Waiting On God’s Promise

One of the things I’ve learned is that when God gives you a dream or a promise, it’s usually followed by a period of waiting. In my experience, the bigger the dream or promise, the longer you’ll have to wait. It’s natural in the waiting to wonder if God is still at work, if He has still chosen you or if it will ever come to pass. In the waiting, our circumstances can cause doubt, but it’s in the waiting that God positions us and grows us to be able to receive the fulfillment of the dream or promise. He’s at work when things appear to be hopeless. He’s working all things out for your good despite what your present situation is. Don’t give up on the promise. Even though you may have made mistakes, you haven’t disqualified yourself or caused God to abandon His Word to you.

There are plenty of people who went through this in the Bible. We often count them as heroes of the faith, but they were human like us. They had long periods of waiting. They felt hopeless at times. They made mistakes that you would think would disqualify them, but God kept faithful to His promise to them. Abraham waited 25 years for God to fulfill His promise, and Abraham tried to bring about the fulfillment himself. Joseph spent around 14 years waiting as a slave and in prison. David had to wait about 15 Years. In that time he was chased away from his family and friends. He had to live in a cave with a bunch of societal rejects. His home was burned down and his wife was captured just before he became king. The list goes on and on of people who had to wait.

Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me” (NLT). This verse was written by David while he was running from King Saul. He continued to cry out to God while He waited. He continued to trust that God was going to fulfill His plan. Just as God was faithful to David, He will be faithful to you. Remind yourself of the goodness of God. Remind yourself that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). If you’re still waiting, God is still working. Pray that He prepares you and positions you while you wait.pray that He will encourage you and give you strength. None of the people I listed above were ready when God gave them the dream or the promise. It was in the waiting that they were matured and grew their faith to be able to faithfully walk in God’s promise. God will fulfill His promise to you when you’re ready.

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Hearing From God

God’s Word is alive and active. There have been some times in my life when I was feeling low and away from God. During that time I had a friend who would come to me often with Post It notes. They would have scriptures on them with exactly what I needed. At other times, I’ve been desperate to hear from God and couldn’t hear anything. In those moments, I would pray, “Lord, for whatever reason, I can’t hear your voice. I’m going to open my Bible and read. Speak to me through your Word.” Each time He would lead me to verses that spoke to me. Sometimes it’s verses I’ve read before, but didn’t speak to me. Because God’s Word is alive, it speaks to us in different ways at different times as our eyes are opened.

In Luke 24, there were two men walking to the town of Emmaus from Jerusalem after Jesus’ resurrection. As they were talking about everything that had happened, they were joined by another man who asked what they were discussing. They told him about what had happened to Jesus. The man then went through the Scriptures they had read their entire lives and explained to them why Jesus had to suffer, die and be risen. For seven miles, this man taught them as they walked. When their eyes were opened to see it was Jesus, He disappeared. In verse 32 they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and opening the Scriptures to us?” (AMP) Jesus opened their understanding of the Scriptures and something ignited in them as He quoted verses to them.

Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes [to spiritual truth] so that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.” I love this prayer from David because it’s one we can pray too. Just as He answered it for David, He will answer it for us. God wants to reveal Himself to us, but the Bible is clear that we must be seeking Him. If you’re feeling far away from God or that you can’t hear Him, seek Him in the Bible. Ask Him to reveal Himself and spiritual truths to you as you read. Don’t stop reading until you’ve heard from Him. Sometimes it will be instant, and others you will have to be persistent. God will then use His Word to guide you, speak to you, correct you or help you. It’s one of many things He’s given us to reveal Himself to us. Don’t neglect time in God’s Word. Read it with a listening ear anticipating that God is going to speak directly to you through it.

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Trading Plans

One of the things we’ve done with our son since he was little is try to teach him decision making skills. We took him to Disney World several years ago with the plan that he could build a Star Wars R2 or BB unit at the end of the day. As we went through the park, he would see things he wanted. We would tell him that he could choose that or the robot. On one such an occasion, he found something he struggled with choosing. We then let him know the price difference. He still struggled. We gave him the pros and cons of choosing one now versus waiting until later. He started crying. It was too difficult, but we told him the choice was his. He finally asked what we would do. We said we would wait for what he wanted. That’s what he did and he loves his BB unit.

In 1 Samuel 8, Israel demanded a king from Samuel. When he went to the Lord about it, God reminded him that they were rejecting Him and not Samuel as their leader. Then God told Samuel to go back to the elders who came to him and let them know the cons of having a king. The leaders listened, but their minds had already been made up. They didn’t care what the consequences were, they wanted to be like every other nation. They wanted a king to judge them and lead them into battle. God, being who He is, didn’t force them to keep Him as their king and leader. He told Samuel to do as they say and give them a king. They decided they wanted to be in charge rather than God.

Proverbs 19:21 says, “A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life, but only the designs of God’s purpose will succeed in the end” (TPT). God allows us to make our own choices in life. He doesn’t force us to follow Him or accept His plans, but we do have to accept the consequences. Like the Israelites, we often think we know better than Him or we simply want our way. Understand that true success comes from choosing and following God’s plan for your life. Rarely is there immediate satisfaction because God’s plans for you are long range with eternity in mind. The things we trade His plans for are mostly for immediate and temporary satisfaction. We must learn to be patient and accept that He has our best interest at heart and His plans for us will bring the most success in the end.

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God Our Help

In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites were being attacked by the Philistines. They asked Samuel to cry out to the Lord for help because all hope was lost. God showed up and defeated the Philistines. Samuel set up a stone there and called it Ebenezer meaning, “The Lord has helped us!” Just as He showed up to help them, God still shows up to help us in our most hopeless situations. Like Samuel, we need to call out to the Lord to come and fight for us. The same God who fought for them, fights for you. He is a very present help in time of need. When you’ve tried doing everything on your own, seek the Lord and His help.

Here are some Bible verses on God Being Our Help.

1. I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

Psalm 118:13 ESV

2. The Lord protects and defends me; I trust in him. He gives me help and makes me glad; I praise him with joyful songs.

Psalm 28:7 GNT

3. I lie awake each night thinking of you and reflecting on how you help me like a father. I sing through the night under your splendor-shadow, offering up to you my songs of delight and joy!

Psalms 63:6-7 TPT

4. Answer me when I pray, O God, my defender! When I was in trouble, you helped me. Be kind to me now and hear my prayer.

Psalm 4:1 GNT

5. Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.

Psalms 94:17 NLT

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Slow Down

Recently my wife and the Lord have told me that it’s time to start saying no to things. When life gets so busy that you’re double booking, forgetting things you’ve agreed to and are living exhausted all the time, you’re doing too much. Life has lots of demands by itself, then we start complicating it by adding things to it. If we’re not careful, we can get so caught up in doing things for our families, our friends, our churches and others that we forget to stop and rest. Worse yet, we can miss our quiet time with God.

Busyness is not necessarily a sign of Godliness. In our minds, it’s easy to equate the two, but there is a point where we just need to stop, sit down and feed ourselves mentally, spiritually and emotionally. When Jesus went to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Martha was busy preparing food and serving her guests. She was doing what was necessary because she had guests, but she was stressing herself out too. That’s when she noticed her sister wasn’t even helping her. Instead, she was just sitting there listening to Jesus.

When Martha complained to Jesus, His reply to her was also to us. In Luke 10:41 He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things” (AMP). Each one of us should substitute our name for hers right there and know that God is ok with you slowing down, clearing your calendar and removing the things from your life that distract you from Him. Life isn’t about being busy all the time. It’s preparation for eternity. When you get to Heaven, you’re not going to be asked how busy you were or how much you accomplished. You’re going to be asked how well you knew Jesus and how well He knew you.

Photo by Mike Chai:

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


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Praying Constantly

Do you know what the least attended event at churches is? The prayer meeting. Almost every church I know of provides a day and time to meet to pray. There’s hardly ever more than a handful of people who attend it. I grew up with a pastor who would say that prayer is the wheels of any church. If the people aren’t praying for the church, it isn’t going anywhere. Pastors also need you to pray for them. They come under attack more than just about anyone because they are the shepherd of the flock. If the shepherd is hurt or destroyed, it will affect the whole flock. So whether you attend a prayer meeting or not, be praying for your church, it’s ministries and its ministers.

The Early Church was built on prayer. When Jesus told the disciples to go to Jerusalem to wait on the promise, the disciples and others didn’t just sit around and wait. They began a prayer meeting that lasted ten days. It was on the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit fell on them and for the first time, people had the Spirit of God living in them. Immediately around 3,000 people were saved and the Church grew. Even with the rapid growth, the disciples continued to give themselves to constant prayer. In Acts 6:4 they said they needed to devote themselves to prayer and teaching the Word. They understood the need for prayer in the Church and all throughout the New Testament, believers were encouraged to pray for their needs and the needs of the Church.

In Ephesians 6:18, right after Paul gives us the Armor of God, he said, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (NLT). Part of the armor is prayer. It is a covering for you and other believers. I 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. How often do you pray for yourself, your family, your church or your leaders? If you haven’t gotten in the habit of it yet, start today. Take time to call out their names before God and ask Him to cover them with His protection, to guide them with His Spirit and to bless the work of their hands. We all need prayer, and we need to be in prayer. Whether you have the gift of intercession or not, you are still called to pray at all times and on all occasions for all believers.

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Delayed Success

God’s plan is rarely the straightest or easiest. Following it doesn’t guarantee immediate success the way we look at it. If you look at the story of Joseph in Genesis, you’ll see a young man who was given a pair of dreams. In one dream, eleven stalks of corn, representing his brothers, bowed down to his. In his next dream, eleven stars and the sun and moon, representing his parents, bowed down to his star. He shared his dreams and was ridiculed. His brothers threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused and sent to prison where he was forgotten. It was around fourteen years before the dreams came true. Fourteen years of hardship before God’s plan came to fruition.

In Judges 20, the tribe of Benjamin had done an evil thing. The other eleven tribes joined forces to attack Benjamin. They asked God which tribe should attack first. God told them Judah. They went out to war and 22,000 died. They fasted and prayed, then asked God again if they were to go to battle. God told them yes again. They took positions the next day again. They were beaten again. This time losing 18,000. They cried and prayed to God again. A third time He told them to fight. This time they won. They routed Benjamin and nearly wiped out the entire tribe. Even though they followed God’s orders, they were defeated twice losing around 40,000 men.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 reminds us, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (NLT). Following God’s plan will not always yield instant success, nor will it make your life easy. You may be pressed on every side, feel perplexed by what’s happening and get knocked down or back. However, we do have God’s promise that we will not be forsaken or abandoned in these times. We will not be crushed, driven to despair or destroyed. Keep going back to God seeking His will through the hardship. Keep making sure you’re following His orders and what He promised will come true. Don’t give up in the struggle. Victory is near.

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Time For Rest

I saw a friend of mine wearing a hat the other day that said, “Jesus took naps. Be like Jesus.” I laughed and thought of Jesus sleeping in the boat knowing the storm was coming. I also thought of myself because I don’t take naps. I’ve got too much going on in my mind and in my life to take a nap. I began thinking of Jesus again and how He would often draw away from the crowds to be alone. Whether He was napping, praying or just being alone, Jesus was creating space to rest. The Gospels include this attribute of Jesus as a reminder to us that we need to take a break often. The very first ordinance that God instituted for us was the Sabbath. The words means to stop and rest. God did it. Jesus did it. You need to do it.

Here are some Bible verses on resting.

1. You shall work for six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; [even] in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest [on the Sabbath].

Exodus 34:21 AMP

2. He (Jesus) said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat.

Mark 6:31 AMP

3. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Psalms 127:2 NLT

4. Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.

Matthew 11:28-29 GNT

5. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace near the quiet brook of bliss.

Psalms 23:2 TPT

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Divine Disruptions

How do you respond when your plans get disrupted? How do you feel when things don’t go according to the way you thought they were? At times, we follow God’s leading in our life, thinking it’s going to go one way, when things happen and they go another. It drives me nuts when that happens. I’ve already played everything out based on the information I have from the Holy Spirit, but then I find out that I don’t have all the information. He often has a different plan than the one I have. He has other motives that I don’t know about. So when He disrupts what I think is the plan, I often don’t recognize that it’s Him. Instead of rolling with the changes, I often push back.

In Acts 8, the Early Church was growing rapidly until Saul came on the scene and started persecuting Christians. People had to move away from their homes to escape. One person that did that was Philip. He went to Samaria where Jews were hated. He preached the Gospel and revival broke out. So many people were getting saved and healed that Peter and John went there and took over Philip’s ministry. An angel then told him to go down the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. There he encountered an Ethiopian reading Scripture. He explained it to him and he got saved. After baptizing him, the Spirit caught Philip away and transported him to Ashdod instead of Gaza where he thought he was supposed to go. That was a seven hour walk away.

In each of these cases, the plans Philip had were disrupted or changed. Because of the persecution, the Gospel spread around the world. Because he followed God’s leading after his ministry was taken from him, aN Ethiopian took the Gospel to Africa and established the Church there. Romans 8:28 says, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose” (TPT). Whatever disruption you’re facing right now could be from God. Even if it’s not, God can work it out for good and for His purposes. Instead of throwing a pity party, ask God what He needs from you in this time. Who knows the ripple effect of what God can do through you when you submit to His will instead of your plans.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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