Keep your eyes on God

“He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness”. (Psalm 147:10-11)

How easy it is to look to man, to view some people as perfect, wishing we were like them, at times idolizing them and then being disappointed with ourselves for not being like them, How easy it is to expect people to be perfect. And then, when we see their flaws, we become disappointed with them, for not meeting up to the standards we think they should stand up to, or the standards that we set up.

I went mith my mom to a women’s meeting, where she was asked to speak on “Parenting and raising up children”. Among some of the things that came up as she taught was the dire need to teach the children and youth to know in Whom they believe in and why, and to realize the importance of fellowship. The women shared that the youth in that particular congregation was almost none existent. The members of that fellowship have teenage children, but the problem is that they no longer want to come to fellowship. This poses a serious concern for the future of that congregation. The women shared that it wasn’t always this way. It is only in recent years, after this generation saw conflicts and inconsistencies between what the people said and what they did that the problems began to arise there. The parents and friends that they trusted and followed for so long, left them broken, upset, confused and doubting.

Disappontment from people! I’m sure everyone has experienced it at one time or another. I certainly have. We see people behave in ways we don’t understand and we become upset at them, sometimes even very upset. It can even result in our becoming upset with God. Why? Is it because deep down, we expect them to be perfect? Maybe. Perhaps we have an expectation that believers should be perfect. Well, that’s not the case. Our faith doesn’t make us perfect and flawless. We err, we make mistakes, we don’t always do things right. But, for the most part, we’re trying to do what is right. As human beings, we won’t be perfect until we meet the only One who is perfect, our savior, the Lord Yeshua. We are still in the process of being conformed to His image and likeness. But, this transformation cannot done by us in our own wisdom, or by our own strength. It can and will be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit working in us.

So why do we still become disappointed from people? Maybe the question should be, “Why do we look to people?” I have expectations from people. I expect that when they need to do something, they’ll do it. I expect that when something needs to be dealt with and taken care of, that the right thing will be done by the right people and in the right way – regardless of circumstances or what people say or do.

Being disappointed is natural. There is nothing wrong with it in and of itself. However, the problem lies deeper, in where we set our eyes. I have heard of people whose disappointment in people resulted in them leaving the fellowship of believers and then turning away from the faith. Disappointment can come from how believers talk, how they relate to one another, judge one another, patronize one another and because they gather in exclusive “clicks”. I recently heard of a young man who is still in high school and dating non-believers. When he went to a youth camp once, he was so repulsed by the behavior of the youth, he decided to look to the world for friendships. He said that the girls he dated behaved more civilized than those who claimed to be believers. Do you see the danger of setting your eyes on man? It can make you decide that because believers act a certain way, they reflect what God is like and then anger and frustration are turned against God.

It is okay to have expectations. But we need to set our eyes on God and keep them there. We need to push forward and fight the good fight of faith for God. He will never disappoint you. The teenagers from the beginning of this post have set their eyes on people. They were hurt and they had a right to feel upset and disappointed. But, if the basis for their coming to fellowship was people, then the basis was wrong and unstable to begin with. Congregation fellowship should bring about growth in faith, hope and love (Heb. 10:22-24). That’s why we should encourage one another not to forsake being in fellowship.

Keeping our eyes on God can also help us in our behavior towards others. Do we seek to please man, do we want others to see “how good we are”, or “how talented”, or do we want to be “part of the group”? Or, is my motivation to please God, to revere Him, and wait for His lovingkindness? In both situations, when people are the ones we look to, what eventually happens is comparison. I compare myself to someone else, either because I want to be like them – or I want to be better than them. Both are wrong, since the only one we should desire to be like is Messiah Yeshua. And we need to be like Him. We need to be careful not to compromise on Biblical principles and to conform to what the world tries to mould us into. God doesn’t accept us because you’re popular, successful or good looking. He accepts us because of our faith in the blood of the Lord Yeshua that was shed for us. We are His workmanship and He made us for His glory.

If we are still looking to people today instead of looking to God, we need to change the focus of our attention and the direction of our eyes. As the prophet Micah said: “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me”. (Micah 7:7).

© Hannah Kramer


Dreams on the altar

“Behold, the bondslave of The Lord; may it be done to me according to your word”. (Luke 1:38)

I have given much thought to the verse above over the past weeks, especially after seeing a play done by believers about the birth of The Lord Yeshua. I have always liked what Miriam said and the attitude she had when she received the amazing news that she would give birth to the Messiah. Truly remarkable. At a time when it was considered a shame and disgrace to be found pregnant out of wedlock, and especially at a time where such a thing could result in the death of the woman (which are probably some of the reasons Joseph wanted to send her away secretly) Miriam had completely surrendered both herself and circumstances to God, despite the fact that she was probably still in her teens at that time.

Another verse that caught my attention was what the angel told her: “Do not be afraid Mary; for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).  Wow! How I wish that I would be told that I find favor with God! I’m reminded of the passage in Matthew, where the servants who were diligent in their work, while waiting for their master’s return, were told “well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21). Miriam found favor with God and considered herself a bond slave. Shouldn’t we as believers not be bond slaves also? I believe we should be, though I think it matters how we understand what it means to be a bond slave. I mean, by being saved and surrendering our lives to God is absolutely necessary, but have we willingly surrendered ourselves to His Lordship over our lives? I wonder how Miriam and Joseph felt, what their dreams were and how they changed, when hearing of God’s plan for them.

Being a bond slave means that we willingly forfeit our freedom, our wills and desires, to our master, who is The Lord Yeshua. We say “no longer my will, but yours”. A person might say he is a bond slave, but his actions can show otherwise. We are saved, but don’t really trust God to have His will done in us, but, instead we still try to live our lives as the masters instead of God. That is what I mean by being a bond slave in heart. Our willingness to submit and to commit all things to His sovereignty is reflected in our attitudes, thoughts and behavior.

A slave or servant can do all that his master asks him to, and it can be done exactly the way it should be. But, if it is not done willingly and with the right attitude, the joy and satisfaction of doing what the master asks is not there. If what the master requests is done with joy and a desire to please the master, can you imagine what the result will be? Miriam found favor with God. I pray to be that kind of woman, who finds favor with God and is truly a bond slave of Christ.

However, it’s easier said than done. I have my dreams, my desires and longings, and I have my stubborn will that I need to continually surrender to God.

I work as an E.S.L. teacher in a community center. I love what I do and am very grateful to have this job. However, it’s not what I studied for. I have a B.A. in Educational Counseling and Political Science and afterwards, I received a teaching certificate in Civics. I had a plan to study and become a counselor. That changed a few times and eventually I went to a teachers’ school to get my certificate in Civics. Again, I had a plan. I thought I was going to finish my studies and find an apprenticeship quickly and start working in a school. Well, that didn’t work out. I couldn’t find an apprenticeship and after a long time, by God’s grace, I found this teaching job in the community center. Did I pray about my studies and job options? Yes, I did. But I had my plan. I wanted things to go my way, on my terms. I am learning that I have my plans, but God’s plans and ways are greater (Isaiah 55:8-9). I need to surrender my will to His will for me. I know He led me in my studies and in finding this new job. And I know that though my plans didn’t work out the way I planned, God will still use the certificate I have and my studies for His glory. I may not see it now, but I’m learning to just trust and obey. I’m learning to put my desires on the altar, so that God may receive a sweet fragrance from my life.

Are we willing to give God our dreams and desires to have his will be done? It’s not easy. There are things I wish to control and do my way. But, my prayer is that I will be like Miriam, a bond slave of Messiah Yeshua, finding favor in His sight, and that God’s will be done in me.

© Hannah Kramer