“4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord” February 26

 

4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord - How well do you handle "waiting on the Lord"? Do you have an "I'm waiting ... I'm waiting ..." while you drum your fingers on the table attitude? Do you ever find yourself thinking, "I've prayed, but nothing seems to be happening!"How well do you handle “waiting on the Lord”? Do you have an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting …” while you drum your fingers on the table attitude? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I’ve prayed, but nothing seems to be happening!”

Why does God allow us to wait, anyway? Can “waiting on the Lord” be a good thing? Can we learn to trust Him … really trust Him as a result? And if so, how? See today’s reading from Psalm 27.


Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 21 & 22
Psalm 27.10-14
Proverbs 10.13-16
Mark 5.21-43

 

4 Keys to Waiting on the Lord

 

Psalm 27.10-14:

Growing in the Waiting

 

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13).

When are we most tempted to lose heart? It’s often when we’re faced with difficult circumstances or life isn’t going the way we thought it should. Maybe we’re being attacked in some way and God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers.

David said he would have lost heart if he didn’t believe in the goodness of the Lord, not just in the promise of heaven, but here and now … in the land of the living.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that we don’t encounter problems or have struggles. Jesus said it this way:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

But we’re sometimes tempted to lose heart, become impatient, or take matters into our own hands, because we have failed to believe in His goodness toward us. We fail to trust that He knows what’s best and will bring it to pass in His perfect timing.

David had problems. He had enemies. But he believed that God’s faithfulness and goodness would prevail.

We, too, can go through troubles knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13.5), that he will not give us more than we can handle without sinning (1Cor. 10.13), that He is using them for good (Rom. 8.28), that we are not alone, that others have gone through and are going through similar trials (1 Cor. 10.13), that we can count it all joy knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance, patience and maturity (Jas. 1.2-4) and as Jesus said, we can be of good cheer knowing that He has overcome them all!

Verse 14 tells us twice to “wait on the Lord.” This is not to be an “I’m waiting … I’m waiting … I’m waiting for You to do something, Lord!” while we drum our fingers on the table! This is a patient waiting and trusting in the Lord and His timing.

But how do we get there? How do we go from knowing these truths to KNOWING these truths? Here are 4 keys to growing in the waiting: Continue reading

“How Blameshifting Leads to Despair” December 2

 

How Blameshifting Leads to Despair

 

Blameshifting … believing we are merely the victim of chance, circumstances, biology, or the actions of others can lead to hopelessness and despair. How can we help others and ourselves respond in ways that are pleasing to God and lead to peace, joy, blessings, and genuine life change?

Also read about Daniel’s incredible prophecies, the challenges of praising God in the midst of life in a fallen world, and see another example of how the Old Testament and the New fit together in one story … God’s story.

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 7 & 8
Psalm 137.1-6
Proverbs 29.14
2 Peter 3.1-18

 

How Blameshifting Leads to Despair

 

Proverbs 29.14:

Provision Not Entitlement

 

“If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.”

Faithful leaders are those who judge fairly. They don’t allow the poor to be taken advantage of because of their poverty, but neither do they make special allowances for them because of it.

Notice I said allowances not provision. The Bible clearly talks about providing for the genuinely poor. Farmers were to leave behind some of their produce so the poor could gather it. If you read the book of Ruth you see a beautiful picture of this. And other passages in Proverbs and elsewhere clearly say that we should have compassion on the poor (Prov.14.21, 31, 19.17, 21.13 and others).

I would love to expand on that idea of the “genuinely poor,” but that will have to be the subject of another post. Suffice it to say that we have allowed an entitlement attitude to take root in our nation that has hurt people more than helped them.

 

Blameshifting & Finger Pointing

 

finger pointingBut the other issue is making special provision, really excusing sinful behavior, because of poverty. Consequently, blameshifting and finger-pointing are at an all-time high. No one wants to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

Girls aren’t responsible for sexual misbehavior because their fathers “weren’t there for them.” I’m not saying it doesn’t influence behavior, but it doesn’t determine it. A bad or absent father may be a stumbling block or make it easier for his daughter to sin in that way, but she can still choose to do what’s right and is responsible for her choice.

Teenage Boy gangYoung people aren’t to blame for getting involved with gangs because they “just want to belong.” Single moms and poverty are to blame instead. Again it’s true that the breakdown of the family has contributed greatly to the condition of our culture, but as individuals, we are responsible to make wise and right choices.

Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right (Prov. 20.11).

Thieves are not to blame for their actions. Poverty and a lack of education are to blame.

Drunkards are not responsible for bad behavior and fatalities. They have a disease, alcoholism, and lawyers stand ready to defend them.  Continue reading

“Entertainment, Over-Indulgence, and Ease = Poverty” August 21

 

Entertainment, Over-Indulgence, and Ease = Poverty - Trying to find relief or distraction through entertainment, over-indulgence, and ease will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul. Also ... Can evil and suffering ever lead to good? How can waves clap their hands and nature declare the glory of God? Are we in danger of following men and not God? And if so, how does that lead to spiritual immaturity?

Trying to find relief or distraction through entertainment, over-indulgence, and ease will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Also …

Can evil and suffering ever lead to good?
How can waves clap their hands and nature declare the glory of God?
Are we in danger of following men and not God? And if so, how does that lead to spiritual immaturity?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

 

Entertainment, Over-Indulgence, and Ease = Poverty

 

Proverbs 23.19-21:

Ease, Entertainment, Food, & Fun

 

Verse 21, “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

Proverbs warns us that a desire for relief, distraction and fun (drunkenness), indulgence (gluttony) and laziness (drowsiness) will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Proverbs 27.20 says, “… the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We can never get enough of the things the flesh craves including ease, entertainment, food and enjoyment. We end up being left empty and devoid of any peace, joy or satisfaction.

Instead, if we will allow God to fill us spirit, soul and body, we will find that the things of this world pale in comparison. And we are free to enjoy God’s blessings in their proper place and amount.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 33 & 34:

Even Evil Can Result in Good

 

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

We hear of a child being molested, for instance, and we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it?  Continue reading

December 2 “How blameshifting leads to hopelessness”

blameshiftingBlameshifting … believing we are merely a victim of chance or circumstances or the actions of others leads to hopelessness, despair, and ultimately, behavior that is self-destructive, harmful to others and offensive to God.

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 7 & 8
Psalm 137.1-6
Proverbs 29.14
2 Peter 3.1-18

 

 

Daniel 7 & 8:

God’s control of world events

Just like Revelation in the New Testament, the book of Daniel boldly demonstrates God’s complete foreknowledge and control of world events. In chapter 7, God gave Daniel a dream with the same prophetic meaning as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue. The four beasts represent the same four empires. Verses 9-14 talk about the second coming of Christ, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven” (v. 13).

In chapter 8 the ram with the two horns was the second empire represented by the chest and arms of silver on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue—the Medo-Persian Empire. The ram was overcome by a goat with a large horn, which would be Alexander the Great and Greece. The horn that was broken off foretold the early death of Alexander the Great and the four horns which took its place, Alexander’s four captains who would assume power. The vision also foretold of great persecution that was to come on his people and the church of God.

But it doesn’t stop there as we’ll see over the next couple of days.

 

Psalm 137.1-6:

Worshipping God in a foreign land

Verse 4, “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”

The people of God found it very hard to worship and praise Him while they were in a foreign land. We, too, are aliens and strangers in this world, and our worship and praise are tempered by the struggles of living in a sin-cursed world. But, one day when we stand before Him and all the troubles and trials of this life are gone, we will worship Him without hindrance forever!

 

headache, tragedyProverbs 29.14:

How blameshifting leads to hopelessness

“If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.”

Faithful leaders are those who judge fairly. They don’t allow the poor to be taken advantage of because of their poverty, but neither do they to make special allowances for them because of it.

Notice I said allowances not provision. The Bible clearly talks about providing for the genuinely poor. Farmers were to leave behind some of their produce so the poor could gather it. If you read the book of Ruth you see a beautiful picture of this. And other passages in Proverbs and elsewhere clearly say that we should have compassion on the poor (Prov.14.21, 31, 19.17, 21.13 and others).

But today blameshifting and finger-pointing are at an all-time high. No one wants to take responsibility for his own actions. And, as a society, we are quick to explain away sinful behavior.

Girls aren’t Continue reading

November 14 “Playing spiritual pat-a-cake”

girls children playingGod will not play spiritual pat-a-cake with us by allowing us to seek His help while we continue turning to our idols and self-efforts.

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 19 & 20
Psalm 125.1-5
Proverbs 28.22
Hebrews 10.1-18

Ezekiel 19 & 20:

Spiritual patty-cake

As you’re reading the book of Ezekiel, it might help to remember that the prophet does not follow Jeremiah chronologically. Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah, although Jeremiah was about 20 years older and began his prophetic ministry over 30 years earlier. Their prophecies about the fall of Jerusalem and the various deportations cover the same events, but while Jeremiah was prophesying to the people in Jerusalem and later in Egypt where he was forced to go late in his ministry, Ezekiel was prophesying in Babylon to those who had been taken captive.

In chapter 20, some of the elders of Israel living in captivity came to Ezekiel and asked him to seek the Lord on their behalf. But it’s obvious from God’s response that, despite coming to the prophet, they continued with their idolatry.

Sometimes we forget that the events of the Old Testament are historically true. These were real people and real events.

And if we’re honest, at the heart level, they were not that much different from us. How many times have we prayed and asked God for help and wisdom while we continue to try to work things out in our own strength and in our own way? How often have we turned to our idols for help (something sweet to comfort ourselves, a drink to help us relax because we’ve had a hard day, buying something to lift our spirits …) or manipulation (getting angry, pouting, crying, withholding affection …) in order to control someone or something? Continue reading

August 21 “Ease, distraction & poverty”

imagesCAETZ66G

Trying to find relief or distraction through entertainment, over-indulgence, and ease will all lead to poverty, not just physical poverty, but often, poverty of the soul.

Today’s Readings:
Job 33 & 34
Psalm 98.4-9
Proverbs 23.19-21
1 Corinthians 3.1-23

Job 33 & 34:

Even evil can result in good

Elihu, the fifth person in this scene, continues with his observations. He has patiently waited while Job and his other three friends have debated the issue of Job’s sufferings and his integrity or lack of it and now he wades in.

While Elihu makes some good observations (we will see in a few chapters that even God did not rebuke him as He did the others), his understanding was still limited. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.12:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

There will always be things which we don’t fully understand. We see only a small portion of the tapestry of our lives, our families’ lives, and the events playing out around us. And even what we do see, we don’t see clearly. So when we go through a test or a trial or we read about some tragedy, we must filter it all through the goodness of God, the sovereignty of God, and the absolute holiness of God.

We hear of a child being molested, for instance, and we think “Why would God allow such a horrible thing?” But what if, as a result, that child got saved, and then she married a Christian man, and his life was impacted by her testimony, causing him to draw closer to God. Then when they had children, they raised them in a godly home and, as a result, their children were saved and many of the next generation and the next. Maybe a whole line of people was ultimately impacted by that horrible act, changing the eternal destiny of many. From an eternal perspective, would it be worth it? Continue reading