How Will It All Turn Out?

8ballIn life, it seems there are many ‘uncertainties’ that surround us. There are financial, geo-political, personal relationships, and health issues to name just a few. I sometimes find myself wondering how it will all turn out. I have concluded that only the Lord knows what the future holds. He alone knows how everything will turn out. But there is one thing I’m sure of, for those who belong to Him, it will turn out well.

Ira Stamphill wrote a popular gospel song with lyrics that express my thoughts:

There are things about tomorrow
That I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

What a blessing it is to be able to move into an uncertain future without worry or fear. We can do so because we walk beside the ONE who knows what is ahead. Only the Lord knows the end of all things. God’s word teaches us that even when we walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23) we do not need to be afraid. He is always with us and provides comfort and assurance.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

~ Brother Roy

Advertisements

Curves

curvesMy ministry in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky necessitates regular travel on crooked roads. One of the most frequent and necessary road signs is the familiar yellow sign that lets drivers know there are curves in the road ahead. They are reminders to slow down. The reflective signs can be seen day or night and indicate the road curves to the right or left.

Scripture can serve as the bright yellow signs to alert the spiritual driver of curves ahead. The hectic pace of life often sends us hurrying down highways with many twists and turns. We need to let God’s word and the presence of the Holy Spirit draw our attention to dangerous situations that may lie ahead.

When we rush into the day without taking time to pray and seek the Lord’s direction, we are prone to miss the warning signs. Here are some scriptures that are wise to consider:

  • In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6, ESV).
  • “Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies (the curves); make your way straight before me” (Psalm 5:8, NIV).
  • “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart…” (Deutertonomy 4:9, NIV).
  • So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time” (Mark 13:23).
  • “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up” (1 Peter 5:8, MSG).

Be very careful, then, how you live (drive)—not as unwise but as wise.”
~ Ephesians 5:15 (NIV) ~

~ Brother Roy

Relationship Status

relstatEvery person has some type of relation with the Lord. There are a number of descriptors that could be used to describe these relationships. There are six that quickly come to my mind:

  1. Unbelief
  2. Indifference
  3. Passive rejection
  4. Aggressive rejection
  5. Mental acknowledgement
  6. Heartfelt devotion

Which type do you think best describes you?  Most people fall into one of the first five categories. Only a few are found in category six, ‘heartfelt devotion’. Being a devoted follower of Jesus represents the ‘narrow way’ in scripture. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV).

The ranks of those who are indifferent or those who to varying degrees reject the Lord are immense. Those numbers seem to be growing with each passing day. The concept of ‘majority rules’ or determining what’s right by popular vote does not apply in the spiritual realm. As a matter of fact, it is quite the contrary.

I remember a saying from my boyhood days in Eastern Kentucky. “Any old dead fish can drift downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream against the current”. Are you drifting along with the crowd of unbelievers and the indifferent? If so, it will not end well for you when your days on this earth are over. But the cowardly, unbelieving… shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, NKJV). 

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
(Luke 9:26)

~ Brother Roy

The Toad and the Snake

toad window wellI have always been a story teller. Across years of ministry, I have often attempted to develop ‘parables’ to help illustrate spiritual truths. Following Jesus’ lead, I’ve attempted to use familiar situations or recognizable character types to illuminate my point. This is my latest effort.

My father-in-law, Gale Bowyer, had a house in the country. It had window wells that served as retaining barriers to hold the surrounding earth back about eighteen inches from the basement windows. This arrangement let light into the basement, but allowed the yard level to be maintained. One day we were standing near one of the window wells when Gale reached down into the well and lifted out a toad. It had apparently fallen in and was unable to get out. A couple of days later, we looked into the window well and the toad was in there again. Once more the toad was lifted out and sent on his way. Over the next several days, we checked, and the toad was usually in the window well, unable to get out.

We finally figured out the situation. After dark, a night-light in the basement shined through the window. Bugs and flying insects would gather around the window where the light shined through. The toad would see the abundant food supply and hop in to help himself. As the toad grew fatter, any possibility of jumping out became more of an impossibility.

One day, I looked in the window well planning to once again rescue the toad.  I recoiled at what I saw. A large black snake with a bulge in its middle was lying in the bottom of the window well. The overindulgent toad had sacrificed his freedom for the easy life. Despite numerous rescues, the toad was drawn to the window well like the proverbial “moth to the flame”. He was tempted by something that would lead to his downfall.

The Biblical application is obvious. The easiest way is often not the the best way. The easy way may have ‘hidden’ costs like it did for the toad. Since we have free will, we may decide, as so many do, to follow our own basic instincts and our own self interests. However, scripture warns: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV). God’s word also informs us that, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes…” (Proverbs 12:15a). Beware of what seems to be effortless gain. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Because of my affinity for stories that teach a moral lesson, I am fond of Aesop’s Fables. A statement from one of the fables is appropriate here. “Affairs are easier of entrance than exit; and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in”. Jesus spoke to the ‘easy way’ when He said, “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13). The Message translation of Amos 6:1 gives an interesting look at the easy way: Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion, who think Mount Samaria is the good life. You assume you’re at the top of the heap, voted the number-one best place to live.” When tempted to take the easiest way, remember the toad!

Prayer: Lord help me to enter by the narrow gate.
“Although
the gate is narrow and difficult, it is the way which leads to life.”
(Matthew 7:13-14)  

~ Brother Roy