Wait

I don’t think any of us like to wait – unless it’s for something we are not looking forward to enduring.  It’s like one of “those” 4-letter words, isn’t it? As children we often hear “wait your turn”, “wait a minute”, or the infamous “wait until your Father gets home”. As adults we are not used to waiting for things and we don’t like it when we are forced to wait. Here are just some examples I’m reminded of:

We don’t have to flip through a TV Guide to make our viewing selections. We can click a button on our remote or even watch on our phones, computers or tablets. We have streaming on demand.

We don’t have to dig out a dictionary and flip through the pages to find out the spelling or definition of a word. We just search on-line, ask Siri or Alexa. We get immediate answers to our questions and don’t have to search for them. I wonder if we are forgetting how to problem solve since answers come so easily by just asking.

We don’t have to wait for our food to be prepared from start to finish if we are in a hurry. We can go to fast food, order ahead of time and pull up for them to deliver it to our car.  We can even order from a restaurant and have it delivered to our home.

We don’t even have to do our own grocery shopping any more. We can place our order ahead of time from our phones and have someone at the grocery shop for us and bring it to our car.

What do all these things say about us? We want immediate action, access, answers. We don’t want to be delayed or inconvenienced. We don’t want to wait!

What about when we are waiting for an answer to prayer? How well do we wait on God? Do we jump in and try to “help Him”? Do we keep our eyes open to His leading? Do we spend time in communication with Him through prayer and His Word? Do we “wait upon the Lord”? I know in my own life I sometimes get way ahead of myself. A circumstance arises that causes some anxiety, or I think needs my immediate action of some sort. Even though I pray about it, for some reason still think I must “do something now” while I wait. Maybe sometimes I do need to do something. But, often, if I just keep praying and watching and waiting on God, things work out as they should. Funny how that happens. God does know what He is doing!

There are certainly benefits of waiting, especially waiting upon the Lord. Now, waiting upon the Lord is not the same as procrastinating so I/we must not confuse the two to excuse ourselves from action. Procrastination is more about avoidance than waiting. First, we must call upon The Lord. Then we wait upon Him – in expectation, being faithful to stay connected to Him through His Word and Prayer, keeping our eyes and ears open so that we recognize His answer when it comes. I searched God’s Word for some wisdom about waiting on Him. Here are some:

 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)
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. (Psalm 37:7)
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you. (Proverbs 20:22)
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1)
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5)
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)
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)
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. ”The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:24-26)
 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. (Acts 1:4)
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[ And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:14-15)
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 20-21)

wait Isaiah-40-31Patience and waiting are very hard for us but are so worthwhile when God is working in our lives. The outcome is always best when we wait upon the Lord and let Him lead as we follow. Let’s agree to slow down, calm down, and be joyful knowing that God is in control and we can trust Him, even in the waiting.

{February 22, 2019}

When GOD speaks – LISTEN!

Do you remember the old E. f. Hutton commercial (“When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen”)? I was thinking about that commercial and thought the truth is, E. F. Hutton might have good advice but, what we really need to know is, “When GOD speaks – LISTEN”!

God doesn’t put people or things before us by accident. God speaks to us in a variety of ways. He speaks through His Word, a song, devotional writing, during prayer, when God answers our prayers, another person, circumstances, etc. god speaks in circumstancesThe question we must ask ourselves is this: Are we listening for/to Him? And when we hear His Voice, how do we respond?

I am studying “A God Centered Church” written by Henry and Melvin Blackaby. We have been talking about how God uses all of us within a local body of believers to work together for the good of all and to reach those far from God with His precious gift of salvation.

The other day I was reading 1 Chronicles 22. In this chapter David is organizing the building of the temple. He knows that his son, Solomon will be the one to build it, but he is planning and organizing for him. He has gathered those who God has gifted with special talents so that it can all be accomplished for God’s glory.

god speaks in stillnessAfter reading and sitting quietly before God… these two things came together for me. God gave me an idea to help each of us in our class to recognize our own gifts or talents and to acknowledge those of others and encourage them. I don’t know where this will lead us but just maybe (hint: God has a plan, remember?) God has something in store.

God gifts each according to His Will, not ours.

I love music. I love to sing. I would love to be able to play an instrument well. Neither of those things have been gifted to me. Why? It’s the desire of my heart and God tells us in His Word that He will give us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4). BUT, and there is a big but… it’s when our desires become whatever His desires are. That’s the kicker.

God puts us all together in a body of believers for His purposes. We don’t all have a beautiful singing voice or musical talent. We don’t all have the gift of teaching and engaging children. We don’t all have the gift of administration or preaching or a good financial mind. That’s the point. God created us all to work together using our individual gifts for the common good.

The questions is this – Do we recognize the gifts God has given to both us and others? Has it prompted us to ask God what He has in mind for us to do – together? Have we asked God (or been quiet enough to hear His still small voice) what it is He is trying to accomplish in and through our lives right now, right here? God’s timing is not our timing. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We must get out of the way to let God speak to us. Sometimes what we think God has in mind is scary.  Sometimes it’s intimidating. Sometimes we think it’s us and not God who has this idea. But I have learned over the years that procrastinating, even if for “my good reason” that it might be me and not God or that I am not able, all I have done is miss an opportunity with good intentions and no follow-through. I have had many good intentions over the years that ended up missed opportunities.god is speaking I am trying to remedy that by moving forward and stepping out of the water when God calls me to walk with Him. The criteria I tend to use now is this: If it is a good thing and not bad, if it will not hurt anyone, then no harm done if it is me, not God. God will correct and re-direct me. But, IF IT IS GOD speaking to me, I better immediately obey! Who knows what blessing is ahead – it might just be an answer to one of my prayers.

01/14/19

Joyful Greetings {12.20.18}

There are two little 4-year old girls at our church that just love being together. They are the best of friends. I have had the blessing of spending time with them in the nursery until this past year when they moved up to an actual class. But I still see them as they enter church and recognize each other. What a joyful greeting they share. girls huggingThey hug, giggle, hold hands, share treats and simply enjoy being together. Last Sunday was one of those days when I witnessed their joyful greeting. It is contagious! You just can’t help smiling or laughing at their exuberance as they get together and just enjoy being alive and having a friend. Do you have a friend like that? You just simply love spending time together, no matter what you are doing or even if you are not doing anything at all? I do. We may not skip around, giggle and hold hands but we still share a joyful greeting. It’s a special thing – friendship.

These little girls reminded me of another joyful greeting. The Bible tells us of a joyful greeting with Mary (Jesus’ mother) and Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother, Mary’s relative). This joyful greeting is recorded in mary and elizabethLuke 1:39-45 “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” What a joyful greeting they shared!

There will be many joyful greetings soon as we gather with family and friends for Christmas. There will no doubt be memories shared (and re-shared), favorite traditions observed, great food devoured and maybe even presents unwrapped. Christmas dinnerIt is by far my favorite holiday. I love the Christmas lights, decorations, cards and candles. I love spending time with family and friends. But, most of all, I love celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a gift was given to all of us! All we need to do is receive it (Him). That’s the thing – we must unwrap and receive the gift. Salvation is open to all who will receive. It’s not a one-time gift either – we walk out our salvation every day as we obey God and follow Him. With God, it’s not impossible. Only two things are critical to our salvation – Love God with all our heart, Jesus birthsoul, mind and strength, and love others. What a gift! The best gift ever! And, it’s given freely to all! What we must remember though this gift for us was at the cost of a life, a precious life – the only life that could redeem us from sin. Jesus Christ had to be born a baby and die on a cross as a sacrifice for us. That’s how much God loves us! (John 3:16). After Christmas had to come Easter. Both holidays are celebrated because of the love God has for us!

As we gather together this Christmas with joyful greetings, let’s remember that…

JESUS is the reason for the season!

 

If you see something, say something {12.6.18}

see something say somethingWe have heard this statement many times in recent years. It has been used in the context that if you see something irregular, suspicious, etc. you should say something. Good advice. If it is nothing, no problem. If it is something, you may have saved someone from harm or from causing harm to others. In the wee hours of the morning today, I woke up and this was one of the thoughts swimming around in my head. However, it had a different twist. I was thinking about it in a more positive light.

Yesterday, we went out to eat for lunch and I noticed a lady who had on a very pretty, red top with sparkles around the neckline. She had silver/white hair and it looked so nice on her. I noticed but didn’t think much about it. Then as we were leaving, I walked past her table. (Well, I almost walked past.) She was talking with who I assume was her husband. Anyway, I took a step backward, interrupted her and told her how nice she looked and that I really liked her top. The smile on her face was all I needed to know that it was ok to interrupt/disrupt her conversation. I wonder how many times I do just walk on past without giving the compliment or encouragement that I should. I know that God doesn’t tempt us. Our enemy does that! The Holy Spirit does give us nudges to do good though. How many times do we ignore those nudges because we think we might interrupt, be embarrassed, delayed on our journey, etc.?

 I was reminded of a time a week or so ago when I complimented and encouraged one of our grandsons. We had been together for several days and I had noticed that when we were out in public, he always held the door for people instead of letting it go behind him. (Sometimes this is unusual for a teenager I might add.) Anyway, I told him that I had noticed and that I really appreciated his kindness and thoughtfulness toward others by simply holding a door. Again, his smile was all the reward and motivation I needed to watch for other behaviors to encourage. say something nice

 We don’t know what other people are going through in their daily lives. Usually though, we can find something with which to praise or encourage. Even if it is simply a big smile or word of thanks. God talks about this in James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  Let’s watch for people we can encourage as we see or hear them doing or saying something good.

 If you see something, say something!

Assumptions {11.16.18}

We often make assumptions about someone or something, don’t we? Sometimes those assumptions are positive in nature. Sometimes we make assumptions about someone or something in a negative manner. We need to be careful in both cases.

 I’ve recently witnessed an attitude adjustment in someone. This person had a negative attitude about a particular group of people. But, through circumstances close to home, that attitude was adjusted a bit. It’s funny how we can form rigid opinions and thoughts about people or situations and hold our ground. But, when something happens that brings it close to home and we see the other side of the coin, our thoughts become a little more flexible. Sometimes God allows us to see it when it happens to us. Sometimes He shows us through other people and situations. Regardless of how, I’m sure all of us have “eaten our words a few times”. It doesn’t taste very good, but it does us good. Humiliation is not fun, but humility is a good thing.

 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

assumptions - blind spotsSeveral years ago, I made assumptions about a married couple. I did not know either of them but they both were musically talented and involved in the praise and worship ministry at church. I remember thinking that (1) they must really have it all together and be walking closely with God, (2) their children are blessed to have such a positive, loving, example lived out before them, (3) it must be great to sing and play music in praise to God in their home. What joy and fun they must have. I compared this to me and my life. Our family certainly didn’t have it all together. We were lucky if we knew what we had and where it was. Walking out our faith in a positive example before our children did not usually go as we wished it had. Coming to Christ when our children were pre-teens and teens put us behind the eight ball so to speak (that’s my excuse anyway – even though there really is no excuse.) Anyway, my husband and I neither one have any musical talent whatsoever. We make a joyful noise unto the Lord (and only He can appreciate it). Our life was full of love for sure, but it was also full of trials (and error) and distractions and discouragements. For some reason I thought this couple I watched were exempt from that. How absurd. God’s word tells us that all of us who follow Him will have trouble. Jesus had trouble. We will have trouble. I soon realized this in a sad way. That couple I wished we could be more like had troubles of their own. Unfortunately, they divorced, and I was shocked. This is an example of making positive assumptions of someone without knowing them.

 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When we make assumptions on the negative side, we look at a person or situation and think we know what they should or should not do. We make judgments using ourselves as the base line, somehow thinking that we know best and do what should be done. Oh! How quickly pride and arrogance can set in. And, how humbling when/if we finally get the truth about a person or situation and realize how far off base we were in our assumptions. We don’t know what causes a person to act or drive (for all road rage people) irrationally. Maybe they just heard a loved one was hurt or died. Maybe they are in a relationship that is hurtful. Maybe they are scared. Maybe they are just selfish. But the point is – we don’t know everything!!! Only God sees their heart. We see only the outward appearance. Unfortunately, we often make judgments on those outward appearances, false as they might be.assumptions

Satan is roaming about trying to get at us any way he can. He wants to drive a wedge between us and our relationship with God. When we act as though we know best, we know it all, etc. – we are putting ourselves before our God. God is jealous. He is almighty.  He shares His blessings with us but not His Glory. It’s all His and rightfully so. When we act as though we are somehow lesser than others, that isn’t doing justice to God either. He created us all uniquely, loves us all, and has a plan for our lives. We must be careful not to get too puffed up or too deflated in spirit.

 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)

 We all form opinions and then develop attitudes to go along with those opinions. It’s going to happen. It’s human nature. However, the problem is when our opinions and attitudes are so rigid that we don’t allow room for error (our error in thinking). Even though we think we know what we are seeing or hearing and that our opinions are justified or verified, our vision is blurred. God tells us that only He sees the entire picture with clear vision. So, my lesson to myself is this: don’t think I know it all. Sometimes I don’t know much of anything. But one thing I do know, God knows all and is in control. I can certainly leave things in His capable hands. I just need to be still and listen, so I will know when and how to obey when He calls my name. No judgment – just love.

 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5)

 

Election Day {11.6.18}

It’s election day here in the United States. election day 11-6-18It is a privilege of Americans to be able to vote for our governing leaders. Our nation was founded on the principles of God and this is a blessing that we may sometimes take for granted. As we cast our votes today (or may have already done so by voting early), I thought I should check out some things God tells us in His Word about government and leaders. Here are a few verses I found. Today is a good day to reflect on them.

“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you..” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

Our votes should never be taken lightly. vote countsWe should prayerfully and thoughtfully consider our choices. We hear many things on the TV, radio, internet, newspapers, etc. Some may be true, some may be far from the truth. But, if we will devote the time to truly research and prayerfully ask God to give us wisdom, He will guide our decisions.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)

Whether “our choices” get elected or not, we must respect the position/office of the person elected and submit to the laws of our land. I pray that we will all let go of the “ugliness” that exists presently and pray! It’s impossible to hate someone when you are praying for them. Let’s join together as Americans and pray for our nation. God tells us to even pray for those who persecute us. We see a lot of persecution right now – especially toward our President (who we voted for and God put into place).

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)pray for nation

The most important thing we can do for ourselves, our families, our communities and our country, is to pray! Pray for our leaders, pray for our nation, pray God will guide and direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our thoughts, words and actions do have consequences, and prayer does make a difference!

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Seasons {10.18.18}

It seems like we went right from summer to winter weather here. What a shock to our systems! But, that’s fall in the Midwest! It could be hot, warm, cool or cold (all within 24 hours)! Even though I wasn’t quite ready for these cold temperatures and frost, I do love the change of seasons. Each one has a beauty all its own. I am so thankful that I can enjoy them all. It seems like I’m ready for the next one about the time it shows up. I do have to admit though that winter could be a bit shorter and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit. But snow at Christmas is a sparkly blessing. One thing is for sure, there is nothing boring about our weather.

One thing fall brings is a riot of color. The color of the fall leaves almost takes your breath away at times. And, they bring hours of fun for kids when they rake them up and jump in.covered bridge A few days ago, my husband and I took a drive and enjoyed the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana. It was a beautiful morning but quite chilly. What a fun time we had. 

{On a side note – My husband remarked that amid all the election madness in commercials, and the ugly words and actions that are going on in our country today, people we encountered on this trip were all very nice and kind. Something for all of us to think about. Not much in this world is within our control, but our attitudes, words and actions are in our control. What are we doing with them?}

Ok, back on topic – seasons. We did cut our visit a bit shorter than planned because it started raining. It made me remember and look up again what God says about the seasons. Of course, we all remember the verse in Ecclesiastes, but Deuteronomy is where I turned. Here’s what God says. I have underlined and bolded the words that jump out at me and make me realize there are conditions and consequences to everything, even seasons.

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain, and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-17)

fall colorsIt’s Fall here in Indiana. Anyone who attends football games can tell you that. Soon our leaves will be turning gorgeous colors. I have decorated my home with fall accents, and have pumpkins, gourds and mums on the front porch. But, during all this I am reminded that whatever we have, enjoy, etc. comes from God. It’s not on our own strength or ability that we have anything – life and all in it are gifts from God alone.  Enjoy!