The Death of a Dream and the Hope (confident assurance) of His Calling

When we pray, we often have an outcome in mind that we want God to bring about.  Our outcome however, is not necessarily what God has in mind.  It is not difficult to figure out whose outcome is best.

When I was a young believer, I had a vision or dream as to how I would serve the Lord throughout my life.  I would get a Doctorate degree and teach on the college level in a Christian environment. That was my dream.  It did not happen.

God created a sinless Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect environment with instructions as to what to eat and what not to eat.  They disobeyed.  They fell.  There were consequences!  

But God……knowing the end from the beginning, sent forth His Son, the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world to redeem us from the penalty of our sin.

I used to say that I did not want to live my life over again, because I was afraid that when I came again to the cross roads of decision, I might not trust Christ the second time through.  I didn’t trust myself to make the right decision a second time.

A wise person heard me say that and reminded me that I did not find Him, He found me.  I did not seek Him, He sought me.  I did not choose Him, He chose me……..failures, shortcomings and all!

Who fails God?  We do.  Who chooses the place of our calling, knowing full well what lay ahead?  God does!  Praise His name!!!

Knowing that God is sovereign and that He is in control of all things, good or bad, enables us to yield and accept His will even when it is not what we expected.  

The death of a believer’s dream or vision is simply the closing of a door.  It is the narrowing down of our choices.  It is one less thing with which we need to concern ourselves.  It is God giving us direction.

Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.

Note:  Disobedience and bad decisions have consequences and the thoughts expressed above were not written to minimize those consequences.

The death of a dream can be painful and the pain is not soon forgotten, whether it is due to disobedience, bad decision making,  or just not being God’s will.

The outcome that matters is not necessarily what we dream of or envision for God.  The outcome that matters is God’s.

My Dad

My dad could have been perceived to be a quiet man and an introvert, but he really wasn’t.  He loved people and he loved to visit.  I only learned when I became an adult that Dad stuttered.

I had to learn that from others because I rarely heard him stutter. He had learned to choose alternate words in conversation if he couldn’t get the first one out.   He talked slowly and deliberately, carefully choosing his words without stuttering.   If you didn’t know him as a kid, you would not know how bad it was until he learned to cope with it by picking and choosing his words carefully as an adult.

As a parent and a believer, I am still learning to pick and choose words carefully.  Too often our words are used as darts or clubs to defend ourselves rather than to edify others.  The wonderful thing about texting and email is that before we push the send button, we can edit out the emotion and the hurtful things we often say before thinking it through.

Dad loved people and he loved to visit with people.  I often found myself standing on a street corner in the city with Dad waiting for mom to finish shopping.   We rarely stood there alone because people would stop and visit with him on their way by.   I remember asking him, who was that?  He usually couldn’t tell me a name, but he knew where they lived.  I met my great Uncle Earl on that street corner.

He would take me along to visit elderly relatives.  I came to know some of my great Aunts and Uncles through these visits.  Aunt Esther always had some chocolate cake and coffee ready when we stopped.  Farrell and Mary (grandma’s brother) ran a small restaurant in the city called Red’s.  Dad often stopped there for coffee with me along.  Grandma lived just down the street from us in our small rural village.  When visitors came on the weekends, I would sit on the living room floor and listen to Dad visit with aunts, uncles and cousins.

As believers, we should love people too.  After all each individual is someone for whom Christ died.  While we don’t know who the Lord maybe dealing with about their soul, we have a responsibility to declare the hope within us to those with whom we cross paths. Often people can become an irritant to us in our busy world, rather than an opportunity to tell of the hope within us.  We should slow down some and listen to the hearts of those around us.

When I trusted Christ at the age of nineteen, I became zealous for the things of God.   I began to regard Dad as too laid back.  In my opinion, I thought he should be more of a spiritual leader and I often had a critical attitude toward him concerning this.  Then one day I found out that he was the first one in our immediate family to make a decision for Christ.

Dad attended a revival meeting in our small town back in the mid nineteen forties.  It was there that he made a decision for Christ. Mom didn’t like it, but the next night of the revival meeting Dad stayed home with my two older sisters and mom attended with her best friend and they both made decisions to trust Christ as their own personal Saviour.

Dad was our spiritual leader in spite of what I may have thought in my uninformed zeal.  He responded to the Holy Spirit’s conviction first and as a result had an eternal impact on the rest of us.

Are you the spiritual leader in your home?  Is God tugging at your heart to make a decision to receive His gift of forgiveness and eternal life through the merit and work of Jesus Christ alone?   The Scripture says that today is the day of salvation!  Trust Him now.

Thanks Dad!……Happy Father’s Day!

Note:  Dad went to be with the Lord within thirty days of my family moving back to the Midwest in 1994.  We had less than thirty days with him after living in the southeast for twenty-two years.  I had the privilege of preaching his funeral.

Are You Thinking Biblically or Culturally?

Church activity does not make one spiritual.  God does.

A Christian does not work to become spiritual.  He works because he is spiritual.

Humans are not physical beings who happen to have a spirit. Humans are spiritual beings who happen to have a body.

Salvation results in eternal life.  As long as one lives willfully in sin, there is no evidence of either one.

Works are not stair steps to righteousness.  Works are simply evidence (fruit) of righteousness or unrighteousness.

God the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture.  God cannot lie, therefore, the Holy Spirit will never lead contrary to Scripture.

Since God is the Creator, good science will never contradict Scripture.

Hope is not the wringing of the hands.  Hope is confident assurance.

Hope is not about holding on.  It is about being held.

Love is not about feelings.  Love is about making right choices.

Love is not about feeling warm and fuzzy.  It is about obedience.

Love is not about  physical desire.  Love is about choosing the highest good for the one loved.

Faith should not be placed randomly.  Faith can be misplaced.

Faith is the gangplank used to board the ship of grace.  Misplaced faith can be used to board the wrong ship.

Faith is not a leap in the dark.  Faith is a firm persuasion or conviction based upon hearing*………and hearing by the word of God.

Saving faith is based upon only one thing.  It is based upon the finished work and merit of Jesus Christ alone.

Salvation is a gift from God, but it came at great price.

God chastises His own children and oft times severely (sickness and death).  What then of those who reject His unspeakable gift?

A small child playing with a toy train will get things get mixed up. Everyone knows that the engine goes up front and the caboose is at the back with the other cars in between.

I’m sure there is an order for the other train cars as well, but it doesn’t make much of a difference to a child which order they are in.  He/she is just enjoying the experience.  We can ruin that experience by insisting the small child order the train correctly even though he/she doesn’t yet understand.

As babes in Christ, young believers sometimes get handed a lot of Bible truth in a short period.  It takes time to grow spiritual teeth and to become capable of digesting the meat of God’s word.  

Initially it is enough for the young believer to simply rejoice in the milk and honey of God’s word.  After a time however, the many teachings of Scripture and biblical principle can be organized by the Holy Spirit into a fortress of truth in the maturing believer through good Bible preaching, discipling and personal study.

Allowing the word of Christ to dwell in us richly enables believers to mature spiritually, to walk in the Spirit, and to think biblically.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

………And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  

What are you thinking?

*W.E Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words.

Note:  The statements above are Bible doctrine condensed into one simple statement of biblical principle.  I would like to give credit to the ones who taught these principles to me through their teaching and preaching, but I cannot name, for many of them, the specific individuals who imparted these truths to me.  

I can say that clearly one third of the statements above can be attributed to the ministry of our teaching elder at my home church. I am not simply restating biblical principle.  These are Bible truths that I have fully embraced.  Thank you Larry for being a true student of the Word and for your dedicated ministry to the flock.  

Meditations of the Heart

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors?

Cleanse me from secret faults.

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;

Let them not have dominion over me.

Then I shall be blameless,

And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:7 – 14

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly………