The Lord Has Not Forgotten You

Daily Devotional: Day 154

“But the angel [Gabriel] said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth” (Luke 1:13-14, NKJV).

Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth had been married for years, but they had no child. The Bible says that Elizabeth was barren, and the couple was well advanced in years, i.e. they were past child-bearing age. This must have been very stressful for the couple, especially given the social and religious expectations of the time.

Based on today’s passage, we know that Zacharias had prayed for a child, but nothing changed. We also know from Luke 1:18 that the couple had, for obvious reasons, stopped entertaining any hope of having a child. The unkind laws of biology had closed the window of hope. What then was the point of praying? Naturally, Zacharias and his wife moved on, having accepted the reality. But had God moved on? Zacharias was about to find out.

One day, while Zacharias was ministering as a priest, angel Gabriel appeared to him and promised that the couple would have a child. Notice how Gabriel put it; he said to Zacharias, “your prayer is heard.” Zacharias’ prayer had been heard long (probably years) before Gabriel brought this news. This tells us that, although Zacharias had moved on, God hadn’t. When you pray today, God hears you and may say ‘Yes’ to your request, but you may not see the result until some time later.

The point is, with God, timing is everythingEvery blessing has its timing. And timing varies from person to person. What is the right time for others may not be the right time for you. You may think you need something now, but now may not be God’s plan for you, no matter how desperate you think your situation is. Do you have the patience to trust and wait? When you pray for something, don’t just focus on what you want, ask God to also give you a sense of timing – so that you can wait in hope if necessary.

There probably were many contemporaries of Zacharias and Elizabeth who had children. But everyone is different, and every marriage is also different. You may or may not have children. You may have just one child or many. Whatever the situation is, it doesn’t prove that God loves you more or less. The fact is, we’re all different and so we will not all have the same things at the same time. Therefore, it is not advisable to compare yourself to others. Let others be others, and you be you. Be happy about your life, knowing that God hasn’t abandoned you. He knows what He is doing with you. Just relax.

Comparing yourself to others only puts unnecessary pressure on you. You’ll will come under even more pressure if you listen to people around you who are constantly reminding you of what you lack. Those are people who impose their own expectations on you. If you’re not secure in your faith, they’ll make you doubt yourself. To put an end to their pressure, you might do things that’ll compromise every virtue you uphold. If you have people like that in your inner circle, you need to be extra careful. If you can keep your distance from them, don’t hesitate to do so. 

Ask God to show you His specific will and timing for you; once you know that, you’ll have peace in all you do. Despite the pain of not having a child, Zacharias and his wife were not mad at God; they weren’t bitter or agitated. In fact, they never stopped being faithful to God (cf. Luke 1:5-6). When the time was right, Gabriel said to Zacharias, “you will have joy and gladness” (emphasis added). This means, it’s never too late for you, too, to have joy and gladness. No blessing from God is too late. God’s timing is always perfect.

Whether you see the result of your prayer today, next year or never, one thing is important: Just remain faithful. God has not forgotten about you. He will surprise you when you least expect.

May the Lord’s favor be upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Psalm 13:1-6

The Father Knows

Daily Devotional: Day 147

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:29-31, NKJV).

If you worry, you can’t rest. And, when you can’t rest, it’s hard to please God. But if you believe in God, you will be calm. Faith in God causes you to rest. A stressful (anxious) life is one of the chief enemies of the spiritual life. You need to come to a point where the Lord’s presence is enough to make you rest like a baby in the arms your Father in heaven. When you reach that point, anxiety, stress, panic and temper issues will be gone from your life. When the Lord repeatedly tells us not to worry, we need to pay attention. Worrying is symptomatic of a lack of faith.

Worrying impairs your spiritual vision and your ability to discern the will of God. It further impairs your ability to recognize the provident Hand of God in your life. Worrying is characteristic of people who do not know the Father God who provides. That is what Jesus is telling us today. Your Father in heaven knows that you need food and drink and other necessities of life. But the question is: Do you know the Father knows that you need these things? This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s loaded with meaning. When you know that the Father knows about what you need, then you have no reason to worry. This kind of knowledge – knowing that the Father knows – is a source of great peace and calm for your soul.

People get agitated because they don’t know the Father. And, because they don’t know the Father, they don’t know His love and provision. If they knew Him, they wouldn’t be agitated. Jesus warns against having an anxious mind. Based on the Greek word meteorizomai, an anxious mind refers to a mind that is unstable, easily tossed about like the waves of the sea. It describes what happens in a person’s mind when he is not sure that the Father will provide.

Jesus never worried about His needs. His secret was that He never took His eyes off the Father who provides. Learn from Jesus. Fix your eyes on the Father in heaven, and your worries shall cease.

The Lord’s blessing be upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Luke 12:22-34

The Holy Spirit Is Your Prayer Partner

Daily Devotional: Day 7

“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 through wordless groans” (Rom 8:26, NIV).

Prayer doesn’t have to be stressful. A key part of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life is to support you in prayer, intercede for you and make up for your limitations. Invite him to lead, inspire and invigorate your prayer life. He understands your heart and can express your needs better than you do. He will speak to the Father for you with mysterious groans which human words can’t express. This does not mean you should quit praying. No, it means keep praying, but don’t do it alone. And don’t beat yourself up when you feel inadequate in prayer. Your prayer life will rise to a new level when you and the Holy Spirit work together. Why bear the burden alone when God has given you his own Spirit as your prayer partner? The Bible says, “And he [the Father] who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27). Be excited that the Holy Spirit is your prayer partner.

When you pray, be aware that the Holy Spirit is your partner in that exercise. Effective prayer isn’t about how loud you pray, how long you pray, or how eloquent you are. You’ll enjoy prayer better when you understand the Holy Spirit’s role in your prayer life and allow him to do his work. If you don’t let the Holy Spirit help you, prayer can wear you down. When you feel weighed down by prayer, you’re probably going about it the wrong way. Prayer is about relationship, not about routine. God knows about your limitations. Sometimes, you just can’t find the right words to express what’s on your heart. Other times, you just feel overwhelmed and speechless.  Relax, the Holy Spirit gets it. The Father sent him into your life precisely for moments like these. He’s got your back. Be still, and let God be God (Psalm 46:10-11).

Prayer:

Daddy, thank you for sending your Spirit into my heart by which I can call you my Dad. I know that your Spirit intercedes for me. Henceforth, I shall not stress over my prayer life. I cast all my limitations on your Spirit, trusting him to be my sufficiency when I’m weak. In the Name of Jesus, I confess that my prayer life is energized and effective. Amen.

For further study: Zechariah 4:6-10; Acts 4:18-31

In the Spirit,

Pastor Steve

Charis Temple (non-denominational church)

Email: charristemple@gmail.com