River Church NOLA
Wed Sept 29 Wednesday Expect Delays
- Open Up The Heavens
- My Jesus
- I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever
- Here I Am To Worship
- How many of you have a list of unanswered questions? I used to say, when I get to heaven I want to ask God...Why did God make Mosquitos?Why did God make Red Bugs?Why did God make Poison Ivy?Why do they put flotation devices under airplane seats instead of parachutes?Why we keep junk in our garage and an expensive car on the street?Why do people turn down the radio when they are looking for an address?If Coffee & is open 24 hours per day, why do they put a lock on the door?But the biggest question I want to ask God is this...Why does He wait to answer prayers?If he hears it immediately and he has the power to do it, why does he delay? It’s in the delays that we grow our faith. It seems like there is always a delay from when God gives us a dream to its fruition.Abraham had a dream of being the father of a great nation and he waited 90 years to be told he would even have a son.Noah had a dream of building an ARC but it took him 120 years.Joseph was going to be a ruler but he spent 40 years in slavery and prison.David knew he was going to be king, but spent years being chased all over the place by Saul.The classic story of delays is the story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt to the promised land. It’s only about a 2 weeks walk, but it took them 40 years.17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”They were delayed by design really. God delayed them for a reason.God uses delays to prepare usGod knew the Israelites were not ready for war or difficulties in conquering a land. God will often delay dreams and goals in your life to prepare you to do what he wants you to do.God uses delays to test us2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.How do you respond to delays? It’s a test of your maturity as to how well you can handle the trials of life.Sadly the Israelites that left Egypt failed the test and only two of them, Joshua and Caleb were allowed to go into the promised land. Why? Because the rest of them sinned and did not repent.Let me just say this. We serve and worship a forgiving God, but we also serve a holy God who demand that we live differently… that we live holy lives … that we live lives worthy of what Jesus did for us. Repentance is a BIG thing.What We need to do during the delayWhen you are in the delay, there are four things that God says not to do or it will prolong your delay. Here they are.1. Don’t be afraidThe Israelites were afraid to enter the Promised land because the people there were bigger, taller and stronger than they were. They had enough faith to leave Egypt but not enough faith to move into the Promised Land.26 “But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God, and you would not enter the land.They would not go…28 Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are, and that they live in cities with walls that reach the sky. They saw giants there!’Instead, realize God is with youThe remedy for fear is to focus on God’s presence… to put your faith in Him not in yourself. There will never be a time in your life as a Believer that God will not be with you. He is with you when you are here… on good days and gad days… and He is with you when you are in places and doing things you should not be doing.There are hundreds of “fear nots’ in the Bible.10 Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.He doesn’t tell you to pump yourself up with positive thinking, He tells us to not be afraid because He is with us. You will not face any circumstance in life that God is not facing with you.Some of you are in a delay because you wanted something and it didn’t happen or hasn’t happened yet and you think God has abandoned you… some have taken matters into your own hands as far as relationships instead of waiting on God’s best.God is about building your character. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like the Israelites and fail the test.2. Don’t worryDon’t worry and complain. The Israelites worried, complained and gripped and God let them wander around for a while. It didn’t matter that God sent 10 plagues to get them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, gave them manna from heaven every day, water from a rock… all they did was gripe and complain. That is the sin that kept them out of the promised land. When we gripe and complain, it lengthens the delay.4 The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road that leads to the Gulf of Aqaba, in order to go round the territory of Edom. But on the way the people lost their patience 5 and spoke against God and Moses. They complained, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We can’t stand any more of this miserable food!”They had free food and complained.2 Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble.When we take things into our own hands, we get into trouble. we grow impatient with God and we get ourselves into trouble. God is not in a hurry. Nothing that’s going on in our world catches him by surprise.Abraham did this. God promised him a son and at 75 Abraham still dod not have one. Sarah was too old to conceive so He decided to have a child by Hagar. His name was Ishmael. Abraham thought God had blessed him but God told him Ishmael was not the chosen child. God blessed Ishmael and he is the father of the Arab nations.Later Abraham had Isaac even though He and Sarah were too old to have kids. Isaac was the father of the Jewish nation. All of the conflict in the middle east is a result of Abraham’s getting ahead of God. Because Abraham got ahead of God, we have had thousands of years of conflict. Our choices have consequences.Instead, we need to trust God’s timing.7 Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act. Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper. 8 Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry—it only leads to harm.Resting is ok. Jesus did it when he was in the boat with the disciples. A storm came up and he was asleep. Jesus knew he could trust his father even while he slept.What do we normally do? We can’t sleep and we lay awake worrying all night. Check this out…11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does.God’s timing is perfect.3. Don’t get discouragedEasier said than done. Live slams us some times, but we don’t want to give up. This is the 3rd thing the Israelites did that kept them out of the Promised Land.2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”They became discouraged and wanted to go back to Egypt. If only and go back are two phrases that are tell tale signs you are discouraged.If only means that you are second guessing yourself. Maybe you didn’t hear God right…Let’s go back… is when we idealize the past. Egypt began to look good to the Israelites. They were the good ole days.Some folks would rather remain in slavery than make the changes necessary to move on. They settle for mediocrity instead of God’s best.What is your If only? … your Let’s go back? a relationship? a job? an addiction? sexual immorality? lying to people? gossip?Instead, we need to be persistent and pray.Remember, God told Joshua to march around Jericho and the walls would fall down. It didn’t happen the first day… the second day… It happened on the 7th time around on the 7th day.9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.This is the law of the harvest. You reap what you plant. If you plant criticism, you will receive a lot of criticism… hate… immorality… generosity… And you will alway reap more than you plant if you keep going and don’t stop doing the right things."Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. There is nothing more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination, alone, omnipotent. The slogan `Press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." Calvin CoolidgeJesus said it like this …1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.You will do one or the other… Pray or give up. Pray.31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.Don’t give up.4. Don’t forgetIt’s easy to forget stuff during a delay… a quarantine… etc. We may forget what God wants us to do because in our minds, we have to fight for survival. We tend to forget that God is with us in the past… we forget what he did in the past so we don’t know he can do it again.This was the 4th mistake the Israelites made in the wilderness.7 Our ancestors in Egypt did not understand God’s wonderful acts; they forgot the many times he showed them his love, and they rebelled against the Almighty at the Red Sea. 8 But he saved them, as he had promised, in order to show his great power.He saved them over and over and they kept forgetting. Instead of seeking God and his plans, they did it themselves. Now, we can’t be too hard on the Israelites because we do the same stuff.We hit a delay in what we want and we just go right out and do the same thing. We take matters in our own hands… debt… fornication to feel close - results are emotional damage, diseases and babies born out of wedlock.There are consequences for not doing things Gods way. Yes you may sneak into heaven, but you will miss out on so much you could have enjoyed.Instead of forgetting, we need to remember the promises of God.There over 7,000 promises for you and I in the Bible. I think you can find one for any problem. Don’t forget…2 Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me.9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.You may wonder why God isn’t moving the way I want him too? He’s waiting on you. He is waiting on you to learn not to be afraid or to worry or to get discouraged or even to forget his many promises.He wants you to develop your character… to become more like His son and to put yourself in a place where he can bless you.The delays that come in your life do not destroy God’s Purpose. They fulfill God’s purpose in your life.ILL - Woman wanted to write a book and worked on one for a year but the publisher took another book instead. She was crushed and was rejected by over 40 publishers. After 3 years, one of them contacted her to do a book on fun Christmas parties… then the next year another book on Christmas party ideas. She had a delay in her dream but God helped her through it.God will do that for you as well. God has not forgotten you. delay is not denial. What is it that you are waiting on God to do? turn a problem around… new relationship… right person… Don’t despair… trust the Lord.3 But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!The things you’ve waited for in your life, God will bring to fulfillment if you keep doing the right things and don’t grow discouraged, or worry or be afraid or forget the promises of God.
2 Peter 3:9TLB
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