Page 262 was a Sunday which meant Bible study and worship with my church family. The Bible study class I attend is still working through the book of Esther and today’s focus was on Esther’s request that the Jewish people would join her in 3 days and nights of fasting and prayer in preparation for her to go before the king on behalf of all the Jewish people. Everyone was involved in seeking God as they waited for His plan of deliverance. Many times we don’t recruit people to fast and pray about decisions that are made because we’ve already decided what the decision will be. When we do ask for prayer, it is primarily wanting people to join us in seeking God’s blessing on whatever it is we’ve already decided to do. We rarely seek genuine intercessors — those with a practice and reputation of going before God and listening for His answers — because an answer is not really what we’re looking for. Esther was in a specific place at a specific time for a specific purpose but that purpose could not be met without first going to God in earnest, urgent prayer seeking direction on what the next step would be and how to go about taking that step.
Following the Bible class, our worship time included a message from David has he continued his series from Nehemiah. Nehemiah also found himself in a position to make a difference for the Jewish people by paying attention to God’s plans and fully seeking God for the courage and wisdom necessary to be a part of that plan. Part of the message talked about the opposition that surely comes when you are involved in doing the work of God and shining His light into the darkness. While darkness cannot overcome light, the spiritual darkness we encounter will always push back against light. When we shine the light of truth into darkness, we can be sure that we will ruffle a few feathers as those in darkness do not want to see truth. As I think about the varying degrees of difficulty I’ve had in ministry over the years, most often the source is some form of leadership that has taken offense at my holding fast to truth and integrity while expecting the same from them. That particular light will make many people squirm as it begins to reveal compromise with the world and excuses for behavior that is not consistent with our word.
After the church service, we had lunch and then relaxed for a while at home before heading out for some family time at Lake Michigan. Today’s photo comes from the Lake Michigan shoreline as I caught a bird coming into the beach for a landing. As I watched the bird, I thought about some preaching advise I had heard years ago. The advise was something to the effect that a good sermon was like a good flight — you need a smooth take-off and a smooth landing with as little time between the two as possible in reaching your destination. They went on to say that the ride can get a little bumpy along the way and people will soon forget that it wasn’t ideal; but botch the take-off or landing, and it is likely people will never forget. While it is probably not the best preaching advice that I have ever received, it is a story I think of whenever I struggle with how to conclude a message. This bird glided in to a point just above the ground and then allowed the air currents to hold it aloft while it slowly extended its feet and settled in for a landing. Prayer allows us to glide on the currents of God’s Spirit and has the power to keep us aloft as we gather our feet underneath us and wait to plant them exactly on the spot that God has planned for us to be at. When my life pursuit is knowing God and I acknowledge Him in all my ways, He is the one who makes my paths straight and leads me to land at just the right spot.
I pray that you and I would seek God fully and join with other in seeking God for all direction and timing in the decisions we face. I pray that we would continually grow in developing a lifestyle of prayer that defines both who we are and how we do things. I pray that we would learn to rise of on wings like eagles as we grow in our practice of waiting upon the Lord.