Tag Archives: patience

Trusting God’s Timing

All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
Matthew 1:17, NLT*

“All those listed above” are the ancestors of Jesus. Matthew opens his account of the birth of the Messiah with a genealogy. A strange devotional verse? Perhaps, but it’s the one that touched my spirit for this week.

Did you notice the pattern? Fourteen generations each time. If the priests and scribes had been aware of it and had been counting, they’d have known the timing of God’s next big step.

But God prefers to work in surprising ways, ways we look back on and see clearly even though we didn’t anticipate them.

The same with the “where” of Jesus’ birth: One prophecy said Bethlehem, but another said He’d be called out of Egypt. Clues to keep the faithful anticipating, yet not to reveal the full picture.

If we had sight, we wouldn’t need faith. Which is why I don’t take this verse as a challenge to comb Scripture and piece together a timeline for Jesus’ return. He clearly said that was a secret.

Instead, what this verse says to me is that God has a plan. He knows the various details and intricate inter-weavings that will bring it all together in His perfect time. We know His character, His power and authority.

We can trust Him to look after all that, and we can be about the daily elements of our Father’s business, loving our families, caring for our neighbours and co-workers, conducting ourselves as Christ-followers in a very confused world.

God who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, help us to trust You. Please keep us from discouragement when we don’t see Your plans unfolding, and keep us equally from trying to “hurry” or “help” You. Keep us from fear when we look at the world around us. Reassure us of Your perfect wisdom, power, and timing. Help us to live each day in confidence in You.

This week’s song is one I’ve loved and found comfort in from way back in my university days: Sheila Walsh’s “In Your Way.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Faith, Patience, Love and Endurance

But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.
2 Timothy 3:10, NLT*

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Apostle Paul, patience and love aren’t top of my list of descriptions. I mean no disrespect to this ambassador for Christ—he’s a hero of the faith. But he sounds like he was a hard fellow to live and work with.

Faith? His was more than intellectual belief. He lived it, and died for it.

Endurance? He suffered frequent persecution and abuse for his faith. One of my favourite Paul stories is when he and Silas were in prison in Philippi, singing praises to God in the middle of the night. [Acts 16:16-40]

Paul definitely knew “the secret of living [and being content] in every situation.

Perhaps this is where his patience appeared: in endurance and in persisting in relying on God. And his love wasn’t the soft, huggy kind, but his letters reveal a passionate commitment to the well-being and growth of Christians everywhere. He thanks God for them, he prays for them, and he fights for them.

Sovereign God, You were with Paul and You are with us today. Let us learn from Paul’s example. Help us to remember and rely on Your presence and power. Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief in those times when we don’t anchor to You. Help us choose to praise You no matter what, and to keep our eyes on You instead of on the problems.

Let Matt Redman‘s “Blessed Be Your Name” remind us how to live.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Doing Life God’s Way

He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
he restored me because of my innocence.
Psalm 18:19-20, NLT*

My Bible has a note that this psalm is what David sang to God in celebration, when God rescued him from King Saul. Saul had been hunting David a long time, and would have killed him to keep the throne.

God had anointed David as the new king, to replace Saul. David believed it, but he wouldn’t fight Saul and refused to kill him when the chance presented itself. As verses 21-22 say, David did it God’s way, trusted God to fulfil His promise, and would not harm “the Lord’s anointed one”.  God put Saul on the throne, and David waited for God to take him off.

I think this is the “doing right” and innocence David speaks of here. Everyone sins and misses the mark of what God has for us, and I don’t think David was claiming perfection. But in the long hiding from Saul, he resisted the temptation to do it his way and waited for God.

That’s what God rewards. How we conduct ourselves on the journey is perhaps more important than reaching the end. There’s more at stake than we see with human eyes.

Sovereign God who builds up and takes down, we praise You for the plans You have for each of us, plans for a future and a hope, plans of promise. In our times of stress, help us remember to choose Your way over any short-cuts or schemes that our human nature may suggest. Help us live worthy of the Kingdom.

Here’s a classic Petra song to remind us to walk by faith, “Not By Sight.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All I Have to Give

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44, NIV*

This verse has been with me all week, and I love how Jesus sees the heart and understands the whole story. I’m sure anyone else watching this lady drop in her two coins made two assumptions: 1 – two tiny coins have no value, and 2 – this was all the extra she had to give.

Not so. Jesus said she gave everything she had to live on. And He said it was of great value. That means the attitude behind it was pure. We don’t know what she was thinking, but it obviously wasn’t “let me throw away these worthless bits of metal and go home to die alone.”

Somehow, she was trusting God to meet her needs, and she was loving Him enough to offer all she had. She knew it had no external value, but God could use it if she simply gave.

Today is a low-energy day for me. Not a down day, just let me crawl back to bed. I have nothing to offer, at least nothing that looks to have any value. But I’m inspired by this poor widow who also had nothing to give.

On an alert, energetic day, do I really have much to offer the King of the Universe? Perhaps today it’s just more obvious.

Father God, nothing we can give would enrich or assist You in its own right, but Your grace invites us to offer ourselves with persistent, persevering, patient trust… and with willing hearts. Thank You for giving us value and purpose. Please take our offerings, feeble though they may be, and use them—use us—for Your kingdom. Because of Jesus, Amen.

Our song this week is by David Crowder, sung here by Passion: “You Alone.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.