And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
When 2020 began, I thought it would be a year of clarity, vision, and renewed focus. I know, kind of cliche. I think a lot of people were feeling the same thing. As half of 2020 has come and gone, it seems we have had anything but clarity. Confusion, fear, and insecurity seem to be all around us. We wonder, only half jokingly, what chapter of Revelation we will be on this week. We seem to be living it.
The more I’ve thought about it though, I am persuaded that 2020 has in fact been a year of clarity. God is bringing to light things that were hidden. Wolves are being exposed. Organizations are in upheaval. People are losing jobs. People are getting new jobs. There is a renewed focus on what really matters. The chaff is being blown away. We are seeing, as it were, if our foundations were built on the Rock or on the sand.
Be encouraged today. God is moving in the midst of all the craziness we see around us. He IS bringing clarity. So often we pray for things like wisdom and direction, forgetting that God might answer those prayers in ways we may not have answered them ourselves. Just like the blind man Jesus healed who first saw people like trees, vision, even in the midst of God’s healing, sometimes comes slowly, and then all at once.
This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I had that song "What A Beautiful Name" rolling around in my spirit. I love that song. I was reminded that Jesus ought to be our focus. If you're a believer, it sounds so simplistic doesn't it? Just focus on Jesus. But sometimes the most important things are the most simple things. It's in Him we live and move and have our being. It's so easy to get caught up in the cares of the world. Life seems to throw one curveball after another at us. We hear of wars, and rumors of war, famine, plague, and all the rest. It's difficult to not get distracted. Take some time today. Quiet your mind, and focus on the Lord. He is our Great Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Lion of Judah, and Great Provider and Sustainer. Whatever you may be facing today, be encouraged.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” -Revelation 22:12-13
My mom got saved in The Jesus Movement of the 70s. I remember her telling me that at that time there was such an emphasis on the Second Coming of Jesus, so much so, that she even questioned why she should bother doing the dishes. After all, Jesus was coming soon. Why waste time with such things?
There is an ebb and flow to times and seasons. If we’re not careful, we can go from one extreme to the other. In the 70s, Christians like my mom were taught that Jesus was coming at any moment. The years go by, we believe intellectually that Jesus is coming soon, but we get busy with families, friends, jobs…life. So many sermons these days seem to be tips for everyday living, with a little bit of Jesus sprinkled in for good measure. Maybe we’ve swung too far in the opposite direction. Have we gone from not even bothering with the dishes to sermons identifying the top three ways to wash the dishes?
You don’t need Bob Dylan to tell you the times are a changin’. The world seems to be in a tailspin. I don’t pretend to know when Jesus is coming back. I think it’s safe to say we’re closer than we’ve ever been to that wonderful day. By all means, do the dishes, but be watchful, be ready. Repent and believe. He is coming soon.
I know so many people, including myself, who have been overwhelmed with a sense of frustration and helplessness in light of the issues we have all been facing the last few months. The task ahead for us as a nation and the Body of Christ is daunting in the natural...but God! I have few answers, but I have an abundance of hope and trust in the One Who declares that He would never leave us or forsake us. We may have temporarily lost our sense of well-being and a heaviness has tried to impose itself on us by way of fear and anxiety. An old song we sang sometime ago has been rolling around in my spirit,
"...put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." Isaiah 61:3.
There is much to do and much healing is needed for our nation and for our brothers and sisters that have been personally impacted by the devastation of recent weeks. God is a God of mercy, but He is also a God of justice! We press on in the power of His presence and hope in His promises. He is our hope. He is the Father to the fatherless, the Champion of the weak, and the Lover of our souls. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He will do right.
We want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have faithfully supported World Missions Advance with your finances during these difficult times.
From refugees in Austria, to alcoholics and homeless people in Poland, to the homeless and hurting in San Salvador, WMA Associate Missionaries are impacting lives all over the world. Your continued support helps them continue their life saving ministries.
I heard someone say today that the COVID-19 situation hasn’t so much changed everything as it has accelerated everything. Technological, business, relational and other changes that would have probably taken ten years are now before us. This could potentially be good news or bad news for you depending on your situation. But what seems to be true in the natural, I believe is true in the supernatural. Whether it’s 40 days and 40 nights tossing and turning in a boat or a mass migration through high walls of threatening water, God’s deliverance often seems dangerous and almost violent. Our very salvation was found on the other side of a hideous murder. These bleak things. These desperate things. These inexplicable things. These things are God’s specialty. Be encouraged today. God sees you. He knows you. He will bring you through.
We don’t take your giving for granted. We love you and appreciate you. We pray that God’s blessings would overtake you and that you would prosper. We believe that all of our best days are ahead of us.
Thank you for standing with us. -Chad
“This is the last straw!” We’ve all probably said it, or at least thought it. I’ve had times when my metaphorical cart of straws had reached a tipping point…just one more straw and it’s over.
Paul surely must have felt that as he was facing his last straw more than once as he cried out in 2 Corinthians 12 regarding the one big, consistent, gnawing, straw in his life that just wouldn’t go away.
“Concerning this thing (speaking of Paul’s thorn) I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ …Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It’s a Divine paradox! “When I’m weak, then I’m strong!”
What? It does not have to make sense to our human, puny, little, brains, it is a God mystery. It’s okay to acknowledge that we do not have understanding, but trust His mysteries; His provision unfolds in the midst of them.
The “last straw” event is a myth; it’s a hoax! There is no ‘last straw’ scenario for the believer. With each straw comes provision to carry it, run over it, or bury it!
We need to continue to SHOUT the Word of the Lord over our lives. “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
“..be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” -Mark 9:24
OS Guinness, in his book, God in the Dark, writes, “It is not the business of faith to deny reality but to order it. Denying reality is a mark of make-believe, not of living faith.” I like what Brennan Manning says, “When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.” Have you ever met one of those people who was so full of “faith” that they would refuse to admit they were sick even if they were coughing up blood and had just lost an arm? They won’t admit the obvious for fear it would ruin their good confession. That’s not faith. That’s foolishness. God has not called us to be Pollyanna. No, real Christian faith speaks to the storm, it doesn’t deny the storm exists. And we are in a storm.
The questions of why, how long, and what is next are all on our minds. I feel faith, fear, hope, anger, and all the emotions in between in the same day…sometimes in the same hour, but in spite of my feelings, God is moving. There is a bigger plan, a bigger purpose, that involves you and me, but is not about you and me. God is working behind the scenes. Don’t try to figure everything out. He will sustain you. He will give you wisdom. He will lead you through. Trust in Him. We are on the cusp of a great revival, the likes of which, perhaps we have never seen. -Chad
There is so much going on in our world today that it takes a daily dose of understanding and revelation of God’s protection to help us face our daily life and the threats that spew from so many sources of ‘information.’ Some years ago, I heard a story of a lady who was being assaulted. She was understandably frightened so she used the only weapon available to her, the Word of God. She didn’t have it memorized word for word, but she had memorized the principle truth. She cried out, “I’m covered with feathers; I’m covered with feathers!” The attackers were totally caught off guard, and quickly changed their minds about attacking this ‘crazy’ lady. At times you and I may not be able to quote scripture word for word, but read it, listen to it, memorize it, let it get down deep in your heart. Be equipped and ready for battle today as your read these excerpts from Psalm 91. -Susan
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; ...You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you...
...No evil shall befall you...Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling...
A week ago, my wife and I had dinner with some friends of ours who are about to move to London. I saw an email today from one of our WMA Associate Missionaries who was unable to go back to Africa at the moment because of health issues (please pray for her complete healing). I saw another update from a couple of our WMA Associate Missionaries who have come home to the U.S. from Thailand and are waiting and praying here for an open door to London, where they feel called to go next. I’ve spoken to other friends who seem to be on the cusp of a change. Things are always changing of course, but right now seems to be a time of transition for individuals, organizations, and even the world at large. As you and I go about our lives, let us remember that our future is in God’s hands. He establishes our steps. Ephesians says, that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” May you be filled with the joy of the Lord, trusting that He holds our future in the palm of His hand. -Chad
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -1 Corinthians 5:17
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind… -Romans 12:2a
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. -1 Corinthians 9:27
It’s funny how sometimes you can hear something you’ve heard a million times over the course of your life, but one day it just “clicks” with you. Or more likely, the Holy Spirit, illuminates, and hits it home for you. I was in church a couple of weeks ago and my pastor preached a sermon entitled “Strength and Struggles” and a light bulb went off for me.
How many of us have found ourselves in a Christian walk struggling with some sin or the other? Or maybe you have some other pattern of anger or pride and you just can’t seem to shake it? If you are born again you are a new creation. You are not the same. You did nothing to earn it. God has made your spirit new. Yet, the struggle remains. How can this be? If you’re anything like me, the struggle can go from a nuisance to, in some cases, an all out crisis of faith. How can I struggle like this when I am a Christian? I shouldn't have these thoughts, etc. The inner monologue wages war against yourself and it’s so easy to get discouraged. Like a newly adopted child who doesn’t understand the ways of their new family, so we, though we have been adopted into the Family of God, can still walk in the ways of our former family of darkness.
Something my pastor said that Sunday really helped me. Yes, our spirits are new. We are born again. We are new creations. BUT…our minds must be continually renewed and our bodies must be disciplined. We may be a new creation, but if we consistently feed ourselves things that nourish the flesh, how can we hope to walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit?
This is not a legalistic message. This is not a condemning message. If you are in Christ, you are adopted. You are part of new family. Be encouraged, you must fight the good fight. You must renew your mind daily. You must discipline your body. We are all in the same boat. There are no SUPER Christians who this somehow magically comes easy to. The Holy Spirit will help us if we but ask. We are not in competition with other believers to earn the approval of God. We have His approval through Jesus Christ. We are adopted. We are in the family. Be encouraged today.