Monday, November 24, 2014

What's the Proper Posture of Prayer?

On a lighter note, on the subject of prayer, I know we've all heard people argue about the proper posture of prayer. Everyone has their own "opinion". Truth is, there are many postures for prayer "described" in scripture, but not always necessarily "prescribed".

Some standing, some kneeling, some prostrate on the ground. Some eyes open, some eyes closed, some blinded by the Glory of the Lord. Some from a lions den, some from the belly of a fish. Some from the depths of a well. Some from a mountain top, some from a valley. Get the point?

Here's a humorous poem that addresses some of the disagreements, and 'ol Cyrus Brown gives pretty good insight in the end. His experience was from a similar place as Jeremiah the Prophet. (well, maybe in a very small way)
The Prayer of Cyrus Brown, by Sam Walter Foss(1859-1911)
"The proper way for a man to pray,"
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
"And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees."
"No, I should say the way to pray,"
Said Reverend Doctor Wise,
"Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes."
"Oh, no, no, no,"
said Elder Slow,
Such posture is too proud.
"A man should pray with eyes fast-closed
And head contritely bowed."
"It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,"
Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.
"Last year I fell in Hodgkin's well
Headfirst," said Cyrus Brown,
"With both my heels a-stickin' up
And my head a-pointin' down.
"And I made a prayer right then and there,
The best prayer I ever said,
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,
A-standin' on my head."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD-72 times in 35 chapters

I'm in Ezekiel(ESV) for my daily Bible readings this cold Saturday morning, underlining words or phrases that stick out to me.  I kept seeing the phrase...KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD...with variations preceding it such as "then they shall, or then you shall, or then the nations shall" know that I am the LORD.  So I decided to count them this morning, and from Ezekiel Ch.5 through Ezekiel Ch.39 (ESV), God says this 72 times.  It becomes very obvious that the LORD God considers it of utmost importance to Himself that I, you, and the nations of the world KNOW THAT HE IS THE LORD.

Isaiah 45:22(ESV)  "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 

People across the world today mistakenly think that all roads lead to heaven, and that we're all worshiping the same God, in different forms, whether it be Buddhism, Hinduism, New Ageism, Islam, Mother Earth, Pantheism, Panantheism, or whatever other idolatrous systems you want to include. They say Jesus was "a way" but not "The Way"... God's attribute of "love" is the only one they want to acknowledge, but Scripture speaks of God's attributes including "jealousy", "wrath", "judgment", just to name a few...

Jesus said
John 12:48(ESV)  The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has a Judge; the Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

I think the Westminster Short Catechism had it right:
Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!

HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!

It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther, a young Augustinian Monk nailed his 95 THESES to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg, Germany, sparking what's now known as the Protestant Reformation!

Ephesians 5:16
...redeeming the time, because the days are evil.(KJV)
...making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.(ESV)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Does the "The Fountain of Youth" exist?

I'll give you the answer at the end of this post, and you may be surprised by The Answer.

I'm sitting here Saturday morning in my easy chair ,deep in thought, talking to and hearing from the Lord with my Bible opened to Isaiah.   Today the earthly body of my Aunt, my Dad's baby sister, his last living relative from his immediate family (parents & siblings), will be laid to rest, while she is now in Heaven in the presence of Jesus.  She has reunited with her sister who went before her, her daughter who went before her, her mother and father, as well as many others loved ones who died "in Christ". 

Many thoughts are going through my head, pertaining to man (and woman's) endless pursuit to prolong the life in this body, keep it from aging, and try to defeat the natural process that was set in motion from the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they were cast out due to sin, and removed from the presence of the "Tree of Life".

From the ancient writings of Herodotus, to the explorations of Ponce de Leon in the 1500's, to the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, men (and women) have been looking for the fountain of youth.  I can also think of many more movies, literature, etc. that have "immortality" in the flesh as part of it's subject, such as "Tuck Everlasting", "Highlander", "Peter Pan and Neverland", etc., and even "Wolverine".  Needless to say, I enjoy these kinds of stories and movies as much as the next person for "entertainment", but also realize the futility of such earthly pursuits.

In the pharmacy where I work I see on a daily basis people trying to defy the aging process.  Men getting pills, injections, L'Oreal hair coloring kits, hair implants, all desperately seeking to defy the aging process and return to their youth.  Women getting every kind of cosmetic plastic surgery, implants, etc. they can to try to look young, and defy the aging process.  Infomercials abound with anti-aging products, work-out videos, etc., and friends on facebook are pushing AmWay-like products they think will work miracles.  People spend much more time in the Gym, running, biking, etc. than they do in prayer and personal Bible study.  But like in an old "Twilight Zone" episode, they don't realize how futile, vain, and ultimately useless their attempts are, and that end the end, we will all return to dust (unless we're alive when Jesus returns).

The Bible teaches that after death, we will all spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell, and will be given new bodies prepared for such eternal existence.  Eternal life in this body would be eternal torment.  This body was born to one day die.  We can spend all our time, money, and efforts searching for the "Fountain of Youth", but will never find it in the natural realm.  Most literature and movies dealing with the subject show a tragic end to such pursuits.  In the words of Ecclesiastes, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity".

In Isaiah 40 (ESV) the prophet wrote"
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the Word of our God will stand forever.

Now comes the answer my question.  The Fountain of Youth-is it real?  
Absolutely, but its just that we're "lookin for life in all the wrong places" (I know-a lame alteration of Mickey Gilley's "lookin for love in all the wrong places" lyrics-lol)
As I sat and pondered this morning, I was reminded of the encounter Jesus had with a woman at Jacob's well in Samaria, told in John Chapter 4.  Jesus told the woman where the real fountain of youth is found, and how to partake of it and live forever.  It's simple, and can be received by Grace through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It can't be found in Florida, in the Caribbean, in a pill, injection, in a Gym, or anywhere else but in the Lord Jesus Christ.  So here's where the Fountain of Youth is spoken of in Scripture, and has been right under our noses all this time.  Problem is, people are spending far too much time searching the world for answers, rather than searching the Scriptures.
John 4:13  Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this (earthly) water will be thirsty again,
John 4:14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a SPRING of water WELLING UP to ETERNAL LIFE." 
So there you have it-The Real Fountain of Youth, the Lord Jesus Christ!

I thought I was through typing, but just had another thought come to mind, where the "tree of life" is mentioned again by John, in Revelation 22.  Adam and Eve were banned the Garden, and from its presence, but in the Eternal state, those in Christ will see and partake of it again.

Rev 22:1  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Rev 22:2  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life...
Rev 22:14  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Rev 22:15  Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
My Aunt partook of this "Living Water" when she was but a child, and found the REAL Fountain of Youth, springing up to Eternal Life, which she is now partaking of in Heaven.  Have you?  If not, and you want to know more, send me a message and I'll be glad to share more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you and talk about how you can drink of this water too!

How will your pursuit for the Fountain of Youth and/or the Tree of Life end?  Futile? or Fruitful? Where will you spend eternity?  Inside (Heaven)? or Outside (Hell)?




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Newspapers? Cable News? nah, my hope is in the "GOOD NEWS"

 Where's your hope?



 
Matthew 5:18 ESV  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 

The LORD will reign forever...Praise the LORD!  Psalm 146:10(ESV) 

(Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Napoleon, Stalin, Mussolini, Herod, Hitler, etc. did not reign forever, and Barak Hussein Obama will not either.)

Psalm 145:13  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Psalm 146:5  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Psalm 146:6  who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever


I was going to post this comment on FB but it got too long, so I changed it to a blog post to spare those that don't want to read a long entry on FB.  Sharing my thoughts this morning, the first off day I've had in a while.

I've not been blogging much over the last year or so, because a lot of things have changed in our lives lately. I've changed jobs and and am now working more hours, and am more physically tired and mentally strained at the end of the day as a result.  Kim has taken on a full-time high school teaching position after many years of being a home-maker, and her workload has increased tremendously.  The kids are busier than ever.  We're actively involved in ministries at our Church.  Because of our limited free-time, some things had to give, and I now spend much much less time in Newspapers and watching Cable News, but I decided decades ago that I would not neglect the daily reading of  the Good News, God's Holy Word.  

My wife and I began our Facebook accounts a few years back when our kids wanted to get them, so we could monitor their activity.  As a result, we both reconnected with friends and family that live far off that we had lost touch with, and have really enjoyed checking in on FB fairly regularly to see what's going on with everyone. 

Here lately, I've been getting on FB less and less due to my busy schedule.  I realize many readers of this blog are international, but here in America, through this last election, I read daily posts that I agreed with, but it seemed to me like people were putting all their hope in the Republican party and Mitt Romney, whom I had/have real problems with (but yes, I had/have even more problems with Barak Hussein Obama-the most ungodly leader this country has ever seen).  It grieved my heart that these were our two choices, and still believe its the "Judgment Hand of God" on our Nation.  I believed Romney was the "better of two evils" mainly because he appeared to be able to work with Christians on some common grounds that reflect Biblical and moral values such as protecting the unborn babies from abortion, marriage being only between a man and woman, and other such issues which I ALWAYS look at when considering a candidate.

But now, after the fact, I question whether I should have even voted for a Mormon, who believes and devotes his life to another gospel, which is no gospel at all, and another god and another jesus (no caps because they're not the God and Jesus we know).  I prayed, made my decision, held my nose, and voted.  He lost, I felt better for exercising my right to vote, which I've always done since I was old enough to vote, knowing the sacrifice our military men and women have made through the years for our "right to vote".

However, I had this issue resolved in my mind back during the Bill Clinton era, when I was studying through the Book of Daniel in the 1990's.  God is Sovereign, and He is in control of every little detail in His Universe.  Even the placement of evil rulers over His people.  I (we) should pray and vote, but we have to trust in Him, no matter the results. Daniel was a child of God, an Israelite, who had been taken as a prisoner/slave into a foreign country by a foreign tyrant.  But he continued to serve God, pray toward Jerusalem three times and day, and not compromise his faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  These are his words, while living as an exile in a foreign land under a pagan idolatrous king, Nebuchadnezzar.


Daniel 2:21  He (the LORD) changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings

Daniel 4:17  ...the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.

So sometimes God's people are put under ungodly rulers for God's own purposes, which sometimes include His judgment, and purification of His people.

Now, after the election in America is over, much on Facebook is all about gun control, and I have many guns, and will vote accordingly, and am concerned as well about Obama's agenda(s).  But I realize there are greater forces at play here than just us.  There's a spiritual warfare going on, and this country has turned its back on God.  God is turning us over as a nation to suffer the consequences of our own ungodly actions. 

Now for my point...My Hope is in the Tri-une God of Scripture- God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Gospel, not in man, and not in "increasing awareness" of social/secular issues by multiple daily postings of the latest secular news articles that do nothing for the soul, but only increase stress from an already stressful day. 

Wow, I feel like I'm just getting started with relaying the thoughts going through my mind this morning, and have much to do today, and am now remembering why I haven't blogged in a while.  I can't seem to stop once I get started-lol.  But even now, as I began in prayer and reading the Scriptures before daylight this morning, then took a few minutes to browse through Facebook to "catch up", and got side-tracked with this post, I am being drawn back into His Word, then only "everlasting Good News".

Psalm 138:2(ESV)  I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word.
Psalm 138:3  On the day I called, You answered me; my strength of soul You increased.


Something I thought of the other day while studying the Old testament, by the way, is how Jesus said "destroy this temple and I will build it again in 3 days", referring to His body.  So, I believe this passage to us today as New Testament Christians, is saying "I bow down to You, my precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"

F.Y.I., the following is how my Facebook post started this morning, until I decided it was too long, and changed it to a blog post.
Are the latest stories from newspapers and news channels keeping you down? Sure seems like it for many FB friends out there.  I agree with what most of you are saying and posting about Obama, gun control, losing our liberties, rights, etc., and I'm as much a Christian, conservative, gun owner, etc., as most of you, and I have voted, vote, and will continue voting for candidates and bills, laws, etc. that reflect Christian/Godly/Biblical and yes, U.S.Constitutional principals accordingly, but man, how depressing to read all this stuff everytime I get on FB.  I recommend getting your heads out of the newspapers and on-line news so much, turn off the TV sometimes, and spend more time reading the everlasting Good News!  Just sayin!  Feel free to delete me if this offends you.

I'm not going to find a good stopping point this morning, but time to go.  In summary, do you want to be blessed with the Good News?  Or do you want to be discouraged with all the secular bad news?
Psalm 146:5  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ever been asked "If God is Sovereign, why pray?"

I've been asked this by many people who either don't understand, can't seem to reconcile, or just don't really believe in God's absolute Sovereignty over all things.  Let me start by saying I don't fully understand, but I believe Scripture teaches that God is Sovereign, AND we are both responsible and accountable for our actions (or inactions) to walk in obedience to His Word.

There are many ways to go about answering this, one of which involves explaining how prayer changes us, and gets us in line with what God is doing. But that discussion is for another day.

For today, here's an excellent summary quote from Packer that addresses the question, at least partially. (To address it fully would be nearly inexhaustible).

"There is no tension or inconsistency between the teaching of Scripture on God’s Sovereign foreordination of all things and on the efficacy of prayer. God foreordains the means as well as the end, and our prayer is foreordained as the means whereby He brings His Sovereign Will to pass. "
J.I. Packer, Concise Theology, Page 189

As I ponder and reflect on Scripture this morning, a few more thoughts quickly come to mind:
  1. Jesus Christ Incarnate prayed often, and we have a record of this in the Gospels. We are even privileged to gaze into the Holy of Holies as we see Jesus' High Priestly prayer to the Father in John 17.
  2. Jesus taught his Disciples to pray, and even asked them to "watch and pray" with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  3. The Church in Acts prayed constantly.
  4. The Patriarchs prayed.
  5. The Children of Israel prayed.
  6. The Psalmists prayed. We are privileged to see inside David's heart as he communed with the LORD through prayer.
  7. The Prophets prayed. Daniel prayed 3 times a day (at least) during the good & the bad times. Jonah prayed from the depths of the sea, the belly of the great fish. Nehemiah and Ezra prayed.
  8. In the Book of Revelation, we are told the Saints of God pray, and the burned incense rising up from the altar represents the "prayers of the Saints"
  9. We are admonished all throughout Scripture to pray, such as: "you have not because you ask not", ask- seek- knock","pray without ceasing", "with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God", "in all things give thanks", "call to Me and I will answer you", call upon the name of the LORD", etc...
  10. Prayer brings Him Glory! He says repeatedly "I will be Glorified!"
    As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, "The chief end of man is to Glorify God and enjoy Him forever!"
And the list could go on and on...

So in summary, God is Sovereign in and over all things,

Isaiah 46:9-11 (ESV)
...I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all My purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country.  I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it
and Christians are to be people of prayer.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
...in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
So to repeat Packer's statement:
"Our prayer is foreordained as the means whereby He brings His Sovereign Will to pass. "
So keep praying! Amen? Amen!

Still confused?  So am I at times, but I'm reminded of the words of the old hymn  "Trust and Obey"...
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
One reason I don't blog as often anymore is that I can't find a good stopping place...Even now, I'm thinking of many more passages to discuss, illustrations to use, directions to go, and could go on writing for pages, and pages, and pages...
If you'd like to leave a comment but don't have an account to login with, you can choose "anonymous", and then put your name in the body of your comment.  Questions and/or comments are welcome!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My 2 cents about "Relevance"

 I hear people all the time talking about "relevance", such as relevant sermons, relevant preaching, relevant teaching, etc...
"We don't make the Bible relevant. It is inherently so, simply because it is God's Word."...
"There is no danger of irrelevant doctrine; the real threat is an undoctrinal attempt at relevance. Application not based on solid interpretation has led Christians into all kinds of confusion.
Dr. John F. MacArthur, Grace To You
PREACH THE WORD!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY 2012 to all, from Don and Family !

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks. (ESV)

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bring Out The Book!



(Re-posting (again) an older blog that I needed reminding of periodically...I told my friend at lunch last week, I'm closing all books but the Bible for a while again...need to feast on the pure, unadulterated Word, the Scriptures Alone for a while...)

In Nehemiah, the people of Israel asked Ezra the Scribe to "Bring out The Book", the Book of the Law of Moses, and were attentive as he read from the Law of God from early morning till midday!
(see end of blog for Scripture passage)
Do you long for HIS BOOK?
Do you long for the people of God to long for His Book?

Today, it seems to me that churches everywhere are always anxious to have so-called "Bible-Studies" on the latest books from the New York Times Bestsellers List (or LIFEWAY for us Southern Baptists) by the latest "Christian Guru of the hour", and they get very excited about it.

Now don't misunderstand. I'm not against Christian book studies.
I'm all about reading and studying good books by good Christian authors, present and past. We may disagree on which books/authors are good, and which are not-so-good, but that's not my point here. (leave me a comment to discuss that - LOL).

My family and friends know that I always have bookmarks in several books, commentaries, and Study-Bibles at a time. I can't go to sleep at night without reading. I ask for theology books for my birthday, Christmas, for Father's Day, etc. I'm always going online & ordering new books whenever I get the time (or money-lol). My Dad & I exchange good books by solid Christian authors, scholars, and theologians with each other all the time. We both love books that Glorify God, and exalt Him. In fact, I'm out of bookshelves at home to store them, and am having to box some good books up for lack of space.

Dad & I have often talked about how, as good and helpful as these books are, they are no substitute for reading & studying the Scriptures daily. If I'm always reading/studying Godly books by Godly men, and neglect the Bible itself, they always leave me "wanting", and "hungering & thirsting" for His Word from His Book! (and we're not talking about gospel-lite type self-help books)

Books and Commentaries are excellent SUPPLEMENTS to, but not SUBSTITUTES for the Bible.

But where's the excitement in studying His Book?
How many times have you heard people get really excited at your church about studying a particular Book of the Bible? (Well, with exception of Revelation and maybe Daniel-which are certainly Books we should study...in fact, Revelation speaks of a special blessing for hearing/reading it). But we should love to study ALL the Books of the Bible. Not just the ones we think are "more interesting and/or sensational".
J. Vernon McGee once commented on the lack of real interest in deep things of God in one of his commentaries, which I own:
When I first came to California, the late Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein wintered out here in Pasadena, and I went to visit him. He asked me how I liked California, and I replied, “I love it here, but it’s very interesting that if I teach the Book of Revelation, I can fill the church (even during midweek service), but if I begin teaching the Epistle to the Romans, I can practically empty the church. I find there are people who will run all the way across this area to find out from a speaker just how many hairs are in the horse’s tail in Revelation.” He then made a statement to me that I shall never forget, “Dr. McGee, you’re going to find out in your ministry that there are a great many people more interested in Antichrist than they are in Christ.”
J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988)
Thru the Bible, Volume V, page 47
In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews/Israelites had returned from captivity, and had been without God's Word for more than a generation.
They had heard, I'm sure, "about God", but they were hungry to hear "from God". The following passage gives the account:
Nehemiah 8 (ESV)...Ezra Reads the Law
1And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. 2So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. 9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved." 12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
May we say, as they did, "BRING OUT THE BOOK"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

PROVIDENCE, or mere coincidence?

(I.M.O., there's no such thing as luck)
Consider these words of wisdom from Pastor Stephen Davey.
"The timing of a letter; a phone call; a conversation; something that happened; something that worked and something that did not; some interruption – these are God’s hands at work".
Okay, here's another testimony I just have to share.  I made a phone yesterday to an old friend from another State that I haven't seen nor heard from in over 21 years.  I received a call back from him a few hours later, it "just so happens" he's going to be staying in my State, and my City tonight, and we're going to (Lord willing) get together, have dinner and "fellowship" with each other tonight.  Big Deal?  Maybe not to you, but it is to me, and I'm praising God for His Divine Providence even in the little details of our lives.  I have tried unsuccessfully for years to find contact info. on him, and have prayed for the LORD to help me reach him at least once to tell him what an inspiration he was, and how much his friendship meant to me.  "As luck would have it", after years of periodically searching for it, I found a phone number for him yesterday (wait-there's no such thing as luck-must be Providence).  If interested in the details, you're invited to read on...
That's a summary of God's Providential working out the details in this instance , but here's a little background our friendship.

About 21 to 25 years ago, give or take a few,  before God "Providentially" led me (as He always does, we often just can't see it except in hindsight) in a different career path through my wife's encouragement to go to college while she taught school, I drove an 18-wheeler (i.e., I was a commercial truck-driver) for a living.  I traveled across many Southern States delivering groceries here in the U.S.A., and met many people during that time.  One man stood out among the rest.  His name was Gary K..

"Brother Gary", as we called him, was one of the first people we would see as we rolled up to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store out in "Small Town",  U.S.A..  Bro. Gary always had a smile on his face, and was always extra friendly.  At most of our stops, the store personnel would not help us unload the truck, saying it was "our responsibility", but Gary would.  He'd get up in the truck and help us unload that 45,000 pound load of freight, kidding with us, picking with us, and having fun all the while.  From day one, I knew he was different.  

Turns out, Gary was a bi-vocational Baptist Pastor/Preacher, married with children, working at the Piggly Wiggly during the week to provide for his family.  His small town Baptist Church where he pastored, obviously couldn't fully support him financially, thus he "worked with his hands", and fulfilled Paul's Words to the Thessalonians:
1Thessalonians 4:11-12  ...and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. 
In fact, I have used Bro. Gary's life as a modern day example modeling Paul's "tent-making", which is how Paul met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth.
I remember more than once after unloading the truck, Bro Gary asking me "what ya gonna do for lunch?"  Sometimes I was on a tight schedule and had to roll on out, but one time I accepted, and he called his wife, told her to put on a "pone of cornbread, and warm up the soup", because I'm bringing a truck-driver home for lunch.  That meal at his house had such an impact on me as a young Christian, as they modeled the believers in the Book of Acts.  What hospitality and Christian love!
Acts 2:46 (ESV) ...and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts
Well, this post is getting to long, and I realize that "too long" may lose readers' interest, so just a few more sentences and I'm through.   One more thing that really stood out about Bro. Gary was his enthusiasm about preaching and teaching his congregation at his Church.  As we were unloading that load of freight one Wednesday afternoon, dripping with sweat, he was sharing with me some details about his current series on the Book of Revelation.  He was so excited that it was Wednesday, and he had the privilege of preaching and teaching God's Word to God's people that evening (after he went home to wash-up, eat, and get to the church).  Now I realize that full-time salaried preachers have a heavy load on them preparing and preaching 2 or 3 sermons a week (some more, some less), along with their other responsibilities involving administration, hospital visitations, funerals, etc.,   but Bro. Gary also had those duties at church, and never complained about being overloaded.  He had a joy and a passion for Jesus, his flock, and his ministry that I'll never forget.
2 Timothy 4:2  preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season
Today's post was primarily for me, writing it down while fresh in my memory, as another reminder of how God works "behind the scenes" in our daily lives.  I just had to share how the LORD showed me yet another undeniable, clear act of Providence and answered prayer yesterday.
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW.  I may add more details about our evening of fellowship later, will have to wait and see!

FROM HERE DOWN IS JUST A RE-CAP OF A FEW PAST BLOGS ON PROVIDENCE.
I love to talk and write about the "Providence of God", which is a very awesome and yet comforting teaching of Scripture.  Here's a few links to some (not all) past blogs on the subject.

This one is about Providence in the lives of two "Josephs", in Genesis, and Matthew, as well as in the lives of my family today.
click >  Detoured? Discouraged? God is still Sovereign, and we can trust Him!!

This one quotes the "Prince of Preachers", Charles Spurgeon. 
click >  Just How Sovereign is God? Spurgeon comments.

Here's another one from a few months back.
click >  Luck? Coincidence? Chance?....or PROVIDENCE

And of course, quotes from John Flavel (1627–1691), an English Presbyterian clergyman
click > John Flavel quotes on Providence

As mentioned above, I may add more details later, maybe in the comments on this post, or possibly a new one.

If you'd like to comment, I'd love to hear stories of God's Providence in your life!  If not able to sign in, you can select "anonymous", and put your info. into the comment itself.  Blessings!