Those Who Wait

Those Who Wait

Lamentations 3:25-26 (ESV) The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Sitting in the doctor’s office with our son, I was looking at apartments and sharing my discoveries with him. Newly graduated from college, he will be moving back to our home town to pursue a career. Look what the Lord has done! The waiting room was overcrowded and it took him longer than usual to get checked in. As I continued to scroll through listings, he shifted back and forth in his chair until finally announcing it had been 38 minutes since his appointment time. I laughed. He should be used to waiting by now and told him the same. After years of appointments, testing, procedures and treatments surely this came as no surprise. Flashback to my grandmother in her kitchen with blue linoleum floors and rooster wallpaper. “Lori, you must learn to be patient.” A short passage of time into my teenage years sitting in Sunday school, the teacher giving us a staunch warning to never pray for patience for it is born of trials, trouble and produced by waiting. I will be the first to admit I am impatient. Just when I think I have acquired a little bit of patience and longsuffering, I realize it is usually not enough. I still get frustrated when something takes too long. Those times when my expectations are not met according to my own personal time table. Then there are other times like at the visit with our kid that I realize I have learned to wait a little.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…can we just stop there? Galatians 5 clearly details the productivity of His Spirit in us. He plants seeds of love, joy and peace but then there is patience. I guess there is no need to pray for patience because God already commanded the Holy Spirit. The pathway to patience is waiting. Not to wait, complain and grumble but to live in the love, joy and peace of God fully trusting that His Timing will produce only the best for us. It is good for us to wait. It is good for us to wait “quietly” for the Lord. You know the old saying, “I’ll do it but I don’t have to like it.” Well, I don’t think this is true of waiting for the Lord. I believe that trust comforts us so that waiting quietly is the most productive. What are you waiting for today? What is it that you can do nothing about but must wait solely and completely on God to do? Maybe you have done everything you know to do and still the desired result has not come. You have prayed until you are blue in the face. You have tried every door only to find it locked. You have done it all now you must wait on the Lord.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (ESV) I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

At the end of the appointment, the doctor promised to call next week with the results. I knew that would more than likely be the outcome of our visit. It didn’t really sink in until the long two-hour drive back home as I shared the information with my husband. Ugh! I feel the wrings of the watchtower ladder in the calluses of my hands. I can feel my feet curving around them as I climb to the top. It used to be a hard climb but now I scale it effortless for I know the way. Yet, even in this time of waiting, I am still feeling the angst of impatience and overwhelming desire to complain. My nerves rise to the top and frustration becomes evident in my responses to everyday inconveniences. The Lord whispers words of encouragement. He reminds me of His Word. He tells me He loves me. My spirit is a petulant child who balks at the attention of the loving and doting yet unyielding nature of the One who loves me best and the most. Honestly God I am tired of waiting. He responds – “You find me in the waiting.”

Psalm 37:3-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

About six years ago, the Lord asked me point blank, “Do you trust me?” I immediately and without hesitation said, “Yes, of course I do.” He then asked me again. “Do you trust me?” From that point to this very morning, I am still in the midst of the testing of trust in my life. We all are if you want to know the truth. Trust is a word that is overused and misplaced in this life. We give it away only to have it betrayed and shattered. By the time the Lord inquires of it, there really isn’t much left unbroken or untainted, yet still He outstretches His Hand to ours and invites us to try again. Do you trust the Lord today? Trust in the Lord allows us to do good, our best, what we can, and wait for Him to do all that He promised. It is a foundation of love, joy and peace that keeps us steady during long droughts and famines in our life. Without trust, there will be no production of faith. It is impossible to please God without faith and even more impossible to know its validity without trust. Trust is made evident in how one waits. Those who do and continue to dwell in the “land” of His Presence in the midst of circumstances while befriending faithfulness and choose to delight in the Lord will have the desires of their heart. God knows every secret desire hidden in the deepest recesses of your heart. Even those dead dreams and barren visions that have died in the waiting. You may have given up on a future and hope but not the Lord for He is intent on giving it to you. I can wait on people. I can wait on things. I can wait for earthly solutions. I can wait for what I want. OR I can wait on the Lord…Those who wait on the Lord trusting Him will see Him act.

Psalm 37:7-9 (ESV) Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land

Be still in the Lord. On those days, you feel caged and trapped pacing back and forth to find your way out of the watch tower of waiting, be still. Just as Jesus calmed the storm and raging sea, He is perfectly able to calm you and me. Waiting works out impatience, but if must be carefully supervised as not to produce bitterness in us. When a woman gives birth and sees her promise arrive, suddenly all the inconvenience, sickness and pain of pregnancy and childbirth disappear. She remembers all the unpleasantness but does not bear the scar of suffering. Why? Her promise has arrived. As she falls in love with the little person, grace falls like soft waves over her. But during the process, she felt all these feelings, emotions, and even tremendous pain. Yet in fulfillment it is all forgotten. God is birthing promises in each of us today. Yes, the journey to victory is often paved with problems, pain, inconveniences and change. But to cross the finish line, those who win forget the journey and bask in the glory. God has a purpose for your life that will produce prosperity and abundance in you, through you and for you. It requires total trust and complete faith that keeps us in the waiting. As the mother of five, I can testify that it was worth the wait every single time. To birth a promise too soon is spiritual abortion. To wait on it, trusting the Lord and to do so quietly is to have the Peace of God that passes all understanding as He leads us from victory to victory and glory to glory.

Isaiah 30:15-18 (ESV) For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

The fatal error of fallen prey in the plains of Africa is the moment they become separated from the herd. How many times does it happen? The predator will not take on the entire group but waits for the one who is weak, wanders off course, or becomes separated. It is in that moment the error of their way is realized as the sharp teeth sink into their flesh and they are brought down hard. God has promised to do exactly what He promised to do. He has proclaimed Himself to be the God who does not lie or change His Mind. The Lord has offered each one of us a future and hope. The only way to miss out on God’s Plan is by being unwilling to wait for Him. Trust is required to wait on the Lord. We must walk by faith and not by sight to stay in a place of waiting safe and secure.

Psalm 40:27-31 (ESV) Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Can I encourage you as I encourage myself through God’s Word today? God knows exactly where you are today. He knows that you are growing weary in the waiting room. He understands that your heart and flesh are crying out for relief. He has not forgotten you or given up on you. The Lord is going to do exactly as He planned to do from the beginning. Every promise and blessing secure with your name on it. You just have to trust Him even on the days when impatience becomes unbearable and your mind argues the logic of faith that is produced by endurance. Will you wait with me just a little longer? Will you wait for the Lord just one more day? He promises that those who wait on the Lord will be given power. He will increase their strength. He will renew them and they will soar above circumstances, situations and problems to live in His Presence now and forevermore. He is an everlasting God with a much greater perspective of our life including every step from here to Eternity. He knows the desires of our heart. When we delight in Him, the Lord gives us that which is desired most. Usually the very things we gave up in the waiting. He didn’t give up but dug in so that we could have His Very Best in spite our bad attitude and impatience. Will you wait one more day? One more minute? One more breath…just breathe in. Exhale. This one act signifies a moment of waiting that has passed as the Lord renews every cell in your body with oxygen. Why not breathe in His Spirit the same way and let Him produce love, joy and peace in this place marked “still waiting”?

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV) I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

The Promise of the Living God designated for your life is worth having. Remind yourself today. I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the Lord in the LAND OF THE LIVING. Don’t be like Martha pushing all those things she couldn’t do or comprehend into the afterlife. Instead, take hold of Jesus who is the Resurrection and Life. He is breathing life into all the dead things around you. He is life to every promise, hope, dream and desire hidden in your heart. He is faithful whether we are or not. He is always working for us even when we grow weary and give up. Jesus lives in you. His Spirit sows seeds in us each day. It is our job only to have a soft and fertile heart. Are you willing to wait on God’s Promise? You must believe. You must trust Him at His Word until it comes. He promises those who wait will not be disappointed. Hope cannot lead to disappointment. God has only good things for our life. It is all found in the waiting. Those who wait for the Lord become strong. Those who wait on the Lord rise above the momentary, temporary trials of this place to live in His Presence now and forever.

We find Him in the waiting not in the wandering. We find Him faithful when our own faithfulness is wavering. It is the moment of giving up or giving in that His Outstretched Hand is evident. When we become weak and His Power takes over. Don’t give in to the thought of quitting today but take hold of your hope with both hands. Get down on those weak knees and ask Him to wait with you today. To fill your life with the love, joy and peace that ease our heart and mind while waiting for patience to yield its prosperous fruit. Those who wait on the Lord will be blessed.

Hebrews 12:11-13 (ESV) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

As Soon As

As Soon As.jpg

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (Message) This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

“As soon as”…the prequalification or prerequisite factor – the waiting game called life. As a child, such a statement seems terminal when it calls for patience that last more than five minutes. Sometimes even that is a stretch for those with infernal impatience such as myself. At least in the natural when someone says, “as soon as” there is an element of gratification as one can watch and see as they fulfill the ordered list on the way to fulfillment. And then there is faith, hope and God. God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as”… then I will.

These words are the most difficult because it is hard enough to see the Lord’s inner workings or His Mighty Hand come in to play. Hindsight is generally 20/20 with God but what is right in front of us elusive. Faith and hope are the qualities that God is developing in us by teaching us to love, lean and trust Him more. Oh what a difficult task especially when the stakes may seem quite high. As soon as…and not a day more. Faith keeps us waiting until as soon as comes. Hope makes waiting worth every minute. In the meantime…

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home.” There are days that I feel as though I am living in exile. Those seasons when the conditions and circumstances of my life do not line up with the Word of God. The times when I stepped out in faith and feel like I am still floating rather than walking on water or swimming in the depths of the deep to which He has called me. These are the times when trust is our portion and confidence is our hope. The “what we know” of God and foundation called Christ keep us from falling. God promises that He will show up. He will do just as He promised. There will be the rejoicing of “being brought back home” from this place of invisible exile…if I am just patient and wait on Him.

“I know what I am doing.” Depends on who is driving…I guess. I remember getting in the car with our first new driver. The moment that he started the car, I knew I was in trouble. He was ready to throw it in reverse and speed out of the driveway. I patiently (or at least I thought I was calm) asked him to wait while I reiterated instructions and safety measures that I felt necessary. He rolled his eyes and told me, “I know what I am doing.” I did not believe him. He pulled out, slammed on the brakes, changed gears, and floored it the three houses to the corner and stopped for the stop sign halfway in the road of the intersection. He then graciously turned on the blinker and before I could catch my breath was off again. The only word that I could utter was “stop”! He seemed confused. No, I demanded he stop right there and pull into the neighbor’s driveway. I got out of the car and walked all the way home officially resigning from my position as driver’s education mom. Walking in the house, my husband said calmly, “That was quick, how did it go?” “Terrible.” I responded. He inquired as to the well-being of our son with “Where is he?” I replied, “Probably in the driveway up the street where I left him!” As I walked into our room and shut the door. Like any good dad, my husband retrieved our son and taught him how to drive.

When I got into the car with our son that day, I knew full well that he was a newbie. I was well aware of his inexperience. It was his lack of trust and unwillingness to pay attention that drove me out of the vehicle that day. God keeps telling me day after day, “I know what I am doing.” Some days I sit back and enjoy the ride trusting that He is God. He is a good father. He loves me with all of His Heart and knows what is best for me. And then…there are all those other days when I don’t and try to take the wheel and drive to my own destination.

I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Psalm 139:16 tells me that “like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” If this is true (which I believe that it is), it means that God knows every moment of every single day of my life before I take a single step or breathe within it. He knows all the good times and all the not so good times that will come. He understands that some days I will get this thing called faith right walking in faithful, humble obedience and then days that I come in like a wrecking ball. Like a carefully constructed school lunch, God gives me mercy each morning and on every bad day, a snack of grace at night. I have everything that I need to successfully live out God’s Plan and Purpose despite my fickle heart and rebellious flesh. God prepared it for me when He designed my life. Challenges are opportunities to experience the championship of faith. Pressure gives way to Presence in my life. Every difficult thing interwoven with His Plan for my Destiny and Divine Destination.

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28 MSG) The come-from-behind promise of God that ensures as His People, as His Precious Children, that we cannot and will not miss an ounce of His Goodness or single provision of His Plan and Purpose is that He works “every detail of our lives” into something good. All that is required is loving Him.

Jeremiah 29:12-14 (Message) “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

What if while waiting on the Lord, I am not waiting on Him at all but rather He is waiting on me? Is it possible that God has His Act together but I am the one struggling? Sure it is. We take an ounce of knowledge and try to work it into absolute wisdom. God’s Thoughts are higher than my thoughts and so are His Ways, yet somehow in my human finite thinking I take a word or wisp of truth and try to build my whole life on it. I know I am the only one so just bear with me while I work this out. What if we replace the word “when” with the words “as soon as”? It would go something like this:

When As soon as you call on me, when as soon as you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When As soon as you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when as soon as you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.

What if the ball is in my court and rather than “as soon as” being God’s next move rather He is waiting on my next move. Will it be closer to Him? Will I decide to come to Him? Will I decide to pray? Will I begin searching for the Lord wholeheartedly? Will I get serious about this life after God’s Own Heart? Will there be a day when I want Him MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE? The promise to those who make their way to this place is that the Lord will “make sure you won’t be disappointment.” Hope never leads to disappointment. Hope is not reserved for what we can see, do or logically make happen in our life. It is evidenced by faith in the substance that we cannot perceived naturally with our senses or logically with our mind but know to be true because He lives in us. Perhaps, I need to spend my time waiting on the Lord doing something different. It is not God’s Move but mine that He is waiting on today.

Psalm 27:7-9 (Message) Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!” When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking him!” Don’t hide from me now!

“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8 NLT) I love this verse so much. It has been on my heart a lot lately. You know with five kids, I hear the word “mom” all the time. It catches my attention even when it is not my own brood. My husband and I were riding in the minivan one day filled to overflowing with all the children. I was driving and not really paying attention to the banter in the back. When suddenly, he blurted out in a stern voice, “Don’t you hear them calling you?” Apparently, the peanut gallery had been saying, “Mom…mom…mom” and I didn’t respond to them because basically I had tuned them out. It happens. However, let one of them cry out in fear, hurt or distress and I can hear them across the house, outside, down the street or in the next county. There is a difference in the sound of their cry. I believe that God always listens when we speak to Him. He hears our every word. However, I also believe that our conversations with the Lord become mindless chatter over time. A check off on the to-do list of godliness rather than a personal and intimate conversation with the Lover of our soul and the One our soul loves.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (Message) How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

“As soon as” can mean waiting on the Lord but most of the time I believe that He is waiting on us. Our response to God’s Promises is faith and confidence that this hope we have is valid, authentic and real enough to pursue with passion each day. We put our passion into so many worthless things when the reality of Christ is that God has already blessed us with every good thing that He has. We are made with purpose on the verge of prosperity if only one might make their way into His Presence choosing to live there. His Presence is our promised land. It is not a religious place filled with routine, ritual or tradition. It is not a place of performance or service. It is the place where we come to know and respond by wanting Jesus more than anything else – as soon as will be accomplished. Everything I need, want and desire is fulfilled in the rich and satisfying life that Jesus Christ is offering me. I have more than enough. I am more than enough because Christ lives in me. Nothing is impossible for those who live by faith not fear. As soon as, I learn to live, move, exist and breathe in the midst of His Presence – I believe that the time will pass and so will the season. It will be time to harvest from all those tears, find joy in the midst of mourning and I will be restored, revived and renewed just as He promised. As soon as…

Isaiah 30:18 (Message) But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

Get Out of the Way

Get Out of the Way

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NLT) “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

Things get a little crazy around here early in the morning and when I arrive home from work. The fur babies know that it is time to eat. A frenzy ensues as they try to feverishly to be right where the action is. Each morning it is like the running of the bulls as our newest addition bolts through the house to go outside, because she knows as soon as she is finished – she gets to eat. Once back inside the house, she whines, cries, jumps and runs. She is known to stand on top of the food bin so I wait until she sits back down to open it and feed her. Her world circulates around meal time. If the pantry door opens, she takes off to see if a puppy snack might be available. In the evenings, it happens all over again. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried over the 20-pound mass of fur, legs and slobber trying to give her exactly what she wants. I am teaching her to sit and wait. She is only three months old, but she is learning quickly. I wish was as teachable as she is sometimes.

I wonder if I am the one in the way to the new things God is doing in my life. All the promises and plans that He has that I want yet I am running off, jumping around and pitching a fit in the waiting. I guess for dogs and other creatures it is more simplistic because they just want us to meet their basic needs of food and shelter with the occasional pat on the head or toss of the toy. It’s kind of funny right now that our dog is a puppy when she is impatient or even overzealous in her excitement over mealtime. However, as she grows to the 100-pound dog that she is anticipated to be. It won’t be funny anymore. As we grow in the Lord, it should be in the fruit of His Spirit that include love, joy, peace, and then everyone gets tripped up on the fourth fruit called patience. It all slows down as kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and ugh the dreaded self-control are born in us. Who doesn’t want to be loved? Who would reject joy? Who isn’t searching for peace on a daily and ongoing basis? We are human beings created in the Image of God. God promises that He has provided for us the basic needs of our life. He also has a projected plan to prosper those who desire a life according to His Plan. Is that you today? It is definitely me. I want my life to be all that God planned and purposed it to be. I must ask myself the question today, “Am I the one in the way?”

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

This is the hope available to us in Jesus Christ. The kind of hope that requires faith beyond what we can see that delves into the depths of dependence on God whose thoughts and ways are much higher than our own. Forget all that – oh sometimes I wish I could erase my brain of all the times I have fallen and failed just like God does when I repent. When I say that I am sorry and truly strive to live apart from my bad decisions – the Lord puts it all in a sea of forgetfulness but I don’t always find myself so successful. The accuser comes to remind me of all the reasons why I do not deserve the love, joy and peace promised to me by the Lord. So I give up on the rest of the spiritual fruit that God has seeded in my life. Forget all that…

We are given some precious promises and encouraging words that include the word “forget”. God will never forget His Children. Like a mother cannot forget her newborn, but gives up her life to care for them. How much more does the Lord care for us – His Children? (Isaiah 49:15-16) In those times of silence and waiting for God to move or act as we think He should it is easy to think He has somehow as if even possible forgotten us. Nothing is further from the truth. God hasn’t forgotten a single thing about us. He knows the very number of hairs on our head. He feels the weight of our tears as He collects them. He knows the desires of our heart. He even knows dreams and visions that we have long given up on as dead and gone. God doesn’t miss a thing concerning us His Children. He does not forget. We do.

Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT) Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

We have a fur baby who has been with us a couple of years. Rescued when she was about nine months old, Izzy is a four pound Chihuahua. A force to be reckoned with no doubt. She came with fire in her veins and the perception that she is ferocious. When she first came to us, it was clear that she had food anxiety. When she ate each meal, it was as if she had not eaten in a month or did not know where her next meal might come from. I used a separated bowl that required her to slow down. She almost knocked herself unconscious the first few times she tried to eat from it. She learned through time and patience on our part with lots of love and affirmation that she could depend on us to feed her twice a day. Now, at meal times, she sits patiently and quietly on the rug by her bowl. She knows that I am going to take care of her. She is confident.

We must purpose in our heart and mind to remember God’s Promises for us and never to forget them. God is teaching us to trust Him. To depend on Him, my ability to do so is my willingness to depend on the Lord and trust Him at His Word. It takes time to see the Goodness and Greatness of God in our life because too often my hands and even my mouth get in the way. I want to believe but it takes a long time to deal with the disbelief of an untrusting nature and fickle heart enough to not forget that God loves me and cares for me unconditionally. I must learn to pray and praise rather than grumble and complain all the time. God is able. I am not. I cannot produce the prosperity and increase that lead to an abundance of His Blessings in my life. Just plant seeds of faith and tend to them as the Lord gives them growth and increase.

Finally, I must forget the past. I tell people all the time. God will bring to your future the fruit of the past. We don’t have to wallow in it or go back to find it. Grace says there is nothing to make up or recover. His Grace is enough to unleash His Power no matter how dark the past may be. God is enough. Jesus is enough. He lives in me so I am enough. We must learn to forget the past and press for the future as Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:13.

“See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.”

During a recent Bible study, I was faced with the reality of my age. I do not really think about it too much. Never really have. I can tell the face in the mirror is aging and gravity is having its way with my body, but truly just never really worried about it too much. The writer quantified our days equal to seeds. When I counted the seeds based on the Biblical reference of life expectancy of 70 years, I realized I had less than 7,000 seeds left. This caught my attention. If all I have are 6,906 days left on the earth, there is a lot to be accomplished in that time. Thank you Lord that you have already started on the fruition of my life.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Psalm 139:16 (NLT) You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

These three verses should make us all leap and shout for joy. It means no matter where you are today, right now, and in this moment. The potential and purpose for your life designed by God is still intact and going according to plan. His Grace is enough because He knew just how much you needed in advance. Mercy is premeasured because this day is fully scripted. You have everything you need because He already knows exactly what you need. Your best days are to come. You wouldn’t be breathing if it wasn’t true. The Lord would take you home. Life has purpose. Life has meaning. Life is being made new according to God slowly but surely taking over every area of our life given to Him wholeheartedly. It is not what we do that changes things but rather our ability to put all our trust, hope and belief in the God who is able to carry out His Plans for us.

“The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.”

Expectancy is critical to the outcomes in our life. Unmet expectation breeds discontentment. Dissatisfaction feeds bitterness and disbelief in our life. Thankfulness will refresh us if God’s People would thank the Lord for His Blessings rather than rallying in disbelief. God is not finished with you yet. He is taking you on a journey to a place in life where love, joy and peace will give way to the rest of His Abundant Fruit that will make your life rich and satisfying. However, there are peaks and valleys. There is rushing and rest. There is a time for everything under the sun. It is filled with good times and bad. But what does God promise us…He will make all things beautiful in His Time. The Valley of Weeping will produce refreshing springs in our soul. (Psalm 84:5-7) The Lord is building your strength. He is clearing your life of those things that will potentially rob you of blessing when it comes. God is preparing you – His Masterpiece. It doesn’t matter what the atmosphere of your life is like – attitude is everything. Our constant and unwavering belief in the Power of God, His Purpose for us and His Promise in us – will allow us to hold fast to the hope given to us in Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Not a single moment of my life is by chance. Not a single struggle is a waste of my time. God causes EVERYTHING to work together for my good and His Glory. EVERYTHING. ALL OF IT. The Lord will PERFECT that which concerns me. These promises …precious …precious …promises are for us. They belong to me because Jesus (the Word) has given them to me. I must only accept the reality of them and believe for God’s Best to be the product of my life.

And finally…

Isaiah 43:21 (NLT) I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Let me tell you about our new puppy, Scout. I knew her puppy parents. We have been friends for a long time. Their children were part of our youth group way back when and I consider their kids to be part my own. When I heard that their dogs were having puppies, I couldn’t wait to see them. They have two purebred labs that are gorgeous. Our puppy’s dad is a massive blond lab. When the puppies were born, I came across a picture of Scout and fell in love with her. However, these were not ordinary puppies but very expensive purebred dogs. I watched her grow and change but knew they were not in our budget. I was on a trip when I got the text. The Lord had laid it on the owner’s heart to bless us with Scout. He knew how much we loved her and wanted her. He also knew that she would have a good home. I was blown away by God. I know what you are thinking it is just a dog. No, it was a desire in my heart. God gave me the desire of my heart. He has done this time and time again. Things many times no one knows about but the Lord – He just does it. Why?

God doesn’t have to do things like that for me anymore. My need, love and desire for Him is far greater than superficial things in a temporary world. I am desperate for the Lord to be in every facet of my life like my body needs breath. I cannot live without Him anymore. He is my everything yet in all of His God-ness – He still blesses me for no good reason at all. I don’t know if you understand what I am saying to you today – I pray that you hear my heart. God loves me. He loves you. We give Him pleasure. He created us for His Pleasure. That’s it. The sum total of my existence gives pleasure to God. All He wants is a relationship with me. To provide for me. Bless me. Prosper me. All I am created to do is give Him Glory. That’s it. Pressure off. I can do nothing outside of my faith to please Him. He calls us His Special Possession and His Treasure. (Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 7:6, Deuteronomy 14:2, and Deuteronomy 26:18) God doesn’t need us but desires us. He loves us because He chooses to love, provide and care for us. There is nothing I can do to earn it just receive it.

Little Scout will learn in time that her food will get in the bowl quicker if she sits and waits patiently. She will not be so rambunctious once her trust in us is established. Lord, let me learn to be patient and still in You as well. The Lord promises to show me the way of life. He promises to grant me the joy of His Presence. He offers me the pleasure of living with Him forever. Am I the one standing in the way of that today? Is it my stubbornness? Impatience? Unwillingness? Immaturity? Lord, create in me a new heart today and renew my spirit. God I want to experience your goodness in the land of the living just as you promised. May my life bring honor and glory to Your Great Name!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

In the Waiting

In the Waiting

Psalm 27:14 (AMP) Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

The passage of time is probably the most difficult part of the process of God. To hear His Voice, to see His Vision, to dream His Dream and then to wait for all things to work together as He has ordered for us according to His Promise is the hardest part of human participation in God’s Plan. From the onset, it is labeled future and hope. However, future never seems so far as in the watchtower of waiting for the Lord. Hope feels weighty until it is the anchor of our soul that is holding us in that place too far from the starting point with no finish line in sight. It is the place where questions being to cloud our thinking and fog the image once so clear in our mind. Nothing is going the way that I planned yet somehow it is all falling into place. Everything seems to point to disappointment but I hear the whisper in the wind, “My hope never leads to disappointment.”

Waiting for the Lord takes courage. To expect what God has promised means letting go of human expectation to fully take hold of what the Lord has promised refusing to let go until it happens. Like Jacob, wrestling with God through the darkness of night, and in the donning of a new day refused to let go until he was changed and given a new name. God is faithful…even when I am not. Wonderful and perplexing at the same time. Grace works best in my weakness. When I am vulnerable barely hanging on, at the end of my rope, and on the verge of being completely undone – His Grace empowers me with strength as His Love gains more of my heart, His Grace heals more of my soul, and His Faithfulness roots itself in my life.

Psalm 27:1 (AMP) The Lord is my light and my salvation—Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life—Whom shall I dread?

As I read Psalm 27, it is clear that the enemy has an assignment against the Plan of God for His Children. Adversaries at every twist and turn. The Lord is the Light. His Love beckons us from darkness. His Love is so strong it pulls us out of the depths. If only it were easy to remain in that place of new love or first love. The love that is naïve and carefree still shallow and unknown. True love must withstand the test of time and trail to be authentic and real. Otherwise, it is not love at all but some other kind of emotion. Love is patient. (I Corinthians 13:4) The definition of love begins with these words. The essence of love. It’s root and foundation is patience. Patience is the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It means to be quiet. To have steady perseverance and to be even-tempered. Diligence in our effort outside of comfort and control. Love is patient. Love is able. Love is willing to wait and withstand all that comes against it to maintain its place in any relationship. Over time, true love is revealed when all else and everyone else is gone.

Like a moth drawn to a flame, too curious and attracted to save its own life. I must ask myself am I willing to go all the way. Will I wait on the Lord because I love Him? Will I trust Him with my life even if I am consumed? The Lord is my light. He wants to spark a passionate wildfire of love in me that will consume those around me with His Light and His Love as well. Will I love Him enough to become the Light? Is He still my salvation? Before you say of course, one must examine their heart and mind to see the relevance of faith. Is there fruit in my life to indicate that the seed of faith planted in me has grown in the grace that I have been given?

The Lord is my refuge and my fortress. I was talking to our daughter one night during a tornado watch. Just revisiting safety procedures should a tornado touch down in our area. I asked her what she would do if it happen and she quite honestly and candidly told me that she would run. I explained the danger of going out in the storm and the futility of trying to outrun a twister. I took her to our laundry room and told her that this would be the safest place in our house. It has no windows. It is inside the house with no exterior walls. She didn’t like my choice. She didn’t understand. Sometimes our inability to see is frightening. She was uncomfortable with the idea of being trapped inside the dark house and unable to see. I tried to explain that a tornado could sweep her far away. She still was hesitant. Confidence in the shelter and refuge of God’s Presence is essential to keep us firmly grounded in the midst of every storm. He must become our refuge and fortress. Trust builds those walls. Faith fortifies them making His Presence our permanent dwelling place.

Psalm 27:4 (AMP) One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.

“And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, in His tent I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” (Psalm 27:6) Nothing and no one can snatch us from the Presence of God. Our place in His Presence is secure. It is our presence that is often in question. Am I willing to see my life from God’s Perspective rather than focusing on every perceived threat? Our focus should be on the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus is our Champion. The one who hands us victory over and over again so in all things there is the opportunity to overcome. Overcome fear. Overcome doubt. Overcome anxiety. Overcome quitting. Overcome disappointment. Overcome all those things that keep us from living in the fullness and abundance of God’s Presence. Perhaps the enemy is not outside but inside of us. Weeding the Word the Lord has placed in us with lies and insecurities that threaten the harvest beginning to grow in us, the fruit that is budding in our life or even the prosperity on the verge of bursting into a harvest more than we can imagine or even think to ask for. What if the enemy of my heart is me? My impatience and inability or even unwillingness to stay put. To remain in the Presence of God even when I perceive dangers or threats to my comfort or well-being but remaining hidden in the Shelter of the Great I Am and waiting for the storm to pass and His Son to shine. Will I praise Him in such a place?

Psalm 27:8 (AMP) When You said, “Seek My face [in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need],” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek [on the authority of Your word].”

I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
What am I waiting on? Good question. I am waiting on God’s Word to come to pass in my life. Every promise that He made is crucial to my fulfillment. God’s Word cannot and will not ever return void. The problem is not in the promise. The problem is not in the process. The only challenge I face is my belief in the Promise and Process of God. If all that I have to go on is the Word of the Living God, will it be enough to keep in His Presence until His Potential becomes my purpose? Will I keep repeating it like footsteps to the place where I am standing in the Promise of God for my life? Will I be patient? Will I persist? Will I push back against the pressure? Am I willing to take just more step? Knock one more time? Ask even if I have already done so a thousand times before? Can I persevere? The greatest progress of all is the single step right after saying you were quitting.

The Goodness of God is for this life. Today. Tomorrow. All of them. If your life does not line up to your dreams and visions, then it is just a work in progress. The Lord promises that as we live in love with Him – He will give us the desires of our heart. God is faithful to finish the work that He has started in you. He is committed to it. God does not lie or change His Mind. The Lord will never withdraw His Calling or His Blessing on your life. Jesus went to prepare a place for us. What if that place is not just our home forever but His Presence to keep us safe and secure on our way there? His Presence is open and available to us always. It is our source of strength in the midst of severe storms. It is the walls against the wind trying to blow us off course. It is a place of supplication when our reserve is drying up. Hope is the anchor for our soul. Faith secures us to the hope that we have giving it weight and substance. Faith is to believe. It means establishing trust not just for forever but to make it through today. This day. To keep coming when He calls. To continue to respond to His Spirit. To keep reaching for His Kingdom. There is more to life than this reserved for this time and place. The Children of Israel fled Egypt, escaped the army bent on keeping or killing them, and wandered for years – yet there sandals did not wear out and they had more than enough treasure to build God a proper temple. Where did it come from? How could refugees have such an abundance? God was with them in the waiting. The Lord is with us here and now.

Psalm 31:24 (AMP) Be strong and let your hearts take courage, all you who wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

Two things are absolutely necessary to wait on the Lord – we must have confidence and courage. Confidence in the reality of His Love, Grace and Goodness. His Love unconditional and unconquerable. His Grace that is more than enough. His Goodness that is for now. He is Resurrection and Life not just in our death but in our everyday existence. He wants to resurrect our dead dreams. He wants to renew our passion for our purpose and release our full potential once hidden in our hard hearts. “Surely every man walks around like a shadow [in a charade]; surely they make an uproar for nothing; each one builds up riches, not knowing who will receive them. And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope [my confident expectation] is in You.” (Psalm 39:6-7) Waiting is our undoing. It is the time and place where there is nothing for me to do just be. To live in the Presence of God – in the Shadow of the Almighty – lovingly, patiently, willingly and quietly while the Lord works our His Plan for me. Nothing I do will ever compare to what the Lord is doing inside of me. The person I am supposed to be is hidden in the Great I Am. I will wait. Lord, give me more confidence. Lord make me courageous. Give me what I need to wait just a little longer. I know that every good thing, every perfect thing and every other thing is just on the other side of waiting. Keep me in the waiting.

Micah 7:7 (AMP) But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch; I will wait [with confident expectation] or the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

To Be Still

To Be Still

Psalm 46:10 (AMP) “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”

As I sit in His Presence today, I am waiting. Wondering about some details that just don’t add up. Asking for clarity and divine discernment. Introspection leads to listening. I want to hear His Voice. I want to do what He says to me. So different from my younger days, when dissatisfaction created distance between us, now it only leads to a greater desire to know, recognize and understand Him more. Completion is my purpose. Fulfillment is the potential of my life. To be fully invested in Christ body, mind and spirit until my soul prospers and runs over to every person I encounter in this dark and dying world. To light in every darkness and speak words that lead to life. To love so extravagantly that all they see is God’s Love poured out before them in spite of me.

Yet soon, I will have to close the Bible, turn off the computer and leave the prayer closet/study. The door will be open and life come pouring in like a wave unhindered. I will face challenges. I will have trials. All opportunities to grow a little closer and wade a little deeper into the fathomless grace that I have been given. As I go, my greatest longing is to just be still. To be still and know. To be still and recognize. To be still and understand that He is My God. It would be so much easier if I could stay right here in His Presence. To distance myself from the pressures of life persistently bearing down on my chest, stealing my breath, taking my attention, and just to be still. Oh for a moment of selah today, a moment to pause and reflect on the walls of the strong tower, my refuge, and my strength.

Psalm 46:1-6 (AMP) God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken and slip into the heart of the seas, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its roaring. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her [His city], she will not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He raised His voice, the earth melted.

Reading these words today, I am encouraged. Feeling like Peter whose desire for the Lord took him out of the boat to walk on water, but the winds and the waves got in his way. Sometimes faith feels like swimming in an endless ocean, too far out to turn back but so far gone the shore is not in sight. It is then that our life hangs in the balance. It is in that moment that we become aware of grace that is like an ocean – you know the one where we are sinking. God is good. God is always good. He is love. Endless love. Fathomless love. His Purpose and Plan for my life is complete lacking no good thing unless maybe my full attention sometimes. In the past, the adrenaline might kick in right about now. I would have to make the decision to fight for my faith or flee with what is left of my left. Oh, I am too far gone now. Like Jacob in Genesis 32, his wives, children and livelihood crossed over on the other side. Jacob was alone. Nothing to go back to, just Jacob and God wrestling through the dark of night. Holding tightly to the Lord, who said, “Let me go for the day is breaking.” Jacob refused. He declared to the Lord, “I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing on me.” Jacob was given his heart’s desire. No longer would he be known for his struggles, but as the one who came face-to-face with God. Do you remember what happened when Moses came face-to-face with the Lord? God’s Glory shone so brightly on his face that he covered it as not to frighten them. Oh for Your Glory, Lord. I desire that new name. I want to be the one who despite her many struggles and insufficiencies experienced the Glory of Your Grace full immersed and overflowing.

God is our refuge and our strength. His Presence is a mighty and impenetrable fortress that allows us to be still and know – no matter what conditions or circumstances are circling our life. I am so thankful today for His Presence. The Lord does not only promise to keep us safe and secure in His Presence but offers freedom from fear so faith can grow, develop and mature into deep roots that keep us well-grounded so that we learn to thrive in life and not just merely survive. (Psalm 92:14) Jacob fled for his life which didn’t amount to much except the Lord was with him. He served Laban faithfully and flourished even in exile. He encountered the Lord in the stillness of the night upon his return. He was 97 years old. Oh for us to know, understand and recognize that our journey with the Lord is a lifelong endeavor seldom offering immediate gratification or instantaneous harvests. It is a life of sowing and reaping governed by the promise of God that what we plant is what we will reap. God has blessed Jacob in the natural but in his old age he wanted God’s Blessing to reach into the depths of his heart and change him.

Lord, help me to be still. To know, recognize and understand that my life is a process. Grace to faith to trust to confident hope. To complete the cycle again and again until my heart is secure in the stronghold of your love. I don’t want to end the process or escape the pressure. I want you Lord. I will not let go until You bless me with the desire of my heart. Lord teach me to fully rely on Your Sovereignty today. You go before me and fall in behind me. You pursue me passionately with Goodness and Unfailing Love. Teach me to pursue you with my whole heart.

Psalm 37:3-7 (AMP) Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it. He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, and your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun]. Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him…

Trust is to rely on and have confidence in the Lord. Our ability to trust is in direct correlation with what we believe to be true. Faithfulness is God’s Quality that I believe in along with His Goodness. He is faithful while I can only try to be. My only real chance at faith is created by the amazing grace that I have been given. Do good. Dwell in the land. Feed on His Faithfulness. Such a simple thing, yet a daily challenge with the pressures of life bearing down on us. Dare I believe that in the midst of adversity that God is giving me the desires of my heart? Yes, and a thousand times, yes! Such understanding doesn’t come without a price. It will require my complete undoing. It will take all of my heart, mind, soul and body fully invested in Jesus Christ. It will be in my weakness. It will be found when I fail. Those who commit their life to Christ must put all expectation in the Lord, His Word, His Will and His Way. It is a day by day – moment to moment process to build trust and confidence in the Lord. It is a daily pursuit and endless process that requires endurance. Endurance is marked by stillness. Those who endure must learn to be still.

James 4:6-8 (AMP) But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].” So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].

Oh Jesus just a few more minutes together before I must leave this place of refuge. This quiet place in our home filled with Your Spirit and like-minded people. I am persuaded today that nothing can separate me from the Love of God. I know that all things work together for my good because I am called according to His Purpose and desire it above all things. Yet still, to be still is such a challenge sometimes especially when the ocean of grace is so vast that I cannot see from shore to shore. What lies beneath the surface frightens me. The length of this journey overwhelms me. The enemy taunts me. His lies raise the hairs on the back of my neck. God gives more and more grace to those who forgo pride and float in humility. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Resist. Withstand. Strive against. Oppose. If I simply resist, the temptation to give up or give in then he must go. The enemy cannot do anything to me other than lie to me. If I silence the lie with God’s Truth – He must go. Our closeness to the Lord allows us to endure such harsh conditions and one day realize that the thing that carried us through was His Grace. It is enough. It is more than enough. It is always sufficient. It leads me to faith. It is the one thing that I trust most because without it – I don’t stand a chance.

Psalm 84:1-4 (AMP) How lovely are Your dwelling places, Lord of hosts! My soul (my life, my inner self) longs for and greatly desires the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young—even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed and greatly favored are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah.

Have you ever encountered a spider web? You didn’t see it. Like a carefully laid net to capture you, it overtakes you or so it seems. You flail around as if consumed in invisible fire to get away from it. It is not the web that you are afraid of but the little spider that may be lurking in it who more than likely ran away when you destroyed its home. The world’s largest spider is ironically called the Goliath spider…no kidding. It is about 11 inches in diameter making shudder just to think about it. Though a deadly ambusher of small rodents and even a bird – to date it has not consumed a human. Thank God! However, even a small spider will cause a grown man to jump and scream. So many times – this is how those filled with the Power of Christ respond to the words of the enemy. When walking through the woods, I must look out for spiders. It is their dwelling place. Their home and not mind. But in my house, the spiders are quickly killed and disposed of. It is my home and they are not welcome. Where are you living today?

To live in the Presence of God is a place that goes with us. He lives in us. The world is not our home. However, God gave us dominion over it in Genesis. My authority is evident by the Christ in me but if I have no confidence in Christ – I will remain subject to my fear and insecurities because I have no idea of the strong tower and refuge available for those who take grace to access faith and live in it by trust. Just outside the door awaits all the pressure and pain along with cares and concerns that comprise this life we live. I will be tested and tried by the many challenges. The enemy has new lies and careful traps ready to trip me up and cause me to stumble. The Lord offers a strong tower and refuge for those who desire to enter in and to be still. These are His People who will experience blessing and favor in their life. As their soul prospers in the Peaceful Place of God so will their everyday life no matter how tough it gets. Lord, my soul, my life and my inner self long for you. I greatly desire to live in Your Presence today. Help me to do so. Show me the way deeper into the courts called beautiful, peaceful and strong. Teach me to be still today. Show me how to put all my life in you, Jesus!

Psalm 84:12 (AMP) O Lord of hosts, how blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].

Worth the Wait

worth-the-wait

Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT) Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. 

The most difficult part of sowing and reaping is the inactivity of waiting. The seed is planted safely under fertile soil and watered sufficiently. Now what do I do until I see its potential? I must wait. Waiting takes a little thing called patience which I was not born with. One of my earliest recollections is my grandmother lovingly but firmly telling me, “Lori Lynn, you must learn to be patient.” However, historically in the church I was told whatever you do for the love of all that is holy DO NOT pray for patience. So where do I find this little genetic insufficiency called patience. Waiting. Waiting. And waiting some more. I have tried my whole life to do whatever possible to avoid waiting one moment longer than absolutely necessary. God has jokes, friend. If I pick a line at the grocery store, I can guarantee you it is behind the world’s most famous coupon queen or the cashier is slower than Christmas. Do not follow me, I am prone to extended wait times. I prefer ordering lunch from the sandwich that boasts being “freaky fast” and lives up to its name. God has prescribed the perfect plan for me and it has included long arduous periods of waiting. But, I can attest to one thing – each time I have waited for the Lord, it has been worth the wait.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Forgive me, if this sound as though I am stating the obvious but indulge me for just a few minute. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is important. It is the purpose of waiting. Everything has a season. Not some things, but all things. This is referenced in two places. Psalm 139:16 tells us that during the Creation process as God packed us with potential that He prerecorded every moment of our life. Every year, every month, every day, every hour right down to this very minute. Jeremiah 29:11 which tells us that God has a plan for us including a future and a hope. Future is not today but later. Tie it all together with the principle that God does not lie or change His Mind, and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever – it solidifies the truth that EVERYTHING has a season.

There is a time for every activity under Heaven. Again the word “every” is used. There is not a moment of a person’s natural existence that does not have the potential to yield His Purpose and His Promises in our life. Seeds of potential that must be pressed in the broken and fertile heart to produce those things that faith has promised in our life. If Romans 8:28 and Psalm 138:8 are correct, and they absolutely are, it means every moment of our life can yield God’s Promises and Abundant Blessings. Every detail of our life can be made into something good no matter how terrible or tragic. God is always working to perfect those things that concern us. Everything good or bad in our life can be made right through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

The seasons of life are carefully listed in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, while some are joyous others can be quite devastating. We celebrate life but mourn death. We complain about planting but love to reap the harvest. Killing is tragic but healing is a miracle. Tearing down is tough but building up quite rewarding. Crying is soulful pain that makes us all puffy and snotty, but doesn’t laughter produce the same tears sometimes. Nobody likes the grieving process. We all love to dance even if alone when nobody is watching. Who doesn’t love a hug? Parting is such sweet sorrow. There are times to hang on and times to let go. There are times to press in and times we give up. Things kept while others discarded as unwanted, unnecessary or not beneficial. Time to tear and time to mend. A time for conversation and long separations of silence. There is good and evil and so therefore love and hate. Finally, the Latin adage of “Si vis pacem, para bellum” or if you want peace, prepare for war. The Lord went to all the trouble to touch on every season of human life. God has a plan. It is a good one with a future and hope. It will always require waiting.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

In every detail of our life, God has placed a promise. God will make everything beautiful for its own time. The seeds of potential the Lord placed in us all have a set season or time for which they are entrusted. The attempt to harvest any seed prematurely will abort the potential within it. A baby born too soon, a harvest cut before it is ripe, and even a promise entrusted to God but snatched from His Hands impatiently because there is no faith to secure it. Hope is the anchor of our soul but it is not based on anything that can be seen with the human eye. It is help secure by one’s ability to trust God at His Word. The good seed planted in our heart. It is called eternity. It is based on forever and a day.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Faith is defined in worldly terms as confidence and trust that is not based on proof. Tangible evidence is absent when faith is applied. Faith comes from the Latin root word “fidem” which means “to trust.” The only way to engage in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith is referred to as a mustard seed. The smallest of seeds with the largest potential. Faith demonstrates that hope is a reality in our life. It is evidence of our belief in the unseen God to the point of entrusting our life and future to Him. Hope is to look forward to (expect or anticipate) with reasonable confidence. To believe and again to trust.

In a world of broken promises, hearts and dreams, trust is a tough commodity. It is not harvested easily from our very human heart. Yet, it is in brokenness that the promise is received. If life was great all the time and our future secure – who needs a Savior? Why make Jesus Lord? Well, life is hard. Love is cold. The future uncertain. We need a Savior because sin has devastated the life that He purposed for the people who God calls His Special Treasure. Jesus died so that our faith could harvest hope in our life. Many people believe in a God or higher power, but few truly will commit their life by faith in the Truth that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I will not engage in such conversation. The need for a god comes from the eternity placed in each heart. Everyone searches for meaning and purpose in life based on this motivation. If my faith becomes a tree of life for me, it will become an attractive resting place for others. They will want what I have. What I have is not a law by which I cannot abide, but a book packed with promise and potential that by faith, hope and confidence trust – the Lord will produce in my life. It takes time.

Christian character is marked by three distinct qualities – faith, hope and love. The Lord is quick to point out that the greatest of these is love. Love for the Lord produced in our life gives us a distaste for sin. Why? Taste and see that the Lord is good. It is not based on my ability not to sin but avoidance of sin because I love Jesus. Christian character is not defined by doctrine or religious beliefs. This is why I do not argue with people about religious choice or how they choose to worship. No one could convince me. It is the moment in time when all there is to make the next breath possible is faith no matter how small, hope no matter how distant, and His Love that is not tangible yet perfect when something grows in me just a little. It is called confidence. Trust yields confidence in our Christian character. Trust is only possible by faith. Faith in its smallest form yields great potential.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

The greatest test of my faith by far so far has been our son’s battle with cancer. The moment when his future became negotiable in this life and solely dependent on the Lord. Truth is that life is brief and uncertain no matter how hard one tries to secure it. If only each person could see the brevity of life and let it change our priorities each day. When I came to the throne boldly, angrily, devastated and broken before my God, I recanted the commitment of my life to Him demonstrated by the things done, ways served, and daily acts of devotion. The words fell on the hard cement floor accompanying the pieces of my broken heart. Like Elijah, it was after my rant, tirade, frustration and fear emptied and silence surrounded me that I heard the Voice of the Lord. It was calm and quiet just as described, the still small voice asked, “Do you trust me?” “Of course, I do!” Thinking back, I almost hurled them back insulted by the fact that clearly God did not listen to my previous rant. Chest heaving and tears flowing, the God of the Universe asked me again, “Do you trust me?” Completely broken before my Lord, I whispered, “Yes God, I trust you!” In that moment, He said, “Your son will live and not die.” This was not the end of the season, but only the beginning. It would take five years for God’s Word to come to pass.

Endurance develops strength of character. Christian character is faith, hope and love. Human expectation causes us to think that our faith is vain and trust misplaced when God’s Plan is not our way, our will, and in our timeframe. The one who endures to the end with faith, hope and love is saved. I added those three things to keep us focused on what we are after. If my faith is for today is not faith at all. If my hope is anything other than what I cannot see or do myself it is futile. If my love is conditional or contingent on any tangible quality of life – it’s not true love. Real love. Agape love. God love.

Hope will not lead to disappointment. A farmer cultivates the field, plants his seed in fertile soil, watering and caring for it when there is no sign of harvest. He trusts that something is growing underground based on what kind of seed that he has planted. A farmer believes in the process. It is his belief that allows him to wait and not dig up the harvest while it is seed in the ground. It keeps him from leaving the field when little plants sprout up rather than the harvest that he expected. It allows him peaceful rest knowing that if just waits until it is ready that he will reap what he has sown. He knows his labor is not in vain but that timing is everything. We must be like the farmer. We must be patient. We must learn to wait for God’s Promises to be ready for harvest. It is this confidence that keeps us close to Jesus through the process until the very end. It is the kind of faith and hope that opens the door to the eternity placed in our heart that satisfies our soul.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NLT) If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

God’s Plans for our life are always good. Never for disaster. The Lord has given you a future and hope. He has given us a desire for eternity. Forever is secure by seeking just three things wholeheartedly. Faith, hope and love that begin and end in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Those who desire His Kingdom will sow seeds of faith each day. God’s Word is proof of the promises that the Lord guarantees. If the tiny mustard seeds are never planted and given time to grow, how will I ever have confident hope? Hope that keeps me standing. Hope that keeps believing. Hope that endures to the end. Hope that cannot be shaken or moved by the not-so-favorable seasons of life. Hope is expectation. To look forward with reasonable confidence. Faith is only logical when confident hope causes us to trust Him more. The more we learn to trust God the greater our satisfaction, contentment and peace in this life knowing that our future is secure forever. It makes a difference. I cannot give you satisfaction, contentment or peace. I can only share what the Lord is doing in my life. My family was right. With each test of my patience and lesson in waiting – my faith in the Lord has grown into confident hope. To walk by faith and not by sight is a process developed by sowing God’s Word and waiting for it to come to pass and produce the harvest for which it is intended. It takes time. It requires waiting. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

What are you waiting for today? What is trying your patience? What seems to be taking forever so you are considering striking it from your prayer list? What is impossible? What dream is dying? God’s Purpose for us is that our character be fully developed, perfect and complete so that we need nothing. Satisfaction and contentment are godly traits that demonstrate trust in the Lord not the evidence of life. Are you confident in God’s Word today? Do you believe His Promises? Do you trust Him? Are you willing to wait for Him to make good of all the details and perfect all that concerns you?

God’s Goodness is for now. His Glory is promised by placing all that I am into the person of Jesus Christ. Grace is only sufficient in our weakness. Waiting is not a weak position but the very place when His Power overtakes my life and becomes a harvest in my life. The fruit of His Spirit are not of this world. His Harvest is named love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is what nourishes our soul and strengthens our heart to achieve the future and hope that is offered to those who invest wholeheartedly in pursuing the Lord and His Harvest. Wait for the Lord. It is a requirement as faith and hope make us confident in His Love for us. Believing God’s Word means trusting Him to do exactly what it says, not backing down, giving up, or even complaining about it but waiting patiently until it comes to pass. He promises that everything will be beautiful in its own time. Everything even that thing which is ugly and seems to be dying will produce new life according to its purpose. Nothing is impossible with God! It will be worth the wait!

Psalm 20:4-5 (NLT) May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Still Standing… Still

still-standing-still

I Corinthians 16:113-14 (NLT) Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

With the New Year, many have great expectation, resolutions and revelations that life will be different in this brand new segment of time. New chapters or even whole new books filled with blank pages. Or for some, chronicles of life marked “to be continued” while waiting on the Lord just as they did in the year before… and the year before that. Looking for the next great “move” of God – to stand seems to be a lack of progress. It is hard to find satisfaction and contentment in the waiting room of God yet it is a place that believers find themselves time and time again.

When the promise comes, it is exhilarating. The view from the mountaintop is always the best. But when the promise is delayed and the valley is shrouded in darkness, it is time to stand. Are you still standing even with the New Year and new season? When the ball dropped and the calendar flipped the page, I found that I was still standing…still. I have no idea what is in the future but I know that I have hope there. Not very exciting but valid. I cannot see what is going on behind me yet I know the enemy is hot on my heels. People are moving all around me in a flurry of activity yet I sense the Lord telling me to stay right here. The watchtower is not a funny or exciting place but is where our blessing and promise meets us.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT) I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

This is a word for the “waiters” today. Those who are sitting in the watchtower and standing guard at the post. Wondering if the Lord will ever come. Will He do what He said that He would do? Was it really Him talking? It has been a long time. The pain is real. The impatience building. Did I miss you God? Did I take a wrong step? Or am I still standing… still? It is often hard to realize and remember that the Lord gives us vision for a future time. It describes the end well before the beginning. It will be fulfilled. It usually is the slowest in coming. It will take place. It will not be delayed. You just have to keep standing…keep waiting…keep watching…and keep believing. This is called trust. It is evidence of our faith. When nothing is happening or all hell breaks loose, when peace flows like a river or life rages like a hurricane, to stand still and wait on the Lord is evidence that you are in the right place at the right time.

Luke 6:47-49 (NLT) I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.

My family lived in a single wide mobile home during my early years. A house on wheels worked when you’re a military brat. When I would visit my grandparent’s home, I loved the feeling of hardwood floors beneath my feet. I decided then that when I grew up, I would have a “real” house on a firm foundation rather than a “temporary” home on wheels. I wanted walls you could paint and a floor that did not shake the whole house when someone walked in it. The Lord gave me the desires of my heart.

Our family endured tornados in our trailer. I can only think it might be like sitting in an aluminum barrel while someone beats the sides of it. Yet, moving into a “real” house did not change the fact that storms came and went. It only made me feel more secure if one did. Faith is the structure in our life that offers security. To trust Jesus offers security forever. Yet in the trials of life, it is difficult to see our Protector and Redeemer. When shaken to the core of our faith in testing, if we are still standing it is a blessing. Faith is small. Given the opportunity to “see” the amount of faith in us, it is riveting to see that it is tiny. Christians every day profess to believe and trust the Lord, But if when all of “self” is removed and the façade of service removed, who is willing to admit to be barely standing?

My ability to stand through a test or trial is evidence of the expert builder at work in my life. The greatest challenges in life bring me to the end of myself every time. If you come away with pride intact, you missed it. Brokenness is the pathway to fulfillment. If you move to and fro, freedom will not restrict you but it is in standing and waiting for God to move even when it seems to take forever or destroys everything that is comfortable to us, then God moves us into His Glory. We have been set free by the Son and promised to be free indeed. The Lord will not force you to wait on His Promise – it is your choice. He will not force His Blessings on you – you decide whether or not you want them. God will not make you do anything because free will is yours by design. You will choose the pathway you take and what is to be found at the end of your journey.

Jeremiah 6:16 (NLT) This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’”

I am standing at a crossroad in my life. I am looking around wondering what is next. I know that I am exactly where God told me to be. I am now waiting on Him. Personally, I find that waiting on the Lord though never easy is worth it so much so my endurance level has grown bit by bit over the last fifty years. Yet I am still impatient when I have to wait too long. We put our “hope” in so many temporary things that when it comes to time to stand and wait on the Lord, we are all out of patience. God has promised us rest in Jesus Christ, but we look for it in so many other places. He offers us peace giving us the Mind of Christ, while we trust in everyone and everything wasting expectation. Christ completes us, but instead we chose to live partial lives in the gray area of life.

Look around. Are you standing in the midst of a war zone? Is your life falling apart at the seams? Do you know where you are but do not know where you are going? Let me ask you one more thing. Are you still standing? Good! You choose the way you walk. You also choose to take a stand. They are equally important in following the Lord and having His Way in our life. Sometimes the Holy Spirit inspires us to “do” or “move” or “be” which is what we like most. Faith that jumps over cliffs or moves mountains. Other times God tells us to stand. Keep standing. Wait right where you are. Don’t move an inch. These are sometimes the most difficult moments in our life.

I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT) If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

I used to compare my life to people. You know Christians who have been at this a long time and seem to have it altogether. I have known some people I was quite sure had never committed a single sin and were worthy of God’s Grace just because of their goodness. Well, I have been a Christian for a very long time. I have seen the rise and fall of preachers, teachers and evangelists to know that is a lie. Comparison is a joy killer and counterfeit maker. My life is only improved by my acceptance of Jesus Christ and willingness to give my entire heart.

Every desire, want, and need must be included to have enough faith to endure the trials, tests and temptations of life. I am my own worst enemy. People who have perfect lives cannot help me. Those who have not endured offer no example to cultivating more faith in my life. Show me someone who is completely broken yet can still lift their hands in worship. Allow me time with the one who has lost it all but glories in the fact that still have Jesus. I want to know the one who sits in the back always seeking God’s Approval because surely this grace is too good for them so they humbly seek the Lord day after day and moment to moment just to survive. I want to meet overcomers who achieved victory by crawling over the finish line of faith or just barely got their hand over it. The ones who choose to stand when nobody else would – not in front of an audience but all alone at home when no one else is watching. Lord, send those people my way. Let them cross my path especially when I am considering moving from the place you called me to stand.

I Corinthians 15:1-2 (NLT) Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.

It is a tragedy for a person to have blind faith. It is not faith at all. We are given an opportunity to know Jesus Christ. Know Him. Not to grope in darkness but to build a foundation of faith in His Word, Will and Way that can sustain our life. Most often, Christ is accepted but never really known. I can invite Jesus to live in my heart and crowd Him out with the things of this world. To continue to grow deep roots in Jesus Christ is to develop a relationship with the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. We cannot survive as believers without the Bread of Life. Our strength for the coming test or trial is found in the life lived beforehand. An athlete doesn’t just show up to an event without investing a single moment in training beforehand. When it comes time to secure victory, they don’t have what it takes to win. Neither do I if my whole life is given to other things until the storm comes or I am called to endure. My relationship with Christ must be secure beforehand. I must train my mind to believe and my heart to trust Him. I must begin to take into consideration His Word before I am blindsided by the lie of the enemy. I must study and meditate to prepare for the test before the big day arrives.

Romans 9:30-31 (NLT) What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.

The need to do and move is human nature. It is the inner drive to change our own situation. Faith is the only thing in my life that will give me full satisfaction in Jesus Christ. I can do everything I think is good and right and remain lost. I can portray the image of perfect Christian and become so good at it – I fool myself considering personal pride to be evidence of amazing grace. I will die one day to discover the awful truth of living a lie. The only way to be made right with God the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is my example. He is my everything. The platform of faith is small. It doesn’t offer much leeway when it comes to my flesh which is purposeful. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. I have a future with hope. God offers me success, but first I must learn to stand. When I feel like I am still standing after all this time rather than complaining about the wait time maybe I should praise God that I was able to endure and ask for just a little bit more of His Power to make it through.

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

For years now, I have studied God’s Word every day. I have sought to know Him more than superficially. In that time, I have faced some pretty tough challenges and powerful storms. My anchor called hope remains secure. My faith has kept me from utter destruction. Yet, now after all the years, I am completely undone. I am at a crossroad myself this year. I am standing. Still standing. I came this far by faith but since I do not have clear direction I must wait on the Lord. I know His Voice. When He speaks, I know it is Him not because I am anything special but because through it all God is constant. He is faithful. I can trust Him. When I came to the end of me, I found that He is more than enough. Some days, I try to go back to find normalcy in life. He loves me too much to let me go back to the way it was before even when I loved Him yet remained naïve. There are days I just want to get this party started. I want to move. Make waves or at least a good splash. I must resist and keep standing. Standing is just as important when following the Lord as running, jumping and walking in His Ways. Our ability to stand exemplifies endurance. Jesus said the one who endures to the end will be saved. When there are no signs or wonders to amaze and mystify us but we choose to believe just the same.

Ephesians 6:13-14 (NKJV) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore…

Having done all to stand…stand therefore. Are you still standing? The battle has been rough. The enemy relentless. The time long. The heart grows heavy. Yet through it all you are still standing…still? You have not failed or grown faint, friend. You are growing new faith. Real faith. Authentic faith. The kind that will bring blessings and prosperity well beyond those manmade things we want in life. You are growing the Fruit of His Spirit that will sustain you until the end. You are sparking a fire that will become a blazing light for all to see. You are not wasting your time waiting. Your labor is not in vain. Just one more day, one more hour or even a minute – if you could just make it through standing still – God is moving and working on your behalf making good out of every detail of your life. He is perfecting all that concerns you. God is faithful. He is always good. You can count on that. You can stand on it. Faith is the foundation of our life that cannot be taken from us and is strong enough to hold us through every trial and temptation known to man. Will you stand with me? What good is it to don the armor of God and never enter a battle? Fight the good fight of faith even when it is all alone. Truly faith is a personal endeavor and has nothing to do with anyone else. If you don’t have faith in God – you have nothing at all.

Romans 8:29-30 (NLT) For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

If you think about the great examples of faith, God most often calls us to the mountain alone. Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Joseph and the others endured their painful trials and hardships alone. Well not completely alone, God was with them. He proved to be more than enough. I think this may just be why we are called to stand sometimes not because God wants to punish us or isolate us but He is removing all the other distractions so we hear Him, seek Him and desire to know Him more. If all hell breaks loose, we seek Him, It’s just what people do in hard times – praying harder and seeking answers in His Word. What if we lived like that all the time? Yes, there would still be waiting periods to endure and giants to face. God knows us. He knows what it will take to manifest His Glory. In fact, He is working on that right now even if you are doing nothing more than standing, still standing and standing some more. Do not forsake the waiting periods of life. Learn to embrace them. Let God be God. He is always good. His Promises true. He is working on you. Will you wait on Him?

Psalm 121 (NLT) I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Simply Come

Simply Come

Ephesians 3:10-12 (NLT) God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

To come boldly and confidently into God’s Presence. I pray for spiritual boldness for my family, friends, and church. In fact, I was praying for the confidence and boldness yesterday. As I continued to clamor on to the Lord about boldness, confidence, assurance, strength and power, somehow it became all about me. After all, isn’t that what the Lord wants of us His People. To walk with our heads held high, shoulders squared, and stride through life without a worry or care. This is boldness. To proclaim the Word of God and all its rightness to a world that has gone terribly wrong. After all, this is the Good News of the Gospel right? If you do all these things that He will accept us and bless us? That’s not exactly what it says…

We are conditioned to believe that might makes right and majority rules, but truly in this passage that applies to many it is all about just one. The one who chooses to come boldly and confidently each day…to surrender their life and submit their journey to Jesus Christ. Where is the courage in that? Where is the strength and manifestation of power? I thought boldness and confidence would create dominion over the enemy in my life. It will. It does. But you will have nothing to do with it other than the fact – you repented, turned your life over to Christ and choose to believe that He will do exactly what He has promised over and over again.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT) So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Spiritual boldness and hopeful confidence are demonstrated solely in one’s ability to depend completely on Jesus Christ. To walk into His Presence, no matter how difficult our circumstances or deplorable our conditions and give Him every burden and care with complete and utter satisfaction in that very moment the Lord will do exactly what His Word promised that He would do. It is when our response to life is focused on the “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” My boldness and confidence is a product of faith. It is my ability to believe beyond human perception and prevailing problems. We come to the Lord not to display our ability but rather to completely rely on His Willingness and Promise to deliver.

We come boldly to the throne of our Gracious God. It is all about grace. The bond that holds us to His Grace is faith. Faith that continues to hold tightly refusing to let go no matter how hard the struggle will become confident hope. I find that when I hear God’s Voice that He generally speaks His Word to me. Now I can take that “Word” and my mind can play out every possible scenario. However now that I have lived and experienced the Lord and His Ways, I find that I seldom see the full picture of what He is doing until years after He tells me what He is doing. He never tells me how or when, only that He will. We live by believing not seeing so this should be more than enough.

2 Corinthians 5:7-8 (NLT) For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 

For we live by believing and not by seeing. It is very difficult to believe without seeing but Jesus called such people blessed. The ones who cannot see Him with human eyes but know Him in their heart. Does my life reflect such a belief? It is important that it does.

Revelation 3:2-3 (NLT) Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

Go back. Go back to what you heard. Go back. Go back to what you believed. Coming to Christ like a child full of wonderful dreams and full of aspirations yet along the way fighting just to stay in the game when it takes too long or requires more than one expected. God told me that our son would live and not die. (Psalm 118:17) Audibly and directly, I heard the Lord speak directly to me. I expected God to heal our son. I told others that He would do it over and over again. He did. It would take more than three years and multiple treatments with lasting effects for remission to become a reality.

Crossing the finish line is not always what the movies and media make it out to be. Sometimes it is not a sprint to the finish, but a last ditch effort of strength just to get over the line claiming victory. I absolutely believe that this is exactly how God plans it over and over again. Why? Because when I am weak, His Power works best in me. God’s not looking for spiritual giants, but rather childlike faith of a boy. Like David who was so in love with God that even a worthless insult was more than his young heart could bear so he defended the honor of His God. His power was not in his weapon – just five smooth stones and a slingshot. It was not his personal ability for he already proclaimed that God would give him the giant’s head that day. No, it was in his willingness to step out in faith and confidence no matter what the outcome that day. The size of the giant was no comparison for his faith and trust in the Lord.

Hebrews 10:20-24 (NLT) By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

We joined our pastor and his family for dinner the other night. He chose a newly opened restaurant. I knew driving over on a Friday night that it would be packed. It was. The parking lot was overflowing requiring multiple circles to finally find a spot. Walking up to the restaurant, people resembled a mound of mad ants racing all over the place. Once inside, the hostess handed us a device to let us know when a table was ready with the warning it could be awhile. Patrons were packed in that place like sardines. Conversation was impossible – it was too noisy to even think. Ugh! The food was good and the night fun, but honestly, it would have gone much differently had it just been our little family. We avoid crowded inconvenience. We do not like to wait. So when a new place comes along, it is our nature to let the hype die down before our first visit. This is our choice. To be comfortable. To choose convenience. And in this case, there is nothing wrong with that. But…

When we make the same choices because coming before Jesus makes us uncomfortable or choosing not to wait, it is a bigger blessing that is missed. It is complete satisfaction that is avoided. We come to Jesus the first time for free grace. We want free love. It is our desire to have everything that He promised to give us. However, when we come to understand that there is a process of acquisition called faith people begin to draw back. They move away from the Lord when things get tight or uncomfortable. They choose immediate gratification rather than everlasting contentment. It is human nature to avoid long lines and extended wait times. Self-prescribed conditions that were never part of our covenant call us to do or be something other than what the Lord requires. All of this avoidance leads to defeat when all He really wanted or asked us to do was simply come.

Hope anchors my soul to the place that requires nothing more than His Love and Grace in all of its sufficiency. Faith is confidence that the Lord will do what He said in His Time and His Way. Those who choose to come boldly and hold tightly to the promise are not implying person strength or fortitude but absolute trust that God will do what He promised to do!

I Timothy 6:11-12 (NLT) But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

As men, women and children of God – it is our responsibility to life a godly life. Boldness is found in repentance turning our life over day by day to the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. To come boldly means nothing more than living a life of true repentance and genuine faith by surrendering all that we are to His Love, Grace and Mercy believing that HE is able to do more than we can think or ask. It is confirmed by our willingness to come before the Lord and wait there no matter how long He takes. Surrender sounds so simple. Human nature balks at giving up. Of course, this is the Lord’s Way because it total contradicts our flesh. To fight the good fight of faith is done most of the time standing in the Presence of God calling His Name and waiting for His Reply. We can outlast our enemy because we live for eternity. There is no time limit on God’s Promise for my life.

I John 5:13-15 (NLT) I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

To simply come, that is all that is required. To come boldly means to continually and honestly give the Lord the real estate of our life without any doubt but total faith. Confidence in the Lord allows us to stand before Him, worship at His Feet, and praise Jesus publically before a single thing changes just because we know that He does more than we think or ask. Confident hope comes with the annihilation of my flesh. Self-help and self-confidence gets me nowhere in the Kingdom because it is by His Grace I am saved through what? Faith.

Let’s get back to the basics today. The faithful expectation that brought us to Jesus in the first place. The very thing that made us love Him from the start. The Lord isn’t looking for anything from me. He doesn’t want me to change anything but directions. He will complete the good work in us that He began. We continue the process in surrender submitting all that we are, have and do to Who He is. My only goal in life is to please the Lord. He doesn’t require nearly as much as we have dictated in doctrine and eluded to from the pulpit. God wants you. Jesus died for you. He placed on other requirement on us other than to come boldly before His Throne to receive His Love, Grace and Mercy. Tangible blessings are the provision of God in our life unlocked by obedience. Faith and hope are blessings that can only be given when we simply come into His Presence giving up who we are to be more like the Lord.

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Slowly but Surely

Slowly but Surely

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

The revelation was a bit discouraging but I am definitely slowing down. My body does not allow me to cram quite as much into a day before giving way to tiredness. I do not feel old yet I am beginning to experience the characteristics of aging. This is not a melodramatic tirade about old age and getting old but rather a simply stated fact. Youth gives way to the notion of invincibility. A teenager or young adult does not consider tomorrow but lives spontaneously for today. There will be endless tomorrows to plan and worry for the future so they live in this moment. The moment is filled with immediate gratification. There is no waiting but a constant need for movement. Anticipation gives way to impatience and the impetuousness of youth doesn’t allow for slowness, steadiness or careful consideration. As time passes, the choices made during these times welcome us into adulthood. With families and responsibilities being knocked around a bit by life, it is time to enter the rat race and chase the American Dream. Busyness consumes us. Climbing corporate ladders and chasing after children, life ticks by day by day. Until the day, the nest gets a little bigger. The endless pursuit of satisfaction leaves behind broken promises and dead dreams. Nowhere near the golden years, but maybe with a few gray hairs, there will be many who utter the words “there must be more to life than this.” There is. I believe that the Lord waits for us to get through those other things and do what we need to do so that coming to Him, we will be ready.

The Lord is not being slow. He is not slack concerning His Promise. Our God is filled with unfailing love, compassion and mercy for us. Countless times it has caused Him to calm His Anger, and hold tight the Hand of Wrath that our transgressions should release. However, in our finite thinking, taking freedom for granted in our prayer closet crying out – “Where are you God?” Oh, He is right here. Waiting and watching for us to respond to His Promises held securely in His Hand. When our minds reach the end of our knowledge, our bodies grow weak and weary, and when our soul is left unfulfilled, it is only the beginning. We must slow down. It is not our nature. God will wait until it is.

A day is like a thousand years to the Lord. When it comes to God the saying must be true that He’s got “nothing but time.” Each person create has a plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It is achieved by wholeheartedly seeking the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13) Humanity has eternity in each beating heart that is ready to connect with the Kingdom. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Every day is recorded (Psalm 139:16) so our way is mapped out moment by moment so even the moments filled with mistakes and misfortunes our not dead ends but still line up with our destination. The Word of God promises that He perfects that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8) so that takes the pressure off of me. Finally, my all-time favorite after living half my life, I “know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” It took a long time to get here, but I am glad that I did.

2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The more you grow, the more productive and useful you will be. The Word of God is seed to a fertile heart. It doesn’t always manifest fruit as soon as it is planted and often must go through many seasons to grow. We like immediate growth. Nobody likes to wait. Ever. The effort put forth to attain the Promises of God for our life is faith which is not an innate human quality. It begins with a tiny measure tucked within us that must grow into righteousness. The first step is salvation and the application of God’s Grace in our life. It cannot stop there. If we do not continue the growth process of redemption with such things as surrender and obedience to the Lord, there will be no fruit or satisfaction in our life.

The process of faith is marked by slowness. Moral excellence takes a great deal of self-control. It requires careful thought before each action. Self-control comes from knowledge. We have worldly knowledge that is good and useful such as not to touch a hot stove or it will burn us, but when it comes to spiritual wisdom – we must obtain it by studying the Word of God, praying it and living it until it yields each promise. This takes time. But then God’s Word talks about the things most people loathe like patient endurance and godliness. Making us think of exercise, our flesh comes up with a million excuses why there is no time or worth to seeking such trivial things. Without persistence in patience, exercises of endurance and the Holy Spirit’s production of self-control though it is possible to have a good life, we will not have the life that God has promised.

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Do you see it hidden in this verse? Could it be a hint at why we are waiting all the time? “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.” We want the things of God. We find them in the Way of God. His Way is One Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Jesus Christ. God waits for us to find “the Way”. Let us strip off every “weight” that “slows us down.” I wonder if all this waiting and watching is meant to alleviate the weight of sin that slows us down. Could it be that in the patient process called faith that God allows things to slow us down so we will recognize each weight and burden? Yes.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT) I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Countless times in my life, I have felt like the watchman on the wall standing at the guard post waiting on the Lord. I have gone willingly and not so willingly. I have wasted a whole lot of energy climbing up and down indecisive about God’s Timing and unsure of His Faithfulness. It is not human nature to trust but to test everything. It is only now after much waiting that I am beginning to understand the futility of impatience. God is God. He is Sovereign. He will not change His Mind. God does not lie. There is no point in my attempts to rush the things that the Lord is doing in me, through me and all around me because His Will will be done. God is not delayed. He is perfect. His Way is absolutely flawless. He is working out the details for my full benefit and will not stop just because I am not happy or given to fits. Trust me. I have tried.

I want to encourage you today to wait on the Lord. Climb into the watchtower which strangely resembles your prayer closet. Stand guard at the door of your heart barring doubt and disbelief in the stillness of waiting. A lesson that I learned during our son’s illness is that our waiting is also filled with precious moments of life called time. Once time passes it cannot be recalled. No one can turn back the hands of time. I remember one evening early in the fight. The room that I shared with our son had twin beds – one for the patient and one for the caregiver. The silence was broken by the crickets outside and the rhythmic ticking of the pump by his bed. He said, “Mom?” “Yes.” “Thanking you for coming to take care of me. I know you are having to miss work and the girls and all…” My heart sank so deeply I could feel the mattress move. All I go utter was “there is nowhere that I would rather be.” During the next few years, I spent countless days and hours waiting and watching our son fight for his life with the Lord by his side. Because of that nighttime conversation with him, I recognized that while I did miss home that there was no place I would rather be or no more important use of my time. We had a lot of good times in the midst of what the enemy laid out for destruction. I think sometimes as believers that it is easy to become so focused on what we want the Lord to do according to our human expectation that we miss what He is doing in our heart. Even in the long hours of waiting each moment is filled with meaning, purpose, and promise. We must learn to live in the waiting periods of life and recognize the importance of patience. Impatience will rob us of the love, grace, joy and peace that the Lord has provided in those moments. However, as we learn to slow down and wait on the Lord our strength is renewed. (Isaiah 40:31)

James 5:6-8 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.  You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

In I Peter 2:2-3, it talks about our arrival as newborn babies who crave spiritual milk. Milk helps babies grow, develop and mature. Spiritual milk does the same for believers. The purpose is to grow into the full experience of salvation. In kindergarten, my very first science project was to grow a radish in a small Dixie cup. Every day I watched and waited, elated when the first leaflet pushed through the soil. However, when a radish was not produced in a week, I lost interest. My mom tended the tiny plant, watering it, putting in the sunshine, and tending it until she came to me one day so I could harvest the radish. We think that the Lord is slack concerning His Promise. Deciding that surely He has forgotten us. Yet when we refuse to wait rushing off ahead, or sit pouting in the watchtower, the Lord carefully continues the process of cultivation in us and around us so that nothing is wasted even in our inability or unwillingness to wait on Him. We have no choice so it seems that it would be beneficial to make the best of it.

Growing a radish in a cup is an elementary science experiment for children. Those who participate are not farmers. A farmer is someone who grows from experience. He understands the growth process and invests in it continually. We can experiment with Christ or learn to experience Him every day. It is our willingness to invest our life and time in spiritual growth and heavenly pursuits even when it means extended wait times that make the difference in our life.

Proverbs 20:29 (NLT) The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Yes, I am definitely slowing down in more ways than one. Gone are the all-nighter. Done with the endless activities crammed packed in a day. No more going until I fall over because otherwise I would be in bed by 6PM. Those gray hairs peeking out will be dealt with by my hairdresser next week, but the experience that I have had with Jesus is priceless. I have spent countless hours waiting on the Lord only to know I cannot move forward without Him. Rather than escaping the waiting room, I find peace right there in that moment. I think that at my age, I am finally learning to pace myself and find balance. Where are you now?

Whether you are a kid, teenager, young adult or seasoned person, you will go through times of waiting. It is the process by which the Lord grows the Word in us to faith. He is an on-time God which seldom fits our schedule or routine. You think you need Him now, but just wait until tomorrow. God is making it come to pass slowly but surely. If you can find it in the Word of God, you can have it. If you can see it in scripture, you can be it. If your pursuit is Jesus, you will find Him. You just may have to wait a while. Is that okay? It is when you consider it will be worth it. It will be worth it all.

James 1:12 (NLT) God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 

Activate Faith

Activate Faith

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

So much for the leisurely stroll around the Scriptures this morning, it is clear that the Lord has something to say to us today. This really should be titled, “The Fast and the Furious.” Most mornings, my time with Jesus is peaceful and quiet. We talk. We walk through the Word. I pick up nuggets here and there to share with others. It is a wonderful way to begin each day and I highly recommend it. Some days, like today, it is a different story. As if something is being poured and I am running to catch it in a small glass, I don’t want to spill a drop. The Windows of Heaven are open today which means our prayers are being heard, mandates given, and the power of God pouring out on His People. Thank you, Lord.

It all began innocently. I was creating a spreadsheet for our pastor of the guests from our recent Grand Opening Celebration. He will be contacting these families. It is important for us to connect with one another. Haphazardly glancing through the pile in sheer exhaustion, I clearly underestimated how many new people and families who joined us that day. The growing list overwhelmed my heart as it raced with excitement. But it didn’t stop there, as I pressed send on the email – we were off. I went straight to the story in 2 Kings about the widow whose husband had died and now was in a desperate situation…until the Lord came for a visit.

2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT) One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

The widow was in a desperate situation. Her husband gone. No source of income. Her sons about to be taken into slavery. She felt like her life was slipping through her fingers. Elisha asked her, “What can I do to help you?” He asked her, “What do you have in your house?” Nothing. She had nothing but a flask of oil. Do you feel like the widow today? When you look around there is only desperation. Examining your life to find a hopeless situation. There is nothing to work with or draw from. What do you do? You turn to the Lord. We all do it. When things are good, we take over control of our life until we run dry, run out, or are used up. Then turning back to the Lord in desperation. He does the miraculous.

Elisha told her to gather as many empty jars as she could from friends and neighbors. NOTE: He did not tell her to go find jars full of any earthly sustenance which is human nature. To grab a handout if you can. He told her to go muster her faith. How big is your faith in God today? Is it possible to trust the Lord beyond your own understanding? Can you plunge into the depths of His Ways and Thinking that is so much higher than our own? Are you willing to wait for Jesus to do more than you can ask or think? Oh it’s coming. He is only waiting on you to activate your faith the moment you are filled with desperation.

I wonder what this woman was thinking at that moment. The beginning of desperation is called despair. This is usually when we are worrying, fretting, stressing, crying, complaining, moaning, groaning and miserable over the situation or circumstance we are in. Desperation comes after that. When we are desperate, we become reckless in our behavior. We have nothing to lose. The urgency of our need or desire take over good common sense. Our hope is dangerously low and the indicator light is on. What is it telling us? A miracle is about to happen. When our despair leads to desperation, it is the moment that our living condition becomes intolerable so something has to change. For those who believe filled with faith will become willing to walk by faith not by sight in that moment, they will risk anything just to be saved.

The outpouring of God in this woman’s life was limited only by her faith. When the vessels were full, the oil stopped pouring. What is the capacity of your willingness to trust the Lord? What is your level of faith? Have you cried out to the Lord and things only went from bad to worse? Good. God provides the impossible so that faith can make all things possible.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Faith allows us to be in right standing with God. By His Grace, we are saved by what? Faith. Faith that is lip service yields nothing but hot air. It is when faith moves from an attitude to an action that it is activated. You will not step out of comfort into faith but you will grab hold of it to pull yourself out of a fiery trial or two. We live in a place of undeserved privilege by faith. We are changed from glory to glory by faith. We must have faith to please God and remain in good standing with Him. (Hebrews 11:6) What produces faith? We run into problems and trials and get a little discouraged. Trotting along the road gets a little longer, so we must be patient and endure. Oh now we get a little disheartened. I hate to wait. God knows my heart so I find myself waiting all the time. I must endure to the end to be saved. This will require patient endurance that God is giving me in those wait times. I get it even though I don’t like it. Gotta keep moving. Endurance develops our character. Why is that so important? Character is important. It is our identity. Who we are? We are to be sons and daughters of God. We should look like it, talk like it and act like it. When our appearance and identity according to the world begins changing into who God created us to be, the fearfully and wonderfully made man or woman designed by God and masterpiece drawn by His Mighty Hand something begins to change in us. See when we cannot save ourselves – we turn to the Lord in complete desperation. The attainment of faith can be a difficult process. It is always worthwhile.

What do we find at the end? Hope that will never ever lead to disappointment. We thought that is exactly where we were headed down letdown lane, but really God was emptying our vessel to fill us up again with something more valuable than what worry, fear and doubt produced. You would have never let go of lesser things if God asked you for them. It would have been a fight to the finish. He just led you to something better that you are more than willing to take hold of and embrace.

Romans 5:6 (NLT) When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

Are you utterly helpless today? Do you feel wrung out like a dishrag lying on the sink? The dishes are done but so are you! God sees you right where you are and is rejoicing over you today. Great things are about to happen in your life because He has just about got you moved out of the way. Grace is pouring over you. It is feeling every void with the same resurrection power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The widow woman was discouraged. She felt hopeless. She became desperate. Her miracle came to pass that day. What about you? Is there a miracle in your midst today? I absolutely believe that there is. It is my experience that when our situation is labeled “impossible” or we are told that it is “hopeless” or maybe given the impression that it will be this way “forever”, that this is the moment His Grace becomes enough. This is the only time in the Word of God that Paul refers to the “thorn in his flesh”. He asked the Lord to remove it three time different times. Been there, done that. When our son was diagnosed the third time with cancer, the Lord brought this verse to mind. I read it. I got mad. I felt it was so cliché. God said, “No, really.” I thought “I wish that He would mind His Own Business.” I felt was a callous response to his brokenhearted daughter. Little did I know that my life was far from undone. It was only the beginning.

Each diagnose took a little more and a little more of my faith. I remember the day it ran out. Sitting at my desk in my office at work. All the lights in the building had been turned off except a desk lamp softly glowing. We were out of options. The final denial had come in and if God didn’t do something soon – our son would die. I have never felt so dry and desperate. The Lord has been good to me. God loves me. But I couldn’t understand why He would promise me that our son would live but it didn’t look like anymore. Staring at blank computer monitors, I felt like I was looking at a mirror to my soul. Dark, oh so dark. All I could whisper, “but I trust you God.” Dissolving into tears, I just poured out what was left of me to the Lord. I was weak, but it was in that moment of totally trusting Jesus that I found strength. He became my strength because I couldn’t do it anymore. I was done so He could step in and fill every facet of my life with His Power to finish the race of faith and claim the prize.

Matthew 14:28-32 (NLT) Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Jesus is doing exactly what He promised to do, but are we willing to get out of the boat. Not until our comfort zone is compromised, Peter didn’t even consider leaving the safety of the vessel until it was taking on water in danger of sinking in the storm. He was all too ready to jump in the water with Jesus when he became desperate. The moment Peter’s feet hit the water, his faith was evident. The moment his faith ran out was just as clear when he began to go under. Our faith is proportioned to our ability to trust Jesus, keep our eyes on Him and walk with Him. It is clear when it runs out.

The process of life for a believer is to attain faith in Jesus Christ and to trust God. This is the system of exchange that connects us to Heaven, blessings, prosperity and success according to the Word, Will and Way of God. We will not pursue God outside of desperation at the level necessary to secure heavenly things but just enough to remain comfortable. Comfort leads to compromise. Compromise invites complacency to live in us. This is a dream crusher, faith killer, and hope destroyer that the enemy uses every single day to cause Christians to go under. His Grace is enough. You will not know or understand its potential until His Grace is all that you have.

Matthew 17:19-20 (NLT) Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

If faith came in large quantities, it would not be compared to a mustard seed but mighty timber or giant mountain. No it is tiny and small. Hard to come by but with the greatest potential. We are impossible people. No really. In Genesis 11:5-6, God said that united people can do the impossible even apart from Him. Good luck with that huh? We cannot come together to save our souls in many instances so thankfully that is not a requirement but definitely a blessing when we get it right. We have impossible potential in us. Partnered with the Lord this becomes our purpose. It is in our desperation that we cry out to God. (Zechariah 8:6) I am not ashamed to admit that I have never ever cried out to God like I did on behalf of our son. It changed how I pray. It took my relationship with Jesus to a whole new level independent of our son and his situation. I will never be the same because of it. When we cry out to the Lord, He usually asks just one thing of us – to trust Him more. Do you trust the Lord today? The powerless become powerful just because they have the tiniest of faith.

Mark 9:23-24 (NLT) “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

This father was desperate to see his son released, delivered and set free. Jesus told him that anything is possible if a person believes. Do you believe? The words of your mouth reveal the contents of your heart. Actions speak louder than words. Those who believe are at peace even in the mightiest storm. Though stricken, they do not fall but regain composure thanks to the Hand of God that holds them. They do not lack, complain or die in famine but thrive nevertheless. God has all this instore for us. He is just waiting for us to trust Him a little more. We must turn our “if you can” to “yes you can” today and be willing to wait until God works it all out.

Hebrews 11:6-10 (NLT) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

It is impossible to please God without faith. He is not asking for much just a willing, empty vessel to fill and refill over and over again. Are you that vessel today? It is easy to proclaim a faith you do not have. People do it every day. But when the entire world comes crashing down around you, will it be enough to keep our hope secure. That really is what it all comes down to – how strong is our anchor of hope? (Hebrews 6:19) God told Noah to build the ark. Noah did it even though he didn’t know what “rain” was. He just did it by faith because he believed God completely. Abraham was told to leave his home for an unknown destination. God knew where Abraham was going and what He would find there. Yet Abraham had to pack up his family and move to find it. Peter would be the rock upon which Jesus built the church. Peter had to get out of the boat first. Our faith must be activated. God uses desperation to facilitate faith in our life. Rather than looking at what you do have, get out there and find opportunities to invest your faith into impossible situations. Over and over again, God will provide the grace that promotes power, the faith that moves mountains, and hope that never leads to disappointment. The next step is up to you!

Psalm 37:3-4 (NLT) Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.