“And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15
Waiting is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but it is part of what it means to be a servant of God. Because your life is hidden in Christ, His agenda is what matters most. Because His agenda takes precedence over your own, waiting for His timing is as common as flour is for a baker. God has the arial view, if you will, and you can only see from where you are on the ground. Waiting is wisdom, My Friend. You would not want to rush what God is up to in your life or the lives of those for whom you have been praying. If the Almighty is not in a hurry, who are you and I to be in one? Ask the Lord to give you His perspective so that you can experience the peace that is also a part of being a servant of God. Determine not to be like the child for whom everything must happen right now. Exercise child-like faith that your Divine Parent knows what is best and that you can trust Him by choosing to be patient.
I believe that faith makes the Father smile. Because it is impossible to please Him without it (Hebrews 11:6) you and I can be confident of His pleasure when we put it into practice. So, how is your wait, My Friend? Is the Father finding pleasure in your behavior in your waiting season? I can assure you mine is not what it needs to be. I am learning that patience is in my best interest because it brings about the rest I am always asking God to give me—the growth too. Patience helps me slow down enough to savor where I am right now, whatever that season may be. It enables me to devote the needed attention to whatever God has placed in my hand at the moment instead of straining to get where I think I want to be. I also have to keep telling myself that if I choose to do today well, I will be ready for the day I have been longing for when it comes.
Pray with me: Father, forgive me for my impatience. Help me to trust You and to remember anew that You are in control and that this is all I need to know. Help me to be faithful in what You have for me to do right now knowing it is every bit as important as the thing I think I would rather be doing. Thank you that by your Spirit, I already possess the patience I need. Give me grace to allow its release in my life so that I can be pleasing to You in my waiting season. Amen.
“He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. ” 2 Kings 14:3
In some cases, it’s ok to be mediocre. No one can be the best at everything and some things are not important enough to deserve our energy and time.
Other things, however, mean so much that they deserve our utmost.
I speak specifically to your heart toward God. Today’s verse gives a chilling description of the heart of King Amaziah. At first it sounds like he was getting a glowing review: he did right in the sight of God. The description quickly darkens when it says he didn’t do right like his ancestor David, a man after God’s own heart. King Amaziah was satisfied being “good enough”.
Call me an overachiever, but I want to do more than just get by in my walk with God. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t want there to be any area of my life that I am satisfied with the bronze or tin when the gold of knowing God deeper is available by His grace.
How about you?
When we start talking about being pleasing to God, the mind automatically looks at the mountain of times we failed before, but that’s not where we should focus. We must focus on the power God offers to help us persevere and overcome. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
It begins with repentance and surrender. Are there morals you have let slip? Have you given up striving to hear Him say, “well done” because it seems nobody else is trying? The benefits of following hard after God far outweigh the “pleasures” of mediocrity. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
The cross was God’s way of reaching low to save us. Our best response is to aim high in pleasing Him.
“Without growing weary, you have persevered and endured many things for the sake of My name. But I have this against you: you have abandoned your first love.” Revelation 2:3-4
No matter how long you have been a Christian, you never outgrow your need to stick with the basics. Remembering the cross and who you were before Jesus found you and praying and reading your Bible everyday are a few things you cannot afford to lose sight of, my friend. Whenever you start to think you do not need to keep the basics of the faith in mind, you can be sure you are not where God would have you to be. Yes, you may have learned a lot beyond the basics, but those basics are the foundation that make your new knowledge work. Never allow yourself to believe you have no need of dependence on Christ for everything! Humble yourself every single day in God’s presence, remembering that without Him you can and would be nothing. Just as human relationships need regular maintenance to thrive, so does your relationship with God. Life will always throw something your way that you cannot handle. Do not allow a stretch of good times lull you into thinking you do not need to always be getting prepared for the next grenade. No, you do not have to live in fear or look over your shoulder for the next catastrophe, but if you practice good friendship maintenance with God, you can be more ready when the time to fight comes again.
You have grown and overcome some things you previously thought would kill you. You clung to the basics for dear life because you were desperate. Now that you have some victories under your belt, resist the temptation to slack off. You can only live off the reserves of your last victory for so long. God is a daily meal you must partake of if you are going to have daily strength. He will always be smarter than you, so be smart enough to stick with Him. You have come so far and I know you want to go farther still. Go back to your first love, go back to the things that got you where you are today. Go back to the basics.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
God did not bring you this far to fall short of His goals and plans for you, My Friend. He is still all He said He is and all that He said He would be for you. If you are weary, rest. If discouragement is darkening your outlook right now, open the window of the Word and let the sunshine of truth shine in. Turn on the light that only prayer gives. Nothing is as bad as it seems when God is on your side. Decide that your feelings are not the boss of you. Determine to refocus your attention on why you started this journey in the first place. Ask the Lord to renew your passion. He will!
What has happened to cause you to consider quitting? Whatever it is, God saw it the first day He called you, and He knew you would face this challenge today. Know that He envisioned you plowing through this obstacle, not having it crush you. He intended this to build your faith and perseverance, and it will if you allow His grace and strength to push you through. He has already equipped you for this challenge, so press into it! You can still do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). You are still more than a conqueror than Him Who loved us, and you can still reach the finish line hearing God say, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.” (Romans 8:37; Matthew 25:23).
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
What you contribute to the world matters. Do not downplay your role and the difference you make. It has been God’s plan all along. You are important to the quality of life of the people you touch. Without you, certain places would be empty yet full of need. You crowd out loneliness for someone, and you are the pebble that starts a ripple of courage, stamina, and hope in someone’s life. If you give up, others will too. Certain people look to you for love and encouragement, and others you have yet to meet are praying for God to send “someone like you” into their lives. God placed a lot in you when He created you and even more when He saved you! Do not let comparison, discouragement, depression, or doubt block your potential, My Friend. God is not done with you yet. Push through whatever has you down because folks are waiting to receive what God designed you to give. As long as you have breath, you have important blessing to do. You are needed. You are significant. You are essential.
Psalm 16: 8 “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Some days you just feel off-kilter. You try to search your heart to see what is wrong and you find nothing. All of your efforts to feel better meet with a tenacious angst. You try to pray and it does not have the affect you hoped. You open your Bible and you do not even know where to begin reading. Your mind wanders and you try to reel it in and focus. Focus on what? You have no idea. Even music seems to run off and leave you to fend for yourself this time.
What do you do?
You tell yourself that your emotions are not facts and then remind yourself what the facts are. God is in the same place He has always been, His promises are still true even if you cannot remember what they are at the moment. Persevere by going back to your Bible and determining to read until something happens. Get back on your knees and speak to your invisible God knowing He is there despite your feeling like no one is listening. Sing that song to Him or play that playlist or pick another song and another and another. The point is to keep moving. Through perseverance, you can throw off the off-ness of your days. You do not have to fall prey to the emotions you feel, My Friend, they can fall prey to the truth you know!
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)
Have you ever noticed how intense the resistance can be whenever you start to step out in faith to do something you have never done? No matter how much you know you need to make that change, take that step, set that boundary, or fulfill that dream, the fear tries to drown out all that can be in favor of the status quo. Do not underestimate the cunning of your spiritual enemy, My Friend. He will use Scripture (misapplied, of course), family and friends, imaginary obstacles, procrastination, and outright lies to keep you from moving forward. Why do you suppose the devil is putting up such a fight? What does he not want you to experience? These tactics can eat up years of your life if you let them. How long will you wait before you decide you will trust God, My Friend? So much beauty, freedom, excitement, joy, and growth await you on the other side.
God is not slack concerning His promise to be with you when you take that step, so why are you still standing there? It is time to move forward, even if you have to do it timid, afraid, trembling, and uncertain. I have learned that those emotions are the devil’s smoke screen. Call his bluff and you will see him more clearly for the liar and thief of your destiny that he is. You will also experience how faithful, how big, and how loving God is when you see what He has waiting on the other side of your fear. You have nothing to lose but all that has been holding you back. You have everything to gain, so step on out! God’s got you!
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.” 2 Timothy 4:2 (NLT)
The apostle Paul was a jailbird of sorts. Imprisoned for preaching the good news, he did not let that discourage him. He just kept right on preaching while in prison. Can you just see him preaching to the guards chained to him? They probably worked in shifts and each time, Paul struck up a conversation with them and had compelling discussions about Christ. When life goes wrong for us, the temptation to allow that to discourage and distract is real. Satan is counting on it! Determine that no matter what is going on in life, you will not stop living for Christ and sharing His love and truth with others. Life is always going to be a combination of good days and bad, My Friend. Make up your mind that no matter what is going on, you are going to stay on the job of sharing Jesus with whoever happens to be in preaching distance.