Sunday, January 8, 2017

All For His Glory!

First, I want to preface to whom this specific blog entry is for.  I wrote this for those who are lost in darkness and cannot find the light…for those who are in the midst of a storm and cannot see a way out.  This specific entry is for those individuals who have tried to stand strong for as long as they could, only to be left with just enough strength to kneel or fully lay down on the floor.  I wrote this entry for that person who is in a season of waiting…

I wrote this entry for me.

Can I give you some context behind this particular entry?  The last couple of weeks have been trying on a personal level, so trying that last Saturday I had no energy, no strength; I could only kneel onto my floor.  You see, I’m in a period of waiting.  While I’ve been blessed by God to know that wisdom, I’ve also come to the conclusion that waiting while blind or unsure of what the outcome is or how the story will end isn’t the most challenging to face- at least not for me.  Quite the contrary, waiting while knowing what I will receive is the most challenging.  You see, God blessed me with two dreams and a vision detailing His blessings, but it came with a condition: I had to wait in order to receive them.  Now, this may sound like a small task for some, but I’ll disclose a detail about myself- I’m extremely impatient (hence, why God requires that I wait…).

Can anyone else relate?  Yeah, I thought so. 

Unfortunately, impatience is something our culture suffers from- fast-pace, quick results, “Give it to me now!” (Think Veruca Salt from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).   I’m guilty of this very thing.  I’m a natural go-getter.  I like results; I like to get them fast and waiting has definitely been hard for someone like me.

And so I begrudgingly accepted my period of waiting.  Little by little, I became more comfortable with my season, but in my sense of comfort I forgot one thing- God always encourages us to grow and oftentimes we only grow out of discomfort.  So no matter how comfortable I was in my season of waiting, I would never make the most out of it; I would never fully learn from it.   If waiting became predictable, I wouldn’t grow from it because I would face the risk of trusting in my own strength.

Let me stop and ask a question: Do you ever feel you get challenged the most when you’re trying to do right???

Yeah, I feel the same.  In fact, that’s exactly what has been happening to me.

I realized I was facing attacks because of my obedience- MY OBEDIENCE!!!  Because I had been obediently waiting on God, the devil was giving me the “stank eye.”  Several days ago, I came across a quote Vicki Yohe had shared on Facebook: “The devil won’t bother you while you’re living in sin, he’ll bother you when you’re trying to get out.”

The devil knew what God was preparing for me and he wanted me to step out of God’s will (i.e. Be disobedient) to prevent my blessing from occurring.  And so he stirred up drama and heartache to tempt me to grow impatient.  The devil used everyday factors and interactions, like relationships and friendships, to attack me.  And God allowed him to do so because He wanted me to grow.  Please remember the scripture from last week’s blog entry:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
                                                                        ~ Romans 8:28

God used the very things the devil meant for bad for my good.  And most importantly, He used those things for His glory.  As I mentioned last week, I’ve learned that I needed God and that need is continual and on a daily basis. I couldn’t handle those fiery attacks on my own; I would never be able to (with)stand on my own.   Which is why I can fast-forward (or back) to Saturday (in the midst of my waiting season) when I found myself kneeling before God to recognize and ask for His strength and to thank Him- all for His glory!

Now let’s go to Scripture and look at other people who also had to endure through a waiting season.  From the Old Testament, in Exodus, we see the people of Israel who were in the midst of the biggest hardship imaginable- they were enslaved and oppressed.  God sent Moses to free His people, but Moses had to face a stern and obstinate Pharaoh.  In fact, Scripture shows where God intentionally hardens Pharaoh’s heart:

And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand.  But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
                                                                        ~ Exodus 4:21

And so each time Moses worked a miracle through God’s power, Pharaoh hardened his heart.  Why?  I believe we can find the answer in Exodus 6:2:

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord.

God wanted everyone- the people of Israel and the Egyptians- to bear witness to the sheer omnipotence and wonder that is God and God alone.

But the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
                                                            ~Exodus 11:9

God worked, using even evilness (Pharaoh’s tyranny and obstinacy) for the good of His people.  And the more evil, the more hardened, Pharaoh grew, the more God worked on behalf of His people.  In other words, the darker the days seemed to the people of Israel, the brighter God’s light was able to shine so that ultimately, God performed a miracle on behalf of His people- He freed them:

So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.  Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believe the LORD and His servant Moses.
                                                            ~ Exodus 14:30-31

Sometimes God purposefully allows for situations and people (yes, even loved ones) to harden.  God can and will use even your enemies, so in the end, you- as well as they- will know without a shadow of doubt that it is by the power of God that you overcome and persevere.  That it is by the love from God that you are blessed.  And because of who God is, God can and will perform miracles on your behalf.  All for His Glory!

Can I give another example?  Okay, now let’s head over to the New Testament and look at the story of Lazarus in John, chapter 11.  Lazarus, who was ill, was the brother of Martha and Mary.  Scripture shares that Jesus loved Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, but when a message was sent to Jesus regarding Lazarus’s illness, Jesus decided to remain where He was for two more days (John 11:4-6).

Let me just stop on that because I need to let that one marinate for a bit- Jesus loved them and yet waited (Two. More. Days)!  In fact, in verses 11-14, Jesus knew that Lazarus had died.  So why did He wait?  I believe that answer begins in verse 15:

“And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.  Nevertheless let us go to him.”

When Jesus finally went to Martha and Mary, He asked Martha if she believed that Jesus was “the resurrection and the life” and stated whoever lived and believed in Jesus would “never die” (verse 25).  And so Martha confessed to that belief and Jesus proceeded to go to Lazarus, who, at that point, had been dead in a tomb for four days.  Once there, He turned to Martha again:

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

And so after giving thanks to God, Jesus called Lazarus to come forth from the tomb- He resurrected Lazarus from the dead.

Just like Jesus (Son of God/God in man form) loved Lazarus, Martha, and Mary yet waited two days to return to see them, God sometimes calls us to wait because He loves us so much.  Sounds odd, right?  Well there’s a saying I tell myself to remind me of how God answers prayers: He says, “Yes,” and gives us what we want, or says, “No,” and gives us something better, or says, “Wait,” and gives us the best.  Not only did Jesus choose to wait to bring Lazarus from the dead in order to make new believers, He also waited so that Martha’s faith could be tested and perfected so she could bear witness to the glory of God.

There are times when God puts us in a season of waiting so He can perform a miracle.  And oftentimes, during that period of waiting, we must bear discomfort and testing so that our faith in God-which pleases Him and sets our blessings into motion- is strengthened.

James 1: 2-4 says: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Not only does God want to bless us, He wants us to be mature enough (perfect and complete) to manage the blessing and be a steward of it.  So again, to flash back to me kneeling on that floor due to the weight of my current season and its trials, I decided I was in the perfect position to praise Him.

And so I did….

I thanked Him for every hardship, strife, and hurdle.  I thanked Him for every uncomfortable minute in my season of waiting because I knew He would use this season to bless me.  He would use the very things meant for evil against me for my good (Genesis 50:20).

Sure enough, while on the floor, God confirmed my faith in Him and this process with the following scripture:

“Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes:
                                    ~ 1 Samuel 12:16

And so I stood, this time stronger, with more faith in God and receiving more power from Him than I had before I had kneeled.

So to those too weak to stand- I say, “Don’t.”  Don’t stand…kneel.  Because by kneeling you put yourself in perfect position to connect to God... to draw on the strength you need from Him (Isaiah 40:29).   Kneeling puts you in the perfect position to stand so you can witness the great thing God will do before your very eyes.

To those in the midst of the storm, to those caught in the darkness, and to those in a season of immobility- wait on the LORD.  And even count it all joy because the longer you wait, the mightier God will work in your favor.  And the mightier God works in your favor, the more miraculous your blessing will be.  And in the end, you will recognize His power and greatness, and He will receive the glory-

All for His glory!

I want to end this entry with a list of scriptures I’ve found incredibly strengthening and encouraging during this season of waiting.  I hope you find them just as motivating.  If it is God’s will, I shall conclude by saying, “Until next time.”

God bless!

Scriptures

Isaiah 40:31- But 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.

Psalm 27:14- Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 33: 20-22- Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield, For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.  Let your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.

Psalm 37:7- Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

Psalm 46:5- God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

Psalm 46:10- Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6- But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Romans 12:12- rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer

Ephesians 6:16- above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Galatians 3:5- Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?-

Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Joshua 3:5- And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

Philippians 4:11- Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

Hebrews 12:1-2- Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,  and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Lamentations 3:25-26- The LORD is good to those who wait on Him, To the soul who seeks Him.

Exodus 14:14- “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Isaiah 40:29- He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Hebrews 6:15- And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.


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