““When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)”
I cannot tell you how glad I am to be finally returning to the Pastor's desk this week at Christ Covenant. What a joy it is to be back to work as the Shepherd of your souls. I am grateful beyond words for the time to break, to care for my mother and father, and to enjoy my family in an unfettered vacation of rest and peace. We had a wonderful time together. I am grateful for your prayers.
As we all begin mentally preparing for the new school year, I have found my mind returning once again to the life of Christ. He is true North and my soul's compass gravitates towards His example. Have you ever noticed, Jesus is never in a hurry? You never see Him rushing around, flapping about in a tailspin of anxiety. How did Jesus manage to maintain this sense of composure? A number of thoughts spring to mind:
- The Presence of God. Jesus lived His life before the face of God, a living example of Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Too often we live the lonely exile of an orphan; simply because we forget God. Christian, remember, wherever you go today, you go there with God. He has enclosed you behind and before, and laid His hand on you. His presence is all surrounding and His hands are all holding.
- The Promise of God. Jesus tailored his expectations to reality, He never allowed them to outrun the promises of God. Thus, He lived life with bedrock certainty beneath His feet. In this regard, we need to stop taking counsel from our fears. We need to stop building our theology out of circumstances. We need to root ourselves in the promises, confident that what God says, He will do. Think of some of the “Always” promises in God’s word: “I will forgive all your iniquities” “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age.” “All things shall work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” “I have given you all things necessary for life and godliness.” “All who come to me I will by no means cast out.” ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “All things are possible with God, nothing is too difficult for Him.” “His ears are always open to the cry of the righteousness.” “He works all things out after the counsel of His will.”
- The Plan of God. Too often we try to squeeze life into our plan. How is that working for you? Stressful, isn’t it? Jesus never allowed God’s interruptions to bend Him out of shape. I think I see the Lord smiling as He reads Newton’s lovely comment about life as a busy pastor in a bustling small town in England, “When I hear a knock at my study door, I hear a message from God. It may be a lesson of instruction; perhaps a lesson of patience: but, since it is his message, it must be interesting.” We need to stop panicking every time our plan is threatened, obstructed, or overturned by chance events, or annoying, needy people! They are God’s messengers to show us just how little control we have over life, the universe, and everything.
- The Providence of God. The finger prints of God are all over our life if only we would stop to look and to listen. Not a detail is overlooked. Many a time, when I am sitting outside at Starbucks, I watch the sparrows hopping around from table to table scavenging other people’s left overs. God is feeding them. Moments before an unruly child was scoffing a chocolate chip cookie, or an always-on-the-run stockbroker was scramming a sandwich. Too fast to catch every morsel, too rushed to clean up the detritus of lunch, they left a mess behind for the birds. Or was it God, buying them lunch, taking care of His scruffy little friends (Psalm 147:9)