Ephesians 6:10-12 (Message)
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
How much longer must I wait, Lord? How much longer must I hold on? I am tired. I am fatigued, annoyed and frustrated, but I refuse to let go. I ache from the stress and pressure of waiting on you God but for some reason I just cannot let it go. Does this describe the way that you are feeling today? This is the moment that separates the men from the boys spiritually to put it in plain terms. It is the moment that we test the foundation of faith that we have built to determine if it is sturdy enough to hold us until the end. The sweat on our brow is evidence of endurance but can we make it to the end. This is holy ground. God meets us in this place if we choose to call His Name and watching for His Arrival with expectancy that He will come. For many years, the children would wait for their father to arrive for a scheduled visit. After many broken promises, only two out of three remained at the window. But over the years, the two became one little boy who would continue to wait and watch for the one who seldom came until he learned to expect very little out of the one who he called “dad” and take only what he was given requiring nothing more. The world has certainly created a lack of expectancy in people today. The picture of the one who was waiting describes the lives of many people who are lost in a dying world. Hope is fleeting because the foundation of their faith is in people who consistently fail in most everything that we do. Hope is not based on what we see but what we believe to be true that remains unseen. Many times what we expect from the Lord is defined by our experiences in the world. God is strong. He wants you to be strong, too. Your strength is in knowing that the Lord is coming and living with such anticipation. God is with you. He has empowered you to reject the lie of the enemy, all of those false substitutions and ignore all the unnecessary distractions. This is the foundation called confident hope that no matter what is going in the world – you are still standing on the platform of God’s Word, perfection of His Way, and purpose called His Will. Are you still standing today?
John 20:19-20 (NLT)
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!
Jesus was dead and gone. The truth that they believed had been stripped from them. What now? What next? The Lord promised never to leave them or forsake them but now this. Can you imagine how the early believers must have felt in that moment? They were in hiding from the Jews who had successfully silenced Jesus or so they thought surely they would be next. It is funny how the Presence of God can be the most evident in the midst of the storms of life or when all hell breaks loose against us. Was He with us before but unnoticed? Or is it the moment that we cry out in fear and confusion that He comes? Jesus never left them. After He finished His Work on the Cross, He was right there with them never to be far again. The difference in the proximity of the Lord in our life is not God, but us. We decide how far we run or close we become according to our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the foundation of our faith. As long as we see Jesus, everything will be okay. But what about when we cannot see the Lord, what keeps us standing?
Exodus 33:19-23 (NLT)
The LORD replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The LORD continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”
Things were getting a little hectic for Moses, God had be plans for this ordinary man who was a fugitive hiding on a mountainside. But God had other ideas for Moses, and revealed them to His Servant. Humanly the man struggled with the Plan of God and its enormity. Moses asked the Lord to reveal His Presence to Him and promise to remain with him or let him stay right in his comfort zone. Who hasn’t received a Word of God and gotten excited only to get worked up trying to make it happen? Raise your hand if you have been saved more than twenty minutes because that is probably you. I know it is me. It is one thing to accept God’s Purpose but quite another to wait out His Plan especially when you have been given divine revelation at some point. (Exodus 33:12-14) Moses knows what the Lord is asking him to do now he tries to make logical sense of it. Not too long ago, I was right there with the man of God unsure if I had missed the Lord or if He was any longer in my plight. I asked the Lord for a fleece to show me some tangible sign that He was still working on our behalf and that I had not missed the mark. The Lord made His Presence pass before me and although not a single detail changed – my perspective did. Our sin keeps us from standing face-to-face with God, the Father. (Exodus 33:19-20) So Jesus Christ, His Son, becomes the foundation of faith upon which we stand and the crevice of the rock that we hide our face in. (Verse 21) When the disciples saw Jesus again, nothing in the natural changed but joy filled their hearts to overflowing. When Moses saw the Presence of God pass by although nothing changed God took His Rightful Position once again. God’s Presence may not change our predicament but it will change our perspective.
Joshua 5:13-15 (NLT)
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.
When Joshua encountered the angel near Jericho, he inquired, “Are you friend or foe?” He answered, “Neither one. I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” When Joshua bowed to the commander of the Lord’s Army, he asked him “what do you want your servant to do?” Worship. God loves all mankind. Every single person ever born has a plan and purpose imprinted in them by God although many will never discover it before it’s too late. The world rebels against authority. It is highly likely that when I get in my truck and head off to work that I will exceed the speed limit to get there. It just happens. God doesn’t have to yell because whether or not we choose to bow to His Authority – God reigns. When Elijah ran to the mountain in fear of Jezebel’s threats, it was not in thunder and lightning that God’s Voice was heard. But after the storm, it was God’s whisper that asked God’s Man – “What are you doing here?” (I Kings 19:10-13) God is in control of every element of the atmosphere. Everything is going according to His Plan. (Psalm 33:10-11) His Plan never changes but remains on course. (I Corinthians 1:20-22) God has given us His Spirit – indwelling Presence – as a guarantee of all that He has promised. It is human nature to fight back but that is not what the Lord tells us. He tells us to remain confident and trust Him enough to worship through the storm all the way to victory. (2 Chronicles 20:16-18) He told King Jehoshaphat this: 1) Take your position. Your position should always be one of faith in Jesus Christ alone. Do not expect things from other people because they will let you down. Do not expect anything out of life but put your full expectation in Jesus Christ. 2) Stand still. This is tough. I struggle with this concept a lot. Waiting on the Lord is tough. Watching for Him to come seems hard. Worshiping seems impossible. But when you do it, He comes. 3) The Victory belongs to the Lord. You win not because you did something right. You win because that was the plan for your life from the very beginning. Now that you have decided to remain faithful and hold your position of righteousness by faith in Jesus alone – you will always win. Submission to God’s Power requires acceptance of His Authority. God is your victory. (Psalm59:9-10) Apart from Jesus Christ there is no victory. He is worth waiting for. He will come so keep watching. Waiting and watching is an act of submission that is identified as worship when we choose to remain standing when the world walks away or wanders in the wilderness of life. “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (Habakkuk 2:1-3)
I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
I am still standing on faith for many things. Yes, I squirm around. Strive against it. Struggle to continue doing it. But the bottom line, I am not willing to give up on what God has promised me so I keep doing it. Waiting is worship. Seems silly to think of it that way, but when you consider that waiting on the Lord submits our way for His Way – it is clear. Faith in Jesus Christ is how we become righteous. You cannot add to it by anything that you may do. (Psalm 24:3-6) Right standing with God through Jesus Christ leads to blessing after blessing. In fact, God put a Hand of Blessing on our head in the very beginning (Psalm 139:1-6) He follows us most of the time, but in those rare moments that we allow Him to take the lead – our life is overflowing. God’s Way is perfect. You will never stand still and wait on the Lord until you are fully convinced of this statement in its entirety. (Psalm 18:30-36) All of His Promises come true and are designated for you. He stays true to His Covenant. (Psalm 105:7-9) All of this is clearly defined in His Word, so to be strong in faith one must know the Word. (Psalm 119:159-160) The Word of God for your life stands forever. You did not miss it. If you dropped the ball, you are allowed by His Grace and Mercy to pick it back up again. We stand in undeserved privilege. (Romans 5:1-2) This is nothing new and everything is going according to His Plan. (Romans 8:29-31) God’s Purpose is comprehensive beginning at the start of your life and concluding the last day that you draw breath before moving to Eternity. He has equipped you to stand tall and still when the enemy comes against you. (Ephesians 6:10-12) You must learn to use your tools for good not evil. You are only as strong as the foundation of faith on which you build your life. Your actions are evidence of what you believe. Those who have faith in Jesus Christ and confident hope in His Return will live with expectancy and anticipation of His Arrival.
I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Those who become weak are strengthened by the Lord. When we are weary, He lifts us with wings like eagles so that we will soar once more. If you are still standing on God’s Word for your life, waiting for His Will and watching for His Way – you are leaving a leap of faith anchored by confident hope which is reason to rejoice every single moment that you wait. His Hand of Blessing is upon you so do not give up. His Still Small Voice is coming so take your hands off your ears and listen. His Word is working in your life even though you cannot seem to see it. Your faith is enough to stand on so keep standing. It may seem like it is taking forever but the Lord is coming and with Him is your victory!
I Peter 5:6-11 (NLT)
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.