Jesus Identifies, Confirms, and then Employs!!!
I grew up in a military family. I was surrounded by men and women who have served and protected our country. For the better part of the my first 25 years of life, I learned words like honor, code, respect, and valor.
In being around those men and women, one thing I saw everyday was the ability to follow orders that radically changed life’s trajectory. I said goodbye to friends, watches families leave safety and security and learned to deal with good-byes (which aren’t very fun today). I had to learn to trust in the silence of not always knowing or hearing the answer or understanding it.
Then I read this 3 verse passage and realize that all of those lessons learned aren’t just a military family’s mindset, but a set of values learned by ones that truly set out to accomplish the will of God! The desire to set a person helped, a family saved, and city radically impacted through the Gospel of Christ!
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”
Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT
Abraham desired a city that was set upon the foundations of God! Wow! Abraham was a form of God’s Special Forces…going to a foreign place, setting up a value that was unknown before he arrived, then putting into motion a new way of living.
I desire that! I live in a place that was established as a town in 1764. Before modern conveniences, before modern military practices, before the realization that our world was going to have to go through several revolutions before God would send His Son Jesus back for a His people. So my calling, my passion, and my life’s work is to establish that eternal city right here in Winchendon, Ma.
That means I have to train, study, build trust, pray, serve, obey – I get to live my life in a way that tells everyone I have been placed here for a purpose that far surpasses our ability to understand the natural causes of order and man’s cumbersome path to God. I get to set the peace and love and grace and forgiveness of Christ right in my own town. I get to be a standard bearer for righteousness and for salvation in my little town. Values that go hand and hand with values I learned in the military family of honor, code, respect, and valor.
Would you join me to saluting the Savior of the World Jesus, by longing for the city of eternal foundations, by living your life worthy of the call of our – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus!
I’m all in, are you?
P.S. To the men and women of our US Armed Services – Thank You for putting your life on the line for our freedom! You truly are the best! I pray for you, I remember you, I Honor you, and I am GRATEFUL for you and your families!
Gen. 4:1, “Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!”
Genesis 4:1 NLT
With the Lord’s help!
I have read this so many times, and it truly just jumped off the page!
Perhaps as parents, we begin to not rely on God’s help when raising our children. It all started with His help, and then somewhere we take it away from Him help and try to do it in our strength.
Lord, teach me not to do it on my own, but in those 18-20 short years of mega influence on my kids, to be a dad that stays in the midst of your strength not my own!
“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.”
Genesis 3:3-4 NLT
Here in plain “English” God speaks to Adam and Eve. There is no way that anyone could twist the meaning of “If you the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, you will die”. Plain and simple.
Yet, we all do that thing that we know God has spoken to us about. It is in our soul, our heart pounds with the message, our body strives daily with the clarion call for holiness, yet we still struggle. The struggle is REAL! The Apostle Paul, millenniums later had the same struggle doing the very thing that he didn’t want to do.
The struggle that sin produced, is the very fact that we don’t always do the right thing or that we simply do the wrong thing.
Sin and Law create this cataclysmic struggle that is only answered in having a personal and intimate walk with Christ! Today if you are in that place where sin dominates or haunts you, and you love Jesus; the answer is to simply press into Him even more. He will provide you with the scapegoat from sin. And it will be from the most amazing places or people.
Press into Him today and rest assured that what He says will save your life. And remember He also said, “I will never leave you or forsake you!”
My family starts our journey to our new home back in MA today. It has been a year long journey with many more upsides than downsides. So many people have come alongside our family and have helped set up these stones with us to remember what God has done!
As we start “our” new, our desire is to remember where we have come from and not forget that God is the one that got us this far! The dreams and victories, along with the valleys and hard times are all part of what God has for all of us. The journey was sweet and hard, great and vigorous, blessed and challenging, but worth it all! We are so grateful to God!
Today we think of the the twelve stones that Joshua set up in the river, he said something really amazing…
“Let these stones be a reminder to the next generation of when God…”
Our prayer for us and for you today…
“God let our lives be stones of remembrance for all people to see and remember that God Can and He Will because we remember when He did!”
I worked for a pastor many moons ago, that I learned to truly appreciate him after I no longer worked for him. He was like a tough coach that wouldn’t let you slack on things, he pushed me beyond my limits to show me where I could go. He pushed me to more like Christ and I didn’t always see it or understand it. Years later, I often go back and read the notes from his sermons, staff meetings, and other things he taught and wrote. They all transport me back to a certain message that I heard him speak years ago, “The Clock and The Compass”. It is a lesson that I have referred to often, quoted from, and shared with others. It marked me so much, I now have a little travel clock and a compass that sits on a shelf in my office to remind me of the God’s Timing and God’s Direction for my life!
This morning, a young lady that I know and really love watching her grow in her faith, wrote the following… “God is writing your story and He is a very good author!” I couldn’t agree more Abby, thanks for the reminder! I thought to myself this morning when I read that, “He is also a pretty excellent map maker or adventure guide or roller coaster developer”.
As a matter of fact, the older I get, I tend to think God wants us to be quite the thrill seekers! You see, we cannot do “our thing” as Christ Followers unless we are completely dependent on Him. To be honest, most of the time I think I/We all have trouble with this. We hate not being able to see the “end of the line”, the reason or purpose, or how about just the next turn. It all seems to venture back to what our clock reads and what direction our compass is set on. We don’t like not being in control of the map, the story, the clock or the compass.
You see though, that’s the problem. Life is not about our clock and compass, it is about His clock … 2 Peter 3:8, “… a day is as a 1,000 years to the Lord, and 1,000 years is like a day.” and His compass… Ps. 25:4&5, “Make me know your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.”
Interesting thing about His compass… the above passage says ‘for You I wait all the day‘. Sometimes we don’t know which way, but we will wait. But then when we pay attention to His time, well that being said… 1,000 years…He may have us wait a while for the direction. Talk about the wait!
Question… “Is a wait that long – worth it?”
To answer – while you and I are not in the wait – FOR SURE IT IS WORTH IT!
To answer – while you and I are in the wait – most of the time we say – THAT’S A REALLY LONG WAIT! MAYBE THERE IS A DIFFERENT ANSWER!
Now… enter a thought that crossed my mind as I think of Pastors’ talk on the Clock and Compass…A thought that holds my attention as I contemplate my own questions concerning His Clock and His Compass…A thought of truth, seasoned with matter of fact and freedom all in the same thought…
We should realize that everything we go through, everything we learn, every place that we end up at, everything that we find ourselves walking through; they all help our clock and our compass. Our timing and our direction are all so very important not just to us, but more importantly to HIM – the greatest Map Maker of all time – the greatest Author ever. All of these stops, delays, pesky little journeys, and destinations – they have certain deadlines and reasons, certain u-turns and moments, certain people and places that have significance for you and I. We potentially have yet to determine all of their significance… simply because His Timing and His Direction aren’t part of a story that He is writing…they are the story He is writing…and He is a Great Author!
And remember that Great Authors don’t give away the end of the story until the end of the book…
…TO BE CONTINUED…
Earlier this fall, my family and I were blessed with a trip to Florida. So many things happened to us along the journey, I could write about them for days. But I would like to share with you an amazing moment.
We were taken to a restaurant at Disney’s Wild Kingdom, it is a restaurant showcasing the cousine of South Africa and the influences of food culture from around the world there. After the meal, we walked out to the center grounds of the restaurant and hotel. You see it was built with a large center courtyard. In the courtyard roamed Giraffes, Wildabeasts, Birds, Water Buffalo, Huge Tortoises, various kinds of “Deer”, beautiful “African” Landscape – it was truly awesome.
While we were gazing, a young man who worked for Disney came to us and began to talk about his home country of Botswana. He was in his young 20’s and very smart and educated. His name translated to English meant Days. As Days was talking about his country, I asked a very simple question – “Is Botswana a Christian or Muslim Nation?” Days response was priceless. He looked at my family and my friends family and said, “There is only one true religion, and that is a personal relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – and His name is Jesus!” To meet a brother from Botswana – INCREDIBLE!
We stood there and prayed together and laughed and hugged! It was like a family reunion! Then something amazing happened. He told my wife and I to look up the verse Ex. 23:20. Not knowing our particular circumstances in life right then, it was like Jesus was reading our mail.
Brought to tears, we were totally awe struck that God would take us over 1,300 miles to speak into our lives. I guess we shouldn’t, but both honored and loved by our Heavenly Father is sometimes breathtaking!
The journey my family is on is still not solid. All of questions and fear of the unknown, but this I know and I am confident of – I AM has prepared a way and will not leave us alone!
For I know this…
“I AM” will protect you and I! “I AM” will lead you and I! “I AM” has a promise for you and I, that He will lead you and I to a place that He has prepared for for us. And He will do it Safely! As we follow Him, love Him, trust Him, and obey Him – watch “I AM” do amazing things in our lives!
It is really simple – Follow Him, Love Him, Trust Him, Obey Him – and then WATCH Him!
Not sure where you are on your journey today. If you are like me you may feel a million miles away from that beautiful spot that you long to be. Just know this, you are not alone! So why not start your new journey today to the place that He has prepared for you! The sooner the better!