God Is Sovereign over Delays

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

rabiulis, Flickr Commons; traffic jam

I cannot take credit for the fact that a friend sent this to me in the midst of a wait that is testing my patience. OK, so I know it, it’s basic growth and experience—in the end God chooses the best path for His purpose. Even so, the timeliness of this post had me sit up and say, “Yes God, I hear You. Thank you.”

Irritation, frustration, anger; all are tapping on my mind when the following text appears in my inbox:

No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? It’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause–like a traffic light or the long checkout line–ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.

This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.

In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment–about not just the big events in our lives, but also the trivial ones which cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we’re sensitive to His instruction, each delay has a lesson.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org.

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Confident Hope

“Camellias, tulip trees, and narcissus are blooming, and hyacinths and even a few brave azaleas are peeking out.”

Sscrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr

“Last spring I planted a few broccoli plants and was amazed at how prolific they were! I didn’t think broccoli would thrive in our hot weather.”

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

-scrr-sccrr-scrr-sccrr  –sccrr-sccrr- sccrr-sccrr —sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-scccrrr–scccrrr  -sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-

Backing out the driveway I comment to my daughter, “Looking out this windshield is like viewing the world through frosted zebra stripes”. She sits a bit hunched beside me rubbing her chilled hands to recover them from clearing the ice from the car window shield. My body stiffened to brace from the cold, toe tips beginning to feel the impact of the rude air that seems to seep through my souls— another day in paradise! As the car peeps over the hill we are hit by the blinding impact of raw sunlight bursting from the mass of light unusually low and large. It seems out of place in the scenic view of the farm school fields with fences barely visible hazed by the morning frost and moist air.

“Springtime is very near here in Southeast Texas!”¹

Warmed by the mental images of a blog share yesterday, when a friend, Auntie Em, posted garden-fresh broccoli images and shared a verbal illustration of spring. It is coming! I can smell the hyacinths and see the forsythia boldly confirming — spring is here!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Auntie Em’s images of spring brought me hope—not the winsome half-hearted hope we often hear expressed in, “I hope so” <sigh>, but confident hope— the hope of the bible. Biblical hope is without doubt. The Greek and Hebrew meaning of hope is compounded in confidence, security, and being without care; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word!

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; My flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:9

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Biblical hope has substance and a home for our faith as Christians. We hope in Jesus. We hope in salvation. We hope in justice. We are instructed to hope and not be discouraged which is evidence of a lack of faith. Our unseen heart, or soul², is instructed to reach to the unseen and trust God, and have confidence in His Sovereignty.

Dear Father,

We are weak and needy and our faith is failing. Lord we ask you today to fill us with Godly faith—the faith of the bible. Where there is doubt, fill us with confidence in You. Where we lack hope, fill us with a conviction of your promises to us for goodness. Lord, where discouragement and fear has found a place in our spirits, rid us of these evils and fill the void with joy and security rooted in You, the maker of all that is good.

Thank you for hearing us and loving us. Help us to keep you close in our hearts, the unseen home, and erect in us spiritual eyes for the unseen good that is found in You. Fill us with a love that is pure and pleasing to you. Use us to share this love with others who are imprisoned in their circumstances and what is seen. In the name of Jesus, Your precious Son, Amen.

¹http://auntieemsguide.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/auntie-ems-garden-fresh-broccoli/

²http://www.jesusteachings.com/thesoul.html: Did you know that the soul is a part of the human design? Reading Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within (out of the soul), and defile the man.”And Reading in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (No, not one soul is righteous.) Reading Luke 16:15, “God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart (soul) of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

New Year New Hope

rough sketch for calligraphy illustration; memorial Newtown, CN angel

rough sketch for calligraphy illustration; memorial Newtown, CN angel; click to see enlarged

Blessings and Happy New Year to everyone. Beginning 2013 I am making a commitment to write once a week for Rejoycin’, now at whitebrickhouse <dot> wordpress <dot> com. I like to divide up some of my time that was spent on blog posts to developing my website, seeking God for direction for Rejoycin’, following through with that, and continue to write weekly posts centered around “God Doodles”.  God Doodles seems to be the direction that would benefit my purpose in Rejoycin’,  a mission to share the gospel through scripture illustrations.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! Psalm 148: 1,2

Above is a sketch inscribed with names of the Newtown CN victims in my thoughts and concern for the families. I like to develop this in calligraphy and send it to the families of the 26 gone from this earth on that tragic day we will not forget. This is an example of what I refer to as a God Doodle— a step that can be a finished piece of art. Personally, I often enjoy the sketches of an artist much more than finished artwork. There is energy and pure emotion in sketches that can be lost in final artwork.

Moving forward, I am happy and most drawn to the direction of illustrating the names of Christ— first sketches then adapting the roughs to electronic, and at times, traditional illustrations—or a combination of the two. My hope is that I can develop of line of apparel/book to showcase the art and His Word.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels Mark 8:38

Til’ next post, be well!