God's Plan Is Taking SO Long! Should We Give Up Hope?


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God's plan...

It is taking so long, so very long.
Do we give up hope?

There are many passages we could read to remind us of the assurances and promises that we have from God. However, today, I want us to find assurance in what may, at first, seem like an unlikely passage in the New Testament. 


It's in a passage of scripture from the first part of Matthew.  Let's look at Matthew 1:1.  


This is where we are going to find our hope today, from Matthew 1:1 to Matthew 1:17. 


Let's look at it. What it this section about? 


Verse 1: "This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of...."

Oh! Did you think maybe I had the wrong passage? This is just a genealogy. How are we going to find hope in this list of names? Let's see, let's keep going: Boaz and Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse the father of King David. We are in verse 6 now. "David was the father of Solomon who's mother was Uriah's wife" - that's Bathsheba. Solomon, Rehoboam, Hezekiah, Manasseh, "Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon."

Now we are in verse 12. I don't even recognize any of these names. Azor. Matthan. Okay, that's interesting. "Matthan the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah." 

And there it is, verse 17. "Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah."

That's right, it is a genealogy -- a really long genealogy, from Abraham to Jesus Christ. 


No, this passage for today's source of hope was not a mistake. We are going to find a source of assurance and hope in a lengthy New Testament genealogy. 

Think about the question, "How many generations passed between Abraham and Christ?"

If you look at verse 17 and then add up the generations, you will get the answer. It's 14 and 14 and 14 which is 14 times 3.  

It's 42 generations passed from Abraham and the birth of Isaac, to the birth of Jesus. 

And therein lies our hope. 


God works, and has always worked, through many, many generations to fulfill his great plan for the world. He is patient. Early on, God promised His people that He would send the Christ. 


From Adam to Jesus, we know the fulfillment of His promise took 6000 earth years.


From Abraham to Jesus, the time that passed was approximately 2100 earth years.


David knew the Christ would come. David longed for his coming. Yet, God fulfilled His promise at least a full 1000 years after David’s birth. 

All of these years - that 1000 years and the 2100 years prior to that - those are just days in God's timing. We talked about that last week, or it was in the blogpost last week, about why God is so patient to remove the evil, and we remembered that with God a thousand years is like a day. Since God is eternal, this is true. Just like when we are 50 or 60 years old and a year goes by so, so fast. We can imagine that if living eternally, 1000 years is a very short time. And our time on this earth - when maybe we might make it to 100 years - is seconds, it's seconds, when considered within eternity. 


So we know that Jesus will return as he has promised. 
We shouldn't be doubtful because it seems to be taking so long. 

Instead, we should expect it to take so long. For that is the way God has always worked out His plans. He is outside our time and works through our time in a manner that seems so long to us, but it is not long for eternity. And that is the way God fulfills His promises. God works through the generations. Long, long lists of generations. 


This is our assurance for these times. May your will be done, Lord. May your will be done in your time, Lord. 


Amen. 


Click here and enter email for free study resources and monthly updates 

 

You may also listen to the Gospel Life Learning blog podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or YouTube. You may also find the most recent episodes at the Podcast tab.

---------------------------------------------------------

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today

If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ.

The author also interacts with her readers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GospelLifeBooks

Author's other books can  be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans

Why Hasn't God Removed Evil Yet? Jesus Answers, Heaven's Timeline.

  
You may listen to the 10 minute audio 
right here on the website by clicking on the Pod Player for the episode title below. 

You may listen as you read also. If you prefer to simply read the message, just keep scrolling past the past the podcast player to find your traditionally written blog post. 


“Why doesn’t God wipe out evil now?” 

 

It’s a big question. Many of us have wondered, “Why is God taking so long to fully restore all to Him and His kingdom? Why doesn’t God just speak the needed words and wipe out evil immediately? 

 

Jesus explained why, in a parable. He told the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, and after he told the parable, he then explained specifically to his disciples what each part of the parable meant.  Jesus didn’t do this for all of his parables and teachings. There are only a few, where it is recorded, that Jesus told a parable, and when the disciples didn’t quite get it, Jesus then went back and explained each part of the metaphor. 

 

Here is the passage for this, in Matthew 13. 

 

“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'

 

And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?

 

  Now there is our question being asked. The servants asked, “Do you want us to go and remove the evil plants now?” – 

 

But he said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest, I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

 

Now if you are on the Gospel Life Learning website and reading or listening to this from the blog, then there is a picture. If you are listening through a podcast host, then I will put a link to the website with the blog and the photo so you can find it later and also see it. 


 

When you see the picture, you will see a stalk of wheat, and then – next to it - a tare, side by side, before they are ripe. It is very, very difficult to tell them apart. One of the main things to notice is that the wheat is a little 'puffier;' the fruit of the wheat is larger than the tare. However, as the two plants are growing it is very, very hard to tell which is which – which is the wheat, the good crop, and which is the tare, the useless crop. Now, once the wheat is matured and is ripe, you can tell which one is a tare. You can tell much better because the wheat limps over when it is ripe.It is very flexible and it limps over when it is ripe,  but the tare -  it sticks straight up.





Still, what does this mean? Well, further down in Matthew 13, starting at verse 36, Jesus actually explains.

 

“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. And his disciples came to him and said, 'Explain to us the parable of the wheat and the tares of the field.' And he said to them, “The one who sows good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age.”

 

 

So why doesn't God just wipe out all evil right now?

 

Let’s take this teaching and make it personal. The parable tells us that the tares have been sown by the enemy right among the wheat in the field. Some translations say the bad seed has been added right in the midst of the wheat. And don’t we all see that now in our fields and in our sphere of influence?  I am currently facilitating a Bible Study and nearly each one of the women in the group have shared that they are dealing with something that has been sown in their fields right now. They are dealing with tares and they don’t know what to do with the tares.  Do I deal with this directly right now? Or do I wait for a time for maturity and see how this works out?

 

See, we have families, and our friends, our communities and our work places. These are our fields we tend to. And we all know people in our family or amongst our friends, in our work places and in our neighborhoods and communities – we all know people who are not ready for the harvest. So let’s really think, if God were to wipe out  all those who have rejected Him as of right now – who would potentially be gone that we know and love? When you look at it from that perspective, it’s easier to see the other perspective, God’s perspective, and why He wants to wait for more time. 

 

The Bible tells us that God is patient, not wanting any to perish and all that is possible to come to salvation and reconciliation with Him. That is in 2 Peter 3:9. 

 

Also remember, even though it seems like it is taking so, so long – remember 2 Peter 3:8  that time is different for God.  This passage tells us that a thousand years is like a day to God. You know, I used to hear that when I was younger and I just did not “get it.” I though, “That is a wonderfully, almost poetic way of describing God and time, but it doesn’t make sense because a day is measurable, right?” A day is 24 hours and it is always 24 hours, and a day is a day, and a week a week, and a month a month and a year a year.  However, now that I have lived only 4 or 5 decades, I DO get it!  When I was a child, a year felt like….well a year, or even longer! It was a long time to wait! But now, after living 4 or 5 decades, a year goes by so fast! Time goes by so fast! The weeks just fly on by. A month feels like a week. A week feels like a couple of days. A year feels like 3 months. And 10 years feels only like 2 years.  So as we get older, there is a perception and an undeniable experience that time goes by much faster.  So if that is true for us humans; how much moreso is it for God who has lived for eternity!  Yes, I get it now. A thousand years is like a day for God who is eternal.  It makes sense now.


Our entire lifetimes are mere seconds in comparison to the time we have in eternity.

 

God's timeframe is not the same as ours. And this parable explains why he is patient to remove the tares; why he is patient to not have the harvest right now.  He is giving everyone as much time as possible to find Him. He does not want to start the separating process too early. He is patient. He is patient for our friends, our family members and loved ones, for those in our neighborhoods and communities. He is patient for everyone, and He is patient for us. Thank God for that.



 

Click here and enter email for free study resources and monthly updates 

 

You may also listen to the Gospel Life Learning blog podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or YouTube. You may also find the most recent episodes at the Podcast tab.

---------------------------------------------------------

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today

If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ.

The author also interacts with her readers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GospelLifeBooks

Author's other books can  be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans


Cast All Your Anxieties on God…But How?



You may listen to the 10 minute audio 
right here on the website by clicking on the Pod Player for the episode title below. 

You may listen as you read also. If you prefer to simply read the message, just keep scrolling past the past the podcast player to find your traditionally written blog post. 

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Have you ever thought about how we are told in the Bible to give all our worries and concerns to God? Ok, but have you ever thought, “How do I do that?” Today we are going to give you a strategy for that. 

 

Life is hectic isn’t it? Not too long ago, I came across a Snoopy comic strip, or a Peanuts comic strip, and it said – it’s Charlie Brown and Linus sitting by the fence – and this is what it said:

 


(Peanuts comic strip credit to Peanuts Worldwide @ schulzmuseum.org)


This is from Charles Schultz. It’s a comic strip. I thought comics were supposed to be funny! It caught my interest, and I realized that it struck a chord with me – Charlie Brown’s words did.

See, I can remember periods in my life when I would live by this philosophy.  I didn't choose to live this way; it just seemed to be my default setting when things got really busy or when things got tough.

If only I can make it to Friday afternoon, the weekend will be better.
If only I finish grad school, I can get out of this job and get a really good one.
If only I can find a better job or get a transfer to a better school,  or a better area, or closer to home; things will be better.
If only I can survive my child's terrible twos, or fours, or twelves, or teens; things will get easier.
If only I can get caught up on these work deadlines; my days will be more relaxed.
If only I can get past my required daily routine; I will have time to rest.

I could go on and on, but the point is that I was living during those times by just "mentally surviving" day by day. My hope was in some potential future state of "better,”just a future better than “right now.”

Now maybe I am only one of a small percentage of people in the world who ever lives this way. Though, I suspect I'm not. I suspect there are many who put on a happy face sometimes; but inside they are just getting through, day by day.

With thoughts like…

If only I made more money....
If only I could find the right boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse....
If only this bad thing hadn't happened in my past...
If only I could make time to go on vacation....
If only someone hadn't left me....or if that person hadn’t passed away....

Stop. Just stop.

There’s a better way. There’s a better daily philosophy, Charlie Brown! And let me tell you that philosophy is based on this:

 

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7


And now, that is exactly what I do. When I wake up, and as I'm getting ready for the day, I just cast it over to Him. Oftentimes, if it’s really something that’s got ahold of me or I can’t stop ruminating over, I will actually imagine myself, close my eyes and visuallyimagine that I have a really large sack with all these things that could potentially be dreadful or anxiety producing or just not fun. It’s a big sack like a big stuffed laundry bag, and I just visual myself tossing it, and Jesus catching it. 

 

I don't even ask for anything specific. I don't ask for any particular outcome. I literally in my vision or in my imagination, my visual imagination, I just toss it to Him. It says cast! So I cast it! Toss it! 


He asked for our anxieties! It finally dawned on me that if we don't give our anxieties to Him after He asked for them; then we are just taking responsibility for making our own mess in our own heads. 

The reason I typically do not ask for a particular outcome is because I can trust that He already knows the best outcome -- and if I give it to Him; with no strings attached, and with no demands for a particular outcome, then He will work out what He wants -- in His way - without my interference.  

And His way is much better than our ways. His way is better than my way. This strategy helps to developwithin me a better attitude. His way helps me to focus on the positive and on the small victories andthe pleasant moments within each day.

At the end of the day, you know what I find? And I think you would find the same at the end of each day, if you tried this strategy. I find this:

My way brings me overwhelm and stress.
His way brings me peace and rest. 

 

Typically, my prayer will sound something like this: 


"Lord, I wake up. I don't even know what to ask for or what to look for today. I'm starting to feel stressed about all I have to do, and I'm becoming overwhelmed. I just give it to you. Go before me and work things out according to what you know is best. I know it may be a tough day; but I am trusting you to get me through...and get my through with a right attitude."

 


God is with us in spirit day by day.  When we remember this as often as we can throughout the day; if at the beginning of the day we “toss” those things – just toss that bag of worries and concerns over to him, and "practice His presence" throughout the day as well, then everything changes in perspective.

 

Let me close with this verse:

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." -Psalms 143:8 (NIV)

 

If we are, in the morning, putting our trust in Jesus, giving over our concerns to Him, and doing this because if we can entrust Him with our lives, then surely we can trust Him with our day. 

 

Click here and enter email to be notified as soon as the next post or episode is released

 

You may also listen to the Gospel Life Learning blog podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean, or YouTube. You may also find the most recent episodes at the Podcast tab.

---------------------------------------------------------

If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today

If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ.

The author also interacts with her readers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GospelLifeBooks

Author's other books can  be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans