What a week! God is so very presentâ€¦He is speaking so clearly through the scriptures mainly, but He is also using the works of some of the great old saints, and the encouraging words of friends.
Look at just a few of the words that God pointed out to us this week:
Psalm 37:5 (KJV)
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 81:10 (KJV)
I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
I was reading from John Bunyanâ€™s Pilgrimâ€™s Progress this week and discovered this comment that God used to encourage Sheilah and me with our vision for a retreat center for discouraged servants:
(The Lions were chained, but he saw not the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them, for he thought nothing but death was before him: But the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian made a halt as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying, Is thy strength so small? Fear not the Lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none. Keep in the midst of the Path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.
Difficulty is behind, Fear is before,
Though he’s got on the Hill, the Lions roar;
A Christian man is never long at ease,
When one fright’s gone, another doth him seize.
Then I saw that he went on, trembling for fear of the Lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the Porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. Then he clapt his hands, and went on till he came and stood before the Gate where the Porter was. Then said Christian to the Porter, Sir, what house is this? and may I lodge here to-night? The Porter answered, This house was built by the Lord of the Hill, and he built it for the relief and security of Pilgrims.
Even in the dark times, God has been speaking. Last Monday, I preached the funeral message of a dear friend, Gail Dorman. She fought cancer for over two years. God gave her the ultimate healing by taking her home to Himself.
As we were thinking of life and death this past week, our son, Jeremiah, pointed out something he had just finished reading in the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. In the story, the children die and travel to the new Narnia with the Unicorn. When they come to the edge of the new Narnia, the Unicorn sums up what everyone is feeling and what believers will one day understand when we see what God has prepared for us:
â€œI have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.â€
In that last book of the Chronicles, Aslan the Lion told the children that they had died in a train wreck. He said:
â€œâ€¦you are all dead. The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended; this is the morning.â€ (Wow, what a way to look at death!)
And then C.S. Lewis writes from the perspective of the children who had died, as they go into the new Narnia:
â€¦the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on for ever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.
To Gail and those that have gone on before us, I simply say, â€œEnjoy the new adventure!â€
Live today so that the world knows that you can trust God!
Glorious uncertainty…that is what Oswald Chambers called it. It is the idea that you are in a situation where you can not see what is ahead but you are certain of God that He will not let you fall. Oswald Chambers puts it this way, “One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God, “Because thou didst keep the word of My patience.” God takes the saints like a bow which He stretches and at a certain point the saint says, “I can’t stand any more,” but God does not heed, He goes on stretching because He is aiming at His mark, not ours, and the patience of the saints is that they ‘hang in’ until God lets the arrow fly. If your hopes are being disappointed just now it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly; one or two things lie unsolved, and the biggest test of all is that God looks as if He were totally indifferent.”
I made the comment a couple of weeks ago that ‘clouds’ are one of God’s great tools. It is in these ‘cloud’ experiences that some of our greatest growth takes place. If you will do a study of clouds in Scripture, you will find some very interesting reading. There are seven uses of clouds in the Bible.
1. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s promises.
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
The rainbow is a promise to the world. But God said that He would bring the cloud first and that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud. Most of us want to remove all clouds from our experience. It looks as if the clouds are necessary to appreciate the rainbow of promise.
2. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s guidance.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
God guided His people through the wilderness by a cloud. The principle of faith is the main element here. We walk by faith, not by sight â€¦ He is still our guide.
3. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s protection.
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
The cloud became a partition between them and their enemy. God will protect us from the attack of the Enemy.
4. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s provision.
And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.
 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.
God abundantly provides for us:
â€¢ Abundant Life â€“ John 10:10
â€¢ Abundant Power â€“ Ephesians 3:20
â€¢ Abundant Supply â€“ Philippians 4:19
5. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s glorification
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.  And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.  And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.  And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Moses was surrounded by Godâ€™s glory in a cloud. Can we see the glory of God today? How? 2 Cor. 3:18 (GW) As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
How can we reflect the glory of God?
â€¢ By Good Works â€“ Matthew 5:16
â€¢ By Bearing Fruit â€“ John 15:8
â€¢ By Consecration â€“ 1 Corinthians 6:20
6. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s presence.
And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:  But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
Today God dwells in us who are believers; we are Godâ€™s â€œtempleâ€â€¦His dwelling place on earth. We should practice His presence daily.
7. Clouds are used to teach us about God’s coming again.
Acts 1:9 (KJV)
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Jesus will take us home in a cloud â€“ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Wowâ€¦that means when we go to heaven, we will be accompanied by His glory (the cloud).
In Exodus 24 & 25 Godâ€™s cloud covered the mountain just before God spoke. Exodus 33:10 & 11 says that from a cloudy pillar the Lord spoke to Moses â€˜face to face, as a man speaks to his friendâ€™. Thank God for your cloudâ€¦this is where He speaks to His friend!!! Be grateful today that God loves you enough to put you in a cloud of uncertainty…He is about to speak. Start focusing on the certainty of God and His promises and listen to your Friend!
Remember to live in such a way that when the world and the church see you, they will know that God can be trusted!
Listening in our cloud,
Billy and Sheilah Daws