Waiting Room 

Isaiah 40:31
“But those who wait on 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.”

The Psalmist declared we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). The implication is that we were designed by God and everything about us is purposeful. We are the way we are, not by accident, but by design. God created us with weaknesses so we would have to rely upon His strength. One of those weaknesses is the fact that our bodies, like a motor, run out of gas and need to be recharged. No matter how strong we think we are, we get tired. Obviously, there are natural things we can do to “recharge our batteries.” At the end of each day, or perhaps even for a short period in the midst of it, we sleep. During that time the body has a way of strengthening itself. What looked impossible when we were tired, seems to be a whole lot easier with a fresh set of eyes. What we often forget is, in addition to rest, God has designed us with a need to wait on Him. He promises if we do, we will receive new strength which enables us to accomplish what He designed us to do.

Waiting on the Lord is more than being patient for God to act. It involves spending time with Him, as well as being involved in the work of God. Think of it this way, to wait on the Lord, is to set aside time to pray and read the Bible. Prayer gives us an opportunity to take our needs to the Lord. I am able to examine my life, see the things that are difficult and lay them out before God. Jesus taught us to pray without ceasing until we receive an answer. Bible reading allows me to hear the voice of God. It is too common among Christians to pray, without taking the time to look into the Word for answers to our prayers. His Word is like a lamp designed to light the path we are supposed to walk. Sitting before the Lord, laying out my struggles, and looking into His Word for answers, will provide strength to the weakest of Christians.

There is perhaps another concept involved in waiting on the Lord. Think of the last time you went to a restaurant. You were seated, a waiter approached you and began to serve. He probably took orders from you, and sought to fulfill those orders in a timely and efficient manner. Drinks, bread, appetizers, and the main course, were delivered to you. When you were done, he even cleaned up the mess. Waiting on the Lord does not mean we do nothing else. Sometimes the best way to be strengthened in the work is to get involved in the work. Jesus was so weary he could not continue the journey with the Twelve into the city to purchase lunch. Instead, He sat by a well and rested. It was there, Jesus met a woman and shared the Gospel with her. Upon their return, the disciples found Jesus was fully rested. When they encouraged Him to eat, He explained that serving the Father was like food, strengthening Him from within (John 4:6-34).

If you are weary, don’t neglect waiting upon the Lord as your number one source of strength.

Pastor Jim


Taking A Stand 

Galatians 5:1
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

There is an interesting progression of commands found in Galatians 5. We are exhorted to stand, run and walk. Each of these terms, reveals something important about how to follow Jesus.

Sin is like a shackle that holds us in bondage. When we receive Christ, those chains are broken and we are set free; sin no longer has dominion over us. However, it is possible to let sin back into our lives, and we become enslaved to it once again. In order to ensure our freedom from sin, Paul exhorts us to “stand fast.” This term is used to speak of not being easily moved. It is a term that would describe an offensive lineman in football. He knows that at the snap of the ball, there will be a full-fledged attack on the quarterback. The realization of what is coming causes him to prepare to stand. In the same way, as Christians, we must realize we are under attack.  The attack is an attempt to get us bound in the sins from which we were set free, when we came to Christ. Your freedom in Christ is way too valuable for you to be toying around with sin.

Galatians 5:7 “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Notice the word “ran” is in the past tense. Simply put, these Christians were at one time “charging forward” in their relationship with Christ; but that time is over. Something happened that caused them to stop running. Perhaps they slowed down to a walk, a stroll, or even stopped moving forward altogether. Paul exhorts them to examine their walk with the Lord to see what happened. What person or event has led you to stop running toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus? That is a very important exhortation and one we must take seriously. How would you describe your current relationship with the Lord? Are you running, walking, standing still or falling backwards? If you are not running, take inventory and figure out what is holding you back. For some, it is the addition of things to your life that act like an anchor, keeping you from moving ahead. For others, it is the lack of church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian service, that keep you from moving ahead.

Galatians 5:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Finally, Paul exhorts us to walk in the Spirit. This is the secret to both standing and running. Walking in the Spirit is a bi-product of determining we want to live lives pleasing to God, and is accomplished by abiding in Jesus. When we will sit before the Word of God, and let it write on the tablet of our hearts, we will know what things are pleasing to the Lord, and what things are not. It is when we lay out our lives before the Lord, we will be strengthened to withstand the temptations of the flesh and be able to move forward in our walk with Christ.

Take time, now, to evaluate your life. Are you running forward, or being held back by some sin? Then take time to lay your life open before the Lord and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit, that you might live well pleasing to Him today.

Pastor Jim


The Runner 

2 Chronicles 30:6
“Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: ‘Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.'”

As revival began to break out in Judah, a group of people were organized to take the message beyond their borders and reach out to the northern tribes of Israel. Their message was a simple call on the people to return to the Lord. These men, armed with the word of God and the authority of the king, were called “Runners.” This name was certainly appropriate because of the speed in which they carried the message, and distance they had to travel.

This passage is a vivid illustration of the commission Jesus gave to the church when He told us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) Throughout the history of the church, many have taken this commission seriously and followed the example of the runners, carrying the gospel beyond their comfort zone, and even outside of their own borders. I think of Philip, who was driven by persecution from Jerusalem to Samaria, where he led many to faith in Christ. Later, It was Paul and Barnabas who heard the call of God to travel to the farthest reaches of the globe with the message of salvation through faith in Christ. The story of the church, down through the ages, is always enhanced when men and woman will follow the example off the runners, and are willing to count the costs and carry the gospel beyond their borders. I am so thankful that from the earliest years of my walk with The Lord, a great emphasis was always placed upon extending beyond the church walls, to reach the world with the message of Christ. I grew up in a church that made huge investments in the kingdom of God. They sent teams around the world, and even bought facilities in foreign countries to help train men and women for the ministry.

Let’s follow the pattern of the runners and keep our eyes on the horizon, willing to give whatever it takes to reach as far as The Lord will allow. Who knows what long lasting impact we might have for the kingdom of God.

Pastor Jim


Unnecessary Suffering

Jonah 1:3
“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”

The story of Jonah has two main themes. The first is to reveal the heart of God for the lost. However, before this can be fully developed we are introduced to the second theme, the disobedience of Jonah. Three of the four chapters teach us of the sin and suffering of a wayward prophet. His is the story of a man who experiences unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided through simple obedience.

The stage is set when Jonah is commissioned by the Lord to take the Gospel to Nineveh. In one of the most shocking turns we will ever witness we read, “But Jonah…” Without explaining the reasons behind his unwillingness, the story takes us immediately to the consequences of his disobedience.

First, we read he began to run from the Lord. This running took him to places he would have never otherwise have gone. The Hebrew people were not known as maritime travelers, yet Jonah paid the fair and got aboard the ship. His journey would prove to be much more costly than the ticket price. Soon he found himself going down into the lowest part of the ship, and before long to the depths of the sea, and the belly of a great fish.

One of the reasons sin is so dangerous is because of the strong grip it puts upon us. Jonah’s heart had been so hardened by his disobedience it took three days in the belly of the great fish before he would cry out to God. He describes that time as one of intense suffering, fear and anguish. While the text does not tell us this, the science behind the scene suggests that the stomach acids of the fish would have bleached Jonah’s skin, forever marking his life with the scars of disobedience.

When Jonah finally cried out to the Lord, he was forgiven, rescued, restored and even used in the lives of the Ninevites, but not without having suffered in ways God never intended.

We too can avoid all kinds of anguish by simple obedience. The command given to Jonah may not have been easy to obey, but it was not difficult to understand. For the most part, we do not really struggle with what God wants us to do, as much as we struggle to simply do it. If you are running from the Lord it is time to stop, turn around and obey.

Pastor Jim