Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)
Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
One of my greatest struggles in life is waiting on the Lord. Knowing by faith that He will do something and then waiting until He does it are two entirely different things. God has moved swiftly in my life and other things have taken a great deal of time as far as I am concerned. God created me to be a planner and organizer by nature. I love routine and structure and seldom wander out spontaneously. Everything has a place and purpose in my life or it has to go. But am I have come to realize that everything has a season in our life because that’s how God operates and it is not according to the four seasons or time that we as human beings have decided it to be on the earth. So my “biological” clock sometimes gets out of sync with God’s Timing and I become frustrated, disoriented and discouraged by what appears to be a delay or disruption. It is in that moment that my inflexibility is clear and that is a major problem when it comes to faithful and confidently worshipping the Lord. How so? If I am “confident” that “I will” see the Lord’s Goodness while “I am here” in the land of the living, then I will wait patiently for the Lord. I will be brave. I will be courageous or fearless in my pursuit of the Lord. When I come to the end of my patience, strength to stand and fear/doubt overtakes me – I will still say, “I am here”.
2 Peter 3:8-10 (NLT)
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
Although the Word of God warns me not to forget this one thing, I do over and over again. “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord and thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about His Promise…” God has meticulously planned each life moment by moment. (Psalm 139:16) He has a perfect plan with a future and hope for each one of us. (Jeremiah 29:11) To have it, we are required to seek God wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) Few realize that to have all that God has promised requires living in close proximity to Him. The trouble is that sin cannot be drug into the Presence of God but we want what God has AND what the world has given us too. There is no point in “waiting” on the Lord if you are not willing to give up what the world offers to possess all that He promises. Ultimately, God is after your heart. If you will allow Him to give you a heart that is willing to obey, you will have everything that God promised in His Plan for your life!
Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
The Blood of Jesus Christ will clean the most sin-stained heart and make it new. The Word washes us continually keeping us in this pristine state as understanding turns to obedience which is wisdom. (Ephesians 5:25-27) However, we must have a loyal spirit in order to maintain the cleanliness and righteousness of God rather than running right back into the filthy darkness and sin of the world. We are called to turn from evil and do good. (Psalm 37:27) The Lord is good so we must do the same as imitators of God following the example of Jesus Christ. (Psalm 25:8) To do good requires trusting the Lord. (Psalm 37:3) Such a life will prosper according to God’s Word. It says that the Lord will withhold “no good thing” from those who do right! (Psalm 84:11) Those who are willing to wait on the Lord do so because they have a loyal spirit. A loyal spirit is faithful to the Lord and shows continual allegiance to His Great Name. God has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in our weakness and to give us inner strength to remain faithful even when we cannot see what God is doing…especially when we cannot see the Hand of God at work. Willing obedience is different from spiritual oppression because it is not born of religion but rather of a relationship – finding so much joy in one’s salvation that willingness is a byproduct of faith and confident hope that what the Lord has promised is better than what the world is pushing our way.
Isaiah 6:5-8 (NLT)
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
The moment that we encounter the Lord for the very first time is to come to understand the true filthiness of the human condition. Repentance comes in the realization that there is absolutely nothing that I can do to save myself except fully accept the Grace of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ. There is no pride in this place only surrender. My life (what’s left of it) for all the Goodness of God offered by His Grace, Mercy and Love for someone who could not save themselves. It is in total helplessness that we give our life to the Lord. But do not be deceived, the mind, spirit and body that comprises a person will never die to sin willingly. It will be a fight to the death. You cannot make it without God’s Spirit helping you. The direction that one takes immediately after accepting the Lord will dictate the course of life. Those who turn from evil to do good have a fighting chance, but those who do not submit their mind, soul and body to the transformation of God will go down without a fight.
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The Bible very clearly states that everything is permissible for God’s People BUT not everything is beneficial. (I Corinthians 10:23) There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Got it!) (Romans 8:1) So there is the permissible Will of God and perfect Will of God, the choice is yours! I want to see His Goodness in the land of the living. I am confident that I will so by faith I choose to chase after God’s Perfect Will by His Grace. However, there are many people today who choose to live in the permissible Will of God. If you are confused, maybe this will offer some insight! “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:17-20) I am pretty sure everyone knows the story of the prodigal son. It demonstrates the difference in permissible and perfect will. It is important to note a few things here – 1) the boy was still the man’s son when he left home to live his own life, 2) the son left with his father’s blessing and inheritance (he got everything that he was entitled to and promised), 3) the son chose to leave the father’s home and venture into the world, 4) he came to his senses, and 5) when he returned home – he was still the man’s son with a future. God has created a perfect plan for each and every person who He created. It has a future and hope. You have been given the freedom to choose the course of your life by the Grace and Mercy of God. It is time that we learn to choose well. It is up to you and I whether or not we will allow the Lord to transform our life to fulfill His Purpose and Plan for our life or we can just keep on keeping on in His Permissible Will. It is up to each individual person whether or not we will live our way or God’s Way. He permits us to choose. The Lord is willing to do everything that He promised if we are willing to take a step in the right direction. “In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.’ Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” (Luke 5:12-13) You can have everything that God has promised when you strive to walk in His Way!
Matthew 14:26-32 (NLT)
When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
The summation of our life is to learn to live by faith and confident hope totally trusting and dependent on God in all things. It is His Perfect Will for His People. It will require waiting for our faith to grow. We must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) This means living what we believe not by what we see in the natural. Tough one! There are many men and women of God who had to say, “Here I am” when the Lord said, “I am here.” See faith must be properly evaluated so we will know if what we have is real. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Without real faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) It is a must. Faith will produce confident hope in our life enabling us to wait on the Lord patiently. (James 1:3) Peter went as far as his faith would go and then began sinking, but he would be given many more opportunities to prove that he was a righteous man in his willingness to serve God. He would fail along the way. But just as Jesus did in the crashing waves, the Lord will lift you up if you are chasing after Him! Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat in this account. But there are many more that offered themselves to the Lord by faith when they said, “Here am I” including Abraham (Genesis 22), Jacob (Genesis 31), Moses (Exodus 3), Samuel (I Samuel 3) and yes, even our example, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:6-8) Are you willing to say, “Here I am” today? Are you willing to seek His Face and wait until He comes? Willingness is to be cheerfully consenting and ready. It does not mean pouting and complaining until He comes. In this holiday season, children are greatly anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus who will bring them toys and goodies to match their hearts desire. But what about Jesus Christ who left behind His Glory and put down His Crown, to be born in a manger, endure the persecution and humiliation of those He came to save while serving them willingly all the way to the Cross! Why wouldn’t we be willing to wait on the Truth with the great excitement that we do for a bearded man in a red suit whose gifts will break and lose their luster quickly in a discontented world where satisfaction is elusive?
I Chronicles 28:9-10 (NLT)
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The LORD has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”
David’s instructions to his son, Solomon, pertaining to building the Temple of God are important to us today as individual “temples” of the Living God. We must know God intimately. Worship and serve the Lord with our whole heart as indicated previously. We must do so with a willing mind that is done, given, and used with cheerful readiness when it comes to godly obedience in our pursuit of faith and confident hope. God sees our heart. He knows if we are living in the Truth or according to a lie. He will reveal it to you if you will simply say, “Here I am”. If you seek Him, you will always find Him. He is not elusive and has given you everything you need to succeed and prosper. We must take our service to God seriously and determine to willingly give our life to Jesus Christ to be strong and do His Work by faith until He comes. Those who do will experience His Goodness and Glory in the land of the living rather than having to wait until He returns!
Isaiah 58:8-12 (NLT)
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.”
Many years ago, we were given a puppy. Although the previous owner boasted that he was housebroken and crate trained, we quickly learned that this was a slight exaggeration (okay, maybe a big one). After a few accidents, I pulled out the puppy crate to begin the process of housebreaking the dog. The first time I put him into the crate that was supposed to be like a “second home” to him, he went crazy. How a five-pound puppy could turn into the Tasmanian devil is beyond me but his yelping and jumping lifted the whole container off the ground. At that point, I was seriously considering sending him packing right back to his previous owner or anyone else to take this mess off my hands. A quick call to my dad offered some excellent advice. He told me to give him a treat the moment that he calmed down and stopped crying out. I was to let him out of the cage for a bit and repeat the process. By the end of the first day, the little man would willingly go in and out of the kennel and within three days was completely housebroken. I believe this is how God teaches His Children endurance and patience, too. Yes, it may mean slightly increased wait times along the way but as faith turns to confident hope even those times will become peaceful if not even enjoyable as the Joy of the Lord becomes our strength and refuge. No God is not treating us like animals or punishing us. But if the little dog had not learned to be obedient, he would not have been a blessing. He was rewarded for good behavior in the crate, but now that he is free to roam. Now each afternoon, he lays waiting and watching for my arrival in his freedom – he still chooses to seek out my love and attention. The Lord wants us to do the same thing and be willingly wait until He comes. God is telling you today in the midst of hardship, hard times or even if it is only your heart that is hard that “I am here!” His Perfect Plan includes so many blessings and promises that belong specifically to you. They are not for anyone else – He is waiting on you to say, “Here I am” with a ready and willing heart and mind to receive your inheritance.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.