The Footstool of God

As a believer, I’ve come to realize that the miraculous can occur in the oddest and oftentimes from the most grim and unpleasant of personal circumstances and that God sometimes exacts His will through the thread of hardship, (I also know this from very personal experiences).Image

A few years ago, I heard a pastor speak who had been wrongfully incarcerated in a federal institution for 18 months, (a federal agricultural offense).  As he spoke, he told the story that when the cell door slammed behind him that first night and as he sat despondently on his bunk, he heard the Lord quietly ask him…”Can you still praise me in this?”.  In his situation and in his fear and self pity he at first wasn’t sure.  But, then he began to sing quietly, praising the Lord.  It was then that he realized the footstool of God was moving…something was happening. 

When the footstool of God moves, the supernatural happens here on earth.  Look around, have you seen evidence of the wondrous and miraculous in and on the earth and maybe in your own life?  Maybe you have…the footstool of God had imperceptibly moved. 

The footstool moment in this particular situation was that this pastor now has one of the most successful prison ministries in the upper Midwest.  Many have come to know the Lord through it and the spiritual fruit is overflowing.  This was his assignment.  He didn’t know it at the time, but he had to go through this experience first before the ministry could come to fruition.  The footstool of God had to move before the work could be started. 

When things look bleak in your life…and I mean really dark and painful and unpleasant things, can you honestly still praise God through it?  Can you look past your present situation and come to an understanding that possibly something miraculous and supernatural is being born from your seemingly dire circumstances? 

Are you able to let yourself to come to a fuller spiritual maturation and allow the extraordinary and inexplicable to occur through your suffering?

Can you cause the footstool of God to move?

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Confidence, Trust and Love…

Three words sorely missing from our culture and lives today.  As a matter of fact, over the years, confidence and trust in things of the world has been replaced (by me anyway) from gratuitous and often mindless “agreement” to loud chuckling, guffawing and outright laughter.  My parent’s generation was conditioned to follow to the letter and believe anything said by anyone in the public eye.  This included not only those people in charge, but also anything anyone said on TV or in the news.  Today however, I believe it’s a much different story.  We’ve been lied to so many times, in so many different ways, that anything anyone says is looked upon with a jaundiced eye and a raised eyebrow.

I’m a bit of a news junkie, but nowadays with almost every word or written story, I shake my head and wonder in disbelief, “What in the world are they thinking?”  From the self-serving antics of the political arena (on both sides of the aisle), political correctness (whatever that is), global saber rattling and religious power wrangling to the hilarious buffoonery of Hollywood, all I can do is laugh.  The world stage is a comedy of errors, (some would say a comedy of terrors).  But, if anything, it makes for wonderful entertainment.  I often ponder what the person next door is thinking.  Do they see the same things I do, or are they in staunch agreement with things as they are being reported in the world?  I often wonder if others see the craziness as much as I do.

I know my reactions to the above may sound a little disparaging and maybe even a bit condescending, but I really don’t mean it to.  I just can’t help but realize that what is happening in and around the world has been scripturally prophesied for centuries.  We just happen to be a part of the audience in all its spectacular foolishness.  Want to know something though…it’s all part of a grand and wonderful plan.

The one thing that I am fiercely certain of is that I know and have known for many years that my confidence and trust comes not from man, but from God.  Anyone who walks with the Lord knows this.  But, I have to admit…I sometimes like watching the show from the world’s perspective as it is stuff that can’t be made up.  It’s great fodder for amusement.  Maybe I’m wrong for my thoughts about it, but just when I think the head-scratching outrageousness of one story can’t be topped, I’m profoundly mistaken ‘cause there’s another right behind it.  The list of examples is mindboggling and I’m not even going to attempt it here.  Just turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper or surf the internet…and you’ll be able to watch the fun from a front row seat and keep yourself entertained for hours.

OK…I’m done poking fun at the world.  My apologies if I’ve offended anyone who may not see things as I’ve described them.  It’s obviously not all like this, because there are some wonderful things going on in the world.  But, the majority of it can’t be denied.  The sad truth about it is that man (humans) will always let us down.  They will disappoint us, steer us wrong and deceive and mislead us.  As Christians however, we still have to love them.  We don’t have to trust, believe or “buy in” to them, but we’re called to love them.  It’s putting the heart of the Father on display in our lives every day so others see it.  And, it’s what separates us from those who don’t believe.  This has nothing to do with going to church or loving those people in our lives who are easy to love.  It’s about loving those who are difficult and challenging to love.  Those who cause the hairs on our necks to bristle every time we see them or hear them speak.  Do you know a few folks like these in your life?

The grand and wonderful plan I spoke of earlier is God’s plan.  I’ve explained in other blog essays that God isn’t surprised by anything.  He knows exactly what is happening, how it is happening and why it is happening.  So, I try not to be annoyed or get upset about what is happening all around us.  I just try and let God be God and continue to love on people as much as I can.  The word “love” and variations of it can be found between 500-600 times in the Bible, dependent upon the version.  Plus, there are over 35 scriptures relating to loving our neighbors (people/humans) and the word “trust” is used over 100 times.  So, my humble assumption is that these are key commitments in our walk with Him…wouldn’t you agree?

Jesus was asked by a religious leader of the day which of all the commandments was the most important.  His reply can be found in the book of Mark, chapter 12, verses 29-31 (NIV); “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this:…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  There is no commandment greater than these”.

Loving those who are difficult to love can be hard, and I am a definite work in progress when it comes to this.  But, it is a foundational tenet of having a relationship with God and this is where unwavering confidence, trust and love can be found…in Him.  He is the only one who will not let us down.  So, when things of the world seem chaotic and confusing, know that you have absolutely no control over it.  Just put the heart of the Father on display and love on those around you…every day.

And, maybe…just maybe, by doing so, you’ll make a vast and enormous difference in the life of someone whose existence is mired in the world’s madness.

Being sent…

The connotation of being sent can take on various meanings.  We can be “sent” to many places for many reasons, some physically and some figuratively.  We may be sent to the store for a gallon of milk, we could be sent to a particular job location by our bosses, or we might be sent to a website after making a Google query.  We can even think about something and our minds will send us to the place we want to think about.  Like I said, the term can take on many forms.  The aforementioned examples may not seem noteworthy as such, but anytime we’re sent somewhere you can believe this…it is not first without a request of some type being made and it will be for a specific reason and purpose.  No matter what the catalyst.

troops sent

As sons of God, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and God the Father, you probably already know about being sent.  From a spiritual perspective, it can also vary greatly.  For those of us who may have once been in a church (or, are still in a church), we may have been asked and sent to perform a specific task or job by a Pastor or elder for any number of reasons.  Or, we may have felt the need or calling to serve in a particular ministry and sent to it as the Lord leads.  The early church knew what this meant, as the term “apostle” means “one who is sent” and it has the same designation today.  For the most part, being sent carries different levels of responsibilities, dependant on the scope of the mission.  We receive our orders, we respond (or, don’t respond) and are sent.  It’s when being sent means travelling 1,800 miles across the country away from family, friends, fellowship and our spiritual father that can make it take on a whole new meaning.  This is what happened to me and my family.

Sent

To preface my point however, let me say this…as sons of God, don’t ever think for a moment that we’re not going to be sent in one fashion or another.  It may not be across the country, but it may be to a place (physically or spiritually) where you may or may not be too comfortable or that may stretch you to a point where you feel you’re being palpably changed or even broken.  When we’re spiritually sent, you can bet that there’s going to be work done…physical, emotional, mental and spiritual work.  Sometimes it’s pleasant and often times not, the reasons for which will sometimes greatly differ from why you initially thought you were being sent.  But, know this…the final outcome will always be for God’s glory and your benefit.  Every time.  No matter the outcome.

We have to become adept at seeing things from God’s perspective, from His throne room.  This way, we’ll always know that it will be about His desires and not ours.  This is absolutely key in our walk with Him.  Jesus was sent by the Father as He affirmed in John 4:34 (NIV) “My food”, said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work”.   And, Jesus wasn’t alone.  He also sent his disciples out into the world to do the work of the Father, (see the books of Matthew and John).  So, when we pray, know that the thing or things we’re praying about may involve us being sent.

As I said, there are awesome benefits of being sent, and for each one of us these benefits will differ greatly in delivery, scope and breadth.  Scripture talks about one of the greatest gifts being received as a result of someone being sent.  Jesus speaks of this prior to His crucifixion in John 16:5-7 (NIV); “Now I am going to Him who sent me…But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you”.  This gift was the Holy Spirit and it is still being received today!

My family was sent.  We were sent from New Jersey to Colorado.  And, the work being done has been difficult.  But, we know that it is for a purpose.  His purpose.  We stand at the foot of the Cross waiting for the next phase of our journey.  But, we don’t stand by idly, casually or impatiently.  We stand with firm resoluteness…unyielding and unwavering as the assignment continues.

I pray that you being sent bears incredible fruit.  And, how can it not?  As when we look at it from God’s perspective, we know that it came straight from the throne room itself.

May your journey be as rich as ours has been…

work as sent