Building People. Spreading Hope.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Your Appointed Time is Coming

Once I was in the Dallas airport waiting for a plane to arrive.  I sat down in a chair and immediately noticed a gentleman, sitting in front of me, who was visibly irritated. Wanting to help, I asked him if I could buy him a lunch. He politely refused and said, “It’s not that. I have been waiting for my plane (same flight as mine) for the last two hours!” He was frustrated and upset because his plane did not come when he thought it was time.

Many times we experience the same frustrations like my fellow-passenger. When we feel God is not answering our prayers on our timetable, we fight, we fret and sometimes we give up thinking God does not care about us. But in reality, God was watching out for us all along. He has already executed an answer; it is exactly on schedule. One thing I have learned in life – God is seldom early but He is never too late.  We have our timetable and God has His and often they don’t sync.  The secret is to learn how to move from our timetable to God’s. This is not so easy but with a little practice anybody can get there.

The Bible says, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalm 37:23. That means, if our steps are truly ordered by the Lord, we can rest assured that our set time is coming – not a second late. I have found anytime we have to have something to make us happy, we’re out of sync.

This is what happened to Abraham and Sara. You see, God promised them a son; but 25 years had gone by without a result.  Their natural bodies were failing.  The promise seemed dead but God was not through.  He had set an appointed time.  His plan was to wait until everything in the natural was dead so that only God could get credit for the miraculous outcome.

As Abraham and Sara got up in years, you could see the disappointment in their eyes. I’m sure their neighbors, friends and family had plenty of gossip going on about them. Doubt must have entered their minds but they never let it settle in their hearts. To encourage Abraham and Sara, God had to send an angel with a message, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?  At the appointed time I will return to you.”  Genesis 18:14.  And guess what?  At God’s set time, against all odds, Abraham and Sara did have their promised child born to them.

You may not have an angel standing before you today, but God sent me to deliver this message to you, “Your appointed time is coming!” God sees your wait, He sees your tears. He knows you’ve been faithful in spite of difficult times. Just like my plane arrived at a set time to take me to my destination.  Your set time for healing, promotion, increase and restoration is coming. God will vindicate you. Your child will serve God. Your business will take off and profit again. Your relationships will be restored.

So what do you do between now and your appointed time of arrival? 

First, learn to worship God in your dark times; and He will reward you openly. Spend more time talking about the breakthrough coming than singing the blues, “When is it ever going to happen to me?” When we brag on God in our difficult circumstances, He will brag on us and send the answers we need.

Second, keep doing the things you know are right to do. Be diligent. Spend time with your family. Help those in need, both locally and internationally. When you focus on others, God will focus on you. 

Last, but not the least, use this time to grow. Learn from the best in your industry. Gain some new skills.  Try something different than what you have always done. Ask questions from those who have done well in your situation.

Our plane arrived on time. Abraham got his son. If you keep your hope in God and stay persistent, you too will fulfill your destiny and make a difference. If you ever feel like giving up, remind yourself, “At the appointed time God will turn my dream into reality.” Your life is precisely on schedule. It will not be one second late. You will enjoy the fruit of your patience for the rest of your life.

Think about this. Just when the caterpillar couldn’t take it any longer; it turned into a butterfly!

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

God Wants to Give You a Lift

My son, Daniel, was eight years old.  We were in the bathroom when he spotted a spider in the bathtub.  Being a boy, I thought he would kill it immediately.  But instead he ran out the door and came back with a piece of paper.  Gently he scooped up the spider from the bathtub, carried it out to our backyard and gently laid it down on the green grass.  Even though an eight--year old boy is a natural enemy to a spider, God used Daniel to save and rescue the spider trapped in the pit of our bathtub.
In life's long journey, pits are inevitable.  We face a financial pit, a career pit, health or a relationship pit.  Usually they show up uninvited.  Abraham was in a pit when God asked him to sacrifice his only son.  Moses was in a pit when he killed an Egyptian.  Joseph was in a literal pit by his mean brothers.  Pits are uncomfortable.  Pits make us lose sight of Hope.  But it is in the pit character is developed, supernatural growth occurs and God's mercy and grace scoop us out of our pit.
Are you trapped in the enemy's pit today?  Do you feel like you can't get out of a hopeless situation?  I've got news for you!  God wants to give you a lift out of your pit and land you in the green pasture of His garden of blessing.  The Scriptures says, "When a man's ways pleases the Lord, He makes even His enemies to be at peace with Him".  Prov. 16:7.
Not all pits are a consequence of our sin.  Abraham , sincerely followed God when he was faced with a pit of decision to sacrifice his son.  This tells me that not every problem we face in life is an outcome of bad choices we make along the journey.  However, it is highly possible that the pits we're in today are the results of some wrong thinking, talking and acting on our part.
So why does God allow "pits" in our lives?  When we find the purpose of the pit we're in today, we'll find peace.  One of the main reasons God allows "pits" in our lives is for us to GROW!  Human nature is such that we learn the fastest and hardest when we're inconvenienced and shaken out of our comfort zone.  This way of learning is not God's best for our lives.  But in His mercy, He allows the pit to take ownership for our faults, to sharpen us and to learn new things that He's been trying to teach us all along!  No matter how spiritual you are, you cannot pray every uncomfortable situation away from your life.  A better way to deal with the pit is to learn and grow.  The faster we learn, the less time we'll have to spend in the pit!
Last week I was in a nice hotel attending a World Missions Conference.  As I sat in the coffee shop, I couldn't help but notice the elevators crawling up and down the walls of the hotel.  Elevators are fascinating!  I call it a "magic box."  You push a button, wait a while for it to come down, you get in the box, tell it where to go; and it lands you there in a few seconds!  It's the same way with God.  The Scripture says, "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Rom. 10:13.  That's pushing the button, welcoming God's favor upon your life.
Interesting thing about an elevator is you're in control of where you want to land.  An elevator maybe full of people but you still get to decide where you want to go.  The same "magic box" serves the first floor and the top floor.  Friend, only you can determine how high up in God's ladder you want to climb.  It is God's desire to lift you to the top floor giving you the best view over life's circumstances. 
Friend, no matter what pit you're in today, God wants to give you a lift.  He wants to pick you up from your low position and lift you up to a high position.  He wants to deliver you from your pit and set you in God's garden of blessing.  Just like my son Daniel to the spider, God has assigned people to come to your aid and lift you out of your pit.  While you're learning, growing and waiting for your lift, search your heart and see if God wants to use you to lift someone else out of their pit.  Believe me, it will be a lot more tolerable in the pit when you're focusing on giving others the lift they need. 
You are unforgettable to God.  He holds your picture in His Hands.  He can't stand seeing you in a ditch.  His Hands are stretched and His face is turned toward you.  Let Him give you a lift above all your circumstances.  Amen?
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