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.

Courage in the Quiet: Sometimes A Brave Heart Waits

Courage in the Quiet: Sometimes A Brave Heart Waits

I waited patiently for the Lord… (Psalm 40:1)

Waiting can be much more difficult than walking. It requires patience. Not a very natural fruit of the spirit we’re born with. As babies, we cried until we were content. As children, we ignored the stop signs. In our adolescence, we found ways around the rules. And as a teen, we flat out rebelled against ‘no’. And now, here we are as adults. Now, we can buy our way through the delay.

Did you know that God has a purpose in ALL His delays? And the ‘stops’ too.

When we don’t rush the race, this steady walk provides a renewal of strength. We are empowered by our self-control in the stops. Edges are chiseled as we wait. The wait is growing endurance and perseverance below the surface. It is refining the steps in front of us. But so often we see standing still as failure and being forced into inaction – required to watch the tides of life as we stand on the shore.

It takes a fierce faith to submit to the will of God and give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others. To be quiet. Confident. And even rejoicing while the busyness rushes past you.

In a cloud of isolated quick thinking, our fleeting feelings are apt to react with coward logic when life isn’t moving. Poor decisions are made. Life-staking choices. We exchange God’s best for an offer of immediate gratification. Almost always, we regret it.

The winner’s circle is a quiet waiting. Stay still. Surrender your schedule. When the pressure in life hits your tender places and the reflex is to react, remember it requires more courage to stand still, wait and still not lose heart or hope.

Instead of running for relief, relax. Rest. Push through the crowded thoughts that are limiting time and self-defeating in light of your submission. Your words carry weight and create reality. Your words in your own mind, about yourself, circulate the truth. What truth are you telling yourself?

In the heat of pressure and resistance, reach into the vault of God’s Truth and align your thinking with the path of faith and perseverance.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

You are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

Be still. And know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Visualize yourself in the winner’s circle. You have the power of Jesus to create life or death with what you think about. Speak the right words into your situation. Push your thoughts around. Pray the burdens down. Get your faith and focus set on His strength. Nothing is impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26). He holds this world securely in His grip. His supernatural love surrounds us and can break through the heartache of letting go.

“There are seasons when being still is the hardest, most obedient thing we can do. God doesn’t require you to do everything. He does ask for your obedience.” — Christina Patterson, Daughters of Fire

Be still. Watch Him work. Waiting and keeping yourself steady, faithful in His leading is the secret of strength. Anything that does not align with obedience to His will is a waste of time and energy.

Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is to let go of the reins and trust Him. Do you trust God enough to just be still? It’s tempting to fill the stillness to distract us from the discomfort of feeling alone. Yet in the stillness is where we realize God is enough.

Trisha Keehn

Read more from Trisha  at: trishakeehn.com

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How to Wait on the Lord when You’ve Almost Given Up

wait

I’ve had to wait for a lot of things in life. I don’t mean waiting in lines or waiting for a doctor’s appointment – we’ve all had to wait for those – but waiting in hopeful expectation for a major life change. And while I’d like to tell you that I’ve “waited upon the Lord” joyfully, that would be a lie. Most of the time I’ve waited impatiently, and at times, even untrustingly of God.

Too often we care more about the gift more than the Giver. We can only see God’s work being done after we get what we want, instead of His greatest work being done in our waiting.  But for us that’s actually good news, because, aren’t we always waiting for something?

I waited five years to attend the college of my choice only to be wait-listed.  A year and a half after I started at my second-choice school, I received a phone call that I had accepted to my first-choice but I only had three days to drop out of my current school, move to Pennsylvania and begin classes. Because of the inconvenient timing I almost didn’t go. I told God he had a great sense of humor, but awful timing. Thankfully, He gently reminded me that I had been waiting years in hopeful expectation for this very news.

Then there was the time I prayerfully waited more than a year for a very specific job.  When I finally got the job it seemed quick to everyone else but to me felt like finally crossing the finish line after years of prayer, pleading, striving and hoping.

And then there are the desires I’m still waiting for: a real house instead of living in an apartment, children, and finally feeling settled in life.

Because I’ve desired these things for a long time does it mean I’ll get them? Absolutely not. But you know what? I’m going to keep hoping for them until the day I no longer desire them, or the day that I finally meet Christ face-to-face. Either way – I can’t lose.

My problem has been that I’m never sure how to wait well, in a way that pleases God. I usually get impatient, then frustrated, then want to quit, then give it another shot, then get even more disheartened.  As convenient as it would be, we can’t snap our fingers and stop wanting something (just ask anyone who has gone through the pain of unrequited love!).

So how should we wait? Especially when we feel like we just can’t do it any more?

Patiently

We tell others that if they wait on the Lord He will renew their strength – and then turn around and forget it when it comes to our own lives. The most beautiful things in life take time to create. A baby. A relationship. Maturity.  We cannot speed up the process because it needs time to grow and change.  Sometimes we need time to grow and change too. Learning patience also acknowledges the fact that life is not on our timetable, but in God’s hands, which is far better.

Trustingly   

Perhaps He is giving you rest today so that you can run tomorrow. Or perhaps He is working behind the scenes for something to come to fruition. (The right job, the right boyfriend, healing).  Either way we must trust in His timing even if it feels like it takes a thousand days to us. To Him it is just one day.

With a Willingness to Give up Our Desires

Often I’m guilty of believing that just because I have a strong desire within me, it must be from God.  I find the ones that align with Scripture and stick around usually are but then there are times I want something SO SO SO (you get the point) bad…only to change my mind a few days later.

Too often our focus is on our desires instead of God’s will. But really, what’s more important? That we get what we (think we) want… or that we get God?  Nothing He can give us on this earth is more valuable than a relationship with Him. We must be careful not to value the gift over the Giver.  Sometimes we’re called to lay down our desires and walk away, or at least be willing in our hearts to do so.

With Expectation

Imagine a child who never looked forward to Christmas or their birthday because they thought their parents didn’t care about them and wouldn’t bother to buy gifts anyway.  Sadly, for some parents that may be true but not with our heavenly Father. No, we don’t always get exactly what we want, or more often, what we think we want, but let’s not forget that He is our father who loves to give good gifts either.

How often do we pray without any expectation that God will answer us? I know I do it all the time. What a waste of words.  Instead let’s first pray for God to show us His will in the matter, and if we believe it aligns – keep praying and knocking and seeking!

As 1 John 5:14-15 says,

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Sarah Althouse

Visit Sarah @prettysimpleideas.com

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