Wait

Wait

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31 NASB

Depending on the version of the Bible you read, the first phrase may vary: those who wait, those who hope, or those who trust.  I like the word wait.

Wait: to be available or in a state of readiness

If I wait, it means I trust and hope in the Lord with enough confidence to:

(1)     not try to do it myself

(2)     not expect someone else to have the answer for me

(3)     be in a state of preparation, or get ready, for what God has for me

As I wait, I pray. I watch expectantly for God and give Him all glory for every good thing.

Father, prepare my heart for whatever You have for me.  Teach me to surrender my heart fully to You so that I can prepare each day for what You have for me.  Renew my strength so that through You I can soar on wings like an eagle and not grow weary. Restore me Father. Renew me.

Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:34, Psalm 40:1, Isaiah 25:9

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Personal Prayer Garden

personal prayer garden

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation.  It means we lean INTO it.  We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat.  It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.

I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air.  It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.

I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus.  However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me.  That I was staying afloat by supernatural means.  I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God.  I still struggle.  I still mess up.  I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance.  Ugh. I know it will get better!  I am so thankful that God never gives up on me.  Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.

I remain thankful.  I know God never leaves me or forsakes me.  Even when my hard head gets in the way!

Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  Teach me to pray.  Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You.  Teach me Your ways.

Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46, Deuteronomy 31:6

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Be Prepared

Be prepared

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13 NIV

As I read some of the commentaries on this parable of the ten virgins, I learned that all the virgins — both the foolish and wise — knew that delays were common.  All of them rested and slept while they waited.  All of them had the same information but only half had taken steps to be prepared for the bridegroom to arrive.

The virgins had a job to do.  They were supposed to escort the bride to the bridegroom; they were supposed to light her path. Those that were not prepared were an insult to the bride.

It occurred to me that the church is the bride of Christ.  By not being prepared and diligent – we let the church down.  We are an insult to the body of Christ, the church.  I do not want to be a foolish virgin. I want my oil containers to be full.  I want my torch prepared to be lit as long as is required in order to meet the bridegroom.

Father, thank you for every preparation that You have in store for me. I welcome Your preparation, Your discipline and correction. Teach me Your ways. I surrender to Your teaching so that I can honor You and Your church.

Matthew 25:1-13, Hebrews 13:5

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What A Workout!

what a workout

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

Have you ever been tested or gone through a trial? Did you consider it pure joy? As I reflect on times like these, I can recall quite a range of behaviors that it brought out in me!  Did I count it pure joy? Not always!

There are so many scriptures that compare our spiritual needs to our physical needs.  God’s word is the bread of life and the everlasting water.  Jesus was the Word of God made flesh so He was the greatest life source of all.

So, if I equate tests and trials to a physical work out, it could look like this:

I start the discipline of working out.  Maybe I make a New Year’s resolution to get fit or maybe I want to get fit for bathing suit season and vacation. I go a few weeks and other priorities start to creep in.  I just get too busy…Weeks, months and years go by.  My body gets flabby and weak.  I pack on a few pounds.  I start to curb activity even more because it’s uncomfortable.  Then, one day I have to exert myself and I can’t or I get injured in the process!  Maybe it’s a snow storm that I have to dig my way out of.  Maybe I have to chase after a child running for the street.  Maybe my vehicle breaks down and I have a long trip on foot to find help.

I don’t have the conditioning or endurance to accomplish the tasks when called upon.  These are small things but hopefully they make a point.

Our faith is a spiritual muscle that gets exercised when we go through tests and trials.  I really want to practice saying “God thank you for that work out!  Thank you for stretching my faith so I can be flexible!  Thank you for stimulating my faith so my heart is strong!  Thank you for showing me all that heavy lifting You do so I can have confidence that You will move mountains for me in the face of adversity!”

Father, I pray that I will be a healthy part of Your body – well conditioned, working in concert with the Head, executing in all circumstances – believing and stretching; overcoming and growing – in You, for You and for Your eternal kingdom purpose. I love you, Father!

Isaiah 26:3, Exodus 20:3-6, Psalm 37:4-6

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Motives

Motives

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 NASB

James 4 is packed with so much relational wisdom.  It really sums up what causes conflict and quarrels:

  • We want what we don’t have
  • We don’t have because we don’t ask God for it
  • We don’t receive because our heart’s motives are not right

God placed His Holy Spirit in us because He longs to be in relationship with us.  We literally have everything we need right inside us.  When we submit to the Holy Spirit we are submitting to God. Allowing our lives to be directed by the Holy Spirit is what faith is all about.  The Holy Spirit is our constant guide. So much so that if we know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, it is sin.

Father, please teach me how to submit fully to the Holy Spirit that you have placed inside of me. Thank You for sending Your Son to make a way for me.

James 4, Proverbs 3:34

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James 4, Proverbs 3:34

Humble Me

humble me

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 NIV

Pride has been an issue for me. This verse caught my eye because if I am prideful, I have already lifted myself up.  I have not surrendered everything to God so that He can lift me up in His timing.  Pride makes me get in a hurry to do things my own way.  Pride makes me think that I know the best way.  Pride throws patience to the curb and says “See you later, sucker!”

Pride forces its way into situations and circumstances with an expectation of entitlement.  Humility is graceful and waits patiently offering to serve others in the meantime.  Pride is rude and rash.  Humility is gentle and kind. Pride takes what is mine first.  Humility honors others first. Pride is legalistic.  Humility hears the cry of the needy.

Father, help me surrender and submit to you in every way. Let humility govern my heart.

2 Chronicles 12:6-8, Proverbs 29:23, Luke 14:11, Romans 5:6-8

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A Little While…

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV

What is a little while? This scripture says that after we have suffered “a little while” Christ will restore us and make us strong.  Whew! I am thankful for that.  However, am I able to withstand suffering for a little while?

Sometimes it is easier to get through things if there is a goal in mind.  Saving for a big vacation or a new car. Saving for a life event like college or a wedding.  The process of saving requires choices, decisions and sometimes sacrifice.  Suffering.  Not having everything you want when you want it.  Delayed gratification.  We are not used to that in this day and age.  We’ve become a right now culture at all costs.  Do we understand what it means to wait or delay for the perfect timing?  Is that why the word “suffering” is such a turn off?

To suffer can mean to be in pain.  But it can also mean to endure or permit.  Can we endure and permit delays and wait for God’s timing? To wait for God’s best for us?

I ask myself these questions all the time.  I find that when I am feeling rushed into making decisions or choices that it gives me pause.  Pause to pray and take God’s plans into consideration above my own.  Sometimes, even frequently, the decision or choice I was in such a rush about starts to fade in importance…And I wait.

Lord, remind me to pause and not allow things to rush me.  Help me to remember that Your pause brings peace and perspective.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Peter 1:3-9

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