Wait on the Lord,
Be of good courage,
And He will strengthen your heart,
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
The psalmist David is writing on this occasion, a declaration of his faith in the Lord and his eternal perspective, which allows him to have such a firm foundation even in times of distress. As our focus is on the concluding verses of the psalm, his opening verse sets the tone as he writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) This journey of life we’re walking moment by moment, day by day requires of us a genuine faith relationship with our Lord and Savior. At various times will be tested beyond what we believe are the boundaries of our faith requiring us to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen (in faith) is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) David disciplined himself to look beyond his immediate circumstances and into the promises of God for both assurance of courage and the strengthening of his heavy heart in difficult seasons or circumstances.
Often some of our greatest challenges come from within as we battle with our minds for both the physical and spiritual realities of this life. There seem to be times when anxiety, depression, or simply the heaviness of life can cause us to question everything we know to be true about our God, about our faith, and about the eternal things we know to be truth. It’s in these times that we find our heart in a “weak” place, our strength is failing, and we’re in need of a divine rescue. If we find ourselves in such circumstances, David gives us specific instructions much like a lifeguard would to someone who is struggling to stay afloat. First don’t panic, but rather set your gaze upon the ONE who can save you, and secondly, “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, Wait, I say, on the Lord!” There will be times when it appears God is not present, but remember His promise “I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake (turn away from) you. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) He is always working in, around, and through our lives for our best interest and ultimately for His glory. Therefore, today Wait on the Lord – He will strengthen your heart!
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for the promise to strengthen our heavy hearts as we wait for You. Help us today through the power of Your Holy Spirit and by the truth of Your word to, indeed, “Be of good courage,” refusing to bow to our burdens and fears. Lord, You are our true light in dark places when we cannot readily see You, nor feel Your immediate presence. Help us by faith, to fix our eyes on the unseen, eternal things of You that will carry us through any circumstance. Thank You for Your promise to be ever-present with us and to never leave us, but instead to strengthen us while we wait. You are always a good, good heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
We so often here the cliché’ ‘God is in control’ when people are making a reference to a difficult circumstance or season they may be walking through. This statement is certainly true if they have yielded to the Lord’s wisdom, guidance, and counsel during that time, however, simply claiming that He is in control can be somewhat limiting His work in one’s life. The Apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 3:20, that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.’
God is in control of the entire universe, but He is also actively ‘able’ (abundantly having the power needed to accomplish anything) in His personal relationship with each one of us beyond what we could ever ask or imagine as we choose to invite Him directly to be a part of our daily, hourly, and momentary circumstances. This promise of God’s ability to not only be ‘in control,’ but ‘able’ to provide for our deepest needs, is according to His great power which is at work within us by His Spirit, and gives us a great sense of hope in present difficult circumstances, seasons of pain or tragedy, as well as for the healing journey ahead.
What a blessing it becomes when we see God move, even in small ways, because in the midst of difficult times, those ‘small ways’ appear to us as mountains our Lord has moved for us, therefore, we thank and praise Him. Paul understood the importance of cultivating a ‘heart of gratitude’ as he wrote, ‘to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Let us move forward, praying with a new boldness that God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,’ remembering that He will always do what’s best for us and what is in agreement with His will for our lives. However, when we see Him move, let us praise Him with a heart of gratitude for what He has done, because the power with which He moves on our behalf is the same power He used to raise Jesus from the grave. Therefore, regardless of the difficulty or duration of your trial, know with assurance that God is able and in control as You invite Him into your circumstances.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for being the One who is in control of our lives, and is able to do so very much more than we could ever ask or imagine in and through our lives. Your ability to work in our lives by and through the power of Your Spirit within us is directly in proportion to our willingness to pray and invite You directly into our circumstances, as well as our desire to surrender ever area of our lives to You. May we be willing to draw near to You with hearts of humility and gratitude, allowing You to have Your way in our lives, knowing You are willing, able, and in control as You desire to work in and through our lives for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
This single verse, penned centuries ago by the Apostle Paul, remains one of the most powerful biblical truths in all of God-inspired scripture. It serves as a “default setting” for so many who often wrestle with personal value, purpose, meaning, regret, shame, anxiety, depression, and the like. All of these struggles relate in some way to the theme of “true identity.” Misunderstanding of such issues in relation to one's identity in Christ alone leaves many destitute in their faith, confused about who they have become through Christ’s mark on their lives. This scripture is definitive in its proclamation that we are, indeed, made new once we are in Christ, not meaning that we are made instantly perfect, but instead that God begins His work in us (Philippians 1:6), and our desire to live a holy life begins to become a reality. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away.”
In Christ, we begin to experience freedom in our relationship with God, as “old things pass away; and behold all things have become new.” Regardless of who we perceived we were before we came to know Christ as our Savior, or even if we’ve known Him for many years, yet our distorted views of the biblical realities of our position in Him have caused us to be disoriented spiritually. We have an opportunity with the dawning of a New Year to walk as “New Creations.” Jesus Christ came to us and has indeed set us free to find true rest and our soul's identity in Him alone.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You that in Christ Jesus, Your Son, we have been redeemed and made new. You have begun a new work in each one of us which You promise to complete until Jesus returns or until You call us to our heavenly home. May the supernatural work of Your Holy Spirit within us continue to make us into new creations day by day as we desire to walk more closely with You. This new year, may we walk in our true identity as Your beloved children, unconditionally loved, forgiven, redeemed, and being daily filled with the strength of Your grace to continue this faith journey. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing much fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”
As we ceremonially approach the end of the “Holiday Season” and we arrive at another New Year’s Day, many of us will make “New Year’s Resolutions,” – everything from setting specific life goals, to the dreaded “weight loss commitment,” and for many, hopefully, renewed commitments in our spiritual journey with the Lord. Perhaps we might make a resolution to pray more, study the Bible more, make more time for God in our busy schedules, or we may possibly even take the plunge into the “deeper places” of our souls which need restoration and redemption. In such things we should involve others whom we trust to pray for us and we for them, as we’re called to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and walk with one another along the faith journey.
The Apostle Paul is often seen in his writings as a “prayer warrior” for the recipients of his letters, acknowledging their faith and good deeds in Christ, as well as challenging them to grow in the grace, knowledge, and wisdom of the Lord. Paul writes, “we have not stopped praying for you…. We continually ask God to fill you with knowledge of his will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing much fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God..” Approaching a new year can be exciting, intimidating, and depressing all at once in that we mourn the passing of such a festive Christmas season and sometimes ponder, with anxiousness, the unknowns of what a new year may bring. Making such commitments to daily invite the Lord into our circumstances, take small steps of obedience toward him each day, and to be purposeful about both praying for and coming along beside those around us who need to know Him are the greatest resolutions we can make for this new year.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, we thank You not only for another new year, but for every new day You have made for us. May we find ourselves in this coming year with a renewed desire to walk more closely with You in prayer, to gain a greater knowledge of Your word, and develop a deeper compassion to walk with others along their faith journey. Lead us through the power of Your Spirit within us to live our lives worthy of Your high calling and to bear the Fruits of Your Spirit before the eyes of the world around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.