waitingThe five-year-old waits for Christmas morning. The mom waits for a full night’s sleep. The grandpa waits to see his grandkids again.

The student waits for the semester to be over. The employee waits for a promotion. The hard-worker waits for a vacation. The stressed-out wife waits for this season of life to pass.

We are all waiting.

We wait in anticipation of what is to come. And most waiting is filled with hope and excited expectations. However, the patient that waits for news from the doctor may prefer to extend the waiting and not hear that her cancer is back. The young wife who has been trying for years to get pregnant is not looking forward to another month of waiting to see if their dreams will be realized.

We are all waiting.

In Scripture, we learn of a host of the faithful who waited and never got to see what was promised:
“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:39-40).

Today, I am reminded that waiting is about trusting the One who sees the big picture.
During this time of year, we are reminded of the anticipation, the waiting, the expectation of the coming Christ child. God’s timing was perfect.

We may not know the exact date that Jesus came, but we know that God was waiting and planning for the precise moment.

We may not know the exact date that our waiting season will end, but God’s timing is perfect. And even if things don’t turn out as we would like or expect (I mean, who sends the King of Kings to be born in a manger?!), we can trust that God is bigger than all circumstances and that any amount of waiting will be worth it.

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rooted in loveThe prayer at the end of Ephesians 3 has always been one of my favorites. The reminder of the depth, length, height, and depth of God’s love... that His power is at work with me... and that He is able to do beyond what I can ask or imagine. Wow!
These familiar verses fill me with hope, but the renewal of strength came when I took a longer minute to reflect on the way faith and love are an integral part of making it all possible. Christ dwells in my heart through faith—and that faith allows me to comprehend the vastness of His love. I can even know His love that surpasses knowledge. Mind blown. Re-read these verses with me from Ephesians 3:14-21. May you, too, be rooted, grounded, and established in that love, filled with faith that powerfully works in and through us.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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fear or faith be stillDuring the process of transformation, we leave the ugliness and the pain, and move toward freedom. However, if things do not progress exactly as we had hoped, fear takes over and we long to go back to the familiar, no matter how bad things were before. We are not the only ones to fall into that fearful trap. The Israelites had it bad in Egypt. They were slaves and the conditions were getting worse. Deliverance came through Moses, but even before they got very far out of Egypt, their hope of deliverance faded and fear screamed louder than faith.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:10-12 NIV)
What are you enslaved to? What aspect of your life needs transformation and a dose of faith, not fear. I want to encourage you with Moses’ response in the next two verses:
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13, 14 NIV)

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love is greatest1 Corinthians 13:13 says that the greatest of these is love.
Buy why is love the greatest? Here are a few answers from Scripture.
Love prompted God to send His Son (John 3:16).
Love is the foundation of our priorities (Matt. 22:34-40).
Love sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:40).
Love conquers fear (1 John 4:18).
Love forms an unbreakable bond with God (Romans 8:35-39).
Love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Love inspires obedience (John 14:15-24, 15:10).
Love works things together for good, reminding us that God is in control (Romans 8:28).
Love takes wise action with others (Romans 12:9-21).
Love makes things worthwhile (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Do you know anything else that can do all that?
Only God, himself. But since God is love (1 John 4:8), that must be part of why love is the greatest.

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hope and a futureThe Israelites were a rebellious nation. They served other gods and followed a path of adulterous unfaithfulness.
In the book of Jeremiah, God speaks to His people through the prophet Jeremiah to remind them that He has not forgotten them. And in chapter 29, Jeremiah pens a letter to the people who had been taken in exile to Babylon. In the midst of this historical context, we see God’s often-quoted promise to give us hope and a future.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
While the time in Babylonian captivity was partially designed as discipline for Israel’s infidelity, it also served as an opportunity to share with other nations more directly about who God was and invite them into relationship with Him, the sovereign Lord.
Remember Daniel and his friends? What a testimony they gave to the Babylonian and Medo-Persian nations. God has plans to give us hope and a future. It just may not look like we would want it to at the time.
Ultimately, God is in control. Whether the things that happen in our lives are a consequence of our actions, a form of disciple, the product of our decisions, or the design of God, the most important thing to remember is that God has a plan—a plan to give us hope and a future.
God’s plan is divine, infinite, supreme, and the ultimate source of hope for a redeemed future.

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