Something to Think About
Today I am launching a new venture on my blog. As I write devotionals for my own and my churches consumption, I will be posting them here. If they are an encouragement to any of you, I will be grateful and blessed.
The S Factor
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was
Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel : and the Holy Ghost
was upon him. – Luke 2:25
in the right place, in the right frame of mind, living a righteous life, and
doing so in right relationship with God.
He was a
ready receptacle for God into which God could deposit a gift. He was also ready
to be used to make a great declaration to the world.
Ghost was upon Him – what a magnificent state in which to be!
To be in Jerusalem, the city of God was the first of his blessings.
That meant that he lived within eyesight of the temple and could go there
regularly to worship, pray, and hear the Torah. Proximity to God and His people
opens us to blessings beyond our imagination. Stay close.
just. When given a choice between doing the right thing and the wrong thing, he
chose the right thing. He did not ask, “Which is easier or has a better
payoff?” He asked, “What is right?”
devout. His heart was turned in the direction of God and He was an earnest
God-seeker. Such a man or woman is ready for God to move.
waiting for the consolation of Israel. He was not a grumbler about the
times, but he knew that something better was coming. He lived in anticipation,
waiting for a great movement and intervention of God in history. So may we.
Ghost was upon him. Whatever else might be said of him, there was this
invisible, unexplainable, beyond-the-ordinary dimension to his life that
nothing could account for but the Holy Spirit. It was the S Factor – S for
Christian life is a spiritual life. It is to be lived spiritually in the power
of the Holy Spirit and under His constant influence. When that is the case,
whatever else might be said of us will not be enough to explain the
extraordinary hope, confidence, insight, and authority of our lives.
Factor is available to each of us. Are we available to Him?
When God Whispers in Our
was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before
he had seen the Lord's Christ.– Luke 2:28
the Holy Spirit shown you?
audacious to make claims of divine revelation? Is it theologically correct to
do so? Might it not be considered
first place, this was not general revelation for all people. It was personal
disclosure for Simeon’s personal consumption and encouragement. The Holy Spirit
had assured him of the promise and he had embraced it.
There is no
indication that Simeon had gone about bragging on his “special revelation.” He
had not used it to elevate his status or to appear hyper spiritual.
He had not
developed and marketed a seminar entitled, “How I Received a Revelation from
the Holy Ghost and How You Can Too.”
received a promise through the still, small voice of God and he clung to it
with all his might. He did so in complete trust and confidence that God would
bring it to pass.
believe that the Holy Spirit has shown you something about your future. It is
OK to entertain the thought. None of us is a perfect receptacle for words from
God, but He does still whisper promises in our ears in the form of assurance,
calling, and encouragement. Do not be afraid to receive these words.
be wrong? You might, but if you are, God will clarify that for you and show you
something better in due time.
most likely discover that God was indeed speaking to you, but that you did not
fully understand what He was trying to say. It stretched you and challenged you
and through the experience, you grew.
If the Holy
Spirit is speaking to you, it is most likely about you. It was about Simeon
that he would live to see the Lord’s Christ and it was about Christ Himself.
There were many ways God could have chosen to fulfill those words, but the way
He did turned into a blessing for all who believe. What is He whispering in
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation
... – Luke 2:29-30
it seems that we are just hanging on, waiting for something big to happen.
We hang on
to money because we know that either a great opportunity or a rainy day is on
We hang on
to an idea because we know that someday, it will be useful. Some day, other
people will buy into it and come alongside of us.
We hang on
to life because we know that God is not done with us and that all He has
promised has not yet come to pass. We hang on because He is hanging on to us
and because to shortcut the process would be to cheat Him and to cheat
We hang on
to hope because we believe that God is the God of hope and that everything He
promises will come to pass. We know deeply that He is not forgetful, nor is He
remiss. He will fulfill His Word.
we live on tiptoe. While resting in His promises, we do not entirely relax. We
stay alert. We watch. We pray. We actively seek any sign of His coming, any
indication of His acting out of His purposes in our time.
We may not
know what our roles may be, but we stand at the ready to play them. If it is
only to witness His power and trustworthiness, we will do so with joy and
could not depart in peace until the moment came and when the moment came, he
now, Lord. I have seen what you told me
I’d see before I died. I’m ready now.”
no regrets in Simeon’s life, no unfinished business, no unfulfilled plans, no
lost dreams. God had done the great thing for which he had been “hanging on.”
lived many more years; maybe he died the next day; we don’t know. What we do
know is that when the time came for him to make the final departure, he was
ready. He was ready from that moment on.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled
at those things which were spoken of him. – Luke 2:33
calling know-it-alls to play a significant role in His program.
He is not
looking for those whose motto is, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”
calling men and women who are capable of marveling over that which is marvelous.
and usual” is not in His order of the day. He is full of surprises. The mundane
is not His domain; He shakes things up.
speaks directly through His prophets to us, His Word goes straight to the heart
with recognizable veracity and piercing honesty. We are amazed.
a man capable of relishing the marvels of God. He was not jaded by boredom or
dulled by cynicism. Joseph was caught completely off guard by the wonder of
God’s power and He basked in it.
at the spoken word means that we have truly received it – deeply and with a
willingness to let it shape us. We have rejected the superficial responses that
tend to dismiss the unusual as a something merely strange and we have chosen to
let God speak.
It is no
small thing to receive such a word.
It is no
small thing what God wants to do in us, through us, and within proximity of our
sends a Simeon or an Anna into our lives, He has a reason. While no human being
is capable of a consistently infallible representation of divine will, God is
able to speak through the frailest, most errant person to say what we need to
we are not witnessing the creation of new scriptures in our time, the Lord is
still taking His scriptures and placing them on the lips of men and women He
chooses to apply them to our lives in ways that cause us to marvel.
marveling; we serve a marvelous God.
A Strange Blessing
And Simeon blessed them, and said
unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again
of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword
shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may
be revealed. Luke 2:34-35
have seemed like a strange sort of blessing to Mary and Joseph. Many would
rise. Many would fall. As a sign, the babe would be spoken against. He would
bring out the best and worst in people as their very heart thoughts and motives
were revealed. As parents, they would have their hearts pierced.
It was a
strange blessing indeed.
comes, sweet and unassuming, precious, cute, and giggly as a little baby, it is
hard to imagine that the planet has just been invaded by a force to contend
He does not
tread lightly. There will be no lasting indifference in His regard. He will not
be non-controversial. He defines controversy. He confronts us, shattering our
prejudices, exposing our biases, showing us what our religious hypocrisies
really look like in the light of His truth.
And so He
comes to you and to me, dear friend, amid the noise of confusion and the
beating waves of doubt an anxiety. His words speak truth and courage to our
hearts, but it is His touch that is life giving and life affirming, Fear not!
threatens our stasis. He shatters our well-formed opinions no matter how many
proof-texts we have arranged to support them. He is Lord of all and every
notion is subject to His interpretation.
We are not
guaranteed safe passage through the sorting out process. We may well be sifted.
Nor are those close to him guaranteed that we will not be broken on the wheel
of pain and discomfort.
And yet, He
is blessed and we will be blessed
through Him. By being in His circle of relationships, the siftings will be
blessings and the piercings blessings too. We need His awful mercy and His
harsh healing to be made whole. Strange as the blessing may be, a blessing it
peaking to the Right
And she coming in that instant gave
thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for
redemption in Jerusalem – Luke 2:38
up at just the right moment.
It was not
all that surprising, because she had devoted the years of her widowhood to
prayer and worship. She was in the temple so much, that she might have seemed
like an anachronism to some and an annoyance to others.
just “always there.”
could have missed the moment if not for one thing. God wanted her there and
arranged for her to be there to see the Baby King.
for the redemption of Israel and, once she had seen Him, she
told people who were like minded.
always an audience for the message that God entrusts to us. There are always
those who share our longing, hope, and dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Anna and He prepared her audience.
been so infused and enthused with redemptive hope that you know you have to
share it? He has prepared some people who are ready, willing, and anxious to
hear your testimony.
Do not grow
discouraged thinking no one is interested. You just haven’t found them yet.
expect everyone to be responsive. Some folks have grown cold and indifferent.
Others have never thought beyond the present time with all of its thrills and
carnal gratifications. They are living for now and are satisfied with their
well may change for them, but for the moment, they are at different stages of
listening and longing.
looking out for those who are thirsty. Keep your good news handy, because when
you are willing to share, they will start appearing.
Christian Fellowship Forum
Religion Forum (Interfaith)
Workshops to Go
Fresno Joy (The Fellowship of Joy at Baptist Temple site
Discover Mangosteen (Promote health and create wealth)