Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Our Saturdays"

  "And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last." (Luke 23:46) Trusting but enduring a horrible death. All Jesus had was the promise from His Father. No one to hold Him, touch Him or help. He simply died in our place because of our sins trusting God would do as He promised, raise Him from death's grip. 
  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had taken away the body of Jesus and prepared a mixture of myrrh and aloes. The women followed seeing where the tomb was and how Jesus was laid. Jesus is lifeless as the stones around. 
  God made Himself known to mankind on Friday by displays of nature and the relationship to Jesus Christ the Lord. Open graves, a blackened sun in the brightest part of the day as the earth was shaken. On Saturday, all went silent. The Lord Jesus is silent. The God of heaven and earth is silent. Saturday is the day between the struggle and the solution for all mankind. What was going to happen? As silent Saturday came along man heard or saw nothing. It all seemed over. 
  Sometimes we have these "Saturdays" in our lives. Friday we found out we have no employment any longer. Friday we received unfavorable news about our health. Friday our child went across the line. Friday our marriage has reached a height of disappointment. We pray. We cry. We reach out and there seems to be such silence. Our lives seem so dark. What are we to do? Why hasn't God done something? The silence of Saturday grieves us.
  We are called to do as Jesus did...lie still and wait. Jesus trusted God from the beginning to the end. No matter what physical forces were around, Jesus simply trusted and His body lay there on Saturday waiting. Jesus knew the promises. Jesus had a conviction about God and His word: "For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life..." (Psa. 16:10-11) Jesus knew God would not leave Him alone. 
  Then came  Sunday when God raised His Son and grip of sin and it's power were destroyed! The solution for all mankind was made known. He lives! He reigns! The first day of the week began a new chapter with the Lord Jesus Christ in charge! Just because of silence on Saturday does not mean God was absent or inactive. 
  We have many "Saturdays" in our lives and it leaves us bewildered. But just because something is not done on the spot, when you want it doesn't mean God is not aware or inactive. Our "Saturdays" have a purpose. Those silent "Saturdays" are to help us focus and simply be still. "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  (Psa. 46:10) Sometimes we need to simply be still and stop trying to direct things when we encounter them. If God had raised Jesus within thirty minutes of His death, we would not appreciate the depth of the love and power. If God were to come and solve your problems the moment they appear, you would miss an opportunity for faith to grow and a deep sense of love for His strength. It's for this reason that God gives us "Saturdays." Learning to be patient and "know that I am God" has great benefits. Trust in the Lord and learn that silence is an opportunity for prayer and awaiting the "Sunday" power.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Stumps and Dirt"

  Many years ago while growing up in West Texas a fellow brother in Christ owned some land with mesquite trees on it. He wanted to use some of that land for farming so he began the task of pulling stumps. I went out to help him one day while he was pulling stumps. That was some of the most difficult work I ever had to do. Those who have pulled stumps know exactly what I'm saying. A few weeks later the stumps were removed and the ground was ready to be plowed.
  I went back out when he was plowing just to see and he approached me asking, "Smell that? That's a sweet smell of dirt!" It was all dirt. No stumps and ready to be used and useful. 
  It struck me the other day that the church many times is like the land being cleared to be useful. Sometimes there are those stumps and they keep the richness of the blessings in Christ Jesus in check! Jesus was preparing the soil of hearts and encountered many who impeded what the Lord was looking for. They were stumps and unwilling to move. When the soil of the heart is pure it gives the opportunity for seed to be planted and grown as intended. Useful and rich. The Lord has blessed His people with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3) and redeemed us (Eph. 1:7). The Lord has provided us with EVERYTHING that pertains to life and godliness. Nothing is missing. Everything is for our benefit and our blessing. Yet there are those stumps who stir and refuse. They throw in their attitudes which are less than Christ-like. The church struggles. But here's the good news, you can be an aroma for Christ. Hold to His promises. Be humble and pull up any stumps that are in the heart so the soil of the heart is good and useful. You will be amazed how the Lord grows you.