And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Saints, Friends, and others,
I truly believe that when God speaks to us, and with every sermon we hear we will be tested. Every sermon I preach becomes the test of the week. I often fail. When God is preparing us for something He seems to always give us a scripture. It may be in our devotional book, it may be in an e-mail. I am not saying all texts will be tested, but I am saying that God has a great way of provision by sharing with us truths that are necessary for worship of Him in all circumstances. It also amazes me how after failure in one of these tests I will pick up a book I have been reading and then find that the very next few paragraphs speak to the subject at hand. Often this causes me to wonder, "If I had only spend a few more moments with God, would I have succeeded"?
Lately I have been tuned into the topic of resting and being God-centered in our thinking. Too often we are so busy we can not stop and let our mind roll through the glories of God. Our church has been challenged to be godly. This is not mere morality. It is the constant consideration of God in all that we do. Often I struggle to rest. My mind is always racing and I am figity with projects. the family has been away for a few days and after completing the obligatory number of home improvements I found myself longing to rest before God. Thus to be obedient I took some time off yesterday. So, packing a few maps, a camera, and memories I trolled about Illinois in an effort to visit some childhood places.
Along the way I stopped to take several photographs. Many were of cool looking church buildings. Once to my main destination I sought out familiar landmarks. My cousin lives in the house my grandfather was born, lived, and died in. So that was on the list, I also adventured as I did thirty years ago to a state park that still holds more passion for me than an all you can eat buffet. I saw the old town that was safe to walk through for a kid, back in the day. The old park is there where I once found four dollars in change in the mud after a July 4th carnival. The Carnegie library still stands where grandma worked and I learned to read. It is now a military museum. I went by the old church we attended and found the very swing set I played on at age four. All this was done in looking at the providence of God.
Upon visiting my grandparents grave I summed up all my thoughts of the morning in a prayer of thankfulness to God. Heritage and rest. These are two things that the Hebrews of the Old Testament needed to spend more time on. We need to remember our heritage, where God has brought us from, through, and to. Rest, we need to rest in Him, for our our righteousness is filthy rags.