Friday, January 29, 2010

Sometimes Good Things Come From Waiting

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Each night around 6pm when dinner is ready, I can be heard saying, "Okay boys... hand washy time!" What follows is a mad dash towards the bathroom to see who can get there first and therefore be the first to wash his hands. It doesn't matter who gets there first, the one who arrives second can most certainly be expected to throw a fit followed by crying and trying to climb up and take over the sink from the first kid.

During the whole hand-washy ordeal, I have been recently telling my five year old that "sometimes good things come from waiting." Then we try to think of what those good things could be. At dinner time, for instance, being the last person to the table means less time to wait to eat the food.

It's certainly interesting the way the Holy Spirit chooses to speak. For me, one common method of heavenly communication is through a still small voice heard through repetition. Several months ago I began seeing Romans 8:28 in various places. The repetition of the scripture reference caught my attention. God has used this verse before in my life and I have heard the message. When I began seeing reference to it again, it caught my attention. What else do you want me to take from this, Lord?

Yesterday, I read a blog post written by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Here is what she wrote about the benefits of quieting oneself before God:
  1. In the quiet, we can feel safe enough to humble ourselves.
  2. In the quiet, God will lift us up to a more rational place.
  3. In the quiet, anxiety gives way to progress.
  4. In the quiet, we see our real enemy isn't the person with whom we're in conflict.
  5. In the quiet, I can rest assured God will use this conflict for good- no matter how it turns out.

Being quiet, can be mistaken for sitting around doing nothing. But there are benefits to being quiet, just as there are benefits to waiting.

Given the correlations to my recent conversations around the bathroom sink, I see that there was a message that God wanted me to take away from this:

Sometimes good things come from waiting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Final Words from Chuck

Final word from Charles Swindoll in his book, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back.

Our most vulnerable moment is when we are enjoying times of prosperity.

Warning: When you are making top grades in school, you're most vulnerable. When your family seems the closest and the strongest, you're most vulnerable. When your business has reached a level you never dreamed possible, that's a vulnerable state. Fellow pastor, when you are enjoying God's blessings and the church is growing and your fame is spreading, you're vulnerable. Be on guard! That is when things like boredom and complacency set in.

If you have served in the military, you know that the most vulnerable time for an attack is right after a battle has been won. The tendency is to sit down to a feast and take it easy... It's tougher to remain victorious than it is to become victorious!

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Why keep persevering? Why continue standing against the strong currents of temptation, fear, anger, loss, stress, impossibilities, misunderstanding, and mistakes? Whey fight defection? Why overcome inferiority? Why keep on waiting? Why? I'll tell you why. Because it is in the realistic arena that true character is forged out, shaped, tempered, and polished. Becaues it is there that the life of Jesus Christ is given the maximum opportunity to be reproduced in us, replacing a thin, fragile internal theology with a tough, reliable set of convictions that enable us to handle life rather than escape from it.

Because life is a task, we need strength to face it, not speed to run from it. When the foundation shakes, when Christian friends - even the leaders - are immoral and falling into apostasy, when the bottom drops out and brutal blows attempt to pound us into the corner of doubt and unbelief, we need what perseverance offers: willingness to accept whatever comes, strength to face it head on, determination to stand firm, and insight ot see the Lord's hand in it all.

Without it, we stumble and fall. And God is grieved. With it, we survive and conquer. And God is glorified.

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Thanks for coming on this journey with me through this book. It is a fabulous read if you ever get a chance to read it. You can probably purchase it real cheap through http://www.half.com/ if you are interested.

Lessons from Chuck Part V

Today is Part V from the book Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll.
  • Here is a practical way for you to handle your fears.
  1. As the occur, admit them. Say, "I am fearful of (and identify it)." Nothing is ever conquered until it is openly and clearly identified.
  2. As you admit them, commit them to God. Be very practical here. Spell our your decision to rest your case with Him. Be specific. Verbally declare yourself. Turn that steel grip over to God. Tell Him it's His to handle.
  3. As you commit you fears to God, release them. God says, "I've heard; I'll take the fear." In another psalm, David said:
    Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you;
    He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (Ps. 55:22).
  4. Stand firm. In God's almighty, invincible strength, consciously refuse to retreat. God honors that kind of faith.
  • "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Eph 4:26. Anger is a God-given emotion. There's something inhuman about a person who never gets angry. These emotions are God-given and He says to express them. Be angry, but don't carry that anger to the point where it becomes sin. Did you know that in the Old Testament, "the anger of the Lord" is mentioned no less than 18 times?

When is anger justified?

  1. When God's Word and God's will are knowingly disobeyed by God's people. (see Ex. 32:19,20, I Kings 11:1-4, and I Kings 11:9,10).
  2. When God's enemies assume positions of jurisdiction outside their rights. (see Is 5:20-25).
  3. When children are dealt with unfairly by parents. (see Eph 6:1-4, Col 3:21).

Unjustified anger:

  1. When anger comes from the wrong motive. (Luke 15:17-19, 28-32).
  2. When things don't go your way. (Jonah 3:10 - 4:1).
  3. When you react too quickly without investigating the facts. (Eccl 7:8,9, and James 1:19).

Winning over anger:

  1. Learn to ignore petty disagreements. (Prov 19:11).
  2. Refrain from close association with anger-prone people. (Prov 22:24,25).
  3. Keep very close check on your tongue. (Prov 15:1, 21:23).
  4. Cultivate honesty in communication... don't let anger build up. (Prov 27:4-6).