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Wait and See

October 4th, 2017

Patience Is the Posture of Waiting With Hope and Trust.

 “By your patience, possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Wait and See.”

Waiting is not my favorite pastime. I guess I always wanted the benefit of knowing the outcome of things. Many times in my youth, my Mom wisely advised me to, “just wait and see.” With the value of history and hindsight, she understood a simple principle that I did not. There are times when you must just be patient enough to wait and see. Urgently, we think we need to see, but God knows we need to wait and see. Paul explained this interim time in these words, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

In life, you will experience unforeseen challenges at inconvenient times. Don’t project today’s crisis onto your future. Sometimes you must be willing to wait and see. Successfully navigating such moments requires Godly optimism, with large amounts of patience. Waiting is never our preferred option. None of us enjoy waiting. Without perspective, waiting is challenging and stressful. Impatience is a common emotion in such moments.

There are times when the past as well as the present are less than clearly understood. So why then are we surprised when the future seems a bit obscure? Our impatience produces anxiety about things unforeseen. Life is a tension between what is and what yet will be. As I see it, the problem is that our knowledge is incomplete and our impatience is unsettling. While describing this tension, Paul directed us to hope. “Now we see things imperfectly, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

With God’s Word in your thoughts and hope in your heart, you can wait with anticipation and patience. Without hope, dread and anxiety will color your concerns for the unknown future. The Bible offers this insight, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25 NIV. Patience is a virtue. Hope is the foundation upon which patience is developed. In an earlier chapter, Paul wrote of, “this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NKJV. Patience is the posture of waiting in hope and trust.

Waiting can and should be used profitably, not squandered in wasted worry. Waiting on God with expectation evidences a confidence so strong in God, and His nature, and Word, that your faith continues to grow even with every apparent delay. Forewarning His disciples of the mistreatment and opposition they would face, Jesus concluded with this encouraging instruction, “By your patience, possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 NKJV. Patience is evidenced by living today with optimism for tomorrow.

But sometimes, you may just feel too weak and weary to struggle on. The Bible has a faith-building word for you. “God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV. Meanwhile, I will stand alongside the Psalmist. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word, I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:5 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to choose patience and embrace His peace.

 

Christian Communications 2017

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Clocks and Calendars

August 24th, 2016

Worry and hurry suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda.

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about “clocks and calendars.”

So much of our daily lives and activities seem to be governed by clocks and calendars. God operates within His plans that are timeless and eternal. Timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time is no better than the wrong thing at the right time. Sometimes, I am off schedule, earlier than was necessary or later than is useful. However, God is always exactly on time – His time. Maybe you are in a circumstance where you think that God is late, that He should have done what you asked much sooner. Be assured; “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV.

Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, was seriously ill. Martha, his sister, asked Jesus to come, but for reasons known only to Jesus, He delayed several days before coming to Bethany. Read John 11:1-45 NIV. Understandably, Martha was distraught. In her view, Jesus had done the wrong thing. While Jesus delayed, Lazarus died. Martha was heartbroken. The situation seemed irreparable. By her view of events, Jesus was too late. Is God ever too late?

You have probably had similar emotions when God hasn’t worked when you expected or in the way you anticipated. Disappointed, hopeless, and upset, Martha saw an opportunity missed. Jesus saw an opportunity whose time had finally come. “Lazarus’ sickness . . is for the glory of God.” John 11:4 NKJV. The glory of God is rarely achieved in the manner you anticipate or on the schedule you had hoped.

There is never a wrong time for God to do what is His will to do. God’s timing is flawless. Jesus’ schedule is completely aligned with His Father, always and completely. “The Son can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also.” Read John 5:19-21 NIV. That should be your goal as well. At God’s time, in God’s way, and for God’s purpose, God’s will is best accomplished.

Your dilemma is not a project for God to complete but rather a process for your faith, trust, and obedience to develop and strengthen. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV. You may not prefer His process, but His process is best. God is more concerned with doing right what He plans for your life, than He is about getting it done how and when you think it ought to be. His vision and purpose will be fulfilled.

 Worry and hurry usually suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda – your agenda instead of His. Persuading God to accept your clock or calendar will be futile and frustrating. Be assured as was David, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT. Beware of your insistence and impatience. Grow your confidence and expectation as you welcome God’s timing on every occasion. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust God for the calendar and moments of your life.

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Christian Communications 2016

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A Work in Progress

March 20th, 2015

“Like clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:6 NIV.

Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a work in progress.”

People are so impatient; we expect everything to be immediate. What we want, we want now. You must learn that whatever is worth having is worth waiting for. And whatever is worth waiting for is worth the time and effort that necessitates.

As it pertains to your spiritual life and development, your best efforts alone will not achieve all God intends for you. Try as diligently as you might, your efforts will fall short. What needs to happen in your spiritual life requires God for its accomplishment. Yes, there are spiritual disciplines to which you must steadfastly commit yourself and be diligent in doing so. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness . . knowledge . . self-control . . perseverance . . Godliness . . brotherly kindness, and love.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV. Ultimately, your spiritual growth requires the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling and working within you. Spiritual maturity occurs as you rest in God’s hands fully and continually, to work as He wills.

Jeremiah visited a potter’s shop and observed the potter at work when, “the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him . . like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand.” Jeremiah 18:1-4/6 NIV. The work in His hands requires more than the quality of the clay; the ultimate outcome is due to the vision, diligence, and skill of the potter. Impurities or failure may temporarily mar God’s design and delay His intention, but all is not lost.

The God who by His mere words created a world out of nothing, whispers, “Trust Me.” Remain in God’s hands until His work is complete and His plan evident. The process may seem dizzying at times and the purpose unclear, but rest in your Creator. “What we will be has not yet been made known . . but we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV. That’s God’s promise.

EDL pix work in progressGod knows exactly what He is doing. You are a work in progress, while He faithfully conforms you into the image of His Son, Jesus, as you have asked Him to do. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NIV. That seems well beyond your finite ability to comprehend, but true nevertheless. I am not yet what I will be nor am I what I once was. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

When I was a young pastor with few skills and many uncertainties, God spoke His Word to my heart, “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV. Of that truth, I have never had reason to be uncertain. Across the years, I continue to be strengthened by the promise of His faithfulness. Read 2 Timothy 3:16/Hebrews 13:20-21. You are God’s unique design fashioned for His service and glory.

Participate and cooperate in the grand process that is called spiritual life. Really, this life is but prelude to life, eternal and incomparably glorious. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.

Today, my prayer for you is that the lasting impressions on your life are His alone.

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Recognition and Opportunities

April 4th, 2014

“You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things.” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Greater responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition.

My thoughts and comments today are about “recognition and opportunities.”

People seem to think they should start at the top. You might hope for the big and important opportunities first, but that is not how life really works. You may look at the ease with which someone does their job successfully, and assume that you could do it just as easily. Greater opportunities and responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition. You don’t understand the tireless effort that provided another’s success and developed their skills.

On your path to success, small responsibilities provide useful lessons and needed experience. Learn from the struggles and mistakes. Life experiences prepare you for greater opportunities. When the opportunity comes, be ready for it. “Overnight success” usually takes a long time. Success that comes too quickly usually isn’t handled well or enjoyed long.

Mistakenly, some begin to think promotion is about what they have done. Here’s what really happens. Along your way, people appreciate your effort and see your potential, generously giving you opportunities to achieve and applauding your success. As I look back across my life, anything that I have been allowed to accomplish or become has been the direct result of the grace of God and the graciousness of a lot of people on my behalf. I have given the effort, but others have given me opportunity, encouragement, and much assistance. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.

Most importantly, don’t confuse success with achievement. Everyone wants success, or at least the benefits, privileges, and rewards success can bring. A culture of impatience values the product more than the process. Noteworthy achievement requires sacrifice and comes when you have prepared well, become equipped for success, and worked diligently.

Be forewarned. Success, when unearned and unprepared for, can result in ultimate failure. In subtle ways, success can corrupt values and cloud your judgment, making you arrogant when you should be appreciative, or greedy when you should be generous. Hold public praise and recognition gratefully, but lightly; use it wisely, while it’s yours to enjoy. Jesus taught an irreversible principle of the Kingdom of God, “The Master said, ‘You did well. You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things. Come and share My joy with Me.’” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Achievement and success begin by your being a good manager and faithful servant with what you have now. Jesus taught, “If you have not been faithful in that which is least, you will not be faithful in that which is much. If you have not been faithful with riches, who will give you true wealth? If you have not been faithful in what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” Luke 16:10-12. So much of your future can be the product of a diligent past. Be faithful in the things presently at hand and greater opportunities will be given and greater success achieved.

My prayer for you today is: prefer God’s reward above the recognition of others.

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Wants and Needs

August 12th, 2010

“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

“The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all they earn.”

My thoughts today are about “wants and needs.”

It’s not a pleasant thing to have less than you feel you need. The problem is that too often your own estimation of how much you need is cushioned on the side of having extra. In general, we all want more than we probably need. It seems so obvious, but let me state my position clearly: the Bible does not promise that God will supply all your wants; God does promise that He will meet all your needs. Wants do not determine need. “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

God’s promise is not a license for you to put yourself in need from excessive spending or improper stewardship, and then bring your voluntarily assumed obligations to God for payment. Of course, you cannot knowingly get yourself in debt unwisely and then expect that God provide what you lack. The promise to meet your need applies to the necessities of everyday life, not the niceties. Necessities are food, drink, clothing, and shelter. Jesus said, ”So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing . . Your Heavenly father already knows all your needs.” Matthew 6:25-33 NLT.

Let’s consider excessive spending. Easy credit has put more people in financial jeopardy than any other single thing. It is not the borrower who benefits from credit; it’s the lender. Solomon wisely wrote, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV. It is simple practical wisdom that you cannot spend more than you have without getting into trouble.

God has a promise to Israel and a goal for you: ”The Lord will bless you . . you will lend money to many nations, but you will have no need to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.” Deuteronomy 15:6 NLT. Borrowing forfeits control to someone other than God. Having no need to borrow; that’s God’s hope for you.

Credit is fueled by financial impatience to have what you want, the seed of which is often a lack of trust in God to know what you truly need and provide it when you need it. People often have the process reversed, bringing to God the needs they have created, when God wants to bring to you what you need. And then people wonder why the promise doesn’t work the way they wish it would.

My Dad quoted to me what became a basic, financial understanding for a young teen, “If your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” I do not assume that was original to him, but it was how he lived and taught me to live. I’m the better for it.

Stewardship has four dimensions to balance: earning, spending, saving, and giving. Care for the first two properly, then saving and giving are much easier to do; fail the first and the others are less possible. The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all that they earn. That is how God meets your needs, and provides you the extra for saving – to bless you family’s future, and giving – to the Kingdom of God, and others. See Proverbs 11:24-26 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you trust God to provide all you need.

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