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Posts Tagged ‘Waiting for God’

God is slow and we must be slow. (1)

 

When we hurry, we miss much.

 

I wonder how many times, like the Priest and the Levite on the Road to Jericho, I have sped past God.

 

I always assume God is speeding ahead, thus I move full steam ahead.  

 

It is not until I find myself alone and bereft of His presence that  I realize I passed Him by a long way back.

 

God lives in the present.  He waits for me to draw near to Him.  

 

God waits for me in the present, not in the future.

 

When will I ever learn?

 

Be still and know that I am God ….” (2)

 

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  1. Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
  2. Psalm 46:10.

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“Isn’t it glorious to know that no matter how unjust something may be, even when it seems to have come from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God’s will for us and will ultimately work to our good?” (1)

 

How would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was God’s will for you?

 

Everything?  

 

Yes, everything!

 

It’s a question that gives me long pause and few words.

 

Anytime someone glibly says, “It is God’s will” in the face of tragedy or disaster, I cringe.  

 

When bad things happen, questions flood my heart: 

Would God? 

Could God? 

Did God? 

Why God?

 

If it was God’s will and He would, could, and did, how would your life change?

 

I’d turn to God.

 

I’d cry out to Him?  

 

I’d stand with Habakkuk and wait for God to answer me. (See Habakkuk 1:1-2:4)

 

I’d cling to these scriptures:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” 

 

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” 

 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2)

 

On the other hand, how would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was NOT God’s will for you?

 

In the center of the circle of the will of God I stand: 

There can come no second causes, all must come from His dear hand.

God is Love, and God is faithful, so in perfect Peace I rest. (1)

 

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  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L. B. E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 311). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, John 3:16, Romans 8:28, and Romans 8:38-39.

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In Scripture the Lord gives believers enough truth to live responsibly, 

but enough mystery to draw them to Him in believing prayer. (1)

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In this simple statement John MacArthur explains with absolute clarity why the Bible is a maddening book to read and study. We cannot fully understand it on our own.

I love to read and study books which challenge me.  I enjoy engaging my heart and mind while reading deep and probing texts, whether fiction, science, theology, philosophy, or the Bible.

I pride myself on being able to understand what the author has written, even if it I must slowly read and re-read the text, stopping to sort out what has been written.

However, the Bible is the only book I cannot read and fully understand on my own.  Even when I consult the experts in exegetical studies and biblical theology, there are passages which I never fully grasp.

The Bible is a mystery book which does not satisfactorily answer all my questions.

As a pastor who teaches from The Bible on a regular basis, this is a frustrating experience.  I hate it when the only response I can honestly give to someone’s biblical question is, “I don’t know!”

My ignorance drives me to prayer!

This is a good thing.  Good for me and for you.  It keeps me humble.  It makes me honor the mysteries of God, of heaven and earth, and of His Word.

My ignorance reminds me that I am a creature.  Even the atheist, the evolutionist, and the naturalist has to acknowledge that they are simple creatures, not The Creator.

Despite my best efforts, I will never possess the full wisdom of God.  In some part, I will always be in the dark.  At every moment in life my knowledge will be incomplete.

This is not be a bad thing when it drives me to Him.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. (2)

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  1. John MacArthur, Truth for Today : A Daily Touch of God’s Grace (Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001), 246.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Proverbs 1:7.

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Faith grows during storms (1)

Why is it that some people’s faith only grows during storms and crisis?

Can’t faith grow in quiet daylight?  Grass does!

Rarely does anyone call me and say:

“Pastor, life is good!  Do you have guidance for scripture I should study or books I can read during these good ol’days, so I can grow in faith?” 

When life is good we are convinced we do not need God.  Since there are no pressing afflictions or infections that need supernatural healing, why bother God.  Isn’t He busy with others?

I learned to sail in calm seas, when the wind was gentle and the water waved gracefully below the hull of my boat.  If I had not learned to sail in calm seas, I would have never been able to sail through storms.

Perhaps this is why we panic and are afraid when the storms of life come our way.  We cannot hear God in the storm, if we have not dwelt with Him during the day.

While we draw on our faith during difficulty, we fail to build up our faith during prosperity.  You only have money to withdraw on a rainy day, if you made deposits before.

David’s guidance “be still and know that I am God” (2) is spoken when life is in an upheaval.  Yet his wisdom should be heeded when we are wandering in green pastures and drinking from still waters.

Lois Cheney asks:

Does anyone ever meander with God, sharing fun, thoughts, and silences?  (3)

Our best friendships are built on lazy days, when we simply spend time with others, chatting, talking, listening, and loving each other, letting time pass in the quiet breeze

Friendships built during days of leisure are the friendships which sustain us during seasons of difficulty.

Your fair-weather-friendship with Jesus, will sustain you during a gale.

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  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L. B. E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 269). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Psalm 46:10.
  3. Cheney, Lois A. (2005-03-01). God is No Fool (pp. 185-186). Midpoint Trade Books – A. Kindle Edition.

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Don’t calculate without God (1)

I have always been a whiz with numbers.  In school I could add, subtract, multiple, and divide with the best.  Word problems and algebraic equations were my soul mates.  

Arithmetic was home base.  I consistently made A’s in math until I hit trigonometry and calculus.  My guaranteed A’s turned into hard won B’s.  After completing my second semester calculus class at Chapel Hill, I had enough.

Life is like calculus, it’s hard to figure out.  I was never able to look at a calculus problem and know the correct answer immediately.  Life is the same.  Just when I think I have life figured out, reality steps up to the plate and throws me a sinking curve ball.

When I became a Christian and began to include God in the equation, life did not necessarily become easier, but the answer became clearer.  With God in the mix, I know how the story ends, thus I know where I am going and can more easily find my way.

Because God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts (2) my greatest error in life is to make plans, do my life calculus, without considering God.  

I am a list maker.  My favorite is a list of pros and cons.  I will consider every obstacle and possibility while completing this list.  Once my list is complete, I weigh my options and make a decision.  Once a decision is made, I move forward.

Periodically I will show my list to a group of leaders in the church or to the men in my Covenant Group, to help them understand that I made a wise and careful decision.

One day, a friend who was reviewing my list asked me, “Where’s God?”  

I stumbled and stammered, I was struck dumb, silenced with nothing to say.  God was not considered.  I had not calculated for God.  I had planned for opposition, deficiencies, sin, evil, rainy days, surprises, and a host of other potential problems the world might throw down in my path.  But I had not planned on God.

My friend said,”Without God, your plans will fail.”

I hate it when my friends are right and I am wrong. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (3)

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Isaiah 55:8.
  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 29:11.

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Take the Journey!

Whether considering the deep mysteries or the everyday matters of life, we have a tendency to out-think God.

  • Is this God’s plan?
  • Why does God allow this?
  • Is this exactly what scripture means?
  • Where will this lead me?
  • Is God testing me?

Some ponder while others go.  

While I enjoy reflecting, speculating, wondering, and thinking about God’s will and His ways, I recognize that at the end of the day I must act in faith.

Faith is moving forward into the unknown.  

Faith never sees the way, it only sees God.

The prophet Habakkuk teaches, The saints live by faith!” (1)

I appreciate his emphasis on LIVE!  Get on with your life!  Trust God even when you do not understand His ways. 

Let actual circumstances be what they may be.  Look to Jesus.  Trust Him and His love for you.  Live knowing that He will bring you safely to shore.  

Jesus will do that!  While He will not keep your life free from trouble and uncertainty, He will remain at the helm with you during the storms and through the night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. 

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in 

from this time forth and forevermore. (2)

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  1. Habakkuk 2:4.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 121:7–8.

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I cry out to God Most High,

to God who fulfills His purpose for me. (1)

Parents lose control of their children at conception!

Long before the terrible two’s, the trying three’s, and those testy teen years, parents should realize that their children have a will and spirit they cannot control.  Parents who believe they can control their kids are engaged in wishful thinking.

It is equally foolish to believe you are in full control of your life.  There are hundreds of outside factors and forces that influence your life every day.  You cannot control them.

This is why I have chosen to ask God to fulfill His purposes for my life.

Life has become simpler, less frustrating, and more productive since I yielded my illusion of control to the reality of God’s sovereign purpose for my life.

Yes, I still dream of greener pastures.  Yes, I still discuss with God how He could make things a little bit better.  Yes, I still make plans for my future.

When you become a disciple of Jesus you give up your independence!

I believe this is why most people reject Christianity.  It has nothing to do with Darwin, Big Bang,  clean living, or an enlightened way of thinking.  It all has to do with the battle of the will.

Too many Christians make an unsustainable deal with God:  “Give me what I want God and I will give You what You want!”

God does not answer to us!

God’s plans are better than mine.

Best yet, He can make them happen.  As the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, He is in full control.

I like that.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (2)

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  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 57:2.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 29:11.

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