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Hurricane Ike, or the remnants thereof, just passed over last night. We’ve had a few roofing problems (Leaks) so my son, my wife and myself got out on the roof to try to cover the bad areas in preparation. About the time the rain hit, we had gotten a decidedly hurried job done. I had to have help down the ladder, since my knee isnt so good, but praise God, we all got down safely!
It rained hard and it rained long… but I gotta say, I know what hit us was nowhere near what got Texas and Arkansas on the way here. we still had leaks, and even a couple new ones, but in spite of it all, only one leak seemed a bother, overall, because it was one of the new ones, and we really hadn’t expected it.
This morning I rose to check out the damage, and there really wasn’t any. Instead, this is what I saw:
Can anyone paint a better or more beautiful picture than God? The awesomeness of his work overwhelmed me.
Have you ever heard the story of the new preacher, who delivered his first sermon to his congregation with a fire and a passion that made people raise their hands and applaude? People shook his hand on the way out, and gave lavish compliments about the sermon.
The next sunday, the preacher stood this time and delivered that exact same sermon, all over again. This time, those who had missed the week before were pretty excited, but the ones who’d heard it before were left wondering and discussing it among themselves afterward, musing,”maybe it’s just the jitters, a new church and all…”
On the third Sunday, He began to deliver that exact same sermon, all over again! A couple of the elders glanced at each other, and knew right away this needed to be addressed. One of them stood up, right there in the middle of his sermon.
“Pardon me, preacher?” he asked, “But isn’t this the same sermon you preached to us before, both on your first sunday, and this last one?”
The preacher smiled a big smile and said, “Why, YES! Of COURSE it is!”
The Elder scratched his head for a moment and then eyed the preacher carefully, as he posed his next question: “Well, what gives? Don’t you KNOW any other sermons?”
The preacher stepped away from the podium and got down on the level of the congregation. “You brought me here to teach you. As soon as the Lord tells me you have learned the FIRST lesson, we will move on!”
23 people were saved that day.
God sometimes allows repeat difficulties or problems to come our way in order that we might fully learn the lesson that has been placed before us. The first time, we may cry out, and our prayers are answered, so we rejoice and move on. Then the same thing happens again, and not only do we cry out, but now we are a little confused because we thought we had overcome the situation. God will then use his word or another believer to bring you through. But the truth may be that you haven’t quite GOT it yet, and you again become complacent. AGAIN the storms come, and you find yourself at odds with GOD! You get upset, depressed, angry, and overly sensitive, feeling like you are being singled out or picked on. But God is faithful, and patiently waits for you to sort out the pieces of the puzzle. If you believe him and love Him, you know the answer lies somewhere, so you start looking. Opening His word, the answer comes. This was an extreme faith building exercise.
Recently in my own troubles I got so absorbed in them that I failed to look outside myself at the bigger problems going on around me. People needed hope, prayer and healing. Major catastrophes were occurring all around, and my eyes were only on myself. I was a self absorbed brat, where my Father was concerned.
I sat during this time and looked at my desk. The bills were piled up. There were no Job offers coming in, and I had been scammed, mistreated and injured. All the evidence of my foolish selfish efforts lie before me; The bills, the documentation from Unemployment denied and appeals, the medical records, medicines I’d been taking and various resumes intermingled with cover letters and such…
Underneath it all was the Bible. I reached over, pushed the offal aside and picked it up. Not headed to any book intentionally, it opened to here:
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
Once again, my own pitiful puny pity party had been exposed. the words hit me, one of the leaders of the Faith, pouring himself our as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of our faith.
No matter what comes, my eyes are to be fixed on ministering to others, not playing catch-up in the arena of the world. Satan will continue to try to busy me, but I must leave the temporal behind, and press on. God WILL take care of these things, so long as I persevere in what he would have me to do.
Our Praise Team today’
and so much more!