Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
He's standing on a chair in front of the microwave, impatiently jumping up and down, "Mom, mom when is my popcorn going to be ready?" My mind is preoccupied and my thoughts are a million miles away from this kitchen and that little boy waiting for his popcorn. He must have said that three times in the 2 minutes and 49 seconds it took to pop that corn. Finally, his irritated voice broke through my distant thoughts and I just looked at him like he was crazy and said, "Boy, you do this every day, you know how long it takes." It wasn't even completely out of my mouth when the Spirit of God whispered those words to my turbulent soul.
"Daughter, we've done this before. You know you can trust my timing." Suddenly, I could see myself impatiently standing in front of the microwave, watching the seconds tic down and crying out, "when, when, when?!"
My little guy had things he wanted to do and friends to play with and waiting on popcorn was an irritation in his life. His four year old little brain didn't see the importance of waiting on the just the right timing. If he had taken that popcorn bag out at the 2 minute mark most of the kernels would be unpopped. He would have a bag of unfinished popcorn that would have been less than satisfying. Waiting for that precise moment 2m 49s would produce a full bag of delicious popcorn with enough to share with that little friend he was so anxious to play with. If he could just hold on 49 seconds he could have it all, his yummy popcorn and playtime with his buddy. Forty-nine seconds seemed like an eternity, to a little boy who was just ready to be done with it, but forty-nine seconds means everything when it comes to popping a perfect bag of corn.
Oh man, does my heart need this little illustration today. My heart needs to remember that God's timing is perfect. I need to quiet my soul with the truth that at the appointed time God will have his way and if I wait on him, I will have the perfect bag of buttery corn and good times with my friends... but I have to wait. I have to trust that timing is EVERYTHING when you're popping corn.
And I can remember, because we've done this before. In previous times when the Lord has given me a glimpse of the future and told me to wait patiently for Him to bring it to pass. It was hard to wait then, but He made it happen, just the way He said it would... in His time.
The Children of Israel had to wait. God sent Moses to tell them He was going to set them free from Pharaoh so they could be his people. They thought it would be immediate, but they had to wait and the waiting was hard. Their circumstances even became harder as they waited. Pharaoh and the Egyptians despised the Hebrews for suggesting that God would rescue them. They made their lives harder with more work, less supplies and more severe punishments. As they waited they began to doubt that God had really spoken and maybe this guy Moses was insane to suggest that they would ever be set free from Egypt, but God had bigger plans that they couldn't even understand. God wanted to display HIS GLORY to Pharaoh, Egypt and the surrounding nations.
The Lord HAD spoken and He would have His way, but His timing was everything. By the time that God was done with the Pharaoh and the Egyptians, they were begging the Hebrews to leave and throwing all their valuables at them as they made their escape.
Waiting is hard. Especially when you're standing on a chair, in front of the microwave, watching the seconds tic by. Waiting is hard when you smell that popcorn and your mouth is watering and you know it's gonna be gooooooood! Waiting is hard when you want to go play with your friends and you think you're missing out on something.
Waiting is hard. When you're in Egypt, knowing God has something different in your near future. Waiting is hard when you've finally heard from the Lord about something you've been praying about for a long time. Waiting is hard when life becomes more painful and what He says, doesn't line up with what you see. Waiting is hard when the stripes on your back become more frequent and you can't keep up with the new work load.
But the harder it's gets the sweeter that day of deliverance will be when the Lord says, "Get ready, You must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand."
"On the same day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt according to their military divisions." Exodus 12:51
The Lord did all the work. He did all the preparing. He made the way, where there seemed to be no way. He humbled the greatest nation on behalf of His people. He set them free and led them to a new land. All they had to do was be ready when that day came.
The popcorn is popping. Watching and waiting and worrying isn't going to change one thing. It will take 2 minutes and 49 seconds just like it does every other time. Sitting there fussing about it isn't going to make that popcorn pop any faster AND taking it out before it's time is only going to be a disappointment.
"Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him..." Psalms 37:7
Thursday, May 17, 2018
The Messiah was supposed to be setting Israel free from Rome, conquering enemies and ruling on the throne of David. John had been so excited the day Jesus came down to the river to be baptized. He was amazed to see the descending dove and the voice, he would never forget the sound of the voice proclaiming "This is My beloved Son." There was no doubt that was the voice of God. But, now what.
John had been convinced that Jesus, his own cousin, was the Messiah that Israel had been waiting for. He had seen the miracles and when Jesus spoke it pierced his very soul, but this was not how this was supposed to go. John's ministry had just begun. He wasn't supposed to be sitting in prison.
And Jesus... what was he doing? He was hanging out with tax collectors and sinners. Every day out preaching to the masses of the Kingdom of God, when was he going to rise up? When was he going to start acting like a King?
John's thoughts began to take a dark turn. Whispered lies that sounded so much like truth started to penetrate his mind. If Jesus was really the Messiah, wouldn't he get John out of this mess? They were cousins after all. John had seen him doing harder things before. John knew in the depths of his soul that Jesus had the power to get him out this situation, but day after day he sat there. Day after day, his disciples would bring more news of all that Jesus was doing and they would look at him with more uncertainty each day.
John was beginning to feel like a fool for believing all of this. Maybe he had just been carried away with all the excitement and emotion. Maybe Jesus was not who John thought he was... but the voice from heaven... he couldn't forget that.
Once again John's disciples showed up looking for answers from him. What did he know? He was in prison. He really just wished they would go away and leave him alone. He didn't have any answers himself and he felt the pressure to be strong for them, but he was starting to feel cracked, so battered and bruised and faithless. His whole life he had known he was the prophet preparing the way for the Lord. He had spent his whole life waiting for this moment and for what? To sit in prison and wait for death. Why wasn't Jesus doing something?
John feeling defeated by the endless questions finally blurted out, "Go ask him. Is he the One or should we seek another?" After a shocked expression passed on the faces of his two friends, they turned on their heel and walked away. Immediately, the Spirit of God pierced John's heart... He knew with everything in him exactly WHO Jesus was, and he knew that the problem wasn't Jesus...it was his own expectations. But who could know the mind of God? Maybe they had been wrong all along...
A few hours later the men came back and told John what they had heard and seen. They found Jesus surrounded by people as usual. He motioned them forward recognizing them as John's disciples and greeting them affectionately he asked about John. The two men said John had sent them with a message. "Are you the One?"
With an understanding look on his face, Jesus turned to the crowds pressing in on him. With the touch of his hand or a word spoken many walked away healed. Healed of diseases of the flesh, the mind and the spirit. There were some who received sight, some lame made whole, no matter what they needed they walked away new that day.
Thinking they were forgotten, the two men weren't sure what to do or even what to think. Watching all of this didn't seem real. How could any man have the power to do what Jesus was doing. After a while, Jesus turned back to them, as if he had been doing all of that for them and said, "Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news, and blessed is the one who isn't offended in me."