“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
We live in a “insta” this and that world. “Wait” is not a word that is well received as a answer to a request. How do you typically respond or feel after being told to wait? Maybe it’s like the response of my silly rescue dog ,Sol, when I tell her to wait and sit patiently while I get her food. Patiently is not how I would describe it. She sits, then she lays down, and when she is really patient she rolls over and sits back up wiggling and adjusting her weight as she licks her chops. It’s not easy to wait when we can see what we are hoping to receive let alone remain hopeful for what we can’t see.
The previous verses in Romans 8 bring to mind the waiting state that all of creation is in still today. A state of longing to be restored to God’s original perfect creation. When we have the hope of eternal salvation living in us we too are challenged to wait patiently for our promised completed transformation for eternity, the completion of our ultimate promise. But in the meantime we are to also find ourselves needing to patiently wait for the Lord in other areas of hope in our lives.
I don’t know what you are waiting on the Lord for but I pray you are strengthened by Him to wait patiently with hope for that which you have not grabbed hold of. Maybe you are waiting in hope for—- healing, justice, direction, provision, protection, confirmation or ……….be encouraged to not lose hope in the Lord for He is faithful and His timing is perfect.
What does our waiting look like?
Is it patiently enduring life or wiggling and readjusting?
Most importantly we have hope!!!
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Wow it is hard to believe this is the twelfth week of 2017 already! Twelve treasure verses down and forty more left to discover this year. This week we will reflect on 2 Corinthians 7:10 with the purpose of storing it in our hearts.
Godly sorrow. What does it mean to you? Can you recall a time that you experienced sorrow? Romans 2:4 suggests that “Godly sorrow” is our personal awareness in response of the “riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience” towards humanity and us individually. The very purpose of the Lord’s kindness is to lead us to repentance because his desire for us is to experience his gift of salvation that “leaves no regrets.” I believe “the no regrets” it’s referring to is eternal life. Which is opposite of those who only have worldly sorrow– regret or sorriness of not achieving a standard or goal rather than in response to God’s kindness.
We all experience some level of sorrow and regret in life because none of us have the ability to achieve perfection in this world. I am challenged daily with where my sorriness leads me. I know I am naturally very selfish in my thinking and actions. This tendency permits me to regularly view life through the lens of my perspective rather than God’s perspective. Reflecting on this verse reminds me that I should be more concerned with how my actions or lack of action effects my relationship with the Lord and others desire for relationship with him- “Godly sorrow”. Rather than personal regret or embarrassment for how my choice has effected my reputation, my opportunities, my relationships, or my life in general. I hope you get the point.
Recognition of the perspective we are looking at our life from is the first step in following the kindness of God to repentance that builds a solid relationship with him full of love and grace rather than empty regrets. Chances are as you read this something has stirred within and brought to mind a time when you too experienced remorse. May I suggest that the weight of any regrets we have now is pale in comparison to the regret we will experience in eternity if it is spent separated from God. Jesus spoke of the tormenting regret that awaits those who only respond to his kindness with “worldly sorrow” in Luke 16: 19 -31. The scene ends with a rich man in Hades. After living his life of luxury with a selfish perspective. He is now living in eternal torment begging for relief as he looked into paradise where “Father Abraham” could see and hear his pleas for water and rescue. Abraham replied “between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”(Luke 16:26) The rich man then begged Abraham to send someone to warn his five brothers who were still alive “so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”(Luke 16:28) My prayer is that those within my influence will experience the kindness of God and refocus their perspective to build a solid relationship with Christ.
Which lens are you looking through today? God’s perspective or yours?
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring“. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Welcome to the final post in the ADORE Series: Eternal Peace—
Happy New Year!!! Did you know we are just days away from the Day of Epiphany? Friday January 6th marks the day to celebrate the day that The Wise Men or Maggi arrived and worshiped Jesus the newborn king—“And he will be their peace.” (Micah 5:5) Some traditions celebrate the combination of both the worship and gifts given by the Maggi and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist where the “Spirit descended on him like a dove.”(Mark 1:10-11). These events are both centered on the celebration of the peaceful kingship of our Savior. If you have never celebrated this holiday you can find more information at this link —https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/epiphany.
As we take time this week to reflect on the gift of “Eternal Peace”. I think it is important to consider the gifts presented to the Son of God by the Maggi. These men had, in some cases, spent their lifetime searching for the foretold star to appear as prophesied hundreds of years before by the prophet Balaam (Numbers 24:17-19). The star was declared as the sign of the rise of an Israelite King. After the “Bethlehem Star” (click for a short video) appeared in the heavens the Maggi began their journey to the Jewish capital city of Jerusalem. Each one anticipating their opportunity to honor and worship this long awaited king with gifts suited for royalty— gold, frankincense, and myrrh. All of these gifts spoke of Jesus’ position, purpose, and perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies that brought hope for “Eternal Peace” on earth.Let’s reflect on the gifts:
The First Gift~ Gold– A gift of great value given to royalty and those who have treasure. This gift speaks to the future position of Christ as Eternal King—the King of peace.
Micah 5:2-5 “”But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come from me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
The Second Gift~ Frankincense– An expensive form of incense known for it’s sweet fragrance, healing properties, and being used often in sacrificial offering ceremonies. This gift speaks to his purpose to live a life that would reconcile the world to its’ creator.
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
The Third Gift~ Myrrh– A balm that had a sweet aroma yet bitter flavor most used for it’s healing, preservation, and protective qualities. It was commonly used for Jewish burial preparation. This gift resembles the suffering and sacrifice that speaks to the perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies for “Eternal Peace”.
Revelation 1:4b-8 “ Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father— to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, “says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.””
Let’s carry these gifts in our lives this year to share with our world around us!
Share the gift of gold by sharing the Gospel of peace and doing our best to remain at peace with all. (Ephesians 6:15; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18)
Share the gift of frankincense by spreading the fragrance of Christ’s love daily. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Share the gift of myrrh by living selflessly and dying to our self-daily so Christ will live through us. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20)
Prayer of Adoration: Oh Eternal King of Peace you are mighty and worthy of all praise. Your kingdom is never ending and your love endures forever. We seek to follow after you and be instruments of your peace, love, joy, hope, and grace this whole year through. Lord as we draw closer to you we ask that you would fill us with more of you so our lives will be a fragrant offering to you. Teach us to be imitators of you so where we walk we walk in your love and peace. Help us to live selflessly by faith. Empower us to choose to be salt and light encouraging peace among our brothers and sisters. We ask all of this as we long for your triumphal return to reign as The King of Kings. In Jesus Holy name, Amen
Here is a great song to listen to as you ponder the gift of Christ by Lauren Daigle “Noel(live)”.
What are you doing with the heartbeats you have been given? Where is your life journey taking you? Some of us are enjoying the ride and maintaining a steady heartbeat. While others are holding on wondering what is around the next corner, with hearts beating out of their chest. Wherever you’re at along this journey of life I know we have a common beginning- our first heartbeat in our mothers womb. It was there life began, our first heartbeat, undetected by our mothers but heard with anticipation by our Creator, God. Experiencing life, as we now know it began later, with an audience, as we were ushered into this amazing world and naturally inhaled our first breath. Take a moment to soak in the miracle of life. As I emerged myself in the miracle of my life I became captivated by the realization of the intentionalness of God in my life! He alone heard my first heartbeat, he gave me my first breath, and he heard my first cry. The very thought left me breathless. I was struck with wonder to reflect on his intimate connection with each of us. We are his first and destined to be his for eternity. He alone was there for my firsts and I know He will also be there to usher my soul into eternity after my final dun-dunt and exhale. His love brings me to my knees. Each of us is between our first and last so the question is “what are we doing with the heartbeats in-between?”
The “heartbeats in-betwee”n is our journey lived out in this world that is not our home but preparation for our eternal home. It says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that the Lord has placed eternity in our
hearts. What does that mean? Some would say it is the “God shaped hole” in our hearts and others it is the underlying “knowing” in our soul that there is more beyond this life.
The purpose of having eternity placed in our hearts is to spark the desireto seek after the Lord, ignite the inspiration to live in connection with Him, and the courage to take each step on our journey. Eternity in our hearts leads us to relationship with our Heavenly Father. Relationship with him changes our identity and redefines our purpose as we live out our “heartbeats in-between”.
When your identity changes from how the “world” defines you to who God has made you in His Son, Jesus Christ, your purpose is refocused on eternal relationships. Discovering your identity in Christ opens your heart to the desire to follow after him. It inspires you to choose him over this world and awakens the courage to follow in his footsteps.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says it best. It instructs us to be strong on our journey that is “marked out for us” by throwing off all that hinders and entangles us. Encouraging us to remain eternally focused with our eyes fixed on Jesus following his example. He traveled his life journey, his “heartbeats in-between”, with the “joy set before him”, the redemption of the world and his glorification at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus’ life provided a road map dotted with crossroads where he chose to live for eternal reward rather than worldly recognition. He lived a sinless life of love, was not entangled by the opposition from sinners, endured the cross, and perfected our faith pioneering the path marked out for us to follow.
Why is it so hard to follow Christ’s example? Apostle Paul answers that well in Romans 7:14-25. He shares the struggle to do what he desires in his heart, to delight the Lord, but he doesn’t always win the battle. He describes a war waging between his body (a prisoner to sin nature) and his mind (delighting in law of God), which he loses more than he would like. Can you relate to Paul’s struggle? I can! Too often I find myself daily wanting to do what is right but then find myself doing the very thing I did not want to do. The influence of our sin nature doesn’t stop just because we have a new identity in Christ. The battle rages and we must fight and purpose to keep our focus on Jesus the perfect source of our desire, inspiration, and courage to take each righteous step toward eternity.
It is so easy to get off course and follow after wrong desires, of the sin nature. I find I must have courage to honestly assess the source of my desire and inspiration to make wise daily choices of the direction I will move. Can you relate to any of these choices?
To buy or not to buy..
To say or not to say…
To do or not to do…
To stay or to go…
To look or look away….
Now, later, or not at all…
Depending on the day and situation some choices are easier to make and stay on course. I have found that the more grounded I am in my identity in Christ the clearer the right choice. When I am seeking in stillness with the Lord I have greater desire, inspiration, and courage to follow through with the God honoring opportunities set before me.
I encourage you to take time this week to be still with the Lord, breath in His goodness, and be infused with his strength for each moment. He hears your heartbeat and will guide your steps as you listen to His heart.
What are you doing with your “heartbeats in-between”?
How is your spiritual breathing? Have you been holding your breath too long? Take a deep breath. Hold it…..keep holding it….okay BREATHE. Did just the thought of holding your breath make you anxious? I don’t like the feeling I get after holding my breath for too long. My heart starts to race and I begin to feel light headed. Why do you think that is? Because breathing oxygen is essential to life and our breath rate is usually in rhythm with our heart rate. They are dependent on each other to do their job- provide O2 to the body.
Like physical breathing is essential to our physical life, taking time to spiritually BREATHE is essential to our spiritual life. Living out my identity in Christ should be as automatic as each breath I take, right? But why isn’t it? Oxygen taken in with each new breath is essential to maintain the strength of life in our body– from all the tiny cells to, each major organ. Likewise, the way we live out our identity in Christ maintains the strength of our spiritual life. I am challenged by the harsh reality that I am not as immediatly aware or alarmed when my spiritual breathing has been interrupted as I am when I am forced to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds. I can begin to feel the panic rise up inside, as I desire to release the old air and receive the new to avoid loss of consciousness or ultimately loss of life.
So what do I mean by spiritual breathing? Well recently I’ve been challenged with principles to help maintain spiritual balance in my life or taking time to BREATHE. I tend to put principles into acrostics making them easier to remember and put into practice. Here is my BREATHE acrostic:
Believe God is able ~Remember you are redeemed and release ~Everyday eternally focused ~Available and aware ~Trust with thanksgiving ~Humbly resist ~Exhale ~
When I keep each of these “BREATHE” principles active in my life I am strengthening my spiritual life through responsible relationship with the Lord by living my identity in Him. I notice that I become spiritually oxygen deprived when any of the principles are out of balance or rhythm. Let’s take a brief look at these principles.
BelieveGod is able. This principle challenges us to keep who God is in alignment with who we believe He is. Sometimes this looks like remembering that He is the great I AM who holds all that is dear to me in his all-powerful, majestic hands. This principle asks us- “What do you really believe about God’s ability to provide and care for you and all that you hold close?” This of course cramps the style of any of us control freaks, right? ~Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God…”
Remember you are redeemed and release. Knowing who God is and remembering he has redeemed us as his daughters is the foundation of one’s identity in Christ. When I reflect on the power and sacrifice that were exercised for my redemption it calls me to a place of surrender and release. I surrender to his never-ending love where I am able to experience his gentle kindness. In this sweet relationship I release my hold on the shame of my sinfulness and allow him to wash me in his forgiveness. Remembering this also releases me from the snare and trap of the enemy leaving me free in Christ. ~1 Peter 1: 17-21 “…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…. it was not with perishable things …you were redeemed from the empty way of life…but with the precious blood of Christ…He was chosen before the creation of the world… through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” ~ Ephesians 1:7-8 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” ~ 1John1: 9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”
Everyday is eternally focused. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Mathew 6:21) These words of Jesus ring true don’t they? Keeping our heart and head focused on where our real eternal treasure is difficult and takes determination. I struggle to fix my eyes on what is unseen because of the lure of the seen is so tangible and tempting even though it is temporary. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “ Therefore do not lose heart…outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”
Available and aware. This principle reminds us “it’s not all about me”. Though I will make plans for my days and weeks it is the desire of my heart that the Lord will direct my feet. Some days it is evident that the Lord has better plans for the day than I do. My response to his redirection reveals my heart attitude toward being available for the Lord’s purposes and determined to press on in difficult circumstances. It also is evidence of my sensitivity to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I must remain available to do the good works the Lord has prepared for me in advance. I also need to be aware of his leading and the needs of others in my life. ~Philippians 3: 13-14 “…Forgetting what is behind and straining…I press on toward the goal…for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” John 14:26 “…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send… will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Trust with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6-7 sums this up. We are not to be anxious or worry about anything. Rather we are to trust God wholeheartedly with everything. To not be anxious means trusting God through petitioning in prayer and believing he is able with a thankful attitude. This is not easy but I do breathe more easily when I practice this principle.
Humbly resist. Resist what? The temptation of pride to take control and live like I don’t believe God is able. Pride is the root of all sin and it is the hardest for us to detect in ourself. A heart of humility helps us live selflessly and resist the tendency to control and capitalize for personal benefit. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” 1John 2: 16-17 “For everything in the world- lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Exhale. Exhale everything into His hands and exclaim His excellence. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) When we take time to exhale, we are able to maintain an attitude of worship and experience the peace of the Lord in relationship with him. I am able to see him at work in the big and little things of life. Then I am moved to worship him with my life.
Take the time to review the principle verses that speak to where you are in your relationship with the Lord.
Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always
John Maxwell Team Certified inspirational speaker and author