Hope During Times of Waiting

We all have times where it seems we are in a stage of waiting. What do we do in those times? Today we look at Romans 15:4, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (KJV)

The waiting time is hard, at least I know for me it is. My family will tell you that I am not the most patient person. I get ruffled easily and waiting for something is excruciatingly difficult. That includes waiting on God. Today’s Scripture tells us that we can find patience, comfort, and hope through reading God’s Word. As we dive into His Word, we learn how to live, we learn how to be patient, we learn that the Bible brings us comfort within its pages, and all of that tied together gives us hope.

Right now, I’m going through a time of waiting on God. Our house has been up for sale for a year and we haven’t had one nibble on it. Not one inquiry. My husband and I want to sell this house and move out of state. We haven’t decided yet where we want to move to, however; we have a couple of options available to us. At this stage of our lives we want to be close to family, so both options would put us either with my family or with his. We are praying for God to bring the right person or family to come and fall in love with our house.

It’s easy for me to become discouraged, but I must remember that everything is in His timing and not in mine. Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (NIV) As we search the Scriptures, God reveals Himself to us, He shows us how patient He is with us. He is our example. I know I have a lot to learn in the “wait quietly” department.

So, as we read of how patient He is toward us, we are learning how to be patient, that brings us comfort and hope in the situation. As we keep in the Word of God and allow His Word to change us and we make it part of our lives, we become more like Jesus. We can wait even though it seems that what we are waiting for will never come. God keeps His promises. We learn that through the Scriptures. Knowing that He keeps His Word, teaches us to be patient in the waiting. We learn that we can rely on His Word.

Making the Bible part of our essence, the “who we are” part of ourselves, gives us strength, gives us comfort, gives us hope! A daily communication with the Lord through reading and study of the Bible, and prayer, brings us closer to Him. It changes us and faith is increased. I encourage you to dig deep into God’s Word, learn how to be patient in the waiting times, and gain comfort and hope.

 

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Choose Hope

In today’s world there doesn’t seem to be much hope. If we listen to the evening news, most of the stories are depressing, full of violence, and it seems the world is bent on destroying itself. Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Matthew 12:21, “And in His name the Gentiles will hope.” Our hope is found in Jesus Christ!

There are times in our lives when just like the evening news, there seems to be no hope. But God’s Word says that our hope is in Jesus. We can go to Him when life seems to fall apart all around us. Amid trials, Jesus is our hope. When life is going great, it is easy to hope. We are in a good place, circumstances and events are going our way. But in the times of distress, when we can not find any hope in what is going on around us, God has everything in His control, and we do not have to be discouraged.

I’ve mentioned before in other posts that the darkest time in my life was when my first husband had his first stroke. The doctors told me the brain bleed was very serious and if he didn’t get to surgery right away, he would die. At that time, there was no neurosurgeon in our area, so my husband had to be life-flighted to a hospital in another state. I was completely devastated, I could barely think, much less find hope in the situation. At that time, my hope was that he would live, and not die. I prayed so hard for God to save him. The surgery took so long, I was a complete basket case, and on top of that, my family were in other states, so I didn’t have my family with me. Praise God I have a church family who stood by me through the whole process. They held me up when I could barely function. Waiting to find out if my husband would be ok was excruciating. All I could do was hope that God would spare him. God worked a miracle through the doctors, and my husband survived, and this began a long seven-year trial of caring for my husband before God finally took him Home.

We can find our hope in God through faith in Jesus Christ. This is not just a, “I hope so” kind of faith, it is a rock-solid reliance on God for every day of our lives. The enemy of our souls wants us defeated, he wants us to lose our hope, to lose our joy, to lose our grounding in Jesus. He throws road blocks in our way to steer us off the pathway we are to walk. He distracts us, deceives us, and brings discord into situations where we should have our minds focused on God, and listening to the truth of God’s Word, and find peace.

So, in those circumstances we must choose hope. Our first instinct should be to turn to God, our Hope. Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” (NASB) We have this assurance found in Psalm 38:15, “For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.” (NASB) We have the promise that not only will He answer our prayers, He will help us in times of need.

But we also have a hope spiritually. Jesus Christ is our hope of eternal life. His sacrificial death on the cross gives us something to look forward to, a life with Him in Heaven. When we accept Jesus into our hearts and lives, He takes us into His family and offers us a life full of joy, peace, and the hope of His return for us, and eternal life with Him! Romans 8:24 says, “In hope we have been saved…” (NASB) We cling to that hope daily. Are you going through a difficult period in your life? Choose hope! Don’t allow Satan to blind-side you and discourage you. Hope in Christ!

Guard Your Mind

I’m going to break off today from the Journaling on love for this month. Sunday, our pastor gave a message called, “Guard Your Mind.” This is an area where, I think, most of us, Believer and non-believer alike, are having problems. Satan’s sole purpose is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) and he will use any means he can find to accomplish his purpose. We are looking at II Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (KJV)

Satan knows one fact; the battlefield is our minds! He wants to take control of our minds, what we think on and how we look at the world. As Believers, we have an advantage, God has given us the ability and power to control our minds. We can decide whether we will dwell on negative thoughts or positive thoughts or on sinful thoughts or holy thoughts. Satan’s desire is to corrupt our thought life. He plants temptation through our minds, and it is up to us whether we will dwell on those thoughts, leading us to temptation and sin. We can rationalize and say, “Well, no one else knows what I’m thinking, how bad can this be?” However, we forget there is One who knows our thoughts, God! He knows exactly what we are thinking. He calls us to think pure, honorable, right, and lovely thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)

Satan has a strategy to draw us away from those good and lovely thoughts. The Bible says he is a deceiver. (Revelation 12:9) One of his tactics is to bring doubt into our minds. We see this in the Garden of Eden. The serpent (Satan) deceived Eve by causing her to doubt what God had said about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He said they were not to eat from it, and Satan asks Eve, “…hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” When Eve tells him what God said about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that if they ate from it they would die, Satan tells her, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day that ye eat thereof; then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5 KJV) He put doubt into her mind, causing her to think that God was withholding something good from her. When she and Adam ate from the tree, death did come, not physical, but spiritual. Satan had won that bout, he caused her to fall.

Another strategy Satan uses is perversion. In today’s world, it’s hard not to see some pretty awful things. It seems that everywhere we turn we are faced with things that are unholy, whether it’s TV programs or song lyrics. We live in a depraved world and it is hard for a Christian to maintain pure thoughts when we are constantly bombarded from every side. II Corinthians 4:4 tells us that he blinds the minds of unbelievers. Because they have no advocate to help them, they end up succumbing to the temptations of their minds. He also tries to blind us, but we have God to help us. Whether it’s sexually explicit material or other things, Satan plants those thoughts into our minds, and it is up to us fight against it. Matthew 16:19 says that we can bind Satan and loose the power of God.

The door Satan uses is our unconfessed or hidden sin. When we don’t deal with our sin, it gives him an opportunity to enter and plant his deception. But we can defeat the enemy by doing three things, repent of sin, resist him, and renew our minds. Repentance closes the door on Satan, resisting his attempts is our action of fighting against him, and renewing our minds is done through getting into God’s Word, committing every day to God, and praying for God’s help. The battlefield is definitely in our minds. We must be diligent in keeping our thought life pure. Applying Philippians 4:8 daily by thinking on “these things” …what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, anything of virtue, anything of praise. When we do this, we can then guard our minds, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5)

A Call to Holy Living

Today’s Bible Journaling is from I Peter 1:13-14, “Therefore, with your minds be ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” (CSB) I recently journaled on the 13th verse, but today’s “musings” is focusing on both verses. In the CSB version I picked up on something I didn’t see the last time I journaled this passage.

We have already talked about taking action when going about fulfilling the goals we have set for ourselves. But what stood out to me today was a list of things that we must accomplish to live a holy life. The first thing is to be ready to act. Planning comes before everything. What steps will we take to accomplish this thing? Part of planning also involves prayer, asking God to help us reach the goal we have set for ourselves.

The next step is to set our hope on grace. Peter says, “set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” When we see Jesus revealed it brings us hope. We then realize that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NASB) He gives us the strength and the ability to accomplish our goal. Spiritually, when we are attempting to become like Jesus, changing attitudes or behavior, the strength He gives us to be successful in living a life that is holy and well pleasing, is what helps us as we realize it is through His grace that we are able to do what He is asking of us.

We then must be obedient to what it is He requires of us, and that can be combined with the next point. We are not to be conformed to the fleshly desires of our past life. Those are the things that have kept us away from God and hindered our relationship with Him. Obedience is a dying to the fleshly desires of the past. Look at the word “Obedience”, right in the middle of the word is another word, “die.” We are to die to our own selfish desires, turn direction, and live a life holy and pleasing to God. That is an act of our will. We must intentionally decide to die to the old habits and behaviors, and change our way of thinking, our attitude, our behavior, and our allegiance. Disobedience is to follow the enemy’s ways. This can lead us into areas of discontentment, dissatisfaction, loss of peace and joy, and misery. Obedience brings a whole new perspective on things, and brings us contentment, joy, peace, and a strengthened walk with the Lord.

If we read I Peter 1:15, Peter says that “as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.” Our attitude, how we act and speak, reflects who is sitting on the throne of our heart. We are to daily evaluate ourselves to see if we are sitting on that throne or if we are allowing God to sit on there. When we allow Him to be the Lord, Master, and King of our lives, we find we can accomplish what He is asking us to do. It takes a mind and attitude that is totally surrendered to Jesus.

Pray for Wisdom and Knowledge

Today’s Bible Journaling Scripture passage is Colossians 1:9-10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (NASB) The Apostle Paul is commending the Colossians for their faith and their love of the brethren. He encourages them by telling them he is praying continually for them, and he is praying that they would gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God so that they can walk their spiritual lives in a manner that is pleasing and honorable to the Lord.

Gaining wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God’s Word is essential in the life of a Believer. Without understanding His Word, we are not able to live a life that is in “a manner worthy of the Lord.” Given to our own devices, we will fail miserably, and it also makes us an easy target for the enemy of our souls to set traps for us without us recognizing them. Praying for wisdom and knowledge from God must be done daily. We need His guidance for daily living.

Asking for wisdom in other situations is also needed. James encourages the early Christians, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 NASB) Wisdom is something God is more than happy to give to His children. When God told Solomon to ask for anything he wanted, Solomon chose wisdom. (I Kings 3:3-14) God was pleased with Solomon because he didn’t ask for riches or long life or that his enemies would be killed. Because Solomon asked for wisdom, God chose to also give him riches and honor among the people.

Daily prayer and Bible reading, studying God’s Word and then applying it to our lives is what brings honor to God. We must read our Bibles with understanding. When we understand what God is telling us, not only can we bring honor to God in the way we apply what we read to our lives, but we become a light for others to see. Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of God’s Word, also helps us in fighting our battles against the enemy. Without a sound understanding of God’s Word, we have no defense against Satan’s attacks. We must remember, the enemy also knows God’s Word, and we must be able to fight back with Scripture and the correct application of that Scripture to defeat him. Satan will take Scripture and twist it for his own devices, and if we are not familiar with the true meaning of God’s Word, the enemy can lead us astray easily.

Jesus defeated Satan as the enemy tried to tempt Him to relinquish His authority and to refrain from doing the task God had assigned Jesus. How did He defeat the enemy? When Satan quoted Scripture attempting to trip up Jesus, the Lord came back with Scripture properly applied to fight back against the enemy’s attempts at bringing Him down. That’s how we win at defeating the enemy as well. Spiritual warfare can be very difficult because we have an adversary who is bent on crushing us and make us defeated Christians with no joy, peace, or victory in our lives. As we apply that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, we receive Spiritual fruit that will grow and make us stronger in our daily walk with the Lord. So, asking God to reveal His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding through His Word, is the key to growth in living for Jesus, and being a light in a dark world.

God’s Got This!

 

I’m going to take a little break from our study on God’s Plans and Promises for today. My heart is heavy today because our pastor relayed a health issue he has to the congregation and in human terms, it isn’t good. I’ve been in prayer for him and his wife since last night when they told us, and this morning as I did my morning devotions the Scripture was on James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (NASB) I decided to read before that passage a little, and starting in verse 12, James is asking questions, are any suffering, is anyone cheerful, are any sick? And then he gives solutions or answers to those questions.

Are you suffering? Pray. Are you cheerful? Sing praises. Are you sick? Go before the elders and have them lay hands on you and pray for your healing. Verse 15 says, “and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” Prayer is the key, and not just praying, but praying in faith, believing! Our faith and belief that God will do as He promises, is the key to getting prayers answered.

Giving praise to God for whatever circumstance we find ourselves also is a pathway to getting prayers answered. My husband is a big proponent of this. When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer shortly after we were married, he began to praise God for the cancer. Now, I know that sounds weird, and to the world, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But, praising God in your situation changes the atmosphere, it changes your whole outlook on what you are going through, and it strengthens your faith in God’s ability to bring about a good outcome. Now, that isn’t to say that the situation itself is a good thing, but Romans 8:28 tells us that “God works all things together for good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB) In other words, GOD’S GOT THIS! I firmly believe that my husband’s praise and prayer in faith is what set the stage for God to heal him of cancer.

I’ve gone through this cancer scare with my family; four grandparents, my Mom and my Dad, and then my husband, all had cancer of one form or another. My grandparents all were claimed by the disease. My parents survived and passed away from something else, and my husband is cancer free today. I’ve come to learn that the best thing I can do is not panic, but turn to God immediately, and go into prayer warrior mode. When I intercede on behalf of someone, Heaven is listening, ministering angels are put on alert, and the gates of Hell are being bombarded against this attack.

Our church is on the verge of something big, it’s been building for months, and as I’ve heard many times before, Satan turns up the heat even more when a great blessing is about to come forth. So, of course, the enemy attacks the head, in an effort to kill the body, or to make it ineffective. Our pastor and associate pastor are both under attack in their health, and I agree with my pastor, the enemy is really trying to thwart whatever blessing God has in store for us. But I keep coming back to GOD’S GOT THIS! These attacks haven’t slipped up on Him, it isn’t by any surprise to Him. He’s not shocked to find out our pastors are dealing with health issues. He knows what is in store for our church, He has a plan for our church, and He has called us according to His purpose. Are we shaken? In human terms, maybe a little. But we serve a God Who is our Healer, and He’s Got This!

Delay is not Denial

 

Today’s Bible Journaling verse is Isaiah 53:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.”  This is the Lord’s declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”  This week we are looking at seeking counsel, and as I began my Bible Journaling, I was having a difficult time deciding just what direction I wanted to take.  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so to speak, as I’ve already done a post on seeking counsel, and so I was talking to my husband about what direction I should take, whether to continue with the topic of seeking counsel or go a different direction.  He said something that has kind of become his mantra.  He said that a main tenant of counseling is, “Delay is Not Denial.”

As he was talking, the idea of God’s timing is not ours, came into my mind.  We are in an “instant” society.  Everything seems to be instant this or instant that.  Instant coffee, TV dinners in the microwave, instant communication with texting, and on and on it goes.  Patience is not an idea that seems to be popular these days.  I’m reminded of the lady who prayed, “God give me patience and give it to me right now!”  As funny as that sounds, a lot of us are just like that lady…patience is not our strong suit.

But God says that His ways are not our ways…His plans for us, His ways, are higher than ours.  Psalm 90:4 says, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” (ESV) God sees things a whole lot differently than we do, and to us it seems as if He takes way too long.  When we are seeking His counsel on a matter and we are waiting for the answer, it may seem as if He will never answer.  But remember, “Delay is NOT Denial!”  It doesn’t necessarily mean that the answer is no, it may be that it isn’t the proper time for that answer.

So, what should we do while we are waiting?  Continue to seek God regarding the matter.  Read His Word to help discern what it is God is telling us and wait patiently for the proper timing of our request to be fulfilled.  Is there something that we need to do to prepare for the answer?  Maybe there is something about ourselves that needs to be resolved first before the answer can come.  Maybe the circumstances about the situation are not all in place yet for the answer to come.  All these things may have an effect on when the answer comes.

God’s plans are for our good, He sees the end from the beginning.  He sees the big picture, where we can only see just a small part of the plan He has for us.  Many times, we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives.  Continue to seek His counsel, continue to wait on His timing, and wait patiently.