Sunday, March 30, 2008

Changing of the Guard

Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

At Buckingham Palace it is with great ceremony when they change the guard. They march with complete focus and attention as they switch positions at the gate. I love the fancy uniforms and how you cannot distract them from the ceremony. They have been trained to receive and relieve the position of guard with dignity and decorum. When their “shift” is over they leave with as much pride and honor as the guard that’s coming on duty.

Years ago when my back patio was not enclosed and there was a big tree near it in the yard (since cut down), I was sitting there one fall morning and a wind blew and the leaves on that tree came off with a rustling sound. The Lord “spoke” to my heart and said, “I am moving like the wind and many will flow with me just as the leaves flowed with the direction of the wind.” When I “heard” that in my heart I looked in my neighbor’s yard and even though that same wind blew there, the leaves on their tree hung on and did not move. Before I could ask the Lord why, He spoke to my heart again, “many will be just as those leaves, the wind will blow but they will not move.” Though that has been many years ago, I still remember that as if it was yesterday. Most people do not like change. We get comfortable whether it is at work, home or play and when we have to move for some reason, it makes us angry and frustrated. But most of the time we find out later that it was for our good.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But God is also ever changing as far as working out the plans for our lives. We cannot put God in a box and think that we have Him down pat, when He’s already said that His ways are not our ways and His plans are not our plans. (Isaiah 55:9)

I was watching Christian TV this morning and saw how the late Jerry Falwell’s son whom is now the pastor, was handling the morning service. As I watched I was enthralled how Rev. Falwell’s son has taken the church services up to another level. Jerry Falwell was a strict Southern Baptist and he did a lot of good things, but his services were very subdued, borderline BORING. Now that his son is the pastor, this morning I saw people with joy clapping and singing. It was almost as if they had come alive! Now this does not mean that his father did not serve his purpose, but it was time to “change the guard” so that the son could take the people to another level in Christ.

In my humble opinion, in some churches the leadership hold on to their position beyond their time. Jesus lived His life as an example. He came, He taught the disciples and before he left, He charged the disciples to be fishers of men. To win people to Christ, train /disciple them, then release them (as Christ did) to become what God purposed them to be. The purpose may be to be a pastor as Jerry Falwell’s son or it may be to be the best public sanitation worker. Either profession puts you in the position to be salt and light in this world. And THAT is how we win the world to Jesus.

God’s purpose and plan will prevail. In these days He is doing something new. We can either go with the flow or become stagnant in our “comfort zone.”
In recent news constantly there has been the “unveiling” of scandal after scandal of leaders in the church, politics or business world. Is this a coincidence? No! I believe that God in His mercy gives each of us a time to privately repent, when we refuse to change our ways, in time it becomes a public matter. And we can either repent at that time in front of the world or just be embarrassed but continue in our ways. Some have chosen to continue as if nothing has happened. This is sad because God’s way will prevail in due season.

I think of Moses when after he had led the children of Israel through the sea and the desert. There came a time when God was to put Joshua to the forefront to lead the people across the Jordan River. Moses had fulfilled his purpose; God had used his life as a Jew and as a prince in the house of pharaoh to lead the people from bondage to freedom. But now it was time for war and Joshua was a warrior at heart. God knew what His people would be up against after they crossed the Jordan. So there was a “Changing of the guard” and the Bible says that Moses went up the mountain and to this day we do not even know where he was buried. Did that take away from Moses’ importance in God’s plan? Of course not! But there is a season and time for everything and it was time for Joshua to take the lead. (Numbers 27:12,15,18,22) (Deuteronomy 34:1-6)

My prayer is that as God moves among us, that I will remain teachable and willing to flow with whatever changes there may be. I don’t want to be so comfortable in my position wherever that may be, that I miss what He is saying or doing among us. The only real peace that exists is in His presence.

In these days and times let us “flow” with what the Lord is speaking to our hearts. His ways are sometimes mysterious, but His way is the only right way.

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