8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” – John 7:8 NLT
Jesus knew that He would be going down to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles. It was one of the three festivals that required all Jews to go to Jerusalem to celebrate. He also knew that He could not take a large entourage with Him to attract attention to Himself. If Jesus was discovered in Judea (the region between Galilee and Jerusalem), He knew He would be detained and possibly killed. If He were murdered by those hired by the religious leaders before His time and in the wrong manner, then He would not be able to fulfill all prophecy concerning His death. How many times have we missed God’s best plan for us because we ran ahead and did a “good” thing? God has a specific plan and a specific timing for all of us to accomplish His plan. If we miss it, someone else can do our job, but no one else was, is, or ever will be qualified to take the place of Jesus. Between “good” and “God” , there is only one little “o” of difference. But, OH! what a difference it makes. Not in God’s eternal plan which will be accomplished whether we cooperate or not. The difference is in how God can use us here and, more importantly, in the rewards we lay up in heaven.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. — 2 Peter 3:9
God spoke everything into existence. Everything is held in place by the power of His word. Because everyone was “doing what was right in their own minds”, God destroyed the earth with the same water that had once covered the earth. Then He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign to us that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Instead, the day is coming when He will destroy the present heavens and the earth with fire. We have once again arrived at that point where “everyone is doing what is right in their own mind” and not obeying the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man and the time will come when God’s promise of destruction by fire will come. When? No one but the Father knows, but He is not bound by time, as we understand it. Our finite minds need eternity broken into small pieces so we can grasp it. That is not necessary for God. The One who is coming will come. While He is being patient with us, we need to be laboring in the fields that are white with harvest. It is not His will that any should perish and everyone will have more than ample opportunity to accept Him as Savior and Lord. But, we know that no matter how long He waits, there will be those who choose to go to hell rather than accept His free gift of salvation. Fill your lamps with oil, trim them to keep them burning and buy extra oil. Be alert! Be ready! The bridegroom is coming soon!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. — Acts 1:4
Sometimes when God first starts to reveal our part in His plan, we want to start “doing” right then. There are times that we should move instantly because it might be the only chance we have to witness to a particular person. But if God is calling us to do a work that requires coordination and acceptance by others, we may have to wait while everyone else involved gets lined up. God never sends us unprepared. Jesus was tested for forty days before He began His ministry. Saul spent years in the desert becoming Paul. David spent years fighting battles, running from Saul and was anointed three times before He actually took the throne. Preparation requires patience, prayer, persecution, perseverance, provision and power. There are usually people who disagree with what we think God has called us to do and/or the methodology we use to do it. We must not only be patient with God but with others involved as well. We must endure the negativity and the discouraging remarks. If we persevere, God will give us the provisions and the power. God had prepared the disciples to “go and make” but now He has commanded them to “wait”. Waiting can sometimes be the hardest part. But success will only come if we adhere to God’s battle plan and His timing. We must wait until all the ifs, ands, buts, perhapses, and maybes are gone. Then when the Commander says “charge”, we will be successful in the war.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.— Psalm 27:14 NLT
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. — Psalm 90:16 NLT
Psalm 90:13-17 NLT
This Psalm is a prayer that Moses prayed to the Lord after God had given Israel the 40 year sentence in the desert for their disobedience. In it, Moses acknowledges that God is the Creator of all things and is still in control of all things. Moses understands that God not only created all things but that God has every right to give and take away as God sees fit. Just as Moses did, we must always acknowledge that whatever God chooses to do is just and right. His answers to our prayers are not always what we want to hear, but we can be sure that He always hears and answers in HIs own way and in HIs own time. After we have done that, we can present our requests to Him. Moses wanted God to show that generation and their children HIs power and glory once again. God chose not to relent until the 40 years had passed. During that time Moses passed away and Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel. It was then that God answered Moses’ prayer in the affirmative. He parted the waters of Jordan and gave the Israelites victory after victory against superior foes. He made their efforts successful. He is still doing the same things today in His own way and in His own time. “Ask and you shall receive” has not been removed from the Bible. Continue to walk in obedience, thanking God for His answer and when the time is right, we will see Him work and our children will see His glory.
22 “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! — 2 Samuel 7:22 NLT
Nathan, the prophet has told David that God will not allow David to build a permanent temple for God. Nathan also tells David that God will establish David’s house as a dynasty. There would never be a time when someone from David’s lineage would not rule in Israel. Instead of being upset that his idea was rejected, David rejoices in the better plan that God has for he and his family. David then prays this prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then David goes on to be obedient to God and God gives him victory after victory on the battlefield. David collects all the materials necessary for Solomon to build the temple. Though God rejected David’s request, He gave David something better. God always hears and answers our prayers. When God says no to our request, it is usually for our benefit, so that He can give us something better. Either the plan is wrong or the timing is wrong. But, like David, we should accept God’s answer and praise Him for all the things He has brought us through. We should realize, as David did, that there is no God like our God. David had never even heard of a God that could do what our God does and neither have we. Our God fulfills every promise He has ever made. He does this in His timing, not in ours. Too often, we are willing to settle for good things and not wait on God to give us the better things He wants for us. This is true, spiritually, physically and financially. Don’t rebel against God when He doesn’t answer yes to every request exactly when we want him to do so. Wait on the Lord, He has a better plan. Praise Him for Who He is, not what He does for us. He has already given us His Son, why would He withhold any good thing from us?
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. — James 5:10, 11 NIV
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “the Father of a multitude”. With that name change came a covenant promise that he would be exactly that. He and his wife Sarah waited many years for this to happen. God gave Joseph a dream that he would be a great leader and his family would bow down before him. He was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and put into prison before that dream came to fruition. Job had it “all”, but God allowed satan to take it all from him and even allowed him to attack Job’s body as well. Job stood firm in refusing to blame or curse God and in the end, God gave him twice as much as he had before. Just as God had a plan for Abraham, Joseph, Job and the others, He has a plan for each of us. Today, we live in a world of “it’s all about me” and “I want all of this and I want it now”. We need to understand that none of us will wait as long as any of these people did to receive what God has promised us. We need to persevere in what we are now and where God has us now if we want to receive the blessings God wants to give each of us. We should do this with praise and joy because what God has in store for us is beyond our imagination.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4 NIV
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! — James 5:7-9 NIV
God has a plan and He reveals as much of that plan to us as we need to know to do His will. As Paul pointed out to us:
26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:26, 27 NIV
For whatever reason, He has chosen to keep the timing of His return a secret from us at this time. We could get into huge discussions about this, but it would be an ultimate waste of the time God has granted us to be here on this earth. We need to spend the precious days that we have doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do. We need to do that without accusing, grumbling or judging others. We need to spend our time in praise, prayer, worship and leading others to Jesus. This is the kind of work that will endure the fire when it is tested. This is the kind of work that will earn us crowns in glory. The more crowns we earn, the more we will have to cast at the feet of Jesus in honoring Him when we get to heaven. Our concern is to be sure that we persevere and complete the work that God has planned for each of us. He will be the judge of all that is said and done.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” — Hebrews 10:36, 37 NIV