Get all you can

I was thinking the other day about what advice I would share with a young preacher who was just starting out. Three things came to mind. Each of which I wish someone had shared with me when I first started out. While I don’t know the extent of the change it would have made for me I know the right advice would have gone a long way.

My first piece of advice would be this. When it comes to what a God called man is to preach, God has already told you what to preach. He has given you 66 books in one volume called the Bible. Stay on your knees in prayer with your nose in the good book. You don’t have to look for the eight-run home run sermon, just give ’em Jesus.

The second piece of advice would be in regards to opportunity. That is, take advantage of every opportunity. Don’t hide behind the line that you are not good enough yet to go out somewhere, that you need more seasoning. If God called you and you have been faithful to study and not just have opinions and traditions then God will be with you. A young preacher may not feel up to the challenge of an invitation, but I would urge them to take it. The opportunity they pass on may be the same one someone like me would be begging to have.

Lastly, and just as importantly as the first two. Please young preacher ask questions. Don’t just assume that the older more experienced preachers will just open up the flood gates of knowledge to you of their own accord. They tend to not remember how it was to be that inexperienced. There is knowledge and wisdom there but you most likely will have to tap into it yourself verses them taking you under their wing.

I am reminded of what Paul wrote over in 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Paul just listed four generations in this one verse. How much Paul brought out on his own verses how muxh Timothy had to dig out of the apostle on his own I don’t know, doesn’t matter anyway. The point is that there was knowledge there and each preacher has the responsibility to get all that he can and pass on all that he can.

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The other driver’s on the road

Have you ever thought about them, honestly? Yeah we get mad at some moron of a driver and the stunt they just pulled but have we ever given our fellow drivers a moments consideration? Most likely neither have they towards you but we are all still there sharing the same stretch of road.

I was driving to work one day and realized that each car is carrying a different story inside it. There are driver’s in some of those cars who are only concerned with themselves and act in just such a manner. Some driver’s are out there just because they enjoy driving while other’s dread this chore. Work is waiting for a number of these driver’s to arrive while more than we realise are already at work because they drive for a living and not just the trucker’s either. I imagine that there are one or two at the least who are driving simply because they don’t know what else to do with their life at the moment. Maybe someone is celebrating something special or on their way to do that celebrating. While someone may be on their way home from the worst moment in their life.

Solomon wrote in the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 a series of “times”, a rime for this and a time dor that. He had considered the fact that for each of us in our own lives we will have different moments that will effect us and shape our lives. From birth to death he covers the things that will come up. Almoat one could picture him sitting on an overpass of the highway looking at the cars as they speed off under the influence of the time that they are now dealing with in their life. Picturing them as they are at work sowing seed or on the way to the hospital to reap the fruits of their labor whether for the good (such as a child being born) or the bad (as in that moron that got too reckless and had an accident). 

Each moment in time for each person possibly interacting with you in some small way. Yet as Solomon also went on to basically say in the grand scheme of life God’s sovereign will is done just as that highway leads to somewhere. Perhaps next time we are driving along we could give a moments consideration for the other guy. Yeah we know he thinks he is important and just has to get ahead of us, perhaps this time we should gladly let him go and not begrudge him his time.

I didn’t ask for it.

During my time spent on light duty one of the tasks I have is to throw out the stale bread from the warehouse. The stale bread that the drivers bring back they are supposed to throw out themselves. One day I got started late due to other responsibilities. As a result I was still pitching the old bread when the drivers began coming back with rheir stale. Since I was already doing this task I just told the drivers to leave it there and I would take care of it. They were thankful because it meant they didn’t have to do it themselves and got to leave that much sooner. Those fellas didn’t ask for it I just volunteered to do it. It wasn’t even a matter of that they deserved it either, in fact I could have easily jusr stepped aside and let them work for themselves, but in all honesty I just felt like doing it (more of the Holy Spirit directing me so I could write about it).

Humanly speaking I am sure this is not the first time in human history that something like that has happened nor will it most likely be the last either. Spiritually speaking though I do have a by far greater example of that principle. Paul wrote about it in Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

None of us asked God to do anything for us. We each had a job to do which to be perfectly honest not one human being could ever do for themself. That job was to fulfill the law and thereby save ourselves but as I said we couldn’t do it. In fact we would never have asked God to do it either because we are such sinful creatures. Without God doing what He did we would never have had a chance for salvation. 

I didn’t ask for it yet He made a way for me to be saved. While we are at it I didn’t even know that I needed Him but yet He sent someone to tell me that I needed Him. Jesus came to this Earth to buy salvation for a world that didn’t ask Him for it. The hardest part of salvation is done, all that is required of man is to accept His free gift which He does ask that we do.

The flames of Hell

​Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13:24-30 where wheat seeds were planted, an enemy came along and added weed (tares) seeds to the same field, reapers came along and spotted the weeds, and the man said to separate the wheat and the weeds at the harvest with the wheat to be placed in the barn and the weeds to be thrown into the fire. Afterward the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable, which He did with the exception of the fire that the weeds were to be burned in. Why didn’t Jesus explain the fire? Generally figures of speech are not as intense as the real thing, so perhaps the fire is not explained because we humans don’t have the understanding or words to comprehend how much worse eternity in Hell will be. Personally I think at the very least there will be flames in Hell, as that there are to many references to fire when Hell is being discussed and in the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus with two named characters it does not seem that Jesus would say flames and mean it as a type when He had the perfect opportunity to say exactly what He meant. Since Jesus said flames and named both Lazarus and Abraham it would make sense that the One who created Hell for satan and his legions would know what He was talking about.

There is something there

Recently I was on my way to visit a local church and as I was driving down a side street something didn’t seem right. In the middle of this block was a beautiful four foot tall iron fence that was painted glossy black. The lot that it guarded looked to be two maybe three times the normal size of a piece of property. I am not sure because I had no reference point, there was no house or any structure on the land. It did have some very healthy looking green grass.

I couldn’t figure why such a fence would be necessary since there was nothing to protect, at least as far as I could see. Then I got to thinking about it made perfect sense. While I had at first been speculating on what might have been there in the past, what was really sitting there was the future. Sure that open area didn’t look like much to me but that is because I don’t own it. I’m sure the fellow who does not only knows it’s past, sees it potential, and expects to realize it one day soon. Exactly what he will build there I don’t know but he does.

That got me to thinking of another owner who built a fence around His property. He knew the storms would blow through and cause some damage and that people would come by and declare the property worthless. There would be those who would come by and speculate if anything could be done with it given the shape it was in. None of that mattered because His eyes were looking squarely at the future. We read about that fence He built in Luke 22:31,32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to haveyou, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Jesus built His fence around His property (1 Corinthians 6:20), Simon Peter. Peter thought one thing about himself. Satan looked to destroy him in the storm that was coming fast and hard. People looked at him as just an uneducated man (Acts 4:13) and no possible future. His owner saw different. He saw a flawed man who could be turned around and lead that first way of disciples out to win souls. A future project that would see him preached his first sermon and 3,000 souls saved. A future where Simon Peter would be used to write two books of the New Testament and have a hand in helping other books of the Bible be written. What God Almighty would build on that property would be a testimony that would indeed 2,000 years later still be strengthening the brethren.

Oh it’s there in you too. It may seem like God hasn’t done anything with you nor does it look like He plans on doing anything any time soon but remember His time line is different from ours and that we have to first allow Him to build us His way. How often has He had to stop construction because we deny Him the permit to build? What grandeur can He do with a person who is completely yielded over? When Jesus bought you with His precious blood He bought all the property He needed to build with, it is there. Will you let Him have at it?

Avoiding God’s will

Often times we avoid God’s will due to just how scarry what we see is. The seemingly unavoidable destruction of what we hold dear is neyond our willingness to surrender. In Acts 27 we read a couple of interesting things in regards to God’s will for the 276 people on the boat.

First in verses 14 & 15 we read how the ship that was carrying the Apostle Paul was caught in a terrible storm, a hurricane. Then after many days Paul stood up and told every one that Jesus had promised to bring all the people ashore and that Paul would stand before Ceasar but that it was the will of God that the ship be destroyed (v22) and that they all would be cast on a certain island (v26).

The another thing we see is the crew doing what they could to preserve that same ship. Then finally the crew began to check the depth of the water and soon learned that even though they couldn’t see land that they were indeed approaching land. Big rocks and big ships don’t mix and they didn’t want that boat being destroyed if they got too close, so ww read in Acts 27:29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

It was God’s will for them to reach that island but they couldn’t do it with the boat. They loved it too much! Thus they did what they could to stop or avoid the will of God. This last time they threw overboard 4 anchors. Here us what I believe each of those anchors represent in our lives.

1. Fear. That unknown us too great. Faith is nice when things are going swell but when they ain’t what do we do?!? How can God let us come so close to ruin? Our minds focus solely on the negative aspects and we forget that God knows all and loves us so much that He Himself paid that aweful sin debt for us. Fear is indeed the opposite of faith.

2. Frustration. We get this way usually hecause we have been working so hard on things to go our way. All of our ducks are in a row then suddenly things begin to fall apart yet again. How can this constantly be happening we wonder. It seemed like this had been God’s plan and now it appears that He has changed His  mind. The best laid plans of man are not God’s plans and we must learn to accept that truth or we will never know the victory He has for us.

3. Fraility. As humans we are very frail when it comes to sin and we have tendencies to love our sin more than God. We carry this crutch around predominantly on display. I’m just a sinner saved by grace and I still sin. While it is good to acknowledge that stop trying to use it as an excuse to avoid God’s sovereign will for your life. Remember Jesus told that woman in Jihn 8:11 to go and din no more. He wasn’t telling her to never sin again but to stop habitually sinning, stop relying on her frailty.

4. Foresight. Our foresight. We think we see something better and instead of going with what God has for us we go with what we know. Trouble is what we see is very shortsighted and misleading. Going back to faith, it is not what we see that counts but what God sees. We are told to walk by faith and not sight for a reason (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our foresight can’t comprehend eternal truths and will always fall far short because of it.

Bear in mind that Paul declared that the people were all going to end up on a CERTAIN island and not just any old place. God’s will was for them to reach that certain island. It ended up with some swimming ashore while others arrived using broken pieces of the ship to help them stay afloat. How much time and energy are we wasting by avoiding God’s will? Had they just gone forward the ship would have been lost on the shore of the island and they would have arrived a bit more safely than they did.

A quick take away: Pray

God doesn’t want His children living in the world, and as such there are times when He will send someone to pray them through. Genesis 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Abraham knew where and how his nephew Lot was living. God came and laid it on his heart to pray for his nephew’s deliverance from that place. Is there someone God has laid on your heart to pray for?