“1The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 NIV
The image of John receiving this message from the angel of God is a powerful one. Wow. To see and hear from God like John – that would be incredible.
So what does it take to hear from God this clearly? Be still. I think we also have to know how much God loves us in order to fully trust what we hear. It is critical for us to know how deep and how true He loves us.
We will be tested. We will need to stand firm, stand firm in His life and His love. We will be faced with ugliness. Darkness will be all around us. In those times, the hard times, we need to trust God. Trust His love for us.
Father, help me stand. Help me simply stand firmly next to You. Hold my hand. Never leave me or forsake me. I know You never will because You promised.
“24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore.” John 12:24-25 The Voice
This scripture pointed out so clearly why I have to die to myself. The concept is a tough one to embrace. It boils down to what do I really want? Do I really want all the fullness that God has for me? Or am I satisfied with just a taste? His fullness requires the sacrifice of self. This helped me to understand that it’s not about me and my plan. It’s about God and His plan.
As I picture the planting of a seed, I want to be planted. I don’t want to die on the stalk and wither away, useless and wasted. I REALLY want to plant and have a shot at being part of a larger harvest. When I think about all the things in my life that I need to lay down, a few things come to mind like over-planning, over-preparing, and over-performing. These are top of mind. I have had a tendency to charge “over” the path all three ways without seeking God’s direction. Moving ahead instead of following.
Father I repent for that old pattern. I can feel it kick in. I turn to You. I want to walk in Your light. I want to understand Your ways. I want to follow Your lead. Help me relax and just walk with You. Help me keep it simple. Help me to count on You. Thank you for Your love. Thank you for making my heart sing!
“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Wait for the Lord. What does that mean? I’m learning. I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication. You also have to trust their word. If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans. I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me. I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best. Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do. I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out. So waiting is an art. To wait confidently and gracefully with composure. I still struggle in this area but I am learning! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice. So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.
Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me. You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!
“7-8 He grants good sense to the Godly – His saints, He is their shield, protecting them and guarding their pathway. 9 He shows how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time.” Proverbs 2:7-9 The Living Bible
“He shows…how to find the right decision every time.” Now that is a strategic piece of knowledge. So, why do I always think I know best? Why do I invest so much time and energy trying to figure things out?
I have found that many times I fight against letting go of the helm. I want what I want when I want it. That is not an optimal place to submit to God’s will. It is the antithesis of submission. Why am I so afraid to let go? That requires an examination of my heart. If I really sit quietly soaking in God’s Word and seeking His input, He begins to reveal what might be standing in the way of totally relinquishing to Him. Sometimes it requires healing; sometimes it requires repentance; sometimes it requires deliverance. It always requires that I sit with Him. Being real and being vulnerable enough to hear His voice.
The promise is really incredible! He grants good sense to the Godly. He shows how to distinguish right from wrong. He shows us how to find the right decision every time. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Lord, I pray that I seek You for the right decision every time.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. 4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.“ Habakkuk 2:3-4 NASB
Father, thank you for Your promises, Your deliverance and Your Word. Thank you for Your love, Your power and Your might that You wield on my behalf. Thank you for going before me and coming behind me. Thank you for Your favor.
Father, please search my heart to make it right and suitable for You. Take my heart and purge it of any prideful or soulish desires. I yearn to be in full communion with You, believing Your promises and waiting patiently and hopefully for Your timing.
“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.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 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.