When we first started out in the ministry, we pastored a small church in Gilmer, Texas. We were young and full of enthusiasm and ready to do a great work for God. He had called me to preach, so certainly God had great things in store for us.
The bible says 1 John 3:19-21 “And hereby we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
When we step out into the sunlight in the morning, that sunlight is only 8 minutes old and yet it has traveled 93 million miles. God had put considerable thought and effort into dispelling the darkness that had engulfed your life and vanquishing the chill of this world. And he did it all while you were still sleeping. If God can do that while you are just starting your day, what can He do with the rest of your life.
The small church was limping along financially when we took the pastoral position. There was little or no money to pay for the church’s insurance, the light bill, upkeep and zero to live on.
The prophet of old recorded in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s plan isn’t always evident. He doesn’t make things readily apparent at times. We have to have faith that God is still in control and He knows what He is doing.
As time went along, we found ourselves living in the back of the church, making peanut brittle to make the church payments, and cleaning a graveyard to pay for the church’s insurance. We were determined to have revival however and to see souls saved. I would preach three times a week at our home church in Gilmer and then preach on off nights. All of the offerings we would get from preaching out were used to keep the utilities on.
In the midst of preaching, visiting the sick, making peanut brittle, cleaning the graveyard, and trying to do the work of God – my wife fell sick. The doctor said she needed an MRI. The doctor said it was time to look for a different vocation.
41 times it is included in the Word of God, “His mercy endures forever.”
God knows exactly what you struggle with. God has already thought this thing through. It’s easy to believe the bad reviews. The bad reviews we give ourselves…the bad reviews from the adversary…the bad reviews that others hurl into our paths. But the Holy Ghost wants you to know that you have forgotten whose child you are. The devil is a liar.
It would have been easy to give up. The church was broke, I was broke, and my wife was sick. We didn’t have the money for the MRI. The smart thing to do would become a plumber, a painter, anything but a preacher. But one Sunday night, in that small church in Gilmer, TX, I walked over and anointed my wife with oil and rebuked sickness from her body – and God heard my prayer. God healed her completely.
“…seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” Isaiah 51:1.
You have hope in God. God’s mercy is new each morning. God can change things for you in a moment. There is salvation in the Name of Jesus. The doctor might have been correct in his diagnosis. I might have believed the bad reviews and given in to what my heart was saying but God had a different plan. Forty-plus years later, we are still preaching the Oneness of God, Jesus name baptism, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking in tongues.
My prayer for you this week is that you get a fresh revelation of who He is and what He can do in your life.