How Can I Be “That Daughter” Part 2

In my last blog I recalled my thoughts regarding how I can be a daughter that is not only loved by God, but pleasing as well.  These thoughts came about after reflecting on my daughters’ actions and attitudes while we were preparing to go out of town.  To read the blog in its entirety, you may find it here: How Can I Be “That Daughter”:Part I .

Let’s continue to reflect by answering three more questions that I ask to determine if I am being “that daughter.”

3.  How do I respond to God’s instructions?
I believe that God has a very specific agenda and plans to accompany that agenda. Before Jesus returned home to be with His Father, He instructed His disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19.)  I believe that this is the Father’s primary goal –for all to come to know and have a relationship with Him.  Often while I am out shopping or running errands, the Lord will instruct me to speak with someone regarding their relationship with Jesus or invite them to church.  Since many people do not truly understand what a “born again Christian” is, I sometimes ask whether or not they know if they will go to heaven when they die.  If they say “yes,” I ask why and if they mention good deeds, I proceed to tell them the “bad news” before giving them the “good news.”  The bad news being that good deeds cannot get us to heaven, and the good news being that Jesus already paid the price (death on the cross) for their eternal life in heaven.

Although I often find a great sense of satisfaction in serving as a messenger, honestly, sometimes I find the instructions a bit inconvenient.  Sometimes I will hear instructions to speak with someone after I have loaded the car and started to drive off.  I’ve found myself sighing or even rolling my eyes, saying to the Lord, “I wish you would have told me this BEFORE I started to drive away.”  Of course I have to immediately ask for forgiveness for my attitude and He does forgive me, but I’d like to not have the attitude in the first place. God loves me whether or not I obey or disobey, with an attitude or not, but again, I’m not looking to just be loved.  I’m looking to be pleasing.

4. Am I submitted to God’s will, timing and plan?
Part of growing up is being willing to respond favorably when things don’t go our way.  Let’s face it, God’s plan and timing do not always agree with ours.  This is another aspect part of walking by faith–being able (and willing) to submit to His ways of doing things although we don’t understand them, and trust that they are better. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Although we think we have good ideas, they some times pale in comparison to the plans that GOD has for us.  At times it’s hard to have faith to continue to trust Him when answers to our prayers seem distant, but we must believe that He is working everything out for our good.

I recently heard a story of a couple that was selling their home. It was a beautiful home in a prime location, so they didn’t expect to wait long for it to sell.  However, after nine months and 110 viewers, not one person came back for a second visit! In fact, they had to renew their contract with their realtor.  During this time, their church was in transition of hiring a new pastor from New Zealand, who would be moving to the States and needing a home.  The owner of the home graciously informed the soon-to-be pastor and his wife that theirs was for sell.  To make a long story short, the pastor and his wife saw the home, came back for a second visit the next day and offered to buy their home at their asking price.  The pastor’s wife later shared of how she had a dream of the home that God had for them in the States and asked God to send angels to protect the home from anyone else buying it until they were ready! Trusting the Lord, even when He is not meeting our agenda, pleases Him.

5. How are my words?
Words are powerful. Let’s face it.  With our words we can encourage and build up or discourage and tear down.  I believe that certain words warm God’s heart. Psalm 19:14 says, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” My spiritual father teaches that the first words that come out of our mouths when we hear bad (or good) news will determine the outcome of the event.   To illustrate his teaching, he used the true story of a woman in the Bible.  She had been childless for many years before a prophet foretold that she would give birth to a son.  The prophecy came true, but unfortunately, the son later died.  The woman did not tell anyone about his death, but instead, replied “all is well” when asked how her son was.  She fully expected to see what she was expecting from the prophet, which was for him to raise her son from the dead, which he did. (2 Kings 4:8-37) Her discipline to speak right words greatly affected her actions and expectations.

Getting back to my daughters, one of them has a natural inclination to use her words wisely.  She is always saying what she likes about me, complimenting her sisters’ great characteristics and trying to express thankfulness in place of complaints. Her natural tendency to express love through her words, coupled with her sincere attempt to not complain greatly pleases me. Philippians 2:13-14, says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”  Sometimes it’s hard to express thankfulness in the midst of unpleasant situations. We want to complain and fault-find–vent, as some people call it–but at the end of it all, we know that it accomplishes nothing except getting if off our chests.  Thankfully, the Lord is patient and kind, but ultimately, I believe that the discipline to use our words to pray, bless others and express thankfulness will bring the most joy to our Father’s heart.

Thank you for reading.

 

How Can I Be “That Daughter” Part I

“If you run from the opportunities the Lord has determined to help you grow, your faith will stagnate.  If you proceed, it will grow.  It is just that simple.”

Back in May, my daughters and I enjoyed a productive trip to visit family and friends in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio. The first stop was Atlanta, where we attended a graduation picnic and I spent Mother’s Day with my mom.

The sunny morning that we prepared to leave Atlanta, I could almost predict what would happen.  There were four people preparing to leave, but only two were working to quickly move us toward our goal.  One daughter can always be depended on to get the job done, almost without asking.  She was diligently packing the food bag and the trunk. Another daughter was only preparing her breakfast and complaining about trivial matters that I cared little about in the scheme of the greater task of packing to drive to Chicago.  The third daughter was not helping either, but at least she wasn’t complaining.  She was simply attending to what she talked about and practiced almost all the time–gymnastics and her soon-coming YouTube vlog.

This scene is nothing new.  I have been through many scenarios of issuing commands and requests, but it only seemed to frustrate and drain me more.  I’ve learned to just work with what I had.  Although I love all my daughters equally, it is rather easy to discern which daughter was more pleasing to me at the time.

As I thought about the situation, I thought about how the Father God often has these same scenarios  and began to think about the different types of children that He loves and parents each day.  I began to ask some hard questions of myself. How can I be like the daughter who was greatly appreciated?  There are five questions I asked myself to help determine the answer. Two of them are listed in this blog.

1. Am I walking by faith?

The Bible says that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  I know that God will always love me, but is He pleased with me?  God has placed me in several situations that have caused me to walk by faith. I could have shrunk back to what I could control or step out on what God told me to do, by faith.  Earlier this year, my youngest daughter had surgery on her eyes.  You can read more about it here: Assurance + Promise: Part I  and here:  Assurance + Promise: Part II.  She and I had been believing for healing for quite some time when, while hearing a preacher speak about his own surgery, God spoke to me to allow her to have surgery.  This was not an easy task to agree to as you know eye surgery can be risky.  But, we walked by faith and saw the outcome of our faith.

God will place you in situations that cause you to walk by faith. In other words, you can’t understand the “how” or the “why” but you do what you know to do anyway, and usually, after obeying, everything is much clearer.  If you run from the opportunities the Lord has determined to help you grow, your faith will stagnate.  If you proceed, it will grow.  It is just that simple.

2. How do I respond during trouble?

The Bible tells us that we will all have trouble in this world, but not to worry, because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).  He also said not to worry.  So, if I worry, I am not obeying God.  I know that it is easier said than done, but the only way to make it easy is to do it…a lot!  Do what a lot…not worry, but trust!  Here are a couple of scriptures I like to speak when I’m tempted to worry:

Psalm 9:10 (NIV) “Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”

I encountered several more good ones as I was looking up these. Biblegateway.com is my go to source for good scriptures.

When you face financial  trials, health concerns, relational trouble, or other forms of trouble, do you worry, doubt or complain? I’ve faced trouble in my finances, health and in my relationships just like all people, and each time I have endeavored to seek the Scriptures and do what the Lord says to do.  Consider trials and trouble as opportunities to grow in your trust of God and find things to be thankful for. This demonstrates the growth and maturity that all parents are proud of!

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for the next blog which will include the other three questions I ask myself to find out if I’m being “that daughter.”

Has this helped or encouraged you? If so, take a minute and leave a comment!