Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Birdhouse Gourds, Red Wasps, And The Destruction Of Enemies

A massive red wasp nest had been constructed in the gourd I had hung for birds to nest in in the tree outside my study window. I sprayed one can of wasp killer in the hole of the birdhouse gourd. It didn't work. I bought another brand of spray and used it. It didn't work. I thought, "Perhaps these wasps have been genetically modified by some secret government lab. It would be best just to watch them for awhile." And, besides, I couldn't afford another can of ineffective wasp spray.

Well, watch them I did. I watched these chemically resistant wasps come and go, multiply, and run off invaders. This morning as I sat at my desk and looked out the window this is what I saw. The whole lower half of the gourd is gone, destroyed, and the wasp nest has been devoured. Some thing came, destroyed their fortress, ate their nest, and now my enemies are gone. God bless whatever raccoon, possum, or Sasquatch did this. What I could not do with the best of chemical warfare has been accomplished entirely without my assistance.

The removal of my enemies and the destruction of their fortress and home was accomplished while I slept, and it reminded me of the 3rd Psalm, and it filled my heart with hope.

"Lord, how my foes increase! There are many who attack me. Many say about me, 'There is no help for him in God.' But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of the thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side. Rise up, Lord! Save me, my God! You strike all my enemies on the cheek; You break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on Your people."  


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Divine Appointments: There's Someone Waiting For You

Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. . . Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.  (Luke 10:5-6, 16)

My wife was getting her hair cut, colored, and whatever else happens in the hour and a half that this process takes. I don't hang out in the salon with her. I'm just not that brave. So, I drove across the street and settled in at a McDonalds that had free wifi. I feel guilty using it without buying anything, so I purchased a coffee, sat down, and started reviewing my sermon notes (on the Lord of the Harvest) while keeping my ears and eyes open for opportunities to share the Gospel. 

A man and his little boy sat down next to me, but they were pretty preoccupied. An older pair of black ladies sat on the other side. I started to talk to them, but they bowed their heads and prayed. No one else came around for 15-20 minutes, so I decided to talk to the ladies about some of the racial unrest but they finished their breakfast and left. I had noticed an employee sweeping, a lady in her mid 30's. I was about out of options as I got up to leave, so as I dumped my empty coffee cup I asked her if I could ask her a question about working at McDonalds. That conversation ended 30 minutes later after the assistant manager (another Christian), joined us and we talked about the Lord and encouraged her as she worked and raised three school-age children.

Jesus sent out 70 of his followers in pairs into the villages and places He was about to go on his way to Jerusalem. He gave them clear instructions on how they were to go, who they would encounter, the message they were to preach, and the ministry they were to carry out. They didn't have to know anyone in the village. They didn't have to have a place to stay. They didn't even have to carry food. He had prepared all of that in advance. He had prepared it all through a person He called a "son of peace."

A "son of peace" is a person who God has prepared to be receptive to the Gospel. There isn't a son of peace in every location. There's nothing you can do to create a son of peace, or entice someone to be one. God is in charge of preparing the hearts of the "sons of peace" and all we have to do is be faithful to look for them and share with them when we find them.

That day in Bossier, the lady sweeping the floor was the son of peace. Not only did she hear the Gospel, but so did several people sitting around where we were talking. I got to encourage her, share the Gospel with her, and help her work through issues she had with a previous church. Then her assistant manager, who was already a faithful Christian, was encouraged in the whole interaction.

Some of us today call these conversations "divine appointments." They are arranged by God, prepared by Him, and all we have to do is keep our eyes and ears open to them as we obediently step into them with the good news and love of Jesus Christ.