Anticipating Joy

God has something wonderful for you as you wait before Him in His Word and then start obeying Him.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:16-21, John 4 :19


Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything going Alright at your house? Well, I trust so. Bless your heart. Glad you’re there, glad I’m here. Wonderful to be alive and to serve God.

We’re looking together, you and I, at the second letter that Peter wrote to his friends, 2 Peter chapter 1. The last time we got together I was emphasizing the fact that what happens in your life, in your personal relationship with Jesus has a real effect in the matter of making your testimony and your conduct as a Christian believable. “We were eyewitness,” he said. “We heard Him. We heard the voice from heaven that said, ‘This is my beloved Son.” “We were with Him in the Holy Mount.” We were eyewitnesses, they saw. Ear witnesses, we heard. Personal witnesses, we were with Him.

Let me just linger there long enough to point out something, may I? In your personal devotions you need to read the Word of God so that it speaks to you. You see on the page the truth and then as you wake before God, you need to listen to what He has to say to you through His Word and through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Don’t just read a few verses and snap the Bible shut and say “Now, I have done my duty for the day.” That’s not the way. You look at the Word of God and you read it, your eyes see it and you understand what it says and then you listen to what God may be saying to you from that passage.

40 years ago, Steven Olford, this great Bible teacher and expositor pastor said to me, “Stay with any given passage of the Bible until it says something to you, not a sermon outline, not something formal, just a personal message from God to your own heart, then write that down and pray it back to God and then share it with somebody else.” That was his advice to me back in the middle 1940s.

You look at God’s Word and then you listen to see what is says to you. And then it says, “We were with Him.” “We were with Him,” it says. You wait long enough to sense the presence of God as you pray. You don’t rush in to the throne of grace and leave your laundry list of supplications, please do this and please do that, and then run on out again, something like some thoughtless child. But you wait until you sense His blessed presence.

I have to tell you, there’s nothing as thrilling and as blessed and as sweet as realizing that God’s presence is real to you just now. I know He is always there. God is there. But you’re not always aware of Him and it takes awhile for your soul to open up like the petals of a flower, open up to the morning sun. It takes a little while for you to open up and be aware of His presence. And that it seems to me as the crowning achievement of personal devotions. He says, “We were with Him in the Holy Mount.”

You can’t hurry this process. Take a little time with your Lord. First of all, the Word of God, the inerrant, infallible, inspired eternal Word of God, the Bible. Take time with the Word of God. Listen to what God would have you hear from His Word and by the indwelling Holy Spirit speaking to your conscience and heart and mind, and then enjoy by waiting with Him. Enjoy his presence. Our Lord Jesus longed for that. He said in those hours of His passion “Tarry ye here, and watch with me.” He wanted somebody to be with him. When he chose His disciples, He picked His apostles that they should be with Him. “God seeketh such.” We read in John 4 to worship Him. God has a lonesome place in His heart and it can only be filled by your love. And you, my friend, have a God-shaped vacuum that can only be filled by His presence and so you wait before Him. It’s the seeing and the hearing and then the enjoying of His presence.

A little detour there but I thought it might be helpful. It certainly is a precious truth, isn’t it? Well, they said “We have a more sure word of prophecy, where unto ye do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” What’s he talking about there? That the Word of God — you can trust the Word of God, that’s pretty evident, “A more sure word of prophecy.” “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The word “move” a verb, from the Greek verb mean “carried along.” They were carried along by the Holy Ghost.

This Bible that you have is God-breathed. A more sure word of prophecy, you can depend on it. Now, what does He want me to do about it? Well, look at verse 19, “Where unto you do well that you take heed.” When you read the Bible, try this very simple procedure, would you? You read a passage and then ask this question, “What is this saying to me?” Not for John Q. Citizen. Some people always assign the truth to somebody else. I had a church member who never, never this is, failed to say as he went up out of the morning service when I was a pastor. He would shake my hand heartily smile and say “Well, preacher you sure gave it to ‘em today, didn’t you?” “You gave it to ‘em today.” Somebody else got the arrows of truth but not he. I often wished, oh, how I wished that some time he might say, “Hey, preacher you really preached to me today,” but that never happened. “Whereunto you do well that you take heed.” You ask the question, “What is God saying to me?” Not the other person. “Lord, change me” has to be the beginning of a prayer that does something in your life. Oh, I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard. Everything in me resists change when I like it the way it is. Isn’t it so?

But that doesn’t mean that I can get away with doing anything other than the Will of God here. “Take heed,” said he. What is God saying to me? What is God saying to me? Let me listen. Let me obey. Then he said, “Take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.”

The second question is “Where are the dark places in my life where I have kept the room pretty well closed and shuttered?” “Where is God shining the light?” “What part of my life is He revealing?” Oh, I know it’s not easy. I don’t like it either but that’s the only way to go on with God and to grow in His grace.

As you read the Word of God you ask the question, “What is God saying to me?” Second, “Where is He shining the light?” “What department?” “What part of my life?” “What element of my personality?” “What sector of my conduct is He approaching?” Now, what is “Until the day dawn”? Do you know there is nothing so delightful as realizing that God has done something in your life and answered to a prayer and on the basis of His Word? I mentioned to a friend of mine years ago, I said “You know, brother, you have such an immense patience? I think I would blow up sometimes under the situations that you have to face.” And he looked at me — he was from Norway originally and he said “You know, my brother, do you know that when I was a young fellow in Norway, I could have killed a man because of my temper. I had a terrible temper.”

But he says, “I began to realize that that wasn’t right and I began to pray about it.” And he says, “The Lord has delivered me from that and has controlled my temper and has given me patience.” And his face just lit up with a smile. This is a real article. I had seen him under pressure and I knew that here was a man far from being hot-tempered was the epitome of patience. Great to see when God makes a difference, isn’t it? Oh, yes. “Until the day dawn,” God wants to have a sunrise in your own life. “The day star,” that’s the sun. That’s another word for the sun that rises, until the sun rises in your hearts.

You know you may be going through an experience right now when — we call it “You got the blues.” You’re so down and you feel nothing is going as it should, or perhaps you’re lonely and living alone and you wish there was someone with whom you could share your life, or perhaps you’re embittered because people have hurt you, or perhaps there has been a job situation that is just impossible and you don’t see any way out, or perhaps there’s a domestic situation that is just a living hell and you don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know what the conditions may be in your life obviously. But you know and God knows, and He said you wait in His presence and you listen to His Word, listen to what He has to say to you and then start obeying it. And He says, “The sun is going to rise.” Oh, that’s great.

Nothing is so wonderful as seeing the daylight start to creep into a situation when you’re obeying God, right? When you start obeying God on a matter, things won’t change right away but the sun starts to rise and first there’s the little glimmer of light. I woke early earlier this morning, looked out the window and it was just enough light to see that there was something out there. I couldn’t make out shapes or forms too distinctly but you knew that daylight was coming, and then in a few minutes it was brighter and then the daylight came. “Until the sun rises,” He said, “In your hearts.”

God has something for you, beloved. I don’t know. See, and I have to talk in generality, of course it bother me, I wish I could be specific. But then maybe I don’t have to because you know what the score is with you. God has something wonderful for you as you wait before Him in His Word and then start obeying Him. You want to think seriously about that today? He said “Take heed,” that means do something about it. Do something about it and you’ll find the sun starts to rise in that darkened area of your life.

God will keep His promise. You won’t see the change all at once maybe or perhaps you may. God works in different ways in different circumstances but you’ll know that God is working. The sun will rise, the daylight will come and the area that has been dark and forbidding will be filled with the Glory of God and you’ll rejoice and give Him the praise. You take that to heart today, will you?

The sure word of prophecy. Spend time in the Word. Take heed to the Word, you dwell that you take heed. Let God shine His light in the dark places, a light that shineth in the dark place and wait on God until the sun rises. It will. I promise you.

Dear Father today, O, may we spend time with your Word and take heed to it and the let the light shine. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be blessing!

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