28Aug

Patience as we wait on the Lord

In a previous post, I shared what God has been reminding me of in the need to remain postured toward dependance on Him in the midst of uncertainty. If you missed that post, maybe consider reading it first: Dependance within uncertainty

At the end of that post, I said that sometimes we can feel as if we are trusting God and dependant on Him, yet still feel directionless, alone, and without peace. When we feel this way, it can be really challenging – you feel like you’re trusting and doing what God would want, and yet you still feel overwhelmed, you don’t know what the future looks like, and you want answers. You become tempted to start forcing things – to make decisions or take actions to get things going. In this moment, the Bible teaches us to wait on the Lord. Patience actually becomes part of our decision to rely on God and trust Him.

Lamentations 3:24-26
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Did you see that? “The Lord is good to those who wait for him.”

Too often, I’m guilty of putting God on a timetable in my dependance. Of saying “this is yours God. I depend on you.” But then, when I see no results, I revert back to myself. In truth, that shows that my trust was in me all a long. I just trusted my own ways and used God as one possible way to get results. That’s not trust at all.

Patience. That’s such a tough thing to maintain. At least for me, patience is a constant struggle. And it’s a serious matter - God values patience, so much so that He includes it in the fruit of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (emphasis added). And He will teach us to be patient and to rely on Him in His timing.

Look at James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I have learned and need to continue to learn to allow God to develop perseverance within me. I want to be mature in my faith, and trust through patience is a big part of that.

So, as you trust God and depend fully on Him, resolve to wait and patiently trust Him more as He chooses to provide in His perfect timing.

Isaiah 40:31: But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope

 

God is sovereign. He’s placed us in the situations that we’re in. He’s given us these opportunities, and He will provide what we need to wade through. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

 

John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Philippians 4:12-13 - I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Let God give you the strength to endure, and trust Him enough to wait on Him.

28Aug

Dependence within uncertaintity

uncertainty_scr

UNCERTAINTY. UNPREDICTABILITY. CHANGE. INCONSISTENCY. INSECURITY.

None of these words above come with good feelings. I think all of us desire a clear path forward. We want to be sure of where we’re going and want to get our “ducks in a row” as we make plans and structure our life. In fact, we often delay decisions as we wait for “clarity” – a better understanding of that decision in the future. And yet, there are seasons where we just feel totally out of control. New experiences are especially good at making us feel this way. Going away to school, getting married, moving, having your first child, starting a new career – all of these experiences bring about an enormous feeling of uncertainty, and it can be scary, even if it’s also exciting.

I’m a planner by nature. It’s therapeutic for me to look weeks and months into the future and start to create structure. It makes me feel like I’m getting ahead, and if I’m honest, it makes me feel like I’m in control of that time before it gets here. When I’m facing a super busy season, calendars and project timelines are like a stress ball to me. They ease the pressure, because they make me feel as if I’ve mastered the uncertainty. I can trust the plan. So it feels worst of all to me when a plan is in place, and then utterly falls apart. It feels the worst, not only because I feel uncertain about that future plan now, but because I already had that one figured out and could confidently reference it and point to where we were going. Now, it’s back to the drawing board and there’s even less time to figure it out.

None of these statements should make you assume that I am against planning or think that we should stop shaping future plans in order to organize the chaos. We do need to plan and prepare. But that feeling of uncertainty, of  insecurity now that you realize you can’t predict the future, that’s a reminder that you were trusting in yourself and depending on yourself for security.

This is why the Bible instructs us not to even make definitive statements regarding our plans without acknowledging God’s sovereignty over them.

James 4:13-15 says “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

In this passage, we’re not being told not to make plans, but to acknowledge who is really in charge of how they play out. Our plans, our future, our everything is under the will of God, and so it’s in Him that we need to intentionally and actively place our trust and find our security.

TRUST. RELIANCE. DEPENDANCE. FAITH.

These words, though they don’t offer certainty in plans we make either, bring about absolute certainty in the only constant that there is, the unchanging God. And trust in Him brings peace and joy.

Take a look at Romans 15:13:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The crazy thing is that we actually forget how dependant we are on God sometimes and actually convince ourselves that we can control anything. Whether choose to rely on him or not, we’re already fully dependent on God every second of the day. He holds together and provides balance to this complex environment that we live in. He sustains our bodies and allows everything to keep on working. He controls the circumstances around us that make up our “normal day.”

Isaiah 42:5 – “This is what God the LORD says– the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.”

One natural disaster, one illness, or one issue in our society and normal goes out the window. God controls those circumstances.

But, within that context of dependance on God, we do have a choice to make in how dependent we posture ourselves. Are we going to trust ourselves, or trust God? Will He be the source of our strength, or will we try to be that strength for ourselves?

Psalm 28:7 - The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Trusting in God is the only way to feel secure. It’s the only way to wade through completely uncertain circumstances and still find peace and joy. This is why Romans 15:13 is so encouraging. Read it again here: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Let’s break down this verse a bit…

1. “May the God of hope…” : This is a defining statement about God. He is not the God who offers hope, but the God of hope. He is hope to us. He offers hope for our present and our future. And that brings peace and an ability to rest in Him.

Psalm 62:5 - Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

2. “”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him” : This is an action; a choice; a posture. Paul is saying, “may God do this for you AS YOU do that.” Trust in God brings about joy and peace in you. Reliance on yourself brings insecurity and worry.

3. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” : There are actually two parts to point out here. 1, overflow. God doesn’t just want to give you barely enough hope that you can hang in there and survive. He wants to OVERFLOW you with hope; enough for you and for those around you to be impacted and affected by. 2, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, trusting in God is an action that we can take and a choice we must make, but this being filled with joy is something that God will do. It’s His work through the Holy Spirit.

I’ve lived out the consequences of depending on me instead of God. Of disappointment after expecting myself to be more, to do more, to handle more. I’ve felt the overload of self-reliance. God wants us to know the peace, joy, and hope that only He brings as we trust in Him.

Trust Him, and I pray that you’ll be filled with hope.

 

Part II of this thought process is in another post (linked below), but if you find yourself in a place where you say, “I feel like I am relying on Him and I am trusting Him, but I still feel like I’m without peace or direction” consider what it means to wait on the Lord.

Patience as we wait on the Lord

 

21May

Ministry is personal

Ministry is personal. By it’s very definition, when we engage in ministry activities, we’re engaging with people. I hope you view it that way. In my previous post, I wrote about how we’re called to relationship, not to function. And based on the reality that this activity is relational, it impacts me personally.

Sometimes personal is encouraging, and sometimes personal is heavy and tough. Sometimes it’s both at the same time. The past several weeks, I’ve been encouraged and heartbroken simultaneously on many occasions in several different scenarios. One thing I haven’t been is unaffected.

Regardless of where you find yourself in your ministry service, it must to be personal. If we ever get to a point where every conversation or interaction can be handled in a clinical way, it’s a red flag. We need to pull back the curtain between our function and task to see the people who are affected. And when we pull back that curtain, we will be impacted by the personal nature of those people who we’re ministering to.

Ministry is personal because the gospel is personal. Jesus didn’t deal with us from afar. He came here and personally got involved. And in His interactions, Jesus didn’t demonstrate a macho man, emotionless reaction all the time. Read More »

21May

We’re called to relationship, not just a role

When we hear the word “calling,” we often associate it with a specific assignment or function that God has given us. While that can certainly be true, it’s secondary to the calling that He’s placed on us universally as a believer in Christ. Consider three places in scripture where the word “calling” is used:

Romans 8:28-39
- All things work for good for those who love I’m and who have been called
- Those He predestined, He also called, justified and glorified
- Who will separate us from Him? Read More »

16May

He must become greater; I must become less

Every day, I’m surrounded by a bunch of really gifted people. Engineers, designers, musicians, leaders, creatives of all types, encouragers, administrators – staff and volunteers, all really good at what they do! These people produce great results, and those results often attract compliments and encouragement (which is good, by the way!). We talk often as a team about our responsibility to point
others to Christ; to put Jesus on display and bring Him honor. But regardless of where you find yourself serving the Lord, I think we often set that as our focus but assume that our good work – our gifts and abilities – are needed and important, and should be recognized as such.

The book of John captures an incredible conversation between John the Baptist and his disciples, talking about Jesus and the start of His ministry. Remember that John the Baptist had seen many people coming out to him to be baptized. I’d say it’s fair to assume that John was identified with the function of baptism (the name kind of stuck). Even Jesus had gone to John and was baptized by him (Mark 1:9-11, Matt 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22). But John also knew his place in God’s story, so much so that when Jesus showed up to be Read More »

22Apr

Rest

It’s been a busy season. When you’re working in ministry, the Easter weekend and the time that leads up to always is. And as I was coming through the other side of that particular time frame and setting aside a day to be home and rest, I gave some thought to the question: How best to rest? Knowing that I hadn’t seen my family as much in the week prior, and knowing there was a lot I could fill that time with, I was reminding myself about the truth behind what it means to really rest…

How do we view rest?
The concept of rest can be uncomfortable for us sometimes. I think society has linked all kinds of assumptions and thoughts onto it’s real meaning and can get us feeling funny about prioritizing it. It’s a two-sided coin in how we view our need to rest. Read More »

19Mar

My lesson on patience

Psalm 130:5: I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope

 

You’ll have to forgive the public post here, in which I’m fleshing out a lesson really aimed at myself. Hopefully it’s helpful for you as well, but this is a lesson God taught me this week…

By nature, I am not a patient person. Thankfully, it’s an area of my life where God has been working on me and forming me more and more into how He wants me to be. But it’s definitely an area that I wrestle with. I’m wired to move quick and keep moving; to press hard for results and assume that if I insist on getting them, that I’ll get it done. When that doesn’t happen, I can get easily frustrated. It’s ugly when I’m not surrendering that to God.

Read More »

7Mar

“ True love is not simply an emotional response. It manifests itself in acts of kindness, generosity and those actions that produce the greatest benefit to the object loved. ”

- William Wilberforce -
5Mar

Are You A Good Host In God’s Family?

Do you know the feeling when you go to someone’s house for the first time? Maybe you are just getting to know them or even have yet to meet them in person. You walk up to the house, hoping you’re at the right door and that this isn’t one of those places that never uses their front door. You ring the doorbell and hope they hear it. Then the door opens, and you come inside and stand awkwardly in their front entranceway, not knowing where to put your shoes or coat. It’s as if your feet are clued to the floor waiting for instruction from the host.

Then, even if they’ve made you feel welcome and directed you on where to put your stuff, you keep to where the host directs you. Usually that’s the kitchen, dining room, and living space. Even going to the bathroom becomes a question. You look around, and ask crazy questions like “Do you have a bathroom I could use?” As if the alternative would be “…or would it be Read More »

18Feb

Dream Big & Pray Bigger

Today, I’m reminded that God is bigger than I am, more passionate about His Kingdom than I will ever be, and able to do far more than I could even dream of asking Him to do. But I’m also reminded that He wants to involve us and wants us to dream big.

Ephesians 3:20 says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

In diving deeper into this verse, I found the following commentary:

We can ask every good of which we have heard, every good which God has promised in his word; and we can think of, or imagine, goods and blessings beyond all that we have either read of or seen: we can imagine good things to which it is Read More »

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