The God Who Works for His Waiters

I’ve always been a self-starter, (at least that’s how I remember myself ) which is generally considered a positive character trait. Unfortunately, my “go-get-’em” drive usually forces me to push ahead of people for the sake of accomplishing whatever goal is set before me.

“Slow down” and “Wait for me” has been a phrase which I’ve been all too familiar with over the years. To be honest, for most of those years, I really believed that these were people who just didn’t understand how quickly I could catch things or who were just generally slow people. “Don’t they understand how busy I am?” I would ask myself.

.slow down gif

In reality, usually, they were trying to teach me something the right way the first time, or they were teaching me something that required absolute attention to detail (something to which I haven’t always exhibited much interest lol)

But what if these people were teaching me part of the nature of God? We are familiar with the numerous people all through scripture who were made to wait…

waiting in bible

What is difficult to understand for most followers of Jesus, is that as we wait on God, He’s already working on our behalf; most of the time we’re just getting worked up and in the way while He’s asking us to wait on Him. Look at this verse from Isaiah;

“For since the world began no has seen or heard of such as God as ours, who works for those who wait for Him” Isaiah 64:4 LB

Waiting implies trust; while we wait we communicate, “God, I trust that you have this under control and you are working all things out for my good.” (Romans 8:28)

God is at work on your behalf, why would you want to interfere with that?

What would your blood pressure look like if you waited and trusted?

What would your stress level be like if you waited and truly trusted?

How would waiting on God affect your relationships with other people?

Wait on God, He’s working for your good!

Advertisements

Who Is In Control

The apostle Paul was encouraging the people of Thessalonica to live as people who knew the God that sets captives free when in 1 Thessalonians 4:5 he wrote,

“Don’t be a slave of your desires or live like people who don’t know God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:5 CEV

To assert that they were living as slaves to their desires implies that their desires were their master. Allow this image to set into your mind for a moment. A slave has no power to make their own decisions; the slave driver or the master is bent on enforcing their own will and agenda. The slave is not in control of their life.

This verse begs the question of us today, “Who is in control of our lives?” Are we driven by our desires in the same way a slave master would drive slaves to do their bidding? It seems like an oxymoron for the children of the living God to be chained and enslaved by ANYTHING because they are God’s children!

The reality is that so many believers live as if they don’t know the God that sets the captives free! We behave like Christ hasn’t won the victory! When we (followers of Jesus) allow our desires to dictate our activities and thoughts we are living like people who don’t know God!

This slave-like behavior comes as we shift our focus away from Christ and the salvation He has given us, as we forget how He purchased us from the auctioneer’s block, broken the yoke of slavery, and as we forget that we’ve been adopted into God’s family; ultimately when we place our affections and attentions on anything other that God.

Paul pleads with every person who has turned their hearts away from God and ALLOWED themselves to become enslaved by their desires, when he wrote, “Don’t… live like people who don’t know God”.

DO YOU KNOW THE GOD THAT SETS YOU FREE?

God loves to liberate captives… God loves to liberate slaves… God gave His Son for the express purpose of redeeming our sin-filled hearts!

I challenge you today to stop living like you don’t know God and submit your mind and your heart to Him again; watch how quickly your desires cease running your life and how wonderfully fulfilling your life becomes again!

Tested and Tried, Non-Stop Miracles

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw my miracles for forty years. Hebrews 3:9 NLT
The Israelites were surrounded by the miraculous for 40 years; there was
  • the manna from Heaven, daily, enough to feed all the Israelites
  • the quail
  • the water from the rock
  • and the fact that there clothes NEVER wore out!

Can you imagine seeing the miraculous EVERY DAY in your life for 40 years! Sounds amazing right? The problem was that it became common-place for them. God providing for their needs became expected and eventually unappreciated.

They had tested God’s patience, they had tried Him, and found that He was faithful in that He would provide for them supernaturally, proving His faithfulness to them daily for 40 years! Over and over they experienced the faithfulness of God until it became mundane. God called it “hard-hearted” in verse 8.

Have you allowed for the miraculous in your life become common, mundane, and unappreciated? Perhaps it’s time to step away from your busy-ness, recognize what He’s been doing in your life, and tell Him that He is awesome! Be sure to tell others too, because your testimony could awake them from their hard-hearted attitude and bring them to a place of gratitude and praise!

What miracles are going on all around you right now? He’s a faithful God. He’s been tested, tried and proven!

 

“And I’m Loved by You, That’s Who I Am”

Tags

, , , , ,

We were singing the song, “Good, Good Father” the other night at church; when we sang the lyrics, “and I’m loved by You, that’s who I am” my heart jumped. What a statement of identity! I AM KNOWN AS ONE WHO IS LOVED BY GOD!

I’m very quick to admit my identity as a husband, father, grandfather, and Pastor… but how often do I offer up, “Oh, also I’m someone who God loves”?

It reeks of arrogance but it is actually a very true statement! How would it change the way I perceive, well… everything if I started to think like that? If God’s love for me personally was an identifying point of my psyche, how would I begin to behave differently, think differently, respond differently?

When I married my wife, Kim, I began to think as a married man. After our first child was born the reality of my new identity as “Father” began to set in. I think you get the picture.

I’m not basing this line of thinking off of a song, there’s actual scriptural reference to this concept.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!                                                                                                             1 John 3:1 NLT

What about you? Do you identify as a child of God? Does the fact that God identifies you as one of His children change you? In what ways might your status as “one who is loved by God” change the way you think or worship?

Let Me ‘Splain!

 

15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15 NLT

We should always be ready to explain why we believe, why we hope, why we rejoice. Barna Research stated “Only half (52%) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

Did you notice from the scripture above, “And if someone asks about your hope…” Consider what this is saying; you are living a life that communicates hope to people around you to such a degree that they are perplexed enough to come to you!

Our lives should be testimony, we should be bearing fruit which causes people to taste our hope, taste our joy, and desire to know from where did we procure such fruit!

How many times has someone NOTICED your hope, noticed your joy, and had the fortitude to come and ask you for an explanation? That number, that exact sum is the number of times that you have drawn people to Jesus simply by the way you live!

So what do we do in THAT moment? What do we say? What can we draw from?

I believe there are two basic things which we need in order to be able to share why we have hope:

  1. Knowledge – so few people actually study the scriptures and subsequently have no idea what they really believe or how salvation has occurred in their life.
  2. Experience – if you’ve had an actual encounter with God, your life is changed. If this is true of you, the experience of God is enough to fuel your ability to testify but if you couple it with the knowledge of scriptures your story will infused with the power of Holy Spirit and will be effective.

 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NKJV

I want to encourage you to read the book of Romans, understand what the terms justification and sanctification mean, begin a daily devotion time between you and God, a time meant for you to pray, read the Bible, and worship. It is in these daily times of honestly seeking after God’s presence, and reading His word that you will discover the tools necessary to “be ready to explain” your hope.

You ARE a Worshipper (Whether You Think So or Not)

15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. 1 Peter 3:15(a) NLT

Every single day you worship.

Maybe you aren’t worshipping God but you are worshipping something or someone.

Would you like proof?

At it’s core, worship is ascribing value or worth to someone or something. The old English word for worship is “worthship” which indicates that something has worth. I argue that everyday, whether it’s in the way you spend your money and/or your time, the  way you talk up latest menu item at a restaurant, or the way you brag about yourself or someone else, you have just worshipped.

The verse above starts off by saying “instead”… instead of what?

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

Worry and fear. These are two things of which we all are guilty.

Instead of worrying we MUST worship. We need to refocus our attention back to worship, giving value or worth to God, instead of sacrificing our time and hearts on the altar of worry.

You ARE a worshipper. So, as a worshipper I admonish you to quit giving your worship to that which doesn’t deserve it and return your worship to the only One WORTHY of your worship.

Blessings!

Receiving the Gift

will press lever

Positive Reinforcement

There’s no doubt that in most cases and most of the time, positive reinforcement works. We’ve used it on people and it has been used on us to achieve desirable outcomes. If you’re not familiar with how this works, consider our friend, the mouse to our left. Every time he presses the lever, he receives a reward, namely food. While we’re not mice, we have come to expect the same in our lives, not to mention how cheated we feel if we do not receive what we believe we deserve for compensation for performing well. The worker who works harder than the rest will soon become frustrated if she doesn’t receive some sort of recognition for hard work.

Wages and Gifts

But that’s the trouble, isn’t it? A worker is a hired laborer who deserves or has EARNED compensation for their work, therefore when the paycheck arrives, it isn’t a gift, rather it’s the worker’s wages. 2868703_o

The difference between wages and gifts is that wages are earned by work, gifts are given regardless of merit and often in spite of merit. They are things which are given not out of necessity but out of love.

I remember when I used to work for a diesel parts distribution warehouse. We had some really hard working men there, but we also had some men that literally did as little as possible each day. You know the kind; they called off as often as possible, didn’t respect anyone else. One year for Christmas the owner called us all together and handed out Christmas gifts; we received a turkey and a jacket.

If found it interesting that everyone received these gifts, EVERYONE. Even the workers who were lazy – it didn’t matter whether you earned it or not, whether you even cared or not that they were giving us gifts. At the end of the day, the company offered us all gifts.

Receiving the Gift

I remember how some of the men could have cared less that the company had offered us gifts; some of the workers even scoffed at it, thinking they deserved more! As I walked to my vehicle I turned to see my co-workers walking to their vehicles. So many of them didn’t receive the gift that was being offered.

That, however, is the nature of receiving a gift. You can either take it or leave it, but you can never deny that it was offered, nor can you determine that it was something that you earned. The gift given isn’t something you’ve earned or deserve, nor can you determine the motive for the gift; the only function you play in receiving a gift is either in refusing or accepting the gift.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.                                                                                                       Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

Sincerely, I pray that if you haven’t received this gift of salvation that you consider holding out your hands to God and accepting it today. He is offering it to you. There are no amount of good deeds which will get you into Heaven, being a “good person” won’t do it, giving money to charities won’t do it, working in the homeless shelters won’t do it, nor will fighting for the rights of others… it’s only through Jesus.

 

It Is Time For You to Renew?

Isn’t it amazing how quickly renewals happen? It seems like you just joined and it’s already time to renew your subsciption or license, membership or affiliation. If you don’t renew you will be cut off from all the benefits of that organization, service, or priviledge.

The same is true in our walk with God. We are constantly in a need for renewal! It seems like our attitudes and thoughts are our greatest testimony against us, which is why, in the book of Ephesians, Paul warns us to RENEW!

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23 NLT

 

The operative word in this verse is “let”; we must LET Holy Spirit do the renewing that we so desperately need. He won’t barge in and change things for us, we must surrender and LET Him do what is needed.

Are you willing to LET Holy Spirit renew your thoughts, your attitude today? Have you considered how badly you need it to happen?

Is it time for you to renew?