Friday, February 18, 2011

Reflections for February 18, 2011

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 NASB)

In many ways, this is the second most important verse in the Bible. It tells us two things about God. First, it affirms that God exists in the realm of eternity. If in the beginning He created, He would have had to exist before the beginning. Second, it tells us of His immeasurable power. Creation in this verse does not imply He traveled throughout the galaxies gathering material with which to create the world. It tells us He spoke and it came into being. Man can discover, invent, rearrange but he must always work from that which all ready exist. He can’t create; he can only rearrange that which exists into a different form. In the truest sense, only God can create something from nothing.

This verse is important because if we can believe it all the other miracles in the Bible become small in comparison. When we truly believe God created out of nothing, it becomes much easier to believe He parted the sea, made the sun stand still, made an axe head float, healed the sick, raised the dead, raised up and brought down kings, and the list goes on and on.

This leads me to the most important verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NASB). This verse tells us that God, knowing our propensity to sin, provided a way for us to be restored to fellowship with Him.

You might ask, “What does this have to do with me/” It should remind us that our problems, while mountains to us, are blimps on God’s radar. If He can create from nothing, surely He can intervene and work to transform our adversity into blessings. Not only that, He provides us with the joy of knowing that through Christ we will someday join Him in the realm of the eternal. Therefore, whatever your burden is today, if you will accept and concentrate upon these two biblical truths, it will become more manageable.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Reflections for February 4, 2011

"Waiting On God"

My first full time staff position at a church was Minister of Youth and Activities. Midway through the four and one half years I served in the position, I felt a strong leading of the Lord to move toward a preaching ministry. After I received permission from the deacons to speak on Sunday at other churches, I felt my greatest problem would be scheduling the opportunities I would have. After six months of waiting, I had received zero opportunities. In my frustration, I sat at my desk, closed my eyes, opened my bible, placed my finger on the page and prayed, “God show me what you want me to do.” When I opened my eye my finger was on Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord (NASB). While this was not the answer I wanted, it was the one I needed. After thirty-five years in ministry, God has shown me repeatedly the wisdom of heeding His advice and the folly of succumbing to my fears and impatience and following my own time table.

In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers there is the story of the twelve spies who went to scout the Promised Land for the Jewish people following their deliverance from Egypt. Of the twelve, only Joshua and Caleb gave positive reports. The remainder of the spies reported that there were giants in the land and recommended that they not go into it. The people listened to the ten and the Jews ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years. The lesson for us today is that we should never let fear stand in the way of any assignment that God gives. Faith tells us that He provides every need to accomplish every task that He gives.

In the thirteenth chapter of First Samuel, there is another story that gives us an equally devastating response to fear. In Chapter 10:8, King Saul had been given directions by the Prophet Samuel to go to Gilgal and to remain there for seven days until he came. He said that when he came he would offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. Then, he would tell Saul what he was to do. The seventh day came and Samuel was not to be found. As the day passed, the threat of the Philistines created fear in the people and impatience in Saul. Finally, Saul took matters into his own hands and made the offerings and sacrifices himself. Immediately following his actions, Samuel arrived. For his disobedience Saul lost the privilege of his kingdom enduring forever through his heirs. The lesson for today is that we should always wait and do things according to God’s timing and not our own.

Two years ago, I made the decision to retire from my church and to embark on a new course. My desire was to create a ministry that would assist churches in becoming all God wished for them to be. Today, I find myself in the same place I was thirty-five years ago. I am at a place of waiting for God to provide the opportunities that will help the dream of Entrusted Ministries to become a reality. Unfortunately, I struggle with waiting as much today as I did then. However, years of experience have proven over and over that God’s timing is everything.

If you are in a place of waiting, remember the Hebrews of long ago and the impatience of Saul years later. Their fear and impatience cost them dearly. Read Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord (NASB, Bold print added). Over and over God has proven this to be good advice for my life and He has always been on time. I am confident He will this time as well.