“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate contest of history, therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.”
We are living in a season of disruption.
It seems that the global Covid-19 pandemic is finally beginning to lose its momentum, but now we are facing economic woes that are shaking the global economy. In North America, inflation is higher than it has been in 40 years, and we are all feeling the pinch of increased costs.
However, in many parts of the developing world inflation has risen astronomically—80% or more within the past year, causing severe economic pain for millions of people.
As followers of Jesus, how do we make sense of this season of disruption?
There is a “go to” scripture that people often turn to in times like these:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This verse is often used as a “spiritual security blanket” in difficult times. We find this verse stamped on T-shirts, imprinted on greeting cards and posters, and etched in coffee mugs.
While it is true that God is a God of hope, we need to understand the context of this verse. This verse was written to people in captivity. This verse was written to people who had been uprooted from their homes and taken to a foreign land. This was written to people who were in a season of disruption.
What this verse tells us that God plays the long game. God was working out a plan that was generations in the making.
Yes, there was hope and a future, but it was not the kind of short-term hope that the captives in Babylon may have wished for. The Lord’s direction to the people in captivity is found earlier in the chapter:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
I would suggest to you that in spite of the disruption we are currently experiencing in our time, we can still have hope because we know that God is working his grand eternal plan, that will culminate in the blessed hope—the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!
In the meantime life goes on, we should live hope-filled lives by building houses, planting gardens, enjoying the harvest, planning weddings, raising children, and loving grandchildren. Be salt and light in our communities and expect that God will cause us to flourish in the midst of this season of disruption.
“We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”
1 John 3:2 NKJV
In recent years earthquakes, tidal waves, and natural catastrophes all around the earth have caught the attention of the world like few events ever have. Many secular commentators have referenced the Bible, and for good reason.
Wars and strife abound in various nations, and terrorism is rampant. Financial upheaval and failure are all around us. Fear and hopelessness mark the lives of millions of people everywhere. We as Christians should take note of these events, in light of the teaching of God’s word.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
Matthew 24:32-36 NKJV
“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”
“These things are the the first pains of childbirth.”—GNT1
“These things are like the first pains when something new is about to be born.”—NCV2
“These things will be like the birth pangs of a new age.”—FBV3
Matthew 13:7-8 NKJV
The Old Testament prophets and saints lived in the hope of the coming of the promised Messiah. The Messiah came in the fullness of time…
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Galatians 4:4-5 NJKV
The Old Testament prophets did not clearly see the distinction between the first and second comings of the Messiah. They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but they did not always understand the detail of what they were given to speak.
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you throught those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.”
1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV
For us, the first coming of Jesus is living history—precise fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. We now live in hope of Jesus’ second coming. That event will also occur in the fullness of time, according to God’s schedule.
Hope can be defined as “the expectation of something desirable, or having confidence in a future event.” It is not wishful thinking, like buying lottery tickets.
“Now faith is the substance [realization] of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
Hebrews 6:19 tells us the hope that is set before us is an anchor for our souls because Jesus, our forerunner, has already entered into the presence of God.
The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible to be written in such a way that believers in every generation, in every era of history, would have reason to live in the expectation of the return of Jesus Christ. Only God the Father knows the exact time when Jesus will return for His church.
Peter wrote of the scoffers who would come on the scene, questioning the purposes of God…
“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'”
2 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
Peter goes on to explain the reason for this apparent delay—
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousond years as one day. the Lord is not slack concerning His promise,as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV
We will consider five ways the Scriptures speak to us about the hope we as believers have in the return of Jesus Christ.
It is a Certain Hope
God is a God of purpose: He does not say, “I might” or “I’ll try,” but rather “I will.” He speaks and His word is fulfilled.
In Joel 2:28 God said, “I will pour out my Spirit,” and He did.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and He is.
In John 14:3 Jesus said, “I will come again,” and He will. (Note how often the declarative mood is used by Jesus in John 14.)
As Jesus was ascending into Heaven two men in white apparel stood by and said,
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:11 NKJV
He will not be a different Jesus. See the words of Jesus…
“If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the ligtning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Matthew 24:23-27 NKJV
It will not be a spiritual or symbolic return, but a physical return, a visible return, in like manner as He went into heaven.
When Jesus returns to this earth to establish His millennial reign every eye will see Him.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.”
Revelation 1:7 NKJV
This is referred to as the revelation of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus returns for His bride, the church, He is coming for those who are looking for Him, as we read in Hebrews 9:28, “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
His return is getting closer each day—and His return was so real to Christians in past years. This song4 reminds us of this fact:
Years of time have come and gone
Since I first heard it told,
How Jesus would come again some day;
If back then it seemed so real,
Then I just can't help but feel
How much closer His coming is today
Jesus is coming again. We need to purpose in our hearts to be ready and watching.
It is a Blessed Hope
“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Titus 2:13 NKJV
It will be blessed in comparison to our present life:
We have abundant life now (see John 10:10; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 84:11)
There is glory to come (see 1 Cor 2:9; Eph 2:7; Phil 3:20-21; Heb 13:14)
It will be even more blessed for those who suffer for their faith in Jesus:
Many Christians in other parts of the world have endured such persecution that some wondered if they were experiencing the great tribulation. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The darker the circumstances, the brighter the light shines. Fanny Crosby5 wrote these words:
Oh the children of the Lord have a right to shout and sing,
For the way is growing bright and our souls are on the wing.
It is a Comforting Hope
We are instructed to comfort each other with this hope.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. Forthe Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds tomeet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV
It is a Purifying Hope
The knowledge that Jesus could return at any moment is an incentive for us to live holy lives before God. “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”—1 John 3:2-3
John W. Peterson wrote about this in his song6, “Jesus is Coming”…
O it is a blessed hope to those who know the Saviour,
blessed in the many joys that it will usher in.
Purifying hope that has the power to change behaviour,
Keeping from the world's defilement and sin.
As we live in the hope of the return of Jesus Christ we will want to be holy and blameless before Him because He has made it possible by His provision. Hebrews 12:10, “…that we may be partakers of His holiness.”
1 Thessalonians 3:13 tells us that God’s purpose for us is to establish our hearts “blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
It is a Motivating Hope
Many scriptures admonish us to watch and be faithful in what God has appointed us to do. The hope of Christ’s return motivates us to live uprightly and to be actively serving the Lord.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
Titus 2:11-15 NKJV
We are not just putting in time…
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he come, will find so doing.”
Matthew 24:45-46 NKJV
Doing what? Doing whatever his master asked him to do; being faithful.
There is no promise in Scripture that we will escape persecution. This was a truth I remember discussing with my father a number of years ago. He strongly believed, as I still do, that we need to distinguish between the wrath of man and the wrath of God:
Persecution is the wrath of man (under the obvious instigation of Satan). Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Psalm 76:10 says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise you [God]…”
The Great Tribulation will be the wrath of God, with special meaning for the nation of Israel; it is the 70th week of Daniel. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Revelation 3:10 Jesus spoke to the church in Philadelphia saying, “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
An interesting (and sometimes controversial) question was asked by Jesus in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary7: “In general…he will find fidelity among men” (fidelity = “faith” or “faithfulness). “In particular, he will find few that have faith concerning his coming.” “Where is the promise of His coming?”— 2 Peter 3:4
I do not believe this was a question asked in desperation. This is the same Jesus who said “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I do believe it is a rhetorical question for us to answer as individuals. For my part, I am determined to be found faithful when Jesus comes for His church.
We are not looking for the anti-Christ; we are looking for the blessed hope.
We are not called to self-preservation; we are called to evangelism. There is an end-time harvest to bring in. God is not willing that any should perish.
Jesus is coming back for “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”—Ephesians 5:27
The church will go out in a blaze of glory: washed in the blood of Jesus, clothed in His righteousness, filled with His Spirit, and walking in His anointing.
From my earliest childhood, I was taught to live as though Jesus could return at any moment. That truth is still as real to me as it ever was. I will close with words of a chorus8 that the Lord gave to me several years ago:
"He's coming again in clouds of glory
He's coming to catch His bride away
Be ready and watching for His coming;
Our Lord Jesus is coming again.
It may be at noon time or at evening,
It may be the dawning of the day;
Be ready and watching for His coming;
Our Lord Jesus is coming again."
Jesus is coming again! Be ready! Be busy! Be faithful!
Ken Dynna is forever thankful for his heritage. His family experienced the faithfulness of God. There was always ministry in music, preaching, and visitation, so he still holds memories of such things.
He graduated from Central Pentecostal College in 1965 and completed his Bachelor’s of Theology in 1988. He’s been blessed with the opportunity to visit many churches from Western Ontario to BC—ministering.
Ken married his wife Heather in 1967, and together have two grown daughters, both of whom live in Vancouver.
Ken and Heather attend the Regina Apostolic Church. In 2004 he was ordained by the Apostolic Church of Pentecost.
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying. ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.’”
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
Jeremiah 18:1-2; Isaiah 64:8
In our text, the Lord instructed the Prophet Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house where he would receive a message from God as he watched the potter working with clay on a potter’s wheel.
As Jeremiah watched the potter working with the clay, a reassuring message came from God to him, which also has a powerful spiritual application for us today. Jeremiah observed the clay go through three stages:
The clay was being made into a vessel
The vessel, being made of clay, was marred
The vessel of clay that was marred—was mended
“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this Potter? Says the LORD.”
The nation of Israel was ‘made’ by God but was ‘marred’ by sin! But God the master potter, could ‘MEND’ them again so that He could use them for His purpose and glory!
All human beings were originally ‘MADE’ in the image of God, for His glory but were ‘MARRED’ by sin (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3); but praise God, through the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, fallen humanity can be redeemed (Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7) and ‘REMADE’ by the master potter into a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This is described in Ephesians 2:4-10 as “His Workmanship”. Humans can be made into Christ’s spiritual image (Romans 8:28-29) as vessels of honour (2 Timothy 2:21) to be used for His purposes and for His glory, as they submit to the Lord the master potter (Ephesians 2:4-10).
Some years ago, in a couple of places here in Canada, we had the privilege of visiting potteries where we were shown how ordinary clay could be skilfully moulded and made into a beautiful vessel. We have also observed the beautiful pottery made by African Potters.
There are some particularly important spiritual lessons for us to learn from how a potter works with clay to make distinct kinds of vessels. Let us remember the passage of scripture in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
Let us consider together the steps or stages utilized to make clay into a beautiful vessel. (NOTE: In Bible days, and many places even today, these, or similar steps, are still followed, although there may be some variations in different locations, especially in larger potteries).
Step One: The clay must be found by the potter. Not just any kind of dirt or material will do, but the potter searches for clay that can be used to make vessels. The clay the potter finds is brought into the potter’s house or to the place where the potter makes vessels.
We too had to be found by God, our master potter. He searched for and found us; Compare Psalm 40:1-4 & Ephesians 2:1-10.
The Local Church is certainly like a ‘potter’s house.’ Compare 2 Timothy 2:20-21: After the Lord finds us (the clay) he brings us into a local church where we can be disciples—moulded, and made into the vessel He desires.
His desire for us is that we become ‘chosen vessels’ of ‘honour’ to bring honor and glory to His name. Note the new believers (disciples) in the church at Antioch became known as ‘Christians’ as a result of the teaching ministry of Barnabas and Saul! Acts 11:21-26.
Note Ephesians 4:11-16: the five-fold ministries named as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers help to equip and train the believers (saints) in the local church to serve in their God-given place in the church and in service beyond. The local Church is indeed like a potter’s house!
A word to parents: Your home is also a key place where parents have been given the responsibility and privilege of being the extended hands of the master potter! Moulding the lives of children in the ways of the Lord so that they will become vessels of honour—for God’s purpose and glory! Teaching, training, discipline, and character development should begin in the home. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9.
The Lord, the master potter, also uses the circumstances in life we go through to help mould and make us into His image, (note Romans 8:28-29), and to help prepare us for the work and ministry He has for us. Think of the life of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50.
Step Two: The clay is washed.
All foreign substances, stones, dirt, sticks, grass, and rubbish must be washed out of this clay until it is pure clay. This is an important process. The clay must become pure and pliable so he can work with it.
After the Lord finds us, He also washes us. He uses several agents to wash us. He washes us with His precious blood. 1 John1:7-9; Hebrews 9:12-14 and Zechariah. 13:1; Hebrews 10:10.
He washes us with His word. John 15:3; John 17:17. Ephesians 5:25-2.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies and sets us apart from sin to live a life of holiness. Compare Romans chapter 8 and 1 Peter 1:2.
The clay is washed and made pliable so that it can be moulded and shaped into the kind of vessel the potter desires. We also must learn to be surrendered and yielded—pliable in the hands of our master potter.
Step Three: The Potter then begins to mould and shape the clay into a vessel he has in mind. He, therefore, places the clay on the potter’s wheel and begins to gently work with the clay, moulding and shaping it.
He has a plan and purpose for each of us. It is important that we yield and submit to the hand of our master potter; for only then can He mould our lives into what He desires us to be. In Romans 8:28-29 we are taught that God’s ultimate purpose is that we be ‘conformed’ or ‘transformed’, into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He works in every situation we go through in life to further mould us into the image of His Son. He also has a work or ministry for each and every believer in His house, which is His Church (also called His body). Compare Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 2:18-22; and Ephesians 4:7-16.
In our text in Jeremiah18:1-6, the vessel was marred in the hand of the Potter, possibly because of a stone or lump of dirt. But the Potter picked up the clay and remade it into another vessel as was pleasing in His sight.
The Lord, the master Potter can do this in our lives as well. There are many examples down through history as well as in our day, where the Lord has picked up a marred, broken vessel, and remade it into a vessel of honour for his glory.
Step Four: After the vessel is moulded into the shape and type of vessel the potter desires, it must then be hardened or strengthened in the fire. The vessel is placed in a furnace where it is exposed to certain degrees of heat; enough to harden the clay with which the vessel is made so that it becomes strong.
After we are born again [saved] and the Lord is moulding us into a vessel He has desired to make us into, He also allows us to go through times of testing and even fiery trials. The purpose of this is to strengthen us as vessels and for character development. The Lord desires us to grow and become strong in Him. Compare 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:12-13. Note Isaiah 48:10; “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
Remember God’s servant Job. Job 23:10. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.…”
“And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Step Five: The vessel is then beautified and glazed. Paint is used to paint flowers and other designs on the vessel. The potter will also at times put his own name or trademark or special ownership mark on each vessel. The next step is to put the vessel back into the furnace for the glazing process. When this step is completed, the vessel is beautifully glazed and strong.
The master potter desires us to become Christ-like. The beautiful fruit of the Spirit in our lives makes us Christ-like. As we allow the Lord to continue to work in our lives by His word and by His Holy Spirit, the character of Christ will be reflected in our lives increasingly.
Step Six: The vessel can now be filled and used for whatever purpose the potter has for it.
As true believers in Christ, He indwells us by His Spirit. Read 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; l Corinthians 6:19-20, and 2 Corinthians 4:7.
But we also need to be:
Filled with His word (Colossians 3:16)
His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 7:37-39)
And then flow out in blessing to others with His word, love, and compassion.
“A Chosen Vessel of Mine” (Acts 9:15-16). The Lord told Ananias to go and minister to Saul (later named Paul), for “he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my Name before Gentiles: Kings and the children of Israel…” As believers, we are all also called to be vessels to bear our Lord’s name and His message to others.
Step Seven: A vessel must be kept clean and set apart unto the purpose the potter has for it.
We need to continue to be surrendered to the Lord, and submitted to His purpose for our lives. Our lives need to be kept clean and we need to live and walk in the Spirit. Compare Romans 12:1-8; Galatians 5:22-25.
In 2 Timothy 2:19-22 Paul the Apostle spoke to Timothy, his spiritual son in the faith, about the importance of living a dedicated and separated life so that he might be “a vessel of honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work”. Note also Mark 4:19.
We also need to constantly be reminded of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
We are only vessels of clay, but we have within us a treasure of great value. Christ Himself indwells in us by the Holy Spirit who fills us as we surrender to Him. We have His word within us. We have the message of the Gospel in us.
What a treasure we have within us! We need to share this treasure with others all around us: but we can only do this effectively through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are many examples both in the Bible and throughout history where the Lord has done this. God uses that which has been broken.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart”
“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”
Psalms 51:17; Isaiah 57:15
He will do this today for each and all who truly humble themselves and fully submit to the master potter. God cannot use a proud heart. We need to humble ourselves and be broken in His presence.
We understand that in Japan they have found a way of taking vessels that are broken and repairing them with liquid gold. They then are exceptionally beautiful vessels and are a showcase for special purposes, showing the handiwork of the master potter. If we humble ourselves and are broken, God will do the same for us.
We need to get to the end of our self-sufficiency and realize our absolute need of the Lord in everything. May we all surrender to the Lord the master potter and allow Him to mould us and make us into vessels of honour into which He can pour His Spirit and His word, and then use us for His glory and honour.
The words of the beautiful Hymn, Have Thine own way Lord, so beautifully express the truth of the message of The Potter and the Clay. Please take time to read and use the words of the song as a prayer and allow the master potter to minister to you…
Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter; I am the clay.
Mould me and make me
After thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.
Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Search me and try me,
Wash me just now, Lord,
Wash me just now,
As in thy presence
Humbly I bow.
Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary,
Help me I pray!
Power, all power,
Surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me,
Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being
Fill with thy Spirit
Till all shall see
Christ only, always,
Living in me!
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 NIV
Vacation time was a fun time for me on my grandparents’ farm. As the oldest grandchild, I spent much of the summer with them. A favorite pass time was sitting in the shade on the southeast corner of the old wooden porch with the friendly collie asleep at my feet. I spent many happy hours shelling peas, snapping beans, and husking corn as every vegetable was prepared for the long cold winter.
On a particular afternoon while I prepared the vegetables I reflected on the cottage prayer meeting conducted in the large farm kitchen by an elder from the mission in the nearby town.
The farmers who gathered the night before had spent much time on their knees in audible prayer. Until that night I had never seen a person anointed and prayed for as in James…
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”
James 5:14 NIV
Everyone in the room had prayed so earnestly for my Grandma. she suffered frequently of blinding headaches that sometimes even nauseated her. They were asking God to deliver her. (At that time I had never heard the medical term migraine headaches.)
Suddenly, that afternoon the silence was broken by my Grandma’s call, “Hazel, please come quickly!” I ran into the kitchen and saw Grandma standing by the big kitchen cupboard with tears streaming down her cheeks. She wiped them with her big white apron. “Hazel, the headache’s gone. I felt it leave. I reached up to touch the top of my head as it was simply splitting with pain, and as I reached up I breathed the Name of Jesus and the pain fled before the power of His precious name.”
It had fled never to return again.
My grandma lived into her seventies. The healing commenced at the prayer meeting and was completed by the kitchen cupboard as she took authority in the Name of Jesus. Never again was my grandma plagued by migraines.
This was the first healing I had ever witnessed. I was just a young Christian and had not heard much of Jesus the healer. The incident was so indelibly imprinted on my memory that through many of life’s deep testings I have felt the awareness of that same Jesus and His healing virtue.
The four Gospels record many miracles and healings that Jesus did when he trod on this earth…
“Many followed Him, and He healed all their sick.”
“When Jesus saw the large crowds, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Matthew 12:15; Matthew 14:14 NIV
It is faith-inspiring when you or I have a need to pick up our Bibles and read of His ministry to the sick. This same Jesus still has the power to save the soul and raise the sick.
Down through the years, many testimonials could verify His presence in the sick room. Jesus has the same compassion today when He is invited into a room where there is suffering. Let us claim His promises which are steadfast and sure.
Vacations—God is pleased when families and individuals take time for relaxation and rest. The time factor can vary. But we do need those times when we can be refreshed in body, soul, and spirit. It is during these vacation times that we gain a fresh appreciation for home and work.
Vacations can be quality times for the family
While the children are still home, I believe God wants parents to include their children in holidays. Some parents go off leaving the kids behind—and they feel left out. The summer holidays can be fun times for the whole family.
I remember when our children were younger and all at home. We had some great times as we travelled and camped each summer. It was exciting to get away from school, work, and the garden. It was the change we all needed—and that’s what vacations are all about.
Our vacation usually began quite early on the first day so that we could arrive early and pick that “perfect” campsite! The closer to the water the better.
We would put up our tent trailer, fix the beds for the evening, swat flies and mosquitos, get the camp stove going, and the open-air supper cooking! Most important of all—build that campfire—mainly to watch and enjoy, but sometimes roasting weiners or marshmallows over it.
These were special times of fun for us as parents and the children to experience—and to remember. They are important in building lasting family ties and relationships.
Vacations can help to relieve built-up pressures
It was Jesus who felt that His disciples needed a break. They had been out ministering to the needs of others, and they were feeling the pressure of having people around them continuously. we read the account in Mark…
“And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.”
Mark 6:31-32 KJV
Now we realize from the rest of the scripture, that they never had much of a vacation. The people seeking after Christ soon discovered their safe retreat. But at least they had had a private boat cruise with Jesus—and that must have been refreshing in itself. The Lord knows when His children need a break—it’s a necessary part of the Christian’s life.
Vacations can be excellent for fellowship with other Christians
Christians certainly need this. We need to go to places where we can spend at least some time with others of like precious faith. One of these places can be at a Christian camp where we can relax—at the same time enjoying sound Bible worship and ministry and fellowship with other believers.
I’m reminded of Paul’s two-week vacation in Jerusalem. It’s mentioned in Galations 1:18-19. Paul came to Jerusalem to visit and fellowship with Peter and James, the half-brother of our Lord.
He seems to have been alone, learning from the Lord for the first few years following his conversion. But now he felt the need for fellowship. Following this time together—no doubt Paul returned home refreshed and encouraged in the Lord. We need vacations like this too—don’t we?
Vacations can be times when people meet God
I remember hearing of a man who was holidaying in the Caribbean and returned a born-again Christian. This reminds us of the important businessman from Ethiopia who made a trip to Jerusalem to worship. He was stirred to read the scripture and he began his journey homeward. The story is found in Acts 8:27-39.
This man was reading from Isaiah the prophet but he didn’t understand who the prophet was talking about. The Lord saw his spiritual hunger and had arranged for Philip the evangelist to be at that spot at that given moment.
Prompted by the Spirit, Philip came near the man’s chariot and when invited to join him in his chariot began at the Scripture he was reading from and “preached unto him, Jesus.” He was gloriously saved and made this wonderful confession of faith—”I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Following his baptism in water, he went home rejoicing in the mercy, grace, and power of Christ, man’s only saviour.
What a vacation he experience! What a worthwhile time away from home. He returned home a new man in Christ. Praise God!
Vacations can be times of renewed commitment to serve the Lord
Our vacation days are not only a time for bodily rest and mental change, but also a time when we can be renewed spiritually.
Always take your Bible with you. Maintain your daily habit of reading the scriptures and prayer. Seek out a place of worship. I thoroughly enjoy going to church in a strange town or city. I enjoy listening to teachers and preachers who bring sound Bible ministry.
All this can be an aspect of waiting on the Lord and renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31), as well as renewing our commitment to serve Him.
Thank God for vacations
God wants us to have days of rest from our labours. I believe He wants us to enjoy these times. I’m reminded of what we read in the book of Hebrews…
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”
Hebrews 4:9 KJV
I think this “rest” refers to the rest in the heart that comes as the result of a faith that is deeply rooted in God and from a life that is totally committed to Him.
Your vacation may be the time when you readjust your priorities and let the Lord rule from your heart. When He’s in control—that means rest for us.
Vacation time is coming. make the most of it. Arrive back home ready to accept new challenges. Love those vacations!
Written by George Shaw—End Times Messenger July/August 1990
Father’s Day is a great time to have your children tell you how amazing you are. I love my boys; it’s great to hear them recount stories that, thankfully, have been affected by their poor memories in a positive way.
However, some children grow up in homes where they didn’t have the best relationship in the world with their dad. For this occasion, Hallmark doesn’t make an honest Fathers Day card, even if we kids could muster up the courage to send it.
Such was my story.
My father left my mother, sister, and me when I was young and was hardly ever in our lives. He struggled with alcohol and as a result, made a decision to leave rather than fulfill the responsibilities of being a husband and a dad.
My sister and I grew up with an understanding that this was just the way it was. Mom was the provider (she did an amazing job) and dad; well he wasn’t the topic of conversation often, even though he lived in the same small Ontario town as we did.
All things considered, we had a good life. After college, I married the girl of my dreams and we had our first child. We came back home to share the birth of our son with my side of the family and had the chance to introduce our son to his grandfather. Thankfully we had a picture taken with them together because it was the only one we would have. Three days later, my father passed away from a brain aneurysm.
Fast forward to a Father’s Day, not so long ago. While talking with my boys, I began to think about my own father. I remembered what he was like and how I have thought about him since he died. I began to wonder what I would say to him if he were still alive today.
I felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to take another look at Dad and me.
I realized that as disappointed as I was with our relationship, deep down inside I loved my father. If he were alive today, I would take the time to tell him so, to be honest with him—whether it changed our relationship or not, and to let him know that I forgave him. I would make sure that his grandchildren knew him and I’d tell him about Jesus and how He can change our lives if we let Him.
Thankfully, this isn’t everyone’s story as many have had simply amazing fathers. On the other hand, some have had relationships much worse than I could even begin to imagine. Mine would seem like heaven compared to theirs, but comparing stories isn’t the purpose of this note.
I sensed the Spirit pointing me again to the amazing potential of Christ’s redemption in every situation. Jesus died to provide this hope for all of us and given the chance again, I would live as if this redemption was available for my dad. Because it was.
Unfortunately, I won’t get that chance, but maybe someone who reads this will. It’s worth the risk. Happy Father’s Day!
Larry Moore, married his best friend Sandra, and together they have four sons.
Larry serves as the Lead Pastor at the Regina Apostolic Church.
Larry is also Director Emeritus of United Youth Outreach—being passionate about youth and evangelism.
It is the day that the universal church celebrates the birth of the church, but for Pentecostals, this is also the day that we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 1:8 just prior to the ascension, Jesus told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:39, on the day of Pentecost, Peter says that the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is for those present in Jerusalem, and their children and for all who are a far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call—that includes us in the 21st Century!
One of the distinctives of the Pentecostal movement is that we believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience subsequent to Salvation. In other words, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit when we come to faith in Christ—but we are empowered for service when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Most churches go all out to celebrate Christmas and Easter, and well they should, but as Pentecostals, we should also celebrate the Day of Pentecost! What better way to celebrate than to welcome a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your church services this Sunday.
As an encouragement to you, I want to share part of an email that I received from an ACOP Pastor this week:
“The conference was a great blessing to us. It had been a long time since we were poured into.
I’ve been meaning to share what happened at our church the first Sunday back. It was our special “Kids Church Sunday” so the children stayed entirely in kids’ church. The Children’s ministry leader came in to tell me 2 children had been baptized in the Spirit in kids’ church. That was exciting!
At the end of the service, people were invited to the front to spend time with the Lord. During the altar time, I told everyone about the two kids. So we then invited anyone at the front who wanted to be baptized in the Spirit to receive prayer. We prayed for 3 who were all filled—one guy had only started coming at Easter. There was a fourth who came forward but sat in a seat at the front (she’s pregnant and too tired to stand) and she spoke in tongues for the first time without anyone facilitating it.”
I received a call this week, from another ACOP Pastor who was extremely encouraged by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their church services recently.
Could this be the effect of the Solemn Assembly at the ACOP 101 Conference?
If you or your church are experiencing a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit—I would love to hear from you!
Please feel free to send me an email, or give me a call 403.273.5777.
Extending Grace and Igniting Hope—this is the vision of the Apostolic Church of Pentecost.
I would like to tell you a story of grace and hope being lived in dramatic ways under the guidance, inspiration, and tireless efforts of two ministry leaders in our church family.
When God stirs a passion in the human heart, there is no telling where it may take you or those who fall under their influence and leadership. We have been blessed to see what a vision can do to bless an entire city!
Scripture speaks to us about seeking the well-being of the city where we dwell. The setting of Babylon in the ancient world of the exiled Israelites has become a familiar context for God’s people today.
The leadership at Smythe Street Church has challenged us to seek God’s blessing on behalf of our city, and the people have engaged in this vision—sowing the seeds of compassion for our beloved city of Fredericton.
Pastor Verner—Lead Pastor—Smythe Street Church
Pastor Verner has consistently challenged our church to be a people of great compassion for those in need. He has consistently encouraged us to look beyond the context of our church family to see the needs of the impoverished and homeless.
For many years now, when the vision of our church is being carefully and prayerfully cast, one of the mountains that Pastor Verner has been consistently determined to tackle is the mountain of homelessness. This caught the attention and captured the hearts of our parishioners, and the results have been truly inspiring.
The Best Church For the City
At the urging of Pastor Verner, our leadership team and family of believers decided that they would not strive to be the best church in the city, but rather, the best church for the city.
Leadership Inspires Action
The casting of a passionate vision for the marginalized resulted in an outpouring of resources for the homeless and impoverished of Fredericton. In the year 2021 alone, Smythe Street Church invested in the people of our city who were struggling with the effects of homelessness, poverty, addiction, and poor mental health.
The church family at Smythe Street Church gave more to the ministry of Care in 2021 than at any other time in the history of our church.
Tangible Results that Touch the Needy and Glorify God
Each year we see these acts of compassion in growing numbers…
In the past year alone, 69 individuals, through the direct intervention of our church’s ministry of care, have been prevented from being homeless.
The number of housed families expands to 126 when we factor in the partnership we have established with some key agencies in our city.
40 families were provided with an overflowing hamper of food at Christmas.
Dozens of families were provided with food assistance throughout the year.
Prescription costs were covered for over 15 individuals who could not pay for proper medication.
Over 30 families were provided with a home starter basket as they moved into safe and affordable housing, some of them coming directly out of tents into a warm bed they could call their own.
Advocacy with various social agencies and programs was provided for over 50 families and individuals.
On-site visits and care assessments were made weekly for those dwelling in tents at various spots throughout the city. This is a ministry of Care that was a product of the vision cast in our church. Bill, an SSC family member, faithfully and capably leads a ministry called “Under the Tent.”
Transportation costs were alleviated for 20+families.
This is only a very brief snapshot of the many facets of the Care Ministry at SSC.
Jill—Creative Arts Director—Smythe Street Church
At this point, I must introduce another key player in the advancement of Care in our church. Her name is Jill. The numbers you see above would not have been possible without her impassioned leadership on behalf of the impoverished.
It’s not so unusual that the connection would be made between the ministry of worship and ministry for those who suffer from poverty. Jill was moved by the truths of scripture many years ago, that state clearly, that our worship is not restricted to the faith gatherings of the body of Christ.
Our God-glorifying activity is also seen in how we care for the homeless and the marginalized.
Under Jill’s excellent leadership and passion for the hurting, the following has happened in our church and city…
Eviction Prevention and Stable Housing
The above-mentioned statistics defining the numbers for eviction prevention are a direct result of tireless efforts made to connect with and assess the needs of the homeless.
A Christ Honoring Reputation
The reputation of our church has grown to the point where various social agencies in our city have developed a deep and appreciated relationship with Smythe Street Church. Regular calls and collaboration have become the norm between Smythe Street Church and the people on the front lines of poverty alleviation in our city.
The result has not just been the direct relief provided for the homeless, but the establishing of a tremendous witness for Christ among those who work in social agencies in our city.
What God is doing through our church to show love and care for those in need has been amplified through mutually beneficial relationships and strategic partnerships with various agencies in our city who care about the same things we care about.
The ”By-Names” List
Smythe Street Church is seen as a vital partner with many agencies across our city, but…
One of these key agencies in our city is the “By Names” List. This is a working committee that identifies “by name” the people who are homeless—working to get them off the street and into a place of their own.
This working group was able to get 126 people off the street and into a safe dwelling during this past year!
It Gets Even Better
In conjunction with the United Way of Fredericton our church became the recipient of four newly constructed housing units, which will sit on a parcel of ground in our city (targeted completion is Summer 2022), and will house 4 people who will be rescued from homelessness and placed in a safe, beautiful, and functional apartment for as long as they are in need.
The properties were not only given to us free of charge (funded and built by local businesses) but there is a budget provided to fund the maintenance and upkeep of the properties. This was a result of the partnership that Jill has fostered with others in our city who care for the homeless.
Walking With Those in Need
A crucial element has been put in place when it comes to keeping the homeless housed. The need for friendship and companionship is key when it comes to the well-being of the hurting and marginalized.
Money is not enough.
In response to this three teams of six people were assigned one individual each for the period of one year with the goal of consistent, loving, supportive weekly connection. The result has been very encouraging. A marked change was seen in those who became a part of what is called a SUN Lite team.
Stability and well-being were strengthened where there had been consistent patterns of emotional, mental, and physical dysfunction. This was a direct result of the friendships that our church teams provided through SUN Lite.
A Growing Partnership
The ministry of Care has inspired other churches in our city. The SUN Lite ministry has expanded to include inter-church teams who are walking with our dear friends and enabling them to break the hurtful effects of poverty. This is a picture of a training event held at our church where key leaders from churches in our city were invited to learn how to be a part of a SUN Lite Team.
It is my belief that grace has been extended and hope has been ignited!
Wayne Flowers serves at Smythe Street Church in the Care, Connections, and Teaching Ministries.
In his free time, you will find him enjoying life with his wife, Brenda, and their family, playing music, or enjoying the outdoors.
Wayne loves hearing people’s stories of coming to know Jesus and inspiring them to use their gifts to serve Jesus.
Spring is springing across the land. Robins have landed in my backyard and gophers are chasing each other in fields everywhere. There is open running water, and the geese are moving away from their flocks and are separating into pairs.
This is the time of year for rebirth. A time when everything is fresh and new, and the dull dreariness of winter slowly fades into distant memory. Leaves bud and plants gradually appear out of the earth and fill us with the reminder of life, yet again, with their bright colours and fragrances.
How fitting that our Saviour chose this season to pay the price. How fitting that He chose Spring to die and then be resurrected so that we could have new life. How marvelous is the God who planned the whole thing! Not only His redemptive plan, but the timing of it could not be more poetic.
Everyone that I know, saved and unsaved alike, views Spring as a time of birth and regeneration. You can not help but think about a Creator in the midst of the explosions of life that are happening all around us.
As we contemplate the season of Spring and come into a place of total awe at how wonderful it is to smell the first rain as it washes the winter wasteland clean, it is an easy transition to ponder the wonder of how our Saviour is like that first Spring rain. His blood washes away the wasteland of sin in our lives.
While the rest of the world celebrates with Easter eggs, chocolate, and bunnies; there is a depth to the Christian celebration that gets missed by those outside.
I have had conversations with people who think that it is the weirdest thing to celebrate so horribly gruesome a death. I celebrate not the death, but the life. Yes, He died, but that is not the end of the story. Because of His death so long ago, I have life everlasting! That is reason enough to celebrate!
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18
Miranda Himmelspeck is ACOP’s bookkeeper and has been for the last 17 years!
Around the office, Miranda can be seen drinking coffee in one of her fancy custom mugs (which she creates—*talent*).
Miranda and her husband Kevin live in Calgary with their pup named Max—whose crazy antics keep their walks interesting. (Featured on Facebook if you’re curious.)
She attends High River Full Gospel Church and is an active part of their community.