Waiting and Waiting

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength… Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Waiting.  Waiting. Waiting can be hard.  Families wait for Daddy (and sometimes Mommy) to come home from work.  Children wait for Christmas and Santa. Grandparents wait for grandchildren to visit. All of us wait for our prayers to be answered.  We wonder what the delay could be. Why aren’t we getting our answers right NOW?!

I remember how as a child I met my Daddy at the bus stop every afternoon.  I would trudge up Fillmore Avenue a quarter of a mile and sit myself on a big rock, watching the traffic along 24th Street.  Many cars, trucks, and buses would go by but not stop. Finally, the bus would come with my Daddy and I would hold his hand all the way home.  One day, I looked at the clock wrong and went an hour early, waiting and waiting until I tearfully trudged home alone.  When my Daddy finally arrived home, he wondered where I was that day, and I told him the sad story of my waiting. I didn’t meet him so often after that.  

I wonder, do we do the same thing with our prayers?  Are we at the bus stop expecting answers too soon? Then, when the answers don’t come in our timing, we don’t meet with Jesus so often anymore?  

In the book of Daniel, we get a glimpse into what is happening while we are waiting on God.  We might think the prayer-mail delivery service is slow this time of year, that FedEx is having a tough time keeping up with the prayer packages delivered to Heaven’s Throne room, often out late at night delivering prayers. 

But we can be assured that our prayers are not delayed! For the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).  And God hears our every prayer (John 9:31).  So what is the delay?  In Daniel 10 we read how angels were dispatched to help Daniel the moment he started praying. But the enemy’s angels prevented help from arriving for three weeks! Up in the heavens, where we can’t even see, angels are fighting battles for us that we don’t even know, all because of our prayers (Ephesians 6:12).  

…“Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me… Daniel 10:12-13 (NKJV)

What are you waiting for today? Today, I wait for healing for our nation and an end to Covid19 and cancer, for healing for church friends, for dear ones to give their hearts to Jesus,  and especially for Jesus to come again!

You know who else is waiting? God!  You remember the story of the prodigal son?  Just as the father waited expectantly for the prodigal son to return, God waits expectantly for us.  Jesus can’t come until the last person written in His Book of Life believes in Him.  Perhaps you are the one to tell that person!

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Daniel’s prayers in Daniel 10.  Keep praying and waiting, my friends.  God is sending answers!  And as Christmas approaches, remember the Answer He sent to a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.  

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  1 John 4:14 (NKJV)

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:9 (NKJV)

Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NKJV)

...that there should be delay no longer… Revelation 10:6 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 

Jesus is Coming Soon!

…“Where is the promise of His coming? 2 Peter 3:4 (NKJV)

“Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!”  the children cry!

“Are you ready for Christmas?” the friendly neighbors inquire.

“Only 16 more shopping days!” the store windows (and Facebook ads) proclaim.

Everywhere we see reminders that Christmas is just around the corner and we must hurry to be ready. But even more important than the arrival of Christmas is the return of this holiday’s namesake, Jesus the Christ is coming back to earth! 

For over 400 years, God’s people waited for the first arrival of their promised Savior, Jesus Christ. When He came as a baby in a manger bed, only a few special people recognized Him for who He was, after waiting so long…Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wisemen, Simeon, and Anna.  Will we recognize Jesus when He comes the second time?  

You probably know the story very well…A Baby was born that first Christmas to a virgin whose name was Mary.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, coming humbly, not to a palace but to a stable.  This same Baby Jesus grew up without sin, helping His earthly dad Joseph as a carpenter.  But when He turned 30, His ministry began…healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, teaching the people about His Father, God.  Then just three years later, this same Jesus gave His life for us on the cross.  He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him, but He did not, because He loved us and wanted to die for our sins.  Then on the third day, He arose from the grave, conquering sin and death forever for all who believe in His Name.  Forty days later He ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead.  When He comes the second time, it won’t be as a baby in a manger seen only by a few, it will be as a Mighty King on a white horse, coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him and every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!  (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-35, Luke 2:7, Matthew 13:55, Luke 3:23, Luke 7:22-23, Matthew 26:53, John 3:16-17, Luke 24:1-7, Luke 24:50-53, Philippians 2:9-11, Revelation 19:11).  

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)

So, this time of year and all year round, instead of children crying, “Christmas is coming,” we should be hearing…

“Jesus is coming!  Jesus is coming!  Hosanna!” the children cry!

“Is your heart ready for Jesus?” the caring neighbors inquire.

“We don’t know the day nor the hour, so be ready!” the church windows proclaim.

…For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98:9 (NKJV)

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Oh, precious one, beloved of God, prepare your heart for His coming, for He is coming soon.  Ask Jesus to be your Savior today. And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  1 John 2:28 (NKJV) He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord Zechariah 2:10 (NKJV)

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:9 (NKJV)

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,

One day the skies with His glory will shine;

Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;

Glorious Savor, this Jesus is mine!  

Living, He loved me;

Dying, He saved me;

Buried, He carried my sins far away;

Rising, He justified freely forever:

One day He’s coming — O, glorious day!

(J. Wilber Chapman, 1910). 

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 

 

Witness of the Stone


But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
Luke 24:2 (NKJV)

Easter is here in just a few days! In just a few days we proclaim, “He is risen!” (Mark 16:6) Who is risen? It’s Jesus! How do we know He is risen? Because the stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty and Jesus appeared to so many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6). Would you consider that perhaps the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection was the stone?

The stone that was rolled in front of the tomb (Mark 16:46).

The stone that was sealed with the Roman seal and guarded by Roman guards (Matthew 27:66).

The stone that would be too heavy for the ladies to move who came Sunday morning to anoint His body with spices (Mark 16:3).

But the stone had already been rolled away by an angel and an earthquake (Matthew 28:2)! The stone miraculously rolled away, leaving fainting guards and an empty tomb (Matthew 28:4-6)! If the stone could tell the story, what would it say?

Having stones as witnesses is not something new. Centuries before Jesus’ crucifixion when God’s people entered the Promised Land, Joshua set up stones as a witness (Joshua 4:7). Right before Joshua died, he set up another stone, declaring…

…“Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” Joshua 24:27 (NKJV)

We wonder what Joshua’s stone thought when God’s people turned away from Him again and again and again? Did it witness to all the words of Moses and Joshua? Did it tell the people how far they had fallen from God? Did the stone show God how much His people needed a Savior?

And when that Savior, God’s Son Jesus, came to walk this earth, He taught the people about stones. He said He could raise up children for Abraham from the stones (Luke 3:8), that if the people didn’t praise God, the very stones would cry out to worship Him (Luke 19:40), and that the Stone the builders rejected had become the Chief Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22).

 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40 (NKJV)

Yes, the stone that rolled away is a witness for us that Jesus, who died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and the third day rose to eternal life. The stone shouts, “The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen!” We must believe the stone moved and Jesus is alive, or our faith is in vain.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Listen to the witness of the stone: Jesus is risen! Read one of the Gospel accounts (perhaps Matthew 28:1-10) of this greatest story ever, the true story of our Savior Jesus rising from the grave. Believe in Jesus. Thank Him for His saving work on the cross, His forgiveness, and His promise of eternal life in heaven.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.