From My Pen...

I'm a journaler. I like to journal about life, love and my Lord. I also love technology but busyness keeps me from being as tech-savvy as I'd like to be. This blog gives me a chance to play computer and learn a few new tricks along the way; all the while serving as my 21st century journal. A journaler is just a writer by another name and writing defines me almost as much as my faith does. I've always had a desire to blend my faith and my writing into a ministry of encouragement. This blog gives birth to that desire. Be blessed as you read these weekly devotions taken from the pages of my old-fashioned journal.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Entirely Faithful

This one is especially for my ministry friends/peers...

My brother visited us some years ago. Some of my peers probably knew my brother. He was a pastor with our fellowship for nearly 40 years. Today He’s with the Lord he loved and served. He was quite a character and we razzed each other mercilessly but I admit to a deep respect for his capability when it came to the study, handling and presentation of the Word. We had “Wally” come in for the weekend and speak on eschatological matters. This he did.
 
Sunday morning he opened his presentation by telling us about the doctor, lawyer, and pastor who went moose hunting together. A large bull came on the scene and all three lifted their rifles and fired at the bull simultaneously. The animal went down. The three ran to check out their kill and to their consternation discovered that only one shot actually struck the animal. A heated argument ensued as to whose bullet found its mark. The game warden happened up on the scene and questioned the reason for the vehement disagreement. The three quickly explained the dilemma. The game warden told them not to worry as he could solve their problem. After quickly examining the bull-moose he said there was no question that the successful marksman was indeed the pastor. “How can you tell that so quickly?” they all demanded. “Oh that’s easy,” said the warden, “the bullet went in through one ear and out the other.”
 
He got much the same result as I just got from you. It was a joke meant to break the ice. Later, however, it gave me pause for thought. Do you know what I thought about? I thought about the times when Wayne and I have felt like we just shot a bull through the ears;  the  times it felt like the sermons we preached and the exhortations we gave have gone in one ear and out the other. You’ve felt that way too at times, haven’t you? Maybe you’ve used other ways to express it; water on a duck’s back, it fell on deaf ears, or something similar but it amounts to the same thing. You just felt like the message that burned in your heart in the study kindled no answering fire in the hearts of those in the pews.
 
As I thought about our recent conference I thought of how the Lord had encouraged my heart that long-ago weekend using my brother, the preacher, as His means. That’s what I want to do here - be the means God uses to encourage you. The word exhorts us to do that, doesn’t it? Hebrews 3:13 tells us “encourage one another daily” and Hebrews 10:25 says we are “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another‑‑ and all the more as (we) see the Day approaching.” I think it’s a good practice for us as fellow labourers to get in the habit of doing that. We all have problems and issues in our places of ministry but discussing these things ought not to consume all of our time together. More often than not, when we do this we carry our own burdens back home enlarged somewhat by the discouraging stories we have heard. At times the ministry even seems a tad bit more hopeless than before we came together.
 
Psalm 89:8 says; “O Lord God of Heaven’s armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord? You are entirely faithful.” That last phrase “You are entirely faithful” has been bouncing around in my mind in relation to that weekend with Wally and in relation to us and His work. Not for the sake of increasing your burden but for the purpose of encouragement I want to share something with you. A few months before that weekend with my brother we were “voted back in.”  It was a good vote. Yet it seemed that ever since the church had been in a slump, so to speak. The word “apathetic” comes to mind but I’m not sure it’s an entirely accurate description of matters. Wayne had remarked that God knew what was best because if we had gone through that before the vote our decision may have been different. Given that we felt our decision was “of God” that would have been a mistake. Yet, naturally, we felt discouraged about the twist things had taken. To further complicate our feelings we had invited Wally to come sometime before and so we were concerned. We had a speaker coming in to speak on end times when the church couldn’t even seem to focus on the task at hand. Wayne and I had expressed deep concern to one another that Sunday would be rough - we would be lucky to get enough out to conduct service. We prepared ourselves to prepare Wally - not wanting him to have a disappointing and discouraging experience.

Long story short - God’s timing is always impeccable - even when we don’t get it! Sunday was awesome. There was a goodly number out and an amazing sense of worship in the a.m. service. In the p.m. service we were joined by nearby congregations and the combined effect was a breath of fresh air to all in my estimation. Wally’s approach to the topic of end times was positive and seemed to shift focus back where it belonged. He caused us to “lift up our heads.” The coming together of churches in the p.m. service brought with it a sense of camaraderie stronger than we had felt for a while.  What we deemed an untimely event turned out to be God’s perfect timing. The atmosphere even during after church fellowship was simply put - good! It was a good day in God’s house and much relished. We were encouraged in spirit and our out-of-line thinking got realigned. A needed shift came.

Yes Lord, “You are entirely faithful.” Even when we as leaders aren’t; even when congregations aren’t - God is!!! I don’t know where you are. I don’t know where your church is but I know where God is - He’s still on the throne and He knows where you are. We serve a God who not only walks with us in the cool of the evening when things are edenic and all is well. He is also a God who walks with us in furnaces heated seven times hotter. You love the Lord; you have been called according to His purposes and so He is working all things together for your good even now - be encouraged, take heart - God is entirely faithful!