My morning was spent as many in the past — I woke up early and spent the first hours at home alone. I attended my church, Scottsdale Bible Church, via Livestream. I am anxious to get back to attending in person but until I have my car back (soon, I hope, very soon), I am content to join in the 11:00 service and participate online (in a live way). It is a wonderful experience to attend church online. I don’t recommend it as a regular practice because I believe God desires His people to do “life” together, and that means in physical proximity to one another. However, the blessing of live streaming an event is simply that people far and wide can attend. I love this fact of technology, and for me, live streaming services has made it possible for me to attend my home church and enjoy the blessing of worship and awesome messages from right here in my home. God is good to me, so very good to me!
Praise and Blessing
This morning was another rock solid message from a guest pastor. The summers at SBC are filled with rotating pastors, since our own senior pastor is on vacation. He normally takes personal time during the summer to spend with his wife and children, to visit his extended family in Michigan and Ohio, and to do his summer study break (when he works on sermon series for the following year). This summer’s series includes a number of well-known local pastors along with some from other states. Today, for example, we had Pastor Carl Klausen. Carl is from Chicago, and is a radio host for Moody Radio. He also is pastor of a new startup church called, 180 Chicago. Carl has preached for us before, but not in the past 8-10 years. He was on fire this morning, and his message was powerful. I was humbled, left in wonder, and challenged to submit and surrender even further to Christ as a result. Good stuff. Really good stuff.
In all, as I sit here today, I marvel at the wonders of the Lord. It was earlier today when I heard the Lord say to me that today would be a good day, a really good day, and that I would come to understand more clearly His will for my life. Of course, I hoped for details, you know — juicy details — of when, how, why, and wherefore. Instead, I received a powerful message that simply showed me how to position myself strategically to receive keener insight and yes, clarity, for the vision God has for my life. I didn’t get the details, but I sure did learn how to get ready to receive them, praise be to God!
Now, I am ready, so very ready to go. I feel compelled to go forward, to begin moving forward, and with that forward movement, I am prepared to defend myself against the enemy and his attack. I am ready, geared up as they say, and while I am not looking forward to a good bashing, I know that this is what will be. I must go forward into the will of the Lord, and any time I move up one, two, or a dozen steps, my enemy is right there ready to pound me good. I stand fully clothed in the armor of God, and I have the WORD inside of me, yet I know he will attack me. He will hit me where it hurts most, where I am most vulnerable. The message today, though, provided insight in how to thwart that attack — well, lets just say — how to lessen its effect. The message was all about surrendering and submitting to God, getting down on your knees and embracing your brokenness. It was about being at rock bottom, and giving everything to God, every single thing — mind, body, and spirit — to God. The business of being laid out before the Lord is all about humility, and the acknowledgement that no human part of us can accomplish the Lord’s work. It is about really understanding what it means to abide in Christ, and what it means to be wholly dependent on the Lord for everything — not just spiritual needs, but physical and emotional needs as well. It is about walking alone, leaving the mockers and foolish people in our lives behind, and following after the Lord with every ounce of our being.
I realize that the message preached is not a new one. I have heard something similar before, but the power with which the message was delivered and its timing were unique. I was transformed through the hearing, and in that way, I was changed from moment to moment, from glory to glory. Yes, I developed insight, received clarity, and in many ways, the eyes of my heart were opened to seeing the Lord’s work and will differently. I came to see my life differently. I came to see confirmation of my path, the path I have been on for the past 10 years, as the path of the Lord’s choosing. I came to understand that everything He has told me, said to me, revealed to me, was true. The pastor today said words to the congregation that basically were the same words I received in testimony from the Lord. I mean — like I was able to say — “Oh, so I am right where I am supposed to be?” I was able to be confirmed. I am doing what He wants. I am going in the right direction. I am living my life as He wants me to live it. Sure, the material, tangible things are not all aligned yet, but spiritually I am doing exactly what I must do in order to begin to receive His blessings, His reward, His provision. I am right where I belong, and praise be to God, I am ready to take the next big step forward.
As I move forward, I am ready to take on more and more of His work. I am ready to begin to develop the ministry He has called me to develop. I am ready to meet the people He has prepared for me to meet. I am ready to take on the tasks, the workload, and all the difficulties and challenges associated with His will. I am ready, but I know that the only way I will be able to do what He is asking me to do, is to humbly submit and yield, to lay fully still before Him and let Him do this work in and through me. I must be emptied out so He can fill me up. I must be the branch to His vine, and I must let Him produce the good fruit in me. I am ready, Lord. I am ready to be used for your Name and for your Praise and to bring you Glory.
Today is a good day, a really good day. I am yielded. I am humbled. I am ready to be used by God for His glory. I rest now in my work because I know that what the Lord asks of me cannot be done in my strength, through my intellect, or because of my passion or pursuit. I must relent, let go, relinquish all authority and power and control over my life, and I must let Him lead, guide, and provide for me. In truth, I can do all things through Christ alone. Thus, it is in His name that I confess my utter dependency, and it is with His power that I do the tasks and the work assigned to me this good, good day. He alone is worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy to be praised! Selah! So be it. Thy will be done, Amen.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 NIV)