"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (II Corinthians 5:7)
For some the wait is endless. Whatever you're waiting on doesn't really matter. The human condition lends itself to our growing more impatient as time passes.
That impatience causes us to go before God, get in the way of God, or even miss God. Mistakes are made, promises are broken, and dreams dashed. You find yourself fighting to find the faith while living through the ‘Not Yet’. Living through the ‘Not Yet’ gives us the opportunity to grow closer to God, and provides us a powerful testimony to share with others who may be going through a similar faith struggle.
In John 6:24-33, after Jesus had taken the two loaves and five fish and fed the 5,000; after He walked on water and calmed the stormy sea He still faced a crowd of non-believers. Although Jesus had just performed miracles, they still wanted more before they would believe.
How relevant is that passage of scripture for us today! So many times in our life's journey we ignore the everyday blessings God provides us and question if and when God will bring us through. Then we want a "sign" to know for sure. Be honest-- how many times have you prayed, "If this is you Lord then make this or that happen," or "Lord, I want to believe, but please show me a sign." What we fail to realize, is God shows us daily miracles! He continuously brings us out of situations: you have a car problem-- He sends a mechanic who happens to be driving by. You have a bill due- You get an unexpected check in the mail. Friends, it's not happenstance. It's God!
Second-guessing God's promises for your life has no place in your life. Step out of your comfort zone- step into your Faith and don't give in to the tricks of the enemy. Remember our trials come to make us strong! So praise Him in advance while He's bringing you through a tough situation. Remember, what we learn in the ‘Not Yet’ is that the promise of God holds true regardless of the time that the promise takes to come to pass.
So what else do you need before you believe? John 6:29 tells us we are to Believe in Him. It's that simple. We must have Faith, and remember that faith without works is dead. Believe in the God of the Miracle until your miracle comes. How do you do that? Spend quality time--not just five minutes before you fall asleep, but real quality time studying God's word, praying and listening to praise & worship music.
You will notice a change in your spirit. You will recognize that while you are living through your ‘Not Yet’ your faith is growing along with your spiritual maturity. And when your prayer is answered; when your test becomes your testimony-- recognize it, thank God for it, and share it!
When you look back over your life you will see how far you were able to walk by faith.
The idea that we need something that we don’t have right now is the root of discontent. We are never completely satisfied with this moment. Even when we get everything we thought we always wanted, it feels like there is something missing. Why? Because we have become so accustomed to waiting for something more, that nothing is ever enough. The habit of feeling dissatisfied has become commonplace in our lives. This is true for the rich and the poor, for the loners and the social butterflies among us.
If you focus on being instead of having, on experiencing this moment in its fullest instead of on the object of your desire, everything comes. It comes by itself. There is nothing wrong with desire; the trick is to desire without attachment. What really matters is what you’re being in each moment. Be present, and keep letting go of the attachment of how things need to look. To be is the most important thing, because that’s what will bring you joy. We think that what we obtain will bring us happiness, but when we are present in this incredible energy of joy, everything brings joy. Why? Because you are the joy. You are the joy. That’s the difference.
Before, things had to look a certain way for me. In order to experience joy, I had to win: I had to be the best at what I did. If not, there was no joy. Now, that has changed, and you know what left with that? The suffering. That doesn’t mean that I no longer have goals or projects: it just means that my fulfillment no longer depends on their outcome. Now, I put all of my passion into creating and exploring my pursuits, but if something doesn’t turn out as planned, I no longer suffer.
Observe your mind. Often you will find that when you feel something is lacking, and cannot rest until it has been attained, it is in reality an excuse to not be present. These are the tricks of your mind to keep you away from yourself. Why? Because if we are totally present, with no distractions, no projects, we have no excuse to keep us from facing the unknown. Our attention is set up to avoid ourselves, to avoid the part of ourselves we have forgotten. But the only thing that can keep us away from this unbounded freedom and completion is fear of the unknown. Because in reality, there is nothing to fear. How can we be afraid of love? We can’t. But we can be afraid of the unknown.
When you see yourself looking for distractions, face the unknown. Be with yourself, without any crutch. Don’t cling to illusions. Dive deep, and then deeper. Know yourself. That is the only thing you have ever really needed.
Every year around the beginning of December, people around the world implement a list of new action items in their lives effective January 1st. We decide to start working out or eating better. We vow to finally launch that business or go back to school. We promise to give up smoking or drinking or some other addiction that we have.
We re-dedicate to a lifestyle of prayer and worship or to be nicer to everyone around you; the list can be endless.
However, many times before the month of January is over, we've already forgotten about or given up on many of the action items on our list. And for some of the items, we wont even reconsider them again until the end of the year when its time to start thinking about the New Year.
We also tend to put God on our schedule - declaring what He will do (or won’t do) in the New Year. And doesn't it seem like these declarations tend to come in the form of a statement 'rhyming' with the current year?
For example: "We will win in 2010!" I'm sure you can name a few others you've heard lately as well.
This cycle has always been perplexing to me, why do we tend to only equate new beginnings with a new year? Who decided that January 1st was the date to renew goals and to dream bigger? And if these things are important beginning January, why aren't they important enough to start immediately?
And why do we place a timetable or time limit on when God can move in our lives? Using the above example, do we only want to WIN in 2010? How awesome would it be if instead of having this time of "reflection" and "renewal" only once a year...we did it daily?
What if we claimed the promises of God on a regular basis and not just for our new year's declarations?
Will we miss that new thing because it's not the first of the year when we expect new things? Or will we be open to receive and embrace what God has for us AND what God is calling us to do right now, regardless of what the date is?
I challenge you to let go of the "new year's" resolutions and instead make "lifestyle" resolutions. Daily, make it a priority to strive to be more Christ-like. Daily, implement Psalm 34 into your schedule (I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth). Daily, move forward in those things God has called you to do and be!
And let's stop putting God in our yearly boxes. He has things in store that we can't even begin to think of, and those things may not "rhyme" with entrance of every New Year.
New mercies daily... ...now that sounds like the type of new beginning that I want to grab hold of!
"Are you working?" is a question that is often asked when someone wants to know whether or not a person currently has a paying job or not. However, today I want you to ponder this question as a reflection of whether or not you are functioning and flowing in the purpose and plan for which you were created.
Think about this...If you flip up the light switch and the light bulb burns out, it is then no longer working. If you get in your car and it will not start, that car is not working. If a vending machine takes your quarters, dimes and dollars; but does not give you back your soda or snack, the machine is not working!
When anything we encounter is not doing exactly what we bought it to do or what we expect it to do, we get frustrated because it is not working. Well, are you frustrating God by not doing exactly what He intended you to do when He created you? Are you working according to what He had in mind for your life?
Take time today to ask yourself, "Whose work have I been working?"
If you've been working your own works and creating your own to-do list, ask God to shake everything off of your list that does not line up with His list. No matter how old you are, or how many years you've had the same new year's resolution, it's never too late to start following God's agenda for your life. Work the works of Him!
Take time to do an honest evaluation of whether or not you are or have been working. If you realize that you are not functioning in the role God intended for you, this is the season to start aligning your life with God's perfect will!
Allow God to use you during this season of your life, then when you are asked, "Are you working?" the answer will be obvious. Now is the moment. This is the year! 2010 is the perfect time to start working.
When Jesus came into the world in human form, he changed our relationship with God forever. He made it possible for us to become adopted sons and daughters in God's family, co-heirs with him to the gift of eternal life with the Father.
But he gave us another Christmas gift few of us ever open: his friendship. He experienced firsthand the loneliness of being human, and he saw that as much as we need a savior, we also need a friend.
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15 (NIV)
What better friend could you have? Jesus is steadfastly loyal. He forgives your every fault. He supports and encourages you when you need it most, and he listens whenever you want to talk. He is a tireless listener. Jesus loves you as a friend who wants to see you grow to your full potential. There is no jealousy in him. He wants only the best for you.
Enter more deeply into friendship with Jesus this Christmas season. You can trust him. If you reach out and accept the friendship he offers, your life will never be the same.
What do you do, when you've proven to yourself over and over you're being used and all you can do is look at the floor and pray its not true. That grin, those eyes, that touch. UGH. Not one word is sincere, not one motion meaningful. Its fake and its superficial, and sure, it gets you through the night. But what about the next morning and the next night and the next and the next. And anybody you meet afterwards. You'll never look at them the same, never believe one word, never connect, never feel.
I told myself when I left home I would change and trust people again. Or at least try to. And I did. And I messed up again. So just forget it, really. I'm not worth your time because I can't trust you despite your best intentions. I don't believe anything you say and sure as hell don't believe anything you could ever do to prove me otherwise.
I love praising a God that knows me better than I know myself, loves me beyond all things, and forgives me before I even ask for it!
HE called me by name before I was even born, HE knew the journey I would take even before I did...every mistake that I have made in my life has been already written by HES hand...HE has been there, HE walked in my shoes before I knew how to walk...it has all been planned out way back before my parents met and fell in love...this is no mistake, I am no mistake, I am HIS creation...
Not only does God know me better than I know myself, but HE also loves me beyond all things...HE loves the person I have been, the person I am now, and even the person I will be in the future...no matter how far I stray, no matter how much I hurt HIM and myself with my actions and no matter how much I sin...HE loves ME! HE loves me more than anyone has ever loved me....HIS love for me is true and unconditional...
And...HE forgives me even before I ask for it! HE knows that I am only human and I was born to become a sinner but despite that HE has chosen to forgive me! I am comforted in the fact that I can come to JESUS and ask for forgiveness and HE will look in my eyes and say "My child, you need not ask...I have forgiven you already!"
I just love that! Where else will you find a love that grand? I'll tell you where....nowhere but in the arms of JESUS!!
My heart is still beating and I am alive. The last couple of weeks have been surrounded with life and excitement. As walls crashed around other people, I soared inside myself. I am truly blessed to be alive right now. My energy is beginning to swing in the correct direction and I knew that it would. I mean seriously, how long can one person have as horrible luck as I have had for the last three years? It's like momentum and there is no way of stopping it now. I'm in a real stage of personal devolvement, I feel better and stronger then before. I know what I what to do, I know who I want to be and my priorities are set for the first time in years. I've been holding myself back with my own negative attitude this whole time. I was always looking for something bad to happen and I made sure it ended the way that I imagined. I didn't mean to do it, but I caused it, every time. I really had to step outside myself and look at everything that is going on in my life. Where have I been for the last six months and why haven't I gotten anything done? It was all nothing but distractions. I just turned twenty seven in August and I feel really good. So, I'm going to take these last thoughts of you and bury them so deep inside me, they may not surface for years. I just can't wait for them to disappear on their own. By next year, I should have everything all straighten out.