We Wait He Works

doing dishes
So many people think that it is by good works that we get to Heaven. If we get good recognition or good grades, or people notice us doing something or a lot of things for other people, then that may make us good enough to get to Heaven. If we do good for others in front of people and make people watch us doing the good deeds, not only will others see how we are with people around us, but God also sees us and many people think that doing good deeds impress God enough for Him to say that anyone is worthy enough to deserve a place in Heaven with Him.
However, that concept of how we get to Heaven is completely wrong. The last thing we all deserve is eternal glory and splendor with God and Jesus in Heaven. Truthfully, the only thing we deserve is eternal punishment in Hell for all the sins we’ve committed and the sins that we will commit before our lives are through. No good deed is ever good enough to get us to Heaven. No matter how hard we try, we will never be good enough for God. Fortunately, God knew that ahead of time and sent His son to take our place.  The way we get to Heaven is through Jesus and through the Father. It says in the Bible that no one comes to the father except through Jesus Christ.
John 14: 5-14 says, 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Another verse that points out how we will be saved and how we are saved is: Ephesians 2: 8-9 which says, “for it is by grace that you have been saved through faith. Not by works so that no one can boast. God doesn’t want us to boast in our knowing Him in the way others in this world boast, such as saying “I know God therefore I’m going to heaven, guaranteed.” That is a wrong concept as well. You don’t just say “I know God”, or “I know of Him, therefore I get a golden ticket to Heaven.” Rather, it is the relationship you have with God and how you build the relationship with God in your life that means the most.
Another verse that tells us how we can get to Heaven, as well as a verse that issues a warning is Mathew 5: 19-20. It says, 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
No one can ever inherit the kingdom of God on their own. We have to be willing to sacrifice our lives to serve God and God alone. It is an awesome feeling to know that all we have to do is call on Him.  It is by grace that we have been saved, not by the works we do, or the recognition we could receive while doing those works. We know full well the way to the Father is through unshaken faith in Jesus.

Sometimes we are deaf to what God has to tell us. Some days we don’t want to hear about God. There are days where people talking about God just annoy us. Or we annoy people talking about God. Some days there are days when we don’t want to hear it. But if we feel like God is trying to get our attention, whether through the work of someone in our lives, through a message at church, through song or scripture we should listen and listen intently. We shouldn’t take the things that God tells us for granted. If you feel like God is trying to get your attention through certain circumstances in your life, you can tune yourself in to what He says. Who knows, He may be trying to get your attention through a relationship in your life, through scripture, through dreams and or visions, through the circumstances that you may going through in your life.
He lets struggles happen in our lives so we learn from them and so we learn to trust Him again, if and when we choose to let Him have control over our lives. I don’ know about you, but I find unexplainable peace when I finally pray and give things up that are bothering me up to the Lord. It’s literally an unexplainable peace that no one really can explain. All I know is that peace like that can only come from God. We need to only be still and listen to Him and listen for Him. Some days we may not feel like listening to Him or what He has to say, but He always has different, sometimes subtly, other time abrupt ways of getting our attention. Some days He may be trying to get our attention, just by letting Satan kind of mess with you, just so you can know what a special privilege it is to turn to God whenever you need Him. The thing is, that, we need him at all times in our lives, even when He gives us free will to go our own ways. Even when we think we don’t need Him in our lives, there is always proof that we do need God in our lives.
There are many instances in His word where He is called the Good Shepard. He says in His word, “My sheep hear my voice and they listen to me.”
John 10: 27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Psalm 100: 3 says, “Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his[a];  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
John 10: 11 says, “ I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,3  he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 16: 11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
All we have to do is be willing to listen to the things He tells us. Even if it may not be what we want to hear, we know God will only let us go through what we can handle and nothing more than that. Even if it isn’t what we want to hear at the time, we know that He has a plan for each of our struggles to help us learn the lessons we need to in life and it will only strengthen our relationship with Him. He also has a plan for each of our lives to bring us closer to Him, no matter what we may be experiencing. The only one we should fully be focused on listening to is God. While it’s important to listen to other authority figures such as teachers, bosses and even our parents, God is the one who has the authority over all of them.

Daniel in the Lions Den, mezzotint by J. B. Pratt, with hand colouring, pub. by Thomas Agnew and Sons, 1892
Have you ever been in a situation where you literally felt like you had no way out of? You aren’t the only one who had felt like that. There are many characters in the Bible who probably felt trapped in their situations. Daniel, however, had complete trust in God, even when he was thrown into the lion’ s den! That’s a really brave man, to have complete faith in God in such a scary situation. In a huge way though, it should inspire us to follow his example.
Daniel is a character in the Bible that isn’t always well known.  He was a person who showed true loyalty to God. He showed true loyalty to his Heavenly father even if it meant getting thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel was a man who was distinguished himself in front of the king and the king planned to have him set apart from the rest of his kingdom. There were people in Kin Darius’s kingdom and of the courts that were plotting against Daniel. They wanted to see if they could find a way to see if he was in any way negligent, untrustworthy, or a corrupt person and as a government official. But they couldn’t find anything to charge him with. So they had the king issue a decree that in that next month anyone who prays to any other God except the king himself, would be thrown into the lions den. But, Daniel and other men, being right with God, knew that they had to pray to God in order to be saved from the kings decree.
Daniel 6 explains: “10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.27  He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders  in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
God does the same for us whenever we call on Him. He can and is willing to save us from the lion’s den and from Satan’s evil snare. All we have to do is know where to look for Him and how to call on Him. We can call on Him anytime and anywhere, no matter if its day or night. We can look for His promises in his word. There is nothing better than trusting God when all seems lost. Even in the midst of your sorrow, pain, worry or anger, you will feel an instant peace that takes over you. You can literally feel God’s presence with you.  Look at how He saved Daniel. If He can save Daniel from the lions, he can surely save us from anything that may befall us. Remember the courage Daniel had in the midst of some of the darkest hours of his life. Take hold of your own inner courage and strength during hard times and trust that God will lead you through them.

live life to the fullest
As summer is starting, many of us can’t wait to experience the joy of being outside in the beautiful weather. We are finally able to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy cookouts with our families. We are able to enjoy the days that God has given us, even more it seems, when the weather is beautiful.  The good news is that we don’t ever have to wait until the summer, or when the weather turns nice to enjoy our lives. We can enjoy life no matter what we are experiencing. It just depends on our attitude about life.
It isn’t always easy to enjoy our lives every single day. We get so caught up in everything we must do, whether it is work, school, assignments, as well as taking care of ourselves and our families. All of it can be very overwhelming at times. However, we can be thankful that we have a job that helps pay the bills, a family that loves us, and an education that helps prepare us for the future.
Some days, life can bring us down and Satan can have a firm hold on us making us think just how bad we have it, when things don’t go the way we want them to. If things don’t go our way, we often start to complain and vent. It may help you feel better in the moment, but it can only lead to more negativity throughout your day.  Our attitudes play a big part in how we react to hard days. We can sit back and complain about how things are going wrong, or we can look to God, and pray about the things we feel. We often find the ultimate peace that He alone can bring us, after we lift things up to Him in prayer. He didn’t give us the ultimate connection to Himself, 24/7 for no reason. We can use prayer as a go to weapon against negative thoughts. He wants us to come to Him no matter the time of day or night, no matter how we feel.
There are many instances in the Bible that tell us that God wants us to enjoy our lives. Mathew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The book of Ecclesiastes gives us another look into the way God wants us to live our lives. Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, “15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 6:9 says “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (NLT)
God’s will is that we enjoy life and make the most of it. Not just when the weather is nice. He wants us to look for new and exciting ways to experience life. Some of the exciting ways He has helped me enjoy my life is by reading new verses in the Bible that I hadn’t read before. Another way He allows me to enjoy my life is through singing. It is a way to relieve stress and a way to improve my ability. He has also given me a love for photography and writing. I want to use all those talents to the best of my ability and learn how to enjoy life, through using those gifts that He has given me.
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 says, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”
Everything we have is a blessing from God. Our attitudes affect how we see the blessings in life. Our attitudes can be tuned in to the goodness He gives us, or our attitudes can block out the goodness He gives us. Being happy doesn’t have to be a sometime thing. It can be an all-time thing, especially with God at our side.