In His Right Hand

Thank You, Father, for the good night’s sleep! Getting up before 3:00 am yesterday was a challenge but it is all good. May I find Your blessings in this day, Father. I know they are there in abundance; I just want to find them so I can give You all the praise!

Revelation 2:1 (<<click green)

“Write this letter to the [messenger] of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands…”

I realize that this was already stated in 1:16 and 20 and that You explained that the stars represent the messengers to the churches. But as I started to read chapter 2 this morning, the statement that the “stars” are in Your “right hand” leaped out at me.

I know (and verified with Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology) that the words “right” and “hand” both represent “the ownership, power, or control that its possessor…exercises” and “a place of salvation, refuge, and protection.” …and to think, as the “seven stars” are, we are in Your right hand!

Lord, I acknowledge the ownership, power, and control over me because I fully realize the salvation, refuge, and protection that is fully extended to me. It is humbling (to say the least!) that the Almighty Creator God has me in the hollow of His hand. But I know that You love me. You created me along with everything else in all the universes yet I am important to You. Once again Ephesians 1:4,

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

We find ourselves in the hollow of Your hand but we are also the apple of Your eye. (Psalm 17:8)

Lord, may I hold You in the utmost of reverence but may Your power and love find expression through my life as well. Amen.

June 22nd, Thurs, 8:08 am

Coal Basket Bible

This day began very early and I pray that it has a relatively early bedtime. But regardless, I am glad that You were with me throughout it. I am glad that You come to mind regularly. You have a comforting effect on my life and a confidence that You instill in me. Thank You, Father, for it all.

Today I randomly shared a post that a friend had shared from Mikey’s Funnies (http://www.mikeysfunnies.com/). It is a wonderful story with an excellent message that I truly believe needs to be shared. So here it is.

COAL BASKET BIBLE

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson, who wanted to be just like him, tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?” The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.” The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” the old man said. “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.”

Lord, I would pray that You continue to change me from the inside out. Amen.

June 21st, Wed, 9:23 pm

Staying the Course

I ask You, Father, to help me as we come together. I am weary. I am coming to the end of a special period of time with family. I am grateful the time we’ve had but it also makes me sad as well in that our time is coming to an end. Be with me, Father.

Revelation 1:19-20 (<<click green)

The terminology here, Lord, refers to “messengers” and is quite often translated as “angels” but in this setting seems not to lend itself to heavenly beings but to earthly messengers.

I must pointedly ask myself, who would an earthly messenger of a church be? In my life who is appointed to deliver Your message to Your Church? Me…it’s me…and many other pastors such as myself. As my study Bible puts it, I am “accountable to God for the churches [I] represent.”

I am responsible, under Your direction, to steer the church along the course we must go…no if’s and’s or but’s. Sometimes it is a fairly easy course. At other times it can be difficult – full of pitfalls and attempts to turn the church off its intended path.

As I ready myself to move forward into Your words for the seven churches, I must let Your words speak to me, as well. You call me to listen to what You would have me hear. It is my responsibility as Your messenger to not only obey Your word for me but to also obey Your word for Your church.

I would pray for Your wisdom in both areas. May I follow Your command of, “Don’t be afraid!” in regards to the churches You have given me and my own life as well. Amen.

June 20th, Tues, 9:47 pm

He Holds the Keys!

Father, it has been as very full, last couple of days but I know that I need to sit down and have some time with You. May I hear what You have for me through Your word. Amen.

Revelation 1:17-18 (<<click green)

Every time I read Your word, Lord, I am prepared to read several verses but quite often something in a short passage makes me pause…and I paused on verses 17 & 18.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

As You showed me last I read, You were not what John (or I) expected and all of that might and power literally knocked him out! But as You had said before “Don’t be afraid!” (Matthew 14:22-33) As it was then it is now with John – You’ve got absolutely everything under control!

And I just can’t get it out of my head – I picture You bursting with joy! You are excited and You just can’t wait to get the words out to John. You’ve got absolutely everything under control! You always have but we are slow learners. People die all around us, one nightly news program and we hear way more about death than we ever wanted to hear. In our own circles, loved ones succumb to death. We can’t avoid it. It is inevitable. You died as well…but it was by no means the end!

You said, “I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever!” And here’s the kicker for us, “And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” You conquered death and the grave and because You did, we too can! We have nothing to fear! You’ve got absolutely everything under control! Nothing is outside of the all-encompassing statement!

And if we are Your children and have placed our faith in You, then You joyously extend to us the spoils of Your victory – victory over death and the grave! Thank You, Lord. May we live without fear for victory is found in You!

June 19th, Mon, 11:09 pm

My Second Blogiversary!

It’s hard to believe but this weekend was the two-year mark for the More than Useless blog. Altogether I have published 516 blogs that have had over 13,000 views from 85 countries! I realize that not every view from every country is someone who reads my post in its entirety. But…I also am a firm believer that some out there have unintentionally landed on my blog but God had other things in mind.

It is interesting how many people land on certain posts. Recently a lot of my international views have looked at Journey On. I imagine they are interested in travel destinations but find something else entirely. Music lovers seem to land on Conductor of Love. And some may need to check with their physicians in that several have clicked on Itching Ears.

I would ask that you, my readers – the intentional ones – that each day that you read my posts that you would pray for those who may inadvertantly come upon what I have put out there. Beyond the blog website, of course, I also post on Facebook, as well as, Pinterest, Google+, StumbleUpon.com, and Twitter. I have had many views from countries that would in no way count themselves a Christian nation. Only God knows what He can accomplish! Pray that More than Useless would provide one more door by which God can touch people who so desperately need to know Him.

Also, if you are encouraged by what you read, share it! It takes one click to share on Facebook. Forward the link to a friend. Send it out! This is simply me sharing what God has laid upon my heart. If it speaks to you, it surely will speak to others.

Thank you all so much! I count you all as one of my congregations – the largest by far. I pray that you will continue to be encouraged. Hang in there! God loves you more than you can imagine and you are definitely more than useless!

Doing it right for once.