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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I wish I could welcome you with a big hug, and invite you into my kitchen for a cup of coffee! I guess we'll have to settle for a little cyber-chat.

Today I've got a devotion running titled "A Ram is on the Way." Although I've read the story of Abraham and Isaac many times, it was only recently I got the visual image of the ram walking up the other side of the mountain at the same time as Abraham, after reading a segments of the "Knowing Jesus Bible." I hold that image in my mind now when I'm facing an "impossible" situation.

Another thing that hit me reading that passage in Genesis 22 was that it was all a test. We learn that in the first verse of the chapter: "Some time later God tested Abraham."

Personally, I like knowing when a test is coming. In school, I loved having the test schedule in advance. I'm one of those students who needed lots of studying.

If God's tests were pre-announced, I'm sure I'd do much better on them. In fact, I think God should be the like the Public Broadcasting System and announce, "This is only a test. For the next 6 months, it will only look like your finances are tanking. At the end of the time, I will surprise you with a job and then a raise shortly after that."

But that's not how God works. We'd all get A's and what would that prove? It would prove we could study for the test.

Abraham's testing, on the other hand, revealed true faith. Not faith that mouths the words, "I trust You God." But faith that really, really, really trusts God. I'm sure Abraham believed that if God took His son's life, God would raise Him from the dead.

Many times, and in many different situations, God has tested me with the question, "Do you trust Me ... or do you just say you trust Me?"

He has asked me ...

Do you trust Me with your health? Do you trust Me with your children? Do you trust Me with your reputation? Do you trust Me with your dreams? Do you trust Me with your career?

Or do you just say you trust Me?

It has taken numerous pop quizzes for me to really get this concept. Even though the testing was grueling, and the results sometimes revealed my faith wasn't where I wished it was, I'm thankful. I'm thankful God cares enough about me to test me. I'm thankful He longs for my full devotion. I'm thankful that through the testing, my faith is stronger than it's been in the past.

The truth is, we never know when God is testing us. The challenge for me is being honest about where I'm at spiritually. It's only when I acknowledge that truth I can deal with the deeper issues of doubt and misplaced trust.

Is God asking you today, "Do you trust Me, or do you just say you trust Me?"

We live in very difficult times. I know there are many fears that overwhelm my sisters in Christ. If you need to confess some unbelief, please feel free to post a comment. I will pray for you, and I invite the other readers of my blog to pray for you as well. Post it anonymously if need be.

God isn't mad about your shaky faith. I believe He wants to carry you today so you are standing on His unshakable foundation.

In His Love,
Glynnis

43 comments:

Joan said...

I just read your devotion and it touched my heart. And yes, I've struggled with the same question, "do you trust me or just say you trust me?" But I know that God is faithful and trustworthy. He is our Jehovah Jireh!

Karen said...

Wow! Could I ever relate to this one!! Recently I resigned from my job of 5 years because I felt that I clearly heard God telling me to step out in faith. At the moment, I'm working a part time job and making half the income that I was and I've been living on $1.50 in the bank for the last 2 weeks! It's really a desperate situation and I'm trying so hard to be faithful with what God has provided for me. Please pray that I will see the Ram on the other side of the mountain and hear God's voice clearly. Thanks so much. Karen

Leigh said...

Thank you for these words of wisdom. I too struggle in the now when I don't know what God has planned and where this is all leading. Thank you for being willing to put into words what my heart longs to hear. Thank you.

Rhonda said...

Years ago I was in a desperate situation with a teenage daughter. Her choices were breaking my heart. I tried everything I knew to "fix" the situation, but things only seemed to get worse. One day when I was at one of my most hopeless moments, God let me see a mental image of myself walking up Mr. Moriah, like Abraham, with my daughter,laying her on that altar, and giving her to Him. I felt such peace after that experience. I knew He was telling me that only He could provide the things that would bring my daughter back to Him. He was telling me to trust Him with her. I did, I have, and He has been fatihful.

Anonymous said...

I am struggling with my Son, he has been cutting us off in his life. He is married and has a little girl and I feel there is something wrong with the marriage and am worried that he is alone going thru something, what ever it is and I can't help him. I know that God loves him even more than I do but i am weak and want to make it all go away for him so he can be happy and I try to reach him and I can't even get him to respond to a simple email or just a HI... Please pray for me and my Son, Eric that I can give him over to God alone to watch over and for HIS will to govern Eric's life. Eric has know the Lord, but is far away from those teachings and his wife does not believe. Pray for them both that God will carry them thru this time and lead them to find him.

Tracey said...

A friend that I rent a room from recently lost her job. She has a mortgage (which she is upside down in right now) and two teenagers to raise. She had nothing saved and is desperately looking for a job. We live in a small town that doesn't have big corporations so it is never easy finding a job here, especially during the economic downturn. I'm trying to help her out the best I can but I make less money than she did. My faith has not been where I'd hoped it would be. I thought I would have been the strong one for her, instead she actually has more faith than I do at the moment. Please pray that she finds a job soon (her name is Rosie) and that she hears God's direction on her life.

Thank you so much for the encouragement. God is right on time as usual!

Tonya said...

This devotion really spoke to me today. My husband has been laid off for a year now, and we have been struggling with discouragement since he hasn't been able to find another job. Today's devotion was a great reminder of God's provision for us. I am praying for Him to change my attitude from one of despair to one of HOPE! Thank you for sharing your heart....It really encouraged me today!

Cathy said...

I love this story in the Bible, too. Like so many parents, I've had to put my kids "on the altar" many times. And God is always faithful.

However, I'm not sure Abraham thought God would raise his son from the dead. I rather doubt that he did. And that is indeed the ultimate faith -- not that God will fix the situation the way that we want it fixed and keep us from loss and pain but that God will somehow carry us through and that his will is right for us even if we don't like it and it is accompanied by incredible pain.

For the many parents who have actually lost a child, that is a reality they must face -- that God will hold them and sustain them and bring good to them through the most awful circumstances imaginable. I think that's the faith Abraham had -- that whatever God wanted is ultimately the right and good thing -- even if it meant losing Isaac. Now that's faith!

Karen said...

Thanks, Cathy, for your comments. You make a good point. I've been so encouraged to read everyone's comments this morning. Sometimes it just helps to know you're not alone. You know?

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Whoa...this really hit home today. Really hit home for me. Thank you for your words of wisdom and the enlightenment I have received, the comfort in trusting that my ram is on its way. These words were meant for me by God. Thank you.

In His Graces~Pamela

Mary Singer Wick said...

Thank you for this powerful reminder of God's testing of our faith, and His provision in hard times. My faith has been greatly challenged in this area regarding a loved one who is out of work, depressed and facing bankruptcy.

My husband and I have been a financial, emotional and spiritual support for this person over the last four years. Hope has often been overshadowed by disappointment as funding for jobs falls through for this loved one. We are, like so many others, in a desperate place. Like Abraham, we need a miracle from God.

Thank you for offering to pray for us that our faith in the Father will increase, and that the people we place before Him on the altar will be resurrected to new life in His Son. This is our greatest desire.

Blessings to you and your family,

Mary

Tammy said...

Please pray that I will stop feeling sorry for myself and that my faith will grow stronger and stronger. I need to know that the Ram is on the other side walking through the valleys with me!

Anonymous said...

Last year my life was out of control and I was having relationships with a few of my husbands co-workers. I have completely changed my life and am back on track with my relationship with Jesus and my husband. My husband lost his job back in June. ( a huge blessing in disguise!) Recently one of the men I was involed with(who lives in another state) told my husbands old boss who lives a mile away from us that I was in pursuit of him and others who worked there. Please pray that God will protect my reputation. Our kids go to school together and we are in the same social circle. I only want people to know the changed me! We just moved here last year so I don't have deep relationships with too many people around here. Thanks

Glynnis Whitwer said...

My sisters who have posted already today - I am praying for you this morning. And will continue to do so.

I want to clarify my comment about Abraham believing God would raise Isaac. I said that because God promised Abraham he would have descendents through this specific child. (Genesis 17:19). I should have included that promise from God specifically for Abraham.

Thank you Cathy for sharing your heart of compassion for parents who have lost a child. I can't imagine a great pain.

Leslie said...

I really needed this devotion today. I have been struggling with an intestinal problem for 2 months. After an upper GI, CT scan, ultrasound, and OB/GYN exam, I go for a colonoscopy tomorrow. Over two months, I have lost 24 pounds, as when I eat, I feel sick. At the same time, I am having minor back problems, albeit uncomfortable to sit for long. I have not been trusting God as I should. I have been fearful and full of worry!!! Today marks a "new day." I will trust God and wait for the "ram."
Leslie

Karen said...

Anonymous, Thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to you so much. I'll be praying for you today in a special way. Be brave. It helps me to look at the people God chose to be his followers! They were broken and "bad" people before He transformed their lives!
Karen

God's Girl said...

Thank you so much for this devotional. Just as so many others, my family and I have had our share of challenges this year. However, the only thing I know for sure is that God loves all of His children and there is a plan for each of us...a plan for good, not to harm us. Blessings to you all. I will be praying...

LULA said...

THIS REALLY MINISTERED TO MY SOUL IN JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT. THESE PAST TWO YEARS MYSELF AND 4 CHILDREN HAVE BEEN THROUGH A RUFF STORM.ANDI HAVE LOST SIGHT IN THE MIST OF IT. THANK YOU FOR THIS. IT WAS AWESOME AND ENCOURAGING.

Anonymous said...

I just read your devotional. I can relate. Right now, I'm going through an issue with my child father concerning his visitation with my child. it's a strained situation, but I want what is best for my child. Please agree with me that I will not lean to my own understanding but that I will trust God until I see my ram in the bush. Thank you so much for your blog.

kate said...

It is so wonderful reading this message this morning.I live my every minute in tears and it is like God cant see my situation.As i type this comment I do it in tears and really donot know what to say.I urgently need a job,have done everything I can and prayed as much as I can.Yes this piece of message is soul searching and I must confess today that i will actually trust God and not only say I trust Him. God bless you richly

Natasha said...

Wow!!! I can definitely say that I am struggling with my faith!!! I have a hard time accepting who God sees me to be, or who He sees me as being, right now!!! He tells me that I am intelligent, and destined for great things, but I am finding it hard to let go of the past, and who I was. I am struggling with accepting my new identity. And while I am trying to accept it, I have new dreams, but I can't really accept those visions, thinking about my old identity...whew...a mouthful!!! I hope you guys understand, just trying to hold on to God's strength while climbing this mountain!!!

Anonymous said...

Glynnis,

My heart is in anguish today and I am struggling just to keep from crying. When you wrote that someone is wondering how they are going to make it through the day, or if you have ever had your heart broken, you were talking to me and the state I am in today.

Suffering through a silent marriage, one that I feel is a sham, knowing another love that was shared and would sustain me, but I have to let go because it is wrong; knowing that God is asking "Do you really trust Me?" when I say that I do, but it's hard to live that faith that He will provide a way out of this mess for me; that He has a plan for me, when all I feel is sadness and loneliness. My health has been challenged this year with cancer, my marriage should have ended a year ago, but we keep pretending it's going to work out (he won't go to counseling. I go alone.) I have tried to place all of my trust and faith in God. Oftentimes, I am sustained, for awhile.

I just feel so lost. I can't feel God's arms around me, and I need to be held. Everyone needs the human touch. What kind of a marriage holds no intimacy? Sorry, I am in such despair that I am rambling. This is certainly not your problem, but you asked if anyone needed prayers today, and I sure do. Please, help me, God!

Anonymous said...

Glynnis,

My heart is in anguish today and I am struggling just to keep from crying. When you wrote that someone is wondering how they are going to make it through the day, or if you have ever had your heart broken, you were talking to me and the state I am in today.

Suffering through a silent marriage, one that I feel is a sham, knowing another love that was shared and would sustain me, but I have to let go because it is wrong; knowing that God is asking "Do you really trust Me?" when I say that I do, but it's hard to live that faith that He will provide a way out of this mess for me; that He has a plan for me, when all I feel is sadness and loneliness. My health has been challenged this year with cancer, my marriage should have ended a year ago, but we keep pretending it's going to work out (he won't go to counseling. I go alone.) I have tried to place all of my trust and faith in God. Oftentimes, I am sustained, for awhile.

I just feel so lost. I can't feel God's arms around me, and I need to be held. Everyone needs the human touch. What kind of a marriage holds no intimacy? Sorry, I am in such despair that I am rambling. This is certainly not your problem, but you asked if anyone needed prayers today, and I sure do. Please, help me, God!

PrairieMom said...

This blesses my (and my husband's) heart this morning! It confirms what the Lord has shown us. That, through daily, consistent, devotion, faith, and trust in Him, and being careful to follow God's laws and principles, HE WILL PROVIDE!
Blessings to you you and yours!
Thank you so much for proclaiming the good news. ♥
Warmly,
Reen~

Anonymous said...

This devotion has touched my heart, as well... I pray for God's strength and His all powerful grace and healing regarding my husband's (Dave) alcoholism. I have faith that God will bring Dave back to sobriety and back into His loving arms... I know that everything is done in God's time and according to His will. I pray that Dave will step back from his false pride and lean on God - and I know that God is doing a good work in Dave! Prayers for Dave would be greatly appreciated! In His name, Teresa

redhead.kate said...

Just had to leave you a message...I sat at my desk at work fighting back waves of despair, overwhelmed by a project that is completely out of my area of expertise but that has become my responsibility anyway. In addition, I feel like I am fighting battles on so many other fronts as well. But before I let myself be overcome with worry, I thought - were is my daily Proverbs 31 devotional? I haven't read it yet. It might help me trust instead of sinking deeper. Oh, then to read about God's provision...exactly what I needed. Thank you so much.

PrairieMom said...

To all previous posters, I should have read your comments before I posted my hearfelt response.

I will be praying for each of you this morining (with Glynnis).

Tonya? Feel free to message me, your situation sounds like mine (ours). Let's encourage eachother even more.

Hugs and more hugs))))))))))))
Reen~

Andrea said...

Thank you, Glynnis, for such a wonderful and wise word today! I, too, struggle with fear and anxiety in several areas. I would appreciate your prayers today, also, that I can stay on track and live as I trust the Lord, not merely just speak about it!

Thanks and love,
Andrea

Jill said...

I needed to read your words today. And your line about being thankful for the test really has me thinking, in a good way. I feel in the midst of a situation where God is asking me to sacrifice a relationship and it is so hard, but yet as He keeps calling me to obey the distance between myself and loved one only grows wider and more painful. I add that to the emotional roller-coaster ride that continues after giving birth to our son last week and honestly I haven't been thankful. Thank you for sharing from your heart, I'm praying mine will be one that trusts Him...
Blessings, Jill

Anonymous said...

This devotional was very touching. I had a time of questioning God a few years ago. My parents divorced after 35 years and my father was shown to not be the person anyone thought he was. That caused a deep depression and a literal questioning of reality. If what I KNEW about my family and my father were not true, what was? Was God? Yes, my sister, He was! He was big enough and patient enough to let me question and cry, kick and scream. After I settled down and could not cry another tear, I felt Him. He had been holding me tight the entire time.
I might have not trusted Him this much (I depend on Him for every thing!) if He had not allowed me to go through such a dark time. I didn't see Him or hear Him, but He was there all along.
God impressed me to step out in faith to obey Him by teaching my nephew's Sabbath School class (long story complicated by my infertility) and He has blessed me mightily and increased our class size from 3 or 4 to 12 to 14 kids every Sabbath. His promises are true!
Blessings to you,
Jennifer

Janet Roller said...

Thanks for this very timely and relatable devotion. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 8 years with a speaking/singing ministry. My husband is in sales. With this economy - well, do I need to say more. God has graciously provided through speaking engagements for me so we could "fill in the blanks" of our bank book.
Now, however, I am presented with an opportunity to pursue a job. I am so torn. Is this job "the lamb" provided? We so desperatly want to be out of debt and the "just getting by" every month makes that hard. I struggle with feeling truely thankful when the "manna" comes.
Praying today. Thanks for stoking the fire of my heart.

Julie Gillies said...

Awesome post, Glynnis!

I like being prepared for a test, too. In fact, I like all my ducks in a row, my house tidy, my plans scheduled and everything calm. Do I ever actually GET anywhere close to that? No way. God consistently tosses pop quizzes my way. I'm learning not to panic.

I am learning to TRUST Him like never before.

P.S. To Anonymous (above): I am praying for you. Hold on and stand firm. God saved my marriage and I know He can do the same for you!

Anonymous said...

Hello
I am on my way to the top of the mountain. This friday is the day I'll slaughter my own son Isaak aka friendship. And it will mean freedom of bondage. I hope I'll see a ram on time. But even if not : the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
I would appreciate your prayers this friday.
Thank you all !
All 4 the Glory of the Lord !
Saskia

Brandee said...

Natasha,
I wanted to respond to you because your comments touched my heart this evening. I am praying for you right now that you will keep climbing and pressing on to who you are in Christ. The old has gone and the new has come! In Him we are new creations. No matter where you came from dear sister, He loves you and can use that for His glory and in His plan for your life. If we give it all over to Him there is nothing that can not be redeemed. Selah has a wonderful new song out right now called "Unredeemed." If you get a chance listen to this song. It says, "It may not be fulfilled, it may not be restored, but when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord, just watch and see, it will not go unredeemed." You can reply back to me on my blog if you feel led. I am praying for you sister. I know what you are going through, I have been there too.

In His Love,
Brandee

KELLY said...

Very timely devotion for my husband and I as well as others during this time of economic stress! My husband was laid off last May and the company I work fordecreased our pay by 10% due to the lack of business. I drove to my best friends mother's funeral today 2-1/2 hrs. there and another 2-1/2 hrs. back and I listened to gospel music and prayed to God the entire trip to give me the wisdom that he will provide and to not doubt him. I know this because I believe! I pray for all who are financially stressed in the world and that relief will soon come.

Debbie said...

Great imagery on pop quizzes! When I provide correction for my young children on their homework, they sometimes respond with frustration that they did not get it right the first time. But in the process of correction, they are learning how to review and correct their own work, so they can do better next time. "Feedback" is what some would call it.

Those pop quizzes the Lord gives provide a lot of feedback in my life; feedback that teaches me the correct way to view His love for me, His mercy, His patience, etc.

While I don't like pop quizzes, I am thankful that God uses those circumstances in my life to teach me His truths and correct my wrong perspectives. I am also thankful that He doesn't get impatient with repeated my need for training and correction!

Thanks for the thought-provoking posts on Abraham and God's provision. And praying for those who have posted with such great need for God's provision of wisdom and resources.

Anonymous said...

How amazing is it that God speaks to so many hearts through one message! I have been struggling so much lately - feeling so alone and such a burden to those around me that my faith has completely taken the "back seat". I am a single mother to 4 beautiful children - I have so much to be thankful for and yet I dwell on the things I don't have! I should be thanking God that not only has He sustained me this past year as a single mom but He brought me out of the abusive relationship that I had been so desperately praying about these past 12 years instead of dwelling on how alone I am, how much easier it would be if I had some help. Of course financially I am seriously struggling - but through these struggles God has shown me how much importance the things of this world hold in my heart and what I need to let go of! I am not the same person I was last year and that's a good thing! I am stronger than I thought I was, my friends are closer than I thought they were, and I'm not the disgusting human being that I was told I am. Please pray that I would see myself as God sees me - this is my biggest struggle! Thank you so much for your message of hope - I can't even tell you how much it has meant to me tonight!

Colleen said...

To anonymous, above:

Once, in a Bible study class, my friend and teacher had sitting on her desk a dirty, cobweb-covered old flower pot that she had pulled from her shed. The thing was nasty to behold. She said that this is how we see ourselves, old and cracked and dirty before God's eyes. Then, from inside the other pot, she pulled out a beautiful crystal vase, all sparkling and shiny and new. And she said, "This is how God sees us".

Let me tell you that I could not hide my tears at this revelation. I had been abused for years by my step-father, and my self-esteem was so low.

This was many years ago, and I've never forgotten this lesson. It took me years to accept that I was indeed the crystal vase. Now, I realize that I am beautiful in God's eyes. We can never expect to be perfect, but we can strive to be as much like Jesus as we can. We will fall, and He will pick us up.

I respect you for the life you have chosen; raising 4 children on your own, in a healthier environment that they would have known. God's blessings to you!

We all have to be reminded some times to count our blessings. And remember, God will provide.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

My precious sisters - I have prayed all day for God to work miracles in your lives. My heart has been heavy at the pain so many of you are experiencing. And yet my heart is full of hope because of the kindness and grace I've seen reflected in many of the comments. Thank you. I will keep praying.

Digging for Pearls said...

Glynnis,
I didn't see your devotional, but was touched by your post. This past year has been a journey of trust. Trust when my husband was in a bad ski accident that required months of recovery, and time off work (he is the only source of income). Trust when my youngest son had a desire to go on a mission trip to China this past summer. Trust as I let my oldest son go and he headed 1000 miles away to go to college. And now, trust as I face the very likelihood of skin cancer. Even though I know it is usually 94% treatable, I am struggling. With all we have gone through I KNOW that I can trust the Lord, but part of me is still afraid.

Thank you for your encouragement today.

Blessings,
Pearls

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU so much for your devotional that God will provide the ram even as I'm walking up that hill in faith. Thank you for your honesty in your blog and your offer to pray with us. I am encouraged and thankful for your ministry! My husband and I are missionaries living in another country and the ministries of Proverbs 31 through the internet is truly carrying me at this time. I need to really trust that God will provide for us even when these economic times are causing churches and supporters to reduce their giving to our support, God is there. And the Lord will provide a way for our daughter to be in college as He is leading her. Pray with me that God will provide and be seen in all HIS glory as we trust HIM for all that we need moment by moment through struggles and joys.

Anonymous said...

i have been praying for several months for God to help me in a relationship - he did not immediately answer my pray so I took that as I needed to "wait" (not "no" because I still have the desire in my heart and I asked God to take it away if his answer was "no") I think God is "testing" me ... my patience, my faith, my hope -- and it is SOOOO HARD - please pray for me (I am trying so hard to give it all to God)

Anonymous said...

the past week or so i have been lead to Abraham and Isaacs story on several different occassions. i believe my Faith is being tested by God. I am coming out of a 10 yr addition to homosexualty. I grew up wanting a husband and kids, even with women i wanted kids and the husband idea still lingured in the back of my head, but i never felt any man was going to be good enough for me. I just turned 30 last month and i pray if it is God's will for me to meet the man of my dreams and have children i am ready when He is. Just keep me in your prayers that i will be completely delivered from my sin of homosexualty and will live the life God has planned for me. In Christ, Lisa