Daily Bible Reading

The wait

Sometimes it feels as though our life is made up more of waiting than actually doing. Just wait. Hold on a minute. Can I put you on hold? Just a moment, please. Hold your horses! We wait so much that we have lists and rooms designated for that purpose. And they’re full. All the time.

And, as much as the waiting is bothersome, everyone else’s reaction to your waiting can be even more so. When are you going to get married? When are you going to have kids? Are you having more kids? When are you ever going to get a job? What about that promotion? We can get so caught up in what everyone else thinks of our waiting that we plow ahead, bypassing God’s timing for our own.

The Bible is full of people who decided that they knew better than God. All the way back to Eve, if she’d only waited for Adam’s input before eating the fruit, things may have turned out differently. What about Sarah and Abraham? At 90, Sarah didn’t think she could wait any longer and foisted her servant on her husband so the promised child could be produced. The result was Ishmael—we’re still seeing the effects of that mistake today. The entire nation of Israel grew tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain and decided it would be better to worship idols.

The list goes on and on. The short of it is that no one likes to wait. We don’t like to feel as though we’re not accomplishing anything. But what is the penalty for our impatience?

Those who wait for me will never be put to shame.

Isaiah 49:23b (NLT)

We can try to blame God all we want, but when we jump the gun on His plan, the shame is ours alone. That’s not to say that God can’t repair what we broke, but there are still consequences.

But I don’t know what to do with myself!

I get it. I hate waiting, too. I hate not being productive. My hands must be busy. I have to have something to show for my time. In the practical sense, I bring something with me when I know I have to wait. A book. A crochet project. My journal. Candy Crush. But what about when I’m waiting on God?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Colossians 4:2 (NLT)

God doesn’t make us wait to watch us squirm. He makes us wait because He’s either preparing us, preparing someone else, or preparing a situation. We will never see the entire picture, yet God is only asking us to trust in Him. The best thing to do—pray. Devote yourself to God. The wait may not be as long as you thought it was.

Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity.

Colossians 4:5 (NLT)

Waiting doesn’t have to be, and even shouldn’t be, idle time. The wait in itself is an opportunity. An opportunity to grow in our relationship with God. An opportunity to grow in our relationships with others. An opportunity to grow our faith and trust. An opportunity to prepare ourselves for the promise to come. The only shame in waiting is if we waste the opportunities God gives us in that time.

Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 48-49, Colossians 4

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Daily Bible Reading

New strength

As many of us age, we may find ourselves longing for the strength of our youth. Our bodies no longer recover like they used to. Definition and tone has been lost to obscurity and perhaps a spare tire around the midsection. Once, hefting an entire load of groceries from the trunk and into the house seemed to take minimal effort. Now three trips are needed to make the haul. We want our old strength back. But until someone finally finds the legendary Fountain of Youth, that’s just not going to happen.

But what if, instead of regaining our old strength, we could gain an entirely new strength?

But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

I don’t think that Isaiah is talking about heading back to the gym with newfound energy, but when we wait on God, He will give us not only more strength, but new strength—one we never had before.

For I can do everything with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength I need.

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

God doesn’t just give us the strength we want, He gives us the strength we need—the strength we need to accomplish His work and His will. He gives us the strength to put our focus on Him.

Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8b-9 (NLT)

This new strength that is found when we wait on the Lord gives us the ability to do the things that Paul talks about in these verses. Our new strength give us the ability to set our minds on the things of Christ and resist those things that are not of him.

Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 39-40, Philippians 4

Daily Bible Reading

My place of safety

If you should ever find yourself in danger, what is your first response? Do you stand still calling out hoping for help? Do you wait and complain if help doesn’t come right away? Do you sit down and resign yourself to the situation? I hope not!

If you should ever find yourself in danger, your instinct would be to run. Find a safe place. Look for a refuge. Go there! Now!

Yet how often do we hear Christians say things like, I’ve been waiting on God, but nothing has happened. I guess He doesn’t want to help me. I have yet to discover scripture to back up any sort of statement that says God doesn’t want to help us. In Psalms, David writes over and over again of God’s unfailing love and the fact that He is a shelter, a refuge, a safe place.

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me,
for you, O God, are my place of safety.

Psalm 59:9 (NLT)

O my Strength, to you I sing praises,
for you, O God, are my refuge,
the God who shows me unfailing love.

Psalm 59:17 (NLT)

Though David waits on God, that doesn’t mean he’s inactive. Look back at the times when he was in trouble, surrounded by his enemies. Never once did David just stand there in the middle of a battle field claiming to wait on God. There were times when he went into hiding for his own protection and there were times when he suited up and marched into battle. God was with him in hiding and fighting for him in the battle.

When you feel as though you’re surrounded by an enemy, that is not the time to sit down and give up on God. That is the time to look for your safe place. Your refuge.

REFUGE: Shelter or protection from danger or distress; a stronghold which protects by its strength or a sanctuary which secures safety by its sacredness; any place inaccessible to an enemy.

A refuge is not a moment in time. It’s a place. A place doesn’t come to you. You need to go to a place. Our safety and refuge is found in God. He has promised never to leave us, so when the enemy comes, we must go to Him. Don’t stand and wait. Run. Go to the place that is inaccessible to your enemy—God, your place of safety.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 59-61, Acts 28:16-31

Daily Bible Reading

Continually

There are few things in life anyone does continually. We all breathe. That’s a given. Most will work continually until retirement. Some talk continually. Some sleep continually. But all of these things can, and most often do, required breaks of some sort or another. There is one thing, though, that the Bible tells us to do continually.

Pray.

Never stop praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

Many in the western church probably couldn’t tell you the last time they started praying let alone the last time they prayed without stopping.

One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord.

R.A. Torrey (1956-1928)

We all want to see God move in church on Sunday, but who is really willing to pray on Monday? For most of us, the Great Awakenings of the last century are so far gone (and often forgotten), that we don’t realise how effective prayer can really be. I make a point (though not often enough) to go back and read of the great revivals that brought North America to its knees. You cannot learn about a great move of God without being stirred to see one yourself.

But who is willing to pray for a move of God? Who even knows what that kind of prayer looks like?

True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that—it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Acts 1:14 says that they all met together continually for prayer. Do you think the Holy Spirit would have shown up with tongues of fire if the group hadn’t waited? If they hadn’t been praying while they waited?

It is time that the Church look again toward prayer. Not just programs and growth strategies. I believe those things will come as the result of effective prayer.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

James 5:16b (NLT)

We all have a decision to make regarding prayer. We can go on with our daily lives and offer up a prayer every once in a while when we feel like it or need heavenly help out of a jam—but what’s the point of our faith at all if that’s the case? Or we can pray continually. Continual prayer will require sacrifice on our part, but the reward is great power and wonderful results.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 9-10, Acts 1

Daily Bible Reading

Arrival

Imagine you’ve been expecting someone. You’ve been waiting for a long time. You’ve never actually met this person, but you think you know what to expect. So you wait. And you keep waiting.

What if this person isn’t quite what you expected? What if, because they’re not what you were waiting for, you ignore all the signs that point to their arrival? What if someone you don’t trust points that person out to you? Do you believe them?

Jesus’ arrival was long-expected. The people of Israel had been waiting centuries for Him to show up. You’d think that they’d all be watching for the signs that would point to Him. You’d think that they’d know it when He showed up in their towns. You’d think that people would go on ahead shouting that the Messiah had finally come!

The last thing you’d expect would be that the demons would be the one proclaiming His power. But that’s exactly what happened.

Once when he as in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon began shouting at Jesus, “Go away! Why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One sent from God.”

Luke 4:33-34 (NLT)

Some were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he stopped them and told them to be silent.

Luke 4:41 (NLT)

The people of Israel had become complacent. They’d ignored the signs of the coming Messiah. They were thrilled that there was a man who could heal and cast out demons, but they didn’t recognise Jesus for who He truly was. It was the demons who knew exactly who Jesus was and why He had come. They’d had the run of the place for centuries, but that was all about to stop.

Jesus had arrived. He had the power to cast them down and they knew it.

Now we have the same power. Our King has come. He has put His power in us. Demons should hear the power of Christ in our words and flee. Unlike the Jews, we don’t have to wait. Sickness, disease, demons, death should all flee because we have arrived.

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 14-15, Luke 4:33-44

Daily Bible Reading

Now

Are you waiting for something or someone? Are you waiting for just the right time to do a certain thing? What if there truly is no better time than the present?

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, no is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV)

It’s not easy to believe that, in your current situation, there could be no better time than now. I struggle with it every moment of every day. But what if, in just one of those moments, we believed that this is our time? That,that single moment, is our favourable time, our day of salvation.

Unless you’re a superhero, I doubt that today will be the day where every moment will be your moment, but one moment could be it.

Let’s try it together. Pick a moment today where you decide it’s your favourable moment. Pick one moment to be the right time to do whatever it is you’ve been waiting to do. Then tomorrow, pick another moment. The next day, pick another. Soon, those moments will start to run together and your now truly will be the best time.

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 25-27, 2 Corinthians 6

Daily Bible Reading

Hope

I’m willing to bet that almost everyone, at some point, has gone ahead and done or said something before the allotted or appropriate time.

We don’t like to wait.

I hate waiting.

When I know that something is going to happen, I want it to happen now.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than the watchmen for the morning,
more than the watchmen for the morning.

Psalm 130:5-6 (ESV)

I’m going to hazard a guess and say that the watchmen did a lot of waiting. A lot. If you’re the guy stuck walking the wall through the night, you’re going to be waiting for the morning. Every moment of the night.

That is how we should be waiting on the Lord. With keen anticipation. Every moment.

In our church, the worship team has noticed something about waiting. Some time ago, any lull in worship would have brought on an awkward silence and we’d have to push on to the next song as soon as possible so we wouldn’t “lose” the congregation. These days, there is an expectancy, a weight to the silence. We’re waiting. We’re hoping. And God is showing up in ways we never expected.

So in the waiting, be also expectant. It’s fine to hope for one thing to pass, but it’s what we do in the waiting that will affect the moment we’re waiting for.

Daily Bible reading:Psalm 128-131, 1 Corinthians 7:25-40