How to Stop Looking for God in the Wrong Places

The solution to the futility you feel is easier than you think.

The world makes promises it can’t keep. It says the reason we’re unhappy is that we just haven’t found the right whatever yet. But if we keep looking, we’ll find it.

Looking for God in the Wrong Places

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The right spouse, the right hairdo, the right salary, the right entertainment system, the right church, the right pastor, the right Bible, the right seminar, etc.

Those without God struggle with this, for sure. But even those of us who do believe in Jesus can chase these shadows.

We may not know we’re looking for God. But we are.

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When You’ve Waited Long Enough for God to Do Something

If we always quit when life gets hard, we live as if it’s all up to us.

Reflecting on life can prove good and bad. The good comes from how God has helped you stand strong and wait on Him when you thought you’d sink. The bad comes when think you’ve waited long enough.

 When You’ve Waited Long Enough for God to Do Something

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Life reflection proves a major challenge when you realize your feet are still stuck in the same muck you stood in years ago. After hundreds of hours of prayer and searching the Scriptures, you still see no change or improvement.

When God has yet to make a way for us to move ahead, it’s tempting just to chase what we want ourselves. We’ll issue God an ultimatum, and if He misses the deadline we’ll assume He approves.

Here’s what happens when that happens.

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Dothan—How to See Beyond Your Disappointment

A shift in perspective looks beyond your pain to its purpose

Hindsight provides insight. It always can. But we can get so focused on today’s issues that we miss their purpose. Dothan appears only twice in the Bible. Both times, we get a perspective we desperately need.

DOTHAN—LEARNING TO SEE NEAR AND FAR IN YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

(Photo: Tel Dothan and the Dothan Valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

As the ancient International Highway cut its way though Israel, it divided three ways through the Mount Carmel range. The eastern fork passed through a valley named after the town of Dothan.

On the day Joseph’s brothers dropped him in the pit at Dothan, neither they nor Joseph gave one thought about how that decision would affect eternity. It was all about the here and now.

But in hindsight, they saw God’s hand in the events and interpreted them accordingly.

Here’s how you can do the same.

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How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

The will of God also includes the presence of God, and thus, His comfort.

Sometimes it seems the Lord leads us into a life that can’t possibly be His will. What started with such promise has become such a challenge. It’s tough to know what to do next.

How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

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What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life God has given you?

God had promised a son to Sarai and her husband, Abram. Yet at the same time, God prevented conception. This is the will of God? 

What God said is a lesson we need to hear.

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What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

The presence of God now brings hope for the presence of God for eternity.

Do you remember the last time God showed up unannounced in your life? Even though the Lord is everywhere always, occasionally He’ll show up in a unique way. This happened to me just a few days ago.

What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

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I headed to the mall to pick up some last-minute gifts. The traffic crawled along in the wet winter weather. Stuck at a stoplight behind a line of cars, I remembered that a few years ago I had purchased some songs from Celine Dion’s Christmas album.

“Hey, Siri,” I said, “play Celine Dion.”

The familiar melody of my favorite Christmas carol began. With traffic going nowhere, I had a forced moment of complete solitude, and I listened to an angelic voice singing words that resonated with the core of my being.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.

Then it happened. 

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Ein Kerem—Waiting on God’s Promise a Long Time

God has something special planned for you.

When we think of the Bible’s Christmas couple, of course we picture Joseph and Mary. But there’s another couple in the Christmas narrative. In fact, they appear even before Jesus’ parents do.

Ein Kerem terraces

(Photo: Tradition places the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth at Ein Kerem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God had been silent for 400 years. No additional Scripture. No more prophecy. No visions. Just waiting for the Messiah. 400 years! Then, God spoke to an old man in Jerusalem. God had been silent to Zacharias and Elizabeth as well. They were elderly and had no children. They prayed for years. But nothing.

God’s Word makes the point that they were righteous in God’s sight—blameless in God’s Law. In other words, their childless home wasn’t because of their unfaithfulness.

Times of waiting on God can even come to a point of what seems impossible. Most times of lack are like that.

Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. (Rom. 8:24, The Message)

God had something special planned for them. And for you.

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Cities of Refuge – Where to Run When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong

God still provides sanctuary when others misunderstand you.

You did nothing wrong. Still, those with influence and a voice have chased you out with accusations as agonizing as they were outrageous. You needed a place of refuge to run.

Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge

(Photo: Shechem, one of the Cities of Refuge. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In ancient Israel, Cities of Refuge gave the innocent person a place of sanctuary so that those who presumed him guilty couldn’t harm him before the facts came to light.

Justice assumes innocence until proven guilty. This biblical principle has found a place in our own legal systems (at least in theory). But justice sometimes plays no part in verdicts. In truth, the ones with the power often get their way in this world—and justice has nothing to do with it.

Have you been misunderstood? Even though the particulars of God’s ancient law may seem outdated, the principle reveals His heart—and it still applies.

God still provides you a place to run.

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How to Understand God’s Plan for You in a World of Confusion

No need to miss the opportunity God has given you today.

Tough circumstances of life always change our minds about God. They either tempt us to doubt what He’s promised, or they draw us closer to Him in faith. But we never stay the same.

How to Understand God's Plan for You in a World of Confusion

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God’s plan for your life is revealed and tested in times of struggle.

If you’re struggling today, don’t miss the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s plan for you.

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Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

Hezekiah shows you how your faith has more facts behind it than you think.

Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news. You don’t have the money. The doctor’s report looks grim. Time is running out on your biological clock. Facing the facts is hard.

Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

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But think about it: facing the facts isn’t our problem. It’s that we fail to face all of the facts.

God has facts to factor into our thinking as well.

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How to Show Love When Others Don’t Love You

The motivation has to come from somewhere else.

Who is the person you struggle to love? Let me ask it another way. How do we show love when we don’t feel like it? We reach out with the goal of love without expecting any love in return. That’s hard.

How to Show Love When Others Don’t Love YouHow to Show Love When Others Don’t Love You

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Some years ago I found myself at odds with another person after a conversation went south. This individual spoke severely to our daughter, and I confronted this person with the truth—but in anger, and I failed to speak truth in love.

Later, I tried to get together with this person and talk it through. I knew I needed to ask for forgiveness for how I had spoken. But others asked me to leave it alone for the time being. Although I tried to comply at first, I felt miserable keeping quiet.

I came to realize I needed to ask forgiveness, no matter what.

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