Mary Cantell

Waiting on God

Who likes to wait? In this stepped-up-pace of a world, it seems like everyone is rushed. With places to go and things to do, busy people often feel like they’re on auto pilot without an airplane. If you’re stuck in traffic or running late, it would be great to hitch a ride on the wings of an eagle and move ahead swiftly, wouldn’t it? But the Lord did not make man to fly…or did he?

It’s been said that an eagle soars upward toward the sun probably higher than any other bird. It often lives to an old age and, after shedding its feathers, grows new ones.

When we’re born again into a new life with Christ and the Holy Spirit now dwells within us, we are new creatures. Metaphorically, we’ve shed our old feathers and now bear new ones.

As we wait upon the Lord, it’s a precarious balance of trust and expectation. Though, by his word, we are assured that like the stately eagle, our strength will be renewed. We will rise toward His glory, and His grace and power will sustain us all the way to heaven.

In its season…

Even though we understand our time on earth is precious, as believers, we hunger and pray daily for the Lord’s second coming; there’s a yearning to be with Him. While we consider each day a gift, let’s consider the words of Ecclesiastes 3.

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away…

Life is not always lived at the top of the mountain. From that elevation, there is little experience of the valley to give the mountain its context and grandeur. A farmer’s field can only yield a harvest after the old growth is dead and cleared away. Even in the midst of a tumultuous forest fire where the rampant heat destroys acre upon acre, there are species of herbaceous trees, plants, and shrubs that thrive on the heat and from it produce new growth.

Everything in its time can be blessed by God and is what has been established according to his good and perfect will. Until the final day when the Lord brings us into a new heaven and a new earth, let’s do all to the glory of the Lord in word and deed in each of our allotted seasons.

God’s sweet grace

The awesomeness of God never ceases to amaze. In heaven, we’ll understand what the spirit of God is all about. Until then, the marvelous grace he bestows on his people is utterly unfathomable.

How is it that the epitome of all grace and truth came down from heaven to dwell among us as our Immanuel? How is it that the one who is all grace and truth came to take the sins of the world upon himself to make restitution for evil man?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works—so that no one can boast ~ Ephesians 2:8-9.

Wonderful grace of Jesus…greater than all my sin. We’ve sung these words often, and the impact can sometimes bring us tears of joy as the reality of the wondrous nature of God speaks to our hearts.

2 Corinthians 9:8 ~ And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

When you open your eyes in the morning, may God’s grace be among the first things that comes to mind, knowing that his supply of grace is never ceasing, free, and available just for the asking.

Life in the waiting zone

Life doesn’t always move as fast as we’d like. We want the restaurant table seating now, or the coveted job offer soon, or the call returned quickly. And we definitely wish the line would move faster and the check would arrive today, or the answer delivered immediately, if not sooner. In all of this, while we distract ourselves and focus elsewhere for a moment, the things we’re waiting for will eventually come in due time. Though, even better, to just sit and wait patiently on the Lord and dwell in him is the perfect place to be.

The secret about in due time, is that it requires waiting—that lull where we can either fret or just trust in the Lord. If he is sure to guide our steps, then we really don’t need to step ahead of him. Resting in him assures us that he’s got the reins; fretting says we’re holding on too tightly.

Too often, we put the cart before the horse in our goals and desires. Sometimes, it’s just better to sit on the horse and let God drive the cart. When we’re too quick or too rushed, we are prone to stumbling. Then we might really have problems. Is that all there is to the human condition…to be fighting an uphill battle, sometimes of our own making?

Our place is not to fight but to wait. To settle into a place where the peace of God can hold us up…a place where his word and his spirit can renew us to the point where we feel at peace right where we are. Waiting on the Lord and putting our hope in him goes against the fleshly nature, but it’s where true contentment lies.

“Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isaiah 40:31

Standing forever

The world as it exists today has a finality to it. God’s word assures us there will be a summing up of all things, and his return to earth is imminent. Praise God!

For the believer, this is great news. We hunger for his return and pray daily, Maranatha, Jesus, as we expectantly watch and wait for his coming. While we consider each day on earth a gift; still, our hearts are primed to be with him face-to-face.

With all of the worship of worldly things and materialism, we know that none of this will last into eternity. Not even our own bodies! As believers, our hope and assurance that we’ll receive a new body is based in biblical truth. We serve a risen savior and one day, we will be like Him. Our mortal bodies will give way to immortality.

Until the day arrives, take heart. Our hopes are built on the eternal wise God whose word is the foundation of truth. Everything that began with God’s word will also end with it, too. He is the Alpha and the Omega. His truth will carry us from here to eternity, and it’s the only foundation that will not crumble.

The grass withers; the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever ~ Isaiah 40:8

 

The Good Shepherd

As sheep, we can wander; though, as we rest in the nurture of the Lord, we can’t go far because his grasp is large. The word tells us that neither height nor depth…nothing at all can remove us from his hand. Even if one goes astray, our divine shepherd sets his sights on bringing the little one back into his fold.

One of the most well known and often quoted psalms in the Bible is the twenty-third, where Jesus is spoken of as our shepherd. How comforting to know we are in his flock and he has his eye on each of us, that he makes us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside the still waters and restores our souls. He doesn’t just want us to pass through the quiet of the pastoral land; he makes us linger there as we’re led through His paths of righteousness.

If we should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, there is no fear of death because with God, it is but a shadow. And by His rod and His staff, he will comfort us.

When he comes again or takes us home, the knowledge that we’ll be together with him forever is beyond lovely. It’s the assurance to which we cling. Even with the uncertainty of tomorrow, we are sealed and have hope today that our tomorrows will be fine with the Lord by our side.

All things…

It’s said that everything happens for a reason. Is that true? Frankly, that statement may have relevance to a New Age philosopher, but it’s really a knock-off, mainly due to the part that’s left out, the part about God. Of the saved, we believe that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose ~ Romans 8:28.

When strange things happen to us, we’re apt to sometimes look at the situation negatively. “What did I say?” or “What did I do?” or “Why me, Lord?” Sometimes, it’s not about us. There’s a greater power working in all who love the Lord Jesus.

A friend once said—after he’d come to find out his son, unsuccessfully, attempted suicide—that the situation was, for him, all for his holiness. Hold on. His son’s attempt to end his life was the catalyst for making his father’s life more holy? As a mature Christian, that was his response.

As part of our daily walk with Christ, we’re being sanctified according to God’s plans and purposes. It’s not always easy. As the scripture song goes…some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood.

God works all things together for good for the ones who love God. Yes, it’s all for our holiness.

Fellowship of the Spirit

Apostle Paul rejoiced at the good works of the disciples in the church at Philippi and for their generosity toward him while in prison. Even from afar, he ministered to them through his letters, despite the pain of not being free to join with them physically.

However, in the fellowship of the gospel, he is able to join with them spiritually, for he was content to see that their salvation was true by their good deeds, and this reality brought him much consolation.

The fellowship of the gospel is all about love. As we share in this fellowship, we are living out our faith. To that end, as Paul demonstrated, there is no length he would not go to bring mankind unto a saving relationship with the Father.

As challenging as it may be,Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” ~ Luke 9:23.

To share in the fellowship of the gospel is to love God and neighbor no matter what. Paul’s experience reminds us that even if you suffer for doing good, God will give you the strength to continue loving.

Amazing love

To think about all that human beings love on earth—family, friends, pets—the list can go on. All of these things bring pleasure and we often love that which brings us joy. So, it’s hard to fathom why God loves us, despite the fact that we are a sinful human race that doesn’t necessarily love him back.

It’s a given we’re loved by the Lord. Though, the depth of that love, how do we measure? To fully comprehend how deep his love goes, we’d have to step out of time into eternity. While we’re on this side of heaven, we’ll just have to accept it and, literally, take his word for it!

When Jesus stepped from heaven to earth, he gave up himself for a while—set his power aside—to become our Emmanuel, “God with Us.” It’s the most humbling example of love there can possibly be. To leave his home, separate himself from his father on the cross, and to intercede for us in heaven is too wonderful to take in when one seriously dwells on it. Yet, dwell we should, every day that we have life and let the reality of it all sink in.

We may think we love our family, friends, pets, etc., but the love of Christ for all of humanity is in another league all together. That kind of love is divine. There’s no comparison. As the songwriter said, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my soul, my all.”

Under his grace

Jesus, who came down from heaven to become flesh on earth, knows full well the temptations of man. Aware of our foibles and the pitfalls that so easily befall us, he can sympathize with our struggles.

The Word says that we don’t have to be afraid to ask or approach God’s throne. As believers, we don’t have to wonder whether we are deserving of his attention because we belong to Him. We are to come to the Lord as our Dad as often as necessary to receive the grace to win the victory. The Word says with boldness we are to come. That’s not arrogance but confidence.

While here, Jesus fought the snares of the devil at least three times in the book of Matthew, and when we fight with the devil, there’s nothing more powerful than speaking out loud the Word of God. To that, he is powerless.

Grace is a blend of God’s mercy—not receiving what we deserve—along with His love—receiving what we don’t deserve—together. His grace is abundant, refreshing, and all that we need to live a victorious life here on earth.