Waiting in Harmony

f there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we hate waiting. We despise it. In our fast-paced digital world, waiting is a monotonous waste of time.

If there is one thing we all have in common, it’s that we hate waiting. We despise it. In our fast-paced digital world, waiting is a monotonous waste of time.

And yet right before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the disciples to stay in town and wait on the Holy Spirit. (See Luke 24:49.) He didn’t tell them exactly where to stay, how long they would be there, or what they should do with their time. Nor did He explain what it would be like when the Holy Spirit came.

He just told them to wait. And then He left His followers behind.

The Waiting

Fifty days. That’s the amount of time between Acts 1 and Acts 2. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but it must have felt like forever to the 120 people who put their lives on hold to wait for the Holy Spirit.

But they didn’t wait passively. During those seven weeks, they

  • prayed continuously
  • ministered to one another
  • shared what they had with those in need
  • loved and prayed for one another
  • told stories of Jesus’ life
  • mourned Jesus’ death and
  • celebrated Jesus’ resurrection.

The Harmony

“These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer…” (Acts 1:14 NAS). The KJV states, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication….”

That’s 120 people repeatedly gathering in one room for 50 days. Not fighting. Not panicking. Not seeking their own interests.

They were waiting in “one accord.” The Greek word for this phrase means “with one mind, one accord, one passion.” The expression combines two thoughts, “to rush along” and “in unison.” This creates a musical image, reminding us that a number of different notes must be combined to create a unique harmony.

All of Jesus’ followers were regular people. They had their own backgrounds, emotions, and beliefs about what God was doing. They didn’t check their individuality at the door when they walked into the upper room. But through prayer, they surrendered their own desires and wills to that of Jesus. As they submitted to Him, they were able to live and worship together, in true harmony.

The Results

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1 KJV).

When the big day came….when God showed up in full force…when thousands were gathered together outside… Jesus’ followers were ready! Because a small group of believers chose to be obedient and wait on the Lord, three thousand people were saved that day. And thus the gospel began to spread across the world.

Our Turn

As Christians, we still wait on the Lord. Individually, we wait for Him to give us guidance, for healing, and for loved ones to be saved. As a Church body, we wait for fresh movements, revival, and for the second coming of our King.

The great news is that we now have the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit within us! If we will allow Him to move in our lives and within the Church, He will direct us to Jesus—with one mind, in one accord, and in complete harmony.

If 120 people could start the Christian movement, imagine what the Church can do today!

Holy Spirit, help us to focus on Jesus. As we set our sights on Him, help us to live in harmony with You and with one another.

Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com

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A Great Resource

If this topic interests you, I highly recommend the The Centurion’s Wife. This is an excellent fiction book set within the fifty days that occurred between Jesus’ resurrection and the day of Pentecost. It’s the first in the Acts of Faith series by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn.

Facing Fear

fear

When the phone rings unexpectedly in the middle of the night, it’s never good news.  Kenny and I had only been married a few months when the call came.  My grandmother had been assaulted in her home. She often traveled by bus from Arkansas to Texas or Florida to visit family.  We worried about the “kind of people” she might encounter at the bus stations and what could happen there, but not at her home located in a small farming town with very little crime. We thought that was a safe place.

We grieved for the pain, physical and emotional, that my grandmother experienced.  We were angry. We wanted the man who committed this crime to see justice.  We now were not only concerned about her safety when she traveled, but at all times.  Those feelings and responses weren’t surprising.  What was unexpected was the fear that began to grow and fester in my own heart.  A fear that lurked in the day as well as the night.

I knew in my head that a relationship with Jesus was not a guarantee of personal safety.  I am sure I had even said so out loud, but now I had to confess the reality of my heart was that I felt my grandmother had earned a right to be safe.

She loved Jesus more than anyone I knew and would share with anyone and everyone about him . . . whether they wanted to hear or not.  This is what she often did in those bus stations.  We saw people who weren’t safe, she saw people who needed Jesus. She might even jump up in the middle of a sermon and let the preacher and everyone in the church know how much she loved Jesus and how thankful she was for him.

But there wasn’t just a new fear for my grandmother’s safety.  There was a new fear for my own.  If God had not protected my grandmother, who loved him so dearly, how could I trust him to keep me safe?

Thus began my journey into a binding fear.  For many months I did not want to be alone in our apartment.  I would sit in Kenny’s office while he worked until he was ready to go home.  The only way to enter our apartment was through the front door or window.  If I had to be there alone, I would sit in a chair where I could see the door and window and wait for Kenny to come home.

I searched the scriptures for a verse or story that would guarantee my safety.  There were stories of deliverance, but there were also stories of beatings and death.  I wanted someone to tell me that if I did certain things, followed certain rules, nothing like this would happen to me, but it wasn’t there.  I couldn’t find, and no one could give me the sense of security I desperately wanted.

The worst part was that for as long as I could remember I had found my security in the Word and in my relationship with God and now I had no source of comfort. No sanctuary. No peace. I didn’t understand I had previously built my foundation on sinking sand – on a false idea that I could put God in my debt.  I felt God had abandoned my grandmother, that I couldn’t trust him not to abandon me and as a result, I wanted to abandon him . . . but he would not let me go.

I remember another call in the middle of the night, but this was not by phone.  It was my heart calling, crying out to God in my anger and fear.  I told him I thought he was a rotten God and that I didn’t want anything to do with him.  The odd thing was, the more I unleashed my spiteful words, the more he seemed to draw near.  Looking back, I was like a child throwing a tantrum and God, the Father, wrapped his arms around me and held on until the ranting stopped and the calm set in.

It was a turning point.  Although it would take time, and there were many more days and nights of fear and not so pretty, well let’s be honest, ugly prayers to come, God began to build a new foundation. A faith more solid and secure.  A faith that didn’t completely fall apart when God didn’t act in the way I wanted.  A faith that could weather the storms, not that water wouldn’t get in the boat or the sails were never torn, but I wouldn’t be capsized.

I would be lying if I said fear is no longer an issue.  It still rears its ugly head – especially when it comes to my children.  But I’ve learned and am still learning . . . God Is Enough.

I was recently reading in John chapter twenty.  The disciples were gathered in a locked room because they were afraid. Jesus came to them in their fear and said, “Peace be with you.”  He didn’t say it just once.

Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”  Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

I thought about how those same men who had been hiding in fear were able to be sent out, to endure persecution and even to die for Jesus.  They no longer lived in fear. What made the difference?

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20)

They saw the risen Lord, his wounds, and they received the Holy Spirit.  This same Holy Spirit who transformed the disciples into men of courage resides in us and can transform us as well.  Transformation isn’t quick or easy, but it is possible.  I know. I’ve experienced it and continue to experience it.

Peace be with you.

Tami Lowman

Visit Tami @https://ktlowman.wordpress.com

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Surrendering the Everyday Setbacks That Attack a Mother’s Joy

joy

I told myself never to post pictures of half-eaten food on the Internet, but, alas, this is what we’ve come to. I totally understand if you judge. I’m judging this photo plenty, because, well, it’s ugly, mostly eaten food. Gross.

But that’s just it. This is a real moment in real time. As I sat at this table, I realized that one of my biggest energy draining moments is the clean up after meal time.

It’s just an everyday thing. It keeps coming and never ends. The kids finish their food – and by that, I mean we negotiate down to the last bite that they’re physically willing to put in their mouths, no matter how nicely I ask or how many privileges are revoked or how many times I explain what “wasteful” means or how many starving children there are. Afterward, they beeline for their toys, energized by the nourishment I coerced into their bodies while I’m left slumped over my cold egg sandwich.

I love being home with my kids. I wouldn’t trade it for a paid trip to Skywalker Ranch, but I’m realizing this teensy, little pocket of my day is draining me. I didn’t see it before, so the source was unidentified. It merely felt like the absence of joy.

What a gross feeling.

Like staring at a plate of mostly eaten egg sandwiches.

Satan excels at this. Distraction, discouragement, disappointment. Hiding the joy right before our eyes by covering our mind with the fog of doubt.

I thought about this as I sat alone at my grubby lunch table. Then, a new thought struck me: Enough about the devil. I know his schemes. He wants to destroy my family and my heart. Got it. Now what truths did God lay out in His Word that I can cling to?

I cracked open my bible. And guess what? God showed up.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 NIV

That about covers it, don’t you think? The thing I love so manically about hope is actively pursuing the future. Hope is never idle. It’s like the hand reaching down to lift you out of the pit so that you can breathe fresh air and feel the warm sun on your face once again.

Not just any hope, though. Look again at God’s tag-team effort with the Holy Spirit on our behalf:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 NIV

Here are two takeaways from this verse and my Eeyore attitude at the dinner table:

  1. Tomorrow is a new day. I don’t care how cliche it is; God stands the test of time and so does hope in Him. Just look at the cross for the ultimate example.
  2. We don’t have to power the “hope engine” on our own steam. The Holy Spirit called dibs on that long before we were around. When we try it on our own, burnout ensues. It looks a lot like a tired mom staring blankly at her sink full of dishes feeling alone while her kids race around her ankles. It looks like a mom stuffing her paintbrushes in a drawer, surrendering to that voice in her head that says she doesn’t deserve to chase a dream.

The most powerful thing I did was acknowledge how I felt in that oh-not-dirty-dishes-again moment and asked God to reveal His joy to me. I’m not going to tell you that angels descended on my modular home and went Mary Poppins on the place. I will say that the fog of discouragement lifted. In that moment, I realized that my 3-year-old was now old enough to carry her own dish to the sink after meals and that I need to teach this to my kids if I expect anything to change. I realized that I just thanked God for that meal and the roof over our heads with my eyes closed and my hand wrapped around my 1-year-old’s pudgy fingers. Did I believe my own prayer if moments later I was sulking about that same food and the “burden” it caused for me?

It’s simply not worth resentfully enduring motherhood or resentfully enduring your friends who “don’t have it so bad.” That’s another lie from the evil one. Cling to God’s promise of hope. Let God protect your joy. It’s that everyday stuff that can bring me to tears with so much affection bursting in my heart. Surrender that to God, and as Paul wrote to the Romans, trust in Him.

Laura Harris

Visit Laura @PiggyBankDreams.com

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