Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And He said to all, ‘If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself – forget and lose sight of himself and his own interests – and take up his cross daily and follow Me – cleave steadfastly to Me. Conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also.’”
Luke 9: 23
“Through all the fog, through all earth’s wintry sighs,
I scent Thy spring, I feel the eternal air,
Warm, soft and dewy, filled with flowery eyes,
And gentle, murmuring motions everywhere –
Of life in heart, and tree, and brook, and moss;
Thy breath wakes beauty, love, and bliss, and prayer.
And strength to hang with nails upon Thy cross.”
“Look up today,
O parched plant,
and open your leaves
and flowers for a heavenly watering.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. During that night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain. And Darius the Mede took the kingdom; he was about sixty-two years old. It pleased King Darius (successor to Belshazzar) to set over the kingdom 120 satraps (a provincial governor in ancient Persia) who should be in charge throughout all the kingdom. And over them three presidents – of whom Daniel was one – that these satraps might give account to them and that the king should have no loss or damage. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
Daniel 5: 29-31
Daniel 6: 1-3
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 18
“Why Do We Have to Wait?”
“We can’t hurry God, and we can’t bribe Him or force Him to alter the plan He’s made. But we can learn to trust Him not to waste our waiting time.”
Have I found myself frustrated by the times in my own life when, from a human viewpoint, I appeared to be wasting my time waiting for God to move in my life?
“God’s mill grinds slow, but sure.”
“What have I asked God for and yet all I seem to be doing is waiting for Him to answer my request?
“God is never late, but neither does He seem to be particularly early. He waits until we know we need His help, and then He opens His generous hand.”
“The hardest part about letting God fight your battle is that He sometimes waits until the eleventh hour so you will have no doubt of where the power is coming from.”
The above quote just happens to be one I have written in the first page of my Daily Planner. I came upon these words several years ago and felt impressed to write them down. Now, whenever I get a new daily planning book, I copy these words on January 1 of each year into my clean and unmarked calendar.
There is a reason these words have found a permanent home in my life. It is because whenever I read them, they serve to remind me that in the coming days of my life, everything won’t be happening on Dorothy’s timetable – even though - from my earthly perspective, I wish it would.
Whenever the topic of learning to live our earthly lives by God’s heavenly time clock has been undertaken here in Transformation Garden, I’ve made reference to a wonderful book called Waiting by pastor and author Ben Patterson. This tremendous volume tackles the study topic of two Biblical giants – Job and Abraham – both whose lives represent the “learned ability” to wait upon God. Patterson shares a story in his book which illustrates the lesson of waiting from the long-view perspective as I wish our focus to be today:
“There is a story in the Talmud about a wise and pious rabbi named Akiba. He had taken a trip to a strange country where mystery still dwelt. With him he took his three possessions – a donkey, a rooster and a lamp. When he stopped at a village for lodging, the people drove him out and he was forced to spend the night in the forest. Being the holy and pious man he was, he took his pains with ease and said, ‘All that God does is done well.’
So he found a tree under which to sleep, lit his lamp and prepared to study the Torah before retiring. But a fierce wind blew out the light, forcing him to sleep early. Later that night, wild animals came through and chased away the rooster. Still later, thieves took his donkey. But, in each case, Rabbi Akiba said, ‘All that God does is done well.’
The next morning he went back to the village. There he discovered that soldiers had come and killed everyone in the village. Had he been permitted to stay there, he too would have died. He learned also that the soldiers traveled through the same part of the forest where he slept. Had they seen the light of his lamp or heard his rooster crow or donkey bray, again, he would have been killed. Thinking on all of these things, he replied as he always did: ‘All that God does is done well.’”
As I read the end of Daniel 5 and the beginning of Daniel 6, our study texts for today, I wondered to myself if the prophet Daniel ever said in his heart, “All that God does is done well.” Looking over God’s leading in his life, this now elderly man of God robbed in purple with a chain of gold around his neck and a new title given to him by the new ruler of the land, King Darius, must have been in a state of total surprise. Yet, Daniel had to have been able to see the hand of God in all the events that had transpired, no matter what they were or however long it took for God to act on behalf of His child. From captive to president, from private citizen to palace prominence, Daniel’s God was at his side.
And I want to add, that for all of us who are waiting for God’s intervention in our own lives, in small ways as well as large ones, the speed and efficiency which mark the events of one evening in Daniel’s life, when he was called to the banquet feast of King Belshazzar and by morning had been elevated to one of three presidents in the nation, should give us not only hope but also undergird our faith in the Almighty God who in a moment’s notice can change circumstances, master minds and move the unmovable.
So I want to end today as I began – with my daily calendar and the words of one of my favorite authors Warren Wiersbe who also gives all of us who are waiting upon God this heaven-sent advice: “The best thing you and I can do is to stop looking at our watches and calendars and simply look by faith into the face of God and let Him have His way – in His time…(Remember) God can grow a mushroom overnight, but He will take time to grow an oak or a giant sequoia.”
“He hath made every thing beautiful in His time.”
Ecclesiastes 3: 11
“God has a perfect timetable for meeting your needs.”
“In the depths of my being
I become quiet and still;
I wait for you, my God,
Source of my salvation.”
“From the depths of my despair I call to you,
O Lord, hear my voice.
I look for the Lord, my soul waits for Him
In His word is all my trust.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, trust in the Lord!
for with Him is steadfast love,
and great is His power to save
Psalm 130: 1, 2, 5-7
“Father in heaven! You speak to us in many ways. Even when You are silent, You still speak to us, in order to examine us, to try us, and so that the hour of our understanding may be more profound. Oh, in the time of silence, when I remain alone and abandoned because I do not hear Your voice, it seems as if the separation must last for ever. Father in heaven! It is only a moment of silence in the intimacy of a conversation. Bless then this silence, and let me not forget that You are silent through love, and that You speak through love, so that in Your silence and in Your word You are still the same Father, and that You guide and instruct even by Your silence.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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