Waiting on God’s Promises

John 14:27

Having the patience to wait for God to deliver on his promises can be quite the struggle.

Last week I read the account in Genesis 15, where God promises Abram that he will provide him his own heir, despite his old age.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4)

But in his and Sarai’s old age, it was hard to believe that promise. Or, at least, it was hard not to take it into their own hands. Because surely, if God made them a promise, they better figure out how to make it come to fruition, right?? Oh boy.

In chapter 16, Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (v. 2)

Are you cringing with me? As soon as I read this, I thought to myself, how often to I take the promises of God into my own hands? I don’t have the faith to trust he will bring that promise to fruition because it seems impossible. And once I’ve heard the promise, I want it now.

I mean, how else was Sarai going to produce an heir in her old age? Like Sarai, I’m often hasty and impatient and I settle for a lesser version of God’s promises. I cash in quickly, jump to the wrong conclusions, and get myself into a mess I could have prevented had I waited on the Lord to fulfill his word.

Not only did Sarai’s plan not fulfill God’s promise (he had other plans), but it also bred contempt between Sarai and Abram, Sarai and her servant Hagar, and Sarai and Hagar’s son Ishmael. What a mess.

God, protect my hasty and impatient heart from settling on what seem to be “quick fixes” to my concerns. Help me to wait for your deliverance, your solution and your ways – and to wait with expectant hope that you will provide in your perfect ways. 

What helps you to determine what is from God and what is from your impatient desires? How do you make sure to listen for God’s plans instead of hastily making your own?

You know it’s going to be a great day when

I woke up early enough this morning to straighten my hair, finish listening to a sermon I started earlier this week and read my Bible before going to work. I’m literally thankful to God for that because I rarely get up with more than just enough time to scramble out the door.

Sleep is so seductive – it reels me in and once I’m there, it’s so hard to draw myself out. I’ve had plans to get up early for weeks now it seems, but every time my alarm goes off, I make new plans with my sleepy self. I tell myself I can read later in the afternoon, I can just braid my hair quickly, sleep is more important than getting ready leisurely, etc. It’s actually quite sad – it makes me so disappointed in the lack of discipline I have!

But this morning was different. I woke up several times before my alarm, and maybe this sounds weird, but I know that was the Lord prodding me to do what I set out to do last night. When I went to bed, I planned to get up at 7, finish my hair, read and blog before leaving with enough time to pick up donuts on the way to the office. And he helped me do it! Can I tell you something? It feels good. It feels so much better than getting an extra 45 minutes of sleep. I feel like I’m starting my day with a purpose, with a mind already set on the things of heaven instead of the things of this world. I feel like I’m one step ahead of my complacent, complaining, selfish self who has been armed with the Word of God to start my day remembering Him and remembering my purpose as his daughter, his follower and his servant.

So fellow sister who is struggling to create space for God in her life, I encourage you to dive in. To take the risk of missing a few minutes of sleep and put in the work. He will meet you there, perhaps in ways you weren’t quite expecting.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

4 Biblical Truths on Friendship

Friendship

Friendship is one of the gifts I hold dearest to my heart. I love that God designed us for community and leads us by example in how to love each other. There are things other people do for me that touch my heart in ways I can’t imagine living without, you know?

Because I love people and am so thankful for the gift of friendship, I think it should be held to a high standard. Friends aren’t to be taken advantage of, forgotten about or left out hanging out to dry. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, our friends included.

As I’ve been thinking about friendship this month, here are 4 Biblical truths that shed great light onto how we should live life with our friends.

1. Live with a spirit of steadfast love and faithfulness. (Proverbs 3:3)

Love your friends with a steadfast love after God’s own love for us, and a spirit of faithfulness. Being faithful to a friend in steadfast love means loving them even when they’re in a sour mood, it means celebrating with them over life’s joys and it means crying with them when they’re in the pits of despair. It means sticking together through life, no matter what comes at you.

2. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Relationships are hard – feelings get hurt, bitterness threatens to simmer in the pits of our hearts and we don’t like being wrong. But forgiveness is a powerful thing, and we have a great example of the power of forgiveness in our God. He washed away our sins, the sins that he knows we will continue struggling with, the sins we have yet to even commit! Despite that knowledge, he sent his Son to pay the price for us to be in a relationship with him. That’s quite the example of forgiveness. Fight for your friends the way God fights for us.

3. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)

Have you ever shared a deep hurt with a friend who then asked to pray over you? Prayer brings healing, and it brings you closer together. I not only want to be quick to comfort my friends, but I want to be quick to pray with them.

The other key part of this truth is that in friendship, we should feel free to confess our sins to one another. The benefit of accountability only extends as far as we can be truthful. I don’t want surfacey friendships, where we can only discuss the easy and light parts of life. I want friends who will get into the battle with me – who will patiently listen to my confessions, but who will call me out of my sin and remind me of the truth of the gospel. I want to be that friend for my friends.

4. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Like I wrote in the letter to myself last week, life is short. And it’s not all about us – it’s all about Him. Let’s not let this life waste away with our worlds revolving around ourselves. Let’s get together with friends, let’s laugh, let’s study the Word, let’s stir each other up to love and good works! Let’s stir each other up so that, above all else, we strive to be faithful to the One who made us and gave us all we have.

Do you have friends like this? If so, tell them, “Thanks!” today! They are diamonds in the rough. Are you this friend to your friends? How can you grow to be more like this kind of friend?

the delight of spring after a deep deep sleep

Lord,

Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your sevant,
and teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:129-135)

Thank you for being consistent in pursuing me when I was not toward you. Forgive my negligence, Lord, and my tendency to look at myself much before you. Thank you for reviving my heart and reaching down to the depths of me… Thank you for Jesus, who is my righteousness, my status, my hope, and my redemption. Thank you for being my Father who loves me and cherishes me even though I never deserve that kind of love. I have so much to learn; teach me your ways and your love, and transform me to look much more like your Son and much less like me. Thank you for loving me, Father. I love you, too.

who is wise and understanding among you?

James has been puncturing my heart in a very refreshing and convicting manner lately… it’s been nice to feel that again.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (3:13-18).

Phrases to think about:

1. The wise are also understanding? Hmm.

2. By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom… so the wise are called wise by their works, because their wisdom is reflected in their works. (reminds me of James 2 where it talks about how our faith is shown by our works and completed by our works (vv.14-26)… sounds like wisdom apart from “wise works” isn’t wisdom after all, huh?)

3. Meekness of wisdom–what does that look like? What does meekness look like? (didn’t Jen study that like a year ago…?)
meek: humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment
as to action (thank you, dictionary.com)
4. Jealousy and selfish ambition (sin) have consequences: disorder and every vile practice.

5. How am I striving to make peace (thinking also Romans 14:18-19 “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”)? What does that look like?

Prayers to be consistent in:

1. Praying for jealousy and selfish ambition to consistently lose to grace and mercy in my heart.

2. Filtering what I think is “wisdom” through these qualifications: purity, peacefulness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercifulness and fruition, impartiality, and sincerity.

Father in heaven, thank you for your Word. Thank you for the truth you present us in it and its power to move and stir us. Thank you for a renewed spirit and open mind today as I read your Word. Please renew that desire in me for tomorrow! I want to sit at your feet and drink in the truth of your Word. Thank you for Jesus, the Word who became flesh, dwelt among us, and bore the wrath you had for us. Give me the strength to fight sin and remember your Word. I want to reflect you and walk in the meekness of wisdom. Father, I ask all of this in your Son’s name. Amen.