Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Can you describe a time when you were waiting for something to happen or someone to visit?  How did you feel?

Today we’re thinking about waiting on the Lord.  Christian-speak, even jargon, often heard.  Waiting for...what?
Something to happen. Something to change a situation, a person.
How often do we ‘wait on the Lord’ to hear Him SPEAK to us?

What should we wait FOR?

The right gift. Acts 1:4 - 5, NIV  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command:“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The right person. A Messiah to save us.  John 4:25-27  The Message
 25The woman said, "I don't know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we'll get the whole story."
 26"I am he," said Jesus. "You don't have to wait any longer or look any further."
We don’t need to look anywhere else when we are in trouble. Not to family, or friends, or man-made solutions. Just Jesus. And we have the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit, so...first response: prayer!

The right time. John 7 (NIV)
Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do.No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”
Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
Jesus Teaches at the Festival
14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

The right response:
Can you think of a time when you waited impatiently but realised afterwards that the timing, when it actually happened, was perfect? What about when a delay doesn’t seem good, even in retrospect? How do we reconcile that? Can you think of changes – perhaps in the situation, maybe even in yourself, in your attitude – which were good in spite of the delay?
James 5:7-8 The Message Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master's Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.

What does ‘waiting on the Lord’ look like? How do we do it?

As I was preparing this, an email from Ed, a Christian writer whose blog I follow, dropped into my inbox with an attention-grabbing ‘ping’.
Do you ever find yourself hoping for an email or a text from a friend or family member? You wait and wait, but nothing happens?  Perhaps you have asked a question, or, after a long message, are hoping for a response, an acknowledgement even, something which communicates that the other person has been glad to hear from you?  I’d like God to ‘ping’ me an email or a text, a quick response to a request or an out of the blue message which connects my emotions to him.
If I’m not waiting at the computer, or near my phone, I won’t hear that alluring ‘ping’.
What does that look like in my life with God?
“I lug a copy of the Divine Hours around the house all day in an attempt to remember to pray a few times throughout the day.
I jot down notes during the sermon.
I sing the same slow song each week at church as a confession of my sins.
I crunch on a juice-stained wafer for communion.
I read a bit of the Bible each morning while eating breakfast.
This is not exciting stuff by any measure. I often have to force myself to open my prayer book in the middle of a busy day or to put aside an amusing book at bed time in order to focus on the Compline. Watching a hockey game, even a Bluejackets game, strikes me as a bit more exciting than prayer or sitting around at church.....
I need to do these “boring” things because they reorient me. Oftentimes I don’t even perceive the ways I’ve been drifting away from God and from others before it’s too late. Lots of times sin works like that: we drift away little by little until temptation pounces on us when we’re far away from God and our defenses are down.
There is something effective and necessary about the daily gentle prods of prayer, scripture reading, and worshipping in community. They aren’t magical remedies for sinful ailments, but they can provide the timely pushes, the sustaining words, and the stories we need to stay on track, to draw near to Jesus, and to stay there.”
So ‘waiting on God’ means drawing near to him with conscious choices to pray, to read, to listen to others speak His truth...
Galatians 5:4-5 The Message When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit.
This is why we would do all these things – to deepen our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

Above all, we wait with eagerness and expectation, LOOKING FORWARD to what is coming.
Romans 5:3-6 There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
 6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway.

Romans 8:18-25  The Message
 18-21That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
 22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

So waiting is for now, and for the life to come. This is the verse which most helps me wait:
Hebrews 12:2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

In The Message: Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
 1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I’m there, way back from the starting line of the Marathon, walking slowly forwards. Right at the back, but I’ll get there.  

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