Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Be Still...And Get Moving

What on earth does it mean to be still?  You hear the verse often: Be still and know that I am God.  But does being still mean playing a game of freeze tag with God?  Does it mean we do nothing and make Him do everything?

You can read about the Israelite's Exodus out of Egypt with Moses as their leader in Exodus chapter 14.  The Israelites were approaching the Red Sea and the Egyptians were hot on their trail.  There seemed no way out!  They were panicked and crying out to the Lord, saying to Moses, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren't there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn't we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt?  It's better to be a slave to the Egyptians than a corpse in this wilderness!"

Poor Moses.  He was only following what God told him to do.  He calmly told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today...the Lord Himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm."  

Just for the record...I can totally relate to this.  Everything seems fine until things look impossible when we are walking with the Lord.  That's when we begin to question everything.  Not only do we question everything, but we question God Himself.  Why does He allow such things?  It's easy to just go back to Egypt. Our Egypt is wherever it is that we came from before we began a relationship with God through Jesus.  It's tempting to just want to go back there and live.  Goodness...things seemed simpler then.  The enemy didn't bother us because we weren't a threat!  How quickly we forget the bondgage, the slavery, the horrific way of living back in our Egypt.  I wish it was as easy to get Egypt out of me as it was for me to get out of Egypt!

Anyway...in the next verse, God told Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!"  Wait a minute.  Didn't Moses just tell them to be still and let God fight for them?  What was God doing?  Why was He telling them to move when they were just told to be still?  Which should we do when we are facing our own "Red Sea" moment?

The answer is simple.  We need to be still and get moving.  See, being still doesn't mean just standing there and doing nothing.  In Joshua we read how God told the people to be still and let the Lord fight for them.  But did they just sit there?  No. 

Being still isn't always an outward retraction.  It's more often an inward reaction. 

The original Hebrew word used for "still" in Exodus 14 is yatsab which means to place, set, stand, present oneself or station oneself.  It also means to station oneself, take one's stand, stand, present oneself, or stand with someone.  God wants us to take a "stand" when we are being still.  That means we are steadfast in believing in our heart that God is going to fulfill His promises.  We will trust Him.  We have peace in our hearts, but we are not just sitting there doing nothing.

Being still is an inward reaction brought on by our total dependence on Him to use us as we go forward in obedience.

What is it that God is asking you to do right now?  Is He asking you to be still and wait on Him?  Please...obey Him in this.  Be still and get moving!  
  • That means if you have a dream you feel God has placed in your heart, continue in what you have before you right now while trusting Him with your dream.  Prove your obedience in the small things, knowing and having peace in your heart that God has it all under control.  He put that dream in your heart for a reason. Trust Him with the outcome - even if it looks different than you thought. 
  • It means that if you are waiting on God for physical healing, do all you can to be healthy, make good choices, go to your appointments and pray without ceasing, knowing in your heart and having peace that God has it all under control while you believe that your healing and deliverance will come. 
  • It means that if you are waiting for one of your children to give their life to Jesus, you continue to pray, fulfill your duties as a wife and mother (or husband and father) and have quiet trust in your heart that God has it all under control.  He hears you and He has a plan.
But it doesn't mean to just sit there and do nothing.  There is still life to be lived.  There are still responsibilities that need to be met.  There are still others who can learn and grow from your example of having peace in the midst of your "Red Sea" moment.

Blessing always follows obedience.  According to what I've learned on this little Biblical "treasure hunt", being still is one of the most action-filled things God asks us to do!  It is one of the hardest things, too, because we always feel like we must control everything around us.  Being still is relinquishing that control to Him and trusting Him to get us through.  It is when we are willing to allow Him to fight the battles while we walk forward in confident trust that He has it all under control.  It is rarely sitting there, doing nothing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Waiting on God in an "Instant Gratification" World

Whatever we need in today’s world of convenience can be had within minutes, if not seconds. We definitely live in the age of instant gratification.

Need to talk to someone? Pick up the phone. No need for wires anymore. No cords. No dials. 

Need something to eat? Fast food. Microwaves. Boxed, prepared dinners. No need to wait. (We won't get into how unhealthy this can be...that's another blog!)

Want to get caught up on the news? Turn on the TV. Or the computer. Within seconds, you’re all caught up.

Folks, we are losing our ability to wait. And it’s killing us spiritually.

Let’s think for a moment…

Noah waited 120 years from the moment he started to build the ark to the moment God brought the first rain drop.

The Israelites waited 430 years in captivity to the Egyptian nation before God rose Moses up to lead them out of their slavery.

There was no word from God for 400 years until Jesus Christ finally came and fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies as the Messiah.

That’s a lot of waiting. 

A lot of years. Centuries, in fact! We can miss the years and years of waiting as we quickly turn the pages of our Bibles in these stories. But don’t you just wonder what those times of waiting must have been like? Clearly, the promise was not forgotten and there was always a remnant of faithful believers who stayed focused on the promise, while living in what seemed to be silence. But I believe there were many who began to doubt.

Are you waiting on something? I know the struggle of waiting. 

Waiting on a phone call from a doctor with a biopsy result. 

Waiting for a word about whether or not I was being offered a job. 

Waiting on an update from family about a sick loved one.

Waiting on God to handle a situation where I saw injustice. 

I’m still waiting on some loved ones to trust in Jesus Christ.

Some things we wait for are serious and some are just the fulfillment of a dream. Sometimes we’re waiting for God to act when we’ve seen and experienced terrible injustice. 

We often have to wait on God. I’m beginning to realize that in that wait, God is allowing us to be tested. He is growing our faith. He is preparing hearts around us and He’s preparing our own heart, too. He is lining up His perfect timing. 

Sometimes He even gives us an answer we do not want to accept after we wait - but we can trust He is protecting us and lining up His plan in the midst of our heartbreak. God is good. Our disappointments and times of waiting do not change that fact.

The Psalms and Proverbs have beautiful scriptures on how we can wait:

Wait honestly:
I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Psalm 69:3

Wait quietly:
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. Psalm 62:1

Wait hopefully:
I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:81

Wait patiently:
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Wait courageously:
Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Wait expectantly:
Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:30

Whatever you are waiting for, I want to encourage you to keep believing and use this time of waiting to draw near to God, to learn to trust Him in new ways, asking Him to prepare your heart for the answer. Wait honestly, expressing your feelings to God during those times of weariness. Wait quietly, not complaining to anyone who will listen. Wait hopefully, knowing God hears and God has a plan. Wait patiently, trusting God’s timing is perfect (and usually not the same as ours!). Wait courageously, not fearfully or doubting. Wait expectantly, knowing God is working and He hears you. 

Yes, you can have instant gratification when it comes to waiting on God. But not in the way you might think. You see, it depends on where you choose to place your focus. If you are focusing on what you’re waiting for, you will be disappointed and will not have that instant gratification you’ve probably come to expect in today’s world. 

But if your focus is on God and knowing Him in a deeper way, you will be fully satisfied - instantly - as you seek His face, His purposes and His will. 

Come to think of it, that may just be what you’ve actually been waiting for all along.

Isaiah 30:18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for His help.




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hold On

Hopelessness.
Despair.
Doubt.

There’s no question in my mind that the disciples must have felt these
emotions as they watched Jesus being brutally crucified. What was going on? They gave up everything to follow this man and believed He was the Son of God – the promised Messiah!

Just days earlier, the people of Jerusalem lined the streets while shouting, "Hosanna!" with palm branches and shouts of joy as Jesus made His triumphant entry. But now, there He was, dying a humiliating and horrifying death on the cross. Some of those same people who had earlier hailed Him were now cursing Him and spitting on Him. Some were, along with the disciples, weeping over Him as they still had hope He might be their salvation, their King.

The disciples could not understand at that moment that all was well. They could not understand that the plan was going just as God designed from the beginning of time. At that moment, things looked so dark and discouraging to them…. but resurrection was coming.

Hope was around the corner. If only they had a glimpse of that coming glory!

Friends, if life seems hopeless, overwhelming or confusing, please hold on.

There must always be a death for a resurrection to come.

Death of a dream, death of a relationship, death of a habit that you feel you can never break or even death of our foolish pride – these are types of deaths we all experience in our lives every day.

If only we could have a glimpse of the coming glory!

Maybe we cannot understand at those moments that all is well, that things are going just as God designed from the beginning of time. Things may look dark, difficult and discouraging…but resurrection is coming.

Yes, things looked hopeless the day Jesus took His last breath.
But resurrection came. 
And resurrection is coming for you, too.

Hold on.

Got Questions?

GotQuestions?org