Encouraging Devotions Blog

"The Wait is Worth it."

Dr. Luke begins the book of Acts or what is commonly known as "The Acts of the Apostles," by taking us back to his previous writings in the Gospel of Luke. Specifically, to the last chapter of Luke, where Jesus appears after He has risen from the grave. Jesus was still doing the very thing that Luke was writing about throughout the whole gospel of Luke. What I mean is, right up until the point when Jesus ascended, He was doing and teaching - as it says in Acts chapter 1:1

At the end of Luke 24, Jesus startles those that He appeared to and says, "Peace be with you." Then He asks them this question: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" Do you see what Jesus is doing here? He is teaching them lessons right up until His ascension. He is teaching them to have faith, and not to doubt who He is. He says, "Look, it's Me Myself, I am flesh and bone, touch me." He tells them, "Bring me something to eat," and He eats with them to prove to them that He is real. And then, in Luke 24:45 – 49, He teaches them to wait.

"Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem, you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the Promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Luke 24:45 – 49

Jesus tells them to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. He is teaching them to believe in who He is, not to doubt, to be patient. He says, "Wait."

Does that sound a little familiar in our current lives? Has Jesus recently you not to be troubled, to trust Him, to wait on Him? I would imagine, perhaps even now, Jesus might be telling you to wait. Don't be troubled over the current global situation; don't fret over the finances, don't worry about what the future might look like, seek Me and wait. We are all pretty much in a waiting game right now. But what I can tell you is this, when God calls us to "wait," something great is going to happen. Dr. Luke continues his story picking up from the end of Luke 24, continuing in Acts chapter 1.

"Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father has promised, which He said you heard of from Me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the Kingdom of Israel? He said to them; it is not for you to know the time or the epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:4-8

What if the apostles could come back today and describe what it was like to receive this power after waiting for so long? I bet they would say that the waiting seemed like an eternity but in the end, the waiting was worth it. God had something great for them, but they needed to be taught the lesson of waiting on the Lord. The wait for the apostles ended by being equipped for the work of ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. Communicating Christ effectively requires as much spiritual power as performing miracles. How encouraging to realize the Spirit is with us and that it is He who works when we share the Lord with others.

This word for power (Acts 1:8) in Greek is "dunamis," it is where we get our word in the English for dynamite. It is the very power that gave the apostles the ability to be witnesses for Christ. This power is the grand indispensable tool of Christian witness. A man or woman may be highly talented, intensively trained, and widely experienced, but without spiritual power, he is ineffective.

There is nothing new for our call today; we are still called to be witnesses. Being witnesses is Christ's command to all His disciples. We are called to tell others about Him, regardless of the consequences. God empowered His disciples to be faithful witnesses even when they faced the most heated opposition. That same power for witnessing is available to us today.

Our task is not to convince people but to testify of the truth of the gospel. And what better time than now, as the whole world is in this waiting period, we can bring them the hope of the gospel. The gospel is the very thing that people have been waiting for.

But let me remind you, the gospel is only good news if it gets there in time. People are waiting to hear, and those of us who are believers that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit have received power from on high to bring the good news to them. And what I can assure you, my friends, is that this gospel is worth the wait.

Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory!

Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory!

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory,
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.
Psalm 115:1

In Psalm 115, people recognized that they don't pray to themselves; they don't sing songs of praise to themselves. They were not crying out "how great their God was not, and how great they were." The glory of God is the supreme focus of Psalm 115. It is the supreme focus of ALL the scriptures, it is the supreme focus of missions, and it is the supreme focus of all of Creation.

Maybe some of you have seen the TV series Frozen Planet? It took 4-years to film, and in that 4-years, they shot things that had never been seen by human eyes. They were able to film snowflakes forming; it was one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen in my life. It was like each snowflake (miraculously) becomes its own unique special doily. They pointed out that there wasn't a single snowflake that has ever been the same as the other.

But for what? Nobody sees those snowflakes without a super slo-mo camera. We can't see them shifting, changing, or forming… Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory!

They are for God Himself, they are for Him to enjoy, and they are there so that His name will be glorified when we finally happen to discover it.

How about beavers? We all know that beavers can build dams, but beavers are air-breathing mammals that spend a lot of their time underwater. What do you and I do when we go underwater? Well, when people are baptized, they are tipped backward...they always reach up for their noses and plug them. When we go swimming, we wear goggles so that we can open our eyes underwater.

What do beavers do when they go underwater? When beavers dive below the water, into the mire, they have special valves in their ears and noses that close automatically so water cannot get in. They stay closed until they resurface, and then (miraculously) these valves automatically re-open so they can breathe again. Did you know that the beaver has built-in goggles? Their eyelids are transparent so they can close their eyelids underwater and see right through their eyelids. Why does the beaver have transparent eyelids, and built-in ear and nose valves? Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory!

How about the angler fish? This fish lives a mile deep in the ocean - how in the world is a fish going to live a mile deep in the sea? They can't see anything! Its pitch black. How is this fish going to eat? Well, God created the anglerfish with a built-in fishing rod on the top of its head, and on the end of that fishing rod dangles an artificial worm. This worm (miraculously) lights up underwater without producing any heat. The food is then drawn right to the light, and the angler fish has a feast!

But why? People didn't see this fish for thousands of years! They have lived for centuries and centuries under the water where man has never been. Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory!

Now, why COVID-19? Why did God allow this horrible disease to even exist in the first place? Dare I say; it is so that God's name will get the glory! Perhaps when this whole pandemic is over, we can lift our eyes to the heavens and know with more certainty where our help came from? Maybe we can, through the pain, through the sickness, through the uncertainty, supernaturally be drawn closer to our Creator. Could revival come in the hearts of people who, unless Covid 19 had existed, would not have even considered turning to God?

Despite our current global circumstances, let us continue to lift high the name Jesus. Let us be the ones that say, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory."

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