Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Expect His Movement

The first three times the answer was still the same but his master sent him again.

Four, five and six.  He ran out to the overlook and yet the same thing…nothing was happening.

You wonder if the servant thought his master had gotten it wrong.  It had not rained in years and the sky was void of clouds but now his master had said he heard the sound of abundance of rain.  Once again for the seventh time, Elijah told his servant to go look toward the sea. 

This time something was different. There was a cloud as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea. (1 Kings 18:41-46)

Seven times he sent his servant out to seek God’s movement. Six times the answer was no but on that seventh trip things changed. 

We can learn so much from Elijah about expecting God and His movement. Elijah prayed for the fulfillment of his request earnestly.  He didn't give up the first few times that the servant returned with a negative answer.  He remained diligent.   Elijah believed that his prayer was answered before the answer came.  WOW!  What faith!

Friend, have you given up on an answer from God?  

What if the servant said he wouldn't go out to look after the third time?  Would he have missed the miracle of seeing God’s movement?

The same goes for many others that are documented in God’s Word. 

What if the Israelites didn't leave Egypt? Would they have missed the parting of the Red Sea?  

What if they only marched around the city of Jericho five times? Would they have missed the walls come tumbling down? 

What if the Apostles refused to return to Jerusalem after Jesus ascended into Heaven? Would they have missed the movement of the Holy Spirit?

 James 5: 16-18 states: “…The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.”

One of my favorite parts about this story of Elijah is when the servant reported the cloud he girded up his clothes and took off running.  He knew what was about to happen….the rains were coming and come they did.

If you are waiting for a movement of God, I implore you to not give up.  Take on a posture of prayer, seek and expect God to move.  Start looking for that one small cloud.  It is coming my friend, it you don’t lose heart.
Expect God’s movements.  Pray!  Look! And the DO!

Father, retrain our eyes to look for even the smallest signs of your movement.  Help us to be so diligent in our prayers that we have the confidence in your power before you even move.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Expect Distractions

Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”

“Life just isn't fair” I remember saying those words as a teenager and yes have even said them as I have become more seasoned as an inhabitant on this big blue ball.

We often come to expect things to be perfect and fair. When life isn't as we dream it would be we often become misguided and tie our expectations onto the wrong things of this world.  

In doing so we end up putting our hope and anticipation into something that doesn't have eternal blessings.  We get to the point that we are distracted and look towards something other than Jesus to give us a hope.

My sons are big “Lord of the Ring” fans and we have watched these movies over and over.  There are so many examples that can relate to our Christian walk within these stories by JRR Tolkien.  One is the main object in the story…The Ring.  The purpose of the group was to get the ring back to its origins where it was formed and destroy it.  Yet time and time again one character would place their expectations on the ring itself instead of the purpose for the journey.  This distraction would lead to heartache and sorrow.

We each have a mission here on earth to accomplish for God but Satan wants to distract us.  He knows that we are no longer available to him but he does realize that he can sway our attention from our intended mission.  In comes the method of distractions. 

My boys laugh and say that my thoughts can squirrel around jumping here and there at any given moment.  They know that anything can distract me and my thought process at any given moment.  You know what? So does Satan.  He has an incredible curve ball that he likes to throw my way to get me off kilter. 

We need to be diligent to find a focal point to keep those distractions at bay.  When we expect that distractions will come, most likely during the times we are impacting our mission field; we can deter and stay single minded.

One way that has helped me remain focused and not distracted is scripture memorization.  I used to say I just couldn't memorize scripture but found myself memorizing words to songs and lines to movies.  I realized that I was listening to lies about scripture memory.  I now have a spiral of index cards in front of me prompting me to hide God’s word in my heart.

How are you keeping the distractions in their place?

What is your focal point to keep you on mission?

Father, Help us to remain focused on you. Realizing that distractions will come but you are our true North, a lamp unto our path and guide to our feet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Silent Expectations

“My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him” Psalm 62:5

Have you ever felt like a spinning top?  I know I have!  Life seems to be spinning right along then wham! I am off kilter and knocked for a loop.  Even though tops can be colorful and festive in appearance when that string is wound and then pulled you find out a lot about it.  One minute it is spinning with such precision that it is beautiful but then it evidently hits something or runs out of its own power and it starts to falter beginning to wobble and teeter out of control. 

Can you relate?

King David could I am sure.  

More times than you can count he was having someone or something come up against him. Even at one point his own son Absalom turned against him (2 Samuel 16-18).  But what I find comforting about King David, a man after God’s own heart, was that he learned to silently wait and expect God. 

Now that’s a lesson I want to learn!

When frustration and chaos hit, David attached his rope, remember our cord of attachment with expectation from yesterday, around what he knew.  He knew that God was his rock, his strength, his defense and when we like David wait and expect, looking in God’s direction we too will see His salvation.

Oh there will be times we must weather the storms alone.  Times when we will feel abandoned and defenseless, just like King David did, but we can grab hold of that rope attached to God and feel the tautness knowing that what it is attached it is immovable. It is then when we are securely anchored.

Wait, expect and look for God because all power belongs to Him!

Psalm 62
To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
Truly my soul silently waits for God;
 From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
 I shall not be greatly moved.
How long will you attack a man?
 You shall be slain, all of you,
 Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.

They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
 They delight in lies;
 They bless with their mouth,
 But they curse inwardly. Selah
 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
 For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
 I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
 The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
 Pour out your heart before Him;
 God is a refuge for us. Selah
Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
 Men of high degree are a lie;
 If they are weighed on the scales,
 They are altogether lighter than vapor.
Do not trust in oppression,
 Nor vainly hope in robbery;
 If riches increase,
 Do not set your heart on them.
 God has spoken once,
 Twice I have heard this:
 That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
 For You render to each one according to his work.

Father, teach us to silently wait in expectation of You and your might works.  Help us to let go of frustrations and chaos and feel the tautness of You at the end of the rope as our Rock and Salvation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Cord Of Attachment

There she stood gazing at the window, not really looking out but just at the frame that made up the hole in the wall where the two men recently descended from her home.  

Clutching to the line of scarlet cord that one of the men placed in her hands with specific instructions, Rahab finally found what she was looking for, a place to secure the cord in hopes of rescue when the Israelites returned.

In the Book of Joshua chapter 2 we find the story of Rahab and the Israelite spies and this is where we find the most interesting Hebrew word for expect.  The word Tiqvah (Strongs 8615 pronounced tik-vaw’) which means something yearned for, to anticipate eagerly, something for which one waits.  This word comes from the verb qavah which means to look hopefully in a particular direction. The original meaning was to stretch like a rope.

So here in the story of Rahab we find in her hands a cord of expectation and hope.

In Joshua chapter 2 verse 18 is states: “thou shalt bind this line (hope, expectation) of scarlet thread (cord) in the window which you let us down…”

Then in verse 21 we read, “she bound the scarlet cord (the tiqvah- a line of hope in expectation of salvation) to the window.”

Rahab had already told the spies she knew who the Lord was and what He had done for their people. Now she was tying a scarlet cord to her window waiting and longing for the Lord to send the men to rescue her in His time.  She was ready and looking for their rescue of her and her family. Even at the same time, she was longingly and expectantly looking in the direction of the One who would be her real salvation. 

For I had a feeling she was a little like Psalmist in Psalm 121, “I will lift my eye to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes for the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Don’t you simply love the symbolism in the Bible? The cord was not only a symbol of her expectation of immediate rescue but also of the rescue from sin by the Savior Jesus Christ.

Maybe you are in a situation where you need refocus and to get to the place of expectation.  

Maybe you need to find your own tiqvah, a cord to tie with expectation.

Oh my friend, you may feel as though you are surrounded by heart melting circumstances just as the people of Jericho when the Israelites marched across the desert towards them (Joshua 2:11) but when you step out in faith like Rahab and tie on to God’s hope expecting Him in His way you will always find Him faithful.

Father, teach us to attach ourselves to you with a cord of expectation.  Let us see your faithfulness even when we have fear surrounding us and we need your rescue.