Sunday, July 15, 2012

Seasons Change

I had posted this a long time ago but felt it needed repeated. I want to preface by saying many don't listen to Ray Boltz anymore because of the direction he headed in his personal life. However, this song was recorded before he fell and I personally believe it can minister to us today. It does to me anyway. More importantly, I hope you read my comments as that is really the essence of what I'm trying to say.

Seasons change, don't they? My concept for today is really nothing new I guess. But have you ever wondered about the changing seasons and the ones in our own lives? I've always compared the four seasons to the seasons in our life. Work with me a minute on this, okay? In spring, we are born. In summer, we are in our adulthood making a living, having a family and we are full of life and stamina. Then autumn comes. This is the third season of our life. We start slowing down a bit and the summer days of our life are over. Then finally, winter sets in, we leave this earthly life. However, I don't want to end this on a downer. When we see Christ, it all starts over and we'll be in the spring of our life again! No, I'm not espousing some new age belief. I just think that's the way it happens.

I've been listening intently to a favorite Ray Boltz song. This CD came out around 1992. It has always been a favorite. I can't help but get a bit misty as I listen to the title track. For you see, I'm not a young man anymore. I've technically entered the fall season of my life. There are those in their seventies that tell me I'm still a kid. From their perspective, maybe so. However, I'm not the twenty or thirty year old idealistic individual that I used to be. There was a day I thought I could conquer the world. To some degree, many of my dreams have been met, some have diminished and some never came to fruition. These days I'm more realistic. However, I still have dreams that I hope come about in the next few years if the Lord allows unless he returns first.

I can't help but think of King David in Psalm 37 where he said, "I have been young, now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging bread." David had seen much in his life. He was the shepherd boy, the young lad that slew the giant, the mighty soldier going off to war, the servant running from the madman Saul, becoming King, and finally the old man that wrote those wonderful words in Psalms. I know I'll never be a King David. However, as I ponder on things these days, I just want to be where God wants me. I have three desires in my life. If God allows them, I'll be so happy. However, if the Lord never gave me one more thing, he has given me so much in this life I could never thank him enough.

I've had my fun in the summer sun, enjoyed years of fruitful ministry, known love and even lost love, but ultimately I know a God that loves me so. Yes, our seasons change. However, our God does not! He is the same, wonderful, kind, gracious, loving God through Jesus Christ. Seasons change. They are meant to be that way. So it is with our lives. I hope I come to a point that I don't despise the autumn season of my life, but embrace it fully. Ray sings in the song, "the blessings are worth the pain." I wouldn't want to relive some of the hard lessons I've had to learn in life. Especially this last decade. So, friends, remember the seasons come. And...each one has their own special blessings. Be well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Not My Will...but thine?

I was thinking of Jesus in the garden. The thought kept going on, "not my will but yours be done."

You see, obedience isn't easy. I have to admit that sometimes my carnal man doesn't like the idea of God having His way and me obeying it. Does that sound bad? Maybe. In ourselves without the Holy Spirit having His way, we want things to go our way. I sometimes believe that even depression happens when we don't get our way. Things don't work out the way we planned, it rained on our parade, someone said something unbecoming to us, we got turned down for the promotion, I didn't get that gift I wanted, ad infinitum.

There were things that happened to me in the past six months that called for my obedience. I wondered how God was going to pull this off. I wondered if being obedient was the right thing to even do. I finally came to the realization that if I obeyed God that I knew I would be in right fellowship with him again. After making the decision to becoming obedient, I then faced some opposition that made my situation seem worse, not better. I moved back to Ohio and knew I had done God's will. But things were falling apart on me. Things were breaking down, my stress was horrible and other factors made me think: "This is what I get for being obedient?"

Here's the rub: Just because we are obedient doesn't automatically make our situation better. Sometimes I wonder if we think that by being obedient that the skies will turn blue, the financial problem goes away, our health returns and all is fine. Sometimes it does, other times it doesn't.

Is God still good? Rhetorical. But he is. I know this much: by being obedient it may not always change things around us, but it will change "us!" And I know that being in God's will is far better than being outside His will. I'd much rather go through things being in His will than going through them outside His will. It's always better to do right and have God be pleased than to think we can do it by ourselves and mess the whole thing up.

Incidentally, many may think that Jesus was trying to get out of going to the Cross. Actually I believe that Jesus was hoping that He didn't die that night for it would thwart what He needed to do and go to the Cross to redeem us. In my life I want to come to a place where I know that even though being obedient may not always bring a quick blessing, it will keep me closer to God and that's where we all need to be.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wrestling With God

Many of us know the story of Jacob wrestling with God. After the match, he was told his name would no longer be called Jacob but Israel. And...Jacob had to walk with a limp afterwards.

The lesson I learn from this is that sometimes we want our own way and in a spiritual sense we "wrestle" with God. And sometimes, our wrestling with God causes us to grow but from that battle we may walk with a limp. I'll make the story even more inviting.

The story is told of a shepherd that will tend his sheep. If one sheep tends to go astray too often, the shepherd will take that one sheep and "break" one of his legs. The leg heals and the sheep walks with a limp but will never leave the fold again.

I think sometimes that is what God has to do with us. There are times we stray, we walk away from God or we desire "our" own way too much. When will we learn that doing it God's way is always better. But, God loves us so much that if we do get "out of line" God will break us for our own good. Sure, we'll walk with a limp, but how much better to never leave the side of God again. I know, I'd much rather walk with a limp and be in God's fold than to go it alone without him.

So, if you're struggling today, and you are wondering what God is doing in your life, maybe God is molding and mending you into His way. It's difficult to praise God in times like that. But if we can see the outcome that we'll stay close to the Father, then it'll all be worth it. Blessings to you all.