Tuesday, January 04, 2005




I just finished reading a short devotional book by John Fischer called “Love Him In The Morning” and there was one line which was so powerful it actually shocked me as I read the words on the page.

The quote read, “God works through our work and that would mean he can’t do anything if we don’t do something. It’s like the old adage about steering a car when it’s not moving. You can steer it, but it won’t do any good unless it’s already going somewhere.”

Now, I know that Fischer doesn’t mean that God “can’t” do something in the sense that He is helpless to act. However, the point is still a good one. God chooses to act when we act.

Consider God’s promise to Israel that they would be given the Promised Land. That did not mean that they would show up and have it handed to them. In fact, they had to fight, city by city, and conquer the land in order to receive it. Of course, God was with them all the way and, as they acted in obedience, He showed up in power and made the way for them.

Recently, while helping pass out baskets to families living in a local motel, I felt that God was telling me He’d give me the motel if I wanted it. As I watched the children playing together on the balcony and all around my feet, I knew in my heart that I really did want to serve these people and reach out to them in the name of Jesus. So, I said “Yes”.

Immediately I met with the area chaplain of the Rescue Mission about how we could start an outreach to the motel. He met with the manager of the motel about our desire to help people there and received favorable responses. In the meantime, I pulled together about eight people and we began to pray and plan the best way to serve these dear people who were trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to afford an apartment and just one weekly rental payment away from living on the streets.

It was all coming together and I was very excited about the chance to step into the promised land of this motel. However, the process of receiving what I felt God had said He’d “give” to me proved to be quite the challenge.

The same week that our ministry team had planned to launch our outreach, we had the door slammed in our face by the motel manager. Suddenly he’d decided that he didn’t want us coming in there at all. Unless, he suggested, we could find someone willing to open up their room to host a small Bible study. Which, of course, we couldn’t do if he wouldn’t allow us to go back in and talk with people.

It was very discouraging to our team, and especially to me. But, a few weeks later I got a surprise when a man showed up at our morning services and asked us for help. He handed me a card with the name of the motel he was living in. I had to do a double-take as I realized it was the very same motel we had been praying would open up to us.

I still don’t know how he found our little church, which is pretty far away from this motel and meets at a Junior High Gymnasium in another city.

Somehow God had lead this man straight to us as we were praying for Him to open a way. I’m still amazed at how God opened this door for us.

Now I’m dealing with the challenges associated with helping someone who is used to a lifestyle built around fear, suspicion and extreme poverty. This isn’t easy either. But, it’s part of the process of stepping out into the land that God has promised us.

Faith is like that. Faith is doing something about what you believe. Because I believe that God will give me this motel, I’m continuing to face the roadblocks and my own fears, to set foot into unknown territory.

As we begin to reach out in tangible ways to the people at this motel who are trapped in darkness and poverty and addiction and depression, the Kingdom of God is advancing. The Kingdom of God is being proclaimed and demonstrated to people who have known only despair and hopelessness and pain.

Who can hold back the flood? Who can stand against the Kingdom of God ?

No one can.

“We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do”- Oswald Chambers

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