Disappointed with God? Yield to the Right-of-Way
Jan 02 3:56 AM

Disappointed with God? Yield to the Right-of-Way

Jan 02 3:56 AM
Jan 02 3:56 AM

Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

John 11:1-44 is a beautiful narrative of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, the friends of Jesus.  At first blush, we see a strange way for Jesus to treat his friends, especially when they are in need.  In fact, John makes a point to emphasize in vv. 5-6, that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” This is a great place to insert the ‘shocked face emoji’!

Now, if you are like me, I have serious problems – and quite a few questions – with the actions that Jesus chose to take, or not take, in this situation.  A few of my questions are: ‘If you loved them, why would you wait?’  ‘Why would you not come when they called; why would you not meet this need?’  ‘This was not a trivial ask for those that you love; Lazarus needed a legitimate thing and apparently you did it for others, why not for them?!’

I can only imagine the myriad of emotions Mary and Martha experienced during these days of waiting for Jesus to answer, and then the unthinkable happens, Lazarus dies. Surely there was  worry, anguish, fear, and possibly even anger at his delay. What is clear, is that when Jesus finally shows up, Mary is overcome with grief, and I detect disappointment too.  She clearly verbalizes what I have in seasons of my life; “God, I expected this, but instead, I got that.” Or to carry that further, “I expected you to do this, but instead, you gave me that!”

This disappointment has been so tough for me to handle at times, that I even resolved to just stop asking; to stop praying.  Not the “God, I know you are in control, so whatever you do is fine with me” kind of stop, but rather, the “I cannot bear the pain of not having what I am asking for” kind of stop.

This disappointment reflects that I have misunderstood the point of asking in prayer. Prayer is the intersection of my will and God’s will.  Much like two cars that show up at a physical intersection, one has to yield to the other because he has the “right-of-way”. When it comes to praying, I know instinctively that I should be the one to yield, because it is best that God’s will gets the right-of-way.  But, how exactly does that happen when I want what I want, think what I think, and even sometimes, legitimately need what I need?

This story helps us to see a key factor in the way God answers prayer.  Notice what Jesus says when he first heard that Lazarus was sick, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)  Jesus deliberately delayed going to take care of this family’s need, not because he did not care, but because He had a greater purpose than just healing Lazarus of this sickness. He was creating an opportunity to be glorified above this sickness. He was placing His priority over their priority.

I am reminded that I, too, should elevate His priorities above my needs and desires, and make my priority, his priority.  This is the cure for disappointment in prayer,  yield to the right-of-way –  God’s glory.


Deborah Russell

A reminder that God's presence in my life is for His glory and His purposes even when I don't clearly see or understand. I must constantly seek Him for guidance thru prayer and reading the word and yield not to my own understanding.

Posted on Sat, Jan 2, 2021 @ 7:24 AM CST

Cathy Austin

I've always enjoyed listening to your sermons and how you break it down to make me think. You're so right it's not about our will but God's will. This was beautifully written.

Posted on Sat, Jan 2, 2021 @ 8:30 AM CST

Brenda Madison

And I too have to realize that God's priority may be different than mines and that I have to be patient and wait on him to lead and show me the way. Every day I pray Lord your will not mines, your plans for my life not mines, your schedule for me to follow not mines, .....some things are easier said than done. But I'm learning. Even though Mary was upset and disappointed, she still had the faith because she bowed down at Jesus's feet. She wasn't hollering and screaming and calling him all kind of names. I feel she knew in her heart that Jesus could still heal her brother. Be blessed.

Posted on Sat, Jan 2, 2021 @ 6:32 PM CST

Barbara Love

Oh My God ~ What an excellent devotional to understand this passage on a whole new level... It's true God's priorities (must) exceed mine. Thank you ~ Minister Botts

Posted on Sun, Jan 3, 2021 @ 3:35 AM CST

Chandra Lemons

Awesome message! Thank you for confirmation!

Posted on Sun, Jan 3, 2021 @ 6:29 AM CST



Posted on Tue, Jan 5, 2021 @ 9:19 AM CST

Nakia Means

“Prayer is the intersection of my will and God’s will”... I had to write that down. I love the illustration of God having the right-of-way, and us yielding to His will. Thank you, Sabrina for a very helpful and timely word.

Posted on Tue, Jan 5, 2021 @ 10:05 PM CST

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Finish Well, Finish Strong
Jan 31 12:38 AM

Finish Well, Finish Strong

Jan 31 12:38 AM
Jan 31 12:38 AM

By Loretta Shelton and Pastor Marlin Harris

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

The Apostle Paul uses an illustration in 2 Timothy 4:7 reminiscent of competing in the Roman Olympic games in order to demonstrate the Christian believer’s life of faithfulness.  He says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

What is remarkable is that Paul makes these comments while imprisoned in a Roman jail knowing he is at the end of his life, and consequently at the end of his God-given mission.  Throughout Paul’s Christian journey, he remained steadfast and loyal to his calling, despite the unimaginable obstacles and perils that he faced.  Paul remained faithful to his ministry for the sake of Christ by fighting what he called “the good fight of faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). This means he maintained a godly character, lived by Biblical principles, and was unwavering in his faith and trust in God.  This characterized Paul’s life regardless of the unpleasant circumstances that he was often attacked with.  He did not rely on his past service, but he persevered and served God until crossing the finish line at the end of his ministry on earth.

Like the Apostle Paul, we must live this Christian life with the same convictions and fortitude as the athletes who were competing in the Roman games.  Christians must run the race, fight the good fight, and endure hardships valiantly, in order to receive the prize of an incorruptible crown that never fades away. The qualifications required to receive this coveted prize are to run lawfully and diligently until we finish. Running this race means honoring God with our hearts and bodies, developing a character that looks more and more like Christ each day, and living a life that pleases our Father, and is worthy of the great redemption that we have been graced to receive.   We must start, run, and then finish the race.  We will finish, because no believer ever runs the race of his life alone.  The Lord Jesus Christ runs with us, and He will get us to the finish line, if we stay the course and “finish well and finish strong”. 

When you are running the race of life there are a few things you want to be sure to do.  First of all, you must be spiritually prepared for the journey.  This spiritual preparation is impossible without being filled  with the Holy Spirit, for which there is no substitute.  The scripture is clear that we are to be empowered by the Holy Spirit if we hope to accomplish anything in this life that brings glory to God. The Spirit of God empowers us with wisdom, strength, and godliness that causes the blessings of God to rest upon our journey.  He alone conditions our hearts to endure the pain of the race, and to not turn back or give up before we reach the finish line.

Secondly, we must endure the necessary disciplines needed to prepare us for the rigor of the race we are to run.  When runners prepare for lengthy marathons they will often spend months preparing themselves physically for that one race.  They will attempt smaller races and work their legs and test their endurance with exercise regimens.  They do this so that when they are in the ‘big’ race, they will have the strength to finish.  Finishing our Christian race is more about the strength of our spirit than it is about the desire we may have in our hearts.  Many people start out with Christ, and they desire greatly to finish, but they have not developed the spiritual strength to endure the trials and tests that befall them along their journey and they, sadly, fall away. 

Jesus speaks about this reality in Matthew 13:1-9 when He shares the Parable of the Sower, where he outlines four different scenarios of seed-planting.  One of his 4 scenarios involves a farmer who sowed his seeds in soil that was cluttered with rocks. He says that the soil received the seed quickly, but because the ground had not been tilled and prepared, the rocks were too numerous in the soil and made the soil depth shallow.  Soon the seed died in the soil because there was no depth created by tilling.  This is what happens to any of us who set out to run this Christian race, and we have not had the hard, stony rocks in our hearts, minds, and habits broken up and tilled away.  Without the discipline of dedicated study of the Word of God, the daily practice of prayer, and regular worship and thanksgiving to God, we will not be able to break those hard rocks that have settled into our hearts and have made them resistant and impervious to the convictions and truths of the Word of God.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, every sincere believer must have an ardent and passionate desire to finish their race well.  God placed that desire in your heart when you gave your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only way to satisfy that aching and longing in your soul to finish well is to daily discipline your life with the Spiritual practices of prayer, worship, and time in the Word.  As you attend to the things of God, He will attend to the cares and desires of your heart.  Let’s lay aside the weights and the many distractions, and run this race with all we have so that when we are finished, we will feel our Master’s embrace and hear him say, “Well done”.


Holy Father, we all have our own individual race to run.  May You grant us the strength and the conviction to run our race well.  Remove the hindrances from our path, and unchain our feet from the heavy weights and burdens that have weighed us down.  Lord, grant us the freedom to run and not get weary, and to walk and not faint.  In Jesus’ Strong Name, I pray.  Amen.


Spend today surveying your life to determine what are those weights and distractions that make it difficult for you to finish your race well.  Consider those challenges, temptations, and tests that you are engaged in daily, and actively name them before the Lord, and make the decision to do whatever is necessary to lay them aside.  Seek the Lord for His strength and lean upon the Holy Spirit for His guidance.