Christianity 201

March 8, 2019

Time: Our Perspective; God’s Perspective

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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While we mostly use writers here who have been featured before, every once in awhile we go ‘fishing’ so to speak, and today I feel like we struck gold. (If that isn’t the best example of a mixed metaphor, I don’t know what would beat it!)

Benjamin Moore is an MK (Missionary Kid) who clearly presents a subject here which confounds even seasoned, veteran Christ followers. Click the title header below to read at source, and then take a few minutes to check out the rest of his site, including articles written in Spanish.

God’s perfect timing

John 7: 6-8
Therefore Jesus told them,“ My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”

Do you know what the rarest resource is?

Time is our most precious gift. Once it’s gone it’s gone.

Every second that passes is another second you can’t get back no matter what.

We know this and I think that is why we try to hold on to it so tightly and control it.

It’s not ours to control

The reality is that it is God’s time, not ours.

Time belongs to Him. Notice Jesus says “My Time,” twice.

We work on his agenda, not the other way around.

I struggle with this. And I know I am not alone.

Look at Jesus’ Brothers.

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. – John 7:3 (NIV) 

In other words “Hey, Jesus, we think you need to go now”.

But it wasn’t up to them. It was up to Jesus.

And like His brothers, I am sure you struggle with this as well.

We like to play little gods and be in control of what happens and when it happens.

But that is God’s place.

You don’t have control, He does.

Even your days are numbered

Job 14:5-7 (NLV) A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set.

God is so in control of time that He has your days numbered.

It shouldn’t cause us stress but instead, it should move us into courage because when it’s your time it’s your time.

This is encouraging because now you don’t have to walk around frightened by the unknown because the unknown to us is laid out before God.

Give up control

Give up control is not what we like to hear. But just because you don’t like something doesn’t change the necessity for you to do it.

Stop trying to be in control of Time. It will only frustrate you. You will always come to the same conclusion. You can’t do anything about it.

You can try.

Turn back the hands on your clock but that doesn’t change anything. That will just make you late for work.

Time slips out of our hands like water and we are helpless to do anything about it.

God’s view of time is different

So as you give up control and as you wait, its good to know how God views time.

2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

God is not bound by time like we are.

He is not restricted by it.

So He is never in a hurry to do something.

God’s calendar only has one square on it and it’s labeled eternity.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Notice this crazy insight Peter gives us into how God’s sees time. And the Psalmist actually said it before him.

Psalm 90:4 (NIV)  A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

Based on this we just can’t expect God to see things the way we do.

Can you imagine what God thinks we say things like I running out of time?

God’s time is perfect

Good thing for us God’s timing is always perfect.

We might feel like time is running out but God knows when it will be the best time for His plans to take place.

Just think of Jesus birth and how it was predicted thousands of years before He was born.

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Gal 4:4).

When the fullness of time = God’s perfect timing.

The Jews were coming under the dominion and taxation of a foreign power. Strangers were beginning to rule over them. They had no longer an independent government of their own. The “due time” had come for the promised Messiah to appear. Augustus taxes “the world,” and at once Christ is born. (J.C. RYLE – John Charles Ryle was an English Evangelical Anglican bishop)

The whole civilized earth was at length governed by one master (Daniel 2:40). (J.C. RYLE)

There was nothing to prevent the preacher of a new faith going from city to city and country to country. (J.C. RYLE)

So if you are in a time of waiting don’t worry because God’s timing is always perfect.

  • He’s never late.
  • He’s always on time.
  • Keep waiting.
  • Keep trusting.

He hasn’t forgotten you.

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2019

Waiting Tests

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:30 pm
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The golden calf was constructed due to the Israelite’s disobedience in waiting as instructed. In our own lives we need to consider the peril of constructing golden calves when we fail the waiting test.

Today we’re back with Stephen & Brooksyne Weber at Daily Encouragement. They are in full time ministry writing this weekday devotional, and doing chaplaincy ministry in central Pennsylvania.

A Lesson From A Golden Calf

“He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt'” (Exodus 32:4).

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4).

… The golden calf is what the people had made when they failed to patiently wait as instructed by Moses. In one way or another it seems we are all waiting for something in life. Realistically much of our waiting is trivial such as waiting for a traffic light to change or waiting in a long line at the grocery store.

But the wait periods of life are often hard. Like waiting for medical test results or news from a loved one we are anxious to hear from. It may be waiting for a specified change of direction in our life, perhaps in our work or ministry. Certainly for all of us it is waiting for the blessed hope. (Titus 2:13)

Obedience in waiting is one of the most important tests we have in life. Prior to going up to Mount Sinai, Moses gave a very specific command to the leaders of the children of Israel. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you’ (Exodus 24:14).

But the wait was long and the people grew impatient. Much to their shame they took matters into their own hands. When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow, Moses, who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’ (Exodus 32:1). Soon they’re worshiping and carousing around a golden calf with Aaron as their leader! They miserably failed the “wait test” and grave consequences followed.

The Bible has many examples of waiting tests such as Abraham for the promised son, Jacob for Rachel, Saul for Samuel and others. Many of them failed the test of obedience in waiting which resulted in long-term, sometimes life-long consequences.

We also have many waiting tests in our lives. Even as you read this you’re likely considering a situation you’re praying about and waiting to see how God brings about His will in the matter. Trusting, praying and obeying during the wait can be very challenging, since we’re tempted to take things into our own hands rather than fully trusting God to work things out according to His will and His timing. In the wait process we may even hit rock bottom. But Tony Evans says that “When we hit rock bottom we discover that Jesus is the Rock at the bottom.”

Here’s a great truth to hide deep in your heart today based upon our second Bible text: God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. This verse is a real treasure buried in a portion of the Bible not as familiar to many.  Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. Today may this truth fill your life with peace as you trust in God, who always acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. God grant us grace to obediently wait.

Be encouraged today as we obediently wait on Him.

Daily prayer: Father, many times Scripture that speaks of waiting on You is followed by the directive of being courageous. Indeed it does take courage for me to trust You and not take matters into my own hands since that comes so naturally to my way of thinking and doing things. But as a loving, protecting and omnipotent Father You tenderly care for me as I commit my concerns to You. My unbelief and impatience leads to fearsome worry and unwise behavior. Getting ahead of Your divine plan and perfect timing only leads to more frustration and difficulty. Help me to remember that waiting coupled with prayer brings about growing courage and dependence on You rather than myself. Amen.

 

July 18, 2018

God’s Perfect Timing

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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We periodically visit the devotional website of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, which features a different writer each day. This devotional reminds us three “timing” passages in scripture and was written by Dee Renaud.

The Right Place At The Right Time

When my husband and I were asked to lead an Alpha small group at our church a few years ago, we were in the right place at the right time. Thus began many Bible studies and many special relationships with so many wonderful people in our congregation.

When Esther saved her people from certain death, she was in the right place at the right time.

Esther 4:14 – For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (NIV)

Have you ever looked back on your life and realized that God’s timing was perfect in one or more situations? We can always trust in God’s timing. We are impatient people, and we want everything now. Too often, we forget that God knows what is best for us and that He wants what is best for us. His timing is always perfect.

At exactly the right time, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth.

Galatians 4:4 – But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law. (NIV)

Some may think that when Jesus was crucified on the cross, He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, His death was God’s plan for our salvation. We needed Jesus to be our Saviour, to save us from our sins. When He died on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself so that we could be forgiven. He was definitely in the right place at the right time.

Romans 5:6 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (NIV)

Many of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour will remember when we were in the right place at the right time.

  • Maybe we were listening to a sermon.
  • Maybe a friend was telling us about Jesus.
  • Maybe we were reading the Bible and the Holy Spirit convicted us of our sins.

There will be times in our lives when we make bad choices. It’s never too late to repent and turn back to God. The price has been paid. The offer is there. Will you accept God’s offer of forgiveness and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Have you been waiting for such a time as this?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You that every day is a new beginning with new opportunities to trust in You. There is a time for everything in life. Forgive us for the times when we have made bad choices and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank You for the times when we have been in the right place at the right time. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


 

 

December 21, 2016

In the Fullness of Time

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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Today we pay a return visit to Nancy Ruegg who has been blogging faithfully for four years at From the Inside Out | Impressions Becoming Expressions. She uses a variety of writing styles to cover various themes from scripture. To read today’s at source — with Nancy’s generous inclusion of graphic images — click the title below and then click the ‘Home’ tag to view other articles.

The Appropriate Time

“But when the appropriate time had come,
God sent his Son.”
–Galatians 4:4, ISV

Let’s see…Jesus arrived on Planet Earth during the height of the Roman Empire, some 2000+ years ago – long before television or radio, even before the telegraph.

Why didn’t God wait, at least until the 1800s, so news of Jesus’ birth could be transmitted quickly?

Then there’s the argument from the other end of the spectrum. Why did God wait so long to send Jesus? Century upon dark and gloomy century had passed since Adam and Eve first sinned and a Savior was promised (Genesis 3).

There must have been something just right about that era when the Romans ruled the world. In fact, Bible scholars have identified a number of factors to explain the appropriateness of this time for God to send his Son.  Such information contributes proof of God’s wisdom and his ability to engineer circumstances perfectly:

  • The Romans had built roads all across southern Europe and into the Middle East, making travel much easier. During the first century after Jesus’ birth, early Christians were able to spread the good news about Jesus from one end of the empire to the other.
  • Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and stability that lasted approximately 200 years, began with the reign of Caesar Augustus. You’ll remember his name. He was in power when Jesus was born (Luke 2:1). Travel during this era was much safer.
  • Years before the Romans rose to supremacy, Alexander the Great of Greece had instituted common culture and a common language (Koine Greek). More people were being educated than ever before, and learning Greek or Latin in school. Language was not a barrier in proclaiming the news that the Savior had been born.
  • However, in spite of these positive effects of the Roman Empire, few people appreciated their cruel tactics to maintain control and outward peace. The Jews certainly chafed under their domination. But that increased the desire of God’s people for their Messiah to come.
  • Other nationalities had to face the fact their false gods had failed to save them from Roman conquest. Many people were ready to abandon the worship of idols and discover the different kind of peace Jesus offered (John 14:27).
  • By this time, many of those who had embraced Greek philosophy were realizing the spiritual emptiness of such thinking and were also ready to consider Jesus. The success of Paul’s ministry in such cities as Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch of Pisidia, and Colossae are in part due to this readiness.
  • The Roman army recruited men from every province they conquered, then dispersed them as needed throughout the region. Imagine Christian soldiers stationed among those of other beliefs, living Jesus’ way and sharing their faith—all across the empire . Historians credit this kind of interaction among Roman soldiers as the means for the people of Britain learning about Christianity.

Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but it is significant that I found seven reasons why the Roman era, particularly under Caesar Augustus, was the appropriate time for the birth of Jesus.  The number seven is mentioned over 700 times in scripture. Often it expresses completeness and perfection, beginning with the seven days of creation—six to complete the universe in absolute perfection and one day of rest.

The bulleted list above provides evidence of complete preparation for the coming of the Messiah: politically, culturally, and spiritually. But none of these factors would have mattered if Jesus’ message hadn’t been perfect truth:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
— John 3:16

“I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.”
— John 10:10

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
— John 14:6

Today, well over two billion people embrace the complete and perfect truth of Christianity.

I am so very thankful to be among them.  Aren’t you?

September 4, 2014

The Timing of the One who Exists Outside of Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:21 pm
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This is part two from Steven C. Mills of Steve’s Bible Meditations, and again you’re encouraged to read this at source and visit the rest of the blog. If you’re a grandparent, you might also enjoy Steve’s other blog, Poppy’s New Adventure. Click the title below to read today’s devotional at source. If you missed part one, you’ll find it there on July 4th, as well as here yesterday.

 

Wait Training, Part 2: The Inscrutability of God – Isaiah 40:28-29

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power” (Isaiah 40:28-29, NASB).

When we wait upon the Lord, our faith is actually strengthened because the act of waiting develops God’s perspective in us. In other words, it’s Wait Training!

“Waiting upon the Lord” causes you to rise above your present circumstances to get a higher view, a more objective view, a God-view of them. From that vantage point, you can gain perspective about what it is that you are hoping and trusting God to do and thereby develop a better understanding of God’s plans and purposes for you.

When you follow the advice to “wait upon the Lord” (vs. 31), it’s easy to see why you must wait on God to act and to perform His will when you consider it within the context of the previous verses. God is the Everlasting Creator of the universe. Time and space exist only within His Infinite realm (vs. 28). So, He proceeds about the business of performing His will at the perfect pace!

While we can ascertain God’s intentions–His goodness and our redemption–we can’t always perceive His timing. We can only know that because He is the Everlasting Creator of the universe that His timing is perfect. He doesn’t need to hurry up because He’s fallen behind or slow down because He’s gotten ahead. He’s at the right place at the right time doing just the right thing!

But because God is not limited by time and space and we are, He is inscrutable to us. We can’t always know what His timing is nor do we have the capacity or authority to question or mistrust His timing. That’s why we wait on it. That’s why we wait on the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the universe who is always at the right place at the right time doing just the right thing.

Rather than scrutinize God’s timing, we must wait upon and trust in and hope for the One Who Is Inscrutable. Then, our faith is strengthened and we are empowered to do His will!

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.  (Psalm 27:14, NASB)


If you missed it, click back to Saturday (August 30th) for the song More Power To Ya by Petra, which really fits this theme.


Some days I really struggle with the idea that it seems so few Christian writers are willing to try their hand at writing devotional literature.  But six months ago I discovered this page at CBN. It’s good to know that there are others out there who prioritize the gift of encouragement and the gift of teaching and are willing to take the time to write out thoughts that will strengthen and encourage others. If you find yourself looking for something at other times of day, bookmark the page and then ask God to lead you to a particular author and click their name.

January 19, 2013

For Such a Time as This

for-such-a-time-as-this
Today we begin an occasional feature where we will take a particular scripture verse and see how different pastors, authors and bloggers reflected on it. If you have a verse you would like us to consider, let us know.
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Pastor Greg Laurie writes:

When Esther won a beauty contest and ascended the throne in ancient Persia, she was a Jew. But she kept that information quiet. And one day, because of the wicked efforts on the part of a man named Haman, there was a plot conceived to have all of the Jews in the empire destroyed.But Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, came to her and essentially said, “You are there in the palace. You are in a place of influence. You can go to the king and speak on behalf of your people.” But then he added this telling statement: “If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

The idea behind Mordecai’s statement was this: “God put you where you are for a reason. Now, are you going to leverage that opportunity for God’s kingdom, or are you going to keep it all to yourself? Guess what? If you don’t do it, the Lord will find someone else.”

God has put you where you are today. You have a sphere of influence. You have a circle of friends. You have neighbors around you. You have coworkers and others with whom you come in contact on a regular basis. Will you go to them? Or will you run from them?

You might ask, “Well, if I don’t go, will the job still get done?”

As a matter of fact, it will get done. The reality is that God doesn’t need you. Certainly God doesn’t need me. But God does want us to participate in the process.

When God says go, what will you say?

Blogger Shanda Hasse adds:

This is SO powerful because I have known that I have a calling from God to reach out to this dark world for His glorious Kingdom, as we all do, and I have really been praying into exactly what he wants from me, as his faithful servant. I definitely know that direction, but it isn’t fully clear yet as to when and how to take action. Money is a large portion of the wait, but I know God will provide me in His timing with all of the resources I need to take flight with this calling.I just love the articulation, “you were made queen for just such a time as this” — we are called as followers of Christ to reach out in His name and not stay silent. This is such a relevant command, especially in the wake of the disaster our world is facing through these perilous times. We are to be queens & kings for Christ now more than ever . . . by that I mean LEADERS. We are to lead people to Christ and the abounding, endless love and hope that he has for all those called according to His purpose — that CAN be everyone if they choose!!

SO, get out there in this mess, don’t try to hide or segregate yourselves and your family from what is going on now with the economy, government and society. We must dive in and radiate Christ’s light and help those in panic and need. The jobless, homeless, seniors who have lost all of their retirement money and many others come to mind. Seek these people out, and help them in Jesus’ name. Pay for their dinner, help them look for a job, point them to the limitless resources of our merciful God. We are being called to serve a powerful purpose in such a time as this, so let’s get out and show the weak, lonely, desperate, lost and so on, the love of our AWESOME God. You go, you Kings & Queens of Christ.

Blogger Suzanne Benner writes:

This is a great verse. Esther was afraid to approach the king and ask him to save her people because approaching him without being asked was risking her life. When Mordecai answers her, it shows a lot of faith. He’s basically saying… if you don’t do it, God will still save our people, but you and I will die. And maybe this is the reason that God has put you here. As it turned out, it was. … I think that is a good thing to ponder as we approach all of our problems. Yes, it is very true that God will accomplish his purposes on this earth without us, if need be. But being where we are, and who we are, we all have unique opportunities to participate in his work. And perhaps we are exactly where we are for such a time as this. Today, wherever we are, and whatever position we are in, let’s overcome our fears, and stand up for God and his work.

Blogger B. Kessler (whose blog’s name is taken from this verse) writes:

…Esther did end up going to the king and because of that the Jews were saved. I am not the kind of heroine Esther was. In fact, I would describe myself as pretty average. But I do realize that by Ethiopian standards I live in a palace. I have luxuries I take for granted. In fact, compared to most of the world I live like a queen. It leaves me to wonder why I have so much when others have so little. Do I deserve more? Well, you may not know me but let me assure you the answer to that is no. I can’t give a good reason for why I was born in the U.S. and not some remote village in Africa or some country where the people are so oppressed they can’t even worship God without fear of being beaten or even killed. I have been thinking lately, as we pursue the adoption of an orphan whose name I don’t know and whose face I have never seen, maybe God has placed me here in these circumstances for “such a time as this”.

Finally,  from Truth and Freedom Ministries:

There are those in the Bible that were right on time, others went ahead of God’s appointed timing, and then there was One, born in the fullness of time

…Esther’s words – “…if I perish, I perish.” gives me assurance that she believed this was God’s timing for her to act. In her words you don’t see an assurance that everything will work out in her favor, but you do see the character that it takes to step out in God’s timing and leave the results to Him.

November 1, 2012

Life in the Wilderness

This post is from Claire at the blog, One Passion, One Devotion.

David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 1 Samuel 23:14

From the promise of kingship to the day David got the crown on his head he was in leadership training.  the wilderness may be tough and rough but it is where some of our greatest life lessons are learned.  It is the university of life.  many great people in the bible had some wilderness time before they were promoted to a position of power and responsibility.  Abraham.  Moses.  Joseph. Jacob.  Job.  John. Jesus.

Don’t underestimate or despise the wilderness season in your life.

It is essential that we “get” is that sometimes great time can pass between the call and the living that call. During this time God is shaping us and forming us and dealing with the crud within us. He is renewing our mind and making us into a vessel of honour (2 Tim 2:20-21)

Take for example Saul and David.

Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 9:2

They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” 1 Samuel 10:23-24

When Saul was chosen king he was the most handsome and stand out guy in the nation. He had all the gifts and talents and personality. Samuel anointed him and he immediately began ruling as king of all of Israel. Yet he ended up failing as king and turning away from God.

“While king Saul was truly the best man Israel had to offer when they demanded a king, his heart had not been groomed through testing before he assumed the throne. As king, Saul was entrusted with a measure of anointing to lead the armies of Israel to victory and shepherd the people. Yet without the strength of character that only comes by winning private battles, these public victories exposed the previously hidden weakness of Saul’s heart towards God. That weakness, combined with his growing appetite for favor of man, led him to bring glory to himself and disobey the Lord.” Bill Johnson – Strengthen Yourself In The Lord

David however was anointed and then spent about 14 years in “training”. In those training years he endured more difficulty, persecution and rejection that many of us face in a lifetime. He probably didn’t expect it to take so long for him to be king. God didn’t want another king Saul and so took His time to mould David into a king and man after His own heart.

The wilderness always reminds me of this quote:

“But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.” ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness

The wilderness is a place of preparation in our lives, a place of transformation.  a place where we are reliant on God and trusting Him.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

It may be a place of delay – the delay between the call and the living the call, the delay between the promise and the position.  delay has the capacity to bring up things that are hiding in our hearts that will restrict and sabotage us.  better out NOW than later!  delay reveals sin and brings it up to deal with now.  delay is a time of preparation.

There are lessons to be learned in the process, in the wilderness. Lessons about ourselves, lessons about how to work with others, lessons about how to relate to God.

God will open the right doors at the right time.

“Its not about knowing who holds the right keys but its about knowing the KEEPER of the keys”– Peter Robertson.

God can promote us at the right time. But I also believe He will also hold us back if we are not surrendered and transformed. God is full of grace but He is also holy. He uses flawed human beings but that doesn’t excuse compromise and a heart that isn’t fully leaning to God… God wants us to be intentionally following Him not intentionally following our own self and self desires.

The great things God will do through you are going to grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience and sacrifice.  That means there will be plenty of plowing and pruning.  That’s the way living things grow, whether you’re talking about vegetables or vision. The process is a time of strengthening.  The process is the place where you lay down your pride and learn to rely totally on God.  Most importantly, the process is the way we grow to know God.  And that’s really the whole point. Steven Furtick

David’s time of wilderness prepared him to be king, the most renown king in all of Israel’s history, and most importantly, a man after God’s heart.

This is one of several posts Claire has written on the the wilderness theme as found in scripture. To see more, click here.

August 7, 2012

Waiting on God

Andrew Murray (1828-1917), was born in Cape Town, South Africa and became a revered missionary leader in the late 1800s and early 1900s, promoting and establishing missions in South Africa. His devotional writings are considered classics of the Christian faith. This devotional is taken from Murray’s series of writings titled, Waiting on God.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways, And He shalt exalt thee to inherit the land.” Psalms 37:34.

If we desire to find a man whom we long to meet, we inquire where the places and the ways are where he is to be found. When waiting on God, we need to be very careful that we keep His ways; out of these we never can expect to find Him.

“Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness; those that remember Thee in Thy ways.” Isa 64:5.

We may be sure that God is never and nowhere to be found but in His ways. And that there, by the soul who seeks and patiently waits, He is always most surely to be found. “Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways, and He shall exalt thee.”

How close the connection between the two parts of the injunction, “Wait on the Lord”, – that has to do with worship and disposition; “and keep His ways”, – that deals with walk and work. The outer life must be in harmony with the inner; the inner must be the inspiration and the strength for the outer. It is our God who has made known His ways in His Word for our conduct, and invites our confidence for His grace and help in our heart. If we do not keep His ways, our waiting on Him can bring no blessing.

The surrender to full obedience to all His will is the secret of full access to all the blessings of His fellowship.

Notice how strongly this comes out in the psalm. It speaks of the evildoer who prospereth in his way, and calls on the believer not to fret himself. When we see men around us prosperous and happy while they forsake God’s ways, and ourselves left in difficulty or suffering, we are in danger of first fretting at what appears so strange, and then gradually yielding to seek our prosperity in their path.

The psalm says, “Fret not thyself; trust in the Lord, and do good. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Depart from evil, and do good; the Lord forsaketh not His saints. The righteous shall inherit the land. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” And then follows – the word occurs for the third time in the psalm – “Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways.”

Do what God asks you to do; God will do more than you can ask Him to do.

And let no one give way to the fear: I cannot keep His ways; it is this that robs one of every confidence. It is true you have not the strength yet to keep all His ways. But keep carefully those for which you have received strength already. Surrender yourself willingly and trustingly to keep all God’s ways, in the strength which will come in waiting on Him. Give up your whole being to God without reserve and without doubt; He will prove Himself God to you, and work in you that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ.

Keep His ways, as you know them in the Word. Keep His ways, as nature teaches them, in always doing what appears right. Keep His ways, as Providence points them out. Keep His ways, as the Holy Spirit suggests. Do not think of waiting on God while you say you are not willing to work in His path. However weak you feel, only be willing, and He who has worked to will, will work to do by His power.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways.” It may be that the consciousness of shortcoming and sin makes our text look more like a hindrance than a help in waiting on God. Let it not be so.

Have we not said more than once, the very starting-point and ground-work of this waiting is utter and absolute impotence?

Why then not come with everything evil you feel in yourself, every memory of unwillingness, unwatchfulness, unfaithfulness, and all that causes such unceasing self-condemnation? Put your power in God’s omnipotence, and find in waiting on God your deliverance. Your failure has been owing to only one thing: you sought to conquer and obey in your own strength.

Come and bow before God until you learn that He is the God who alone is good, and alone can work any good thing. Believe that in you, and all that nature can do, there is no true power. Be content to receive from God each moment the inworking of His mighty grace and life, and waiting on God will become the renewal of your strength to run in His ways and not be weary, to walk in His paths and never faint.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways” will be command and promise in one.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”

sourced at CBN.com devotional page

June 17, 2011

Dream Dashed or Dream Deferred?

What do you do when the plan isn’t coming together?  Steven Furtick talks about this in a piece I called Dream Dashed or Dream Deferred; which he called Not Ever vs. Not Now.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
Acts 16:6

The Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the Word.

This doesn’t seem to go together. The Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the Word. He’s the one giving them the power to preach the Word. But now He is keeping them from preaching the Word?

The key here is that little phrase, “in the province of Asia.” Paul wanted to go to Asia to preach the Word. It was one of his goals, his dreams. And in a few chapters, he would. But not now. Instead the Holy Spirit stopped him and led him to other cities to preach first. And the response was incredible.

Sometimes God will prevent us from a certain goal at a time that does not coincide with His will. It’s not that we’re not doing what’s right. It’s just that we’re not doing it with the right timing.

He’s not saying not ever. He’s just saying not now.

Maybe it’s because we’re not yet equipped for it.
Maybe it’s because the eventual environment God is going to have us in isn’t fully developed yet.

Whatever the reason, you’re not ready for it. Or it’s not ready for you.  You always have to remember: what you think is good timing is not always God’s timing.

If you feel like your dreams are stalling or your goals are in a holding pattern, don’t assume you’ve made a mistake and it’s not going to happen. Paul eventually went to Asia. You’ll eventually get to your goal or dream too.

In the meantime, you’ll just have to trust that if God is preventing you from getting somewhere, it’s because you’re exactly where you need to be. For now.

Pastor Steven Furtick; Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC

Digging a little deeper

What’s in a word? Plenty, it turns out when that word is “anthropos;” the Greek word meaning “person” referring to humankind in general, from which we get the word “anthropology.”  A major Christian denomination is removing its support from the new revision to the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) because of what it calls “gender neutral” language.  But were certain passages written just to men, or were they written to everyone?  Do we sometimes let our preferences get in the way of hearing what scripture is truly saying?  Is the genderless language in the 2011 NIV a bad translation, or is it the correct translation?  Read more at Thinking Out Loud.

February 8, 2011

I Hate to Wait

This article by Dave Kraft at Leadership from the Heart describes exactly where I’m at during many points of a typical day.  Dave is currently on staff at Mars Hill Seattle.

My lack of patience has gotten me into more trouble than the lack of any other character trait I can think of!

To my own detriment, I like to keep moving, get things done and see things moving forward. As I walk with God, sometimes He seems to walk awfully slow.

My daughter Anna, her husband Joel and their three children, Ella, Jude and Cameron are experiencing some challenging times at the moment. A few weeks ago she sent me this:

I know God is doing a great work in us.

I am reading this book called “CALM My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow and last night I read this part that she quoted from a man named Andrew Murray who was facing a trial:

“In time of trouble, say: First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.

“Then, say: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

“And, last, say: In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows; therefore, say: I am here…

“1. By Gods appointment,

“2. In His keeping,

“3. Under His training,

“4. For His time.”

Is there something going on in your life right now that is posing a fair share of challenges for you?  By His grace and for His honor, the above can help you to trust and not hate to wait! Thanks, Anna, for passing this along.

Post graphic from ShareFaith Media