Thursday, September 14, 2017

God Has a Waiting Room


God Has a Waiting Room 


What is a waiting room? Most of us would probably think of a doctor’s office or maybe even a hospital… A place with chairs to sit in and wait until our name is called. Sometimes, there is not too much of a wait. Sometimes the time goes by quickly and our name is called almost instantly. But then there are those other times when it seems as if we’ve been in that room forever. We’ve seen others come in, and the ones before us leave… maybe some who have come in after us get called before us.

We have waiting rooms in the physical sense here in our world, but there’s also a waiting room in the spiritual sense; God’s waiting room. So many people get placed in His waiting room and are chosen to take a seat. Being there usually is not fun. While you’re waiting, you’re being delayed, in all honesty. In some cases, your whole life may be on hold. It seems endless. Maybe you have received a promise from God that seems like it will never happen. Maybe you are struggling with family issues, or financial trouble, or illness, and it seems like it will never end. It feels like you are stuck in that same place and that nothing will be done to fix it. We lose our sense of control when we are alone and waiting and don’t know what will happen. We’re human, and we desire a sense of control because we don’t feel stable when we can’t foresee what may happen.

When our needs or prayers aren’t being answered right when we think we need them to be, we begin to feel like God doesn’t care about us. We feel abandoned and isolated, and if we’re not careful, we can even feel betrayed. It’s absolutely natural to have these feelings, but we need to be careful to not live in those emotions. There is actually something special about being in God’s waiting room. It’s not just some place that He decides to stick you because He’s sick of hearing you pray the same prayer over and over. It isn’t just somewhere He puts you because He’s too busy and doesn’t feel like responding to you. The time of your waiting is actually your golden opportunity to get even closer to Jesus, more than you’ve ever been before, because it’s that time when you’re feeling lost and have exhausted every option, that He and He alone is there. It’s a time where He wants you to draw closer and rely on Him completely, so He can show us His power and ability. It’s when we are weak that He is made strong.

While you are waiting, you also need to be careful of the enemy’s lies. The enemy will try to use the time you have there to try to make you believe that you are isolated, and that God doesn’t really care. He will try to get into your mind, and make you believe that you aren’t important enough for God to pay attention to. That is simply a big lie. Jesus may allow storms to come into your life, but that doesn’t mean He wants to tear you down or weaken you. Rather, the storms He sends you are one of the greatest ways for you to strengthen and deepen your relationship with Him; because it is in these times that His strength and power are revealed to us, so we can know Him in an even more miraculous way. Before I end this lesson, I’m going to give two examples of how two men of God have waited and received their wonderful promise at His perfect time.

Hebrews 6:13-15 says “For when God made promise to Abraham because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying I will bless thee and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

The New Living Translation puts it this way… “Then Abraham waited patiently and received what God had promised.” Key word here… patiently. Abraham probably thought that he would receive that promise within the next year or so. He probably couldn’t have imagined that it would take 25 years to come to pass. The next example of someone who waited, is someone we all know… our Pastor. My dad felt the call to preach the gospel and pastor a church about 30 years ago. 30… years. Now, that’s a long time to wait. 30 years is a long time to wait for anything! I can barely wait 30 minutes, let alone 30 years! But the amazing thing is that he never lost sight of that calling and that vision for his life. He had faith and relied on God to lead him to the right place. The even more amazing thing is that 30 years ago, the same time my dad felt the call to pastor, our church, FACD, first began. God knew exactly what he was doing, and orchestrated the situation perfectly, from the beginning, to where we are now.

While we wait, there will more than likely be times where there is no physical evidence of your prayers. You may pray, and pray, and pray… yet for that season of time it seems like nothing happens. Does God hear or care? Of course He does. Even if it looks as if He hasn’t heard you, it is all a part of receiving the “evidence of things not seen,” as in Hebrews 11:1. There is a necessary time where you must wait without seeing any evidence or response to your prayers. Of course it’s difficult to go through. We’re human. We were created to respond to our senses… so when we are in this situation, we can’t rely on these things.

What we need to do is “hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)”. God does everything in response to faith and at his perfect time. All He is waiting for from you is your response while you are waiting.

                                               -Submitted By Holly Tibbs

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Sheepish Thought




A Sheepish Thought


Over the years, I have done more than one study on sheep. I have learned a lot about sheep by reading articles, listening to actual shepherds, and even listening to Bible studies about lost sheep, sheep headed to the slaughter, sheep following the shepherd, and so on. 

Because sheep are mentioned in the Bible on several occasions and because they provide us with a lot of unique comparisons with humans, I’ve been intrigued to study them on more than one occasion. Because this article is about women I will refer to sheep in the female gender. 

While the Bible does not call people sheep, it does state that we are like sheep. As I studied the subject of sheep I began asking myself in what way are we like sheep? Sheep are known to be dumb so does that mean we are dumb? Like sheep, can we not think for ourselves? Like sheep, will we just lay down and die when knocked over? Or are we compared to sheep because we are trusting, or gentle, or tolerant, or easily hurt? Is it a negative thing to be referred to “like sheep” or is it a positive thing?

When I was in Bible school the male students decided they would have a little fun by putting a sign in front of the girls dorm that read “Cattle Crossing.” It was derogatory, unkind, and hurtful and the young men got into some serious trouble over their lack of respect for their female classmates. It was supposed to be funny but these were students who were preparing to go into the ministry and if the staff had not corrected this behavior, the Bible school would have sent a clear message to the men that it was O.K. to show disrespect for those who would one day share in ministry with them and likewise a clear message that women are basically fat cows. 

I venture to say if those same boys had put up a sign stating “Sheep Path” or “Sheep Crossing” or “Lamb Lane,” the reaction would have been very different. Why? Because sheep are gentle in nature. Sheep need to be led by the care and guidance of one who is concerned about where they are going. When God’s word is honored in the home, God gives the man the responsibility to love, protect, and lead his wife in a way that will keep any harm from coming her way. Cattle must be driven because they are stubborn, big, and can be violent when the circumstances are of a stressful nature; sheep, on the other hand, must be led with a tender hand, handled in a gentle manner and must feel protected which will result in sheep that will follow the shepherd.  

It is a terrible thing to be cast down. We get the term “cast down” from the example of a sheep that has fallen due to tripping over a big rock that it did not see, or running away from a wild animal and in the process of running has lost its footing and has fallen to the ground. When a sheep falls she immediately rolls onto her back because she is top heavy. Once the sheep is on its back it is called “cast down” meaning without the help of a human hand to flip the sheep back on its feet, the sheep will never be able to turn herself over. A sheep is too top heavy to turn herself upright. The sheep has no hope without help. Sheep will die within a few hours if left unattended. Shortly after becoming “cast down” the sheep begins to lose the ability to breathe. The odd position she is in causes the air ways to become constricted and she will suffocate. 

A woman will work hard for her family, church family, friends, neighbors, extended family and anyone else who is important to her; however, if put down, made fun of, treated in a disrespectful way, she can easily become “cast down.” For a woman, this is a very dangerous situation for her to be in and she will need the help of a friend she can trust, a church member, and/or if married, her husband to remind her of the value she holds in her family, church, and home. A wise husband will never say things to cause his wife to feel she is less than him. A wise husband will do everything in his power to protect the one he loves from finding herself “cast down” because he knows she is the weaker vessel, and he could lose the many ways she blesses him if no one comes to her rescue. 

I think people are likened unto sheep in the scriptures for very positive reasons and I believe the Bible School I attended did a great service to both the young ladies and men when the staff reprimanded those who thought it was funny to refer to God’s most gentle creations as something of less value than she was created to be.

-Submitted By Patty Hollaway

Monday, August 7, 2017

Running On 'E'

Running On 'E'


Do you ever find yourself running errands, taking the kids to play-dates, and heading to church and realize you’re running on ‘E’? I too often think, “I can make it another 20 miles – I know my car.” But then there is the time when you really DON’T know your car and you run out of gas. How similar are we spiritually to running on ‘E’?

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 3:19, “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” God doesn’t want us to be running on ‘E’; to be so caught up with the things in this world that distract us from the purpose he has in store for us. On the other hand, we can get to the point where we are running on ‘E’ due to church responsibilities. Many of us know that the church is a busy place; events, activities, programs, Bible studies, Bible Quizzing, and often times you’ll see the same person(s) involved in many areas of ministry. It IS possible to become so drained from involvement in church that your tank springs a leak and all the sudden you’re on ‘E’.

God didn’t design one person to do everything, Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave SOME, apostles; and SOME, prophets; and SOME, evangelists; and SOME, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” not ONE person to preach, teach, evangelize, prophesy, run the sound booth, coach Quizzing, clean the church, sing in worship, play the drums, coordinate missions trips, write a blog, update the website, answer the phones, and be the greeter for visitors. We need to learn to share the load, and trust me I’m speaking to myself when I say, don’t take on too much.


There is a time and season for every thing, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” While there is a time for everything, let’s not rush it all into one time or you’ll rapidly find you’re running on ‘E’. Remind yourself often, the time to ‘build up’ can be the time to fill up!

-Written By Meghan West

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Liberty

Liberty

As we approach our Independence Day festivities, let’s pause from our activity planning to reflect on the liberty we gained as a result of the Declaration of Independence. First, let’s examine the following statements from the Declaration.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just  Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundations on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to Them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This document was signed by fifty-six men that recognized that the Lord created us equally and gave us human rights. They understood that we should have free-will to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. They were so firm in these convictions, that they were willing to sacrifice all. The words at the end of the declaration demonstrates their commitment. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. These were not empty words as we often hear from our statesmen today, but on the contrary, the signers knew far well that by signing this document they would be signing their death warrants; they were committing high treason against King George. If they were found they would certainly be executed.  Benjamin Franklin said, “We must indeed hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” The potential implications were fully understood. History shows us that some did either lose their lives and/or family members. Some lost or forfeited their homes and fortunes for the cause of independence. What motivated them to stand against Britain and their earthly sovereign, King George, at the risk of personal peril? The Declaration provides a long-standing list of the King’s tyrannical behavior towards the Colonies. 

They knew they would have to have a well-founded system to replace what they had under Britain. The founding fathers strove to weave the Biblical principles and precepts that they were so devoted to throughout the government’s foundational documents. The following quotes are only a few that give insight to their thinking.

George Washington, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”
John Adams, ”The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”
John Adams and John Hancock (unconfirmed quote), “We recognize no sovereign but God and no king but Jesus.”

Resulting from the signers’ prayerful commitment and from the countless men (and women) that bore the cause of independence on the battlefield, we have been granted the liberty to pursue life and happiness as we see fit. Unlike having a monarchy to order governmental affairs, we the people have the right and obligation to direct our government by voting for leadership that will best uphold our rights and Christian values.  We are given this guidance as exampled by two of our founding fathers in the following quotes. John Jay, the original Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, said, “Providence has given our people a choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and to prefer Christians for their rulers.  Noah Webster, Revolutionary Soldier; Judge; Legislator; Educator; said, “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men that will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty.” Obviously, the voting public has moved away from this guidance. Nevertheless, we the Church should vote in accordance with God values and in support of the continuation of our freedom and rights.

Thank you to our founding fathers that carefully and prayerfully began this great experiment called the United States of America and to each soldier from then to now that have sacrificed time, life, and limb so that we all can continue to be free.

It is wonderful to have the freedom to pursue our rights and liberty. However, the larger blessing is freedom of religion. As believers, we are free to worship as we wish and free to choose Jesus and His liberty which transcends all earthly liberty. The liberty of God means we are no longer bound to our sinful nature which guaranteed our eternal separation from the love of God. The Lord knew we could not be reconciled to Him through our good works. Therefore, He paid the ultimate price for our sins with His death on the cross. His resurrection paved the way for our resurrection to a new life with Him, first on earth and then life everlasting.  We are free to choose to be water baptized in Jesus name for the remission of sins and to choose God’s resurrection power in the infilling of the Holy Ghost. We were once dead men walking imprisoned by sin, but now we have been liberated to become heirs of salvation, having the promise of eternal life with Him, the author and finisher of our faith, forever.



 -Written By Vicki Schultz