They That Wait

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

 

For the past few weeks I’ve been plodding along a path that has left me tired and worn.  Nancy has had more than her share of hardships, from a broken toe, falling down our wooden stairs and having emergency retinal surgery.  I’ve found myself in a pit of whining and complaining, convinced God had somehow let us down.  As my thoughts swirled I began to believe that God did not know or care about all that was happening to us.  It’s then, in my darkest hours, I tend to forget to praise the Lord for all that He has done for me.  Like the Israelites of old, I found myself complaining about the manna God was giving us.  Instead of seeing Jesus before me and following Him wholeheartedly, I  chose to complain.  I believed I didn’t have the strength for the journey and that God was asking me to do the impossible – to trust Him in the midst of the storm.

“It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis.” Warren Wiersbe

I found Wiersbe’s statement to be true in my own life.  Then the other day as I stood washing dishes, I thought about everything that had happened the past few weeks.  I was reminded that “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength”.  I wondered what it meant to “wait on the Lord”.  The promise of waiting is a renewal of strength, and that’s what I needed, so I began to study.

The truth is, God knows.  He knows what we feel, what we’re facing and the challenges that lie before us.  The truth is that He is able and adequate enough to meet our every need.  On my own I’m unable to trust God completely, but He gives me the strength to trust Him if I wait upon the Lord.  My strength is insufficient but God is all sufficient and gives me strength for the journey.

I’ve learned that waiting isn’t just sitting around and doing nothing.  Waiting means “to hope” and to look to God for all that we need.

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You – in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 30:15 (AMP) “In returning [to Me] and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and confident trust is your strength.”

Rather than continuing to complain I need to put my hope in God’s character, having a purposeful mindset to pray, praise and glorify Him. I need to spend time meditating on His character and His promises.    It’s a concentrated effort to shift my focus from the storm and the waves of life.  I’m placing my hope in the One who speaks, “Peace! Be still”.

Finally, I’ve learned I need to renew, which means “to exchange”.  This is putting off one thing and putting on another.  I need to exchange my weakness for His power as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.  As I wait on Him He enables me to soar when the trials are many, and to walk faithfully as I face the everyday challenges of life.

As I face each new day I need only to step out in faith, knowing that God has gone before me.  I trust in His promises and His character.  I know He won’t leave me, I know He will provide and I know He will fill me with His strength as I walk by faith and not by sight.

Walking through the waves

So much of my life has been lived in fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of looking dumb or being humiliated, fear of meeting new people, going new places or trying new things.  As a kid the new school year was frightening and my folks would remind me that everyone else is in the same boat.  While that may have been true, it didn’t help.  I was afraid to leave the comfort and security of home.  As I grew older new jobs scared me.  I would be physically ill on my way into work and have to stop along the way to empty the contents of my stomach.  Fear kept me from sleeping at night, from stepping out and trying new things.  It kept me from going or doing either what I wanted to do or needed to do.  Fear held me back from a great many things in my life and over the years I’ve learned that fear is powerful.

Fear isn’t all bad.  It tells me to run in the face of danger.  Fear protects me but it can also hold me captive.  I can be trapped by fear even when there is no danger present or when I allow my fear to grow into something greater than it should be.  Was there a real danger present at the beginning of each new school year or when I started each new job?  No, of course not, but because of what my mind was convinced of, my body reacted to, literally.  Yes, it’s true that when we’re convinced of something, like fear, our minds have the power to make us physically ill.  Consider Proverbs 23:7 which says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  I’ve given fear too much power.  My perception of a given situation can be entirely untrue and what’s more, I’m placing my trust in the wrong thing entirely – myself.  It’s time to shift my focus.

I don’t want to live in fear any longer.  I want to step into all that God has in store for me.  I want to go when God says “Go” and stop when he says “Stop”.  Isaiah 30:21 states, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  I want to speak when I hear his gentle voice urging me to talk with someone or pray boldly with a complete stranger. My heart’s desire is to move beyond the controlling confines of fear and step boldly into what God has in store for me.  In order for me to move beyond fear I must learn that ‘fearful’ is not who I am any longer.  Through Scripture I’m learning that God can set me free from fear.

There are two verses in Scripture I cling to.  The first is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The second is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  In order for me to step out of a fear-filled mindset I must step into something different.  For me, that something different happened when I was eight years old, the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I’ve been a born again Christian for 42 years but only recently have I understood the power of Christ within me.  I’ve walked far too many years without knowing or understanding that I didn’t need to live in constant fear.  Too many years not understanding the transformative power of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12).

I can’t claim to fully understand how Scripture works in me as I read it, but this I know: the more Scripture I read, the more peace I have.  The closer I walk with Jesus, the more I learn, the more I hide Scripture in my heart, the more peace I have.  I still have days when all I see are the waves and storms of life as they crash around me.  Still, I’m learning to keep my eyes on the One who calms my storms with the Word of His mouth.  Do I understand why things happen or for what purpose?  No, but I’m not meant to, because that’s what faith in Christ is all about.  It’s a simple childlike faith that believes and trusts, even when everything in me is screaming otherwise.  Fear is losing its grip on me as I grow in faith and trust in Jesus my Savior.

 

Trust In and Rely Confidently On…

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP) Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

I love this passage.  We are commanded to trust in and rely confidently on the Lord.  When?  All the time.  Even when the storms of life swirl about us – we trust in Him.  Even when work hours have been cut – trust in him.  Trust and rely on Him when nothing makes sense.  We might not understand everything that’s going on right now and that’s okay because we’re not to rely on our own insight or our understanding.  We ARE to acknowledge and recognize Him – thank him for leading you through all the years of uncertainty and for being faithful and constant – He has not forgotten you and will not forget you.  The promise of this verse is that God will make your paths straight and smooth as you trust and rely confidently on Him and not your wisdom or understanding.

None of what you face today is a surprise to God.  Cry out to Him who is our mediator, who prays on our behalf – be confident in knowing that Holy Spirit prays for you with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26-27).  There is comfort in knowing that Holy Spirit cares deeply for us and prays continuously for our every need.  ~ Brad

Hope and The Solid Rock

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.”

Those lyrics from “The Solid Rock” hold so much meaning for me I love those old hymns. There is so much truth packed into the songs I grew up singing, although back then I didn’t appreciate them as I do now. This song reminds me to build my hope on nothing but Jesus. He is my firm foundation, my solid rock. When the storms of life assail me, I stand firm knowing that my feet are fixed on Christ Jesus who is my solid rock and my mighty fortress.

I know from experience just how disheartening and discouraging life can be. I’ve learned, slowly at times, to keep my eyes fixed on my Savior, my Lord and my King. Unlike earthly things, that leave me dry, thirsting and wanting, I draw from Jesus who gives me water from which I will never thirst again.

I encourage you to stand on the Solid Rock who is Jesus. Not sure how that’s done? Contact me, I’d love to sit down with you and walk with you through whatever it is you face today. I’ll always point you to the One in whom my hope rests. ~Brad

Faithfulness!

God’s faithfulness to us, does not depend on our faithfulness to Him! I was reminded of that after a bout with an old habit. Satan, my accuser was shouting in my ear that I had gone too far. Satan’s tormenting lie was, God would not meet my needs and I had to somehow work my way back to God’s good grace.

It was in that moment that God’s gentle whisper and his loving embrace surrounded me. I was reminded of all the months He had been meeting my needs. I was reminded that even though I sin, He is faithful. I was reminded that He knew me and had counted my days before one of them came to be.

God is faithful and compassionate – I’m thanking Him for that today. Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

~Brad

What is My Worth?

What are we really worth? What am I, as a person really worth? To whom am I valuable? It’s easy to see value in things such as; cars, boats, money, fame or other people. However when it comes to our own value, do we place as high a price on our value as we do on other people or things? Many of us walk with the burden of our past failures, we carry a load of guilt and shame that we’re not meant to bear. We’re reminded of a shameful past full of regret and mistakes we’d rather forget but we’re constantly reminded of what we’ve done.

In our moments of despair, when all hope seems lost, when we’re lost in the shame of our past we must remember from where our help comes from – it comes from the Lord (Psalm 121). Shame, guilt and despair are not part of God’s agenda for his kids. The first part of John 10:10 states: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. Satan is bent on our destruction; he will do whatever it takes to keep you away from freedom in Christ. He will rob you of your joy, He will steal your peace and he will kill your life by whatever means necessary. He is a prowling lion seeking who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The second part of John 10:10 says; “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus wants to give us life and give it to us abundantly. Christ saw our value while we were lost in sin. Christ saw us in our filthiest mess and said ‘Yes, I’ll die for that one’. Christ died for you. Today, He calls your name. Today, He desires to know you, to have a relationship with you. Today, He waits for you to open the door to your burdened heart and invite Him in. It does not matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done or who you are. Christ died for you. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Have you been following ‘other names’ attempting to find enlightenment or a way to higher truth? Many religions claim to know the way. Jesus said of himself; “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Buddha cannot save you, Mohammad cannot save you, no saint or apostle can save you. There is no penance or prayers to Mary that can take away your sin. Unlike those people, Jesus Christ died, rose again and sits at the right hand of God the Father and has provided a way of salvation to all people. Jesus is the only one who can set men and women free.

Jesus offers freedom and life. If you would like to know more about salvation and having a relationship with Jesus and the freedom found in Him, contact me.

~Brad

Life’s little lessons

Nancy and I came home tonight and received some news that wasn’t the answer we had hoped and prayed for. To be honest, we were disappointed and a bit discouraged. So we pulled the Bible off the end table and read Psalm 34. As we read our beloved Psalm we refocused our hearts and minds on the One on whom we depend. We were reminded to extol the Lord at ALL times and have His praise always on our lips. The Psalmist tells us to, “taste and see that the Lord is good [and] blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. As we read, we were encouraged because “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing [and] as the righteous cry out, the Lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles”.

As I sat and listened to Nancy read, I was reminded of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir as they sang Psalm 34, so I turned on the TV, opened up YouTube and found this song. It’s amazing to hear all those voices raised in unison praising and worshiping our God, our King, our Redeemer, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting One, the Lion of Judah, the Great I Am!

We go to one of those ‘hand raisin churches’. You know the type of church I’m talking about. There are those people who raise their hands during worship and they even sway to and fro a bit as they sing. As I sat watching this video, I was reminded of how weird I used to think that was. Then my mind drifted to another question. What will I do when I’m face to face with Jesus? He’s the One who saw me through all my troubles and heard my hearts cry and saved me from my sin. Will I just stand there stiff as a board? I don’t think so! On that great and wonderful day, when my eyes finally behold Him, I will fall on my knees in humble adoration. I will sing to the mountain tops with joyous jubilation, I will raise my hands and dance for the One who rescued me from the pit of my sin and despair. On that day, I will praise Him because of all the nights like tonight, when my soul was disturbed within me and His Word comforted me. I will praise Him because His Spirit reminded me to trust in Him alone.

Disappointment will come, of that there is no doubt and when those times come how will your heart respond? Personally, I’m still learning to depend on Him alone, I’m still learning to trust in Him alone. I’m still learning that He does have my best in mind even when circumstances disappoint me. I’m reminded of Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Tonight, I’m clinging to the feet of my master, savior and friend.I’ll post the video of Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s Psalm 34.

~ Brad.