All afternoon a little boy tried to put together his birthday gift from his father: a picture puzzle. Some of the pieces were bright, some dark, some seemed to go together, others seemed to fit nowhere. Finally, frustrated and exhausted and with nothing to show for his efforts, the boy gathered the pieces, put them in the box, and gave it to his dad. “I can’t do it,” he murmured. “You try it.” To his amazement, his father assembled the entire puzzle in a few minutes. “You see,” he said, “I knew what the puzzle was like all the time. I saw the picture in the puzzle, but you saw only the pieces.”
Paul says, “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plan” (Romans 8:28; Living Bible). “All that happens to us” are the pieces of the puzzle and, “if we love God,” all of the pieces will fit together to serve the plan He has for us. That is the picture.
Are you perplexed or frustrated over events that happen in your life? Do not take the situation out of God’s hand, but let Him work it into your life’s design. God made the picture your life is composed of and He will complete it if you will let Him. If you love Him, just remember: He loves you more than you will ever love Him. So, do not worry about a thing, trust Him and He will put the pieces together in His perfect time.
Paul goes on to say, “What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son for us, but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” (Romans 8:31-32; Living Bible). What an amazing truth! God gave His Son to save us from the demolisher, to heal us from all disease, to break the chains that bind, and to give us hope and perfect peace. If God gave us His Son to do all of this, what’s our problem?
An English town had a church whose stone walls were covered with ivy. Over an arch was originally inscribed the words: “We Preach Christ Crucified.” There had been a generation of godly men who did precisely that. They preached Christ crucified. But times changed. The ivy grew and pretty soon covered the last word. Now it read: “We Preach Christ.” Pastors came and preached Christ the example, Christ the humanitarian, Christ the ideal teacher. As the years passed, the ivy continued to grow until finally the inscription read: “We Preach.” And the generation that came along did just that. They preached economics, social gospel, book reviews, politics, arts, education, and just about everything. The truth of the Gospel was not heard anymore leaving people ignorant of God’s full picture for their lives.
Therefore, the problem today with many people, including church goers, is they do not hear the full uncompromising Word of God. One of the minister’s duties is to preach the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. For more about Joy visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com.
Erik Weihenmayer is blind from a degenerative eye disease, yet on May 25, 2001 he scaled the peak of deadly Mt. Everest. Erik’s success on this treacherous ascent came because he listened well. He cued in on the little bell tied to the back of the climber in front of him so he would know what direction to go. He listened to the voice of teammates who would shout back to him, “Death fall two feet to your right!” so he would know what direction not to go. He listened to the sound of his pick jabbing the ice, so he would know whether the ice was safe to cross.
Question: are you facing a perilous climb in life? Make sure you keep your attention on the voice of the Lord. Take your cues from the Holy Spirit and from His Holy Word to avoid the death drops that are up ahead. In walking with Jesus, what you hear is what you will finally get. You can count on Him to guide you safely over the path of life. When you are with a person a lot, his voice becomes very familiar. And that’s the way it is with Jesus Christ. He said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
By spending quality time with the Lord we undoubtedly know His voice. H. V. Morton tells of a scene that he saw in a cave near Bethlehem. Two shepherds had sheltered their flocks in the cave during the night. How were the flocks sorted out the next morning? One of the shepherds stood some distance away and gave his peculiar call which only his sheep knew and soon his whole flock had run to him. They knew his voice. The sheep would have responded to no one else. The voice of their shepherd was assuring.
An 18th century traveler actually tells how Palestinian sheep can be made to dance, fast or slow, to the peculiar whistle or the unique tune on the flute of their own shepherd. And in the same way, we have to listen intently to the Great Shepherd’s voice if we care about where we are headed. He sees and knows what we do not see and know. He cares that we reach our destination and He does everything He can to get us to the top.
Erik climbed Mt. Everest because he listened very closely to his leader. He depended upon his leader’s eyes and ears to get him there. We are surrounded with many confusing voices and sounds today, but we must learn how to pick out the voice of our master while tuning out the others. Christ cares about our safety and success more than anyone. We are always on His mind. But the key question is: is He always on our mind?
I’m sure that Erik had his mind on his leader all the way to the top of the mountain; because, he was depending on him. Even after David became king over Israel, he depended on God to lead him. His signature Psalm tells it all: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” He cued in on the Lord. For more info visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
As Christians we have been called not to be conformed to the status quo, nor to live our lives out in mediocrity, but to be victorious world changers. We have been called to make such a contribution to society that those around us will be changed. God has called you and me to help Him establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Throughout the Word of God we are exhorted to be strong in the power of His might: "Let the weak say, I am strong…Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might…Those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits." The Word of God is full of accounts of people who were dynamic heroes of faith who out of weakness were made strong. God has called His children not to be mastered or controlled by emotions, attitudes, or circumstances. Rather, they are to be the master, to rise up and take dominion and live a victorious and full life.
Theodore Roosevelt said this about success: "It is not the critic who counts nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly who errs and comes short again and again (because there is no effort without error and shortcoming), who does actually try to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Why is it that many Christians are content to stay in that "gray mediocre twilight?" I believe it is because they have a difficult time reconciling the spirit of faith and the act of faith. The "spirit of faith" means, God is a sovereign God who is in control of events in this world and orders history according to His will. The "act of faith" means that God will do nothing to overthrow the forces of evil until He finds a man or woman who will stand in the gap to intercede, who will boldly act upon and proclaim God's Word, and go forth to do God's will. I would say that all Christians have the "spirit of faith," because they believe that God is in control. But, very few know the "act of faith" because they are not committed to stand in the gap to do God's will. They have a difficult time trusting in God for some of the most minute things. Many are good at talking about God, but they have a hard time acting on His Word.
Jesus said, "You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). A friend is one who is dependable and trustworthy. He will stick closer than a brother and will take action to keep friendship alive. A friend won't run away when the going gets tough. Find out more online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.