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Today’s Blessing

July 17th, 2018

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18 NIV)

We must wait for the Lord to move and to reveal Himself. But in that waiting is found victory for today.

To wait for the Lord does not mean to apathetically sit idly by, rather it means to long for Him, to wait with expectation and desire. It is the waiting in confidence that He will come in His own time and fully redeem those that are His.

One philosophy of life sees the world in a constant state of spiritual conflict, of ebb and flow, of ups and downs, of unending spiritual turmoil. We may have seasons of victory but the evil forces is still there and will come back into power. This view of life is decidedly not the Christian view. The Christian and biblical view is that the Lord is working all things together for His ultimate and complete victory at the return of Christ.

During this Church Age we will continue to see conflicts and seasons of peace and periods of war. As Jesus said:

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are the beginning of birth pains… And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come. (Matthew 24:7-8,14)

Describing these things as “birth pains” means that the troubles of this world are working toward a climactic event, the birth of God’s new kingdom, that shall be consummated with the coming of Christ. And it is in His coming and final victory that we take heart and are encouraged. When we wait on Him we live in faith and in confidence in Him and in His final victory.

But what about today? Where is God today? A beautiful statement of God’s own peace and patience is found in Isaiah 18: “This is what the LORD says to me: ‘I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place'” (Isaiah 18:4). This is not detached apathy on God’s part, but rather it is the affirmation of God’s wisdom and peace. When we are running around in panic and consternation, the Lord is Himself quiet, and seeing all He waits for the right time to act.

Waiting on the Lord requires not only faith in His ultimate victory, but also faith in His timing. This is the attitude that is called “blessed” – to simply leave things in God’s hands and wait for Him to move and to do what He alone can do. There is much that He has called us to do as we wait – to pray, to grow in our faith, to love and to worship and to witness, to share the gospel and to meet the needs of the world in Jesus’ name. But when we do not seem to see the results that we would like to see, then it is that we can still have victory by waiting in Him.

We do not merely wait for Him but also in Him. His Spirit sustains us as we trust Him and we gain strength daily. Paul wrote: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). This is the blessing of waiting in Him. Exercise faith today and thank God for His presence with you and for His ultimate victory that will be ours one day.

 

Daily Devotions, Second Coming of Christ

The Soon Coming King

April 11th, 2017

… until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:14-17 ESV)

In giving his divinely-inspired charge to Timothy, Paul added this thought. He said that Timothy was to “keep this commandment,” or he was to fulfill his calling “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The “appearing” is epiphanea in the New Testament Greek, and was an important word in the New Testament for the coming of the Lord and the end of the age. (See 2 Tim. 4:1 and Titus 2:13.)

We often say these words with a sigh, “until He comes,” aware more of the delay in His coming than the promise of it. But it is given here in an entirely different manner, in a completely different spirit. Here there is faith, hope, and enthusiasm for the coming King.

There is one view of life that sees old age dismally. We start out strong and then grow weaker through the years, losing friends, strength, mental abilities, and optimism. We die as a relief, exhausted by our long and tiresome journey through life. Even some Christians fall into this view, even though there is little Christian about this outlook on life.

The other view is that for the Christian there is always a brighter day coming. We grow old and despite whatever indignities are associated with age, despite the losing of friends, strength, etc., we can say with the apostle Paul, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16 ESV).

The hope of the pastor and of each Christian, is not that we will be recognized and rewarded on earth for our contributions to the work of God, but that we will be affirmed in heaven by Christ Himself, who says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

And in order for that to happen, He must return. Truthfully, we are more excited about His return than about our own reward. He will come at the right time, and all of history is moving and working toward this goal. He is the One worthy of praise:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12 ESV)

We do not serve for just the sake of resting. We do not serve in order to be forgotten. We do not serve a cause or a calling that is passing away. We serve and worship the coming King, who is and will be victorious. This is the hope that we are to keep before us at all time.

Art is made, whether in paintings, music, or literature, by contrasting light and darkness. Dark and subdued colors fade into the background and bright and vivacious colors leap off the canvas. The darkness of this age, the subduing of man’s spiritual nature and of God’s standard of holiness, the darkening of hearts across this world, has caused a shadow to pass over our age. But the light is not some “new” human idea, or some “new” charismatic leader. Those are just more of the subdued colors of darkness.

The hope is the coming King who is the Light of the World and the hope of eternity. He is the new bright “color” of the future. From the moment we trusted in Christ we began living for eternity. Each day is closer to His return. Each day is closer to this great event. This is what we look forward to. He is who we look forward to.

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