Wait on the Lord

At the end of the year, I will be retiring from the insurance claims job I have been working at for over 30 years.  Our company has offered some of us old-timers the opportunity to take advantage of an early retirement.  It’s early in the sense that I am old enough to draw my pension but I’m too young to stop working.  But that’s okay, I like to work.  So, I have taken advantage of their offer and I have been applying for full-time chaplain jobs.  Apparently, I have not yet applied for the job the Lord wants me to have because I am still looking.  The whole job seeking process has served to remind me to trust in the Lord and wait on His timing.  If you know me very well, then you know that waiting is not what I do best.  But currently, that is what I am doing.  As I have been waiting, I have been focusing on one of my wife’s favorite Bible verses, Isaiah 40:31.

Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

I love that Bible verse.  I love the promise that if we wait on the Lord, He will renew us and strengthen us.  Some translations say “those who trust in the Lord.”  And yet other translations say “those who hope” in the Lord.  Each translation is accurate as the word Isaiah uses is one that speaks of trusting, waiting and looking forward with hope and assurance to what the Lord God is going to do.  It is true.  We can know and trust that if we look to Him, He will give us strength, He will give us the power to endure.

This has been a different and difficult year in many ways for many people. I pray that each of you will look to the Lord and allow Him to comfort you and strengthen you.  I pray that you will continue to place your hope and your trust in Him.

 

Posted in A refuge, Christianity, Church, diligence, Draw close to God, God will help you, God's Strength, Isaiah 40:31, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Do You Trust?

In this world, it can be so easy for us to place our faith, our trust, our hope on the things of this world.  Because we have been raised in this world and conditioned by it, we can easily become enamored with the power, prestige and wealth which are so highly prized in this world.  We can unknowingly find ourselves seeking after, embracing and trying to cling to the things of this world at all costs.  And the cost can be high.  It can cost us our reputation and our relationships with others.  Worst of all, placing our confidence in the things of the world indicates that we are not placing our trust in the Lord.  Yes, the Lord can work through human institutions.  Yes, He can use the power, prestige and wealth of this world for His glory.  He can be trusted to work in the midst of all things – wins and losses, triumphs and tribulations.  God is sovereign.  He can be trusted.  For that reason, our confidence, our faith, our trust is to be in Him.

Posted in A refuge, a stronghold, Build Upon the Rock, Christianity, Church, faith, Faith during hard times, Psalm 20:7 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust in the Lord

This week I have been reflecting on one of my favorite Bible verses, Jeremiah 17:7-8.  In this passage, Jeremiah is speaking to the nation of Judah.

Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

I love this reminder from Jeremiah about the importance of trusting God and relying on Him.  As I read it, I am reminded that trusting God does not mean a person will never have to endure tough times.  Seasons of drought and oppressive heat will come.  All of us will experience some harsh circumstances and some hard times in this world from time to time.  Difficult seasons will come.  But if we trust in the Lord, we won’t just experience those difficult seasons, we will endure them.  We will be as a tree planted by the water.  We will continue to be sustained.  We will be nourished.  The Lord will be our constant source of hope and help.  The Lord will help us to endure and He will empower us to continue bearing fruit.  What a wonderful promise we have.  What a wonderful Lord we serve.

Posted in bad weather, can't go on, Christianity, Church, diligence, Don't give up, faith, God will help you, God's Strength, trust in the Lord | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Will Direct Your Path

Anytime you face a change of plans or a fork in the road on life’s journey, here is a great Bible verse to keep in mind:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

That is good advice in times of uncertainty or change.  You can trust the Lord to lead you and guide you, if you let Him.  As a matter of fact, that is good advice at all times.  Look to the Lord, lean on Him, trust in Him and He will guide your path.

Posted in Be Flexible, Christianity, Church, Don't give up, Draw close to God, faith, Faith during hard times, Proverbs 3:5-6 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quiet Time

I hope that you were able to spend some time alone with God in prayer and in His word this week.  For me, I find that I have to really guard my quiet time because if I do not, something else always seems to clamor for my attention and prevent me from spending time alone with God.  I am reminded of the importance of quiet time because it is something that Jesus always made time for.  The Bible says in Mark 1:35 “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”  This wasn’t just a one-time occurrence.  We read in Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”

Jesus was busy in ministry, there was always something for Him to do.  And yet, even with so much to do and so much to teach, Jesus regularly made time to be with His Father.  It was a time of renewal and refreshing.  If a quite time was beneficial to Christ, how much more beneficial will a quiet time be for us?  We need to make time to be with the Lord.  We need to get away from the distractions and the disruptions and just spend time alone with Him.  We all benefit from a special time with Him; it is a time of renewal and refreshing.  A quiet time does not take us away from what needs to be done, rather it strengthens us for what needs to be done.

Posted in busy schedule, faith, God Answers Prayer, God Still Speaks, Luke 5:16, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Refuge During the Storm

One day last week, a severe thunderstorm passed through our area.  Our little dogs usually handle those things okay but this time the lightning was really loud and really close and the thunder was booming.  I was busy working and did not pay much attention to it until I noticed that both of our dogs were hiding under the desk where I was working.  They were right there by my feet trying to wait out the storm in what they considered a safe place.  I reached down and petted them and talked to them a little bit and kept on working.  As the storm raged on, my dogs sought shelter under the desk near my feet.   The situation reminded me of the first few verses of Psalm 91:

Psalm 91:1  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

Just like my dogs had a safe place they could run to during a storm, there is a refuge available to us as well.  We can find a safe place at the feet of the Lord God.  We can trust Him to be with us.  We can trust Him to comfort us, strengthen us and be present with us during any storm that may come our way.  The Lord God truly is a refuge and a fortress.

 

Posted in bad weather, Christianity, Church, Don't give up, Draw close to God, Experiencing God's Presence, Faith during hard times, God is with Me, God's Strength, Psalm 91:1, The Lord is my Refuge, Trust in God | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I have continued to practice riding my unicycle.  I learned how to do what is called a “free mount” last week.  That means that wherever I am, I can hop up on the unicycle and start pedaling.  I am now able to go around the neighborhood and only have to stop when my legs get tired.  Unicycle videos on Youtube have been really helpful in my learning process.  I have learned a lot by watching and listening to those who already know how to ride a unicycle.  By imitating them and practicing regularly, it is getting a lot easier.  As I was reflecting on this the other day, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Philippians 3:17.  Paul writes:

Phil 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

In this chapter, Paul is speaking to church about living a life that glorifies Christ.  Paul exhorts the church to have the right attitudes and to display the right behaviors.  Paul instructs and encourages the church to imitate the good things and the godly things they observe in the lives of Paul and his fellow ministers.  In this instruction, Paul is not being egotistical.  Earlier in this very chapter Paul was very transparent about his transgressions, his pride and his sin that characterized his life before he met Christ.  Paul knows very well the power of Christ to transform lives!  Paul knows very well the willingness of Christ to equip us and empower us to be who He has called us to be.  With that in mind, Paul encourages the church to imitate him as he seeks to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Paul says, “I haven’t arrived yet, but if you want to know how to get there, follow me.”  I like that.  We can learn a lot from watching, listening and imitating someone who knows what they are talking about.  It is a blessing to have an example to follow.  And if we keep watching, listening and imitating the godly lives of others, we will be an example for others to follow.

Posted in accountability partners, Christianity, Church, doing the right thing, faith, growing in faith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust Your Heavenly Father

I have had an opportunity to visit with several different people this year who have been contemplating things like switching jobs, changing careers, or retiring altogether.  These types of decisions are important and should not be made lightly.  Many times, such decisions are accompanied by a little bit of worry or anxiety.  Sometimes they are accompanied by a lot of worry or anxiety.  In such moments, it’s good to reflect on the words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount as He spoke about our tendency to worry.  In Matthew 6:26 – 32, Jesus instructed us not to be overwhelmed with anxiety regarding earthly things.  Jesus reminds us that we can always trust our Heavenly Father.  Christ tells His followers that the Heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the field and we can trust Him to meet our needs too.  Jesus goes on to say,

Mat 6:33  “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

We don’t have to be overwhelmed with worry and anxiety.  We can trust in the Lord God and know that He will take care of us.  We can trust Him to provide for us.  We can trust Him to lead us and guide us.  The decisions we make about jobs, careers, families, and everything else should be made in a spirit of trust and prayer and not in a spirit of worry and anxiety.  Our Heavenly Father knows about all our needs and He is ready, willing, and able to provide for our needs.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, faith, God will help you, God will lead you, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:34, prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Encouraged and Persevere

I bought a unicycle and it arrived about 10 days ago.  One of the things that has really stood out to me is that learning to ride a unicycle changes the way you view success.  Learning to ride is a very slow process at first.  One the first day of practice you are just trying to sit on the unicycle without falling off while you lean against a wall or hold onto a rail.  You may or may not try to move along the wall as you push the pedals.  You think, “Man this is hard.  What was I thinking?”   You measure success in increments of “Hey!  I only fell off twice in the last minute – woohoo!”  That’s day 1.  On day 2, you begin to try to turn the pedals as you push off the wall with one hand and wave your opposite hand wildly in the air.  You get excited and say, “Hey!  I made it three feet today!”  On day 3, you get even more excited because you finally made it to the end of the garage.  You look back, you see the streak of sweat that your hand left behind as you crept along the wall and proudly think to yourself, “I’m getting better.  I made it across the garage and I haven’t had to call an ambulance yet!  Now where’s that Advil?”

From there, the next day you set even more lofty goals – no more touching the wall, no more leaning against things.  You go to the park and you get excited about wobbling 15 feet on a basketball court.  The next day you try to make it to the 3-point line.  Every day you challenge yourself to do just a little bit better and go just a little farther.  Pretty soon, you can go all the way down the street without stopping.  At least, that’s been my experience.

I know that I have a long way to go to become an accomplished rider.  But I also know that I have been steadily making progress since that first day of practicing and falling in the garage less than 2 weeks ago.  And as I think about how excited I have been with even the smallest increments of progress I am struck by the fact that in our society we rarely congratulate ourselves or anyone else on such small, tiny, incremental successes.  Let’s face it, I have fallen off or had to abandon an attempt to ride that unicycle dozens and dozens of times each day.  And yet I am continually excited about trying again and not giving up.  I am continually excited and encouraged by doing just a little bit better today than I did yesterday.  It even causes me to look forward to doing even a little better tomorrow.

I have found that I have offered myself more grace and patience while learning to ride the unicycle than I have offered myself in other areas and at other times of my life.  I know there have been times in the past where I have been too critical of myself or too critical of others.  We live in a society that demands instant success and immediate progress and does not provide allowances for falling down and having to pick oneself back up.  In our society, we would rather point out the falls and the failures rather than praise the persistence and the progress – no matter how slight the progress may be.  I am afraid that too often we get caught up in pursuit of perfection and as a result, we do not offer enough grace to ourselves or to others.  When it comes to learning to ride a unicycle or just life in general, we need to practice the exhortation we find in Romans 15:5

Romans 15:5  Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus…

Maybe there is something different or new that you have been trying to learn or do and you find yourself frustrated by your falls and your failures.  Don’t give up!  Be patient.  Emphasize and focus on the progress and the successes even if they are small.  Challenge yourself to do just a little bit better today and go a little bit further today than you did yesterday.  Be encouraged!  Show yourself some grace and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.

Posted in Christianity, Don't give up, Don't stop, Filled with Grace, love one another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Powerful, All Knowing and Ever Present

I have been doing a sermon series this month entitled, “The Attributes and Characteristics of God – Knowing Our Creator.”  This week we are considering the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God.  That is to say, God is all powerful, all knowing and ever present.  The other evening, while I was working on the sermon and reflecting on such things, I asked the Lord to give me a greater appreciation for His attributes and how they work in perfect harmony together.  About that time, I got a text.  The text said, “Hey, can you pray for someone in Brazil? You don’t know him and I don’t either, but God does and this guy is very ill and needs prayer.”

I am always humbled and amazed at God’s timing.  Through the act of someone asking someone to ask others for prayers for a friend, I had a greater appreciation for God and who He is.  I stopped what I was doing and began to pray for someone I don’t know, who lives in a place I’ve never been, and who is dealing with a situation that I really don’t know anything about.  And although I don’t know the person, the place or the situation; I know that God does.  I know that God knows them, knows what they are going through and He is near them and able to strengthen them, comfort them and give them His peace.  God is indeed all powerful, all knowing, ever present and nothing escapes His attention.  Not you, not me and not someone’s friend in Brazil.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, hope, Intercessory Prayer, never cast out, Not forsaken, Psalm 145:18 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment