Waiting. Not My Strong Suit!

I don’t like to wait!

“Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the LORD our GOD be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” – Psalms 90:13‭-‬17 NASB

I’m ready. SO ready for Jesus to show up! I mean, sure, there are unchecked boxes on my bucket list, and someone I really want to meet; things to do, foods to eat, places to go….. but, I’m ready. The absolute evil and insanity that is pervading our world makes me cringe and want to run away from it all, straight into heaven. Even the Psalmist asked God to hurry! And check out the wording here: Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Yikes. Make us glad for our afflictions. Make us glad for the years of evil!

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NASB

Today, this is how this reads to me: Rejoice in the waiting. Give thanks for the opportunity to wait. I won’t pray for patience. God in His infinite wisdom already gives me plenty of opportunities to learn it and practice it. What I will do is pray. Thank You, LORD, for the waiting; for all of the opportunities to rejoice in the anticipation of what is to come, both here on earth and later, with You, in Paradise.

Advertisements

Have Patience – Be Blessed!

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the Crown of Life that God has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12 NLT

Do you believe it? Are you living it? A favorite mem of mine (all the way from the 70’s) is of two vultures sitting on a limb, with this caption: “Patience my a**, I want to kill something!” Patience is not a virtue of mine. Never has been. My little brown boy (he’s a dog – don’t go all PC on me) has much more patience than me. I can scoop him up and hug on him, and when I (finally) let him go, he just lets out this big sigh. He’s perfectly content to let me carry him around, and if he can spend his day in my lap – he’s good.

The little black boy (again, don’t judge!) is more like me – I want it now, and I’m willing to growl and climb all over you to get to whatever it is I’m trying to reach. Don’t try to hold him or keep him from doing his thing, because he’ll squirm and wiggle and express his displeasure over being kept from doing his thing over what I want him to do. Oh, he’ll mind me if I’m forceful, but he has a very strong will of his own.

I’m getting better. I can sit and wait for traffic to clear so I can pull into the road or turn, and rude drivers don’t cause me to go all road rage anymore. I do talk to them (like they can hear me – lol!), and ask them if they are setting a good example for their kids or if they are paying attention …… If I am waiting for an appointment or for a waitperson or a cashier or I’m on hold – as long as there isn’t an emergency – it’s not such a big deal anymore, because things often happen that are out of our control. Things don’t always get done in the timeframes I have set in my mind. Sometimes it’s because of my own physical limitations, sometimes because I have to wait on the availability of another person, and sometimes it’s a financial limitation.

God is in control. I’ve been reminded several times over the past week that His timing is not my timing. He doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait. He allows temptation, and He allows testing. He gives us consequences when we don’t listen and when we disobey Him. Am I patient? No, not at all! Do I strive to be? I do, because I do love the LORD and I want Him to be proud of me, and I hope to show that love for Him in my life.

How patient and perservering are you? Give it to the LORD! He is all the help you need!

Hello, Are You Listening?

What do you hear right now?

Is it children playing and laughing (or squabbling)? Office noises – keyboards clicking, phones ringing, conversations going on? On a construction site, hammers and drills, and saws screeching through the air? At the airport, muffled conversations in every language, constant announcements over the intercom, the roar of jets taking off and landing? Is the television on, blaring mindless programs, or the radio playing R&R, R&B, country, rap….? Traffic roaring, trains blaring, sirens rushing by? Or do you hear the deep silence of an empty home, punctuated only by the ticking of a clock and the hum of the refrigerator?

How often to we stop to listen? I was sitting in traffic yesterday when I heard a siren, then watched as a fire engine blasted through the intersection, lights flashing. For once, everyone had stopped and left a clear path. Too many times I have pulled over to allow an emergency vehicle to pass unobstructed, only to helplessly watch as other vehicles remain in the path, oblivious to their surroundings, causing the emergency vehicle to slow or even stop until they can safely proceed. I can’t help but say a quick prayer for whoever is waiting for help to arrive. Is this ignorance of our surroundings indicative of our world today? To me, it’s a good analogy for the ways so many people are living, so immersed in themselves, they don’t have any idea what is going on around them, completely self absorbed.

Turn off the radio or TV, pull out your earbuds, lay down the phone / tablet / laptop. Step outside, go to a park, and LISTEN. What does life sound like when your attention is outside of yourself? Can you hear birdsong, some small animal in the bushes, squirrels chattering? Can you hear the rustle of the trees as the breeze flows through them? Most importantly, when you aren’t wrapped up in yourself, can you hear the Voice of GOD, or are you too busy to listen? The LORD wants us to talk to Him, to have real conversations with Him. Think on it. That means that not only do we pour out our problems and our needs to Him, it means we listen to Him. Why do we need to tell Him our hurts and desires if He is truly Omnipotent and Omniscient? We talk to Him to indicate our willingness to hear what He has to say for us and our situation. He always – always – hears us, and He always answers…. just not necessarily the answer we want to hear. Talk to Him anyway. Start a dialogue with Him, and prepare yourself for listening for His answer. It can be yes, or it can be no, or it can be wait (my least favorite answer!)

“Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly.” – Psalms 5:3 NLT

“For GOD is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Do everything without complaining and arguing…. ” – Philippians 2:13‭-‬14 NLT

Turn off, unplug, do whatever you need you do in order to listen to and hear GOD, and be prepared for His Will to be done instead of yours. It ain’t always easy, but definitely worth it! Listen to “Walking On Water” by NeedToBreath, and then LISTEN to GOD!

Photo credit: The American Historian – The Art of Listening

Wait. What??? I Have Questions!!!

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is. Albert Camus

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation – so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my Fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” – Psalms 27:1, 14
“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May GOD, Who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” – Romans 15:4‭-‬5 NLT

I ran into a brick wall this week. The rug was pulled out from under me. (Figuratively, not literally.)

A month ago, after 2 long years of seaching and interviewing, I had a job offer – which I accepted – with the understanding that I was having shoulder surgery and would be unable to start work for several weeks. I was told to take the time I needed to heal, and the job would be there waiting for me whenever I could start. It seemed like a perfect fit; I was looking forward to the opportunity. When I called to let them know I was ready to begin at the first of this week, I was told they hired someone else, but – ‘nothing personal’. (There was no mention of this when I had called the previous 2 weeks….).

What? Whoa.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around this setback. What does GOD want from me? He knows my situation, financial and physical, how stretched I am, so why would he remove this from me? A Christian business; one where the staff hold the same values and principles as me. A place where I fit.

Obviously, GOD has something else in mind for me. “…. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” GOD says Wait.” Wait? Again? Still? Really? What gives, LORD? Why? I know that my GOD “gives patience and encouragement….” but, why? Could You send me an email or a fax, LORD? Maybe some sky-writing? As I ask these questions, I remember He has sent me the information I need. The Bible has it all. His Word. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.).

I don’t know how this will all work out, but I trust the One Who does. With all the chaos and mess in your life, where do you put your trust? Is it in the One Who offers Light and Protection from danger, or do you put your trust in yourself, giving the enemy control? To paraphrase Alfred Camus, I’d rather live my life anticipating eternity with my LORD, than spend eternity finding out I was wrong.

Listen to Tauren Wells “When We Pray.” Powerful!

Revenge

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT

Oh, I struggle with this verse sometimes! I know, I know. The LORD says that HE will be the avenger, and that we don’t get to (or need to) exact revenge because He will do it for us.

“The LORD says, ‘Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, a nd their destiny will overtake them.’ ” – Deuteronomy 32:34‭-‬35 NLT

The question for you today is this: how do you handle it when you have been wronged? The driver who cuts us off; the line-cutter at the coffeehouse or the movies; the snarky coworker …. the person who stole your identity? (This list could fill pages!) The point is, do we let it go, or do we drop to their level and get in their face? I was a ‘get-in-your-face’ person for years, aggressive and intimidating. When someone crossed me, I could get ugly, fast. Was it effective? Sometimes, but even being the ‘victor’ didn’t make me feel good about it for long. Guilt gnawed at me….. but I was in the right! Why should it bother me? Why, indeed.

We know right from wrong. When we take the task of revenge into our own hands, we are declaring that we know better than the LORD. That’s a pretty dicey declaration. Think about it, and listen to Mandisa sing “Bleed the Same.”

Gotta let go of the junk in order to enjoy the Peace of our LORD.

Patiently Waiting

Patience my ass, I want to kill something…

In my more bohemian days, that was something I think I said quite often. Then, my patience was very short – nonexistent, much of the time. Later, I was talking with a pastor and he said something quite profound to me. He said not to pray for patience, because when we do, GOD will provide us with plenty of opportunities to learn it. I realized I’d been going about it all wrong. Instead of praying for patience, I began to pray for strength and perseverance, and make it a point to ask GOD to please don’t send me any more ‘opportunities’ to learn patience! Even the great leaders in the Bible, Old and New Testament, felt persecuted and in desperate need of patience. Look at David. Both before he was king and after he became king, David needed patience. I love how his poetry shows his reach for the LORD, and how the LORD sustains him with willingness to wait in GOD’S Strength – patiently waiting….

“I love You, LORD, my Strength. The LORD is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my GOD is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my GOD turns my darkness into Light. As for GOD, His Way is perfect: The LORD’S Word is flawless; He Shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is GOD besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our GOD? The LORD Lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be GOD my Savior!” – Psalm 18:1‭-‬2‭, ‬28‭, ‬30‭-‬31‭, ‬46 NIV

If you do a word search for the words ‘patient’ and ‘patience’ in the Bible, you will find many references. James, especially, spent a lot of time talking about it. He only has 5 chapters, but check out how he begins:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds….. ” – James 1:2 NIV

Really? Pure joy for an abusive relationship? Pure joy for financial difficulties? Pure joy for losing a loved one? Patiently waiting my a**. No, I am so far from being patient, it can’t even be measured. The thing I hold on to is GOD’S Patience. Without Him, I am incapable of doing or saying anything good. I cannot fathom patience without His Hand guiding and holding me, and by Him carrying me when I simply cannot go on. The LORD is the epitomy of this scripture:

“LOVE is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭, ‬7a NIV

Thank You, LORD, for never giving up on me, for being patient with me, and for perservering with me. AMEN.

Sharing, Caring….

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3‭-‬4 NLT

Paul seems to be writing about today, the 21st century. Isn’t what he has written exactly where our world is now? Satan rules the earth for now. Popular music, from country, to metal or punk, is all about our desires and how to fulfill them with sex, drugs, and alcohol; It’s all about “ME” – not the LORD. We reject the Truth of the Word that God has given us, looking instead for the false fulfillment of the flesh. We need to be suspicious of anyone who twists the WORD in order to justify their actions. I’m not preaching or pointing fingers, because I have been deep in that lifestyle, and I am as guilty as anyone of turning my back on the Almighty. Listen to Crowder’s song “All My Hope.” Now, I thank God every single day for rescuing me from that pit, for it was Him and Him alone Who could extricate me from the murky mess I had (have) made of my life.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the Law of CHRIST. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” – Galatians 6:2‭-‬3 NLT

GOD is the Rescuer and the Healer, and He doesn’t need any assistance from the people He created; however, He does use us to help and support each other. Have you ever comforted someone when they were hurting? Done something to help a friend, or a stranger? Held a child as they cried? Offered a place to stay to someone who didn’t have any options? Prayed for and loved a family member who was struggling? If you have done any of those things, or any of hundreds of things, you are acting as GOD’s hands and feet here on earth. You have defied the enemy in supporting our LORD. I was once told that when I refused their help, I was denying them a blessing. It’s true. I know this because I have also been blessed to be able to help someone – and when my offers of assistance have been refused, it has hurt. No blessing. Think on that when someone offers themselves to you.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:31‭-‬33 NLT

I struggle with Matthew’s message, especially now. Knowing my very small monthly income won’t begin to cover even basic living expenses, how is it possible not to worry? By reading and studying the Word, through prayer, and with meditation to hear GOD’s Voice. That’s the only way not to dissolve into a hot mess, ripe for the enemy to place temptations in our way. I have fallen for his deceptions too many times to count, and my LORD has been there, every single time, to pick me up and carry me out of the mess. I know this in my heart and my soul, and all the while my human mind keeps hounding me with desperation, asking how will this ever workk out? I don’t know. I can’t even imagine a happy ending at this point. Thankfully, GOD’s got this!

“O GOD, we meditate on Your unfailing Love as we worship in Your Temple.” – Psalms 48:9 NLT

All I can do is Praise the LORD for His Mercy, His Grace, His Mighty Power, and His Deliverance. Amen.