Thursday, May 23, 2013

Waiting on the Unseen

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

This verse is familiar to many of us but oh so hard to internalize. One of the things that this verse implies and is true about faith in general is that it involves waiting. I have been trying to patiently wait to see how God is going to work in leading me into a ministry where I am able to use the gifts He has given to me. I must confess that in trying to be patient I have felt myself losing hope and feeling disconnected from the Lord. Last week I found myself crying out to God and asking, "How long, Lord?" At the time I was sitting in our den and looking out our sliding glass window. The Lord drew my attention to a bird house that we have attached to one of the poles on our deck. The house is currently occupied by a pair of nesting house wrens. I watched the female leave the house for a few minutes and then come back and enter inside. I had just finished reading a devotional from the book "Streams in the Desert" which emphasized how God is at work even when we can't see what He's doing in the process. The writer of the meditation states, "When does He work? He works now. We act as if God does not immediately accept our trust in Him and thereby delays accomplishing what we ask Him to do. We fail to understand that "He works" as we commit "He works" now! Praise Him for the fact that this is true." Returning to my observation of the bird house I felt the Lord impressing upon my heart a question. "Can I see inside of that bird house?" The answer is an obvious "no." Yet the Lord reminded me that there is a work going on inside. It is an unseen work as the birds prepare to bring forth new life. Like the verse in Hebrews 11:1, this pair of house wrens is "sure of what they hope for." After preparing the nest they know the eggs will be laid and they are "certain of what they do not see" in that from those eggs baby birds will emerge. I share that expectation with the house wrens. Even though I cannot see what they are doing inside of that bird house, I anticipate that those eggs will be laid, hatched, and when they are old enough the baby birds will fly off. The Lord pointed out that this is a similar process that I am experiencing. He is working in a way unseen to my eyes that in the end will bring forth something new in me and for me. Father God is "preparing the nest" so to speak so I will have a place to develop and come forth into a new environment. The verse in Hebrews 11:1 is yet another reminder of the need to commit to the work that God is already doing and like those house wrens to wait with anticipation for what is yet to come. The process is not always easy and there is much work to be done beforehand but in the end God is faithful. The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon puts it this way,"The Lord will follow through on His covenant promises. Whatever He takes and holds in His hand He will accomplish. Therefore His past mercies are guarantees for the future, and worthy reasons for continuing to cry out to Him." 

Praise the Lord!
Pastor Sheree

"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me." (Psalm 57:2)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

God of the Women

Today is Mother's Day. I confess I have some difficulty celebrating this day. Please don't get me wrong, I love my mother as I know there are others who feel the same way. However, I am often dismayed at the fact that so many women are excluded on this day. In the past when I have preached a Mother's Day service, I am often mindful and sensitive towards the many women who may feel like second class citizens because they have not given birth to a child. There may be many reasons for this such as never having had the opportunity to marry or infertility issues. There are those who have lost children to miscarriage, still birth, or sadly homicide. Remember Newtown and Sandy Hook? How might these women and men (Father's Day is coming) be feeling today? Then there are the stepmothers who never had the experience of being biologically connected to a child. Finally there are those whose mothers are deceased or children who are estranged from their mothers. I often make it a point to honor all women on Mother's Day which I believe is God's heart. Today at our church service, we sang a hymn that I had never heard before. It was an honor roll of godly women who were used by the Lord to His glory. I am including it here as it was a very powerful reminder to me of how much women have contributed to the kingdom of God. It is sung to the tune "Be Thou My Vision."

God of the Women

SLANE ( ("Be Thou My Vision")
God of the women who answered your call,
Trusting your promises, giving their all,
Women like Sarah and Hannah and Ruth —
Give us their courage to live in your truth.
God of the women who walked Jesus' Way,
Giving their resources, learning to pray,
Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and more —
May we give freely as they did before.
God of the women long put to the test,
Left out of stories, forgotten, oppressed,
Quietly asking: "Who smiled at my birth?" —
In Jesus' dying you show us our worth.
God of the women who ran from the tomb,
Prayed with the others in that upper room,
Then felt your Spirit on Pentecost Day —
May we so gladly proclaim you today.
O God of Phoebe and ministers all,
May we be joyful in answering your call.
Give us the strength of your Spirit so near
That we may share in your ministry here.
Tune: Traditional Irish melody; harmony by David Evans, 1927 ("Be Thou My Vision")
Text: Copyright © 1998 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
I pray that you will remember whether you are a mother or not just how valuable you are to God!
Blessings In Christ,
Pastor Sheree