I built this sermon while I was delayed by weather, computer issues, and staffing issues by American Airlines the triple threat in the airline industry and I am in the middle of all three

If you have ever flown anywhere these are at times, the worst words you can hear. Unless you make the best of it as I did in Greece a few years back. I landed in Greece by myself and found my flight was delayed for 10 hours so I stored my luggage, and hopped a bus to downtown, Athens, and spent the day sightseeing

Some of you may feel delayed in what you feel God should be doing in your life. You could feel it is because of you, or something someone else did seemingly causing your delay, simply God delaying you, or like most people you just don’t have a clue why God’s plan is not coming through for you…

All of us are called by God to accomplish what we were created, skilled gifted to do! The world needs us to do it, God wants us to do it and for our great joy, we need to do it!

Let’s take a look at what the Lord says about delays

Habakkuk 2:3

This vision is for a future time.

It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,

for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed.

Sometimes God delays things because it simply is not the right time.

Let’s face it most of us are in a hurry, we lack patience, we want everything done yesterday…I am that way, God doesn’t work that way…mostly

Our lives are often a reflection of scripture, generally speaking, God gives many more “later” words, than “Now” words. 

God’s vision for us, our purpose is generally about God speaking into our future

  • He speaks to us of future things so we will allow him to do the work in us to prepare us for the future, sometimes it is adding things (skills, ideas, people, finances) sometimes it is subtracting things, bad attitudes, bad habits, sins that will substantially limit us
  • He speaks to us future things so we can battle through some things (which we will get into deeper in a moment) knowing that because God spoke a word, revealed a word, gave us an idea, we will learn to hold onto it by faith. Faith is critical to our accomplishing anything for God….if you haven’t had to move by faith you most likely haven’t done anything significant for God
  • Sometimes we just need to be at peace that God’s timing is different than our timing. He knows the future and makes things happen at just the right time…have you ever experienced God coming through for you at the 11:59 hour? It is never 11:59 to God, He is always just on-time

2 Peter 3:9

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.

Sometimes God delays because of his great love, He knows what will happen if he fulfills a promise or His word too soon.

If God responds too soon to some of His promises, like Jesus’ return, He would leave many behind to go to hell. Instead, he waits for that one last person to come to Christ, before he raptures his children.

God gives us grace to grow up…sometimes we can’t handle the blessings of God yet. We can’t handle the future he has planned for us so He is patient and waits for us to gain the knowledge, patience, love, grace, skill sets we need.

God is patient for your sake to be ready to handle that promotion. Or you need wisdom to make the best purchase not just a good one. Or perhaps you wouldn’t handle the stress related to the situation you are believing for….God wants every gift, every treasure, every open do that He is making for you to be a blessing to you and everyone around you.

So, he delays because he loves us..

God’s delays are never a denial just a, “wait, be patient I am still working things out for you!”

We must understand that there are also powers at work that want to stop God’s purpose in your life

Ephesians 6:12

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Sometimes our delays have nothing to do with God but other forces are at work.

We are told here that there are very real powers and principalities, spiritual forces at odds with God’s plan for our lives that we must battle through. Daniel’s answer to prayer was delayed (Daniel 10) but a spiritual force who had authority over Babylon but Daniel’s fervent consistent prayer defeated this enemy and he was able to receive his answer.

We also know from Paul’s letter to the Galatians and other places that the flesh will delay us at times…Galatians 5:16-18

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

These two aspects of spiritual warfare are real we must acknowledge them and deal with them.

From the very beginning, both of these enemies have tried to stop God’s plan for humans. In the garden it was the lust of the eyes (flesh) that first tempted Eve then Adam’s lack of bringing his flesh under control of the spirit that causes them to devour the forbidden fruit, becoming disobedient to God’s one rule, trusting Him and this temptation was enhanced by a power called Satan, the deceiver, the fallen one, the liar.

These two aspects of warfare delay us two ways 

1) simply by the battle itself, 

2) if we give in, we spend time outside of God’s will not a place God wants us to be.

God wanted to have fellowship with Adam and Eve in the Garden but they chose instead, through giving in to their flesh and the enemy, to delay God’s plan of relationship with His people until the second Adam, Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:45-49) restored that relationship.

Yes, we can blame the devil all day long but that gets us nowhere. He can’t make us do anything we don’t want to do. He doesn’t have that kind of power.

So how do we keep these powers in check so our future is not delayed

  1. Prayer – a daily intimate time of talking and listening to the Lord
  2. Study of God’s love letter, the Bible. Reading is good and hopefully by now everyone in this church has read through the Bible at least once but studying takes time and especially after you have read through it once it makes more sense how things fit and unfold
  3. Fellowship with believers…the early church met daily because they wanted to grow, mature, overcome so why do we think we shouldn’t meet at least weekly. Fellowship You come to fellowship for two reasons; first you need to grow and be accountable to people who love you. Second you have gifts to offer to make our fellowship stronger and whole…everyone has value to the Lord and our body of believers.
  4.  If you do these things then you will flow in the Spirit especially the fruit which Paul tells us overcomes the flesh and then ultimately the devil

Then we are no longer delayed, instead we overcome and conquer all and fulfill God’s plan.

I do want to encourage you that not matter what the delay. No matter what is slowing you down or even stopping you, if you continue to keep you heart right before the Lord, He will bless you and the delays will be over…because here is one promise that I always hold on to!

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them

Please notice though the prerequisite that many overlook, “All things work for good for those who “love” God”. Jesus said, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Jesus reiterated three…

First, Love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength. Means our desires, thought life, attitudes, and actions reflect what Jesus would do, 

Second, love our neighbors…seeing everyone through Jesus’ eyes and treating them the way we would desire to be treated. 

Third, make disciples investing your life in the lives of others so they might come to Christ and grow in Christ by your example.

Do this and every plan will work for good, even every delay will work for your good!

Where are you on your delay? Maybe today you understand why you are? Maybe today you will realize some information that you need to address. Maybe today, you will begin a serious journey of understanding how to move beyond your delay. Maybe today, you will simply have peace, knowing God is working and it is His perfect timing and there is really no delay at all it is simply God is in control.

God’s plans for you are amazing, trust Him!