WITHOUT SAYING A WORD

WITHOUT SAYING A WORD                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 4-3-19

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Have you ever been the recipient of an answer to prayer that had not crossed your lips to anyone but God? I mean something that you told absolutely no one except when you prayed in secret to the Lord. Have you ever got to see the answer come for you or someone else? Also, have you ever got to be a part of the answer coming to someone else? I had the privilege on Wednesday to literally be the mailman God used to answer someone else’s prayer. If the truth be known, getting to have a part in God sending an answer is almost as good as getting an answer for your own prayers.

I had taken some Easter baskets, food, and other items to a ministry in Tennessee after dropping off some food at a church in Virginia. I will start with the one in Virginia first. Anyone that has ever pastored a church for even a short amount of time has faced discouragement at one time or another. While unloading those same items at the church, the pastor and I had an opportunity to talk quite a bit. We had met each other on several occasions but there had always been several people present. Wednesday was different because there was only four of us present. As we worked taking boxes of cereal into his church, he began talking about the fact they were praying for revival. He also mentioned that he wished God would send in more people since the church only had twelve. Some of you reading may be thinking that the doors should just be shut but when you are trying to do God’s will above all else, that isn’t an option unless the Lord leads that way.

Before I continue let me mention a hard lesson God taught once while I was filling in for a pastor friend years ago following his surgery. The church I was at was comprised of middle-aged and older people. I was the youngest one other than my wife and son. They had no Wednesday night service but had Sunday morning and Sunday night. Sunday morning was fine with around 20-25 people or more most weeks. Sometimes it would be considerably less but usually around that number. Sunday night however was usually around 10 or 12. I went to my home church one Wednesday night so beat down and discouraged, I couldn’t see any point in going on. The only thing that kept me from telling them I couldn’t come back again was that the pastor was a very dear friend of mine that had always used me as his go-to preacher. We had started preaching only months apart even though he was probably 40 years older than me. I could not stand the thoughts of letting him down. As I was saying, I went to the altar that Wednesday night and begged God with everything in me not to make me go back. While I was praying that selfish prayer, God changed the entire focus of my ministry with one question. He said, “I feed you when you come by yourself don’t I?” After repenting and asking for grace and for a message for Sunday morning that would be a help to those people, I kind of almost crawled back to my seat. I was ashamed for anyone to even know I had asked God such a thing. That changed the rest of my life in ministry. I then started seeing God’s people like Christ wanted Peter to see them; as sheep. Sheep are dependant on the shepherd to provide everything. Since that night I have always believed it was my job to have something from the Lord that the people present needed. I began to be concerned whether or not someone was going away from God’s table still hungry. I hadn’t said anything about that to anyone but God gave my answer right away and left no doubt it was from him.

I began to tell my new pastor friend about the two years I had pastored. Like him, I loved my people. I told him that I had five and sometimes six plus my wife and son and I. If we hit double digits I was thrilled out of my mind. Regardless of what I seen God doing, I did my best to make sure they went away from the Lord’s house in better shape than they came in. I also mentioned that my deacon was a mortician and if he got called before service time for a body removal, he had to go and that left me to be singing leader, Sunday school teacher, usher, and if he wife wasn’t there; the piano player. I still love those folks and I wouldn’t take anything for my time there. Now I am not sure what part of that was an encouragement to him but this pastor told me he was glad I had come that day and he really appreciated me telling him that. I didn’t know how discouraged he had been but I left there believing God might have sent me just to be a help to him.

When I got down to Tennessee and began to unload, I took a small envelope to the lady there and told her that the people who sent her the supplies had told me to be sure and hand it to her myself. She put it in her pocket until we finished our work. Now let me mention that this lady is scheduled to have a hip replacement in a few weeks and is barely able to walk with a cane. She happened to mention that she had to have 320.00 by the day of the surgery or it would be cancelled. Like most of us, she didn’t have that kind of money lying around. When we were through, she opened the envelope. It contained 280.00 of the 320.00 she needed. Before we all left, she had the other 40.00 to cover her entire part. She stood there on the porch crying tears of joy about how God supplied her need and she hadn’t even mentioned it to anyone. Talk about joy! Just to get to be the one God allowed to carry that envelope to her and get to be a partaker of her joy was a truly great blessing. It was one of those days when God made himself real to you at every turn. Needless to say, I went home in far better shape than I had come be cause I had gotten something from the Lord.

Unfortunately, every day isn’t like this day was.  In the Lord’s work, you sometimes feel like you are riding high and other times like you’ve been rode hard and put up wet.  But, even on those days, it is good to know that God can send someone out of nowhere to be a blessing and help to you.  Regardless of which situation you may find yourself in right now, isn’t it a blessing to know that God knows right where you are and just what you need and when you need to have it?  He sees you through the darkness of your storm even when you just can’t see him.  He will also send an answer even if you haven’t said a word.  Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

A LITTLE AT A TIME

A LITTLE AT A TIME                                                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 4-2-19

I had the privilege this past weekend of getting to talk about H.O.P.E. Ministries at two churches. One was Lighthouse Baptist Church in Unicoi, Tennessee. I have probably mentioned before about how I first got acquainted with their pastor, Aaron McLain. This bears repeating because it shows just how God works. My friend Arnold Worley of Transporters For Jesus, hauled evangelist Davy Shelton’s tent to Erwin, Tn. last summer for a tent meeting. Rather than pull his empty trailer all the way home and then have to pull it back over there in a week to pick up the tent, Arnold just left it parked in that field. As Aaron was driving to work at Davy Crockett High School in Jonesborough, he got Arnold’s phone number from the side of the trailer. He called and asked Arnold if he was doing any disaster relief for Fayetteville, NC following Hurricane Florence. Arnold told him that he wasn’t but he knew someone who was and gave him my number. It turned out that the students there at Davy Crockett had been collecting all types of supplies to send to eastern NC. Aaron and I worked it out for me to come and pick them up and the rest is history. Sunday morning I was blessed to meet and talk to some of his people and they already had a bunch of tools gathered up to go to Alabama at the end of this month. They also chose to help meet the financial need of these trips and have already been a great blessing to our ministry.

I also got to speak at Woodfin Baptist Church in my hometown on Sunday night. They are one of our supporting churches and had been collecting baby items and food. Between them and Lighthouse, they filled the back of my pickup. As I drove home Sunday night, I thought about how tired I was. I am by no means complaining because it is a good kind of tired when you get to work for the Lord. I have been trying to finish our Baskets and Blessings Easter basket project up. I also made a trip to Myrtle Beach to Help 4 Kids to bring much-needed food here for two ministries in Sneedville, Tn. I began to think about just how blessed I really am to be able to be a part of God’s work.

I began to think about how God has grown H.O.P.E. Ministries. It was first organized because people were being very generous and giving me money and shoeboxes at Christmas and food and I didn’t want to be solely responsible for all of that without some accountability. I thought about how that God got us to a budget of 1140 dollars annually and that is what we operated on for several years. I thought about how the folks at Freedom Baptist in Asheville, where I was a member when I started the ministry, poured heart and soul into it to get it started. As time went on, people began to hear about what we were doing and wanted to know more about it. After Operation Outreach of Pleasant Hill Baptist in Weaverville ceased operations going to Kentucky, I still wanted to do something in the way of missions especially since the Lord had gotten people interested in helping. That was when we started making western NC our primary focus. Pleasant Hill began helping us later on and when we lost the old Woodfin Fire Department after Operation Outreach ended, Angie Young was able to get us the use of Ridgeview Baptist fellowship hall where she was a member at the time. That was where we started doing our projects. Little did we realize that God was training us for bigger things to come. As our budget began to grow, we started expanding the things we were doing and began to help the pregnancy center in Burnsville. As God continued to add funds, we continued to add pregnancy centers. Then we started working with domestic violence shelters. We also continued to add new projects and eventually began helping public schools and other agencies that were ministering to people. We had started doing some disaster relief working with Operation Outreach and after they ended, without access to the quantities of food we had been getting or the place to store it, we got away from it for years.

Even though we had expanded our other projects and added new ones, we never had taken on the expense of disaster relief very much until the fall of 2017 following Hurricane Harvey. Pastor Eric Sams of Rays Chapel FWB in Weaverville, called and said, “Let’s go to Texas.” Always ready for a road trip I asked him what for. He explained that he had a burden to take relief supplies, and in particular backpacks of school supplies, to aid in storm recovery. He wound up not getting to go but he and his church had been able to help us come up with 1327 backpacks. Although I had arranged to do four distributions in Texas, Roger Smith and I were only able to give out 624 there. We were also able to give out about that many bibles to school kids and adults alike. Not sure of what to do with the 703 I had brought back, I started trying to contact places in Florida. I wound up getting in contact with the Salvation Army in Naples, Florida and was told they were opening a new distribution center there the following Monday and would love to have backpacks for the school kids there. My son and I drove down that Sunday and delivered them on Monday morning. Hurricane Irma had devastated much of south Florida and they were very appreciative of the backpacks. As I drove home, I thought about how God had provided more than enough funds to cover the trip to Texas and also the trip to Florida. With the way he had blessed our efforts, I started to think that we might need to get started doing disaster relief again.

In June of 2016, God confirmed during Wednesday night meeting at State Street Baptist in Asheville, that he did want us to start a home for unwed mothers. God is so thorough that he even gave me the name that night; The Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers. Even though we didn’t have facilities for that and nothing I looked at seemed to work out, God began allowing us to do the work he wanted. Through a series of events that I won’t get into, God allowed us to meet and care for a young lady and her baby after he was born. He had moved on the heart of a couple from Mars Hill to open their home and hearts to girls in that situation that had nowhere to turn. A year later, we placed a second girl in the same home only eight months after the first one had moved out and got on her feet.

As I thought about this and so much more, I thought about the way God had done all of it. If he had of told me in 2002 what this ministry would be doing 17 years later, it would have scared me to death and I would have probably done like Jonah and ran the other way. Instead, in his infinite wisdom and knowing what I would do, he just let the ministry grow a little at a time. He added funding a little at a time and burdened our heart for different projects a little at a time. He surrounded me with people with a heart for the work we were doing and used them to influence me in a lot of ways. Again, he did this a little at a time.

I have always been the type of person that when I know what I have got to do, I want to do it all and get it done right now. God used my dad and also my board members to slow me down and help me to wait on him to direct me. Now 17 years later, I look at how God has blessed us with not only finances and support but also with various other ministries that we are able to partner with. One thing I remember from very early on is a question my pastor Rusty Rector asked me on a trip our church made to Kentucky. He asked, “Just how far are you wanting to take this, and what are you wanting to do?” I remember my answer to this day. I said, “I would love to do this full-time because I just love it. But a man has to make a living and there sure isn’t any money in what I’m doing.” I was right but God has a way of getting you in a position where he can use you. Had it not been for a failed hip replacement, I would have likely never known the joy of full time mission work. God showed me during that dark time in my life, that he is the one that provides my living anyway. God let me get to the edge of losing all I had worked for all of my life and then, as only he can do, he made the way and allowed me to not lose anything. I had to get to where I didn’t love my possessions so that I would be content with his provision; a little at a time. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

NEW CONTRACT ANNOUNCEMENT

NEW CONTRACT ANNOUNCEMENT (Please read all) Andy Hollifield 4-1-19

To all of my faithful readers: As of today due to new contractural obligations, I am no longer allowed to write posts for free due to the fact I have been published on two different public venues. I must now make my post pay-per-view. For the low, low price of 14.95 per month, you can purchase a subscription to read anything I post. You can also purchase your subscription in 3 month increments for the low, low price of 44.85. Please send all correspondence to:

Ima Sucker                                                                                                                                      2 Badformetoo                                                                                                                           Youconned, Me. 11495

Attn: April Fools Day Offer

C/O Gotcha

Thanks for reading! LOL

FINE PRINT

None of this is true. It is completely bogus and is intended for the private use of our audience for entertainment purposes only. If you actually fell for this and don’t want anyone to know, please PM me because I could use a good laugh. Otherwise, feel free to comment so everyone can get a kick out of it. Either way, I hope you have a blessed day in the Lord!!! I also hope that I was the first one to get you with an April Fool’s Day prank.  I figured you could use a good laugh to and I hope it brought a smile to your face.

 

ONE OF THOSE DAYS

ONE OF THOSE DAYS                                                                                                                  Andy Hollifield 3-29-18

Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)

Have you ever had one of those days? You probably just grunted a little and thought to yourself, “Yeah; today and yesterday, and the every other day that ends in “Y.” We could all probably swap some pretty interesting war stories and bring each other to tears. But I am not talking about one of “those days.” I am talking about one of those days when you lay your head on your pillow at night knowing that something you did during the day for someone else actually made a real difference in their life.

I had one of those days yesterday and the day before that and the day before that but especially yesterday. You see, in mission work it isn’t every day that you know what needs you might have met. But every now and then, you actually get a glimpse into someone’s life and realize that your little effort that may not have been a big deal to you, but really made a difference to them. I am not going to get into specifics except to say that those days don’t come along near often enough but when they do, man alive how I treasure them! Maybe it’s just me and everyone else don’t need to get pumped up like that. It’s almost like getting your ego stroked except the difference is that it humbles you. Instead of making you swell up with pride, it encourages you and makes you want to do all you can to please the Lord and help people. It also makes you realize what a great privilege God has given you to make a difference in someone’s life.

As I thought about this, I decided I didn’t want to just write a warm, fuzzy, post but I wanted some real substance that everyone could relate to. The place to always find that is in God’s holy word. I looked up just a few instances like that where a seemingly small effort on one’s part, made a world of difference for someone else even though it may have went unnoticed by most. One place is in Exodus 17 where Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill to see the battle as Joshua fought. We know that as Moses got weary, Aaron and Hur found him a stone to sit on and held up his hands for him. I am sure Moses appreciated their effort because without them, the battle would have been lost and no doubt many would have died. But it’s not what Moses thought that I want to draw your attention to. Just think of all those thousands of people in the camp that likely knew nothing about what was happening on the mountain top. They lived to see another day because of the effort Aaron and Hur had put forth that day. The name Hur is used only 16 times in the bible and it is for three different people. You would think by that he must have been pretty insignificant. But, where would the nation of Israel be today if not for the efforts of Hur? Even Joshua and the soldiers likely didn’t know what was going on up there. All they knew was that they were winning the battle.

Another one is found in 1 Samuel 1. When Eli answered Hannah in verse 17 and said “the God of Israel grant thy petition;” do you think he could have possibly realized what an impact that those few minutes that he spoke with Hannah in the temple would have ever been such a big deal? Without those moments, there would be no Samuel the great prophet. There may have been no Saul or David chosen by God and anointed by Samuel. Do you think Eli would have ever thought his conversation with Hannah would have ever made that big of a difference? We just never know what kind of impact we are making in someone’s life.

You may be thinking that all of these have done great things and that doesn’t fit with who you are and God could never use you like that. That’s where you would be wrong. Think for a minute about Jesse, the father of David. He never did anything significant that we can find. His greatest personal accomplishment was fathering eight sons. Do you want to know what his great effort was that had such an impact? Packing a lunch. That’s it, he packed his sons lunches while they were off fighting for Saul. He sent David to carry the food to his brothers and a gift for Saul. It was while on this mission for his dad that David first saw the Philistine giant Goliath. We know that David wound up slaying Goliath and the Israelites won the battle that day. Do you think that would have ever happened if Jesse hadn’t sent David to check on his brothers and bring them their lunch? Who knows? If Jesse had of thought maybe that it was too dangerous to send David and maybe sent a servant or maybe no one at all, do you think it might have been different?

What about Obededom? He didn’t do anything at all but just let King David leave the ark of God at his home for three months. God blessed his home immensely and if you read the references, he and his family wound up in service for the Lord. That kind of proves that you don’t have to be a great warrior or king to do the Lord’s will. It also proves that it may not take as much as you think to win your children and lead them to the Lord. You just have to be obedient and do what is asked of you by the Lord.

Well, we have looked at Hur, Eli, Jesse, and Obededom. None of these men did really any great feats. You might even say their life was a little hum-drum. But without the efforts of all of these seemingly unimportant men, where would Israel be right now? Where would we be? From Hur fixing a seat and being a prop, to Eli having a conversation with a woman he thought was drunk, and Jesse packing a lunch for his boys, and Obededom just making room for the Lord in his home, you never know what your small effort might amount to in the lives of others. By the way, Jesse is a distant grandfather of Jesus. I would say based on that, it matters and so do your efforts. Don’t you just love it when you get to have one of those days? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

HURRY UP AND WAIT

HURRY UP AND WAIT                                                                                                                    Andy Hollifield 3-28-19

Psalms 62:5 My soul, wait thou only on God; for my expectation is from him. (KJV)

We have all heard the saying; Hurry up and wait. We know that it refers to having to rush around to get something done or go somewhere and then being delayed for whatever reason. Have you ever thought about the fact that is how we live our lives? It seems we are constantly in a hurry. We can’t wait on anything. I admit personally that waiting is one of the things I find most difficult. It doesn’t matter if it is waiting for food at a restaurant or waiting at a red-light. I just hate waiting. And yes; waiting on the Lord is no easier. I have been known to mess up quite a few times in my life simply because I failed to wait on the Lord. I have at times jumped to wrong conclusions because I failed to wait for all the facts to come out. Have you ever noticed how we have a tendency to cut people off in mid-sentence when they are telling something that evokes a strong response from us? Waiting is a lesson that is taught often but seldom learned.

I had the privilege recently to spend some time with a friend that I have known for close to thirty years. I was in the town where he lived on business and thought that I couldn’t possibly be that close and not stop to see him. He has been confined to a wheelchair all of his life and now to a bed and although his body has failed him, his mind is as sharp as it ever was. He is one of those type of people who, when you part company, you feel like you have just been tremendously blessed because of the time you spent with him. As is often the case when we visit, we spend a lot of time cutting up and joking back and forth. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Regardless of what we may talk about, there has never been a time that I have ever left that my heart has not been more merry than when I arrived.

As I thought about the years we had known each other as I left his home that day, I began to think of how quickly two hours had passed. I also began to think about how wonderful it was just to be able to slow down and just enjoy someone’s company for a while and not be in such a rush. This time of year is a rushed time for me due to our ministry Easter basket project. I don’t like to waste a lot of time during a project and usually burn both ends against the middle until it is finished. After spending that day delivering baskets and then making a trip to another ministry I work with and then going to his town to take care of some unfinished business, I thought I would drop by for a minute. Experience should have taught me that wasn’t going to happen. The shortest time we have spent together away from church has been a half hour. I stopped there a couple of times and spent my lunch break with him when I was driving a truck. It has never mattered how much time I had to spend with him, I have always thought that I went away far better than when I got there.

This day started me asking myself why we allow ourselves to get caught up in such a rush all the time that we can’t visit like we used to. As a boy, I remember my mom and neighbors sitting on our front steps visiting for what seemed like hours on more than one occasion. As I got older, I found that those same neighbors were chock-full of wisdom that a young man could benefit from. I learned from my mom and dad how to spend time having friends and what it meant to be a friend. I hadn’t really thought much about it but the reason I got in church and am born again is because my mom’s cousin was also her best friend and invited mom to go with her. After the church prayed my dad back in, there were a lot of people who were dad’s friends that got in church because of their friendship with him. As I drove down the road that day, all of these thoughts made me ask myself just what it is that seems so important that we can’t take time to have friends anymore or more importantly, to be one.

I remembered when I was a teenager, sitting at the bedside of my pastor as he lay dying of cancer.  I am not really sure exactly what it was that drew a teenage boy to him and made me want to be there. Looking back I have come to the conclusion that it wasn’t really what he preached but just the fact that he lived it and had a love for his young people as people and not just as kids. He always had time to stop and take an interest in our lives. He made himself available to be a friend to anyone that was interested in having one. As I left my friend’s house on this day, I remember that our friendship started off at church with him admiring my new red Ford Bronco and talking about it must have cost a pretty penny. I told him that my payment book was as thick as a phonebook. From that conversation began a friendship that has lasted all these years.

I have decided as I have gotten older that it would pay us all to slow down sometimes and not spend time with friends, but rather invest our time trying to be one. We never remember all of the things that make us rush around but we always cherish the memories of time shared with friends. At times in the middle of all the “hurry up” in our lives, it would do us all good to just hurry up and wait. Time spent can never be regained but time invested will always remain. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

WHEN THE BATTLE’S TOO BIG

WHEN THE BATTLE’S TOO BIG                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 3-27-19

2 Chronicles 20:15 “….Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

At some point in our lives, we all come upon at least one battle that is too big to fight. There always comes one obstacle that is just impossible to get around and one mountain that is just to big for us to move regardless of our faith. Before anyone takes exception to that last statement keep this in mind: although the disciples had been given power and walked with Jesus every day of their lives after he called them, they still ran upon devils that they themselves could not cast out. When Peter asked Jesus why they could not cast them out, Jesus told him because of unbelief but also because “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). In Mark chapter nine, the father of a boy with a deaf and dumb spirit begged Jesus to help his unbelief. There are trials we sometimes face in life that, try as we may, we still find ourselves doubting that God will get us through them. The shame isn’t finding yourself in that position but rather being there and having too much pride to ask God to help your unbelief. I went through a time in my life after being forced to retire because of a doctors incompetence, that I got so depressed I couldn’t really even pray. I would try to pray one minute and just be sobbing the next and feeling sorry for myself because of the position I was in. I was also angry because it was not because of my doing but because of someone else. I was disillusioned because it appeared that I would be losing everything I had spent my life working for before too much longer. When I got to that place, I found that it wasn’t a trust issue, but like that father in Mark 9:24, the Lord was all I had that I could trust in. I was too ashamed to admit to anybody how far down and weak I was. It was then I realized that all I had to count on was the Lord.

I don’t usually talk much in detail about that time in my life because it still makes me ashamed. To be honest, it is probably just pride that makes me feel that way. As Christians, and especially as preachers, we tend to think we are supposed to always be up and always strong for everyone else. The fact is that we are all made of the same dust and when our time comes to leave this world, unless we go in the rapture, we will once again return to dust. In the mean time, how can we help others if we can’t even be honest with ourselves enough to admit where we are at?

I began to think about some people I have ran across recently that are in those times of trial. I have friends worried about the health of a family member, one that has recently been bombarded with extra financial stress due to circumstances beyond their control, and still others that have been through traumatic situations in their lives that they have never gotten over. I have faced things recently in my life that are as hard as anything I have ever faced. For some of us, waiting on the Lord is not our strong suit. Isaiah 40:31 contains promises for those that wait upon the Lord and God always keeps his promises.

All that I have mentioned so far is not new to any of us I am sure. One scripture in particular that I found encouraging is 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat had received word that his enemies are coming against him and he was vastly outnumbered and things were hopeless. In verse 12, Jehoshaphat submitted himself and his nation completely to God. He said to the Lord, We’re not strong enough, there’s not enough of us, and we just don’t know what to do, so we are just looking to you. During that time, all Judah with their wives and families stood before the Lord to see what he would do. When they got to that place of total submission, God heard from heaven and answered them. Verse 17 says, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” Two things took place in the remainder of that chapter. First, they worshipped because they believed God. Everyone bowed down to the Lord worshipping before the battle had even begun. The second thing is they followed God’s instructions exactly. If we submit ourselves to the Lord, we don’t have to wait for the battle to be over before we begin to worship. They were worshipping right in the middle of the same circumstances they were in that made Jehoshaphat pray to begin with.

There are many battles and circumstances in the bible that were just too big to overcome. God gave a promise to cover those times also. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Imagine Gideon with only 300 men with lamps, pitchers, and trumpets going into battle against a Midianite army of thousands. Elijah on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal outnumbered 450-1. David armed with only a slingshot and a staff and rod and five stones crossed the field that day to face the giant Goliath. The woman in the funeral procession of her son when Jesus touched the bier and the boy believed again. Moses, with charge over all of the Israelites, looking over their shoulder as Pharoah’s army pursued them. The disciples on the boat they couldn’t control in a night storm on Galilee. Nehemiah with a burden to rebuild Jerusalem. All of these were impossible situations without the Lord to get them through them.

You may be walking in that place right now in your life. Maybe you are walking in a deep dark valley where the shadows are looming large. Just remember, shadows can’t hurt you. We often say that we are doing ok under the circumstances. Where did God ever tell us to live UNDER our circumstances? Just remember; when you get to that place when the battle’s too big: it’s not your battle anyway and besides that;  we have a God that is bigger than our battles. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

PURPOSE

PURPOSE                                                                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 3-26-19

Ruth 2:16 “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” (KJV)

The word purpose is in the bible 36 times. Interestingly enough, do you know what words aren’t in the bible? Accident, luck, coincidence, fluke, and karma just to name a few. The interesting thing about the word purpose is that the first time it is used is in Ruth 2:16 when Boaz tells his gleaners to “let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” Let fall and leave them. That sure sounds like he had a purpose to me doesn’t it to you? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Romans 8:28 tells us in short that every thing that God does or allows to happen in our lives is for our good according to his purpose. Isn’t it good to know that regardless of what may come or go or happen in our lives, God is working it for our benefit and according to the purpose that he has for our lives? 2 Timothy 2:9 even says that God saved us and called “…according to his own purpose and grace.” The whole purpose of Christ coming to sacrifice his life on the cross for our sins was “that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Nothing actually happens by chance. Psalms 37:23 takes it a little further when the psalmist said “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” One definition of ordered is something that is done according to specific procedures and principles obviously for the purpose of a specific result. I am glad that God doesn’t leave our life to chance.

Speaking of chance, it is used six times in the bible. It is defined as the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, controlled, or understood. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says in the last phrase of the verse that “time and chance happeneth to them all.” It isn’t talking about luck but rather is used meaning an opportunity. We have already seen in 3:1 that there is a time to every purpose. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul speaks of God being able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Just because we can’t imagine something or figure out how or why it happened don’t mean it was just coincidence. It means that our thoughts can’t go that high. There are actually five different words that translate into the english word “chance.”

As I mentioned earlier, the word chance can also be defined as opportunity. That word is used five times in the scriptures. It’s kind of interesting that “chance” is used six times in the bible and six is the number of man. Purpose is used 36 times which is six times the number of man. But when all is said and done, “opportunity”is used five times and that is the number of grace in the bible. You can make what you want to out of it but consider this; it was God’s grace that gave us the opportunity to be saved. I mentioned that “purpose” is used 36 times. The scriptures tell us some amazing things about the purposes of God. According to things I read, there are 36 visions of John recorded in the book of Revelation. Also, there are three series of twelve cups for the dedication of the altar. There were 36 years between the crucifixion of Christ and the death of Paul. The bible contains 66 books written by 36 different authors. The word “beast” is used 36 times in Revelation. “Satan” is used 36 times in the New Testament.

Finally, did you know that the year of the crucifixion was supposedly 30 AD. When you take that number plus the number of man which is six, you wind up with 36 which is the number of times purpose is used in the bible. Also, in bible times, the price of a slave was 30 pieces of silver which was the same amount that Judas received to betray Jesus. When you add the number of man (6) to the price Jesus was sold for you come up with 36. Also, Jesus began his public ministry at age 30 for all mankind (6). I hadn’t planned on getting into all of that but I found it interesting that even in the study of the word “purpose” there appears to have been a purpose of the Lord to use it like he did. You may think all of these things are just coincidence. Think what you want; I think it is all according to his “purpose.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!