Refined Like Gold

refiners-fire

Reading: Job 22-27

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:8-10)

Life often runs like a busy and noisy workshop. When unguarded, it is easy to fall into the trap of going through the motions. If we keep ourselves busy at a steadily increasing pace, we should not be surprised when, one day, we find out that our hearts have already strayed from the Lord.

God may be invisible, but he is not detached from us. In fact, our Creator longs to be in close fellowship with his created beings. Though unseen, he is never indifferent. Though silent, he always cares. Yet similar to the adverse effects of a hurried life, our troubles have a way of numbing our senses from perceiving God’s movement in our lives.

We must then shift our focus from the tension towards God’s intention. When we go through our faith-stretching moments, I believe it is wise for us to pause, reflect and prayerfully wrestle with these questions:

  1. Where is God is my situation? What is He doing?
  2. What is God teaching me? What does He want me to learn and do?
  3. Considering my answers to the previous questions, how must I respond?

Like gold refined through a furnace, God also refines us through the circumstances we face every single day. But admittedly, this is never an easy task. We must be quick to come to prayer, to seek God and his Word, and to be with people who are willing to carry the burden with us.

May we all become more sensitive to God as we meditate on Scripture today.

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After Silence… Hope.

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The silent years that bridged the gap between Old and New Testaments must have been excruciatingly difficult. Those who’ve long waited for the Messiah might have already asked, “will He still come to save us?”… That I can only guess. Yet as we open the Gospels, we are reminded that what seemed silent to man was not at all silent in God’s perspective. Above all, He did not forget His promises. God worked throughout world history. Believe it or not, I believe the Roman roads and the Greeks’ affinity towards education were part of His master plan. His sovereignty was displayed in the midst of the “400 years of silence”.

Then after centuries of waiting, the seemingly deafening silence was broken by the voice of one crying in the wilderness (cf. Mark 1:2-3). His name was John the Baptist – a man known for his unusual appearance, eating habits, and boldness! This caught the attention of the religious people, so they inquired, “Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet? Who are you?” Then he humbly replied, “I am not… I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said. I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie”.

God’s purpose for John was clear. He humbly came to usher in the entrance of Jesus Christ, the Savior of this broken world. John both had a proper view of his calling and a high view of the King he wholeheartedly served. He placed his trust on the promise-keeping God, while the vast majority might have been losing faith. He chose to point to the light while darkness seemed to have covered the earth. Insignificant as John may seem, I find myself deeply grateful while reflecting on what Scripture says about him. Through him, a bright ray of hope was ignited through the testimony of this man who served as the Messiah’s forerunner, which the Old Testament has foretold.

Because of John the Baptist, I am convinced that nothing could ever silence the Living Word (cf. John 1:1-5). God is real, and God is faithful. In Him, we can always have hope.

Jonathan’s Greatest Affection

 

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Introduction           

I believe every person has been designed to worship. It is somehow inevitable for us, humans, to place our attention and our affections on something or someone. The difference only comes in one’s object of worship.

Today, we will revisit history, and attempt to be acquainted with a man who lived in the 1700’s. His name is Jonathan Edwards. As we get to know him more, it is my hope that we will gain inspiration from his life that was transformed by his “greatest affection”.

 

Overview of Edwards’ Story

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is a known minister, preacher, theologian, and intellectual leader during the time of the Great American Awakening. (Shelley 2008, 343) Both his grandfather and his own father were pastors, and he lived in a home whose atmosphere emphasized Calvinist theology.

In 1716, just before his thirteenth birthday, Edwards entered Yale College. While in Yale, he was exposed to varying schools of thought, which later have contributed to the development of his theology particularly regarding Reformed orthodoxy. He graduated as valedictorian in 1720 and he earned his master’s degree three years thereafter.

The following years were pivotal both in his ministry and personal life. He got married to Sarah Pierrepont in 1727, and they had eleven children. His wife showed extraordinary piety, and their family life was described to be of great happiness and of fruitfulness. Not long after their wedding day, Edwards was ordained in Northampton, Massachusetts, to assist the ministry of his aging grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. Under the Stoddard’s apprenticeship, the young minister became a seasoned preacher. Furthermore, Edwards became an influential leader and profound theologian who sincerely loved the Lord.

From 1740 until 1750, there was a sharp contrast in Edwards’ ministry. While he was celebrated in other places as one of the many heroes in the Great Awakening, he was greatly opposed particularly by his home church. This treatment towards toward Edwards was rooted in his theology, which involved matters deemed to be in opposition to what were traditionally taught in their congregation. Through several misjudgments about him, this led to his dismissal in 1750. As a result, Edwards moved his family to the town of Stockbridge where he pastored a small congregation while serving as a missionary to the local Native Americans.  For seven years, he fought a different set of battles – resisting discrimination against Indians, coping with financial crisis, fighting a long-term illness (probably malaria), and dealing with constant anxiety of the wars. In the midst of the prevailing pressures, Edwards continued the work through his writings.

In 1758, he was called to the presidency of the College of New Jersey (later, Princeton University). However, it only took weeks after the appointment when Edwards passed away after suffering complications from a tainted smallpox vaccination. (Larsen, Bebbington, and Noll 2003, 202-204)

 

His Legacy to the Christian Faith

As a young man of great intellect, Jonathan Edwards often wrestled with God and the truth of His sovereignty. Deep within him, he lacked a true fervent submission to God. However, while he was meditating on 1 Timothy 1:17, where it was written, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV), he was led to a firm conviction that turned his entire being to God. From then on, he greatly rejoiced in God’s sovereignty, beauty, and glory. This turn of events caused a monumental impact in Edwards’ theology, teachings, and work.

Among his early works are the “Resolutions”, a series of spiritual commitments meant to focus his life upon God and holy living, and his “Diary”, which he used to examine himself and his spiritual growth. His known public sermons included “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence” (1731), “A Divine and Supernatural Light” (1734), and his famous series of sermons on “Justification by Faith” (1734) where hundreds of people came under deep conviction of sin. In his teachings, he boldly argued that the transforming work of grace through the Holy Spirit is always accompanied by a change in the person’s affections and a change in behavioral patterns. Meaning, there must be an over-all change in the head (mind), heart, and hands (actions or lifestyle).

As his ministry progressed, opposition increased. In order to defend his case, he made three treatises: “The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God” (1741), “Some Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in New England (1742), and his writing on religious experience, “A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections” (1746). There still are yet a number of great works by Jonathan Edwards not mentioned here, of which some of them were left incomplete because of his untimely death. (Geisler 1998, 209-212)

 

Conclusion

This man of God has certainly inspired many lives. His devotion to God has influenced followers of Jesus Christ that spans from his own generation until today. Amidst the challenges and persecution he faced, I am sincerely dumbfounded by his commitment to cultivating an intimate relationship with God. I am one of those who concur with his conviction that Christianity is not merely a matter of morality but a loving communion with our sovereign Lord. From this intimacy that we have with Christ, life change happens – a transformation of the head, heart, and hands.

 

Personal Thoughts and Application

I believe there is much to glean from the life of Jonathan Edwards. One lesson that captured my heart is to firmly fight for an intimate walk with Jesus Christ. I am aware that there are many things that can easily harden my heart and veer my affection away from God. These distractions may come in the form of sinful passions that this world offers. On the other hand, I can also be seduced by the subtle pride found in the things I do for God. All these could derail me from the one thing that truly matters – my relationship with my Lord.

Therefore, in order to apply this fundamental principle, I must guard and prioritize my time with the Lord. On a daily basis, I need to spend time in prayer, in reflective reading of Scriptures, and in writing down the deep things that God is teaching me so I can keep in step with His will for my life. It is very basic, but I must admit that the basics are what I often neglect. By God’s grace and through humble dependence upon His Spirit, I pray that I would be able to do all these out of my love and devotion for Him.

 

Questions for Further Reflection and Discussion

In your own opinion, why do you think it is important to constantly examine our innermost affections? Based from your experience, what are the things that often move your attention away from God? Conversely, what are the things that you are doing now that helps further nurture your walk with Christ?

 

References: 

Geisler, Norman. 1998. Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker Publishing. Logos Bible Software.

Larsen, Timothy, David W. Bebbington, and Mark A. Noll, eds. 2003. Biographical dictionary of evangelicals. Intervarsity Press. Logos Bible Software.

Shelley, Bruce. 2008. Church history in plain language, 3rd ed. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson. Kindle Software.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards. http://www.treasuring-christ.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/jonathan-edwards.jpg (accessed October 24, 2013).

A Prayer of Dependence on Independence Day

Pardon me for the abrupt lengthy silence. I yearned to write for the longest time, but I opted to wait.  I believe I just had to wait. I was at a period of restlessness since the month of March up until May — a span of time wherein I totally wrestled with the Lord.  And gradually… He shunned my doubts, silenced my fears, and relieved the intense anxiety.

 
I was only able to slowly overcome the struggle, not because I was good enough. Instead, I guess was merely honest enough to express my need to depend on the Lord.  My restlessness only turned to a phase of rest, when I said “yes” to God and let loose the nets I’ve tightly held on to (cf. Luke 5:1-11).

 
“Teach me your way, O  Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11 BNIV)

 
This passage I meditated on last night, I believe, sums up what I’ve been desperately asking the Lord to teach me these past few months. Despite my seemingly sad tone, I’m actually excited to share further and could probably write on tonight just to clarify the context.  But I’ll reserve my stories in the coming days and weeks. Bear with me some more.

 
For now, I just need to take a break and to contemplate on this new direction that God has set before me.  If you may (especially if you’re one of my friends), please include me in your prayers. Pray that I would simply delight in the Lord and joyfully obey Him with an undivided heart. Just like what King David prayed for in Psalm 86.

 
Thank you and God bless you, my dear friends! Expect to hear more from me soon. 🙂

“A Mother’s Heart” by Jill Duco-Miller

While I’m still at a period of fervently seeking and waiting on the Lord regarding the next steps I’ll need to take (which explains why my blog site has been very quiet during the past two or three weeks), here’s something that is totally worth sharing.  This was written by my dear sister, Jill, for Mother’s Day. Be blessed!

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I remember when I was little Nanay (my mom) gave us birthday cards and these words were written, “The 4 of you are my only treasure”.  Tatay (my dad) passed away when I was 8 because of a massive heart attack.  Nanay never remarried, and dedicated her time in raising all 4 kids.  She’s always told us that all she hoped and prayed for is that eventually we would find jobs that we will love doing, and have good families.  For me and my sister, she has always told us that we need to find a husband who will pursue us, will want to spend time with us, and will be good to us and to our future children.  Nanay’s prayers were definitely heard and and answered.

Yesterday in church, Mick Stockwell talked about Hannah and Samuel.  Most of us probably knows about this story.  But yesterday was the first time when God spoke to me through her story.  Read the following verses and look at how they show that God is an all-knowing God, He knows every little detail in our lives.

“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah.  And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.  And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said “I have asked for him from the Lord.”  ~1 Samuel 1:19-20

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him.  Therefore I have lent him to the Lord.  As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” ~1 Samuel 1:27-28

“Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore 3 sons and 2 daughters.  And the young man Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.”  ~ 1 Samuel 2:21

“Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.” ~ 1 Samuel 7:15

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”  ~ Hebrews 11:1-3

“And what more shall I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”  ~Hebrews 11:32-34

Yes, God heard and answered Hannah’s prayer.  There have been many times in the past, especially this past month,  when I did not trust God for His plan in my life.  I heard God’s voice telling me, “This is not the time.  Just trust in Me, and when the right time comes you will be ready.”  When I heard Him saying these words, I would cry and they would hurt.  I wanted MY plan, and I was impatient.

Thankfully, God has showered me with people who prayed for me and with me.  Edwin and I have been diligently praying for our family, and our future children.  God has given me peace, and patience.  It is still a work in process.  But I know I can rely on God’s truths to comfort and encourage me.

I hope we will all be encouraged of Hannah’s story.  Remember that God is our Jehovah jireh, He is our provider and in His sovereignty, He knows what’s best for us.

 

*Written by Jill Duco-Miller

 

Daniel = Uncompromising

About four days ago, I was given the privilege to preach at our youth worship service in Greenhills Christian Fellowship South Metro. As you read this, you’d perceive this entry as more of a “post-preaching” reflection of Daniel 6:1-23. If you have a bible near you, I seriously encourage you to open it to the said passages.

Don’t worry, I won’t preach here like what I did last Sunday. All I want to focus on is a particular segment of the said text, because it’s been running in my head for the past couple of days. I sensed God’s leading to write something about it.  In verse 10b of Daniel 6, it says:

He (Daniel) got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”

The context? Simply put, all the officials (except Darius) were against Daniel. In fact, an immediate injunction was signed and was announced that anyone who prays to any god or man other the king would be thrown to the den of lions! This order was effective for thirty days.  Hence, Daniel was limited to choose between two options.

A.  Live, by compromising. Besides, it will only take a month, right?

B.  Die, because of standing firm for the God he loves.

What did he choose? Despite the impending danger, he still chose letter B. Moreover, he was on his knees and prayed three times a day! Here, the modifier “previously”, in its original Hebrew text, means “from antiquity”. Meaning, it’s been a life-long habit! It’s his passion, and nothing changed despite the circumstances!

Daniel remained faithful to his daily discipline of praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And what puzzles me further was his attitude of thankfulness even if things were not going in his favor.

I wonder, was there really something to be thankful for? Hmm… I’m not so sure. Why?

A.  All one hundred and twenty satraps (or governors) and two fellow presidents were after Daniel’s fall.

B.  He’s bound to be fed to the starving lions.

In short, he’s dead.

Yet God delivered Daniel in the most amazing way.

Oh, indeed, “…the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Ch. 16:9a)

My prayer today is that we’d all have a “Daniel-like” discipline, a “Daniel-like” faith, and a “Daniel-like” attitude of thankfulness.

May we desire for a disciplined lifestyle of prayer fueled by faith. May we have that rock-solid faith produced out of knowing, believing in, and embracing the God revealed in Scriptures. And may we put on a kind of attitude that exclaims “thank You, Lord” even if we’re at wit’s end and things don’t go the way we want them to happen.

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*For your reference, here’s the link to the Scripture text I was referring to. I hope this helps, guys.


Wor[k]ship: A Personal Application

If you’re on track with my entries, last week I wrote something about living a lifestyle of worship in the workplace (check  https://musingovercoffee.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/workship/).  I find it interesting because I got to engage in a similar discussion with a disciple of mine just this past Saturday.  I find it absolutely cool.  But it’s likewise challenging because the Lord would usually (and immediately) put to test what He has been teaching you. Like a regular student, you undergo long exams so your teacher would know if you really got the lesson or not.  Today, though, it wasn’t just about theory but life application.

I was about to finish my day at work earlier this afternoon.  I went out of the therapy area and what caught my attention was not my last student, but his mother who was in tears.  In an instant, I had to bring them to a separate room.  I was unsure of what to do next, but all I was able to utter was this question:  “How can I help you?”  For a moment there, I was surprised I asked that.  It was never my intention to meddle with personal matters, but I recognized that it was a divine appointment.  I didn’t have the time to get back to my contract and check if this was part of my job description.  I wanted to be very cautious, but I felt God nudging me to minister to this hurting parent.  I listened, but the matter was too heavy that I could not give an answer.  I caught myself being silent for a couple of seconds.  I took a deep breath, and asked if I could pray for her.  And she agreed.  After we prayed together, she admitted that she had nobody else to open her problem to, since all she had during that moment was her 4-year-old child (my student). As I continued to listen, I was simply awestruck by God’s work.  This situation is certainly bigger than myself, so I’m thankful to the Lord for breaking through mightily at that particular moment.

I have to be honest, friends.  At the level of my own fleshly nature, I could have just ignored the matter.  I could have just walked away, and went straight to do my task. But seeing this through the lens of Jesus, I had to step out in faith.  I desired to please my heavenly Master and do the task that He’s placed in my heart to do – to serve and love His people even when it’s inconvenient.

By God’s grace, I could say that I love where I am now not because it’s easy, but because I get to meet people who have a sense of brokenness within them. I love where the Lord has planted me, because He’s blessed me with such an opportunity to bring the church outside of its four walls.

Two weeks ago, I remember myself preaching to our youth group that the church in its in original Greek text would refer to the people (“assembly”, “congregation”) and not the structure.  The church is a living organism, capable of movement, where Jesus is at its very core.  (Oh, what a way to put this truth in application!)

As I recall what transpired today, I could only stand in awe of God.  I’m so thankful that it was Him who moved and that He enabled me to flee from the temptation of being apathetic.  I’m thankful for the parent who opened her heart to me, even if we hardly knew each other.  I’m grateful for each detail — for the Lord was in it, above it, behind it, through it.  All these things were definitely for His glory and for our good.

Weak and Proud!

The past weeks have been crazy and tiring. First, it’s tiring because… well, it’s just point-blank tiring.  It has been physically and mentally draining. Haha, I guess it merits no further explanation.

Next, it’s crazy.  It’s crazy, primarily because I don’t know why people call me up or send me messages in order to invite me to do things that I perceive I’m not so much capable of doing.   And part of that list of things that I wish I would not do is speaking in front of big crowds.

I’d qualify a “big crowd” as a group consisting of more than twenty people, believe me or not.  This may not be the same for everyone. That’s just my personal definition of it, despite me being noted as a “people person”. If you’re familiar with “Solving the People Puzzle”, in the DISC paradigm, the “I” (for Influence) is the only component that remains recessive. Mostly on weekends, you’d find me at either Red Ribbon or Bo’s Coffee in Madrigal or Molito area teaching in a small group setting (with about not more than ten people).  If a crowd would be asked who among them are the “small group” people, I might as well raise my hand.  I guess, I was just wired that way.

When year 2012 opened, however, the Lord has been nudging me to go out of my “comfort zone” in an entirely new level.  Speaking engagements here. Then, teaching tasks there.  Mentoring people, and the list goes on.  I have to admit that it could get scary and that it unnerves me, knowing that there could be a bunch of guys out there more fit for the job.  Yet the Lord really has His own unique ways of teaching me that as His disciple – I should deny myself, take up His cross, and follow Him.  It’s never easy, but in this manner, He is the One placed on the pedestal.  Not me.  He’ll be the one who is going to enable me to do the task; and as a result, His glory shines brightest!

Now, here’s a realization: He equips those whom He calls. (And I’m pertaining to every Christ follower, not just the ordained or those in professional full-time ministry.)  He provides and cares for us.  He leads us by His loving hand! Given all these truths, I am secure that He will carry me from Point A going to Point B.  He’ll definitely make sure that He gets the job done in me and through me!

What’s our part, then, in this case?  Admit your weakness, and declare Your dependence unto Him.  Let God work His way in your life, and allow Him to use you for His glory.

Is it going to be easy? Nope, since there are a lot of risks involved. 

How long will the process take? The answer’s indefinite, but certainly not overnight.

Is it really wise to depend on Him? Well, if you pledge allegiance with Jesus, then it’s going to be the wisest choice you’ll ever make in your life.

So today, I humbly confess that I’m weak, that I should shun pride, and that I desperately need the Lord.  Like the apostle Paul, I shall boast of my being weak.  Why?  It is because God’s grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness.  It may sound like a paradox for the majority since the world does not normally operate this way.  However, God can only break through in the lives of people whose hearts are totally abandoned to Him.

Perhaps, the Lord is asking you to let go of your pride or of too much control.  Maybe those are things that stand between you and Him at this moment, don’t you think?

I pray you’d take that life-changing step of faith today.

Mr. Z and Ms. Beth’s Theme Song

Have you ever watched a kid wait for his turn to play at the park? Take a good look. Did you see how fidgety he got?

Have you observed “techie” guys drool over the latest gadgets? (Okay, I’m guilty with this one!)

Have you seen people becoming somewhat careless at swiping their credit cards to purchase that nice pair of shoes, that nice bag, or that gorgeously looking dress? (I was really tempted to say “ladies” instead of “people” here, but I want world peace. Haha! Well, I still mentioned it anyway. Sorry!)

Everything is just so accessible nowadays, don’t you think? Everything’s so quick. With a mouse click, you get to send a message. By a simple tap, you’re able to call a friend. Go online and chat with somebody today, and you’ll be able to find a boyfriend/girlfriend in a couple of weeks. Hmm… That sounded a bit extreme, but I guess that’s possible.

At the rate as to how technology is evolving today, would you still need snail mail? Perhaps not.  I guess a huge number of kids today doesn’t even know what a post office is for!

Point is: most of us want to have things right now. We can’t wait. There is no room for delay. There’s no place for what we call “delayed gratification”.

A not-so-famous couple in the New Testament era also had their own battle with waiting. They were not after purchasing the latest stuff, but they were simply longing for something more dear to them.  That is, to have a child.

If you’re somewhat familiar with the Jewish culture, you know that not being able to bear a child is a huge issue. Even in our context today, there’s an apparent stigma towards those without children. And, that’s just sad.

To further clarify the picture for you, I’d like to orient you that this couple faithfully served the Lord. Thanks to Dr. Luke (the gospel writer), we know now that they were “both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (cf. Luke 1:6).  Mister Z (just a nickname I made up) was a priest of the division of Abijah and Miss Beth was from the line of Aaron. Big names. But still, circumstances didn’t change. They’re old and don’t have a child.

Hmm… Imagine that for a moment. Here’s an aged man and woman who have surrendered their lives to the ministry, patiently waiting for a Messiah (of which they have no idea when He’d come), and pleading that they would have a child! If you’re familiar with this story, don’t immediately close this page. But I implore you to seriously place yourself in the shoes of this couple.  Please.

Think of the battle inside of them. Think of how people talk about them.  Think of how difficult it is to answer their questions of “why” and “when”. Just let that sink in to you for a few more seconds.

Pretty tough, right?

Yet you’d know in the succeeding verses that they never gave up on praying, waiting, and trusting. True enough, the Lord has something huge in store for them. Just wait and see.

During Mr. Z’s turn to go on with his duty at the temple, an angel (named Gabriel) appeared to him.  Being gripped by fear because of the presence of a mighty angel, Gabriel reassured that he has nothing to worry about. And this is what Gabe announced:

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” – Luke 1:13-17

WOW.  Look at all those details!  They didn’t have to think of a name!  They didn’t have to worry about the kind of job their child will be doing in the future! Everything has been provided! Plus, he’d be like a Elijah – a famous hero of the faith! Witness God’s favor upon this family!

Yet… being an old man and his wife who’s likewise advanced in years, Mr. Z could not just believe what Gabe has said, so he was unable to speak up until the baby (who will be eventually known as John the Baptist) made his first cry on his day of birth!

But here’s another thing that caught my attention. Check out Gabe’s reply to the old man’s doubtful statement. He responded this way:

“I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you good news.– Luke 1:19

When God asks you to patiently wait, in spite of the length of time involved, He’s preparing you for a story containing good news.  Even if there’s immense pain to go through with it, I believe that those who faithfully wait will end up having a kind of story that is worth sharing to every one and anyone.

Some of you may be waiting on God to restore a broken relationship (family, friends, etc.). Some may be trusting God to provide for their monthly bills.  Still others may be waiting on the Lord to heal a loved one who’s going through a rare kind of illness. You may be praying for a lifetime partner. Others may be waiting, after applying to different companies, to at least receive a reply by phone or e-mail.

Well, I really don’t know how your stories of waiting go. But I encourage you: endure the “waiting process” and not doubt, just as how Mr. Z and Ms. Beth learned it.  May we all learn “patient endurance” as we continue to run the race that God has laid before us.

As I conclude, I’d like to share a music video to you, which I’ve kept here in my drafts for some time.  I was praying for an opportunity as to when I could include this in one of my blogs, and I believe this is a fitting “theme song” for this entry.  The lyrics are included below, so I hope all these things – Scriptures, challenges, and this song – would help you meditate more on this lesson of waiting on the Lord.

God bless you!

While I’m Waiting (John Waller)

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

An Unlikely Solution


Before reading any further, I would like to lead you to chapters 18 and 19 of the book of 2 Kings. Please take some time to meditate on the said chapters, so you could have a clearer understanding of these Scripture passages’ context before we move on.

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Scripture emphasis on:  2 Kings 19:15-19

Hezekiah, a man of God, faces probably his toughest challenge in his fourteenth year as king of Judah.  The Assyrians were practically everywhere, taking captive every city that they could find.  “Now, it is time for Judah to fall into our hands!” the Assyrians must have thought.

Their king sent some officials and a whole army to Hezekiah, mocking him and his people, and throwing insults at God – the very same God whom we worship today.  But Hezekiah was firm in his resolve to not answer back (2 Kings 18:36).  What was this good king planning? He didn’t have enough horsemen (v. 23)!  He was even gripped by fear and, perhaps, a lack of hope (2 Kings 19:3)! Does he still have something up his sleeve?

You would witness at this point that Hezekiah, even if he already was in the position of a king, was not exempted from all these weaknesses.  That is sure.  He was just like you and me. However, what’s amazing about him is how he responded to this particular problem.  What did he do? He inquired and poured his heart out before the Lord, in prayer (2 Kings 19:15-19).  He did not answer back to the Assyrian officials; but He chose to be in the Lord’s presence by praying in the temple.

If you think about it, prayer can be considered an unlikely and unnatural response to our circumstances.  On a typical scenario, you might rather go to your own set of friends to unload your “personal baggage”.  Others, resort to drinking alcohol or munching on food to battle depression. Prayer will most likely fall as our last option.

You might be wondering how Hezekiah’s story ended by now. Hold on, we’ll get there soon.

At the time of greatest trouble, God responded to his heart’s cry in a manner nobody expected. In 2 Kings 19:35, it says: “… it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.” Oh, what victory they had on that day!  They didn’t have to lift a finger.  Hezekiah and his people held tightly in prayer; and events concluded with God working wonders!

Truly, truly, I tell you that God works in the lives of those who trust in Him!  He hears our prayers, our hopes, and our cries!  He works, even when He seems quiet. He moves, even if we don’t understand all the situations that come our way.  Regardless, God is God – and He really is Someone who delights talking to His beloved children and to care for their needs.

Therefore now I invite you, my friend, to start a habit of daily conversation with the Lord in prayer. Set a definite time and place where you can regularly meet with Him.  Open your Bible again; grab a pen and write on a journal.  We can only know our God and Savior by allowing Him to reveal His heart in Scriptures and to enjoy His presence in our times of fervent prayer.  Start it now, as you take all these to heart, and make knowing God our utmost priority.