Category Archives: Christian living

Are You Influenced by the Political Spirit?

I’ve been concerned for quite some time about the influence of the political spirit upon Christians. While it is most easily seen during election years, it rears its ugly head at various other times as well. It’s currently surfacing a lot in opinions about the Covid-19 crisis, but it shows up in other discussions too, such as immigration or social justice.

This post is sort of a “Part Two.” Discerning the Political Spirit, written a couple of years ago, acts as my “Part One.” That post explains a lot about the political spirit. Today’s post goes on from there.

Here are some ways the political spirit affects people, including believers:

It causes us to be hardhearted.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted….” The political spirit causes us to put our “convictions” ahead of kindness and tenderness. Mercy and compassion take a lesser place, because being right becomes paramount. Often those convictions are not biblical principles at all, but opinions we have absorbed from various secular sources with a political agenda behind them. When we take in enough of them, they become part of our worldview. We might think that worldview is unquestionably biblical, because we’ve heard influential Christian leaders speak the same things — but that could be because those leaders have unwittingly become influenced by the political spirit as well.

An example of how this plays out can be seen with the current controversy over how the Covid-19 crisis should be addressed. We hear a great deal of talk about constitutional rights. Preserving constitutional rights is important. However, if we forget that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence are for everyone, not just self, it could be a sign that we’re influenced by not only selfishness, but the political spirit. When one’s own rights and wants become more important than caring for the welfare of others, we’re missing the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

It polarizes people.

We should never get sucked into a false unity. Light and darkness cannot mix.. However, the political spirit will cause unrighteous (and unnecessary!) division between believers. Factions form. Paul attempted to correct this attitude in the Corinthian Church:

Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you…. For it has been declared to me … that there are contentions among you. …You say, “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Apollos,” and “I am of Cephas,” and “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? …. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

We see this every day, from arguments about governmental policies to theological disputes on matters which aren’t about foundations of the faith.

It promotes finger-pointing.

The devil is “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Unfortunately, too often we cooperate with him! Mudslinging is part of political campaigns, and the political spirit will lead you into that behavior in other arenas too. It has a lot to do with those convictions I mentioned earlier, which are really only opinions.

It fosters pride.

This goes along quite nicely with finger-pointing. We feel so strongly about our position that we assume everyone who doesn’t see it the way we do is less spiritual, asleep at their post, or just plain stupid.

Could it be that those of a different opinion are seeing from an angle we have not yet considered? Can their perspective and mine dovetail together for a more complete picture of the truth? The political spirit attempts to blind us to such possibilities.

It diverts us from Christ and the Gospel.

The political spirit sidetracks us onto temporary tangents, consuming our thoughts with current events which have little to no bearing on eternal matters. We become earth-bound, consumed with anxieties over what will happen if “our side” does not carry the day. Jesus is not mentioned very much anymore. Sharing the “good news” of our viewpoint takes the place of sharing the good news of the cross.

In his book, The Discerner, James Goll comments,

Particularly in these days of instant social messaging, we need to be alert to the influence of the political spirit around us. We have to work hard to keep our focus on God and not on the troubling and divisive contemporary issues unfolding around us, lest we react to them by joining the toxic fray, rather than being part of the solution. While we should fulfill our civic responsibilities and keep a level head while participating in our representative government, the best thing we can do is to pray and intercede in order to break the power of the demonic political spirit that causes divisions, animosity, and strife.(1)

How do we break the power of the political spirit off of our minds?

1. The first step is recognizing its influence over us.

2. We repent and renounce it, asking the Lord to deliver us from it.

3. We determine to, once again, “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1, 2). That might require more time reading the Bible and less time reading or listening to the ideas of men.

The Lord will free us, if we ask. He will also help us know where to put our energies in the future. He will give us the wisdom we need to escape the deceptions of the political spirit.

________________________

(1)  James W. Goll, The Discerner (New Kengsington, PA: Whitaker House, 2017), p. 148.

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inner peace

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

character education, Bible study

 

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(Bible character education study for adults and teens)

 

Praying from a Place of Weakness

Do you ever come before the Lord feeling like the puniest pray-er on the face of the earth? Sometimes we get the impression from prayer teachers that it is a shameful thing not to be a muscle-bound intercessor — because we’re prayer warriors, right?

Additionally, we’re frequently taught that we should never pray “up” from the place of earth toward the Lord, because He’s already delegated His authority to us. We are seated together with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), so we’re supposed to use our authority to legislate down into the earth from that position. Always decree downward, never plead upward, right?

Yet, I think if we’re honest, most of us experience times of frailty, when we don’t know where to begin, much less how to carry our prayer to a successful outcome. We’re not feelin’ our warrior status, and we’re certainly not sensing that throne solidly beneath us, are we!

It’s OK. You don’t have to give yourself an “F” in Prayer 101. There are many facets of prayer. Legislating downward from your heavenly throne place is one. Praying from earth upward is another. Both are biblical. In fact, until we’ve learned to pray upward, we’ll never be much good at legislating downward. Let me explain.

God does not scorn our weakness, “for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Weak or strong, He answers us, for it’s about His goodness and our relationship with Him, not our ability. He sometimes deliberately puts us in a place of acutely knowing our frailty to help us recognize our deep need for Him. This is why He said, “God … gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7).

When we come before the Lord confessing our weakness and inability, reaching upward in our helpless state to Him, that is powerful prayer, because it fixes our attention in the right place — on the Lord. Indeed, it is the message of Psalm 121:1, 2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from. My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

God uses these times of weakness to bring us into yieldedness, where we submit to His limitless sovereignty and trust Him there. He teaches us to know Him as “He with Whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13) and “He Who ought to be feared” (Psalm 76:11).

The Lord doesn’t leave us in the place of weakness, though. As we pray through our doubts, fears, confusion, and need for Him, inch by inch we gain His strength and eternal perspective. He takes us into “building up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20), which is, I believe, about using our prayer language. We get to the place where we see our situation as He sees it, so that we can, in the right moment, speak into it from our position of being seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Don’t beat yourself up when you feel your prayers are weak. Use your weak times to lean into the Lord for His strength. For His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and He receives glory.

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intercessor handbook

 

 

The Intercessor Manual

 

 

 

Bible verses for prayer

 

 

The Intercessor’s Companion

 

 

 

intercession questions

 

 

Your Intercession Questions Answered

 

 

 

An Honest Account of Sickness and Healing

bacteriaI have been quite ill for the past two months with a bacterial infection. Thankfully, I am now on the mend. Dozens of people faithfully prayed for me during this time, and I so appreciate all the prayers. I thought it might be good to share the journey with you.

We have many sure-word promises of healing in the Bible, and I believe in them with all my heart. I claimed those promises, as did my praying friends. But when I didn’t immediately and miraculously get well, some people were troubled. A couple of well-meaning folks suggested unforgiveness in my heart was the culprit. This was very discouraging! I dutifully brought their concerns before the Lord, but did not feel their assessment was accurate. Others who know me well did not feel it was, either.

When healing doesn’t happen quickly or supernaturally, the tendency is to try to figure it out, and if we can’t, to start laying blame, usually on the sick person. This is very common in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles, and it is detrimental to the person who needs healing. It comes from a pervading “works” mentality, which believes it is all about us doing and speaking every iota perfectly in order for the Bible promises to be attained. We think our performance brings the answers, instead of putting our trust in Jesus our Healer. In essence, we want to come up with a formula to fix ourselves, instead of admitting our weakness and utter dependence upon Him.

A pastor friend felt God revealed to him that I would have to go through the  difficulties, but that it would all end well. He shared the story of Paul’s shipwreck, in Acts 27 and 28. He particularly mentioned that Paul had been bitten by a venomous snake on the island of Melita, and at first people jumped to the conclusion that it was due to Paul having sinned. But that was not the truth. The process was part of God’s plan, He did receive glory, and Paul came out of it all right in the end.

Someone reminded me of Romans 8:28, “… All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This fit well with what our pastor friend had shared. I began to get a glimpse of God’s higher perspective and that somehow God was at work for His glory and my good in ways I couldn’t yet see.

The Lord gave me two particular Scriptures which I have prayed often throughout this ordeal:

Psalm 41:3“The Lord will sustain and strengthen him on his sickbed; in his illness, You will restore him to health.” (AMP)

Psalm 23:1-3“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want [lack]. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul….”

I had moments of fear, and prayed Psalm 56:3, 4: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust. I will not fear what flesh can do to me.” Many times I said, “Lord, I put myself completely in Your hands. That’s all I can do.” I have not had perfect faith or perfect peace. At times I felt very hopeless. The emotional toll has been great. I relied on my husband’s faith and the faith of friends when I didn’t have much of my own.

The Lord uncovered some attitude flaws during this time — issues I had not realized I had. The whole experience has been extremely humbling. But refining is always a good thing, and I am grateful for it.

In the end, the Lord has brought healing through doctors and a treatment I would have preferred to have avoided. But His hand and timing have been on it all. I hope for better days ahead, although it will be a couple of weeks yet before we’ll be certain that no more treatment is necessary.

If I had had my own way, I would have preferred miraculous healing, without the need for all the doctoring. I don’t yet know how this will ultimately bring God glory. I do believe we should be healed supernaturally far more often than we are. But I know He does things the best way, I am not in control, and I have to trust Him for the outcome.

No matter what trouble He allows us to pass through, the Lord is always with us in the midst of it, and at the right moment, He will bring us out of it. Our challenge is to cling to Him and not let go while we persevere in believing in His goodness and His promises.

I hope that my honest story will assure someone else who has health issues that you are not a failure just because you are struggling. If it has helped, would you please take the time to leave a comment? Thank you!

prophetic intercession

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God

 

 

Before Whom We Stand,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Prophecy and You (Part 3)

stairs to heavenIn our last two posts, we discovered that God wants us to cherish prophecy. It is a precious gift of the Holy Spirit. He also encourages every believer to desire to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 39). (Yes, you can!) Remember, prophecy is simply speaking forth to others what God has said to us or shown us.

We can increase our ability to hear and see into the things of God. He has already said He wants to share His secrets with us. Consider Psalm 25:14: “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him…” and Proverbs 3:32: “…His secret is with the righteous.” Daniel 2:28, 29, and 47 call the Lord the Revealer of secrets. However, we should not be indifferent or passive about receiving supernatural revelation. God wants us to pursue Him for it.

One of the best ways to seek for greater revelation is to pray back to God Bible passages on this topic. Don’t settle for praying them once. Petition Him with them often. Here are a few to get you started:

Ephesians 1:17-18“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

Personalize this passage by praying something like, “Father of Glory, I ask You to give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus. Open my eyes to heavenly visions and enlighten my understanding, that I might know the hope of Christ’s calling upon my life and the riches of Your glory. Give me a clearer understanding of my inheritance in Him.”

Exodus 33:18“And he said, I beseech You, show me Your glory.”

When Moses prayed that prayer, God graciously responded. Moses did indeed experience a portion of the Lord’s glory, Who passed by Him proclaiming His nature, “…The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and Who will by no means clear the guilty…” (Exodus 34:6, 7). We, too, can earnestly ask, “Lord, show me Your glory.”

1 Samuel 3:10 and 19“Then Samuel answered, ‘Speak; for Your servant is listening.’”
“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.”

Make yourself available to hear God. Pray, “Speak Lord. I am listening for You.” Pray that the Lord would give you the ability to hear Him clearly, so that none of your prophetic words would fail to be accurate.

1 Kings 17:1“And Elijah … said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall neither be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.’”

I like to focus on Elijah’s position before the Lord — “The LORD God … before whom I stand.” We can pray to stand in His presence, in the councils of heaven, hearing His will, so that we can speak it forth into earth’s realm. For more on this, see my article.

Jeremiah 1:9, 10“Then the LORD put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.’”

Ask the Lord to put His words in your mouth. Ask Him to use you in prophetic intercession and decree to pull down things which are not of Him and to plant and build up His will in your family, city, state, and nation. As you seek Him persistently to understand His heart, He will show you what to pray and decree. Your authority to move mountains will increase. But start by frequently praying these verses.

James 1:5“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all men liberally and does not upbraid them [for asking]; and it shall be given to him.”

Hebrews 5:14“But strong meat belongs to those who are mature  — those who by using their senses exercise them to discern both good and evil.”

Ask God to help you hone your ability to discern. Ask Him to awaken and heighten the sensitivity of all your spiritual senses, so that you are paying attention to the cues He is giving you.  

These are just a few verses to help you get started in receiving prophetically from the Lord. Do you have favorite Scriptures which you use to pray for greater revelation? I’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Prophecy and You (Part 2)

prophecyLast time, I shared with you the apostle Paul’s admonition not to despise prophecy, but to discern it (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21). Paul also said to desire to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 39). Today, we’ll look at some ways we can fulfill our call to prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:3 mentions three reasons prophecy is important: it builds people up, it encourages or exhorts them (spurs them on), and it brings comfort.

It convicts its hearers of their need to change. 1 Corinthians 14:24 says, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all” (ESV). This is especially true if the prophecy points to Jesus and His holiness. While  this verse addresses prophecy’s effect on those who don’t yet know the Lord, God uses it to convict believers as well. Consider chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, where Jesus spoke prophetically through John to correct sin areas in local churches.

Some prophecy foretells future events, so that God’s people know how to respond and be ready. Jesus prophesied many futuristic things about His death, resurrection, and the last days before His return to earth. Agabus foretold a coming famine, so the Church could take necessary steps to prepare (Acts 11:28). Amos 3:7 tells us, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, without  [first] revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.”

God also uses the prophetic word to tear down anything opposed to His plans and to plant and build His purposes in individuals’ lives and nations. “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).

While some of these aspects of the prophetic happen largely through those who hold the ministry function of a prophet, we can all be used at times in each of them, if we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us. Remember, prophecy is simply uttering aloud what God has spoken to us or shown us. And keep in mind that prophesying is not confined to congregational settings. It can be part of our daily life, as we go about our Father’s business.

Encouragement

This is one of the easiest ways we can prophesy. It can either be on a personal, one-on-one basis or directed toward a group of believers. It’s not prophecy if you are only attempting to help people feel good by sharing your own ideas, but when the Spirit of the Lord is impressing a thought upon you, it will carry weight and bear fruit in others’ lives.

A word from the Lord doesn’t have to feel like fireworks going off inside. It is more likely to manifest as a gentle, persistent sense of what God has for someone. Even if you aren’t entirely sure, take the step of faith to share what you are receiving. You might be surprised at how it blesses someone, once you have the courage to speak it.

Sometimes we don’t realize in a moment of encouraging others that the phraseology we are using is a prophetic word for them — until they tell us they heard the same thing from God or from another person.

Prophetic encouragement isn’t always warm and fuzzy. Some words are meant to stir people up or spur them on into God’s purposes for them. God isn’t into just making His people feel good; He wants us to go deeper with Him, too. Don’t be afraid to share these exhortational words. Just do it in the spirit of love, not criticalness.

Prayer

Maybe you’re praying with someone, and words pop out of your mouth you weren’t anticipating saying. You are in the flow of the Holy Spirit, speaking forth His understanding of the situation in the moment. This is actually a form of prophecy, and it can be powerful.

Or, perhaps God puts a burden on your heart for a region, and you begin to pray things by the Spirit that you couldn’t know on your own. Years ago, I found myself suddenly praying our Pledge of Allegiance, but it was for North and South Korea to be united as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Later, I found out many Korean Christians were also praying for the reuniting of the two nations. Since then, I’ve heard several prophets say that this is what God will do. But my first revelation of God’s heart on the matter came through prayer proceeding from my own mouth — and it surprised me at the time. Praying the thoughts of God, as He gives them to you, is a key way to prophesy.

Counsel

Maybe as someone shares his or her problems with you, you know exactly what to say to bring help  — but you realize the thought did not proceed from your own intellect. That is the word of wisdom, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8, and it is closely allied with prophecy.

Testifying to God’s goodness

When we proclaim God’s goodness, testifying of what He has done for us, sometimes prophecy gets intermingled with that. How? For one thing, God will use your testimony to personally speak to others, to encourage, build up, exhort, convict, or comfort them.

You may also find that as you testify, your words begin to  shift from just telling your story into applying the truths you have learned to the lives of those in similar circumstances. You feel the Lord’s urging to say, “God has miracles for you, too. Trust Him, and watch Him work out your circumstances beyond what you could have imagined.” It’s a subtle form of prophecy. The more you proclaim the goodness of the Lord, the more you open yourself up to prophesying, because “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Prophetic writing

The Internet is a wide-open window for anyone who wishes to be used by God in this way. When I write books and articles, I seek the Lord for what He wants me to say. I rarely do it any other way. Do you have a blog? Use it to share what God is speaking to you. You don’t have to be a blogger, though. How about using social media to encourage others with what He is saying to you? How much better is that than the opinionated wrangling so many get caught up in!

Does God bring a particular Bible verse to mind for someone? Communicate that. It may be just what the person needs to hear. You are giving them the word of the Lord for their situation.

Wherever you go, be open to the Lord’s promptings to share insights, personal words, ideas, encouragements, and Bible verses God has spoken to you. As you are faithful to do that, God will increase what you have for others. You will end up prophesying blessing to those around you.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Prophecy and You (Part 1)

prophetic visionRecently, I was talking with a young friend about the gift of prophecy. Although she is Spirit-filled, she was cynical about it, due to having been burned by a number of personal words which were not genuine. Still another thing bothering her was how many times well-known prophets have given word after word which did not come to pass, were hype-filled, or seemed trivial or ambiguous.

Folks, we do have some deep problems in the prophetic wing of the Church — including inaccuracy with no followup repentance, as well as gross sin taking place behind the scenes, some of which is finally being exposed. These things should shock us and cause us to be cautious.

However, it’s important not to reject the gift of prophecy just because some people are making a mess of it. We cannot let a few bad apples — or even a barrel full of them — steal from us this precious gift from the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God knew ahead of time that controversies would arise around prophecy. That’s why He gave us this advice in His Word:

“Do not despise prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21).

Those few words give us the needed balance: don’t reject, but do discern. Discernment means we measure what is said against the Bible, our plumb line. It means we pay attention to whether the prophetic word “witnesses” to our spirit, too. I believe we must also discern the people who are prophesying. Are there repeated rumors that they are not living holy lives? Why would we want to sit under their ministry, then? Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits you shall know them.Matthew 7:15-20.

Desire to Prophesy

Not only are we to cherish prophecy when we hear it from others, but we are to desire to prophesy ourselves. The apostle Paul opened and closed 1 Corinthians 14 with this message: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy” (v. 1), and “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy…” (v. 39).

Each of us can and should prophesy at times — because, according to 1 Corinthians 14:3, “He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification (building up), exhortation (encouragement), and comfort.” It is an avenue through which we bless others.

You might be thinking, “But I’m not a prophet. I can’t prophesy.” Let’s demystify what prophecy is, because it’s not as difficult as we sometimes make it. Each of us can hear God speak to us personally, whether through impressions, words, or visual images (visions) God  plants in our spirit. Prophecy is simply speaking forth to others what God has said to us or shown us. You can do that, because as a child of God, you hear His voice. (If you have doubts about whether you can hear Him, see what Jesus had to say about this in John 8:47 and John 10:3-5, 8, 27.) Although not everyone is a prophet, we can all prophesy, and we should — because we will serve others when we do.

There’s a variety of ways we can prophesy, too. It’s not limited to uttering a message from God in a church service. That might be intimidating for you, but it’s not the only avenue open to you.

In my next post, we’ll look at simple ways you can prophesy. You might be surprised to find you are already doing it, and you didn’t even know it.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Knowing the One Who Satisfies

I was frustrated with the way my life was going. At the time, if anyone had asked me to describe my state of mind in three words, they would have been “discontented,” “disappointed,” and “discouraged.” I felt I had done all the right stuff, but nothing was changing for the better. All I could think about was how things were not as they should be.

In the middle of that mess, the Lord revealed Himself to me as “the God Who Satisfies.” He asked me to focus more on my Promise Keeper than on the promises He had given me. And He highlighted several Bible verses to help me shift my attention off my frustrations and onto Him. One of them was Jeremiah 31:14: “… And my people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.”

All of us could come up with something we’re not happy about — some of us more than others. Many Christians are frustrated and miserable, feeling there must be more to life than they are experiencing. There is a gnawing sense inside of a greater destiny, a greater purpose, but it eludes them. Maybe for you it’s not destiny, but more down-to-earth desires:

If only I had a husband (or wife). If only my marriage were better.
If only I had the job of my dreams.
If only I were doing that ministry God showed me.
If only I had children. If only my grown children paid more attention to me.

God is eager to give us many things our hearts long for. He is extremely generous. This is why He has put thousands of promises in His Word — and He wants us to have them all! Here are a few which specifically mention satisfaction:

Psalm 91:16With long life will I satisfy him….
Psalm 103:5Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 107:9For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

As much as the Lord wants to give us things we desire, finding satisfaction in Him needs to come first. He knows the longings of our heart. He is keenly aware of the difficult places we are in, with no relief in sight, and He is compassionate toward us concerning them. But He wants to give us light, peace, joy — even contentment — in the middle of our situation, as we learn to know Him as the God Who Satisfies.

The apostle Paul understood this truth. He told Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). In Philippians 4:11, he said, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased and how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Notice that he had to learn it. It was a process for Paul.

It was a learning process for Abraham as well. Putting our satisfaction first in God does not come naturally to us. In Genesis 15:1, God approached him with this wonderful statement: “I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.” Abraham didn’t even respond to that. He headed immediately into, “But, what will You give me, seeing I am childless …?” (v. 2).

Abraham did not at that point value intimate relationship with the Lord as much as he would later on. Yet, God was gracious toward his mindset and entered into a marvelous covenant with him. However, He also took Abraham through years of getting to know Him before the promised son arrived. In the meantime, Abraham matured to where God honored him by calling him “the Friend of God” (James 2:23; Isaiah 41:8). Becoming the friend — learning to be satisfied in the Lord — came before the other desire was fulfilled.

One of the highest honors we could ever hold is being thought of by God as His friend. There are varying levels of this. We can be a friend among many friends, who are loved and yet not particularly close to Him. Or, we can be the type of friend Abraham became — near to God’s heart, putting Him above our wants. This is the intimate friendship reserved for those who have learned to pursue Him as our deepest, most abiding satisfaction. When we do that, peace and joy rest inside us in the greatest measure possible. “All these things shall be added unto you” becomes the by-product rather than the goal (Matthew 6:33).

If you are feeling discontented or unfulfilled in some area of your life, I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal Himself as the God Who Satisfies. He will not disappoint you, and you may be amazed at how much rosier life looks, even in the midst of your present circumstances.

Bible study

 

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(A Bible study for adults)

 

names of God

 

 

The Names of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam