Wait on Him

Saturday, January 24, 2015
     As I go through the monotonous motions of everyday life as a teenager, I am beginning to see that even when God seems silent, He is orchestrating each and every second of my life. I am learning to wait on Him. It is proving to be difficult, though, because to me, waiting is wasting time; but, to God, waiting on Him increases my trust in Him, love for Him, and builds my character because of Him.

     I have heard and read Isaiah 40:31 too many times to count, but I don't think I have ever truly grasped the meaning of it. And even now, I am only seeing a glimpse of what it means to wait on God.

    Isaiah 40:30-31 says:
      "Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

     I have learned that sometimes, God speaks loudest when He seems silent. It is such a comfort to know that I can trust in God for His perfect timing.  Some people become angry when they learn the hard way that God isn't Santa Claus, but I am thankful. If I had half of everything I have ever asked for, my life would be a mess. As I wait for God's perfect timing, He is making me the person He wants me to be, and that is all I want.

     As I continue to run the race that is life, I'm thankful that I can keep my eyes on God, my Savior, my One True Constant, my Lord, and my Best Friend. I'm thankful that every part of me can live and shine for Him. I am thankful that my hope is not in vain. Waiting on God is something that I will always find difficult, but I know that someday I won't have to wait anymore because I will be dwelling with my Savior forever. 
  
     So, my advice to you, brothers and sisters, is to wait on God.Wait on Him and hope and trust in Him with all your heart. And while you wait, seek Him in everything that you do and strive to glorify Him with even the little things. God knows what is best for you. Remember,

     "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

The Peace That Passes All Understanding

Sunday, January 11, 2015
     For over two years now, I've had a correspondence with one of my old camp counselors. She is always so encouraging and uplifting, and I am so thankful that she can help strengthen my faith. I received a letter from her Thursday or Friday, and as I was reading it, I realized how relevant it was even though she was responding to a letter I had written months ago. She shared with me one of her life verses:

Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus."

     I think God's word speaks for itself in this verse. Its message is so relevant to everyday life, in the big and little things. "Do not be anxious about anything" is a command. God commands us not to be anxious. When we are anxious, it's like we're telling God, "Your peace isn't enough right now. I have to worry about this." Peace truly is a wonderful, beautiful thing, and when we've got the God of the universe listening to our every request, there is amazing peace.

     God also commands us to be thankful. I'm thankful that God is always there. I never have to doubt that he doesn't hear my prayers. He holds me in His hands. When I feel that no one else cares about me, I know that God does. I know that God not only cares about me, but he cares about everyone. He has millions, even trillions of prayers coming to Him any given second, and he hears every one of them, and for that, I am so thankful.

     Even though I don't have very many active readers or followers, I pray for every one of you. I pray that if you have not yet experienced this peace, that it finds you, and if you have, that you're thankful for it. I pray that God will encourage you and that you will be bold with your faith. I pray that Christ's light will shine through you, so that even the hardest of hearts will see it. I pray that you'll share your faith and encourage your friends. I am thankful for each one of you, and I hope that as you read this, you will be pointed to Christ.

Don't Waste This New Year

Thursday, January 1, 2015
     An article was recently published on News Week entitled, "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin." The writer describes Christians in a nutshell:

   "Their lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established. A Pew Research poll in 2010 found that evangelicals ranked only a smidgen higher than atheists in familiarity with the New Testament and Jesus’s teachings."

     The writer continues to argue that American Christians lay claim to their faith, but do not read the book that it is based off of. And, frankly, he has a point. It's sad actually, how Christians today scream their beliefs at alcoholics and homosexuals, but do not know the scripture that backs up their argument. And, sadly, I've participated in it.

     In the book of Acts, Luke writes about the believers in the city of Berea. He explains, "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17: 11). As twenty-first century Christians, we accept that what our pastor, minister, or priest says is always true. Of course, we should put enough trust in him to do so, but hearing a message on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings is not enough. We must examine the scriptures daily, growing in our knowledge of God and our faith. By doing this, we can use the Word to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus speaks to the Church in Laodicea saying, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth." This message is much like what Jesus says in Matthew 12:30: "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

     My message to Christians, myself included, is this: don't waste this new year! Do not lead stereo-typical Christian lives. Be zealous for Christ! Dig into His word and find out what it really says. Find out why you believe what you believe. The God of the universe is speaking to you through the Bible; don't take it for granted. News Week describes Christians saying, "[They], unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words."

     One thing God has taught me in my reading through the New Testament is this: Christianity is not just going to church every Sunday and talking about Jesus, or even just reading your Bible. It's not a part of your life or a personality you put on when you feel like it. It is your whole life. You wouldn't have this life if it weren't for Jesus. I can assure you that when you stand before Jesus, he won't ask what your final GPA was or how many people you told about the gospel, or even how many times you read the Bible through. He will know by looking at you whether or not you accepted Him. Brothers and sisters, saying a prayer and moving on with life doesn't reflect the mindset a born-again Christian should have. You should be so in awe of God that you live every day like it's your last, giving Him glory from morning until night, not reprimanding alcoholics and homosexuals, but speaking the truth with love in your hearts.

     Again, this a wake-up call for myself as well. I have lived a lukewarm life, lacking zealousness and thankfulness, and for that, I apologize, not only to God, but to you, also. I thank God for this opportunity, to be able to share my ups and downs with friends and fellow believers. Thank you for reading. I pray this message will point to Christ and not to myself, that I can be encouraging to fellow believers, and that fellow believers can encourage me in my faith.