Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Young’

Come to me with empty hands and an open heart, 

ready to receive abundant blessings. (1)


I have a hard time receiving gifts because either my pride or my expectations are too high.

I do not believe I am alone.

A friend wanted to say thank you to me earlier this week with a simple gift.

In gratefulness, I should have accepted it and say, “Thank you,” but I did not.  My pride was a hinderance.

In exasperation he told me to at least take it and give it away to someone in need.  It was only then when I accepted the gift.

He wanted to say thank you and I frustrated him with my pride.

Shame on me!

I wonder how often I have done this to God?

We expect God to bless us in specific ways. When He does not come bearing the gifts we expect, we act like He is a burden to us.

God has a specific gift for us.

The gift is Himself!

Unfortunately, we frequently reject the gift of Himself because we want a specific blessing rather than Him.

Jesus taught, 

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (2)

I wonder how many times has God come to me with a gift and I have rejected Him?

Sometimes, I am amazed God keeps blessing me.

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  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 123). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. Matthew 6:8

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One of the hottest selling categories of Apps for smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers are those which organize your “To Do” lists.

With so many critical tasks which we must get done for work, home, family, and self, an App which organizes, manages, and reminds us of all we have to do is essential for our personal success.

I have tried numerous Get It Done task prioritization management systems from paper and pencil, to carrying a little black book, to software which syncs between all of my digital devices.  Despite meticulously entering every detail for each task and prioritizing them in a unique coded format, I achieve the same result:

Half of the tasks which I am certain I must do asap, never get done.

After a few weeks or months of changing the due date on undone tasks, I will eventually delete the task all together.  Once deleted, the stress and guilt of undone tasks slips away.

All of this leaves me wondering, “How many of the tasks on my ‘To Do’ lists are essential to my life?”  

I am afraid that the honest answer is very few!

Sarah Young advises:

Since God is everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working on your behalf … your best efforts are trusting Him and living close to Him. (1)

Invest in Him who gives you life and keeps your life.

The best way to keep life from crushing you is to live looking to God

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in 

from this time forth and forevermore. (2)

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  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 70). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 121:7–8.

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I am still confident of this: 

I will see the goodness of the Lord 

in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13

Each morning I compose a schedule for the day, putting things in order in their proper time and place.  Each evening I go to bed exasperated that my day did not go as planned.

I am an agenda-maker. I know it’s a control issue.

I am willing to give my whole life to God, except for my schedule.  I continually ask God to tell me what he has planned for my day before I get out of the shower.  I will make sure His plans get on my schedule.

God wants my schedule.  I refuse to give it to Him because I want to insure that all gets done decently and in order.  It keeps God’s surprises from tripping me up and driving me nuts because His ways are not my ways (see Isaiah 55:8)

Sarah Young reminds me:

“You worship a living Deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Your relationship with Him is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as He invades more and more areas of your life.  It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life.” (1)

Yes, I am guilty.  I want to set and establish the boundaries of my life.

Please do not misunderstand me, I will give God free reign in my life, as long as He stays in my boundaries.

God knows better.  In fact, many of my greatest joys have come into my life because God laughed at the arrogance of my desire to control Him.

If I had my way, I would not have met my wife, discovered the joy of hospice ministry, saved a man’s life, nor been blessed by serving at the Rockford Rescue Mission.

All of these gifts came after I fervently told God, “I do not plan to go there!”

Every morning God must laugh when He sees my schedule for Him for the day.

Richard Blackaby writes:

God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. (2)

I prefer making and keeping my own plans.  God finds them to be stale, self-centered, and, if left alone, to be the death of me.  He wants me to enjoy the fresh, God-centered, life he has planned for me.

There once was an old woman who had planned her life around 7 husbands.  One day when once-again thirsty, she went to draw from the stagnant well of her schemes, when Jesus came to her.

Jesus made her a better offer:

Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:13-14)

When will I ever learn the water in His well will always be better than the water in mine.

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  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling (p. 51). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 49). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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May the LORD bless you and keep you; 

May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

May the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Number 6:24-26

What God does for us, He does in us.

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 40). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

If you become bewildered by circumstances in your life.

Bring me your weakness and receive My Peace. Accept yourself and your circumstances just as they are, remembering that I am sovereign over everything. Do not wear yourself out with analyzing and planning. Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides through this day; they will keep you close to Me.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 38). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Flying Into the Winds of Danger

I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land. (Isaiah 58:14) … One of the first rules of aerodynamics is that flying into the wind quickly increases altitude. The wings of the airplane create more lift by flying against the wind. How was this lesson learned? It was learned by watching birds fly. If a bird is simply flying for pleasure, it flies with the wind. But if it senses danger, it turns into the wind to gain altitude, and flies up toward the sun. … The sufferings of life are God’s winds.  …  Human life works exactly on the same principle. When the storms of life appear, the atmosphere is changed, purified, filled with new life, and part of heaven is brought down to earth. … Facing obstacles should make us sing. The wind finds its voice not when rushing across an open sea but when it is hindered by the outstretched limbs of a pine tree

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 61). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

God’s Will in Times of Trouble

We have no need to trouble ourselves as to how God works. The realization of this will save us a lot of anxious questioning. Instead, in every moment, hang upon His leading, never stopping to reason as to why we should do this or that, never troubled if it seems to produce results, not even anxious if it seems to have been a mistake.

I do not believe that light is ever promised for a past step, nor for a future one; for God emphatically wants us to live in the present, moment by moment.

Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life : The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

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What, then, shall we say in response to this? 

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

I am with you and for you. You face nothing alone—nothing!

When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world and leaving Me out of the picture. The remedy is simple: Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (Kindle Locations 1240-1241). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The only fear that God encourages is the fear of God

Fear of people does not come from God. The problem is that many Christians fear people more than they fear God. Their fear hinders them from pleasing God because they waste their efforts appeasing other people.

Most fear is fear of the unknown. We do not know what lies ahead of us, so we become apprehensive. Our imaginations can magnify problems until they seem insurmountable. We need a sound mind to see things in proper perspective. That is why God gave us His Holy Spirit, to enable us to see things as God sees them.

Fear will enslave you, but Christ has come to set you free.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 34). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Lean on God, not Yourself

The early Apostles all sinned, not out of ignorance or malice, but out of fear of the Jewish leaders. These leaders had blinded their hearts so much they didn’t even know they were sinning. It’s truly astonishing that great men, such as Peter, Barnabas, and others, were so easily tripped up.

If God isn’t with us, we are nothing at all, no matter how great our gifts may be. If he removes his hand from us, our wisdom and our knowledge are nothing. If he doesn’t constantly uphold us, the greatest amount of knowledge will be useless, even if we are experts in theology.

Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

After Blessings Comes the Battle

Aren’t your times of deepest depression the moments that immediately follow your loftiest highs? Just yesterday you were soaring high in the heavens and singing in the radiance of the morning. Today, however, your wings are folded and your song is silent. At noon you were basking in the sunshine of the Father’s smile, but by evening you were saying from the wilderness, “My way is hidden from the Lord” (Isa. 40:27).

Have you considered why the change comes so soon after the blessing? Simply to show that it is the sequel to the blessing. God shines His light on you to make you fit for life’s deserts. He lifts you to new heights to strengthen you so that you may go deeper still. He illuminates you so He may send you into the night, making you a help to the helpless.

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 60). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

Seek first the Kingdom of God

If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17). A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 39). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

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Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 

2 Peter 3:18

My child, I have a message for you today. Let me whisper it in your ear so any storm clouds that may arise will shine with glory, and the rough places you may have to walk will be made smooth. It is only four words, but let them sink into your inner being, and use them as a pillow to rest your weary head. “This is my doing.” (1 Kings 12:24)  (For further reflection on this quote click here.)

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02).

Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 56).

Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Follow me one step at a time. That is all I require of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world.  Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12).

Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 34).

Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Spurgeon writes: “A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus.”

Dwight Lyman Moody,

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

(Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998).

A life devoid of Christ’s tender love for others, both fellow-believers and non-believers, can negate much of our Christian witness. Consciously leave time in your schedule to be responsive to the needs of another. Share Christ and His love with them.

Kenneth W. Osbeck,

Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), 42.

Swimming lessons are better than a lifeline to the shore.  (For further reflection on this quote click here)

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17).

A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 37).

Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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The service of Christ is the business of my life.

The will of Christ is the law of my life.

The presence of Christ is the joy of my life.

The glory of Christ is the crown of my life.

Samuel G. Hardman and Dwight Lyman Moody,

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

(Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998).

The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. … Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell upon John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “But Lord, what about this man?” Peter asked. … How natural to compare his assignment with that of the others! This is the great temptation of God’s servants: to compare our situation with that of others. … Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk two different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives.

Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01).

Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 31).

B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When faithful people are happy and when they sing, “The LORD is my strength and my song” (Psalm 118:14), the devil stays far away from them.  But as soon as we stop praising God, miserable, lonely, sad thoughts return.  This is how the devil works. When the water becomes troubled, he likes to fish. He uses these opportunities to tempt people to abandon their faith and give up in despair.

Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19).

Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 31).

Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I am your strength and your shield. I plan out each day and have it ready for you, long before you arise from bed. I also provide the strength you need each step of the way. Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what’s on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with Me.

Young, Sarah (2004-10-12).

Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence (p. 32).

Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

He gives quietness in the midst of the raging storm.  He gives quietness even in the midst of losing our inner strength and comforts. Sometimes He removes these because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joys, pleasures, passions, or our dreams, with too much self-satisfaction.

Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. (2008-09-02).

Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 55).

Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version

(Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. … Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

Oswald Chambers,

My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year

(Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” … On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Charles H. Spurgeon,

Morning and Evening : Daily Readings

(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

In our fast-paced daily life, how easy it is to get caught up in the “things of earth” so that eternal values become blurred and almost forgotten. … Remember these words from the chorus of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, … “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Kenneth W. Osbeck,

Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), 40.

This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.  (For further reflection on this quote click here)

Lewis, C. S. (2009-03-17).

A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 36).

Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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