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Waiting Patiently

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Has God ever made you a promise, but you got weary along the way? 

It seemed like the promise was taking too long so you stopped believing. You got tired of waiting. You didn’t think God was going to do it again. Maybe He changed His mind.

So you settled for Ishmael because you didn’t think Isaac would ever come. But the thing you thought you wanted, you didn’t want it anymore and now you wished you had waited. You got yourself in a mess and now you must deal with the consequences.

But as you laid in regret and disappointment, God reminded you of Isaac. He reminded you that He didn’t change His mind. Your poor decision only delayed the promise. It never stopped it. 

And what did you learn from this experience? You learned how to wait and thirteen years later, the thing God said would happen did happen – not by your flesh, but by His Spirit.

I know they say ‘experience is the best teacher’, but the Holy Spirit is the best Teacher. Listen to Him because He knows what the will of the Father is, He knows what God wants for us and He will not guide us in the wrong direction.

God gives us all a choice. Either you can wait on Him or wish you had waited, but I pray that we all choose to wait – patiently.

And so, after he had patiently waited, he obtained the promise (Hebrews 6:15).

You’ve Been in This Long Enough

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Although you remember what happened the last time you disobeyed God, the enemy will try to convince you that if you do it again, the next time will be different, but that’s a lie. The truth is if you do it again, the result will either be the same as the last time or it may be worse.

The longer you disobey God, the longer you will stay on ‘this mount’. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that when we don’t pass the test, God allows us to take the test again, but when will we get tired of taking the same test? When will we get tired of going around the same circle?

You have dwelt long enough in this mount (Deuteronomy 1:6, KJV).

Jesus defeated our enemies. He stripped principalities and powers. He exposed them publicly. He brought them to open shame. He won victory over them. He showed the world that our enemies are powerless. He led them away as captives. He took from them what was taken from Adam and gave it to us. He received power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing (Revelation 5:12) and then he gave them to us.

Don’t let the enemy trick you. Every time I obeyed the flesh or the devil, something God gave me was stolen. I gave back to the enemy what God gave to me. But Jesus didn’t lose and we’re not going to lose – anymore. Turn and take your journey and go to the mount of the Amorites and to all the places near (Deuteronomy 1:7). God gave the Israelites specific instructions, but nothing happened until they did what He told them to do.

Staying on ‘this mount’ is a choice. You can move at any time, but you must make up your mind.  You don’t have to remain here when there is something far better ahead of you. What God promised you is near. It is not afar off, but you must decide and do what He told you to do, not what you want to do.

You have dwelt long enough in fear, doubt, shame, hurt, disappointment, unforgiveness and anger. Don’t let these things keep you from possessing what God promised you.

You Choose

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To one, God may be like the man who left ninety-nine sheep to search for one sheep that had gone astray until he found it (Luke 15:4).  

But to another, He is like the prodigal son’s father, who doesn’t go after his son and search for him, but instead He waits (Luke 15:20).  He waits for him to grow up.  He waits for him to humble himself.  He waits for him to come to his senses. 

The prodigal son knew what belonged to him and he went boldly to his father and asked for it.  The problem was He left what he needed after he got what he wanted.  Even after God gives you what you’ve been asking for, you are still going to need Him.

Just because the father didn’t search for his son doesn’t mean he didn’t love him, but it was time for his son to make a decision.  What do you want?  He had to make up his mind.  Either he could stay where he was (apart from his father), toiling, but still hungry or he could go back to his father where there were hired servants and enough bread to spare (Luke 15:15-17).

God has better for you. You don’t have to stay where you are.  You don’t have to struggle, but you’re struggling because you want to do things your way.  The Holy Spirit will convict you.  He will tell you what you need to do, but He is not going to do it for you and He’s not going to make you do it.  This has to be your choice.

Elijah asked the question, How long will you halt between two opinions? (1 Kings 18:21). How long will you go back and forth? How long will you sit between who you were and who you are created to be?  

There are some adult Christians who want God to treat them like babies.  You want him to always pick you up and carry you, but it’s time to learn how to walk – by your own faith.  You’re His child, but you’re not a baby anymore.  God expects us to grow in our salvation (1 Peter 2:2).  Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and He expects us to grow, too.  At the age of 12, Jesus was being taught in the temple, but by the age of 30, He was teaching others.

Making choices is part of growing up and sometimes it will feel like making a decision is hard, but when you read the conversation between the serpent and Eve, we learn that God will tell you the type of ‘trees’ that are before you and He will tell you which tree to choose and which tree not to choose, but He is not going to choose for you (Genesis 3:2-3).

God gave you the power to choose, but choose rightly.  Maybe you’ve made some poor choices in the past, but the days of being angry, blaming people, living in regret and feeling powerless or helpless are over.  Maybe your parents didn’t always make the right choices concerning you, but you’re grown now.  You can make your own choices.  Choose to obey God and when you choose to do what God wants you to do first, then those things you’ve been worrying about and toiling for will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

Whether you want God to use you or you want what He has for you or you want to become like a planted tree that brings forth fruit, it is going to require growth, time and change.  Do you really want it?

You choose.

Learn to Wait

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wait: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time; to stay in place with expectation

I think one of the reasons why we get ourselves in a mess from time to time is because we don’t want to wait.

In Luke 15, a certain man had two sons and the younger son had a waiting problem, too.  Father, give me the share (portion) of property (estate, inheritance) that is coming to me (vs 12, ESV).  According to his statement, it wasn’t his time – yet.  Normally, a person has to die before his/her property is transferred to another person, but this young man couldn’t wait for his father to die.  He wanted to possess what was promised to him NOW.  There is a right time for everything, but when you refuse to wait, impatience leads to stupid mistakes (Proverbs 14:29, CEB).

He was where he needed to be, but not many days after receiving what rightfully belonged to him, he left for a country that was far away – from his father, from his position and from the life already chosen for him.  Had he understood all  that his father had, he would have never asked for a portion.  His father was training him and preparing him for what was coming to him, but he left the process prematurely.  He thought he knew more than his father.  He thought he had it figured out.  What he didn’t know was that responsibility came with the inheritance.  I’m not sure of his age, but asking for something only to use it on oneself was a sign of immaturity.

Sometimes the enemy will try to convince you that you’re missing out on something or that you’re running out of time. I don’t know what he was in search of, but whatever it was, he never found it because it was in the place that he left.  He wasted his substance living a life contrary to the one that he was taught.  He knew right from wrong.  The moment he spent it all, a mighty famine came and he began to be in want.  He wasn’t prepared for a time such as this.  When he lived with his father, he didn’t want for anything, but in this country, he had to toil and no one gave him anything.  He was feeding another’s man pigs, but he himself was hungry – so hungry that he desired to eat what the pigs were eating.  No one cared for him or took care of him like his father.

I’m not sure how long he worked in the fields, but he was literally in a mess – a pig’s mess, to be exact.  He probably was afraid to go back home.  What would his father say?  Would his father receive him again?  Maybe he was too ashamed to go back home so he tried to stick it out.  He tried to fix what he messed up.  He tried to make things work.  But one day, he finally came to his senses.  He remembered that his father was rich and had hired servants.  So, if his father was rich, that meant he was rich, too.

Some of us have been in situations longer than we should have been.  You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you to come to yourself.  The younger son made a choice – to arise and go (vs 18).  Yes, he could have left at anytime, but he had to first want to leave.  He had to get tired of being in that situation.  He could have said, I want to go home, but I don’t have the money, which would have been a true statement, but he didn’t let anything stop him.  He had been in that field long enough.

Make a choice, not excuses.

This young man didn’t wallow in guilt or self-pity.  He didn’t beat himself up over his mistakes.  He walked away from his past and walked into his future.  You must do what he did and lay aside the weight.  You’re not going to go very far in life (or in ministry) being bitter, angry, refusing to forgive, blaming other people or refusing to do what God told you to do.  The ability to get up – to arise – is in you.  The only person who is stopping you is you.

It was going to be a long journey back home, but that journey was life changing because it caused him to humble himself and to repent of his sin (vs 21).  What was so beautiful about this parable was that in the end, he got what his father wanted him to have all along – the best!

Bring forth the best  (vs 22).

To every purpose, there is time.  Don’t focus on the time – When is God going to do it?  Focus on the purpose – What am I doing now?  I know we want things now, but if you learn to wait, you will not be disappointed because the Lord is good to those who wait for HIM (Lamentations 3:25).

Not My Will

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After Jesus was finished praying, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).  He taught them what we know today as The Lord’s Prayer.  Before He asked for anything – before He said ‘Give us’ (Luke 11:3), He prayed, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear many believers making that request in their prayers now as I did when I was a child.  Maybe the reason why we don’t pray that part of the prayer often or at all is because we are afraid – afraid that God is going to tell us to do something that we really don’t want to do.

And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

He might ask you to forgive your cheating spouse.  He might ask you to go back to someone you wronged over ten years ago and make it right.  He might even tell you to apologize first even though you don’t feel you did anything wrong or that it was your fault.  Maybe you are struggling with obeying all of His commands, but if you love Him, you will obey Him.

Another reason why we may not pray that prayer is because we really don’t trust God.  Be honest.  You don’t believe Him like you used to.  You’ve been disappointed so many times that you don’t believe that this time will be different.  Your problem is that you want God to do it your way, but your ways are not His ways and His plan is better than your plan.

Jesus told the disciples God’s plan – that He must go to Jerusalem, that He must  suffer many things and be rejected (by the elders, chief priests and scribes), betrayed, mocked, scourged, spat on and killed, but the good news is He would be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 18:22-23, Mark 8:31, Mark 10:33-34). Even though He knew all of this, Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times.  O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.

It doesn’t matter how many times you pray the same prayer.  In the end, you still have to make a decision and I’m so glad that Jesus chose to do what was best for us and not what was easy for Him.  At any time, He could have asked the Father to send more than 72,000 angels on His behalf, but He didn’t.  But do what You want and not what I want  (Luke 22:42, CEV).  He loved – with action.  He willingly laid down His life for us because He loved us.  We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters  (1 John 3:16).  If you see that your brother or sister has a need, but you don’t do anything, that’s not the love of God.

It didn’t feel good for Joseph to be separated from his father, to be sold into slavery by his brothers, to become a servant or to be falsely accused and put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.  That wasn’t his  will.  His feet hurt from the fetters and his neck was in an iron collar (Psalm 105:18).  What he was in wasn’t comfortable, but it humbled him.  When he was stripped of his coat of many colors, he was also stripped of pride.  But there was a bigger picture – a bigger plan and it was bigger than just his family being fed in a famine.  Something was missing in his brothers’ lives.  You couldn’t see their fetters, but they were in chains also.  And when his brethren saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him  (Genesis 37:4).

The trials and tests Joseph endured revealed what was in his heart.  They taught him how to forgive, how to show compassion and how to love and these were the very things that his brothers needed (whether you think they deserved it or not).  Yes, it was good for them to have a sack of money to spend and food to eat, but what they really needed was love, forgiveness, and salvation.  Everything Joseph went through wasn’t for him.  It was for them.

We may not understand what God is doing or why He allows certain things to happen in our lives, but according to Romans 12:2, we do know that the will of God is good, acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect.  His plan, His choice and His will is to prosper you and not to harm you and whatever the Lord has purposed, planned, decided or willed for you, He is going to do it.

Not my will, but Your will be done.

Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, AMP).