Scripture II Corinthians 4: 15 – 18 (KJV)
“14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Hope you are ready to walk with me today. It is very cold this morning, around fifteen degrees so I am pleased you are dressed so warmly. And by the way, that is a very fine scarf you have pressed around your neck. Ever since my heart attack so many years ago, I learned it is a very good thing to have a scarf near your mouth and nose on a cold morning so you are breathing in a warmer air. And I am pleased you remembered to meet me here on the hill where that little chapel will be someday. Fascinated by the thought of constructing it, I review the plans very often.
This Tuesday will mark the fifty-seventh anniversary of my ordination into the Christian ministry. Inside myself, I guess I hoped I would be active in my church ministry to that sixtieth anniversary. We know that changed suddenly this year because of trouble with my heart. Inside of me, there is some difficulty with that reality. These walks with you really help me to know that I am still able to speak about the love of Jesus, our Lord. Your comments back to me are so very meaningful, and they encourage me to continue to speak about our faith and how it is so important in our lives.
Thinking about what has transpired this last year, I know Jesus was saying no to my plans. That is difficult to accept. Seeking to reach out to others in the church in the name of Jesus, it seemed to me that He would want me to do that until my life was over. Always, I imagined the Lord was saying YES to me, but now I realize that I, that we, need to listen to Him when He says NO.
Have you ever thought about how many times Jesus has said NO to you? In my life looking back, I think His guidance was just what it should have been. Wanting to be a prosperous dentist and attending college for that reason, I learned my ability and my desirers were not in that field. Disappointed then– now I believe Jesus said NO, and He was right. Being a pastor has given my life a depth of meaning I cannot adequately express. I am so grateful to Him.
And there have been times I have said NO to Jesus. After my first heart attack at age 38, I was bitter toward the church. I was not bitter with Jesus or thought that He was to fault for my coronary, but I was distraught over the way the church and some of its members had treated me; so I left the church for a time until Jesus spoke to me and gave me the wisdom to know that I was to blame rather than the church. You see, I had put all the worries and problems on others rather than seeing that I had been partially to blame, for I expected more of myself than others did. Joyfully, Jesus led me back to the church with new hopes and dreams and with the knowledge and belief that I would never leave being a minister of the Lord again. That is why, you see, it has been difficult to change my way of ministry in the church to walking with you; therefore, thank you for walking with me. But has Jesus ever said NO to you? How many times have you thought that something in your life must be a certain way if you were to be happy only to find out that your wishes were not going to be met? Have you ever thought that was Jesus saying NO to you because He had a better plan?
That’s what I believe, that Jesus had a better plan for my life than the plan I held. Each day is a gift from God, and each day I will praise His Son for walking with you and me and leading us down the right path.
Why, I find His hand in mine – You do too! He walks with us this very day. Listen carefully for we must in our lives; understand when He says YES and when He says NO. Both are a blessing, His YES or His NO, when a Jesus who knows what is best for us on our journey through LIFE speaks them. With Him as our guide, each of us will have an Abundant, Wonderful, and Meaningful Life.
As Paul says, 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Almighty God, we can never fully thank You for the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to begin this day and every day with a prayer to Him for wisdom and courage for the day before us. During each day, cause us to find the time to speak to Him and ask Him to grant us a YES and also perhaps a NO, and when our Savior says NO, help us to submit ourselves to His wisdom. Confident in the presence of our Lord, our future will always be best when our will is in accordance with His, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And now, “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. “ Amen.
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