Wait on the Lord…

In my early years, I did everything to achieve my goals. I always felt destined to be great, so I was going to do everything possible to attain that greatness. As the years pass, I find that I am not as aggressive as I was in earlier years, but I am still a go-getter. However, recently, I was wondering why, in this stage of my life, do I always go after goals I had dreamed of when I was younger.

I have concluded that what I have been saying for years about God calling me to something greater, is really what I believe. I have always said that I think God created me for something bigger, but I wondered, as the years passed and some things happened, and some didn’t, that maybe I “thought” I was destined for something bigger, but I was wrong. I thought God told me that I was going to achieve certain things, but He didn’t, and the things I thought came from Him were all my ideas.

This brings me to the topic I want to discuss this month, trust your instincts, keep striving and wait on the Lord. Just because God hasn’t done what you thought He would do in your timeframe, doesn’t mean that He won’t.

When we pray and ask God for something, believing that we are asking in faith, considering that He will answer our prayers, we expect that He will do it right away. When He doesn’t, year after year, we finally say to ourselves that He won’t. Or we say, it probably wasn’t His will for me. Or we question whether something we claimed as a promise was ever really a promise at all.

Recently, I listened to a sermon about David. The speaker took me back to 1 Samuel 16, when David was first called by God. I loved how he brought David’s calling into perspective for me. I have read my Bible many, many times. I know the stories of David, inside and out, but this time, I really reflected on how long it took for David to get what God had promised. If you remember, David was called and anointed by Samuel as the future King of Israel. Yet, once David was anointed, he didn’t go right to the throne. In fact, David went back to his sheep. Many things happened before David became King. Most of all, David continued serving; he served his father, his brothers, and his sheep. He continued playing and practicing with his slingshot (polishing his craft) and one day, as he took food to the “real” soldiers, he had the opportunity to meet a part of his destiny, Goliath! Where others were fearful and weary, David was perhaps a little naive, yet courageous. You know the story, David killed Goliath with that slingshot. Fast forward, 1 Samuel 24, the reigning King Saul, was getting worse mentally and trying to kill David, but David, who could have killed him, spared him. I won’t preach because the many things that happened to David along the way to the throne, are hills and valleys, frustrations and pain, ups and downs, but God still did what He had anointed David to do. Also, remember, how long David waited. Look at all the things he went through before he took the throne.

When I reflect on my life, I think about how I had to face the hills and valleys. I think about the jobs I have held, and how angry, sad, or disappointed, I became when someone did not give me what I felt I had earned. I recall the highs when someone would notice my value and reward it too. I know how let-downs feel. But let me share another perspective when you let go and trust. The farther you move away from the disappointment, you can look at it more objectively. What I found, looking back 10 or 15 years, is that what I wanted to be was much smaller than what God wanted for me. Going through the lows, prepared me for the highs. Waiting, also allowed me to develop and cultivate my skills, getting ready for something I never imagined years before.

I wanted what I wanted, which would have amounted to crumbs compared to what He finally gave me. I tell you this because if you are about to give up, don’t. Wait on the Lord. He will exalt you in due season if you remain faithful. He never reneges on His promises. They may be later than we want but trust His timing. It is perfect.

Listen for God’s Voice…

To-Be-Still-Remember-That-God-Is-in-Control-FtImgI grew up believing in the supernatural. I believe to this day in the literal ability to hear from God.  For many, this sounds weird and probably makes some of you feel that I am some kind of spiritual lunatic. I can assure you that I am not.  Anyway, I will not pretend that I am not super spiritual, because I am.

Over the last several months I have experienced some very rough patches. Like normal, I continued to pray each morning and read my Bible. I was asking God for a release from a burden to only feel that He was ignoring me or trying to teach me something. On the days I was frustrated, I am sure I felt the former. On the days I had hope, I felt the latter—He was teaching me something that would be used to mature me and to glorify Him in the end.

During the time of my challenge, I thought God had sent the answer. I felt excited, hopeful, and a new spark ignited in me.  The other part to the story is I began putting a lot of hope in what I thought was the answer to my prayers. One morning, while out running, I heard (either through a thought or feeling, but it was real because I wrote about it) “Do not look at a person or thing as your savior.”  It was clear what I heard. I remember thinking of that phrase later and putting it out of my mind.  Not long after that, I thought of it again and repeated it to myself, “don’t look to people or things as my savior.” and immediately I heard myself declare, Jesus Christ is my Savior and He is in control of everything.

Not long after I heard that voice tell me not to put my trust in a person or thing, the bomb dropped. The thing I had been praying for and thought had changed my life for the better, collapsed!

You may say, that’s a coincidence. I read somewhere that “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Therefore, to this super spiritual girl, God had warned me and I should not have been surprised by what had just happened. I was, however.

I share this story to assure you that God does speak; maybe not audibly, but He does if we are listening. He has done so to me many times. Sometimes I stop and listen and others, I ignore and keep on trying to do things my way.

Doing things our way; trusting in other people or relying on things, rather than God, gets us into trouble. We find ourselves shocked, bewildered, and frustrated when things don’t work out. However, if we would listen to that voice deep inside telling us to wait, watch out or simply, trust, we will end up in a better place.

I do not understand what God is doing, but I do trust Him. He gave me fair warning. I believe if I would stop fretting, stop looking to others to save me, and stop complaining, I will be open to what God has up His sleeves.  Remember, “His ways are not our ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.” We may do things one way and He is 100,000,000,000+ ahead of us in the way He intends to do it.  I guarantee when it is said and done, what He intends for you and I, will be a lot better.

Do not look to people or things to do what the  Maker of all things can do better. They are not your savior, He is.

Don’t be Discouraged

I am old enough to know that when I am experiencing difficulties, there is some lesson joshua 1-9God is trying to teach me. I must admit, I hate it when it is my time to learn something. As much as I embrace the tenets of “life-long learning,” the kinds of “activities” we have to do during these assignments can be so hard! The other thing is usually the activities are not fun ones at all.

Think about life for a moment; the activities we experience revolve around waiting, speculating, worrying, second-guessing, and stressing out over things that are happening that we have very little influence or control over. Because we cannot control the things happening to us, we become discouraged, despondent, angry, depressed, withdrawn, and sometimes we will just drop out altogether.

If we would, No! if we could remind ourselves that things happen to us for a reason and if you are religiously-inclined, you believe that God is trying to teach you something that will mature you in ways you need to be matured, then you can quickly snap out of those discouraging times. I am speaking this as much to myself as I am sharing with you.

When you are going through something that is affecting your mental and emotional state and you are so discouraged that you don’t know what to do or where to turn, turn to God. Ask Him to help you to be patient and to trust Him to teach you what you need to learn. And if one door closes, trust that He has a better door for you to walk through after He is done with your lesson. Also remember EVERYONE experiences ups and downs. When you are down, recall the happier times and tell yourself, God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If it is difficult today, just wait, it won’t be tomorrow. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

While you wait, concentrate on these scriptures. I know they will help you. They have helped me!

Joshua 1:9 (the Bible) tells us the following: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:6 tells us this: Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. and the peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lamentations 3:25-26 says: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

 

All In God’s Timing

Have you ever found yourself praying and praying for a thing and it seems that nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening? It appears that your prayers are not getting through or psalm 43-5-hopeyou feel that God is hearing you, but choosing to ignore you?  Have you experienced a change of some kind? If you sit quietly and think about it, maybe you have felt a shift in your life.  You don’t know why things have changed to your disadvantage when they were always to your advantage?

The only advice I can offer is found in Matthew 5:45, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (ESV). When I have read this passage in the past, I took it as God blesses the bad person and the good person equally, but as I read commentaries, the scripture makes a lot more sense.  Jesus was teaching the Disciples that they should be good to their enemies (us too).  His example to them was that God lets the sunshine and the rain fall on both the good person and the bad one. However, God does not give spiritual blessings equally.

A light bulb went off when I thought about what the commentary stated, “if your enemy is hungry, feed them as you would feed yourself.” It takes a specific and rare quality to do that.  I say it takes a person of deep-abiding faith, a person who keeps a positive attitude during pain and struggle, and a person who stays clear of gossip that will inflame their already upset conscious, instead, they seek out God to talk to about their struggles.

This particular person understands the spiritual undertones, and they don’t seek to get revenge, they may want to understand what is happening, but most importantly, they go to God in prayer. This person is filled with the Holy Spirit, and although far from perfect themselves, they know their God is perfect, and He may seem to be far away, but He isn’t. He is sitting high and seeing all things. He may be quiet, but He has not abandoned them.

Yes, God reigns on the unjust as He reigns on the just.  Times change, people change, situations change also. When life shifts from good to bad, you may fret initially, that is understandable. After a little while, ask yourself this: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior, and my God.” Then begin praising Him no matter what the circumstances because times change, people change, and situations will change again in your favor.

Waiting For You..

waitingI haven’t been able to shake a particular song all week. In fact, the song has encapsulated me.  Has that ever happened to you? A song is so strong that it just stays with you? This particular song was ringing in my ear, almost like a whisper, as I slept throughout the night. I woke up this morning and could still hear it. I went for my morning run, and yes, there it was again. When I returned home, I reminded myself to find that song on YouTube. I did and saved it, so when I got into my car, I could blast it.  Well, when I got into my car, that’s exactly what I did.

I arrived at my office, played the song on my iPhone as I walked from the parking lot to my building. Once I got in the office, I played it again.  The song just got to me; I kept lifting my hands to heaven, worshipping God.  I had to get up and close the door to my office because I became so overwhelmed with emotion just listening to the words and focused on praising God.

lifted handsYou probably want the name of that song, don’t you?  Well, okay, the song is titled “Waiting Here For You.” The words say the same, “Waiting here for you with our hands lifted high in praise. And it’s you, we adore, singing alleluia.”  I guess when you read this line, you may have said the words are no big deal. Well, maybe not, but they were for me today.

Why is this song getting so much of my attention today? Why am I getting so emotional when I sing the words?  When I watch the singers sing? My God, what’s going on?

I tell you what I think. I believe the song activated my “Stop & Reflect” button. It brought me to a sacred place mentally, and I was able to be refreshed.

I don’t know about you, but I get busy, real busy.  I am consumed with getting ready for school to start, travel schedules and speaking engagements. I am writing a prayer to say at Convocation this week also. As I began thinking of that prayer, my heart became full.  Yeah, I know this is weird to some of you, but that’s okay. If you are my friend, you know that I can get this way when it comes to God. If you are not my friend, but you took the time to read this, thank you for reading it.  I know that many do not believe in God.  I know many of my friends are professional people and many of you are too “intellectual” to believe.  I don’t care how intelligent you or I become, how many degrees we earn, or how many positions of influence we hold, I will always, always, give honor to God and make no excuses for my deep love for Him.

It is easy to rely on our own devices, our wit and cunning. It is easy to look to others to help us get the next contract, the next promotion, or whatever next thing there is to get. When we stop that and start believing that all things come from the Father; When we trust Him and show Him our love through our actions, that’s when our lives will change. The reason so many are downtrodden, pessimistic and negative, is because they haven’t learned how to look at God.  When we learn to lift our hands in praise, physically or metaphorically, our minds will be transformed and so will our actions. We won’t take part in silly arguments or fights. We won’t belittle or defame others just because we disagree with them. I think we will change because He will change us.

I will happily wait for Him because I have noticed when I do, I gain a sense of calm. My worries and stressors become small in His presence. Lifting my hands seem to break the chains of stress and worry.  He gives me peace that surpasses my intellect.  He can do the same for you too. I will close this with a scripture for 1 Samuel. I hope you will think about how stressed David was, but also consider how David responded.

Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6