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.

The Next Day

The Next Day

Mark 4:26-30 (NLT) Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

 

Impatience is the harvest killer of life. I am an impatient person. Looking back over my life, the Lord has used many situations that were clearly the deception or attack of the enemy to refine my faith through learning to have patience. The seed of faith is already within us. Romans 12:3 indicates a measure of faith that we are born with. This makes sense since our very existence was created by the Word of God. We are infused with the Breath of God. It would only seem right that the potential of God is somewhere within in us. God loves every single person ever created because He created them to be His Children. Sin ruined that but faith overcomes it. Faith in Jesus Christ allows grace to begin productivity in our natural life. Spiritual productivity is unlike natural production. We have learned to clone sheep and even initial life in a test tube. However, God created each of us on a cellular level so finite that as human beings it is impossible to completely duplicate the creativity of God even though we have tried. In that vast reproducing, we have also somehow thought it a good idea to make everything immediate. Our need to increase supply and demand makes convenience an option that must be included or risk losing the sale. While this causes the earth to flourish in things, it does not nothing to increase the Kingdom of God within us.

 

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 hope of God never ever leads to disappointment. So why do I get disappointed sometimes? I trust the Lord, live by faith and strive to follow Jesus, so why isn’t my life perfect? Because I am not perfect even in my pursuit of perfection. I come to these verses over and over again. On the days that I think that I am good and have it all together, they remind me that I have a long way to go. On those other days when nothing is going my way, there is a plan and purpose still being enacted. Faith is the process of acquisition of all that the Lord has promised us even those things we are too human to see, want or desire. He does more than we can ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

 

This morning I started a new journal. I love the fresh pages of a crisp, clean journal. They represent a new set of days with the Lord. As each page turns, a new day begins. Some days fill many pages all by themselves and there are other days that barely a sentence makes its way to the page. Why a journal? Each new day represents the promise that there is more to the plan and purpose of God for our lives. The seeds planted in our life are being given time to grow. The faith born in us from the beginning is taking root day after day. The new seeds shoved in our heart from God’s Word are growing into the blessings of God for our life. New seedlings are being given an opportunity to become the oaks of righteousness eluded to. It all takes time. (Isaiah 61:3) It all comes down to faith. Faith in God. Faith in His Word and yes, faith in His Timing.

 

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

 

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 Genesis 17, Abraham asks the Lord to compromise. God says, “No!” He wants God to essentially make Ishmael the substitution for Isaac. He asks, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing?” Oh the Ishmael’s in our life. Those times that we compromise rather than enduring. The many substitutions settled for because the current wait time is too long. If given the option, our flesh would give in every single time rather than waiting on the Lord’s Promises to propagate in our lifetime. However, we are told from the beginning that God does not lie or change His Mind. (Numbers 23:19) When experiencing pressure, we press back rather than resting in God’s Love. As endurance stretches us to hang on a little longer each time, our flesh cries out to just let go. Endurance develops our character. The more we wait and see that the Lord really is good, the longer we are willing to wait the next time a test comes along. We must endure to the end. Immediate gratification just to satisfy the crying flesh would not yield the promises of God but just more compromises and substitutions.

 

God’s Special Blessing was for Isaac. Although the Lord told him “no”, it is followed by a giant “yes”! God told Abraham Sarah will give birth to a son for you. He even called Isaac by name. “I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.” Why was Isaac important to the future generation and the everlasting hope? Because Jesus would come through the lineage of Abraham and Isaac. No Isaac. No Savior. No everlasting covenant. Worth the wait, I would say so. Everything has a season because everything is according to God’s Plan. God makes everything beautiful in His Time. Ishmael was a substitute son who was born out of the Will of God. Though God did bless him, it was clear that Ismael was not the promised son. If we look at our life, there will be many times that it is evident that we stepped out of God’s Timing. Maybe it has produced some Ishmaels along the way. I know this one thing. Romans 8:28 promises to make good out of every detail of our life including the Ishmael experiences when we did not wait for the day to come when God’s Promise came to pass. But the Lord will bless those who keep trying to wait and see that He is good.

 

Genesis 18:10-14 (NLT) Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

 

The measure of faith that each person is born with comes full of potential. It will take every bit of that faith to see it come to pass in our life. Faith is a process not a finished product. It must grow, develop and mature over time. God’s Promise for your life is bigger and better than you can even imagine. Our expectation must be for the impossible because that is what He is doing in us and through us according to His Plan. It’s called future and hope. The future of faithfulness is fulfillment of hope. Hope never disappointments. If you can see it in the natural, you can obtain it in the physical. Supernatural is not naturally occurring. Faith and hope are not provisions of it. Therefore it is important that we do not put our faith and trust in the seen but the unseen just as the Word of God says. We want God’s Plan, His Will and His Way because it will exceed our expectation and lead to unlimited potential.

 

Sarah laughed. Did you laugh at the thought God put in your head today? The vision of the future that is too big to grasp or fully comprehend. Have you been waiting and watching but nothing is happening so you are considering give up as an option? God is working in your wait time. The next day may be the new season that you have longed for. It won’t come until you stop laughing at the ridiculousness of it, and take hold of it for the sake of righteousness refusing to give up until God relents. If you are waiting, watching and praying for the impossible, you are well on your way to fulfillment. God understands how uttering ridiculous it sounds or impossible it seems. He designed it that way so you would put your trust solely and unconditionally in His Word, His Will and His Way. Natural sight leads to doubt and fear. Supernatural vision keeps its focus on Jesus.

 

Romans 4:17-22 (NLT)  Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.

 

Isaac came just as God had promised Abraham and Sarah. Even though it was impossible, Isaac made his arrival just as God told the couple. However, this would not be the end of the story, the Lord came to Abraham and told him that he was to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. (Genesis 22) The next day Abraham cut the wood for the offering, saddled the donkey and left for the place he was instructed with his son, his only son, Isaac. Would you do it? Would you sacrifice your son? Your only son? God did it for us. Abraham was willing to give his son to the Lord. His only son. Abraham loved his son, but he loved God more. Abraham trusted God with his entire being enough to go to the mountain of sacrifice fully believing and trusting that God would not lie or change His Mind but do just what He promised to do. Because Abraham did not waver in unbelief but was fully convinced that God will do exactly what He promises, Abraham was counted as righteous by God.

 

I want to be like Abraham. I want to believe in the unbelievable and impossible things of God. I want to wait until each and every promise comes to pass. I must be willing to wait for what comes next even when I have no idea what I am waiting on other than God.

 

Luke 13:6-9 (NLT) Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

 

God’s Way is sowing and reaping. He eludes to it many times throughout the Bible. We are born with a measure of faith that is the fertility of our heart. We plant (or sow) God’s Word into it each day. We allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate it and toil over it removing the weeds that threaten to choke it out, and the rocks that keeps good roots from forming. We must wait for those seeds to grow. Weeds are a quick work without roots. They have no purpose and die quickly. We are to be oaks of righteousness. Immovable trees with wide spreading roots that not only are secure but nourish us so we will produce good fruit. When we are not seeing spiritual productivity, it is an opportunity to spend some time tending our tree.

 

The Lord is hoping that the next day or season will be the one when you choose to remain in right standing, unwavering belief, and steadfast faith. Because this is when our promises come to pass, each season is God’s Way of teaching us patience and perseverance. This is not to punish us or exert any kind of ill will over His People. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Only faith, hope and love credit our life. Everything else is a fruitless endeavor.

 

Isaiah 30:18 (NLT) So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

 

Jonah had hit a rough patch. He was at an impasse that catapulted him right in the belly of a whale and to be vomited on a beach. What a mess the poor man must have been. God raised up a shade plant to cover him from the scorching sun. God is a compassionate God. He knows endurance is rough and perseverance a pain. However, the Lord is only going to allow our pity party to last so long. It says, “But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away!” (Jonah 4) Pity party over. See God has arranged for new mercy to reach us each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) He is turning our mourning into dancing the next day. (Psalm 30:11-12) He will not allow us to remain stuck in an unfruitful season but allow us to become uncomfortable so we will move or be moved. He is producing a harvest from all those tears. (Psalm 126:5-6) It is a joyful harvest for those who will get up and swing the sickle again. We are to live on purpose and with purpose in mind. God is not weak or weary but waiting on us. In the meantime…

 

Mark 1:35-39 (NLT) Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

 

Jesus is our example in all thing. Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Do you spend time with the Lord each day? We make time for every other thing in our life but often forget the most important part – spending time with the Lord. When you set aside time to spend in God’s Word and prayer basking in His Presence, you will not feel abandoned, forgotten or forlorn anymore. It is in His Presence that we discover things really are going according to His Plan. This was not a corporate event for the Bible says that later the others went to find Jesus. We must institute a quiet time with Jesus every single day rearranging our schedule and realigning our priorities so that Jesus is always first. We must be obedient and faithful to the Lord. When we become frustrated with our circumstances or strained by situations, it is human nature to turn on God rather than pressing in and overcoming. We have a mission. It is called the Great Commission. To remain focused and faithful allows us to overcome the temptation to turn our back on the Lord for immediate gratification, conditional compromise, and settling for substitutions. We forfeit our fulfillment by not acknowledging that some days or maybe most days we must wait for the next day to see the harvest we have planted.

 

Genesis 8:21-22 (NLT) And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

 

We have the ability to prosper in Jesus Christ today. We are filled with godly potential with a measure of faith in which it can take root and grow. Only those willing to wait will find fulfillment. The fact that you are breathing right now indicates unfulfilled purpose bubbling inside of you. Are you willing to wait for it? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate your heart and make it fertile for God’s Word to grow into a promise? Are you tired of the pity party and ready for a victory celebration? The new journal that I opened today has reminded me that there is so much more to life than meets the eye. If I will just continue to pursue the Lord, He will fill my life with His Goodness and Grace each day I choose to live in His New Mercy. He is turning ever heartache into joy. He is allowing all my tears to water my harvest. God is good. His Love is great. Greater is He who lives in me than He that is in the world. If I could just learn to take one day at a time rather than gauging my whole life by one day, I will see His Blessings and Promises come to pass. What if that next day is actually tomorrow?

 

Matthew 28:1-7 (NLT) Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

 

God Remembers…

God Remembers

Genesis 8:20-22 (NLT) Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

 

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be stuck on a boat, all the windows and doors sealed shut, filled with smelly livestock, surrounded by your entire family, listening to the pounding rain feeling the rocking of the entire vessel all the while not having a clue where you are going or what you will find when the door finally opens? There was a terrible storm. I watched my husband out the window of my office as he cleaned the pool in the midst of flashing lightning and crashing thunder. Why would I just watch him in such a dangerous situation? Do you really think he would have come in if I called him? No, with one huge boom a transformer was hit and power lost. He decided that might be a good time to come in. Once inside the house, a few minutes turned into half an hour. The longer the silence the more stirred up our youngest became until finally her boredom drove us from the house into the car out into the wet world around us. In search of power, we went to the frozen yogurt bar to pass the time and take advantage of some free Wi-Fi. By the time we made our way back, power was restored and our routine could continue. No one was harmed. Life is good. I cannot imagine how badly Noah wanted off the ark considering I couldn’t make it an hour in our powerless home with my family.

 

One would think at my age trusting God would be a lifestyle routine, waiting just a thing, and that the process of endurance not a big deal anymore. Well, trusting God is still a challenge, waiting a problem and the process of patience that lead to endurance a point of contention in this life that I live. The more I desire to love and serve the Lord, the more help I need from Him to accomplish such a thing. We teach our children that Noah was on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights when in reality it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. There was way more time between conception and reality from faith to hope then we care to remember. But God remembers…He knows what He planned and intends to do just what He promised.

 

God’s Promise to Noah – I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” When Noah heard the voice of God and obeyed it was with the pure intent to save his family from destruction. His actions did not just impact his family but the coming generations. Noah was acting in the moment but the Lord had forever in mind.

 

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.

 

Our live in Christ is a gift. Once it is received, we must open it and use it to understand its full potential. At first, there are some expectations based on superficial knowledge that will change once we fully encounter the Gift of God that is eternal life. God placed Eternity in our heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Eternal life is our gift from God through Jesus Christ who puts us back into right standing with Him, hence beginning a lifelong process of fulfillment. When we seek the Lord wholeheartedly, His Plan is set into motion and obtained in the process of working out one’s salvation. This is opening God’s Gift and applying it to our life. Life is a process. Salvation requires a process. We are all in the process as long as there is breath in our body with a beating heart. Raise your hand if you like God’s Process all the time? Nah, me either. No matter what, God’s Process for our life always yields a future and hope. His Word never returns void in our life. (Isaiah 55:11) In fact, God promises that it will always prosper our life accomplishing exactly what He intended it to do.

 

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

 

The process of God requires His Timing. He will not do anything prematurely or posthumously. It is all accomplished in due season. Life is a series of seasons naturally and spiritually all building to the crescendo called Eternity. God’s Big Tada! Humanity tends to focus on the here and now. God gives us the benefit of Ecclesiastes as blessed assurance to secure our anchor of hope in that there is time for everything in our life. Nothing is wasting as the Lord takes each moment and capitalizes on it. This is why we believe Romans 8:28 that He takes all the details of our life making good on His Promises. But when there is a time for everything than with it comes a prescribed wait time. Ugh! I am waiting on the Lord for some things currently that are taking longer than I would like them too. I have become frustrated. Yet, over the years, I have learned that this hope I have in Jesus never leads to disappointment so just about the time my flesh thinks it is winning and I am about to throw in the towel, the Lord yet again convinces me that He is worth the wait.

 

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.

 

Oh my goodness this inescapable process and procedure of God as He cannot and will not ever reduce the maximum potential of His Promise for my immediate relief or gratification. God will not relent but requires perfection in His Prosperity. You may be willing to take less but the Lord will never give us less than His All. Oh how I fall short… Are you tired of waiting today? Wondering if God forgot His Promise to you, I will admit I was struggling. He opened the window of the ark allowing me to peer into his friend, Noah’s life.

 

Noah was 600 years old when he entered the ark. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The floodwaters sat on the earth another 150 days. The waters receded over another two and a half months. After yet another 40 days, Noah could finally open a window. (Genesis 7 & 8) When Noah finally exited the smelly and disgusting cramped quarters of the soggy vessel, he was 601 years old. His salvation from the flood took more than a year.

 

Timing is everything to God. Our ability to wait on the Lord secures our future. God understands when we get tired, impatient and fed up. His Grace is enough for me during those times when I want the promise but resist the wait. He sends new mercy every single day if I would simply go after it.

 

Lamentations 3:21-26 (NLT) Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

 

While Noah was waiting for the earth to produce dry land, he released two birds – a raven and a dove. I believe these two birds represent two essential qualities in our pursuit of that which is hoped for. The raven was often referred to due to its voracious appetite. It is relentless in its pursuit of fulfillment and always hungry. Noah desired God with His Whole Being. He craved a relationship with God. He was hungry for Him. The bird flew away each morning and back each night over and over again. Pursuit is necessary in the process of God. It should be wholehearted.

 

In addition to the raven, Noah also released a dove. Ambition is a good thing. Motivation is an admirable quality, too. The godliness of these two things is manifested in that which is pursued and desired. Noah and his family was saved because Noah did everything the Lord commanded. (Genesis 7:5) The raven was looking for the things needed for natural survival. The dove represented the Lord and when the dove did not come back it was time to step out in faith again for Noah and follow the Lord.

 

Noah got on the ark with the expectation of survival. God never wonders or worries that we will make it. He has a plan for our life with a future and hope for those who will endure to the end. God always plans for us to thrive and grow where we are planted. When Noah came off the boat, he did not run to build a fire or a house or any other natural thing. Noah built an altar and worshipped the Lord. See at the end of our pursuit, no matter what it is, if we do not find the Lord than we have somehow missed it. When we fall behind, we lose sight of Him. When we go ahead of his perfect timing, it aborts our arrival. But when we wait on the Lord and He is our hope, no matter where we land we will find Him and worship Him. When the Lord is our inheritance, our hope is fulfilled.

 

Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

 

Is hope deferred in your life today? Is your heart sick…and tired of waiting on the Lord and His Promise? I completely understand. I am waiting on some things, too. I grow weak and weary in the process but God does not know these two traits. He never grows weak and weary of pursuing us and overtaking us with His Goodness. We must seek only seek godliness to have such things. Even when that which we wait for is completely in line with God’s Written and Spoken Word, there is almost always a wait time associated. Why? The hope we have is about the size of our faith equaling a mustard seed. But the hope of God that we have obtained in Christ Jesus is so much bigger than that. We look for that which we hope for like a piece of fruit hidden in a tree. We want to fill our hand but God wants to fill our life. He wants to produce a tree from that seed of faith that will satisfy not only us but God’s People all around us. He is growing us into mighty oaks of righteousness immovable in the storm and able to prosper in every season including those of famine and drought. His Plan and Purpose is so much bigger than the small and sometimes insignificant thing that we ask for. We want a quick fix but the Lord offered us forever and He remembers.

 

Psalm 33:10-12 (NLT) The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance.

 

Slow Internet

Slow Internet

Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 

I do not remember asking the Lord for patience. In fact, I recall many saints of God warning me against such an endeavor. Patience is hard won in this thing called life. It is clearly contradictory to the world with its need for immediate gratification. Turning on the computer, I must wait for the programs to load. The screen is illuminated with a beautiful wedding picture of my family which always makes me smile. Clicking the icon to enter the worldwide web the cursor begins spinning…and spinning…and spinning. Ugh! Slow internet. We have had the same contract for years but now have more users than before. The office is on the other side of the house though only a few rooms and walls away seems as though the signal makes a transatlantic voyage to load on the screen. Is it really the slow internet eating away at me or the fact that I am waiting…again? It is more likely the latter as I have developed some patience in regard to earthly things. Spending years waiting on appointments, doctors, test result and diagnoses will do that for you. Yet patience, like faith, seems to come in small quantities. At least for me that is.

 

The desires of my heart have changed over the years. Yet my propensity to respond to the pressure of waiting does not seem to lessen but only intensify. Perseverance is needed to accommodate faith. Faith cannot be found in anything less than waiting on the Lord. We must wait. But why? What is the point of having to wait for God and His Goodness when we as Christians who strive to live righteous and obedient lives fully demonstrating our belief in Jesus? Why does God make us wait? Friend, there is purpose in waiting. There is preparation in thing called perseverance that is more valuable than any amount of money or a heavy load of shiny gold. It is called faith. When we learn to trust the Lord with our whole being and decide to wait on the Lord in all things – we live the life of the righteous.

 

Righteousness is nothing that we can do or will ever produce in our life. It is a gift from God through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9) It is our human desire to somehow earn it and repay the obligation as we want to be free of such a responsibility. We cannot repay God for our very life. We have nothing of worth to offer. We do. But it will never be enough. We trust. But it is only limited as we strive to regain control. We have faith but it is as small as a mustard seed. We need patience to allow it time to grow. You know at night when the signal on the Internet is weakest because so many people are drawing from it, it is not unusual to find one of our daughters sitting next to the router. Being closest to the router, they receive the strongest signal. You know when they can get the Internet in their room, they stay right there. But when it becomes weak or disconnected, they move toward it. They close the distance between them and the connection. No longer do you hear grumbling or complaining as they sit there quietly doing homework or on social media. Makes me think… how about you?

 

Judges 6:17-18 (NIV)

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

 

Gideon is hiding in the winepress threshing wheat. He is minding his own business when the Lord comes to him and gives him a promise. “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’”(Judges 6:12) Gideon cannot help but remind the messenger of the current condition of the people. The Midianites “like locust” were destroying the people. Burning crops, killing livestock and oppressing the Israelites who yet again had turned their back on God. Gideon also reminded the visitor that he was from the weakest clan and among them the least. The Lord continues to encourage Gideon giving him purpose, go in the strength you have and save Israel. God had placed something in Gideon that was not perceived by his consequence or current condition. The Lord promised the man His Presence. “I will go with you” and you will be victorious. At some point in their conversation, Gideon decided that he must obey the Lord. He petitioned the Lord, “Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

 

I have read this story many times. It is one that encourages us to look past the natural condition of our life and pursue God’s Promise for us. No matter how weak and insignificant we may feel or foreboding and overwhelming the set of circumstances, if God be for us who can be against us? Right. Right? Okay well maybe… God is with us. His Spirit lives in us. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He released the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, His Spirit made its home in mankind. It is up to us to cultivate a life of faith and hope learning to trust the Lord. We cannot make a manmade sacrifice such as Gideon which was immediately consumed by the Lord. We have only one thing to sacrifice. Our whole being. Our broken spirit. A contrite and broken heart. Why did the angel wait? He waited for Gideon to prepare his offering. Maybe part of the reason God waits to give us His Promise or release His Purpose is so that we can prepare our sacrifice.

 

Romans 4:1-5 (NIV)

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

 

“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’ Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.” (Genesis 22:1-4) I have often thought about the journey of Abraham up the mountain to meet the Lord. In fact, toward the end of our journey with our son, I spent many hours at the gym on an elliptical machine envisioning my footfall and dust flying beneath my feet running up the mountain after him. I had to get to the place of sacrifice. I had to see what the moment after that one held. I had to see the Promise of the Lord fulfilled.

 

As I am reminded of this story today, I can look at it from the other side of the mountain. Our son was spared by the Lord and remains in remission. It figuratively came just moments before the death blow could have come in his young life. At first, the journey was filled with faith and hope as he rallied valiantly through the first round of chemo and radiation. Cancer gone, it was a time of rejoicing that would soon come to an end. Abraham waiting ninety years for his promise. When the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son, his only son, Abraham embarked on the journey to the place of sacrifice. It was a three-day trip and still he saw the place “in the distance.” I wonder if this might represent our wait times and the pathway to perseverance in our life? All those times that God makes a promise and we choose to hang on until He keeps it. As He moved closer to the mountain, I am quite sure that Abraham pressed into God’s Presence. He prayed. He quietly cried out to the Lord. When fear gripped him, his faith took another step closer. When grief tried to stop him, hope pushed him on. Abraham would be found righteous by God – not because he lived a perfect and sinless life. God found Abraham righteous simply by faith. Abraham trusted God. But did it take three or four days of going to the place of sacrifice to prepare the offering? The offering that day was Abraham’s whole being. It was an outward expression of his inward choice to believe that God is good in all things.

 

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

 

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) The perfect sacrifice was made so that we could become in right standing with God again. Jesus is our Savior. To make the choice to live our life according to His Sacrifice is to pursue righteousness and holiness. We are to be a living sacrifice. The Word of God calls us “living stones” which are being built into the Kingdom of God. We have a free will that decides the level of our giving. The only acceptable sacrifice is a broken spirit and a broken heart. It is in this “breaking” that we come to the end of self and accept Jesus as Lord of our life. Everything changes the moment we accept God’s Promise and decide to live according to His Word, His Will and His Way. Our flesh rallies to live but our spirit needs it to die so we can give the Lord our whole being and not just some parts. My whole being must wait on the Lord. It is when I am broken that His Grace becomes enough as I move out of the way. God waits on us. We do not wait on Him.

 

Psalm 37:3-7 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight 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 do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

 

What is God waiting on? He is waiting for me to trust Him. He is waiting for me to continue to do good even when it is not yielding immediate results. He is waiting for me to take delight in Him and continually praise Him even under extreme pressure. He is waiting for me to commit my way to Him by faith even when there seems to be no way out. The Lord is asking me to be still and wait on Him to perfect His Plan and make me complete lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4) Though the wait is long, my faith is one minute longer. He encourages me not to compare my life to others but keep focused on Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of my faith. Comparison is a joy killer. Waiting and persevering will always take us to the edge of self because that is where we find the Lord. (Psalm 38:13-15) Gideon told the angel of the Lord every single reason why He was not the “mighty warrior” that God called him that day until finally he brought the offering that represented self.

 

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

We all need and want a savior. Someone to rescue us in life. But few desire a Lord to love, protect and lead them through life. When Jesus came into your heart and mine, He did so with purpose. He wants His Promise and His Glory to illuminate from your life to become a city on the hill and a light in the darkness. You cannot stay the same. It is in our absolute and complete devastation that we discover the tiniest yet most valuable part of us…our faith. When we take that faith and sow it back into the Kingdom, it grows a little more each time. The sacrifice of harvest is our self. A life surrendered to God knows no bounds but it also knows no other way but through Jesus Christ.

 

Today as I wait a little longer, I am reminded that perseverance is necessary to obtain all of God’s Promises. We must wait on the Lord. But more importantly, He is waiting for us to respond to His Promises to us with faith and confident hope born of character totally offered up to the Lord holding nothing back and surrendering our all. This is how we make every effort to respond to God’s Promises as Paul indicated to the Corinthians. (2 Peter 1:5) What is the Lord waiting on? He has spoken to your heart, now He is waiting for you to say like the psalmist, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk to me,’ and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming!’” (Psalm 27:8 NLT)

 

So maybe even the slow internet in our house has a purpose more than trying my patience, it reminds me today that sometimes I am not waiting on the Lord but rather He is waiting on me to move in deeper or come a little closer. What if that is the very thing that will bring down the barriers or cover the breaches in our life? What if it is just God waiting on us to prepare an acceptable life offering or gather all of our self for sacrifice? God’s Love is so amazing! He is such a good Father!

 

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.