They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…. (Isaiah 40:31)
I waited on the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry…. (Psalm 40:1)
So, wait on the Lord. Be strong. Let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
Are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? (Mark 14:37).
It takes time.
God has all the time in the universe.
Throw away your watch and your calendar, follower of Jesus. You’re on heavenly time now and nothing happens on your schedule.
I suspect most of us are like the fellow who prayed, “Lord, give me patience–and give it to me right now!”
You’ve been praying for a loved one. And you don’t see an answer. You keep praying. For years, you pray and wait and hope. Then the one you were praying for is in a traffic accident and killed. Clearly, God never answered your prayer. You are devastated. So disappointed. Your faith in God wavers. You’re so unsure any more. What is the point in praying and in trusting?
And then one day, years later, something happens.
This is the story of Dr. Joe Bailey of Tupelo, Mississippi. He told it in 2004 as a tribute to his mentor. I hope you love it as much as I do.
His family were farmers, says Dr. Joe Bailey, but since his mother refused to live anywhere but in town, they lived in Coffeeville, population 600. That was precisely across the street from the town doctor, H. O. Leonard.
As far back as Joe Bailey remembers, he wanted to be a medical doctor. In fact, when he was 10, his father suggested that it was time for him to begin helping out on the farm. Young Joe took a deep breath and told him that “if I was going to be a doctor, it would be better if I had a job that would teach me about people.”
The truth is, I really enjoyed the farm, but at age 10 I went to work in the local grocery store for 25 cents an hour (in 1957). I kept the job until I finished high school in 1965. By then I was making $1 an hour and the experiences of dealing with people those eight years have proven invaluable to me.
In the middle of that vocational experience, however, little Joe Bailey began his medical training. Here’s how it happened.
A 10-year-old girl said something that has had me thinking about passion ever since.
That word “passion” gives us compassion, passive, dispassionate, and a host of related concepts. At its core, from the Latin, “passion” means “to suffer.” It’s opposite, passive, or impassive, means “unfeeling.”
I was teaching cartooning to children in the afternoons following vacation Bible school. At one point, I had to take a phone call and turned the class over to my teenage grand-daughter who was assisting me. Ten minutes later, I told the children about the call.
“One of the editors of a weekly Baptist paper in another state called about using a certain cartoon. I found the drawing in a file and scanned it into the computer and emailed it to her. Next week, that cartoon–which is still in that file cabinet in my office–will be seen in 50,000 newspapers in homes all over that state.”
Then I asked the question on their minds but which none dared to raise.
“Now, how much money do you think I made doing that?”
Some kid said, “Thousands.” The rest had no idea.
On a state or secular college campus, the atheistic professor has complete freedom to spout religious views and opinions without protest from the students or interference from the dean. However, let a Christian instructor relate his personal story to inform the students of his worldview so they can better understand where he’s coming from, and he’s harassed and soon out of a job.
At a convocation of students on the average secular campus, freedom of speech and the First Amendment are championed. However, let a student stand and own up to being a follower of Jesus Christ who attempts to live by the Bible, and he/she is hooted down.
Ironic, isn’t it, the hostility those of a secular bent have toward belief in Jesus Christ. And they call themselves open-minded champions of free speech.
It’s more than just a prejudice, however. It’s a full-blown hatred.
That hatred is born of a fear of Jesus.
If in reading the gospels you have wondered how in the world things in that remote day came to the point where reasonably-minded people moved to arrest and crucify the Lord Jesus Christ, He who never lifted a finger against a human on the planet, the Prince of Peace, then take a look around you.
Human nature has not changed in the last 2,000 years.
We do like things simple, to be sure. K.I.S.S. has long been the rule for a thousand disciplines. But some things are simply not simple and to imply otherwise is to mislead. Let’s talk about that.
Watching our nation’s politicians as they propose, dispose, impose, expose, compose and, of course, suppose regarding the economic crises our country seems to be forever facing, we wonder how many actually know what they are talking about.
Listening to pastors and denominational leaders arguing over something called “critical race theory” and other divisive issues raises the same question: How many know what they are talking about?
I hate to be skeptical about Congress, but common sense — forged by six decades of dealing with churches, finance people, and my own situations — informs me that most people do not relate to budgets, debts, and deals in the millions of dollars, much less billions and even trillions. The economy of such a large nation is composed of complexities and ramifications and intricacies that baffle even the greatest minds.
That, however, does not prevent the lowliest politician from sounding forth on the matter, usually to tell the world all that is wrong with whatever the nation’s leaders are proposing at the moment. That’s how he got elected and what keeps him in office.
A long time ago, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) said, “The worst disease afflicting my constituents is a thing called ‘the simples.’ The folks back home want me to come up with simple solutions to their complex problems, answers that resolve all their difficulties without it costing them anything.”
Wait upon the Lord. Be strong. Let your heart take courage. Yes, wait upon the Lord. –Psalm 27:14
God’s times are not yours. He doesn’t use the Gregorian calendar. His alarm clock is broken. He doesn’t keep regular hours.
Lose the stop watch. Take a hammer to the timer. God is not going to order His actions by your schedule. Forget about showing Him your day-planner. He’s not impressed.
God in Heaven has His own plans, His own schedule, and His own purposes.
“Most great ministries are made in the crock-pot, not the microwave.” –Allan Taylor
Let all things be done in moderation. –Philippians 4:5
I read somewhere that Diamond Jim Brady, a character in American life a few generations ago, loved food so much, his stomach was 6 times the size of a normal belly.
Now, that, we think, is a glutton!
Can we talk?
How ironic that the season during which we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus provides us the perfect excuse to over-indulge.
Like the megalopolis that now stretches from Washington to Boston or from Dallas to Fort Worth, this eating holiday dominates our calendar from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Walk through any modern large-box store, and study the edibles they’re offering during this season. It’s not just turkey and dressing and yams and egg nog any longer. It’s chocolates like you would not believe, in every kind of assortment and combination. It’s cookies and cakes and pies coming out your ears. Books pour off the shelves telling homemakers of new recipes for the latest taste sensations for these holidays. Restaurants offer special smorgasbords for the holidays with prices approaching $100 per person.
The wonder is that Americans are not all 400 pounds.
You almost persuade me to become a Christian. –Acts 26:28
Let’s say that’s you.
You’ve been seriously considering inviting Jesus Christ to become Lord of your life. It’s a big step and you’re taking your own good time dealing with it.
You know some things about Jesus and you find yourself drawn to Him.
You wonder what to do now, where to start.
Here are some suggestions…
One. Go to the primary source, not a secondary one. A primary source is one that is close to the subject, that is the basis for what we know and believe. A secondary source is one written about the primary source.
Two. In other words, read the Bible and not just books about the Bible. Start by reading the Four Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are the opening “books” of the New Testament, and give us all we know about His earthly life and ministry. I suggest you read them again and again. — You will find a lot of similarities. Mark’s was the first one written, according to some of the earliest believers, at the dictation of the Apostle Peter. But each gospel is different in interesting ways. Read them several times.
“O you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
The teacher is hardest on the best pupils.
The Master Teacher requires more of the Star Pupil.
The coach is in the face of the player with the greatest potential, on his back, never letting up.
Check out these words from the Lord Jesus. “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23).
He said those harsh, cutting words, not to the Pharisees, but to Simon Peter, His “star apostle.”