"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, July 9, 2010

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

This doesn’t mean you will be rich and famous. Our pastor said it was more like, “You will serve and you will lead and you will quite often pay the price.”
We ask ourselves, how can you ever again even THINK (let alone do it!) of going into any type of ministry? When you go into ministry, you are basically signing up to suffer-somehow, someway and at times worse than others. Why? Why does it happen that way? Because you are a target. All Christians are targets, just by being a Christian you become a target for Satan-you sign up for suffering and persecution too. If you aren’t being attacked in some way, I would submit that you need to examine your life and wonder why. But when you are in ministry you become the Bullseye-the prize. How much damage does it do when a pastor or elder or outspoken believer falls in some way (most often failing “in the world’s eyes”)? A lot. Satan wants you to fall and fall hard, and he will throw his fiery darts, sometimes nuclear missiles at you. You can count on it; you can expect it, but yes: it still REALLY HURTS. But you know what, God is GOOD, and GOD is GOD. HE will not cast you away from His presence (Psalm 51) even when you fail or fall (again, that seems to come most often in the world’s eyes). God sees the heart. And I believe God allows the trials and sufferings to grow you. He wants you to grow and be more like Christ, which involves knowing His sufferings, His griefs, His love for you and for others. He doesn’t do it for Himself to see how dedicated you are-it’s often for you to see it about yourself. And God gives the grace and comfort and mercy to get through it, to then get back up and do it again. Our pastor also told us about a graduation speech at a seminary recently. The speaker gave them kudos for a job well done, getting through school and all. And then he told them to really enjoy the day. ‘Cuz that day is gonna be about as good as it gets. It’s downhill from here-there will be persecutions, there will be sufferings, and there will be pain. Again, you’d have to ask-what in the world would you sign up for that for??? Because when God has called you, HE has called you. It’s because HE knows what you are capable of and HE won’t give you more than you can handle with HIM. Because God is big enough to handle all your hurts and pains-His Son suffered worse than we ever could, and HE gives HIS SPIRIT to comfort us and to live through us. What God has purposed, God will see through. We aren’t big enough to ruin that.

Jesus told them, "Go to great danger, and let it be said of you what people would say of sheep wandering into the middle of wolves. They're crazy! They're clueless! They have no idea what kind of danger they are getting into!" This is what it means to be my disciple. We don't think like this. We say things such as, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." We think, if it's dangerous, God must not be in it. If it's risky, if it's unsafe, if it's costly, it must not be God's will. But what if these factors are actually the criteria by which we determine something IS God's will? What if we began to look at the design of God as the most dangerous option before us? What if the center of God's will is in reality the most unsafe place for us to be? -From Radical by David Platt

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