How the Lord Waits for Us

“His Abide” 

SummaryReflection – Prayer
To
God’s Word
And Walking it Out

Context: Isaiah 30: 1-33

Focus: Isaiah 30: 15, 18
Psalm 131:2

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says.  Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.”

“ So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him, so He can show you His love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for His help.”

In Isaiah 30 the prophet speaks of the sin of idolatry. Israel did not consult with the Lord concerning their reliance and treaty with Egypt, instead, they looked to them for their source of help when they were threatened by their enemies. They were trusting them to fight for them, and willing even to pay for their help.
Trusting in anything or anyone above God’s counsel through His Word and Holy Spirit is idolatry. When we wait upon the Lord for His guidance and deliverance in the time of trouble, then He will not only deliver us but put us on the straight path of confidence as we practice His quietness and are still.
( Isaiah 30:18, Psalm 46: 1-10).

When we are in a time of calamity and oppression, and remember the faithfulness of God, and return to putting our trust in Him, then He will bring us out, and bless us with His assurance and grace.
He is gracious, merciful and understands all our weaknesses, but He cannot help us until we turn back to Him in repentance for trusting in anything else but His goodness and love.

As we leave the uncertainties behind and go forward believing in His sovereignty, once again, we will no longer clamor for help from our idols but will go forth in confidence, with quietness and assurance, we are loved, always and forever because we are in Christ Jesus.

           “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
Psalm 131:2

                             My Prayer
Lord, thank you for being there for me in all circumstances. Forgive me when I look to anything or anyone for my source of help. Only you, are my present help in all circumstances and trouble.

 

Paintings by Brandi Ramirez

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Storms in Our Life

 

“His Abide” 
Reading  Reflecting Responding

Summary Reflection Prayer
To
God’s Word  Walking it Out

Context: Psalm 46

Focus:
Psalm 46: 1-3
Psalm 46: 9-10

“He makes wars to cease throughout the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields in the fire.”
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted over the earth.” Psalm 46:9-10

The Threatening Storm

It was four days prior to the onslaught of hurricane Ian when I received a surprising call from my friend. She wanted to know if the tropical storm that was brewing in the Caribbean turned into a hurricane, could she and her husband shelter with us.  I didn’t have a clue there was any threat of a tropical storm increasing its strength and possibly making landfall in Florida by Wednesday.  I just didn’t take it seriously. We’ve been in hurricanes before, and God’s grace was always there as we prayed.   Hurricane Irma was the hurricane where God again proved His faithfulness and we saw Him work. There were so many blessings in the aftermath.  So, I just wasn’t concerned, and after all, it was too far out to predict. But I assured her she would certainly be welcomed to shelter with us, in any event.

Spiritual Storm

At the same time, there was a storm of another form brewing in my home and with my spirit, all-out spiritual warfare that was attacking my family and faith.  I took shelter and was comforted,  as I read and listened to God’s promise of protection in Psalm 46, knowing as I waited in faith, He would hold up His arm when He was ready and put an end to it.

So as the crisis ensued,  I pressed in more and more in prayer. And each time the Lord encouraged me to just move forward and He would take care of the rest. Wait on Him, and see His reward.

A year earlier I experienced simultaneously three things; illness from Covid, condemnation from the accuser, and someone sending me Satanic messages on my blog. But God intervened with only one thing, reminding me of His past faithfulness I was left with a choice:
“Would I Trust His Word ?”

So Romans 8:1, Isaiah 54:16-17, and Romans 8:31 got me up off my trembling knees, and as I sang and danced to the song God gave me, I felt empowered and knew He was always  there for me as I waited upon His Word and His Strength.
( Isaiah 64:4, Isaiah 40: 30-31)

Song: Thrive
by
Casting Crowns

So it was, His Word remained the Same, “Be Still and Know I am God”, I am in control and believe I am sovereign over everything.

One night before Ian  hit, while I was still combating emotional and fearful  issues,  I heard a small still voice, say,  ” Believe I am for you.”  That was it!  I knew it was the Lord because it allligned with His Word:
“If God is for us who can be against us?”  and “Neither principalities nor powers nor anything can separate us from His Great Love. (Romans 8:31-39)
I had a choice to continue to doubt and fear or believe Him. I decided to believe Him.

Blessed to be a Blessing

Hurricane Ian hit us with powerful winds of more than 120 mph and took down two of our coconut trees and our pool cage; We prayed for the Lord to move it away but He allowed it to stay. So, therefore, I knew God had a reason.  We learned our son, Mike, and daughter, Windy, and their families in the Cape Coral area were ok, and the flood in the storm surge which rose high sweeping into their neighborhoods did some damage to my son’s garage air conditioner and hot water heater, but completely missed my daughter’s as it moved up just inches from both of their ground floors. Their families became blessings to their neighbors as my son,his wife, and our grandson, Tyler, went throughout the neighborhood removing debris from their neighbor’s flooded homes.  And my daughter provided shelter for her neighbor as their flooded home became uninhabitable. ( Luke 10:27)

The aftermath brought the opportunity for us to receive God’s love, as so many sent us messages of their prayers and concerns. We cleaned up our yard as best we could but the pool cage and trees that were down we had to leave.  We were left with no place to go and as I woke up the second morning without power, water, internet, and cell phone access, I felt an overwhelming despondency, and  helplessness not knowing what to do next.
So I prayed,

                                             “Lord, I don’t know what to do, Jesus help us!”

In the immediate aftermath, we were unable to communicate with our family as cell phone towers were damaged. It was chaos as many places closed, trees and power lines were down and long lines to gas pumps arose. The traffic lights were out, so maneuvering to where we needed to go imposed uncertain risks.

JESUS, HELP!

As my daughter-in-law, Jelena described it, it was like a war zone.  At times we would get calls and texts, but we were unable to respond.  Then I prayed somehow my son would show up.  As he walked through the only door accessible because the storm shutters were still up, I knew the Lord was answering my prayer.  I had learned when faced with a situation beyond my control or efforts to fix,  to call on the Lord- JESUS, HELP! There is power in the Name of Jesus and He comes always to rescue and save. (Psalm 120:1)

God’s Grace

When my son, Mike assessed our situation he made a call to my husband’s sister, Susie in Ft. Lauderdale.  She and her husband, Mark have a home with an attached apartment so we were invited to stay.  In fact, my son, Mike, insisted we go. One of the reasons was the fact that my husband Richard, had a leg injury and was limited in what he could do.
With all Mike was handling to restore his home and help others with theirs, we were a liability, if we remained. After my grandson emptied our refrigerator, and we packed what we could, we hit the road, along with my granddaughter, Brandi, and great-granddaughter, Evelyn.  At the intersection leaving our neighborhood, the road was block with cars going in different directions, but suddenly, a young man immerged from his car in front of us to guide us out so we could get around the chaos, I knew this was the Lord’s assurance.
We prayed for safety and the ability to continue onto I-75 to Florida’s East Coast. Traffic crawled for a while and we thought it might be the same when we approached the interstate, but instead, traffic was moving like it normally does. So we arrived at their home, a secluded place, with much more than water, power, and cell phone access, we arrived to our family’s open arms with God’s mercy, and grace.

Like many, my lifestyle is full of distractions which although not bad, can mislead and direct me away from doing God’s will.  With electrical power and no internet, cell phone not operating, water not running, and no place to go, it got my attention concerning His priorities, and I was learning once more, what is really important. God took away but gave back through the love and help of our family and friends, we were reminded we can trust in His sovereignty and grace with the knowledge He is always in control.

In calamity, there is always the opportunity to see God work in subtle and miraculous ways. What I have learned in these storms is like the theme in “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, that nothing can steal my hope and faith in a loving and merciful God. If we focus on Him instead of our circumstances and ignore the enemy’s fear tactics,  we see glimpses of His beauty, and Sovereignty and realize He is absolutely in control.  What we must control is the temptation to focus on the calamity rather than on His faithfulness and unconditional love.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Habakkuk 3: 17-18

The enemy never lets a crisis go to waste without the opportunity to point his little finger.  But if you are in Christ, Jesus’ shed blood covers it all, and whether it’s His discipline or testing of faith, He has promised He will work it all out for your good, and others according to His plan. (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11)

Jesus Stops the Storm

The storm was raging around them as they sat in their fishing boat. There lay the Lord, sleeping and at rest  until His disciples woke Him suddenly, shouting in desperation,  asking: “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”  So Jesus got up immediately and stilled their hearts and stopped the storm, and then they understood, God is sovereign and is always in control, always.   Matthew 8:23-27

How I Came to Faith in Jesus Christ

References and Tools
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Leaving This World Behind

“His Abide” 
Reading  Reflecting Responding
(Summary – Reflection- Prayer)
To
God’s Word while Walking it Out

Context: Mark 1:1-45
Focus:  Mark 1: 16-20


“And they left their nets at once and followed Him.” Mark 1:18

Summary:  After Jesus was tempted by the devil He went into Galilee where He preached the Good News. His message; “repent and believe the Good News for the Kingdom of God is near.” Then one day as He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Andrew and his brother, Peter who fished for a living, throwing a net into the water.  He said to them to follow Him and He would show them how to fish for people. They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Then a little farther up the shore he found the sons of Zebedee repairing their nets. He called them and at once they left their father in the boat along with other hired men and followed Jesus.

Reflection: Once you encounter the Son of God there is really nothing in this life worth clinging too. There is no occupation or relationship that compares to knowing Him and the work involved in building “His Kingdom”. Sometimes we have one foot in His Kingdom, while the other remains in this world.  It takes the Lord and His faithfulness to pull our foot out of the net and traps, to stand firm in His Salvation, moving forward in Him, without looking back.

My Prayer:  Lord, thank you for taking on all our sins and forgiving us, and calling us into your everlasting Kingdom. There is nothing that can compare with You. I will move forward in confidence and love, because you have sealed me in your blood.

CR: Luke 9:62

References and Tools
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Preparing the Way in Repentance

“His Abide” 
Reading  Reflecting Responding
(Summary – Reflection- Prayer)
To
God’s Word while Walking it Out

Context: Mark 1: 1-8
Focus:  Matthew 28: 2-3

“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ’s salvation, making a path of repentance to receiving Him as Savior and Lord. He told many to repent of their sins and be baptized as a sign they had turned to God for forgiveness.  But John was also a witness who identified Him, pointing Him out, saying “someone is coming who is greater than I am and I’m not even worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of his sandals.”  He said he baptized with water but the One Who would follow him would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism can save no one. It is meant to be a witness and sign of repentance and a confession of faith in Jesus Christ. It represents being made clean and made righteous through the confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  But unfortunately, some churches teach it is necessary for salvation. But just like circumcision only marked those who were in the Jewish faith, so it is with baptism.  For it is not through circumcision nor baptism that sets a person apart for God’s plan of salvation, but the circumcision of the heart- sincere repentance. Many received the Holy Spirit after confessing their faith in Jesus Christ, and then were baptized, and others received the infilling of the Holy Spirit upon water baptism. But what prepares the way of receiving the promised Holy Spirit is not a ritual but a sincere repentant heart accepting the gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection. If you don’t recognize you sin, then how can you recognize the need of a Savior who forgives all? So the heart must be laid bare, no obstacle in the way, no pride holding on to self-righteousness. (Romans 2: 25-29, Acts 10: 44-48, Matthew 3: 1-11)

When I believed in Jesus Christ as a child of twelve years I received the Holy Spirit promised to all who believe the gospel message.  It was not until later that I was baptized in His Name.  It was out of an act of obedience that I was baptized because the Lord commands it to identify us as followers of Christ and follow Him in service.  The thief on the cross was not baptized, for it was impossible to do so, yet he was promised eternal life.  Just as partaking of Holy Communion does not mean you are saved, but is a reminder of what Christ has done for those who believe, water baptism signifies we have been made clean by obeying the Word to believe. We are baptized not unto a church or doctrine but baptized unto the Lord, in every way. ( John 3:16, Luke 23: 39-43, )

Prayer: Lord, thank you for first showing us we sin through knowledge of your law, and without the law through faith in the death and resurrection of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, we receive your salvation through acknowledging our need for Him with a repentant heart.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2: 8-10

References and Tools
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God is in Control

“His Abide” 
Reading  Reflecting Responding
(Summary – Reflection- Prayer)
To
God’s Word while Walking it Out

Context: Matthew 28: 1-20
Focus:  Matthew 28: 18

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Matthew 28: 18

Summary: Before the Lord’s ascension He told his disciples all authority in heaven and earth belonged to Him. With that knowledge, they were to go out and make disciples from all nations, baptizing them in His Name- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They were to teach them to observe all His commands, and then He reminded them, He would be with them to the end of the age.

Reflection: Much of King David’s Psalms are pleas of help to the One He knew had the authority to release him from danger, afflictions and snares that threatened his soul. But although the psalm may begin with a sense of desperation, by its conclusion, it transforms, to a calmness, stillness, in praise and thanksgiving with assuring peace that comes only from the Lord.  Have you noticed that too? (Philippians 4:7)

Psalm 46:10

Sometimes it takes a person in authority and under authority to recognize God is always in control. One example of this is when a  Roman Centurion soldier asked Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus said he would go to the place where his servant, lay,  the Centurion responded that all Jesus had to do was to say the word and he knew his servant would be healed. And so it happened, that when Jesus said his servant would  recover, he believed Him,  and discovered at the exact time the word was given, his servant recovered and was made whole. (Luke 7: 1-10)

Recently, I found myself in a circumstance not knowing what to do. The more I tried to fix the problem, the  more I became entangled in an invisible net. But when I called out to Jesus who is sovereign over everything and in control, I was reminded of His Word
“Be still and know that I am God”.
Suddenly, I sensed His presence and the tempest blocked.
The Word says in everything we are to pray trust and wait, whenever we become anxious over anything.  It’s one thing to pray, and to even trust, but “Wait” is another discipline altogether.   I find whenever I neglect to wait,  I thwart His strategy and timing, while stepping on ahead of Him with my sword, swinging aimlessly, without making contact. I am no match for the enemy’s tactics, but the Lord can take Him out with one blow and turn everything around on a dime.  The thing that ties His hands are my doubts, impatience and wanting to take care of the circumstance, myself,
Right NOW!

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

When Jesus said all authority is given to Him it means our part is to submit to Him, in doing His work, then whatever we do or wherever we go we are in His authority and nothing will be impossible for us. He promises never to leave  or forsake us in any circumstance, because He is Lord over it and works everything to His purpose and our good. (Romans 8:28)

My Prayer: Lord, How wonderful to know as our Lord and Savior you direct things towards your perfect will. And in this we know, whatever the outcome, It is always Good, because you are Good. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

CR: Psalm 25:15, Psalm 34:4-6, Psalm 40:1-17

References and Tools
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The Breakthrough

“His Abide” 
Reading  Reflecting Responding
To
God’s Word while Walking it Out

Context: Matthew 27: 1-66
Focus:  Matthew 27:51-52

“At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” Matthew 27: 51-52

Definition: Breakthrough – a military movement or advance all the way through and beyond an enemy’s frontline defense. An act or instance of removing or surpassing an obstruction or restriction; the overcoming of a stalemate.

Following the time of darkness whereby God’s presence was removed, Jesus shouted out the second time, releasing His spirit. Suddenly, there was an earthquake, the curtain in the sanctuary separating the Holy of Holies was torn in two, rocks split open, and the tombs opened releasing the bodies of saints as they were raised from the dead.

Christ’s separation from the Father while He took on the sins of the world was our breakthrough from darkness. It was as though thru the darkness  of clouds covering the earth, the light and the brightness of His Son broke through. While the Father received back His Son, our forgiveness was received too.

Recently, I was in a time of darkness, and the only thing I knew to do was to shout,
“Jesus Help!, Jesus Help me!”. The cloud of my circumstance was removed, and His light began dispersed the turmoil and made my heart be still.
There is no dark circumstance that can separate us from the Father’s great love, because Jesus shouted for us from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Romans 8:39,  Luke 23:34, Hebrews 12:5)

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending your SON, Jesus Christ to do what we could not do.  Let us remember to call upon His Name and be released from the enemy, in which He has already destroyed. By shedding His blood, He did what you wanted Him to do.

Christ’s Breakthrough Makes a Way for Me and You
CR: John 19:34 , Luke 22:19, Numbers 20: 10-11, Exodus 14:29-31, John 14:6

 

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