Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the wilderness...

I think I'm in a wilderness. I went from feeling like I was in the promised land to being smack-dab in the middle of the desert last December. I feel like I've stayed in that wilderness for the past seven months now and I'm just starting to figure out that maybe God has me here to teach me something. Yeah, I'm quick.

I have all of a sudden been inundated with sermons, Bible study homework, verses, songs, messages on the radio and messages on blogs about how God uses our times in the wilderness. I've also been prompted in my spirit to really make an effort to move closer to God, which I'm coming to find out, is one of the ways God uses a wilderness.

Our church is about to finish up a series called "Road Trip: The Journey of a Lifetime" - its all about the journeys we take in this life and the troubles that sometimes pop up on those trips. I thought it would be a fun summer-themed series. What it's been is life-changing.

This past weekend was by far the most convicting message. To match up with the Road Trip theme, the message was titled "Construction Zone." Also known as waiting. Ahhh, my favorite place to be in life!

This message was so good that I'm not going to try and add my commentary, thoughts, or insights. I'm simply going to type up my sermon notes and pray that these points and verses touch your life if you're in a period of waiting.
How long must I wait? Psalm 119:84
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

At least as important as the things we wait for, is the work God wants to do in us while we wait. (Pastor had us say this aloud with him several times during the message.)

What is the work God wants to do in us?

1. Grow the sturdiness of our moral character.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." Genesis 12:10-13

2. Grow our willingness to trust His timing
"The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Genesis 16:2-4

Getting the right thing the wrong way, is still getting the wrong thing.
How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:1-2

God is never late...but He is seldom early

3. Grow the potency of our faith in Him
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19

What is the supreme object of your love? The thing in life that we allow to validate us, is the very thing that has the power to invalidate us. If we find our identity in our spouse, our job, our money, or our children, those things will at some point disappoint us and cause us to question our identity. But if instead, we find our identity in Christ, we will never be disappointed because Christ is the only one who will never fail us.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5

And, because it bears repeating...
At least as important as the things we wait for, is the work God wants to do in us while we wait.

I hope that my notes are a blessing to those of you who, like me, may be struggling through a time of waiting in the wilderness. If you'd like to hear the full message from this weekend, you can listen to or download it here.


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