The Crossroad of Obedience

“Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” —Luke 22:42

In every act of obedience there is a crossroad where a decision must be made to go one way or another way. To obey one must to choose to follow one path and leave another—even if there is nothing bad about the path you are on. Peter, James and John had to leave their honest job as fishermen to obey the Lord.

God may call you to do something (e.g. be a missionary) that would require you to leave a good job. There may be nothing wrong about the job you must leave. Perhaps it is the work of a mechanic, a manager, a nurse, or a banker. However, to obey God, you must leave that respectable job to go to a mission field. To chose your job over going to the mission field would be disobedience.

When God called me to go to Vermont to start a church, I was the assistant Pastor at Open Door Baptist Church. God was blessing my ministry there. Everything was going well and I was financially secure. However, to obey God I had to leave a good place to go to a place I did not know and without any financial security. I obeyed God and left Open Door to go to Vermont. By God’s grace there is a Baptist church in Barton, Vermont today.

Obeying God always requires a decision to leave something and cleave to God’s will. That is the choice Jesus made when He choose to come to this sinful planet and be obedient unto death. He left a sinless environment for a sinful environment. He left streets of gold for streets of filth. He left intimate fellowship with His Father to subject Himself to the scorn of wicked men. He left the joyful praises of angels for angry cries of “Crucify Him.”

Remember, obedience always has a price tag. What is it going to cost you to choose to obey God? As we sing that well known hymn, “Have Thine Own Way Lord, Have Thine own Way,” will you let God have HIS WAY in your life?

THE LOOK OF DESPAIR

“…all joy is darkened…” —Isaiah 24:11

I recently took my wife to the hospital for an out-patient surgery. While I waited in the designated waiting area, a family came in with their grayed haired mother on a wheel chair. She was about 60 years old and waited to be taken to surgery.  While the family casually chatted amongst themselves, this dear mother just sat with a very gloomy look on her face. She did not say a word. She only stared blankly out the window. She was obviously depressed.

After a few minutes her son had to leave to go to work. He knelt next to his mother and asked his wife to take a picture of them with her cell phone. He wanted one more picture of him with his Mom, in case she didn’t make it through the surgery. He smiled but his mother continued to stare with a blank expression. Other family members tried to coax her, “Come on, Mom… Smile!” But, she would not smile or say a word. She didn’t see anything to smile about! It was a very sad scene.

As I reflect on that scene now, I wish I would have interrupted that family’s conversation to offer a word of hope. They certainly needed it.

We who are saved have the word of hope that can cheer a sorrowful spirit if they will receive it. If you see someone who looks like their world is coming to an end, offer them a word of hope and something to smile about.

Talking To Trouble

“…They cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses” —Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28

Job 5:7 says, “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Ain’t that the truth?! From the time we are born until we go to heaven, trouble will be reality in all of our lives. When trouble comes, we often feel helpless to do anything about it. We talk about our troubles. We cry about them. We whine about it, but the trouble remains (or gets worse!).

I’m glad I have a God who can talk to my troubles and do something about them.

Jesus talked to the troubled storm saying, “Peace, be still!” and the storm was calmed. Jesus talked to the trouble of physical infirmity saying, “Be thou clean,” and the infirmity was cleansed. Jesus talked to the sick of the palsy, “Arise,” and immediately he got up! Jesus talked to a troubled demoniac saying, “Come out of the man,” and his trouble left. Jesus talked to a troubled widow saying, “Weep not,” and her tears ceased. Jesus talked to the trouble of fear saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid,” fear departed.   Jesus talked to the trouble of death saying, “Lazarus come forth,” and death took a hike.

Are you encountering some kind trouble in your life? Why not ask Jesus to talk to your troubles? I assure you that nobody can talk to trouble like Jesus can!” Amen!

Psalm 46:1— “God is … a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 50:15— “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee.”

“What Are You Waiting For?”

Last night I saw a TV commercial for SHAG senior housing.  Lou Piniella asks, “I have a question for you—What are you waiting for?” Good question for everyone to consider.

This ole world we live in is a gigantic “waiting room.” Everyone is waiting for something: Graduation… Marriage… The birth of a baby… A raise in salary… A job promotion… Healing… Retirement… An answer to a prayer, etc.  All these things are good. But, when you receive what you’ve waited for there will always be something else to wait for afterward. Our waiting is never over. The only thing that changes is the thing we are waiting for.

However, there is one thing we can wait for that will end all our waiting—Once we have this, we will never have to wait for another thing! What is that? It is the coming of the Lord—After the Lord comes there will be nothing left to wait for! We can say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him… this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa. 25:9). Amen!

So, to answer Lou Piniella’s question, “What are you waiting for?” I’m waiting “for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7)! Are you? What are you waiting for?

Psalm 37:15 – Over the Hill?

I have been young, and now am old… —Psalm 37:15

Now that I’m seventy years old,  some might say I’m “over the hill.” “Over the hill” is an expression of someone who reaches a turning point in their life when they are “past his prime.” They can no longer do the things they did when they were younger. Well, I may not be able to do everything I did when I was younger, but I still can do most of the stuff I used to do. It just takes me a little longer to get it done.

I recently read the following comment from Joseph Parker’s 25 volume set, The People’s Bible (1885–1895).

If for a few years we grow towards strength, we soon turn the growing point, and go down into old age and weakness, that we may know ourselves to be but men. Life is a great triumph up to middle age, because the man may be always well; he may grow
in strength and in prosperity, and he may represent himself as a successful fowler; but after that grey hairs are here and there upon him, and he knoweth it not, and presently men may say as he passes by, “He stoops a little more; his memory will begin to be a little blurred and clouded, and though he can keep good reckoning, yet he must trust to paper more than he ever trusted before.”

   I can definitely relate to this. Can anyone else say “Amen” to this besides this “old disciple” (Acts 21:16)?

“Amen?” or “Oh me?”

Leading from Redemption to Spiritual growth…