What Are You Doing Here?
Once there was a minister who was lonely, depressed and feeling defeated in his life and ministry. One night in his despair, he found himself in a bar on the seedy side of town. With his head bowed low in shame, he walked across the dimly lit room and took a seat at the bar. He sat staring into his drink, a drink he had never had before, and pondered his life and his failures.
Suddenly, a man sitting two seats to his right, a man who had obviously been drinking heavily, turned to him, looked at him with piercing eyes and said, “What are you doing here?”
The minister was shocked and thought to himself, “Do I know this man? Does he know me? All the while the man stared at him with those piercing eyes awaiting an answer. An answer he already knew. This minister did not belong there.
Immediately, he rose from the bar stool and left the building. As he sat behind the wheel of his car he thought to himself, “Lord, what has brought me to this low point in my life?” It was as if the Lord had spoken through that man.
As he pulled out of the parking lot he asked for forgiveness. In his beaten and defeated condition, he went back to his home, to his family, and to his ministry. Ashamed of himself, he put one foot in front of the other, and went through the motions, feeling unworthy yet determined to try again. The Lord restored him and he continued his ministry.
There was a man in the Bible, a prophet named Elijah, who also reached a point in his life when he felt defeated and wanted to give up.
“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.’” 1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT)
“But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 1 Kings 19:9-10 (NLT)
Even the great prophet Elijah reached a point in his life when he felt so defeated that he just wanted to die. The Lord asked him again “What are you doing here Elijah?” Then he was given instructions on what to do next.
There may be a time in your life when you were brought low, a time that only you and the Lord know about. Do not let that define you. Do not let that set your course for a lifetime of defeat. Instead, put one foot in front of the other — and though you feel unworthy, determine in your heart to try again. The Lord will hold you up with his strong right arm. He will set your course and make straight your path. Defeat will humble a person, but with the help of the Lord, there is hope, restoration, and a victorious future.
Through The Bible
Judges 7:20 20The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
What a fascinating plan the LORD gave them. Each of the 300 men took a pitcher with a torch inside in one hand. In the other was a trumpet. On cue they smashed the pitchers and the light shown out. With the other hand they blew their trumpets and then shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
The enemy was thrown into a panic thinking that each light led a company of soldiers. Frightened in the dark, they killed one another. The dream Gideon had overheard came to pass. What sword were they shouting about? It was the Word of the LORD that they were faithfully obeying.
We have a treasure in jars of clay. It is the Light of the world. At times we seem to be totally outnumbered. But we keep on obeying the Word and believing. We become broken vessels and the light shines out. We blow the trumpet of the Gospel and the enemy (spiritual powers of darkness) is thrown into confusion. In the darkness the enemy does not know who is a friend and who is a foe. He ends up defeating himself. It is not as if we do any great thing. God gets all the glory. We are outnumbered and outgunned, but we just obey and watch God work. If God was faithful to Gideon, to give Him the plan, and encourage Him that He would bring it to pass, will He be any different with you?
Trust God to bring the victory as you obey Him.
Trust at High Speeds
by Katherine Britton, crosswalk.com
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5
I had been on a WaveRunner before. “No problem,” I said to myself as I climbed on behind my husband last weekend. I looked down at the brackish water that was more chilly than refreshing and told myself firmly, “Remember, you like going on adventures with him.” Sure enough, David looked back and grinned at me when we got away from the dock. He told me to hold on. Then he gunned it.
Jumping on a WaveRunner seems easy when I’m the one driving, because then I get to decide just how sharply I want to bank to catch that big wake. Or I can keep shooting out towards the Chesapeake Bay and avoid the wake altogether if I want. I can slow down if I scare myself, and I only “catch some air” if I’m good and ready – which, in reality, is almost never. Riding behind someone else, however, even when I trust him more than anyone, demands a leap of faith. The only thing I have to hang onto is his life jacket, and this guy in front of me gets to make the decisions while I peer over his shoulder. It’s hard to anticipate or even see what is coming next, and leaning the wrong way when we bank could throw me into the cold water at 50 miles per hour.
Out on the open water, with the wind stinging my eyes and convincing me that I’m about to fly off my seat, I’m pushed out of my comfort zone and into something more exhilarating than I’d wander into by myself. And the whole experience stems from letting someone else sit in the driver’s seat with not even a seatbelt for me. David knew I didn’t want to capsize, and he directed the little WaveRunner accordingly. But he wouldn’t let me be completely comfortable, because then we might as well take the paddleboat out and save gas. He made sure we got the full experience of saltwater, fun, and incredible views.
If I can trust my husband who loves me, how much more should I trust my Heavenly Father, who knows my fears, needs, and weaknesses far better. God desires to take us on an adventure that lets us experience Him and His creation more fully and joyfully than we can imagine. Focusing on our fear of some abstract unknown keeps us from being open to the adventure unfolding before our eyes every day. We tend to forget God’s amazing promise, that “the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 1:8). Fear and worry indicate that we don’t really believe that promise, and that we think we’d do a better job steering. Instead, when we make a conscious decision to trust the Lord – even when life is way too busy and fast for our liking – we find the peace to take a deep breath, smell the salty air, and enjoy where He is taking us.
“Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD … You will be cursed if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn from him and worship gods you have not known before.” – Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NLT
God wanted the Israelites to know that they were shaping their destiny by the decisions they made each day. As they faced crossroads, they could receive blessings or curses. He gave them the freedom to choose, with opportunities to decide the principles that would impact the outcome.
They soon realized that God’s words were true. When they followed His direction, He blessed them. But when they rejected His commands, they no longer experienced His blessings.
Each of us has been given these same kinds of opportunities every day. We face choices about our relationships and families, our time and resources. The question is, what kinds of decisions will we make? What are our priorities? Do our standards align with what’s in the Bible?
God’s Word is filled with principles that can result in His blessing. But to receive these blessings we need to remember that we cannot receive them if we ignore His Word or go our own way. We need to follow His commands faithfully.
The Bible reminds us that our future is being shaped by the decisions we make day by day. At the same time, these same choices are determining the kinds of rewards that are awaiting us in heaven.
Ask God to help you make the right choices. Seek to make choices that will lead to His blessings and bring rewards in this lifetime and the world to come.