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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Who Has Whose Hand?

When we see an adult, with child of 5 or 6 years old, holding hands as they cross the street – we know who is holding whose hand. But add 50-55 years to that scene – and now, who has whose hand?

I remember clearly a pastor once mentioning during a sermon something about God being at Jesus’ right hand. Now, we all know that Jesus is at God’s right hand, and I know he saw my puzzled look because as we made eye contact, I saw a slight smile come across his face as he continued talking about God at Jesus’ right hand… Until… he got past the crucifixion, past the resurrection, and to Hebrews 12:2  where he read, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” And then I understood.

God was on Jesus’ right hand in mission, and Jesus is on God’s right hand in Glory!

That’s been nearly 20 years ago, and I still think of it, especially when I study the Psalms. It’s amazing to me the number of times David has said, “You (God) take my right hand…” (Psalms 16:8; 73:23; 109:31 for example) and then the times he has said, “Let me (David) take Your (God’s) right hand…” (Psalms 17:7; 18:35 for example). Actually there are more than 35 Psalms that mention God’s right hand. And so we ask, “Who has whose hand?”

Sometimes David has God’s right hand, and sometimes God has David’s right hand… what’s the difference? It’s certainly not that when God has David’s right hand (the hand of strength) that David is “taking care” of God.

It’s the fact that sometimes God is the strength at our right hand (putting us to work) and sometimes He comforts and protects us by keeping us at His right hand (when we’re too weak to work.) It’s always God’s strength and salvation, it’s just that sometimes He holds our hand, and sometimes, He allows us to hold His…

 

Prayer:

God, my Father, my Strength, and my Deliverer, take my right hand and lead me into battle… and then, when the battle looms large ahead of me… may I take Your right hand in comfort and protection. Oh God, this is almost too much for me to understand. I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. Oh the depths of Your Word – and the heights to which it takes me – it’s dizzying, and at times, gives me cold chills and almost takes my breath.

As I meditate on Your Word, sometimes a warm wash of clarity comes over me, so much so that I scarcely breathe and don’t want to move, afraid that I may lose that understanding that is barely touching my fingertips…

Oh the wondrous joy of Your precious Word! Thank You for the treasure I hold in my hands! Amen.

 

 

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What if things don’t turn out the way you expected?

I love the story about Paul found in Acts 16:6 and following. On his second missionary journey Paul wanted to go south into Asia (modern day Turkey) but he was “forbidden” by the Holy Spirit to go there. Next he tried to go north into Mysia, but again the Holy Spirit “prevented” him from going.

Wanting to seek new areas to preach, Paul and his companions continued to head west. Like being guided through a gauntlet, they wound up at Troas with the Aegean Sea staring them in the face. Should they cross over onto the continent of Europe? No one had taken the gospel there yet. Should they try, or would the Holy Spirit stop them again?

That night Paul had a vision/dream. It was a man from Macedonia calling, “Come over here and help us!” Paul took that as a sign from God to cross over and continue the spread of the Gospel!

The next day Paul and his companions set out for the Macedonian countryside. After traveling through a couple of smaller cities, they finally came to Phillipi, the leading city of Macedonia.

Now get this – Paul had been specifically directed by the Holy Spirit to go to Macedonia. The message was unmistakenly clear (or so he thought). What do you suppose he expected to find there? I think he expected a host of people receptive to the Gospel message. I think he was so excited to get there that he could hardly contain himself!

But what did he actually find there? Women. Just a group of women having a prayer meeting by the riverside! There weren’t even enough Jewish men in Phillipi to have a synagogue! Just a few women, and most of them were Gentile converts!

Every morning, orthodox Jewish men would get up and thank God that they weren’t tax collectors, Gentiles, or women – and here were two out of the three! What must Paul have thought? This was certainly NOT what he expected! Did he question God? Did he question his understanding of the call? We don’t know what went through Paul’s mind, but this is what he did – he preached the Gospel to the women AND he baptised Lydia and her whole household, and set out to share the Gospel from there.

We read later in Philippians how special this group of people were to him. Though as a whole they were very poor, the churches of Macedonia (the Thessalonians and the Philippians) did more to sustain and support Paul’s travels than anyone else.

Maybe he questioned what he found when he got there, but God’s plan was perfect!

Maybe you’re questioning where you are today. Maybe you’re wondering if you heard God correctly – but God’s plan is perfect and it will always be for the glory of the kingdom. The real question must be – am I willing to be submissive to His will… or will He have to find another?

Perhaps you are, where you are, for such a time (and mission) as this…

God I pray for those who have said, “this is not what I expected”. Strengthen and encourage them moment by moment that Your will is perfect, and that You will supply their every need as it arises. You won’t provide tomorrow’s provision today – but you meet today’s need – today.

Thank You and we praise You. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.


 

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