From 1980 through 1996, I was in “full-time ministry.” I spent those years as a church staff member. From 1985 through 1996, I was a senior pastor, first in Turlock, California, then in Paris, Texas. The last few months of that period, I was pastor of a church in Arlington, Texas. This leg of my journey ended in early 1997.
I thought it was a pause, but it has turned out to be a rather long one. I am now 20 years removed from the pastorate.
At the start of the 21st Century, I began to seek new ways to minister. My family and I were in Mount Pleasant, Texas. Really, I was in seclusion and recovery from wounds largely self-inflicted. I sought a way to minister again. The Internet seemed to offer just that, so I decided I would write a daily devotional and distribute it via email. I began with 12 subscribers, all family and friends. In about six months, it had grown to several hundred. Within a year, more than 1,ooo people were receiving my devotional. I called it Morning Manna. My new ministry I dubbed The Way-Maker’s Ministries. It was good to be back to utilizing my gift again. The ministry lasted until 2005, when I became a catastrophe adjuster and my constant travels and long days at work led to a dwindling and then a halt.
It was a good run….good for me, anyways. I needed it if no one else did.
This weekend, I discovered that these devotionals still exist on the Yahoo group This Journey, which is what I had renamed it sometime after 2005. I plan to share them intermittently here so that they are migrated to a more controllable platform and don’t one day disappear into thin air.
Here’s the first one still on the server, though it is not the first one written. I hope you enjoy the rewind.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2000
GO WITH GOD
Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor…God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy… Psa. 62:9,11,12 (NKJV)
If you are given to a high degree of self-importance (in other words, an overactive ego), read these verses again. Conversely, If you carry a burden of low self-esteem, read these verses again. If you live at the upper end of the social ladder, please…read these verses again. And if you find yourself languishing along the bottom rungs, you, too, might want to read them again.
The Psalmist affirms that unimportant people, the little people, the ones who do not own much or accomplish much, are only a vapor. They carry no weight. They leave no lasting impression. We are not surprised to read that. We intuitively know it.
Much of our ambition is derived from the fear of living a life of no lasting value. Some will be shocked, however, that the same pen that writes that the little people are vapors also asserts that the “big” people – the powerful, the popular, the wealthy – are but a lie. Their power is an illusion. So is their wealth and influence.
Why is that? Because they have no power of their own. They derive their power from the One Who has all power. Their so-called power will wane. Their influence will erode. Their wealth will evaporate. It is only an illusion. A lie. A promise which cannot be delivered. A prophecy that cannot be fulfilled.
This is not meant to depress you. I mean to impress upon you the importance of God in your life. Whatever you need, He can provide. If you are at the top of your game, remember that He possesses ALL the power. He can promote you. He can demote you. He can enlarge you. He can diminish you. He can extend your life. Or, with his breath, he can blow it away like a puff of smoke from an extinguished candle.
If you are on the bottom…your heart is broken…your dreams are shattered…your faith is weak, God is still your answer. He is the fountain of mercy just as surely as He is the source of power.
Look to Him.
On the scale that measures eternal value, we are nothing. We are lightweights in a heavyweight world. We are vapors quickly fading into oblivion. We are illusions. That is, without God we are these things.
With God, we are more than conquerors. With God, we have immeasurable power, eternal influence, unfathomable riches, and everlasting hope. With God, a life – any life, great or small – really matters.
So, go with God.
A Prayer For Today: “Father, thank You for adding value and meaning to my life. Thank You for making Your power available to me. I pray that You will unleash that power in my life, so that I may better serve You and fulfill the purpose for which You have placed me here. And thank You, Father, for the daily dose of Your mercy I so desperately need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”