23 November, 2015

New Every Morning

In the Bible in the book of Lamentations there is a verse that reads; "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
One of the things about the Bible and about serving the Lord is how we can see the same thing, the same verse, hear the same words that we've heard before and suddenly they come alive. It's like something brand new has appeared to us because it speaks so clearly to us. That happened to me just this past Friday. I was at my church surveying the damage with the insurance adjuster and the contractors one of them, who is a devoted Christian, said to me, "sometimes you look at things like this and can rattle your faith and cause you to question where God is in all this." I said to him, "Yeah, but God is good all the time and he knows the end of the story when we don't."  When I said that, I had one of those deja vu moments. In my mind I flashed back to 1999 when my wife and I suffered a house fire that pretty much destroyed everything we owned.  The day after the fire I was at the house with a pastor who was also a contractor (since then retired) who I hired to rebuild my house. As we were talking, Ken said virtually the same words to me and my response to him was to tell him that normally my kids would have been home at that time of day, but some of my church members had asked to take them to their house for the afternoon. Had they been home, they could have been seriously hurt or killed in the fire, so I was just thankful that God had delivered them from the fire.  From that conversation the Lord gave me the message that I would preach that Sunday at my church. As I stood talking with this contractor last Friday, my mind instantly flashed back to that sermon that I preached in February 1999 and I knew this was the message for my church for this week. It took some digging, but I found that original outline and with the help of the Holy Spirit reworked it and I preached it yesterday to my church. Afterward, I had a couple of people tell me that they thought this was the best messaged they had ever heard me preach. In myself I'm thinking, "how does God take a word to a church in 1999 and breathe life into it and make it speak to my congregation who is displaced and meeting in a hotel conference room in such a powerful way?"  That's when this verse from Lamentations came to mind... "they are new every morning."  It's kind of like the manna that came from heaven... new every morning. Just what they needed for that day. Something I learned a long time ago that it has very little to do with me... I'm just the vessel that God uses to speak to others. My job is to carry the Word, not create the Word. That's the work of the Holy Spirit.  Some would criticize me for "serving leftovers."  I've also learned that some people will criticize anything and everything. I just know the Holy Spirit quickened this in my spirit on Friday and God took something old and made it something new. It reminds me of the story in Jeremiah of the potters house. There is a verse there that is so simple that it is often overlooked but it is powerful. In chapter 18 verse 4 it reads, "And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it." This is speaking of people, but it also serves to remind me that God take something old and rework it and make it into something new and beautiful. He did it with a sermon this past week... and I believe God is speaking to me and the church where I pastor about our church. Within ourselves, we'd like to wash our hands of our old building... but I believe God is in the process of taking something old and rugged and transforming it into something brand new. We need to allow God to do what He desires, not what WE desire.  Harvest Church... watch what God is doing!

No comments: