John 14:1-4 (NIV)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus warned them. He told His disciples directly that He would go to prepare a place for them. I don’t think they were listening to the content of His Words but perhaps thinking it just another parable continued to mull over their meal. It would be their last supper together. The next several days would shake them to their core. They all had expectations but did not one consider that Jesus would soon be dead in a tomb. My thoughts turned to the wait from the day Jesus died until Resurrection Day when everything that died with Him that day came surging back to life. The morning after if you will. Was there regret? Were they afraid? Some dazed and confused not sure what to do, where to go how to live without the Lord with them. Many of the men went back to work casting their nets without much success. They were lost without the Lord. Oh, how I remember that feeling.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:13) Temptation is not always what we think. To tempt means to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong or even immoral. It is to attract, appeal strongly or to invite. It also means to try or test. No temptation has overtaken us expect what is common to mankind. We are not only tempted to sin, but give up, walk away and let go. These in and of themselves are not lethal transgressions unless it is our faith which is the subject. When Jesus died, it tested the resolve of every believer. Would they wait on the Lord for His Word to come to pass? Our greatest testing is not sin. Sin causes consequences so often we let it go rather with natural understanding. However, when it comes to our faith a benefit seldom seen only experienced in our soul – it is different. Considering this, as the followers of Jesus waited and watched those three long days many would give in to the temptation to step back into normal life and live as though He never lived. But then there were those who decided to wait on the Lord!
What are you waiting for today? Is there a promise you have yet to collect? Is there a dream is slowly dying? It matters how we wait. Temptation comes in the moment that the clock starts ticking. When the Lord falls quiet, to see what we will do. He is there. He is working out all the details for our good. What are we doing to respond to His Promise? Are we willing to wait? Are we productive in our wait time? How long will we stay here? Will we wait until we are called?
Matthew 25:4-10 (NIV)
The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Faith is the currency with which hope is obtained. You will never receive what you hope for without the proper amount of faith. Faith is procured in the waiting periods of life when forced to examine what we believe and if there is real substance to it. Faith must be tested by fire to prove genuine. The Parable of the Ten Virgins paints a clear picture of the period of life that we live in.
Jesus is coming. No really, He went to prepare a place for us. In His Word are signs and markers with which to evaluate the time of His Return. Though it does not pinpoint the moment exactly for no one truly knows, there is prophecy fulfilled daily as the time draws near. Jesus fulfilled every single Old Testament prophecy before He surrendered His Life and released His Spirit on the Cross. Every New Testament prophecy will come to pass and He will return just like He promised. Are we waiting and watching for His Return? Are we preparing for that day?
Each virgin had a lamp but not all of them brought the oil to fuel it and keep it burning. We all have the potential to be saved but not will wait and watch for the Lord. Some will bring the lamp with no oil. Some will rush out in the final moments to try to find the oil they need and will miss it. Could it be that the oil in this story refers to our faith? The thing that keeps us watching and waiting for the Lord and His Word when everyone else might give up or give in to the temptation to leave their post? It matters how we wait on the Lord. We must watch and wait being fully prepared each moment of every day for His Return.
Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Habakkuk and I have had many encounters over the last several years. When I discovered the reality that God still speaks to His people even today, I began listening for His Voice each day. This blog is part of that journey. But hearing the Voice of God, understanding what He is telling us, and doing exactly what He says can be challenging to my very human and overriding flesh. Many times, I have taken the Word of God to heart without using His Word to fully understand or His Spirit to fully instruct. When the Lord speaks to us, it is important to apply these two valuable resources before taking a single step.
Habakkuk 2:1 says “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” I have been guilty of many starts and few completions in life simply because I am impatient. I cannot wait to see the finished product or real the goal. I lose interest. Give up. Just do not follow through. We ask the Lord daily for things in life. We register our complaints regularly. If God does not immediately answer and gratify our flesh, most people decide to do it themselves rather than wait on the Lord.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 is the Lord’s reply, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” So here are a few tidbits that tell us that waiting is part of God’s Process in everyone’s life. The Lord tells the prophet to write down the “revelation”. A revelation is something revealed but not yet realized. Faith is the requirement to full realization. Make it plain so the “herald” will run with it. When we pray in the Name of Jesus, the Lord releases a command in Heaven. We learned this in Daniel 9:23. The herald is a forerunner. I believe this may refer to heavenly ambassadors sent forth at God’s command to complete the pathway for our success. It is not for us to run with it. The herald runs with it while we wait. Finally, it speaks to the end, God’s completed work and total fulfillment in Jesus Christ – God’s Word for my life is seldom a “right now” thing because without faith I am nothing, can do nothing, and will never be able to please God. Though it linger, WAIT FOR IT. I have prayed for things but never patience. In the acquisition of those blessings, the Lord has given me some in the process.
I hate to wait. I was very bad at it. Impulsive and impatient – if God didn’t move fast enough, I would move for Him. Bad idea. It would take a circumstance completely out of my control and totally reliant on God’s Intervention to make me willing to wait on the Lord. What about you? Until we are after is invaluable and important to the extent we cannot live without it, most people will not give the Lord time to complete His Work. That was me. That was then. This is now.
Lamentations 3:22-26 (NIV)
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
I love this passage. Verses tucked in the book of Lamentations. The word “lament” means to feel or express sorrow, regret or grief. How ironic that in the midst of one’s complaints they find the Source of Life. The followers of Jesus woke up to the darkest day. They did not realize that it would end in the dusk before dawn. The moment that would change everything for them and every other believer who called on the Name of the Lord. What was their final conviction? Was it this “The Lord is my portion. Therefore I will wait for Him”? Did they still believe that the Lord is good in the midst of persecution and possible death? While they hid in their homes and tried to gather a mustard seed of faith to face the next day, did they still hope?
What are you waiting for today? What is in the tomb with Jesus? Will you wait for dawn when the Resurrection Power of God surges and life returns? Faith restored? Hope regained? Will you wait for it? It matters how we wait. We must be expectant in God alone. (Psalm 5:3) Enough to wait for His Answer anticipating a response knowing that He will reply. We must trust the Lord enough not to be overtaken with fear, doubt and anxiety but joy and praise as we wait confidently for His Arrival. (Psalm 33:20-21) We must be still remaining where we are and doing what we have been instructed to do until He clearly and distinctly tells us to move. (Psalm 37:7) No longer paralyzed by fear but provoked by faith. We must be obedient to God when we wait unrelenting until He comes. The enemy offers retreat and rebellion to eliminate the pain and pressure of waiting. We say, “No thank you – we will wait on the Lord.” (Psalm 119:165-167) We must wait with “our whole being” including mind, soul and body. All must agree with God’s Word and Revelation continuing together in unity. Our thoughts, desires and longings must line with the Will of God never giving in to emotions or lacking willpower to stay true to our first love. (Psalm 130:5-6) We must wait without judgment but full of love, joy and peace. We must live in love with Jesus so we can love others rather than judging them. Comparison is deadly when we look at others evaluating our position and promises from a lateral perspective. God’s Plan for each one of us is individual. He does not consider or compare to another person. The Lord is intimate and direct with every living breathing creature that He has created. My life, God’s Plan and Purpose may intertwine with others but is not dictated in any way by their choices. (I Corinthians 4:4-5) As a farmer sows seeds with expectation and hope, he does not know what the season will bring naturally or each one will produce provisionally so he waits. We must wait together. (James 5:7-9) It matters how we wait.
Jude 20-25 (NIV)
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Today as I reflect on the day before the Resurrection of our Lord, I must evaluate if I am waiting and watching for His Return. Just as the disciples waited and watched, believing and hoping that this was not the end but beginning, we must do the same. Are we ready? Are we prepared for the return of Christ? I really don’t think judging strictly by the fruit in this life. The church seems weak and powerless. Yet, there is a cry rising up though faint it is getting louder. Revival is that word. People are praying for the next great move of God but as Steven Furtick of Elevation Church says, “We cannot wait for the next move of God. We are the move of God.” I must decide if I am waiting for this life to get better or determined for Heaven to touch the earth. Until we begin to wait on the Lord, watch for Him, cry out for Him alone and settle for nothing less, we will remain in hiding. Without faith, hope, obedience and faithfulness that is really what waiting is for the believer, it is a hiding place. I must wait expectantly on the Lord waiting as though it were a matter of life and death because it really is. It matters how we wait. I will wait upon the Lord. Watch for His Coming. Anticipate His Arrival. With all that I am seek to see His Face. Will you?
Revelation 3:10-12 (NIV)
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.