Hearts for God

Hearts for God                                            July 5, 2020
Prov 3:3-4
Prov 16:7 / Prov 16:25, 32
Psalm 19:7-11, 14

How do we live in these off-balance times when there’s so much
uncertainty, confusion, lack of civility and discord?
Prov 16:25
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

As followers of Jesus we look to the Word of God
Psalm 19:7-11, 14

The Bible is filled with advice, instruction and examples of how to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. We can take comfort and hope in Prov 16:7 “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Example #1
Gen 31:13 – 35:42  Jacob, God and Laban:
God told Jacob to leave Laban’s place and go back to the land of his birth. Jacob, though a willful contriving, sneaky man, had a respect for and revered the Lord God of his grandfather Abraham. Laban was prevented by God from coming against him & destroying all he’d worked to earn for 20 years.
Gen 31:29 It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, “Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.”
Gen 31:42 Jacob’s answer to Laban of God’s protection and judgment

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Examples 2 & 3 Two Kings and the results of following God, or not: Asa and Jehoshaphat
2 Chron 14 – 17:10
14:2 Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God… when the armies from Ethiopia invaded Asa relied on God’s protection
14:11 Lord, our God there is no one beside You to help in the battle. Help us O Lord our God, for we trust in You and in Your name…let not man prevail against You”
15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him He will let you find Him.
15:17 …nevertheless Asa’s heart was blameless all his days.
Chapter 16 But later in life when the Israeli King invaded, Asa didn’t turn to God but asked the King of Syria to align with Judah. . God was not pleased. 7-12
It is comforting to know that even though Asa sought the help a human army instead of trusting God as he had in previous conflicts, that God still had it recorded in His Word that Asa’s heart was blameless all his days! Believers make mistakes and often forget to completely trust that God’s got us but He knows the sincerity of our heart despite our failures.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord; He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

#3 Jehoshaphat
2 Chron 17:3
and the Lord was with w/ Jehoshaphat because he walked in the ways of his father David’s earlier days and sought the God of his father, and followed His commandments.
18 Jehoshaphat aligned with Ahab
Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord? But there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set you heart to seek God.”
20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord; and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah gathered together to see help from the lord.

1) Set your heart to seek God with everything you have.
Prov 3:3 -4 practice kindness and truth so you will find favor with God and man
3) When your way is pleasing to God He will make even your enemies to be at peace with you!


Patience and Wisdom

Patience and Wisdom                                                                                    June 28, 2020
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

This verse has been on my mind a great deal this week as I’ve been pondering patience, and wisdom. They go hand in hand.

Patience isn’t natural to most of us! It seems about as elusive as wisdom!
James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach/criticizing, and it will be given to him.

These days we certainly need wisdom! So much knowledge and expertise but where are the wise voices that can be heard over the angry shouts?

Solomon wrote much about wisdom:
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Knowing that God is real, is supreme, and that He has the final say is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.
The foolish person thinks he knows it all, and he tends to despise patience.

Proverbs 2:3-12
Discern righteousness and justice, equity and every good course, wisdom will guard you.

How valuable sound discernment and wisdom is needed these days! We need to be able to discern the truth of what is really good or evil.

How did Solomon gain wisdom? 1 Kings 3:5 – 11 God came to him in a dream and told him to ask anything of Him. Solomon asked God for an understanding heart to discern between good and evil! Discernment to understand justice.

Lately we’ve been hearing shouts for justice from all sides. But, whose justice? Which justice? Justice has been reduced to what a person or particular group thinks is right.
We really need God’s wisdom and discernment right now!

It takes patience to wait on the Lord, for His guidance and wisdom. But as James tells us – let’s ask God for wisdom! I believe that with wisdom we have a better grasp of patience.

Prov 3:3-6 Most of us are familiar with Proverbs 3:5 & 6 but the two verses preceding also are key to successful living for God: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you.”

Exercise kindness and truth; make them such an integral part of your life that they become part of who we are. Learning to lean, trust, and depend on God instead of focusing on our own understanding and opinions. Acknowledge God and He will make your paths straight. A straight path is a clearly defined course of how to proceed.

Gaining wisdom and patience from God helps us to reflect God.

Prov 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Pray for peace with God and the people who you encounter as you purpose to live so that your actions and thoughts are pleasing to God.

Next week we will  look at a couple of examples of people who allowed God to direct them, or not.

The Patience of our Heavenly Father

The Israelites took great pride in and often referred to “the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. Their ancestorial fathers knew Him, their sacred writings of almost 4000 years were all about God and His dealings with and expectations of their ancestors. God of your fathers… Yahweh, the God of your ancestor David, 2 Chron 21:12 (Elijah in a letter to Jehoram)

“The God of our fathers.” Sounds like a God of the past.

Jesus changed the perspective!
Instead of God being the God your ancient fathers worshiped, God is your Father.
Jesus spoke of God as being Father more than 150 times!

God longs to be the Father of all. But, it’s up to each individual whether they will are willing to surrender their autonomous self to the Heavenly Father who expects obedience and desires faithfulness and love.

God is Father – that’s a part of who He is. What are some characteristics of a good father?

Galatians 5:22:23 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are all attributes of God. They are the fruits of God’s Spirit when we walk with God.

James 1:19… be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (!)

James 3:17 Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable
full of mercy and good fruits unwavering, without hypocrisy.
18 and the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

As Christians we want to have our lives bearing these fruits – our lives to reflect the character of our Heavenly Father. It’s not easy when times are turbulent and Satan is at war dividing and creating animosity and hatred.  We need to listen, to not rush in with our thoughts, opinions and ideas.

Most of all we need to be slow to get angry. Anger will never achieve God’s righteousness.
Our anger will never persuade anyone that God loves them.

We need to be the peacemakers. The only way we can be peacemakers is to live in harmony with our Heavenly Father and to allow His Spirit to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise but is patient toward you, not wanting any to perish but for all to come to repentance
14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless 15 and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation.
18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It’s not easy being patient or at peace!

Heb 12:1-2   Running a long distant race takes patience. Not only does a person have to become physically able to endure running many miles, the mental work is often even harder. The body is able but the mind becomes inpatient and wants to quit. That’s when we focus on the goal and set our mind on the goal that we are running towards. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Let His patience fill you so you may endure.

We need the patience of our Father.
This is the patience that is required.
Patience which endures over the long haul.
Patience that brings peace and unity.
Patience that reflects our Heavenly Father’s loving patience with us.
Patience that brings God’s peace.

Unity in God

It’s been a week of heavy rains, cold temperatures and social turmoil. The deluge of media stories focusing on protests and riots seems ceaseless. The roaring lion is roaming throughout the land stirring up animosity, chaos, and division.

God is the God of Unity and order. Living in the state of this world unity seems harder and harder to achieve.

Unity is sadly missing during the current social climate. What’s the solution?

Only God! Praise His name, He desires unity among His followers and when we turn to Him He will give us endurance and encouragement to live in harmony with each other. (Rom 15:5-6)
“… accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other…

Jesus knows how hard it is for us to be in unity! Look at His disciples! There must have been times of tension and animosity between some of them. We have Matthew who collected taxes for the Romans, and then there were two who were known zealots: Thaddeus, also known as Judas the Zealot and Simon the Zealot. It had to have been only Jesus Himself that caused these three to get along! You can imagine the discussions Jesus had with the disciples in teaching them to behave with respect and eventually love towards each other. As followers of Jesus they became united, because of Jesus!

During his last evening with them Jesus specifically prayed asking the Farther for unity among His followers: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11

John 17:21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us, may they be one as We are one.
17:23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one,
so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

There are two reasons that Jesus prays for unity for all believers:
1) so the world will know Jesus was sent by the Father
2) so the world can know that God loves us as He loves Jesus

Romans 15:5–6 “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.

God wants us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:3.

Ephesians 4:2-6
I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all.
JB Phillips New Testament for Modern Readers

Just as Jesus’ disciples learned to be united together through Him, the Holy Spirit is in the work of uniting us together in Him.

Satan seeks to destroy unity, peace and replace it with greed, chaos, and division. In Jesus Christ we have the protection and power of God to let go of self, to accept life with humility and patience. Because of the unity we have in Jesus we can make allowances for each other, because of love.

Bind us together with Your Love, Heavenly Father!

The Trinity

The Trinity                                                                                        June 6, 2020
As beings created in the image of the omniscient God we want knowledge.
As children we demand answers to our What and Why. Humans tend to love mysteries… ones we can neatly solve.

We’re really not thrilled with mysteries that we can’t sleuth out answers to. We want to make sense of the unknown, to solve them with our reasoning and understanding.

There is one mystery that we humans simply do not have the capacity to fully unravel and comprehend. Not for lack of trying! We use various illustrations which we think helps us to grasp the concept. Eggs, water/ice/steam, triangles, to name a few.  But none of them really works.

The concept of God as three in one: One God yet three distinct persons has long been a concept that is hard to wrap our finite minds around.

Three distinct Persons in One God. All three — Father, Son, Holy Spirit — have been around for all eternity; all three co-exist so that all can be apparent at the same place at the same time, as at Jesus’ Baptism:
God the Father speaking
God the Son being baptized in the Jordan,
Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus.
Each of the Three present, talking to each other as distinct Persons.

In grappling with the Mystery, St. Augustine came to equate the life of the human soul with the Triune God’s image. The soul remembers, it knows, it loves. These are three activities, and yet they are the activity of one soul. But it still falls short when we contemplate “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”

He is
He knows
He loves
With Him, these three are one.

God is omnipotent
God is omnipresent
God is omniscient – all knowing

God the Father
God the Son
God the Spirit

Three persons and one God: all equally divine, all absolutely God, one nature, one reality.
God is one.

We’re firmly told in Deut 6:4, and numerous times throughout the Old Testament:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one. I am the Lord; Besides Me there is no God. Is 45:5 No other God, no other God.

So, what about the Three in One God, what we call the Trinity?

The first revelation comes in the beginning when God said “Let Us make man in Our image… And God created man in His own imagine in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Gen 1:26, 27

John the Apostle wove God as One yet three throughout his gospel. In fact he bookended declarations of Jesus as God at the beginning and end of the Gospel of John.
John 1:1,2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 5 is full of declarations of Jesus’ authority and equality, especially vs 18 He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 8:58 Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” Ex 3:13, 14

In the Jewish understanding of God, the Great I AM, there was no debating that Jesus was declaring Himself as God. The Jews were so outraged by Jesus’ statement that they picked up rocks to stone Him to death.

Throughout John 14 Jesus claims His relationship with God, the Father: 10 – 11 I am in the Father, the Father is in Me. The Father will be glorified in the Son.

Then Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth  “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter to be with you forever. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you. But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” 16, 17, 26

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”

John 16:7 Jesus sent the comforter, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”

John 16:13-15 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

John 20:28, 29 When Thomas worshiped Jesus and declared, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus does not correct Thomas. Instead, he calls him blessed. As the Truth bearer Jesus would not have allowed Thomas to worship him as Lord and God, if He wasn’t.

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Later when he told the disciples that he would send the Spirit of Truth He was equating Himself to the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at some verses which distinctly show the existence of the three persons of the Trinitarian Godhead existing at the same moment of time.

Matthew 3:16-17“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’”

Jesus states in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”

The Apostle Paul made many references to the God who is Three in One:
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”

2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles believed on in the world, received up into glory.

The Bible ends with Jesus declaring “I am the Alpah and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

God doesn’t expect us to be able to fully understand how He is One, yet Three, He only desires that we believe – to fully embrace Him and be devoted to Him in order that we might live for Him and have eternal life with Him.

Repent, Receive, Reflect    

Today we celebrate Pentacost. The day that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’ followers filling them with God’s power and authority.
A day when the early believers reflected God.

What does Pentacost mean right now? In this bloodied, deadly, burning present?

On this Pentacost Sunday we must repent of our sin, our blindness, our pride in order for the power of the Holy Spirit to be manifest in our lives.

It’s been a week of soul searching: asking God to reveal to me my own short-comings and prejudices.
A week of mourning and seeking God’s face.

I am horrified by the violence, the destruction, the selfish pride.
I stunned by the senseless, appalling death of George Floyd.
I’m deeply saddened that we who identify as followers of Jesus haven’t figured out how to root out prejudice and deep-seated animosity towards those who we perceive as “different”.
I grieve that we haven’t shown the world what it means to love other humans created in God’s image.
I’m dismayed that my sweet, Jesus-loving, ten year old nephew has to always be mindful of how he acts, of what he says when he’s out and about in his city, even playing at the park. That boy knows how to love and let Jesus shine through him but he’s judged by bigoted people who automatically hate him for the color of his skin.

How can we, as followers of Jesus, be the peacemakers that Jesus calls us to be?

Jesus’ message was one of repentance – turning from sin and believing in Him. Luke 13:3 and 5 Jesus proclaimed, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Before He ascended back to to His throne, Jesus said in Luke 24:47 “that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations….”

Repentance is at the core of Christianity. It is only after repentance, that renewal and restoration comes. Then we will be able to reflect the Love of God to the world.
I can repent only when I’m confronted with my wretched state as a sinner.
Acknowledge that I am a sinful, stubborn person who wants to put selfish pride first, above all else.

With repentance comes salvation! The gift of salvation given by Jesus bleeding and dying for my sins, saving me from this wretched sinful condition.
Repentance leads to relationship and restoration with God!

We need to repent and open ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit who longs to guide us and fill us with God’s power and love.

Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you areas that you need to release in repentance to Jesus. Allow Him to have His way in your heart and soul.

Allow the Holy Spirit to restore you to relationship with God and to plant His fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!

We must spread the message of repentance, love and hope in Jesus. Not by might, not by human power but by the love, salvation and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

God’s disciples are made new creations, new people with the love of the Holy Spirit coursing through us, informing us of what to say, where to go and how to live.

Do our lives reflect the love, mercy, justice and power of the Holy Spirit?

Lately I’ve been thinking of Ravi Zacharias, of how when he looked at a person he saw a person made in the image of God. No matter how hotly a skeptic may have challenged him, Ravi responded with the compassion and love for the person created in God’s image.

How does Jesus call us to live?
In repentance
Receptive of the Holy Spirit’s guidance
Love God, love each other.

God’s Word also admonishes us to:
Do justice
Love mercy
Walk humbly with God

Set aside prejudices and generalizations.
Let the Holy Spirit fill us with God’s love.
Understand that every single person is created in God’s image.

Reflect the Holy Spirit, Let Him restore you, let His power be manifest in your life so that you reflect into the world:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

Align with the Holy Spirit

Do you wonder how long it will be before the Shelter at Home is lifted? When all the businesses can open and function as needed? When you can get that desperately needed haircut?

More and more people are chomping at the bit to get back to life as we want to live it; the way we think we need it to be.

But there are regulations mandated to keep us from life as normal. What’s the consequences of blatantly disregarding physical distancing? Will you be thrown in jail? Fined? Do the regulations cause you to fear punishment over taking matters in your own hands?

Many people will carefully obey the regulations. Others will take their chances weighing personal freedoms against what they perceive as overstepping government.

How do we live as children of God? What is my personal responsibility?

We certainly need to be listening to the Holy Spirit and following His leading!

As Paul says in Romans 7:19: “My human nature is filled with sin. My human nature prevents me doing the good that I want to do. Instead I do the evil I don’t want to do! What a miserable creature I am!””
He wants to do the right thing but human nature is bent on sinning and destruction. Clearly laws and regulations aren’t enough to make us do the good we need to do, to live in freedom from slavery to sin. But what’s the solution?

Romans 8:1  “There is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Lord Jesus Christ…”

Jesus’ death paid the price and has set me free from the law that couldn’t accomplish freedom from sin and death. The law lacks the power to make the old nature cooperate!

Only Jesus’ blood and death has set us free from the law. When we set our minds on doing things “my way” we are ruled by sin. 8:6 Having our minds controlled by the HS is life and peace!

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, the one who died to pay the price and set us free from sin the Holy Spirit lives in you and the Holy Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteous! The Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead is living in your, then the One who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies!

We don’t owe a thing to our human nature!!!

14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children! 15 We’re no longer slaves to fear.  Holy Spirit living in us lets us cry out “Dear Father”

We don’t know the road ahead, what lays around the corner from May. What we can do is pray for sensitivity to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit! We need to be praying for release from false hopes and expectations, to make plans and live day to day always realigning our focus to listen to the Holy Spirit, to align with God and follow the openings and paths that God’s provides.

God still rules!

This morning I hiked with my daughter and granddaughter to an undisclosed waterfall to celebrate Mothers’ Day together. The reading of Psalm 8 and singing “This is My Father’s World” happened in this place of beauty where all around us were reminders of the world our Father has created. He has not abandoned us!
Psalm 8 is a great reminder that God IS Lord, and the astonishing degree which He regards us.

1 Our Lord and Ruler, your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!
You let your glory be seen in the heavens above.
2 With praises from children and from tiny infants, you have built a fortress.
It makes your enemies silent, and all who turn against you are left speechless.
3 I often think of the heavens your hands have made,
and of the moon and stars you put in place.
4 Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans?
Why are you concerned for us weaklings?”
5 You made us a little lower than you yourself,
and you have crowned us with glory and honor.
6 You let us rule everything your hands have made.
And you put all of it under our power—
7 the sheep and the cattle, and every wild animal,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and all ocean creatures.

Our Lord and Ruler, your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!

Yes, Our Lord is still Ruler of all. Praise Him!
Build the fortress with praise and silence the enemy!
Remember to pray for each other! We don’t know what the future holds but God does.


Waiting: In His Time                                                                                                                     May 3, 2020
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.

Song: In His Time

We all love to wait, especially when we aren’t in the know. Right?

After Jesus’ death and resurrection His followers entered a time of waiting. Jesus would suddenly, randomly appear to them but everything was different. There must have been a keen sense of anticipation that Jesus would be establishing His place as the risen Messiah.

But none of that was happening.

Were they fearful of the unknown? The Pharisees, seeing the empty burial plot and hearing rumors of people seeing a living, walking, breathing Jesus must have been baffled yet furious. Perhaps they were going to have Pilate’s soldiers target them for messing with a body and spreading rumors of a risen king.

The disciples must have felt in limbo. For over three years they were people of action. People conditioned by traipsing throughout Israel at Jesus’ leading. Now He’d ascended into the heavens. And He told them to wait. Yet, He told them to take the Good News to the whole world.

How long would they have to wait? And then, exactly, what? Without Jesus’ physical presence, guidance & instruction.
What was Jesus up to?

Do you know anyone who enjoys waiting?

Yes. There are some who actually do… occasionally, when they know the waiting will be over within a short time.
People who welcome that brief respite from the demands of work or duties.

As long as the wait isn’t too long. And the outcome is known.

We’re in a time of waiting. This is the 7th Sunday of mandated social distancing. For many this period of uncertain waiting has gone on too long. It’s like being a child again in the back seat of the car on a long road trip. “How much longer, daddy?” is the repeated, plaintive cry.

We’re not good at waiting. With each passing decade we humans become less able to wait patiently. We like to be in the know. We want things done NOW, my agenda, my schedule.

Why wait to save up money to buy a car when I can put it on credit? Why wait until older to go on that mission trip to an exotic place? How thrilling to be doing God’s work!

Instead God was whispering, “Not quite yet, you need to become more mature in Me. Wait.”

Waiting for what?
God knew Jesus followers were very close to being ready. But not quite yet, they needed to learn the lesson of waiting. Wait, for what? For instructions, for the Holy Spirit, and to learn to yield to God’s timing.

Perhaps Jesus’ followers encouraged each other with Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; Be Strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”

And Isaiah 40:28 – 31
Haven’t you known, haven’t you heard?
The everlasting Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth does not grow tired or weary?
His understanding cannot be fathomed. He invigorates the exhausted,
He gives strength to the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary, even the fittest may stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord God will renew their strength,
they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings;
when they are running they won’t grow weary,
when they are walking they won’t get tired.

While we’re in this time of uncertain waiting it’s helpful to look at the example of Jesus’ followers as they waited for God’s timing, for the Holy Spirit to come to them. What did they do during that time of limbo?

Luke 24:52-53 and Acts 1:13 – 14 They worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. They stayed together in prayer and supplication.

Their waiting was focused. While they waited they prayed and with great joy were praising God.

The time of waiting wasn’t spent in aimless idleness, It was a time of uncertainty as to when and what would happen but their confidence and expectation was on the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

They waited with certain joyful expectation on God’s timing!


Doubt to Belief

Doubt to Belief!                                                                                             April 26, 2020
John 20:19-31
19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”

When Jesus first appeared to the gathered disciples He immediately spoke Peace to them and showed them His hands and side. showed them His hands and side. Why? Because He knew they were completely startled by His sudden presence. Think about it, they’d heard Mary’s story of her encounter with Him but hearing a story and actually grasping, believing the fact is two different things. He knew they needed to hear His voice and have tangible, physical proof of the almost incomprehensible fact that He was no longer dead.

Mary had told them that Jesus had appeared to her but were they able to fully grasp the reality? Not likely.

Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus came to the disciples that 1st night and when they told him about Jesus appearing suddenly in the room, even though the door was locked, he didn’t believe them. His reply, “I won’t believe until I put my fingers in the nail holes and my hand in His side!” has people ever since labelling him as Doubting Thomas. Is this really fair? Remember the two people on the road to Emmaus who had also heard Mary say she’d seen the risen Jesus? They even listened to Him talk about Scripture as they walked several miles together. It wasn’t until He blessed and broke the bread that they recognized Him.

When Jesus announced to the disciples that He should go to Bethany to Lazarus, Thomas was the disciple who bravely spoke “Yes! We should to go with Jesus so we can die with Him!”

Why don’t we call him Thomas the Brave? From records Thomas is the disciple who struck out alone to take the Good News of Jesus to people in the East. Some say as far as India.

Just as Thomas’ moment of bravery didn’t define him, neither should this incident of doubt! We all have times of doubt.

Thomas teaches us a good lesson: being in Jesus’ presence brings out the best in us; being away from Him can cause doubt to take hold.

Thomas is the disciple who earnestly asked Jesus: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5) He wants to know answers. He has a seeking mind that is willing to ask questions and risk ridicule. Jesus doesn’t berate Thomas, instead He says a most profound statement of truth: “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.

When Jesus returns to the disciples, again in a closed & locked room, He doesn’t berate Thomas, instead He firmly acknowledges Thomas’ doubt while allowing him to experience His physical reality in a way that allows Thomas to believe without embarrassment but complete yielding.

What is Thomas’ immediate response? “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas is the first to declare Jesus not only as Lord but as God. Thomas boldly claims Jesus as his Lord and God. He states the greatest revelation of all!  Jesus Christ is the same God that spoke the world into existence. Jesus is God in the flesh. Complete belief!