1 Thessalonians 4–What Stands Out

As part of my morning devotion, I read a chapter of Scripture, noting what pops out and catches my attention. This is a technique known as lectio divina. Recently, in reading through 1 Thessalonians, this phrase caught my attention:

“… we will always be with the Lord.”1 Thessalonians 4:17b

Here, Paul is referring to the second coming of Christ, and how all the believers still living will be caught up into the heavens to be with Jesus forever– but what occurs to me is we don’t have to wait for that privilege–we are with the Lord right now! We, the chosen people of God, the church, are part of Christ’s body, and in that spiritual sense, we are always with Him.

When Jesus was about to be crucified, He promised His disciples that He would not leave them alone. He would send them:

“… another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…”John 14:16b-17a

This is the Holy Spirit, Who indwells us and guides us. This should be a continuing comfort and consolation during difficult times.

Our union with Christ is complete here and now. We are part of His body, and He is part of us. If we live in that reality, we are never alone; and we don’t have to wait!

For more lectio divina studies see:

What Stands Out–Nehemiah

Exodus Chapter 3–What Stands Out

1 Peter Chapter 3–What Stands Out?

Waiting is Worthwhile

I mentioned in my previous post that I recently attended a Via de Cristo retreat weekend. At the beginning of each weekend, participants are told, “don’t judge the weekend until it is finished.” Things that seem uncomfortable or maybe confusing become clear as time passes. In other words, WAIT, get the full picture before you make a decision.

I realized that this is good advice about many things in life. When we prejudge a person, or an event, we often get it wrong. I can think of people who didn’t impress me at our first meeting, who became friends with much to appreciate. I have had work environments that started out feeling uncomfortable but became nurturing with time and attention. In the book of John, we read:

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. “John 7:24

In other words, don’t make a determination when the information you have is superficial. Be patient. Sit with it a while. See how things play out. Pray for God to open your eyes so that you can see His will. Keep your heart open, too! Our Lord is full of surprises! Don’t miss out on a blessing because you didn’t wait.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. “Psalm 27:14

For more about Lutheran Via de Cristo see:

Vineyard Via de Cristo — Some History

What’s My Ideal?

A Via de Cristo Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness

Waiting Isn’t Lazy

“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”

G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), British evangelist, preacher, teacher and author

This is a message I need to hear. I come from a family that valued hard work above all. Right now, I’m in an in-between state. My husband retired from the ministry, and so I gave up many duties that I had assumed, over the years. We’re still attending that church at times, but not regularly enough to take responsibility for on-going projects. We’ve been visiting and attending other churches where my husband fills in. I don’t feel like I have a stable church home right now. And I feel lazy. What is the next big thing God wants me to do? I don’t see it yet.

That’s why I’ve been reading and studying about waiting this month. I’ve learned that resting is a discipline, too (not one I’m particularly good at, as you can see). I’ve learned that peace comes from embracing the blessings of the present moment; and it means trusting that “at the very right time” God may have another task for me to complete, and when that time comes, He’ll also make sure I don’t miss it.

It’s been a fruitful month for me, learning about waiting. What about you?

For previous posts about waiting see:


Weak and Waiting

Waiting For God

Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky–Book Review

I’ve been using this book as a part of my morning devotional reading and have really enjoyed it. In fourteen short chapters, the author leads us through the life of Sarah during her long wait to see the promises of God fulfilled. In each one, there is a brief meditation from Sarah’s point of view, as well as some of Ms. Schalesky’s own experiences. She invites us to apply the message of faithful waiting to our own lives, and to see it as a blessing.

“Legacy is born in the waiting. A life that matters is not built through a big bang of success, but through God’s work in the long wait. It was true for Sarah. It is true for us. God is working in our waiting to create a masterpiece, to create a life that points to the wonder of his majesty and love.”

If you are waiting for something in your own life — something to change, something to happen, some way to understand what seems unfathomable, this may be the book for you. Biblically based and realistic (yes, we will all fall down at times, just as Sarah did), it encourages a thoughtful perspective. God is at work, even when we cannot see Him.


For more book reviews see:

Faith In God by Kevin McFadden –Book Review

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller–Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

The Result of Waiting

I’m reading a book about Sarah, wife of Abraham, and her long wait for a child. According to the author:

“The point of waiting is not discouragement, despair, or a hardening of one’s heart. The purpose is to birth laughter, to embrace joy.”

As you listen to this song, remember Sarah and ponder how the difficulties of waiting can lead to greater blessings than we ever imagined.

For more contemporary Christian music, see these posts:

No Scars In Heaven


Take a Breath

I learned something interesting in a book I read recently (Peace Is a Practice by Morgan Harper Nichols–Book Review). You probably know that Benedictine monks are known for choral psalmody. But did you ever realize that in the middle of each verse there is a pause for taking a breath? This is called the media distincto.

Maybe we should apply this idea to our own lives. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I am constantly rushing from one thing to another. “Multi-tasking” is the order of the day. It’s not enough to do one thing well — we have to be juggling two or three or more things at the same time. If we allow our attention to falter, even for a second, all the balls are likely to come tumbling down, causing us to feel that we’ve failed colossally. This isn’t a good way to live. It leads to anxiety and all sorts of mental and physical symptoms of stress. It just isn’t healthy.

So, what’s the alternative? Slow down. Work on one task or attack one problem at a time. When you’re not sure, wait. Rest a while. Pray. Learn to trust God. It won’t be easy when we’ve become used to living on high alert, but we can practice it for one hour, one day, one season at a time.

Take a breath!

For more about slowing down and resting see:

Slow Me Down

Taking A Break

When is it time?

Waiting is Good for You!

” If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people”

Charles Spurgeon

For posts about patience see:

Have Patience

Patiently Waiting?

A Different Kind of Fast

Self-Control = Waiting

I’ve started reading through the book of Titus as part of my morning devotional time. This morning, as I read through Chapter 2, I was struck by how often Paul uses the word self-controlled. As he instructs Titus about the behavior that should be encouraged, he says both older and younger men should exercise self-control, and older women should teach self-control to younger women. Then he goes on to say all Christians should:

… live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ …”Titus 2:12-13

My Bible dictionary defines self-control as “the exercise of restraint and discipline over one’s behavior.” This was important at the time for a number of reasons: the early church was made up of both Gentiles and Jews, people with differing customs and traditions; it also existed in a hostile pagan environment. Christians were bound to come into conflict with one another, and with others. Yet, it was important that they make a witness worthy of their Savior. Why would anyone believe them, or want to join them, if they exhibited the same bad behavior as the culture around them? Guess what, this is still true today!

The thing is self-control usually involves waiting. If we react quickly to an insult, a slight, and unpleasant person, our response is usually sinful, because that is our default position. Our sinful nature tells us to strike back, to speak up, to defend ourselves. Self-control doesn’t mean being a door mat, but it does mean taking some time to respond in the correct way — with gentleness and respect. So if you’re confronted with a difficult situation, take a breath, pray and take this advice from James:

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Just wait!

For more about the book of self-control see these posts:

Producing Fruit

Trust God’s Process

wiser by Dilip Jest, MD., with Scott Lafee–Book Review

Waiting to Understand

In life there are many questions that can’t be answered. Why are children abused? Why do good people suffer? Why do seemingly evil people prosper? The Psalmists these things in Bible times, just as we do today. In the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul tells us that these things will be answered in time, we just have to wait:

“Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

There is Southern gospel song with the same message. It’s called Farther Along. The authorship of this beautiful song is disputed, it has been recorded by many artists since it was first printed in a Church of God hymnal in 1911. My favorite is a version sung by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.

For more gospel music see:

Precious Lord Take My Hand

Oh Happy Day

God’s Coloring Book

Thomas A Kempis on Waiting

“My son, commit your cause always to Me; I will dispose of it in due time. Wait for my ordering of it, and you shall find your good there from.”

Thomas A Kempis, On the Imitation of Christ

For more posts about Thomas A Kempis see:

Thomas a Kempis on Union with Christ

A Prayer for Unity with Christ

United with Christ through Holy Communion