What is God up to?

Yes, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I am almost a senior citizen! “Almost”, I emphasize! In all of those years of life I am starting to figure some things out. Things like, if I wait long enough and don’t get up off my chair, the chances of someone bringing me a drink diminishes by the second! I don’t get impatient, I don’t get upset, I just accept it as a fact of life. I am also learning, on a more serious note, that God often teaches us the lessons of life slowly. He is not in a hurry, like I often am.

He shapes and molds our character on a day by day basis over the long-haul of life. He has a goal in mind for every person who claims that they are his by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We sometimes wonder what God is up to. Be honest with me, now, has that question ever popped into your mind? What is he trying to teach us?

I have been studying recently in the Old Testament book of Daniel. What an amazing young man was Daniel, along with his three friends! They were uprooted from their homeland, conscripted into the King’s service, prosoltyzed to be made like the rest of the servants and challenged to give up their faith in the Lord God of Israel.

We know that the southern kingdom of Judah was being disciplined by the Lord for their disobediece to him. As a result the finest young men of the nation were conscripted by Babylon to be examples to the rest of the world of the superiority of that nation and its king. But, God had a plan, as he always does. That plan involved the three young men that we meet in Daniel 1.

We often grow suspicious in our faith because things don’t turn out like we thought they should. Oftentimes it because God has something greater in mind. What we often forget is that God sees the whole picture, we only see a small sliver of the whole thing. He is doing a million things at once, while we are fretting about this one thing. Yes, it is important to us but also we need to remember that God always has our best interests at heart. He is after something far greater than our circumstances in one particular moment. He wants us to trust him.

At 60 years of age, I can look back and see that God has been very faithful to me. He was working in situations and circumstances that I was not even away of until years later. I think back to our missionary adventure when some things did not go as planned but God used those events to make me the people he wanted me to be. I learned to trust him even when I didn’t know what would happen next.

More importantly, he was making me a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. He was making sure that our priorities were in the right spot. Hebrews 11, the writer describes what faith is when he writes,

“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

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By faith, we trust God that he knows better than we do. We know him through the pages of Scripture that he does have our best interests at heart. As we live each day to glorify him, he will enable us to walk by faith and not by sight as we obey his Word.

Yes, at times we will be hurt, and we will cry. But God will use those tears to make us more like his Son if our hearts are right before him. Keep drenching your heart with his Word, continue to trust him every day, allow him to shape your character to reflect his and love him deeply as Christ loves you!

Hang in there, my friend! God is not done with you yet, he has so much more for you to know and to accomplish as you strive to live for Him.

For His Glory,

Pastor Bill Finch,

finch1959@gmail.com

The Gift of His Presence

Now that we have arrived at the twelfth month of the year, we look back at the year that has been and have been witnesses to God’s faithfulness. No doubt, there have been some rough spots personally and in other ways in this year. But His faithfulness is obvious. Even though, we do live at times as if he was not there, and whether we consciously are always aware of his presence or not, he is faithful all day, every day. 

Christmas reminds us that God desires an up-close, personal relationship with you and I. Think of the extreme measures he went through to even make that possible. Even though he created us to love him, we blatantly turned our back on him and accepted the offer of the evil one. We choose to deliberately walk away from God’s offer of unconditional love and his eternal care.

Not that God was caught by surprise, his Word tells us that his plan of redemption was drawn up in eternity past. His Son was sent to carry out that plan. He was born of a virgin; he lived a sinless life in order to die a death that would redeem us from the power of archenemy of God. You and I are redeemed by faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross when he shed his blood to pay for and cover our sin.

God in his faithfulness prepared the scene. As you read through the Gospels this Christmas season and get a sense that none of this happened by chance! Not one thing! From the opening chapters of Genesis right through the book of Revelation, God is unveiling his plan to welcome you into his presence.

He has not forgot about you. He is continuing to call you to know him and to grow in your relationship to him. He is patient enough to allow you to sense your desperate need of him on a daily basis. You see, even though we are surrounded by so many rivals, none of them can match what God wants to give us through Christ. Yet…we keep trying to find that “something, or someone else better”. We try to logically argue that this God thing is a figment of our own imagination. We attempt to rationalize that this “Jesus thing” was created by a bunch of right-wing wackos who are seeking to control our lives.

Not only has he not forgot about you, the gift of his presence in the person of Jesus Christ, seals the deal. I love the New Testament story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15. It illustrates perfectly what God did at Christmas. Those who rebelled against God, who wanted their inheritance now, who tried to deny their Father’s existence, found themselves eating at the pig trough, only to find out later that there was a banquet fit for a king prepared for them. That is grace! That is the gift of presence.

You may be new to the faith. You may be running from the faith. You may have already attempted to deny the faith. God still loves you and is ready to welcome you back! My only word of advice is, don’t wait! His presence is waiting to embrace you again with his eternal love and unrelenting care.

You may have followed Jesus for many years. Please my friend, don’t let his presence become a thing of the past. Don’t let it become something that you are so accustom to that it is no longer a wonder that it took you so long to find it. Let his presence renew your heart and your hope this Christmas season!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Pastor Bill Finch

finch1959@gmail.com

Practicing the Presence of God through Prayer

Prayer gets a bad rap among some of God’s kids who think it is only for the spiritual elite.

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Some practice it on an “emergency only basis.  Others “seem” to be close to ” super saints” who use such erudite, spiritual language that you wonder what planet they have been on the last ten years!

Between those two very extreme caricatures are those who honestly struggle to adopt a lifestyle that carries with it the aroma of prayer.  These are those people, like you and I, who have a God-given passion in their hearts to bring every matter in their lives to the Lord’s attention through prayer. But, the question is, how can we adopt the lifestyle where prayer is the predominant theme of our lives? With your permission, I would like to take you on a journey through the pages of the Bible to witness those people from the past who came to grips with prayer’s importance, some failed and some passed with flying colours.

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The Gift of Presence

two-friends-wallpapers“He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24).

It is very special to have “found” the Gospel of Jesus Christ when I was without purpose and no hope of every finding it on my own. I grew up in a home where the things of God were given only intellectual assent and never personally applied or taken serious. It was like knowing it was indeed true but pretending to live like it wasn’t.  Continue reading

If you knew…

They come in all shapes, sizes and intensity.  The innocuous thing about them is that they sneak up on us when weResults least suspect them like carbon monoxide on the unsuspecting homeowner. Before we realize it, we are left gasping for air as the life is sucked right out of us!

King David experienced it on a day that began like all the others he had every lived  (2 Samuel 11). He would go to sleep (if he could sleep) that night a changed man with a totally different future than he had when he woke up that day. And so does every one of us who yield to the tempting picture that sin paints for us without considering its deadly consequences. Continue reading