Pastor Ben's Blog
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January 21, 2019, 12:29 PM

Waiting on God



Waiting on God

Waiting on the God is not passive.  We tend to think of waiting as no activity, but waiting on God is not passive.  

Waiting on God means doing the things you are supposed to be doing.  What do we know that God wants us to do?  We know that we should be studying the Bible.  We know that we should be praying.  We know that we should be making disciples by baptizing people and teaching them God’s commands.  These are the basic things of the Christian life.  While we are waiting, we don’t worry.  We do the things that we are supposed to be doing.

Waiting on God means listening for the voice of God.  Hearing is passive.  Listening is active.  Listening is about tuning into what is being heard.  Likewise, I listen for the voice of God by paying attention to what he is bringing into my thoughts and life.  

Waiting on God means not moving before God tells you to move.  This may be the hardest part of waiting on God, especially if we are in a troubling or difficult situation.  We don’t want to be still and wait.  We want to do something about it.  Then, in our desire to do something, we move too quick and miss the blessing or even complicate the situation.  Wait for the command of the God.  Wait for him to tell you what to do and be ready to move as soon as he gives the instruction because waiting on the Lord comes with great benefits.

"but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength.  You thought you were worn out and you couldn’t go any farther.  You thought it had gotten to you, but then you waited on the Lord.  Your strength was renewed.  God gave you his strength to go again.  It may have been too much for you, but with God, nothing is too much because it is his strength working in you.  Those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength.

Those who wait on the Lord rise above the problems of life.  Those who wait on the Lord soar.  They catch the air currents that propel them further and higher than they thought they could go.  The interesting thing is that soaring is natural for eagles.  It is what they do.  They learn very early in their lives to feel the air around them and use it to save their strength.  Once you learn to soar, life takes on a whole new perspective.  Those who wait on the Lord rise above the problems of life.

Those who wait on the Lord become well-conditioned.  The prophet Isaiah talked about running and not becoming weary.  Running is about the stressful times of life.  There are times when life can become very stressful; however, for the well-conditioned Christian it is not because you are trusting in God. Walking is about the routine activities of life.  The routine activities of life can drain you, but for the well-conditioned Christian it is not because you are trusting in God.

A well-conditioned Christian is made through trusting in the trainer.  You trainer is your Savior, Jesus Christ.  We put our faith and trust in him while we are waiting and we never worry because we know that Jesus knows the plan for our lives.  He will never take us where his grace can’t sustain us.  

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

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January 16, 2019, 3:44 PM

God's Glory or Your Relief


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January 8, 2019, 4:20 PM

What does God do with our sin?


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January 7, 2019, 11:06 AM

Impossible Situations or Divine Appointments



 

Impossible Situations or Divine Appointments

“Don’t worry.  Be happy.” is an easy thing to say while you are sitting on the beach with a drink in your hand; however, it is much harder to say when your creditors are calling and your financial portfolio is crashing.  Not worrying is difficult to do when your doctor tells you that he found a spot and it looks like cancer.  Not worrying is much harder when your loved one gets deployed.  Not worrying is hard when you lose your job or get an unexpected bill in the mail.  Think about the children of Israel as they made their exodus from Egypt.  How can you not worry when you are pinned up against the Red Sea and the Egyptian soldiers are bearing down on you?  

Think about the seemingly impossible situation they were in.  They had followed God as he revealed himself through the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  God had led them to what seemed like an impossible position.  I think God does this in our lives too.  I think he tests our faith.  I think he allows us into situations that will feel like they are impossible situations.  We need to realize something very important.  The spot you are in is not a surprise to the Lord.  Our responsibility is to always follow God where he takes us because God has prepared the path for you to take.

The Psalmist wrote, “A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and he takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) Realize that the place you are in is only possible because either God has purposefully placed you there or because he has allowed you to be there.  Think about the examples we have in Scripture of people who were in seemingly impossible situations.  Hagar was forced out of Abraham’s household with her son Ishmael in the desert.  Joseph was sold into slavery and later imprisoned in Egypt.  David was wanted for dead by King Saul.  The disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  Peter was imprisoned by King Herod and marked for execution.  

You should not be surprised when you are faced with seemingly impossible situations.  Basically, Jesus promised us that life would be hard and we would be faced with difficulties.  Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)

I don’t know what you are facing in life.  I don’t know all of your challenges and difficulties, but I know what separates joy and peace from despair and depression.  It is about how you look at what you are facing in life.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Does it hurt?  Sure, no doubt about that.  Do you want to have to deal with it?  I am sure you don’t.  Does it feel impossible?  It very well might.  

What if, this year, you approached seemingly impossible situations as divine appointments.  What if you said, “God, what are you trying to teach me through this?”  What if you said, “God, how do I need to grow through this?”  What if you said, “God, glorify yourself through this.”  What if we approached our trials as blessings in disguise.  What if we approached our difficulties as opportunities for God to display his faithful love and grace to us.

God has prepared the path you are to take.  Following God’s path will bring you joy and delight because you know that God is with you.  These are not impossible situations.  These are divine appointments.

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December 17, 2018, 12:08 PM

In the Wilderness


Have you ever been at a point in your life where you say, “I’ve had enough.  I just can’t take any more.”  The holiday season can be a very hard time for many people.  Don’t feel like this experience is unique to you.  Many people have times like this in their lives.  Not even biblical figures were immune to have bouts of depression in their lives.  Elijah is one of these characters.  Elijah had fought a good fight.  He had faith.  He had courage, but he was at the end of his rope.  He had just had enough.  I am sure most of us have been in a place where we just felt like we couldn’t take anymore.  Some of you are in a work situation where finally just the straw breaks the camel’s back.  You are like, “I just can’t take one more day there.”  Financially, you are trying to get a head and you are making progress, but then your car breaks.  Then, your washer breaks and your kid shoves a Lego up his nose.  Now, you are in the emergency room to get it removed.  You feel like you are in the wilderness.  

The wilderness is a dry, barren, and desolate place.  The wilderness tends to isolate us and we feel very alone.  One of the things that you think about when you think of the wilderness is wandering.  You feel like you are wandering in the wilderness.  You are wondering when the situation you are going through is going to be over.  You are stuck in a job and you are wondering, “Should I stay in this job or go back to school.”  You feel stuck in your housing situation and you are wondering, “Should I buy a house?  What if I get transferred?”  You don’t know what to do.  Maybe you are in a relationship and you have been dating for a while.  You are wondering, “Is this the right person for me?  Should I stay in this relationship?”  These times can be very disorienting.  They can make you feel lost.  You may even feel like no one knows what you are going through. You feel overwhelmed.  It was just like that for Elijah.  

Elijah experienced the power of God.  Elijah was brave and courageous.  He had stood up against King Ahab and told him that because of the nation’s sin, there would be no rain for 3 years.  God stopped the rain and Ahab wanted Elijah dead.  God protected Elijah and fed him by the ravens.  God used Elijah to raise a boy from the dead.  He called down fire from heaven.  450 false prophets were killed.  Elijah asked God to make it rain and he did.  Elijah experienced the power, protection, provision, and presence of God.  Then, Jezebel made a threat and he ran for his life.  Do you know what Elijah needed?  Do you know what you need?  What you need is spiritual replenishment.  What you need is an encounter with God.  What you need is to experience the grace, goodness, and presence of God.  You need spiritual replenishment.  

David wrote about this in the 23rd Psalm.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quite waters. 3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)

He renews my life.  He restores my soul.  You need God to renew you and restore you.  Here is the amazing thing about God.  You don’t have to run to him because he is already there.  He is already with you.  He is close.  If you are hurting right now, God is with you.

18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

God is near the brokenhearted.  He is close.  David said in Psalm 139 that there is nowhere you can go where God is not.  He’s close.  We enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know him intimately in the valleys.  When we’re wandering in the wilderness and we feel like nobody understands; God understands and he cares.  He is always good.  

14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

He is God with us.

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