Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are We There Yet?

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

The nation of Israel had been wandering through the wilderness for the last forty years, and they were now about to come into the promise land. The Lord revealed to His people the reason why He took them through the wilderness. For one thing, it was to humble them.
God will often use circumstances in our lives to bring us to the place of humility before Him. To help us realize that apart from Him we can do nothing. To get us to see that we don't have what it takes in and of ourselves. The Lord then declares that He used the wilderness to test them.
It was a test to cause them to know what was in their own hearts. Would they walk in obedience to the Lord in this season of wilderness life? There are always tests in the areas of obedience, and when those test occur the condition of my heart is exposed. When we are in the midst of one of life's tests we find out what's inside of us. The truth is I do not like everything that I see there. I see things that need to change and be altered. Thankfully the Lord begins to change my heart as I yield to the work of His Holy Spirit.

Perhaps today you are in the midst of what you would consider a "wilderness wandering", and your asking the Lord what is the purpose of this season in my life? The Lord is humbling us, refining us, teaching us. The great news about the wilderness is that it doesn't last forever. Its a season that prepares us for the promise land. May God grant us His grace and the power of His Spirit as we are refined and prepared to cross over the Jordan.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Learning to Listen

Your ears will hear a word behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it, " whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left hand. Isaiah 30:21 

Oh to have our ears tuned toward heaven that we might be able to discern the leading of the Lord. There is so much noise in this world. There are so many voices, and so many distractions, that it can be difficult to put ourselves in a place of attentive listening. However I realize the importance of seeking my Savior. I desire to be led by His Holy Spirit, but I can easily seek to chart my own course. Yet there are places the Lord is leading me that I have never been before. He is to be the captain of my soul, and the Lord of my ways. The Lord promised that if we seek Him we would find Him when we search for Him with all our heart. 

Father open our ears that we may hear you say, "this is the way,walk in it." Confirm those directions by Your Word, and through the circumstances around us. Let Your will be done above our own. For Your way is the best way. Amen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Passing the Baton

Today my mind is filled with both sadness and joy. Sadness over the fact that Pastor Chuck Smith is no longer hear with us. But thankful that He is more alive than when He was here with us. He is in the presence of the Lord. He has heard the Words of Jesus "Well Done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the Joy of the Lord." 

As far back as I can remember Chuck has been my pastor. No doubt that is a testimony that many people share. I am so very grateful for the legacy that Chuck has passed on. A legacy of living for Jesus, of preaching the gospel, of running your race and finishing well. The commitment to teaching and preaching the Word of God. These were not only things that he taught, but more importantly these were the things that he lived.

As I look at the church today and see various ministries that God is using around the world I picture it as a relay race on a track. A track has many different lanes for different runners to run in. In the Christian race we are not competing against one another, we are on the same team, we have the same goal. Our approach or philosophy of ministry may vary, but there is still unity in the midst of our diversity. Some men run in one particular lane identifying with an approach to ministry, while others run in another lane. Yet within the race there comes the moment when the baton is passed. One runner has completed his race, and passes it to the next man to run his. 

For me, I know what lane I am called to run in. There is another generation coming up that is desperately in need of the Word of God, just as the former generation was. I want to hold the line of sound doctrine. I want to continue to "simply preach the Word simply." I want to take the baton and run the race to win. Pastor Chuck blazed the trail and like so many other men, I am in the ministry today partly because of his influence.  His words echo in my mind this day, " you have one life to live and it will soon be past, and only what you do for Jesus will last." By the grace of God I will run my race and finish well.  I miss you papa chuck....