Winston Churchill stood to address the victorious British army following a strategic battle. Known for his inspirational brevity, he was no disappointment in this speech to his battle-weary soldiers. "This isn't the end. It isn't the beginning of the end. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning!"
Much of life places us at similar crossroads. Experiencing a spiritual victory, or a loss, does not end the race. We are involved in a life-long journey which enables us to treat each event as a new beginning. Use your defeats and your victories as opportunities to begin again... again!
GospeLines Prayer: Well, Lord, here I am again… again. It feels as though we just had this talk yesterday, but here we go again… again. I am weary, Father. I'm tired of this dance, two steps forward and three backward! It isn't a new partner I seek; please, just fix me so that I can get it right a little more often. Enable me to know the difference between victory in a skirmish and winning the war, and help me to be faithful till the end. Amen and amen… again!
When the Lord spoke to Ananias, He referred to Paul (Then known as Saul) as "a chosen vessel." (Acts 9:15)
Paul told the Corinthians that the knowledge of the Kingdom of God, the knowledge that we are to preach to the world, is contained "in earthen vessels" (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Webster's dictionary tells us that a vessel is a container for holding something or a tube in which some substance is conveyed or circulated. Webster also notes that a vessel may also be "a person into whom some quality (as grace) is infused; a child of light, a true vessel of the Lord." (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Page 1391)
Are we vessels of the Lord? If we are, we must not quarrel among each other about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. If we are, we must not be ashamed of our heritage (We are heirs of God; His children). We must use our Father's words with love and kindnesses, not for idle chatter (2nd Timothy 2:14-19). We should be vessels of honor, sanctified, fit and ready for the master's use (2nd Timothy 2:20-22)
What will God do with His "vessels" in these last days? We can get an insight into how God uses His vessels by considering how He used them in the past. God poured out the gifts of the Holy Spirit on His adopted people - the gentiles - us - The same gift that was poured into the Apostles. (Acts 10:44-47)
God says that in the last days, "...I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." (Acts 2:17-18)
Are you ready to receive the out-pouring of the Spirit in a whole new way? Are you ready to be a child of light, a true vessel of the Lord? If you are, receive from the Lord and then freely give from the overflow to all people. If you are not, then ask the Lord to come into your heart and make you a new creature, forgiven, sanctified and fit for the Master's use in Jesus' name. Amen and Amen!
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
My eighteen year old son and I watched one of our favorite movies, Apollo 13. It's a story about a mission which has gone out of control. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert fought against unbelievable obstacles to bring home their wounded spacecraft. There wasn't enough power, poisonous carbon dioxide was being released into the cabin and they faced the possibility of missing their re-entry window and sailing off into space. Their situation seemed hopeless as millions watched and prayed.
Helplessness is no stranger to Christians. It's one of satan's favorite tricks to remind us when things go wrong just how vulnerable we are and how dependent we become. Maybe you are facing a situation now which has you feeling helpless and hopeless. I want you to know that you are not alone. Given enough time everyone is placed in that uncomfortable position. One person reminded us that through all our trials it is important to maintain a steadfast heart:
I've dreamed many dreams
that never came true
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams,
To make me want to dream on.
I've prayed many prayers
when no answer came,
Though I waited patient and long,
But answers have come
to enough of my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
I've trusted many a friend that failed,
And left me to weep alone,
But I've found enough
of my friends true blue,
To make me keep trusting on.
I've sown many seeds
that fell by the way,
For the birds to feed upon,
But I've held enough golden sheaves
in my hands,
To make me keep sowing on.
I've drained the cup
of disappointment and pain
And gone many ways without song,
But I've sipped enough nectar
from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.
Two days after bringing him home, we took our beautiful ten day old adopted son to the best hospital we could find for an examination. Our spirits sank when our family doctor told us a day earlier that he had a heart murmur and felt we should get a second opinion. After a thorough evaluation he was given a guarded report and we were all optimistic that through prayer and determination he would grow out of it. That was thirty plus years ago!
Several months after the hospital visit, we were scheduled to finalize the adoption in family court. The judge ushered us into his chambers and explained the laws regarding adoption. He told us that there would never be another opportunity to change our minds, and that once we left the courthouse, we could not undo what we were about to do. Without hesitation, we signed the appropriate papers and had ourselves a baby! Glory!
Adoption is a blessed event in the family of God. It happens because we are chosen, hand picked, loved and nurtured. It can never be undone. Even if we disappoint our Father to the point of tears and frustration, we are still His, because adoption is final.
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." Ephesians 1:5
GospeLines Prayer: "Father, I was an orphan ten years old when You looked into eternity and picked me to become Your child, to enjoy all the privileges that go with being in Your family. You could have chosen someone more handsome, more talented, and less stubborn, but you didn't... You chose me! You make me feel so special. Thank you, Lord." Amen and amen.