Where is God? This is a question usually asked by a person when they are in distress. How much better is it for a person if they explore the question when they are not under duress. The answer, rightly understood, can provide comfort and direction in the times when we are in need.
As the first sunrise shed its golden beams across the pristine new creation, as the shafts of light caused the fresh dew to glisten like diamonds, Adam and Eve were aware that they were not alone. God’s presence was all around them. He walked with them. He talked with them in the cool of the evening. He was a real presence in their world. Noah had a relationship with God such that he ‘found grace in the sight of the Lord.’ God walked with Noah, talked with Noah, and gave Noah clear direction. Enoch walked steadily with God and then one day he was simply gone: God took him. Scripture tells us God walked with Abraham, talked with him, provided him with a wonderful plan for his life, and Abraham is called ‘a friend of God.’ The list of Old Testament examples could go on and on with people that lived in God’s presence.
The New Testament provides us with an amazing revelation. Matt. 1:23 says: “ Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’. Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John shares this truth in a slightly different way: “ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” Where is God? He is with us! He was there in the past. He will be with us in the future. But most importantly, He is present with us here and now.
- He is present in the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,“ I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”
- He is present in the preaching of His Word. This is ‘kerygmatic’ theology. Where ever Chirst’s word is preached, He is there.
- He is present when His people meet to worship. Jesus said, “ Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”
- He is present in the Sacraments of the church. Jesus said, “ Take, eat; this is my body” and “ this is my blood of the new covenant…”
A prayer for today: Lord, you said in Rev. 3:20, “ Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with me.” Lord, I open the door of my heart. Please come in. I covet your presence with me.
~ Brother Roy
Even steel gets tired. People who work with steel say that even steel needs rest now and then. Under constant pounding there comes a brittle crystallization in the very structure of steel. Under strain it can snap.
Several years ago, my father-in-law and I were on our way home from Canada pulling a boat and trailer. We were coming through Indianapolis on a rainy night. There were construction barriers on either side. The traffic was heavy and moving at 60 mph, bumper-to-bumper. I was exhausted and a nervous wreck when I pulled into a McDonald’s for coffee. As I turned into the parking lot, the axle on the boat trailer snapped. It had crystalized and broken as clean as if it was cut by a torch. I still thank the Lord every time I think of the incident. If the axle had snapped in that bumper-to-bumper traffic between those barriers, it could have been tragic.
We are certainly more sensitive than steel. Even Christians are not supermen and superwomen. We must understand that ‘we have this treasure in earthen vessels’ (II Cor. 4:7). The psalmist tells us, ‘For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” We must find rest. We often go to sleep with apprehension and wake to anxiety. There is a breaking point. We do not need to escape, but we need rest. Little seasons of setting aside for a few moments from the pressures of the day are essential if we want to avoid the breaking point.
Let me offer a few things that I have found helpful. From time to time we need to step away from where we are and drink in the Creator in the midst of His creation.
- Look around you. Smell the roses. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies announce what His hands have made. Day after day they tell the story. Night after night they tell it again” (Psalm 19).
- God’s handwork can rest the soul. Some of us are nearer to nature than others, but even city streets acknowledge God’s handwork. A bench in a city park reveals squirrels scurrying around, a song bird, or children laughing at play. We can recover some of the simple joys of life in those moments. Oceansides, mountain heights, deserts or forests can speak to the heart.
- There is healing in these moments apart. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23). Even on the hot, dusty road through the wilderness God provided His people the Springs of Elim and refreshing shade (Ex. 15:27).
- Find a few scriptures like the 23rd Psalm, Matt. 11:28, or Phil. 4:6-8 and memorize them. They will help calm the mind and settle the soul.
- Take a few minutes with a close friend. Determine to visit friends more and talk about simple things, good things. Shared faith in Christ and common bonds gives us rest for our souls.
- Laugh a little. Life is full of funny stuff if you just look. “ A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Pro. 17:22).
~ Brother Roy
How difficult it is to define the word ‘time’. I found the definition in Webster’s New Dictionary interesting and slightly humorous. Time – a period during which things happen.
My thought is that life happens in units of time. Scripture provides many interesting views of the brevity of time. 1 Chronicles 29:15 says, “our days on earth are as a shadow.” Job 7:6 says, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.” Job 9:25 states, “Now my days are swifter than a runner: they flee away.” Psalm 39:5 reports, “Behold thou hast made my days as a hands breadth.” James 4:14 gives us one of the best known pictures by stating, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”
I find it helpful to think of the units of time allotted to us as coins. As we make our probationary journey through life, the coins of time are spent. Allow me the privilege of sharing a poem I wrote to accompany a sermon about how two men in scripture spent their coins of time.
The pocket of life is filled but once
With the precious coins of time.
Each person is free to spend them as they see fit
On the ridiculous or the sublime.
The coins pass quickly through our hands
And no one has the power
To tell just when the last coin will be spent
At Late or early hour.
‘Now’ is the only coin you hold for sure
Be careful where you lay it down.
Tomorrow you may search the pocket
And no coin in it will be found.
Oh, don’t be like King Saul and cry, ‘I’ve played a fool
I should have counted the cost.
I may have gained the things of this world
But my eternal soul I’ve lost!’
You can chose to be like the Apostle Paul
When you lay your last coin down.
You can finish your course, you can keep the faith
And you can receive a crown.
As you hold the coin of ‘this moment’,
May I ask, what is your plan?
Please, here and now, make the choice
And place it in the Savior’s hand.
~ Brother Roy
The American Standard Version of the Epistle of Jude 12 speaks of ‘hidden rocks’. The phrase really resonated with me recently during my morning devotions. Our daily lives often contain potential trouble spots. There are ‘hidden rocks’, unsuspected dangers, which can wreck a person. The following are a few of these hidden rocks:
- Nobody Will Know. Secret sins offer grave peril. There is nothing hidden that shall not be known. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, neither hidden that will not be known.” Luke 12:2
- Only This One Time. The tempter has this as a most useful tool for the unwary. Satan used this ‘hidden rock’ on Eve in Gen.3 and has continued to use it to this day.
- It Is Not Necessary To Be So Particular. You don’t have to be so narrow. A little won’t hurt. These considerations challenge the teachings of Jesus. “Enter in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many go in thereat:” Matt. 7:13
- You Can Wait Until Later. There will be a more convenient time to deal with spiritual issues. A little delay will not hurt. This hidden rock may be the most fatal of all. Not now leads to never! “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ll Cor. 6:2
Satan schemes to catch the careless person unaware and crash them into these hidden rocks.
Greetings from Samburu Kenya!Thank you for your partnership in the Body of Christ. I am glad to share with you that we had a very successful eye clinic in Samburu, North Kenya.
I invited the Eye Unit from Tenwek Hospital.There were five from Tenwek and three nurses from Samburu. We held the clinic from August 27th-31st at Kisima Government Hospital.
There were 200 patients who were screened. Of these, 75 patients received successful operations and were able to see again. One hundred patients were given glasses.
The whole mission was a miracle. It was so touching hearing testimonies from the patients that they now have new sight. Some were shedding tears of joy. Relatives came in big numbers saying thank you so much for the doctors from Tenwek Hospital. This is the ministry of New Hope International Ministries along with Shalom Nomadic Water Ministry. This is part of creating hope and sustainable livelihood to the pastoral Samburu people.
~ Michael Lolwerikoi