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Archive for July, 2018

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

Faith in the Father

July 16th, 2018

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:4-6 ESV)

The Negeb is the arid wilderness of Israel that, even though it is desert, still receives rain that results in lively streams, and surprising wildlife still exists under those conditions – frogs and unique species of aquatic animals that seem to defy the pervasive dryness and spring to life when there is rain.

The Christian is like this, that despite how dry things seem to be we still live with confidence in the goodness of our Father who will bless us abundantly in His right timing. If a random species of amphibian life can pin its entire existence on the spring rains that cause streams to flow in the desert, we, too, may be hopeful in times of dryness, whether it is material adversity, or a spiritual drought. Bad times do not last forever, and God will bless us abundantly in His timing. We must simply believe, faithfully work, and patiently wait.

The same is true for service and witness. Though there may be seasons of dry response to our ministry, do not despair. God will bring a harvest of souls in His timing. Rarely does it seem to happen that the response of this world to the gospel is steadily consistent. The more common experience is that it comes in waves, when there is great response, and then in trickles, where there is little response. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). Faith is the inner evidence of the heart of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1).

And there is a reason the Father has allows seasons of dryness. All things happen by His permission. Some spiritual dryness exists because we have ceased to plant the Word in people’s lives. Perhaps we have failed to witness or pray. But sometimes the response is just not there despite our faithfulness. Here is also a time where trust in the Father is imperative.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

There are times, says Jesus, when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but trust Him. God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural Father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the notion of the mind of God behind all things strong and growing. Nothing happens in any particular unless God’s will is behind it, therefore you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but an attitude of mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”

 

 

 

Daily Devotions, Psalms