take the wheel.
Several years ago, we invited some friends to join us for a few days at the lake. We had gotten to know Josh and Sarah at church and had become good friends. Our kids seemed to enjoy theirs so the idea of a combined vacation was perfect – right?
After several days of non-stop skiing, Dan was exhausted and asked the kids for a breather. “Guys, let me have one day off and I will be set for the rest of the week,” he pleaded. Josh immediately volunteered to drive the boat, assuring Dan and the kids that he was an “expert.” Doubt spread across the faces of Jered and Danna but since Josh was their only option, they grabbed their life jackets and skis and headed for the boat. Dan grabbed a snack, a cool drink, the novel he had been trying to read all week and headed for the nearest hammock, a gloriously unplanned day to call his own. Actually, it turned out to be a gloriously unplanned hour before we heard our boat returning to the dock. Jered and Danna scrambled out of the boat and headed straight for their dad. I could tell by the look on their faces that the boating excursion had definitely not been a success. “Seriously, Dad, Josh has no idea what he is doing!” Jered explained. “He nearly killed me!” Danna reported with her usual dose of drama. Jered summed up his thirty minute play-by-play account of the disastrous skiing incident by announcing, “Dad, from now on I will only ski when you are driving the boat!”
What Jered was really saying was that he had no confidence or peace when someone besides his father was at the wheel. How true! When God is “at the wheel,” every circumstance we face is in His hand and under His control. Peace takes up residence and the power of praise is revealed.
Praise turns trials into faith-builders as we learn to measure our problems against His limitless power, transforming the stumbling blocks of today into stepping stones for tomorrow.
Praise frees us from having to understand our circumstances, knowing that God is in control. A heart that is filled with praise does not have to understand every detail of the circumstance. In fact, the details really don’t matter. What does matter is that God is aware of every minute detail, monitors the circumstance and shapes it to fit His plan.
Praise transforms tragedy into triumph. Fanny Crosby was six-weeks-old when she lost her vision because of a doctor’s error as he applied the wrong medicine to her eyes, a mistake that set the course of the infant’s life. She could have easily become bitter but instead, chose to praise God. I am certain she didn’t understand all of the reasons for her lot in life, but I am equally certain that she made the choice to build a monument of praise on that lot instead of resurrecting a tombstone of bitterness. Fanny Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns of praise including “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “Blessed Assurance,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Praise made the difference in her life between becoming bitter or better.
I know that many of you have had a tough year. Loss, disappointment, pain, financial stress … the list is endless. Go ahead and make that list, girlfriend. Add it all up. Then factor in the grace, mercy and love of God – and celebrate the fact that He is more than enough. Praise God!
Let’s PrayFather, I give You praise for Your hand at work in my life. At times, I have not understood what You were doing – and still don’t. But it doesn’t matter, Lord, because I know I can trust You. Help me remember that my inner heart attitude does not have to reflect my outer circumstances. No matter what comes my way, I can praise You, knowing it will all turn out for my good and Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Think back over the past few months to a time when your faith was tested. How did you do? What lesson(s) did you learn through that trial?
Write a prayer of praise to God. Tuck it in your Bible, tape it on your mirror – put it in an obvious place and refer to it often. When you are tempted to complain or doubt God, pray that prayer out loud.
Read Romans 8:28. How does this verse encourage a spirit of thanksgiving and trust?
More from the Girls
Chuck Swindoll says, “The sovereignty of God is the Christian’s security blanket.” I want my attitude to reflect that truth – in the good times and in the bad. How about you, girlfriend?'''
Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106
Susan Ashton - The Glorious Freedom
TAKE AWAY POINTS TO CONSIDER
No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. St. Ambrose
Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. Thomas
When the law of God is written in our hearts, our duty will be our delight. Matthew Henry
But you (Timothy), keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5
Freedom is not the right to do as you please, it is the liberty to do as you ought. Anon.
God forces no one, for love cannot compel, and God's service, therefore, is a thing of perfect freedom. Hans Denck
There are two freedoms--the false, where a man is free to do what he likes, the true, where a man is free to do what he ought. Charles Kingsley
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Friday, April 08, 2011