The Journey - Hungry Hearts Bible Study to re-launch!
Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is more interested in our journey than our destination!
He has left us here on earth to know Him and make Him known.
So, there is this calling from God to the hungry-hearted to come together to “to grow in the grace and true knowledge of Jesus Christ”
by "studying to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing His Word”(2 Tim2:15) with the goal of revealing and experiencing "the mystery hidden from past ages and generations; which is, CHRIST IN YOU,(Col 1:27), our only hope for moving from glory to glory along this amazing journey we call the Christian Life.
Our last get together in the summer of 2014 was at my house in Brookhaven which, after 25 years, was abruptly sold. We had to sell as a result of being forced, illegally and unethically, to sell a business I started in 1986 and built over 27 years into a source of income that would provide for us for the rest of our lives and, by contract, be past down to our children. The price paid was pitiful, 10-15% of what it was worth. And to make matters worse, it was forced upon me with no advanced notice, providing no time to adjust our expenses.
Therefore, a financial crisis began! I cried out, “I am exceedingly afflicted: Revive me O Lord’ according to Your Word!”(Ps 119:107). And again, “Trouble and anguish have come upon me; yet Your Word is my delight! (Ps 119;143)
Emotions were raw from being cut off from a vocation I enjoyed, people I loved and a secure financial future I had prayed for and seen God produce! God's will, though, was not to “stay the knife”!
He allowed all this to vanish right before my eyes, while, at the same time, I was journaling and crying out for Him to protect me from the greedy intentions of unprincipled men.
Perplexed over why He let it happen and feeling forsaken (though I knew deep down the truth, “I, the Lord, will never leave you or forsake you” Hebrews 13:5), I began seeking the face of God by passionately pursuing Him through reading and meditating on His Word. I also struggled to forgive those who had wronged me and to be satisfied with Him and Him alone "no matter what”.
I prayed, “Wondrously show your lovingkindnesses to me, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them.” (Ps 17:7)
At 64 years of age,I fought anxiety over how in the future to provide for my wife, my family and the other people and ministries I supported. But through tears and a few self-initiated pity parties, God made me experience the radical difference between:
1) Reacting to life's circumstances resulting in fear, worry and doubt that lead to feelings of futility and emptiness or,
2) Responding to God's promises resulting in faith and hope that lead to feelings of peace, hope and love.
Yes, and even to true forgiveness for those who had wronged me and been humanly responsible for the entire crisis.
But God made me accept the truth that He is Lord of my life and was the One behind it all!
"The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1)
During this time, I reread the entire Book of Job and wrote 11 devotional entries based on Biblical metaphors that I hope to publish in a book in 2016 entitled, The Eyes Of Your Heart, which will contain a total of 31 entries and become a source book for ways to Biblically “behold, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord Jesus and be transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, by means of the Holy Spirit .”(2 Cor 3:18)
God graciously used my focus on writing these devotionals to keep the eyes of my heart beholding Him during a time of affliction, tribulation and testing.
He broke through to my heart and reminded me what my one and only responsibility is in the Christian Life;
"to keep on receiving the abundance of His grace and the gift of righteousness in order that I might reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ”(Romans 5:17), and to keep on believing in His character, His unwavering faithfulness and wonderful lovingkindness!
At last, He put an end to my vacillation by speaking the words of Isaiah 43:18-19 into my life in the latter part of 2015,
"Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it? (I could miss what He was up to in my future if I was stuck in the past!)
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, and
yes, rivers in the desert.”
Within a month, my son-in-love, Josh, and dear daughter, Sarah (after just one year of marriage) opened their home to Nancy and I!
For the next 367 days, they rolled out the red carpet for us and we had the privilege of moving from our 4000sf home of 25 years into about 400sf, a warm and beautiful bedroom and bath within their home! Every day was like staying in an upscale “Bed and Breakfast” where all meals were included and the friendship and sweet daily fellowship made it a little piece of heaven on earth!
In the beginning of 2015, God again took His written Word and made it His living Word to me and Nancy by saying to us in our homeless state,
"The latter glory of this house (the one I will lead you to) will be greater than the former (the one I gave you to raise your children in for 25 years),’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place (the new “Grace Place”) I will give you peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” This verse became the overriding theme of His work in our lives in 2015, was emblazoned on our Christmas card and now appears as a beautiful work of art, created by a friend of Sarah’s, on the wall of a sunroom we added on to the an old home God enabled us to remodel and make our own.
A series of amazing things happened during 2015, only explainable by God “wondrously showing His lovingkindnesses to us as He promised He would!
Now, as we begin our journey through 2016, it’s time for hungry-hearted men to gather together again and seek, through the in-depth study of God’s Word to know how to live by grace through faith, not by works through human effort, and experience the resurrected, indwelling Lord Jesus as our very Life.
Life, all of it, is in Christ!