In 3 more weeks I will be starting a new leg of this journey we call LIFE. I will be leaving my familiar surroundings at FUMC Hillsville/OOTBWC and stepping onto new ground at Glenwood UMC as their Supply Pastor. It is time to take a deep breath and reflect on all that GOD has done inside of this beating heart. It’s time for the bird to leave the nest and fly…so to speak. Like any new thing we do there is always a little anxiety in the unknown and I have found that we make our anxieties a lot bigger than they really are! ( At least I do!) So, I am relying on God’s Word and not my feelings. Our feelings can ( and often do) sway us in the wrong direction.
Joshua was about to go into new land when God told him- “Be strong and courageous!” He told him this 3 times in a row. Sometimes we need to hear it over and over again! It is comforting to know that God repeats his promises to us over and over. He knows we need a lot of encouragement!
Then there was Moses! Moses didn’t think he could do the job and God gave him a helper in Aaron. Moses reply to God’s call was, ( Exodus 3:11) “ Who am I that I should go to Pharoah, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” That’s the same thing I said…”who? me? Who am I that you ( God) would want to use me? I am a nobody.” But look what God says to Moses in Exodus 3:12 ; “ certainly, I will be with you…” This makes me smile because this is what I hear, “ oh you big goof, I’m not going to let you do this alone-I’m right there with you…”
Moses made 3 excuses of what if, what if, what if… and in the second one he asked God what he should say to the Israelites when they ask him what God’s name is. God says ( and in my head I hear this booming voice echoing off the mountains…) tell them,
“ I AM WHO I AM”
and you will tell them that
“ I AM has sent you!”
Don’t you love it?
I can relate to this as I have had people say this to me –“who are you to go and do this thing called a supply Pastor? What schooling or background have you had?” I have asked myself the same questions. But fear brings doubt and the Word of God drives out fear. 1 Timothy 1:7 says: “ For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline!” I have access to THE spirit of love, power and discipline and this has become a power verse for me. In fact, God HAS driven the fear right out of my heart. You know what ? Today I can say is this to those who ask for my “credentials” , “ God sent me and I am done arguing with Him. I have fought this for years and I have sought out the face of God through fasting and praying and He has answered. It is a divine appointment. I know it is unusual and it doesn’t happen this way-but I am not the one in charge. I just know what I have heard and that I must answer. I f you have questions, please take them up with God.”
“ When we hear God we must act. We seek HIM and not the world. When we act we are putting our trust in God into motion. Trust feeds our faith and makes it grow like a mighty oak.”
I am in no way saying that I am Moses or Joshua. What I am saying is that I find great comfort in knowing that these great leaders had the same doubts and questions that I have had. God has given us these Words to go to for encouragement, advice, discipline and love. If we would just GO TO THEM we would get the answers we so desperately need. I see part of the problem like this: that people don’t know they can go to them because the world’s perception of these Words are that they are “out of date”, they don’t apply to today and they can’t see themselves in the story. People don’t know that our God is alive and well and living inside each of us. Why? Because WE ( Christians) don’t live like He is! Like Moses, we live in fear of what people think and what they will say, but what about God? Have we thought about Him? What does He say?
This is what I hear God saying “ My child, I love you, I will heal you, I forgive you, I will give you everything you need for the job, I will be with you, I will, I will, I will…just let me be a part of your life! I love you so much…. that I sent my Son, from the safety of our home, to earth to show you how to live, love, die and live again! He took your every pain, every hurt, every deceit, every beating, every abuse, all the bad stuff – just for you to be able to see me- now give me a little bit of you so we can grow in love together. Don’t live in fear-live in ME-live in TRUST. Look at ME.”
GOD wants to pry our eyes open so we can see His Glory looking back at us. He needs us to do that for him. We are His vessels. Satan doesn’t want us to see God’s call, or for other’s to see God’s Glory! Some of let a fallen angel bully us around. A fallen ange who is kicking and screaming because he can’t have his own way. Well his way is not God’s way and now he is trying to convince others to live in fear. Don’t allow him to have power over you. He works in our minds trying to get us to believe the lies of the world. “You aren’t good enough, you aren’t worthy, you aren’t equipped, and on and on and on. It’s a lie and we have to stop believing it, stop making excuses and start relying on GOD. ( This is my mini-me sermon-LOL) God is bigger than all of that and when we realize the power of God in our lives-God will see to it that we have all we need. Read the scriptures and find out! It’s up to us to fill our minds with GOD’S WORD. We do this by reading it, praying it, studying it and applying it to our lives. It takes action. Think about this-if Jesus had said, “ no Dad, I’m not going to do that today…” where would we be? He responded to His Father’s love for His people-the same way we should. We respond and then we act. Let God do the rest. Trust me- this has happened to me time and time again and I often say, “why didn’t I do that sooner? I could be so much closer to where God wants me if I had responded sooner instead of living in fear.” DUH DONNA!
GOD has certainly opened my eyes and ears and now it is my job to help open others. We are God’s VOICES and our purpose is to worship Him with our lives and when we do, we give Him all glory, honor and praise in all that we do and that means NOT living in fear !! No, it’s not easy, it takes WORK, EFFORT, and TEARS, but it’s so worth it! We live under the power of GOD ALMIGHTY and we need to start acting like it! So, how are we going to respond to the next call we hear? May we be like Samuel. When he learned to recognize His Father’s voice he responded with this: “Speak, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10 )
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Blessings for your journey as you greet your Father with a “what’s next Dad?”