I have always used visuals in sermons. This originated in me when I worked in preschool with Sheilah back during seminary days. As I told the story to the 4 and 5 year olds, I would use props or act the story out.Â I soon realized that adults would benefit from visuals as well. I can remember bringing a lamb into the pulpit and teaching on Psalm 23 as I was dressed as a shepherd.Â Some of you may remember the ‘Rebel without a Cause’ sermon from a Harley-Davidson,Â or the sermon around a casket with a metronome on top of the casket ticking away. Or maybe you remember the ‘Crime Scene’ at the cross.Â Or maybe you saw the rubble of the ruins of a broken down wall and how we ‘Rebuilt the Wall’ with Nehemiah. Visuals help you remember the concepts for a longer time period.Â Right now we feel we are living the greatest visual of our lifetime!Â God wants our life to illustrate to hurting people that “YOU CAN TRUST GOD!”
God has led us to read the life of George Mueller several times. We are presently reading his journal which is a two volume, 1400 page work. It is fascinating reading. His ministry involved missions, the Scripture Institute and work with orphans.Â At its peak, the orphanage of Bristol handled nearly 2000 orphans. God led Mr. Mueller to a way of life.Â He determined to tell his temporal needs only to God.Â He maintained that principle throughout his 66 years of ministry. He never shared any temporal need with anyone but the Lord.Â The journal shows miracle after miracle of how God provided for him, his family, the Institute and for the orphans.Â God did some extraordinary things.
Does the God of George Mueller still exist?Â This is the question that I come away with every time I have read Mueller’s life story.Â Each time I have felt challenged to enter into his way of life…for a season or forever.Â Back in the spring of this year, we were so close to getting our status as ‘non-profit’ organization and getting brochures and pledge cards.Â Each time we would get close, God would put a roadblock in our way.Â Finally, we realized that God was leading us to adopt Mueller’s way of life of trusting God for our needs. This does not mean that any other organization that usesÂ appealsÂ are wrong…this is just what God has led us to do.Â
I have to tell you that God has abundantly provided for our needs up to this point.Â Eight times in the last month God has sent provision in direct answer to prayer! Â We feel that we are employed by God. We work as ‘encouragers’ with a ministry to refocus and refresh hurting people and hurting churches. God continues to give us opportunity to share and encourage; and…He continues to meet our needs.Â We are determined to use our house as a base for our ministry until God gives us other sites for refocus and refreshment centers.Â Hebrews 11:6Â reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”Â Â Â The God of Mueller still sits on the throne!Â
However, sometimes on our journey with God, we all feel like we are in a dark cave! Â Remember David in the Cave of Adullam: 1 Samuel 22:1-2Â “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.  And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him.”Â David was on the run…defeated, scared, and depressed.Â As he ran into the cave, he was followed by everyone who was in distress, in debt, and discontented.Â What a happy place that must have been!Â These people needed to be refreshed and refocused to see that God could still be trusted.Â Who was going to tell them?Â The last part of verse 2 tells us: 1 Samuel 22:2Â “And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. SoÂ David became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.” 400 distressed people imprisoned by debt and totally discontented…sounds like some churches I know.Â But David recognized that God had brought him to the cave to become captain over them!Â Soon the number rose to 600…wow!
What was the final outcome of this story? God gave David a ‘refocus’ ministry to these 600 men.Â He turned this cave of discouraged men into a stronghold of mighty soldiers.Â If you research the cave of Adullam, you will find that David’s 30 men of valor all came from the cave of Adullam and ultimately did mighty deeds for the Lord!
Take encouragement from what David wrote in Psalm 34 while in his dark cave. “I sought the Lord, and He heard me,Â and delivered me from all my fears.Â  They looked to Him and were radiant,Â and their faces were not ashamed.Â  This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,Â and saved him out of all his troubles.Â  The angel of the Lord (Jesus) encamps all around those who fear Him,Â and delivers them.”Â God cares for the distressed, the poor, and the discontented!!Â And He can turn us all in to mighty soldiers!
Praise the Lord…our Tanzania trip is back on schedule. It looks like our daughter and one of our sons might get to go with us. We are excited about this.
We love yall and appreciate your prayers and encouragement.Â Please let us know how we can pray for you.by
The Lord has been speaking loudly in the last few days.Â His wordÂ to us is to ‘watch and wait’. Habakkuk 2:1 reads, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”Â Isaiah 64:4 reads, “For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”Â
What does it mean to ‘watch and wait’?Â Oswald Chambers offers this explanation, “Waiting means standing under, in active strength, enduring til the answer comes.”
So the question is, “What do we do while we wait?”Â When Saul was blinded on the road to Damascus, God sent a man to announce to Saul or Paul that his sight was restored. That man was Ananias who was a devout man.Â He gave Paul some great counsel…this was divinely inspired counsel. Acts 22:14-15 reads, “Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.  For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”
God has many of His saints in a holding pattern. You are like a 747 circling Atlanta airport. You are waiting…speculating if there is going to be enough fuel to last!Â When you don’t knowÂ what to do, do what David did.Â We were reading in our morning devotion in I Chronicles 14:10…which says that David inquired of God.Â Â In fact, twice in this chapter, David inquired of the Lord.Â Each time GodÂ told him what to do and each time, David obeyed completely.Â There will be times when you inquire and God will impress you with specific orders for the day.
But what if He again says, “Wait”?Â What do you do then?Â Let’s look atÂ the counsel that God used Ananias to give to Paul. In these two verses,Â God uses Ananias to tell us four things we are to concentrate on.
1. To know HisÂ will.Â All of us have been chosen of God…to know His will…His person, His salvation, His sanctification, His mysteries, His revelation, His commandmentsâ€”all that is involved in the will of God.
2. To see the Just One: the Messiah, the Son of God Himself, the Sinless One, the Righteous One.
3. To hear the voice of His mouth: knowing Him personally, fellowshipping with, praying and sharing with, being guided and directed by, being instructed by.
The first three on the list are of major importance before we attempt to do the fourth one. The first three can be summarized by a simple command that Jesus gave in John 15:4 whenÂ Jesus said, “Abide in Me and I in you.”Â This is where you spend time with God.Â While you wait on God, you spend time with God.Â This is His prime motivation for getting you to wait…He longs for your company…your presence…He desires to be with you and know you and let you know Him.Â Waiting before the Lord is not wasted time…it is power time…because everytime you spend time with the Lord, you have a similar experience as Moses did. Exodus 34:29-30Â reads,Â “Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.  So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.”
4. To be a witness.Â I believe that our witness is needed in two places. 1.Â In the world…for the world needs to know Jesus Christ as the only Savior for mankind. 2. In the Church…for the church needs to know that God can be trusted. When you act in faith and share your story of faith, you witness to the goodness and greatness of God. The Church needs to see this now more than ever!Â Live you life in such a way that the world knows that God can be trusted!
I know that some of you may be wondering, “Is Billy and Sheilah off their rocker?” You have wondered how long will we wait on the Lord.Â You may be saying, “Just…do something!” I want youÂ to know that the temptation for us is to jump right now…and do something in the flesh…or to confer with flesh and blood. Let me assure you that our ‘holding pattern’ is not in vain.Â Sheilah and I continue to meet the Lord early in the morning. These times are the grandest times right now…more thanÂ it has ever been. God’sÂ presence is more intense now than ever. True…we don’t have a clue what He is about to do. But I have this feeling that God isÂ enjoying our presence even more than we areÂ enjoying His.Â Wow…that is unbelieveable!
So until He delivers His Word to us and opens a door…we continue toÂ seek to know His will, to seeÂ Him, to hear HisÂ voice and declare a witness that God will sustain you…provide, prepare, and protect you andÂ declare a witness that Jesus is the only answer to man’s dilemna.by