Waiting and Trusting

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
Though an army deploys against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
still I am confident.

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter
in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock.
Then my head will be high
above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about You,
“You are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me;
do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me.

Because of my adversaries,
show me Your way, Lord,
and lead me on a level path.
Do not give me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing violence.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.

(Psalm 27)

Jesus Came

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,
because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;
He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
mindful of His mercy,
just as He spoke to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.

(Luke 1:46-55)

Lesson from Nature: Secure on the Edge

©PurePurpose.org
©PurePurpose.org

I looked for a quiet place to read my Bible. I stepped onto the ledge of rocks and could look to both sides and see the coastline for quite a distance. I heard the waves lapping the shoreline and felt the cool breeze and sunshine on my face. It was “my” spot. I sat down and settled in.

After reading for a while, I looked down and decided to snap a photo. It looked as if I was precariously sitting on a dangerous ledge, but I felt secure. I wasn’t uncertain, teetering on top of a slippery, unstable ledge. My feet dangled in air. They weren’t on solid ground, but that was okay.

I went back to reading God’s Word and thought about the security yet uncertainty of God’s Word. By uncertain, I don’t mean I’m not certain about it, or even more so, that God is uncertain in any way. It (and He) is unchangeable. However, I am changed every time I open it. It’s as if I feel secure as I settle into it, yet I don’t know where it’s going to take me. I don’t know exactly where God is going to guide me. With each word, God might guide me into exploring a new path, challenging me to change, weeding through my thoughts, changing my heart. I can certainly rely on Him…including relying on Him to guide my next steps.

I can be secure in God’s will without being certain about everything it entails. I don’t have to understand everything. My life might not be safe at times. God doesn’t promise me safety. He promises me security, and that doesn’t depend on my surroundings. Security is about my heart. It’s about eternity. I’m okay with my next steps being uncertain because of the certainty I have in eternity. I want my next steps to make a difference, inviting God to change my heart along the way. I don’t want to focus on the “someday” with Him. I want to live today, right now, for and with Him.

I don’t really mind that my feet are dangling over the edge, as long as I’m standing firmly on His Word.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

Lesson from Nature: The Twist of Life and Death

©PurePurpose.org
©PurePurpose.org

Sometimes, the twists we create with others’ lives can be catastrophic. We end up squeezing the life out of each other, because we just don’t have enough life to give. Our unhealthy boundaries aren’t so much about the closeness of the relationship but about what we do with that relationship.

Other times, the closeness creates a beauty that would never have been possible on our own. We give each other strength, support, and nourishment. We’re vulnerable, because we have exposed ourselves to others. We invite them into our lives in ways that cannot be fully revoked. We give a piece of ourselves that we can never completely recover. That’s frightening. It can turn out badly.

But it can also be beautiful.

God intends for us to rely on and commit to each other. Most of all, He invites us to rely on and commit to Him. He gives us a piece of Himself. He became vulnerable first, when He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us, taking all the junk of our lives into the pit of death, then overcoming that death, leaving it behind. It seems like a twisted way to get to us, but it’s the way He chose.

Because God loves us. He loves you.

Loving Him isn’t easy. It requires vulnerability and humility. It requires twisting your life with His so intricately that you no longer know where One stops and the other starts. But He’s worth it. And He knows you’re worth it, too.

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)

The Next Step

No matter where you are in life, the next step is often the most difficult to take. It’s exciting, frightening, breath-taking, daunting, lonely, reassuring, promising, and shaky. I don’t know what your next step is. I don’t know what your next breath requires. But I know this. God is God. He is purposeful. He longs for you to choose to take the next step with Him. He knows just how you feel. He’s ready. Are you?

Salvation with Joy

wellGod is the one who saves me; I will trust him and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord gives me strength and makes me sing. He has saved me. You will receive your salvation with joy as you would draw water from a well. At that time you will say, “Praise the Lord and worship him. Tell everyone what he has done and how great he is.” Isaiah 12:2-4

God’s salvation gives us joy – eternal joy and earthly joy. We might not always be happy on earth, but we can always be joyful. Happiness is situational, and it changes. Joy is chronic. It’s not dependent on circumstance. It’s an underlying reliance on the certain foundation of God’s provision and guidance. Joy is knowing God is supporting us through everything. He’s present. He won’t leave us or disappoint us. He is reliable, always keeping every promise he makes.

If there was ever a promise to be joyful about, salvation is it. When you consider receiving salvation with joy “as you would draw water from a well,” what comes to mind?

Salvation is a refreshing nourishment like no other. Without salvation, our lives are parched and doomed to death. With salvation, we access an everlasting spring of refreshing nourishment. We will have joy forever, not because of our own personal happiness but because of something much deeper: we will have the opportunity to glorify God for all of eternity. We fulfill our purpose. We revel in our sweet spots.

These verses in Isaiah say so much more. Read each section aloud and consider what each means to you in your daily life.

God is the one who saves me.

I will trust him.

I will not be afraid.

The Lord gives me strength.

The Lord makes me sing.

Live It. These verses also include “Praise the Lord and worship him. Tell everyone what he has done and how great he is.” Consider what that means to you today. How will you praise him today? How will you worship him? Who will you tell of how great God is and what he’s done for you? Move beyond the theoretical, simply reflecting on these verses, and consider what they mean to you personally. Live them out in a practical way today. God’s Word is alive and active within you. Let others experience God in you today.

Jesus Is With Us

Jesus is given many names throughout Scripture, and each gives us a glimpse into the deity and character of who Jesus is. Each name invites us to discover Jesus one piece of understanding at a time. The name Immanuel is of paramount importance. It connects many other pieces together, because Immanuel means, “God with us.” Immanuel captures the essence of the deity of God becoming a person who walked alongside men on earth.

The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

Jesus’s birth brought a physical closeness to us and God. God could no longer be seen as a God who was “somewhere out there,” ready to bless and guide us from a distance. Jesus brought with him the availability of a personal relationship. God’s help, protection, provision and guidance became touchable. Those who stood in the presence of Jesus stood in the presence of God. Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus have a personal relationship with God. There is no far-off, long-distance relationship with an unseen, unfamiliar, unrevealed God. Jesus came to earth as the incarnate God, and he provides a way to authentic, significant, purposeful, eternal faith.

In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3, 14)

Why do we need Immanuel, “God with Us”? Because our sin—yes, that three-letter word that we don’t want to acknowledge we have in our lives—has separated us from God. Without Immanuel, we’re incomplete at best. No matter what we imagine in our arrogance, we are creatures. We did not imagine or will ourselves into existence. We can come up with all kinds of flattering explanations as to how and why we’re here, but we often do so without evidence of truth.

We are beautiful, complicated, and intricate creations fashioned in the image of God, and we are created for the purpose of knowing and loving him. He are intended to have the most intimate relationship imaginable with him, depending on him for all things, daily walking in his light, love, joy, and power.

With man’s rebellion, or sin, we set aside our intimate relationship with God. We need God, because it is at the core of our nature to know him, and without him, we are incomplete, empty, unfulfilled, restless, because we are living life contrary to the purpose for which we are made.

We need “God with us” because without him we are incomplete. Only Jesus can undo what we have done. Only the one who created us in the first place can restore us again. Only he can give our lives the meaning and completeness we are supposed to have. In this one name—Immanuel—everything we need, the entire plan of God’s salvation is fulfilled. We are blessed that Jesus is Immanuel.