We are glad you’re joining us. Did you bring along a sister or two? a journal and pen? Hope so…
Look back over last week’s days of study. Which day had the greatest impact on you? Were you surprised in any way? Did anything make you uncomfortable? Why?
Consider sharing your experience with us by leaving a comment using the link at the bottom of this post.
Lord, we thank You so much for this time together. Teach us what You want us to know.
What do these verses have in common?
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. —Psalm 90:14 NIV
“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” —Psalm 5:3 NIV
This week we practiced the discipline of focusing on God first thing in the morning. How did it go for you? If you are prone to hit the floor running… or make a to do list in your mind for the day, did you struggle? Did it get easier?
Both these verses show us how important it is to focus on God in the morning. It brings us joy and makes us glad. It sets the tone for our entire day.
Look back at Psalm 5:3 again. Notice the last word in the NIV version—expectantly. Webster’s defines the word as “feeling or thinking something will happen.” This verse talks of laying our requests before God and waiting.
How are you at waiting? Do you look for the shortest line in the grocery store? at a traffic signal? Does anxiety begin to rule when you think you are waiting too long? Have you ever walked out of something because the wait was longer than you were willing to endure?
The definition of faith and expectant are very similar. You might even say to have faith is to wait expectantly. Does this change your perception of waiting?
My husband’s birthday was coming up and I had a plan. I was going to have an automatic garage door opener installed in the place where he keeps his boat. I bought the opener, had a friend install it, and the kids and I came home early for the big surprise. The plan was as he drove into the driveway we would begin to open and close the door and hope he noticed. The youngest was in charge of running to the back door and clicking the button. We closed the curtains to the front window and the wait began. We were giddy with excitement, our hearts racing. We laughed while we waited. We went into motion several times when we thought the headlights of the car coming were his. Finally, he drove in and we put our plan in motion. As I ran to the back to see his reaction I heard, “This is how you should wait on Me. This is waiting expectantly… this is faith.”
Recently I’ve been considering what it means to trust Him, lean on Him, every moment of every day, not just when things seem hard. This focus on trust led me to an unexpected epiphany about waiting.
You see, I’ve been waiting for change in the lives of loved ones for a long time. We’re talking years, in one case double-digit years. This waiting, even though I know God has to be behind it all and in it all, causes me at times to be impatient and frustrated with those I long to see change. “Why don’t they get it?!”
I know only God makes things grow. Only He transforms the old into new. But I’ve kept my eyes on the ones I want to change. Looking for signs… waiting… hoping on them. What I realized, in this leaning my mind and imagination toward trusting Him was that in all the promises for change I desire, I’m not waiting on my loved ones… I’m waiting on Him!
He’s the One who works in hearts, opens eyes, brings light. He’s the One I’m waiting on.
To wait on Him is to trust the One who is able, the One who knows, the One with perfect timing, the One who loves my loved ones more than I do. To wait on Him keeps my eyes on Him and off those whose seemingly unchanged lives cause frustration and disappointment.
The change in focus is so important, makes such a difference, because when we become frustrated with the ones for whom we pray it changes our attitude toward them. We become stumbling blocks instead of stepping stones. But when we wait on God and become frustrated with Him, He can take it. He actually takes it and changes our hearts, lovingly opens our eyes to His love for us. And here is the place of expectant waiting. Trusting who He is and what He is doing.
How we react in the waiting might just be an indication of how we believe God exists.
I am sure if I asked you, “Do you believe God exists?” you would reply, “Yes.” But to what extent do you believe in His existence? Some believe there is a creator… some “force” that created this world and everything in it, but that is as far as the belief goes.
Take a look back at our memory verse for the week.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11: 16
Let’s break it apart. Part of having faith is drawing near to God. When this week did you feel closest to Him? Why?
It also says we must not only believe he exists but that he rewards those who seek him.
I’ll never forget the impact of the statement my friend made. Three of us were sitting around talking when one of my friends shared plans for a renovation on her house. She talked of remodeling, painting and the choices she was making. She told us of her prayer asking God about the color of carpet she should choose. Later that day, the other friend said, “I just don’t think God cares about the color of the carpet.”
The statement stirred many questions in my mind. Does God care about carpet color? the little things in our lives that don’t make an impact when it comes to world peace, or feeding the hungry? Does God exist in these places? I realize carpet color might not have seemed important to one friend, but it was to the other. The bigger question for me was about God’s existence. Did God exist in a personal way that included even what seemed like the silliest of requests?
The stirring in my heart brought me to a realization that God exists in all places of our lives. He is so much more than some force who stepped back from His creation and let it go. He is not some distant deity uninvolved in our daily lives. He exists in a way that is so personal even our choice of carpet color matters to Him.
Have you placed limits on God’s existence? Do you believe He rewards those who seek Him? Would you share an example in your life when you experienced His reward?
The Scripture says God rewards those who seek Him. Are you seeking Him in your life? In what areas are you praying He will show up? Wondering if He will?
It really all comes down to belief in so many ways. On our last day of study we read about the father whose son suffered from an unclean spirit. In Mark we find the father asking Jesus to heal his son. Notice how the father made his request:
“But if you can do anything…”—Mark 9:22
Did you discover any areas where you pray “iffy” prayers?
Jesus said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Do you think this is true? How has Jesus proven this in your life?
Believers’ prayers are answered in three ways: Yes, No, Wait. How do you respond when He says No or Wait? Do you accept it by faith? Do you pout, whine, or maybe throw a fit? Do you doubt He heard you or even cares?
Most of our prayers take some waiting. And we can choose to wait with faith that expects He is doing exactly what is best for us and those we love. It may not be exactly what we want, how we want it, or on our timeline, but believing God exists assures us we will get an answer.
We pray your belief in God’s existence has been strengthened and your understanding of His existence in your everyday life has grown.
The next five days will bring posts helping you go deeper into believing God is God.
Here’s a link to download the PDF of the Study Sheet for: Week 2– Going Deeper
Have a great week!