Sunday, June 21, 2020

This World is Not My Home

Hey Friend,

I don't give a lot of credence to dreams, but one I had recently got me to thinking.  

It was late at night.  I was alone, driving in my car.  I was wearing my robe and slippers.  I knew I belonged somewhere, but I kept driving around in search of my home but couldn't find it.  There happened to be a stranger out walking who asked if he could help me.  I told him my plight - that I was searching but couldn't figure out if any of these houses I was passing was my home. I never found my home in the dream...  

Daniel, who interpreted dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar, would have had a field day with this one.

Daniel knew what it was like to live as a "stranger in a foreign land."  He probably would have reminded me that this world is not my home - I am merely passing through.  My ultimate citizenship is in heaven.

I admit that lately, with the world being as it is, I have felt like a foreigner living in exile.  I am trying to reconcile myself with this world, but I can't.  My homesick heart yearns for my true home and the eternal presence of God.

In the various dreams that Daniel interprets for King Nebuchadnezzar, he warns the king against disobedience and especially against arrogant pride in glorifying himself over God. The king doesn't heed Daniel's warning and spends "seven periods" severed from his sanity, living with the wild animals, and grazing on the grass.  At the end of this season, King Nebuchadnezzar is reestablished, by God, over his kingdom and he declares:

"Now I, Nebhuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of the heavens, because all his works are true and his ways are just.  He is able to humble those who walk in pride."  Daniel 4:27

I believe that we have forgotten the God who holds our life-breath in his hands and who controls the very course of our lives.  

God continually says, "Here I am," but we continually turn away to our own devices. 

We put our hope in kings and kingdoms, yet fail to humble ourselves before the King of Kings.

I could get really despondent, and allow the enemy to render me ineffective, but the Lord of Armies has given me my marching orders while I inhabit this earth.  A day is coming soon when the King of Kings will return and will pronounce righteous judgment.  He will wipe away every tear and will establish a new heaven and a new earth.

While we wait, my privilege is to serve others and to be a witness to God's unending faithfulness.  When Christ returns to take His people home, I want there to be more citizens in heaven because I opened my mouth and bore witness to his grace and lovingkindness.  I want to share a message of hope with the hopeless.  This is what God calls me to do.

Even if I am a lone voice calling out in the wilderness, my job is to speak and the Holy Spirit will convict hearts.  My life arrow is to always be pointing toward God.

There has never been a more apt time than this to be God's mouthpiece calling for us to love one another as we were first love others with unselfish love.  We are all God-created and we are all equally loved.  May God shift our perspective to see all His people through His eyes...not our own.  

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  I am to be about the Lord's business until He sees fit to return and gloriously usher me home.  

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  1 John 2: 15-17

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you and praise you that this world is not my home.  Thank you for making a way for me, while I was still a sinner, to be able to stand in your holy presence.  I look forward, with inner joy, to the eternal home you have prepared for me.  Meanwhile, give me your abiding peace and strength to persevere here on earth.  Give me courage to share the hope that is within me.  Let me love others in such a way that the world would see YOU, not me, and would glorify You over any earthly kings.  Teach me to be obedient and humble in all that I do.  Let your Word be always on my that the world may know You.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you feel like a foreigner in a strange land? Do you feel a homesickness that you can't explain?  Do you have hope beyond today?  If so, will you share it?  If not, what might God be saying to your heart?  Will you share?

Be blessed...
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Thursday, June 11, 2020

How Long, O Lord?

How long, O Lord, how long?
(Psalm 6:3)

Hey Friend,

I've heard it said that I shouldn't pray for patience.  "Why?" you ask.  Some might think that if we ask for patience we are asking for a trial through which we will need patience to endure.  

I don't think the Lord works that way:

"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him."  (Lamentations 3:25)

I do hope in the Lord, but lately I've been finding myself praying, just like David did, "How long, O Lord?"  You too?

God desperately wants us to call on His holy name.  He will not force himself into our lives and circumstances.  He is at the ready.  All we have to do is ASK.  One thing to keep in mind, however, is that God often doesn't answer in our time frame or in the way we might expect.  He's got the bigger picture in mind.

I prayed for many years for a husband who would love me and cherish me in the way that Jesus loved His bride, the church.  I guess you could say that's a high standard, but that is the model we are given for marriage. I will not kid you and say that I was blameless in the dream not becoming a reality. I'm not. I just knew that I wanted the tender, undivided love of a good man and I couldn't make it happen.

We can pray for years - seeking and knocking at God's door, days on end, and the door still stays shut and locked.  We get duped, by the enemy, into thinking that God doesn't hear or care and that He's not working behind the scenes. 

I have learned a few key lessons about God's answer to our query of, "How Long, O Lord?"

1.  Too often our prayer is outcome or result focused instead of being God focused.  I prayed for a particular outcome instead of praying for my relationship with the Lord to be enhanced and HIS will be done.  Seek HIM first and all the rest will be added unto you.

2.  Instead of trying to help God along in answering my prayer, I need to get out of His way.  My job is to abide in the Lord.  It's not a work that I will do, but one that God will orchestrate.  My job is to abide and wait patiently for what HE is about to perform.

3.  Waiting patiently on the Lord is not a passive or easy process.  When I thought of waiting patiently, I envisioned sitting with no angst, gazing out the window.  Waiting patiently, however, is about actively seeking the Lord while we wait on His answer.  I need to be in His Word, seeking His presence, and turning to Him in prayer.  That's active waiting.

4.  Remember that perseverance through trials produces character, character produces hope, and hope never disappoints.  I can look back on the trials through which I've persevered and I can see just how God came through for me and with me.  Now, looking back on my persevering journey gives me courage and trust that I can face whatever comes my way as long as God and I are in it together.

5.  I need to thank God, in advance, for what He is going to do.  I've gotten better at this new way, for me, of praying.  I KNOW God will answer when I call on Him, therefore, I need to thank Him in advance for the good way in which He will answer.  Meanwhile, I lean on His grace which will be sufficient.

God DID answer my prayer, that I mentioned above, and He did so in a time and way that I could have never imagined.  His timing is perfect.  Great is His faithfulness!

I don't know how long it will be until God answers my prayers for today.  I have personal prayers and prayers for my country and world.  I know that I need others praying for me and others praying with me.  God answers when His people pray and He gives us Biblical examples of what can happen when His people are persistent in their prayers.  Let's pray together and watch God show up in a big way!

Dear Heavenly Father, the prayers of my heart are so many.  I wonder how long it will be until they are answered?  Give me a heart that seeks your precepts and your presence.  Let my focus be on you before it seeks outcomes.  Let me get out of your way so that you can work and let me wait patiently - actively leaning into you. I know you are building my character in the persevering and in good time your sovereign plan will be made known.  I thank you in advance as I abide in you, knowing full well that your answer will be filled with your lovingkindness.  May I be a vessel that encourages others to call on your name.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Are you asking, "How long, O Lord?"  If so, what enables you to keep hanging on?  Would you share YOUR struggle and your hope so that we may be encouraged together?  Do you believe God will answer even if He is silent?  I'd love to hear your insights...

Be blessed...

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