You’ve been there before, that place that pushes you to your knees in defeat; you’ve done all you can do and nothing seems to fall into place. Waiting upon the Lord has become your life’s work, no longer your past-time.
Praying about your circumstance is a chore and you wonder if God is as tired of hearing the same old prayer as you are. When it falls rapidly from your lips again and again it sounds like you’ve prayed it for so long that you’ve memorized the words. “God, help me! My finances (health, relationships, etc.) are in such terrible condition. Please open the right door for me. Oh, God… I am miserable! Give me a job I enjoy, one that will bless my family and give honor to You. Please, God, just give me one more chance!”
Some of you know my testimony. For 25 years I served God as a pastor. Believing that the door of full-time ministry was closed forever, I made myself think that there were other professions which would make me happy and I pursued many of them since 1991. But the calling I received as a teenager would not go away. So I prayed, and prayed!
Often my prayers were impatient, showing my frustration. My dream of serving in a church again was over. Deeply rooted bitterness oozed out of me unnaturally, which affected my work, influenced decisions and destroyed my relationships.
But my wife, Sherry, would not give up. I listened to her prayers, the way I used to pray about it with genuine sincerity and hope. Soon she had me believing it, too! So we prayed, and prayed!
Sometimes God just does things backwards by saving the best things for last. At my age (I’m 63), it just doesn’t seem like the time for starting over. But God has another plan.
Sherry and I want to humbly announce to you that God is allowing me to serve on the support staff of Calvary Church in Cordova, TN. I start Monday, September 10th. As the Office Manager, my primary role will be to give direction in the performance of special projects. The exciting part is that I will have the opportunity to work with a pastor whom I love and respect. And wouldn’t you know it? All the skills I’ve accumulated from working 16 years in the business world will be utilized in the performance of the tasks.
Beloved, if you feel as if you are in the wilderness do not give up! I can say from experience that God is faithful. He WILL carry you through.
“He Will Carry You”
There is no problem too big God cannot solve There is no mountain too tall He cannot move There is no storm too dark God cannot calm There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe
If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders I know, my brother that He will carry you If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders I know, my sister that He will carry you
He said come on to me all who are weary And I will give you rest
“With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.”
2nd Corinthians 7:1 (The Message)
“You’re going to do WHAT?”
My doctor required a medical procedure I had avoided for a long time.It wasn’t the procedure I feared, it was the preparation I dreaded.After putting up with me, the doctor finally put her foot down and I vowed that I’d honor the request.
I purchased the required potion, followed the directions in preparation of completing my task.It wasn’t an easy swallow, but I only wanted to do it once.The doctor needed my stomach completely empty for the procedure and I did my best to oblige.In order for her to help me, we had to work in tandem.
The procedure went well and she was pleased with the results.I expected the same given the prayers sent on my behalf to the Great Physician; the One who controls all.
After this cleansing experience, I was reminded that God and I have to work in tandem too.We need to walk and talk together and I need to seek His face in all things.
I am also aware that I need a spiritual cleansing from time-to-time.God uses my ugly ways, poor choices, my missteps, my pain and anything else He can to clean me up and out so He can have His own way with me.It is not always easy to swallow, but I feel so much better knowing that He and I work together.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for the good news today.I know that cleaning me up and out is not a smooth and easy process.It often requires real discomfort.
Thank You for loving me enough to stop putting up with my foolishness and for continuously molding me into the woman You say I am for Your glory.
I realize I may dread the preparation, but thank God for the transformation!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, November 4, 2009
(Inspired by Lloyd Ogilvie, Life as it Was Meant to Be, 1980)
What is the one word which describes the biggest change since Jesus came into your life?
I was first confronted with that question almost 30 years ago in a book by Lloyd Ogilvie. He said “I long to be a completely open, ready-for-anything kind of person. I don’t want to resist life in any way.” Dr. Ogilvie’s word for describing the work of the Holy Spirit is “spontaneous.”
The opposite of spontaneity is stagnation. Unfortunately we find too many of the latter in the institutional church than those who are expectant, willing to be surprised, free from all the baggage. People like that are guilty of saying things such as:
1.We’ve never done it that way before.
2.We’re not ready for that.
3.We’re doing alright without it.
4.We tried that once before.
5.That’s not our responsibility.
6.It costs too much.
7.It just won’t work.
Paul the Apostle said to the Christians at Thessalonica,
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not
treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything.
Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
(1st Thessalonians 5:19)
The first step to spontaneous living is to feed the fire! Don’t develop the habit of quenching the Spirit. The word “quench” means to smother. Fire will continue to burn until something outside itself extinguishes it. We cannot diminish the Spirit of God but we can extinguish the fire in our hearts and others by living recklessly.
John the Baptist predicted the coming of the Holy Spirit and fire. Pentecost should come as no surprise. Unquenchable spontaneity and enthusiastic Christianity produces hearts afire! Samuel Chadwick, British preacher of the late 1800’s, said, “Men ablaze are invincible.”
Are you ready? There is so much you’ve not discovered, so are you really open and ready for new truth? For a new journey? Are you ready to put the past in the past and embrace the future? Spontaneous living is not a whimsical lifestyle; it’s a life of freedom to respond to what God has guided. As you go onward, take with you a word from the Word:
“But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you.
Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?”
Angels told Lot and his family, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere...! Flee... or you will be swept away!" (Genesis 19:17)
The Word of God tells us that our heavenly Father will: ...cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19); He will cast them as far as the east is from the west... (Psalm 103:12); and, He will forgive our wickedness and remember our sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
Paul tells us that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2nd Corinthians 5:17) Again in Galatians 6:15 Paul says that "...what counts is a new creation."
Our God is the God of 2nd chances.Jesus made that clear when Peter asked Him how often he should forgive his brother who sinned against him.Jesus told Peter, "...not seven times: but, seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22 KJV)
However, Jesus also said that if you do not forgive men their sins (against you), your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:13-15)If you have forgiven those who have sinned against you and you have asked with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith for God to forgiver you, your heart has been cleansed from guilt and you can hold unswervingly to that knowledge because He who forgave you is faithful. (Hebrews 10:21-23)
If God forgives you, forgive yourself.Jesus said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)Stop looking back at your old life and look forward.When you are baptized, it is like the burial of Jesus; when you are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. You have been buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, you too are raised to live a new life. (Romans 6:4) Don't look back!
"Be made new in the attitude of your minds and have the same attitude, purpose and humble mind that was in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 2:4-7)
Doughton Park is 7,000 rugged acres located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Michael Auberry, a twelve-year-old boy scout, vanished from his troop on March 20, 2007.
Rescue teams were fearful that the sub-freezing temperatures would be more than a 12 year old kid could endure for three nights. Time was running out but they continued looking and hoping. None were more hopeful than Misha and her two-year-old Shiloh Shepherd, Gandalf.
At 7:00 a.m., Day 4, Misha and her dog arrived at the staging area to relieve those who had searched through the night. After four days a dog would have to pick up the scent in the air, a challenging task for any animal. Misha and Gandalf started out to search their assigned 70 acre area which was one of the steepest sections, covering about 1 percent of the park.
Gandalf sniffed a little shred of one of Michaels recently worn shirts and started toward the trail, head up and nose high. Crossing and re-crossing the path, leaping over stones and fallen logs, he worked non-stop for over an hour. Suddenly Gandalf’s head snapped up. Thirty yards further and Misha saw him once again lift his head in the air. They turned a bend in the trail and gazed 50 yards ahead, high up on a ledge there was a boy in a red jacket. It was Michael! He was dazed from hunger, dehydration, freezing temperatures and fatigue but otherwise in good health.
When the Rangers came up to carry him out, Gandalf tugged hard at his leash, obviously proud of what he had done. He wanted to stay as close to the boy as possible. Misha said later that she had never seen her gentle giant act that way before. Dog handlers call that behavior “gloating.”
Jesus told a story about a son who had lost his way. He took his inheritance and left his family to live his own life in the world. Bad decisions soon left him financially and spiritually bankrupt. He literally ended up in the pig pen fighting for his food with the animals.
With no place else to go he made his way back home to face an angry brother and a father he had disgraced. When he arrived, his brother didn’t disappoint him. The anger was sharp and divisive. But he wasn’t prepared for what he received from his father who had every right to disown him. Instead, he was met with open arms in a joyous reunion!
Beloved, if you are looking for that perfect time to say, “I really messed up,” wait no more! Your Heavenly Father is searching for you to return to your roots. You’ve been away from your spiritual family too long; it’s time for you to go back home. God is standing at the gate with open arms, “gloating” over your return. “Once you were lost, but now you are found.” Hallelujah!
“The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!My son is here – given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.”