The Times, They Are a Changing

Change is one of those words that many of us fear, even hate. Change means that something that was very familiar and known is now moving into an area of uncertainty. Whether it is changing from an old pair of comfortable shoes to a new pair that has to be broken in or a change in a station of life, it can be difficult and scary for everyone involved. But as I look to Scripture (which is our constant in an ever-changing world), we see God remind us and assure us in three very powerful ways any time we face change.

Godly change always has a purpose. One of the things that I’ve noticed all throughout the Scripture is that when God orchestrates a change or transition in the Bible it is always on purpose. With God, change is never an accident. He is always moving things around to make sure that His mission of building His Kingdom and making disciples of all nations occurs. I think of the early church in the book of Acts where God spreads them out from Jerusalem. While this change of leaving that which was familiar wasn’t easy, it was God’s plan to take the gospel message to the ends of the earth! The change wasn’t easy, but it had a purpose.

When Godly change comes, He has a plan for everyone involved. I’ve heard it said that while change is always difficult, the person heading towards something new has something to look forward to, while those left behind have nothing. I think these feelings are real for many of us, but I don’t see this principle in Scripture. In Acts we find the story of Paul and Barnabas splitting up over John Mark. Barnabas wanted to give him another shot; Paul didn’t. Transition took place. But the question we need to ask is “what happened to Mark?” He left, but God still used him powerfully (have you read the gospel of Mark—same guy!). God used Paul to carry the gospel message to the highest authorities. Change isn’t an end. God has plans to continue to use everyone. We must seek God for His direction but can be assured He’s not done yet!

God is with us in times of change. Joshua was now the leader of Israel after the death of Moses. I’m not sure we can really appreciate how big of a transition of leadership this is! But in Joshua 1 we see God bringing the assurance of His leading, equipping, and presence with Joshua wherever he goes. It was different for Israel and Joshua, but one thing that I see is that God never changes, even in the midst of transition. He will never leave you or forsake you. He will continue to provide and heal and empower.

CDAC Family, I know that change can be a scary thing for us. But let us be reminded and refreshed in the truth that God is orchestrating it, taking care of His Church through it all, and that it is bringing about His Kingdom purposes wonderfully. If you lean in on Jesus, even in change you will sense the constancy of the One who never changes and longs to shepherd you through these seasons of life. Just, as God told Joshua, “be strong and courageous. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” What an amazing promise!

Gifts After Christmas

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I don't know about you guys, but it's hard to think about Christmas and not think about gifts. Some of us love to receive and can't wait to get the toy, video game, tools, new car, motorcycle or whatever we have wanted for ourselves. Some of us like to give gifts and to see the joy of the person receiving them. 

Since you are reading this, and Christmas is over and now that we are in a New Year, I want you to remember that receiving and giving gifts does not end at Christmas. 

I want to tell you a story today that has to do with receiving a gift but also about giving a gift. This story is actually in the Old Testament and I am writing it in the first person (telling the story as if I was one of the participants in the story). You can find this story in Joshua 2 and 6:24-25. 

I was one of the spies that Joshua sent into Jericho and we were getting ready to make our way into the Promiseland. 

Joshua only sent two of us to spy on Jericho. We got to the city, and we decide to lodge with a prostitute named Rahab. It may sound crazy to have chosen such a place to stay, but we felt that this would be an inconspicuous place, meaning we wouldn't stand out by visiting there as opposed to another location. 

While we were there, someone told the king of Jericho that we were hanging out at Rahab's place! So, the king sent to Rahab saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have to come to search out all the land." Oh man! I thought that I was a roasted duck on Christmas day! Even though she had hidden us I didn't think that a prostitute would care enough about us, especially if it involved her well-being. But she didn't turn us in; instead, she hid us and told the king, "True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." 

The king's men believed her and began to pursue. Once we were safe from the pursuers, Rahab came to us and said that she had heard about our God. She had heard of His amazing wonders in Egypt, how God dried up the water in the Red Sea and how God allowed us to overcome the Amorite kingdom. She then confessed that "the LORD your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath." 

After her confession of faith to us which the Bible speaks about in Hebrews 11:31 and in James 2:25, she had a request for us. Since she had given us a gift by not handing us over to the king of Jericho, she wanted us to give a gift in return. She wanted us to spare her and her family whenever Israel conquered Jericho. We agreed that we would save her and her family. 

She then let us down by a red rope out of her window. Her house was part of the city wall, and since the gate was locked, we climbed through her window with this red rope. She was to leave this rope out of her window when Israel attacked Jericho, so they knew which home not to destroy. 

Later on, when we did overcome Jericho, as God commanded, we utterly destroyed everything in it except for the metals which were placed in the treasury of the House of the LORD. Because of Rahab's faith in our GOD, she and her family were given the gift of life. They were spared, and they have a place in our heritage. 

Rahab lived in Jericho. Could you imagine what she must have seen the day Israel conquered this city? The livestock, all the people and complete and utter destruction of the homes that were in that city. Rahab, a prostitute, and her family were the only ones spared from this total destruction! But why? Was it because of her works or what she had done in life? No! She was a prostitute. It was because of her faith that she was given the gift of Grace. 

You and I have this same gift offered to us. God's Word tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, not of yourselves it is a gift of God, so that no one may boast." 

There are two things I want you to remember from this story. 

First of all, we have a choice to make just like Rahab did. We can either chose to have faith in Jesus (John 3:16) and have Eternal life, or we can choose not to believe in Jesus and face utter destruction which includes Hell and the torments of Hell like the citizens of Jericho. 

Have you accepted this gift that God has offered you? 

Secondly, share this gift not only at Christmas or Birthdays but as much as you can tell others about it. If you have accepted this gift, are you telling your friends and family about it? Because, just like the citizens of Jericho, the people we love, know and meet will face utter destruction if they do not believe in Jesus. Pray for God to give you open doors to share your faith in Christ and be amazed as He does just that!