4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
God knows the end from the beginning and every person even from before they were fully formed in their mother’s womb. Life begins when life begins, at conception, and not when life is able to take care of itself. For if life only began when a person could take care of themselves, neither life nor eternal life would ever begin.
God is a Spirit and life is a spirit. As well, Every moment of life belongs to God.
Sunday, August 28, 1988, was my first Sunday as pastor of Golden Triangle Church on the Rock. Today, August 28, 2011, marks 23 years since that day. (23 Years; 8,400 days; 201,600 hours; more than 12 million minutes)
23 years ago I was 33 ½ years old, the same age as Jesus was when He went to the cross to give His life as a ransom for all mankind. Jesus’ earthly life and ministry was completed when He was 33 but in many ways, 33 was a time when my ministry life really began. Up until that time, I was on a journey of preparation.
Many times what we are going through is not punishment for the past but positioning for the future. We are born with both a destiny and a journey. At times a life purpose may be easier to identify and embrace than the process of life which will prepare us for that purpose. Nonetheless, the journey is our friend. It is the journey which prepares us to operate at destiny’s required capacity.
Those faithful church people who first welcomed me and my family to Southeast Texas gave us the opportunity of a lifetime. Since that first Sunday we, along with all those whom God has continued to join together here, have carried out heaven’s vision in our community and in communities like ours all around the world. We have kept the main thing the main thing and been a blessing to individuals and families without respect as to their situations of life. We make God smile …
Since I have been pastor of GTCOTR there has been more than 725 million ticks of the clock, each one important to God and each one bringing us closer to the ultimate plan of God. As I said, every moment belongs to God … string a few moments together and you have a lifetime.
A lifetime is made up of moments but our life is more than any mere moment.
Jesus was no fool. When He offered Himself to God’s will, He lost nothing but a few miserable moments yet, He gained everything including eternity. I’ve heard it said that:
No man is a fool who gives that which he cannot keep to get that which he cannot lose.
This week I got to spend a little time with a young man who serves as the associate pastor of a Church in the Dallas area. While we were eating sushi Friday evening he told me about the difficulty he and his wife experienced with regards to their desire to have children. He related that a few months ago, after a season of intense prayer and fasting, a miracle happened and his wife became pregnant. It was such a joyous occasion and especially so because two other couples in their church with whom they were close were also having babies due at the same time.
This young man, who is the son of my good friend, went on to tell me that during the process they were told that they were going to have a boy. Well last week, some concerns arose and after tests were completed they were told that their baby’s heart was not fully forming as it should. The doctors reported the scenarios from worst case to best case, and neither case was good news. It appears from the tests results that their son will most likely not survive birth and even if he does, a short life is to be expected.
The young man telling me his story is himself a third generation preacher and a teacher of the faith we hold so dear. I sat and listened to him bear his heart and share his pain. I knew that he and his wife trusted God and that they would continue to serve Him without regard as to what they faced in life. Both good and godly people face difficult moments. It is best to remember that life, as God designed it, is more than any one moment.
As we were finishing our meal he told me that he was not sure what God wanted from him and his ministry, and he asked me if would speak into his life.
This is what I gave him and now, I give it to you:
1. God wants to know what you want
Psalms 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers.
Don’t stop telling Him. We cannot control God but we can and we should tell Him what we want. Nothing moves the hand of God in trying times like the cry of His children on their knees before Him in prayer.
2. Every trial is a potential testimony.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
And, we must realize that every testimony began as a trial. This young man told me that he and other young men find me and my testimonies a bit intimidating. I first met his dad in 1986 and growing up as Pastor’s kid, (a PK is what we call them and what they call themselves), he periodically heard about the things I did, said, or attempted to do, and he knows that the Lord has given me so many great testimonies. In fact he laughed as he recalled to me the story of my wife not feeling like she loved me for several years during our early marriage and how God turned that around for us.
He said that he also wanted to have great testimonies but he really wanted to live a life without having to face too many difficult problems or tests. I told him that I understood what he meant and that I felt the same way. He listened as I added that even though the story of my wife not feeling like she loved me for the first 9 years of our marriage could be told in only a few moments, it took 9 years worth of moments to live through it.
Life is a choice and life changing choices should not be made based on only one difficult moment in life. It was our choice to either build a testimony of victory or a testimony of defeat. Were we perfect – no! Did we fight – yes! Was it fun – not often! But did we make it – Here we are!
How did we do it? We learned that:
3. Life is more than a moment.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory
God really does have a master plan and He knows the end from the beginning. We cannot always control what we go through but we can determine how we go through it.
We all face moments in life. Together we have faced more than 725 million moments since I became Pastor of this Church. Not all of them have been wonderful moments but each one was important to God and each one moved us closer to God’s ultimate plan.
You may question how you can face the difficult and trying moments of life and still keep your faith. How do we keep these moments from dominating and destroying us? We are not defeated because we believe in God’s Ultimate Plan! I cannot tell you what your journey will involve but I can tell you about your destiny and about the destiny of every soul who chooses to follow Christ, especially in moments of crisis or difficulty.
We have but one guarantee, but one thing we can know for sure and that is: All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
This hope will keep you in every moment of life. (Jeremiah 1:5)