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Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Two Three

I waited patiently for the LORD,
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1
Do you remember the old Tootsie Roll commercial?  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?  In the commercial the old wise owl decided to try.  He was not patient and bit the pop after three licks.  I find I tend to be like the old wise owl in eating Tootsie Rolls and in life.  I do hate to wait.  We live in a instant word.  We can communicate with a few clicks on our phone.  We need an answer to a question and Google is a few seconds away.  I remember when you had to be at home to talk on the phone or if you needed a question answered you went to the library to use an encyclopedia.  Not today.  Today we get impatient if the Internet takes more than a few seconds to load. 

I believe it is our fleshly nature to want things quickly and the world we live in feeds that desire.  Maybe that is one reason Psalm 40 is so difficult for us.  Do you see in the first sentence two key words?  Waited patiently!  Yup, that's them. 

I wonder what character traits would you have to know in a person before you could trust them enough to wait patiently for them.  If your spouse promised you a trip or an elaborate gift could you wait patiently for them to bring that promise into reality?  Would you need a date or proof that they would follow through? Would the waiting be easier if the person had proven themselves in the past and they were someone you trusted?  Maybe one reason we have difficultly in waiting upon the Lord to fulfill one of His promises is because we don't find Him trustworthy.  Maybe we have never proven His trust in the past.  Maybe walking by faith is a foreign concept to us.

Let’s consider the life of the Lord Jesus. Can you think of a time that Jesus was ever impatient? Can you think of a time grumbling ever escaped His lips? Jesus experienced incredible agony in the garden. He experienced a trial of cruel beatings, humiliation, and mocking. He endured a painful death upon the cross. His very own followers (close friends) forsake Him, yet no words of vengeance escaped His lips. He is the patient Lamb of God. We are to follow His example. (Phil 2:1-8) Jesus knew the character of the Father and was able to trust and wait patiently for His will to be fulfilled. He knew the joy that was awaiting Him and was willing to endure the hardship of the cross, despising the shame (Hebrew 12:1-2). His joy was the accomplishment of the Father’s will and being exalted to sit at the right hand of the Father. Knowing the Father’s heart is love for us, we should be able to trust Him enough to wait patiently for Him.

Look at the second sentence...And He inclined to me.  The word inclined means, "turn to me".  Do you get that?  When we wait patiently for the LORD, He turns to us.  The God of heaven, the Creator Himself, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ turns to us.  Wow!  God's presence in our life really should be enough to sustain our life, joy, and peace. 

Yet I see one qualification in sentence three.  "God turns to me and He hears my cry."  Do you see it?  We must cry out to God.  This at times is just as difficult as waiting.  Not only do we want things right now we also want to do it ourselves.  God calls us to humility and dependence.  We are to live a life depending and trusting Him for our daily needs.  It takes faith to cry out and it takes faith to wait.  But what an awesome promise that when we do - the very presence of God comes to us.  But that is not all He does...more blogs to follow on verse 2 and 3!

Can you trust God enough to wait patiently for Him?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Distractions, Balloons, and Truth

All week long, I've waited for Saturday morning. Saturdays are becoming my personal times of retreat, rest and Bible study. Saturdays are a day set apart to bask in the Lord's presence, so all week I've looked forward to this day. But as I awoke to begin my retreat time, something strange began to happen. I became very discontent and aggravated. Distractions began running through my mind - I felt I was neglecting my responsibility of housework, unfinished paperwork, and being a mother and a wife. The battle of focus and where my attention belonged had begun. Once I was able to move past these lies another direction of thought was taken...The world is out having fun and you sit here all alone. Don't you have any friends? The world is passing you by. Get up and do something productive. Man, the battle was on and discouragement set in.  I tend to believe lies many times because they are entwined with truth. I did choose this morning to continue sitting here with my Bible and pen. This day was set aside for personal study and retreat.  I refused to heed the enemy’s words. 


For the last week I have been focusing on Psalm 119. Another distraction of the enemy is to entice me with large areas of Scripture that I should learn and know. I describe it like having a room full of helium balloons. Each balloon is full of truth. As I look at all the truth that I do not know, I tend to get overwhelmed and attempt to grab it all quickly. If you have ever tried to grab several balloons at once, you know what happens, they either slip away or pop. I long to know the deep truths of God. I long to know God better. I long to be able to articulate the truth in a teaching form. I want. I want. I can get overwhelmed with all my thinking and as the balloons pop all the truth is lost and I've wasted a day trying to contain too much information to quickly. There is a much better way of receiving truth.  This way is a slow steadily pace of growth. The purpose of Bible study and devotions is to get to know the author in a more deep and intimate way.  To understand His heart and the way He chooses for you to live; this takes focused and imitate time of sitting in His presence. 

 This week I have committed to go very slow in study. I have committed to the Lord to stay in Psalm 119 for a while.  Even as I type this I am reminded that there is so much truth to learn why should I stay in one place for any period of time. The enemy is working overtime in my brain this morning.  This really could be a long post but bear with me...I have some truths to share. 

 There is direct correlation between prayer, God's Word, faith, and obedience. Psalm 119 gives us directions for a happy (blessed) life. We are each living out our life in a habitual way, either by the ways of the world or by the ways of God. I see some truths in Psalm 119:1-16 that I would like to share.

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong;
they walk in his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
hen I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O Lord;                                                                    
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word. 
Happy (blessed) are those who live a blameless, complete, and whole life. Happy are those   who have a godly habitual pattern of living.
Happy are those who:
 1) Keep His testimonies. - Again the enemy this morning, "how can you keep testimonies that you do not know? Better grab it all as the world is passing you by or just give up and go join them"
2) Seek Him with your whole heart.
3)Be obedient
4)Cry out to Him
5) Heed His word. (Heed-to hedge about as with thorns-guard)
6) Find my joy in His testimonies
7) Delight myself in the Lord.

 It is difficult in this passage to see where the psalmist testimony ends and his prayer begins...He states truths, he states his longings and then he cries out for help. He praises and remembers where he desires his heart to be and then he cries out for help. He worships, he studies, and he loves. He memorizes, he declares and he worships. He thinks about God's ways. He thinks about God's love, he rejoices and longs to walk in all His ways and he cries out for help. He makes a commit to study and know God’s word and He cries out for help.

This seems to be where I find myself this morning as well. What about you?