Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Shepastor: “It Will Come Out in the Wash…”

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, KJV

“Things” happen in life. We experience good days and bad, ups and downs, excitement and the “dull-drums,” hope and some days despair. In my personal life, I have experienced seasons when doors were slammed shut in my face, hope for a particular situation or circumstance was dashed, disappointment and frustration were stifling and shoulders to cry upon were few. Can I get a witness?

During those difficult and painful times, hearing Romans 8:28 did not immediately cause feelings of sorrow to dissipate. Quite honestly, while in the throes of tribulation, hearing “28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose…” was down-right annoying! However, retrospectively, I have learned the power, healing and truth that God’s Word in this passage provides.

As life unfolds, the disappointments, trials, tragedies, unjust situations, twists and turns position us to have, see, receive and give things that would have never been possible without them. No one in their right mind wants struggle, trial and pain. Although not coveted, the gifts they provide are invaluable. Our human experiences uniquely prepare us to help, heal and lift others. We also learn that God’s timing, God’s plans, and God’s special directives for our lives are so much greater than anything we could have imagined for ourselves.

One door closes but another door with greater blessings open. Relationships end and God brings the right ones, the best ones into our lives. Losses occur, but new life in amazing ways spring forth. The valley prepares us for the mountain.

If you are in the midst of a trial filled season, by faith, stand upon the promise of Romans 8:28. No matter what you face, you will win. No matter what the disappointment, God will turn it towards favor in your life. No matter the pain and sorrow, God will give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…God WILL take everything in your life and make it work for your good.

We don’t understand today, but in days to come, “it will come out in the wash.” In some instances, we will gain clarity of why things happened the way they happened. In other instances, we will not get the answers until we see Jesus. Trust God. Stand upon God’s promises. Know that you are in His heart always. Allow God’s peace to calm you. Lift your head and your hands in praise. God will give you the victory!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Shepastor: “Will You Trust God’s Timing?”

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-10, NIV

It’s hard to operate on somebody else’s time. Independence can be a wonderful thing. I remember I could not wait to get my driver’s license because I was tired of having to wait until somebody picked me up and then having to wait for them to take me home. When I turned 16, I thought the world would stop spinning on its axis if I did not get my driver’s license.

I remember my daddy taking me out to the old Rubber Bowl in Akron, putting up sticks to mimic the cones to teach me how to maneuver, how to parallel park etc. I thought I had it down pat until it came time to take the test. Two times I failed because I either touched or knocked over the cones. I received a letter that informed me that if by the third time I did not pass the test, I would have to wait six months. You should have seen me cyring and praying out to the Lord, “Lord, PLEASE help me to pass this test. Praise God, I did!

I didn’t like it, but I had to wait. Waiting is no fun. The scriptures have given us many examples of the agony of waiting. Abraham and Sarah had to wait until they were well into their golden years before the promise of a son was fulfilled. Hannah had to wait to see if God would grant her petition for a son, all the while enduring the cruel taunting of her husband’s other wife, Penninah, mocking her and calling her barren.

Moses had to wait and wander in the wilderness with the rebellious Israelites, who, no matter how much God did for them, still managed to argue, fight and complain themselves into losing what God had in store for them. Moses had to wait to finally see the promised land. Simeon had to wait as he ministered in the Temple, asking God to allow him to see the glory of the coming of the Lord, the child Jesus. Mary and Martha had to wait, wait for Jesus to come after they sent an urgent message that their brother Lazarus had died. They had to wait and watch and wonder.

And sometimes, we have to wait, and watch and wonder. Waiting like Job for our “change” to come. Waiting like Sarah or Hannah for something to be birthed in us, waiting like Moses to just get a peek at what God has in store maybe not for our generation, but that which is to come. And sometimes we have to wait for the Lord to come and resurrect that which has died and seems to have no hope.

It’s not easy to wait. Waiting can be hard. Waiting can be discouraging. Waiting can be debilitating. We gain peace, however, when we learn that we can trust God’s timing.

We see the short view. God sees the long view. We see today. God sees eternity past, present and future. God sees. God knows. God will make everything to fall into place according to God’s perfect timing.

Can you trust God to make everything beautiful in His time for your life?

Your peace, your life depends upon it. Remain in God’s timing for your life. Resist the temptation to chart your own path.

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Shepastor: “God Sees All and Will Answer…”

Do not move an ancient boundary stone
or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
11for their Defender is strong;
he will take up their case against you.
Proverbs 23: 10-11, NIV

Something unjust, ugly and painful is happening in the pharmaceutical industry. Somewhere along the way, medicine manufacturers made a decision to place revenue above human life. Medicines designed to control life threatening allergic reactions, epileptic seizures, diabetes, cancer, post-partem depression, post-surgical pain etc., have become proverbial lottery tickets…the winnings going to the pharmaceutical industry. This is a social justice issue. God is not pleased.

Recently a journalist whose son suffers from a rare disease was a victim of this vicious tactic, raising the price of a vile of medicine 97,000%, literally. Today, Shepastor highlights this treachery and encourages readers to prayerfully consider ways that we can address this unethical practice.

Voting season is just around the corner. May we do all that we can to raise our voices at the ballot box, become an informed electorate and prayerfully stem the tide of greed driven “health care” practices.


Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Shepastor: “The Unfolding of God’s Plans”

Genesis 50: 15-20 (Bible in Basic English)

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all of the evil which we did to him." 16 They sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father commanded before he died, saying, 17 'You shall tell Joseph, "Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you."' Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, "Behold, we are your servants." 19 Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The sons of Jacob, 12 in all, born to different mothers but the same father, had sad, difficult and deadly attitudes toward one another. Some of these attitudes were prompted by dysfunctional structures set in place before they were born. But in the midst of the mess, God still unfolded His plans. Two mothers, Rachel and Leah were placed in a dysfunctional situation. Jacob, desiring to marry Rachel, made a deal with her father Laban to work 7 years at the end of which, he’d be given the privilege of marrying his daughter. That was the plan. However, Laban, had another plan – a trick. Long story short, Laban would get Jacob to “eat, drink and be merry” so much so that he married Leah that night, thinking it was Rachel.

Therefore, Leah was an unloved bride. Her children were born out of trickery. She was in a house filled with resentment. Rachel was devastated because her father took away her beloved husband. Jacob eventually did marry Rachel, but she was unable to bear children, so she “gave” her servant girl to him to have children for her. Rachel’s plan was to have children through her slave girl. The slave girl had no choice, she had no say. She was simply given to Jacob to “breed” some sons. Same father, a different mother. Leah also ended up giving her slave girl as well to bear children – another mother, same father – another plan. Summary, 12 children, 4 mothers, one father – great dysfunction. Fast forward – Rachel finally had a son – Joseph. He became Jacob’s favorite son. Differences made between the children, jealousy, hatred and resentment set in – great dysfunction.

Jacob gives his son Joseph a gift – a coat of many colors. He evidently didn’t give his other sons anything – just Joseph, causing greater jealousy, resentment and anger against Joseph – great dysfunction. Joseph has a dream one night that the sun, moon and stars bow down to him – he shares the dream with his brothers and they say, “come, let us kill this dreamer…” Cain and Able being repeated all over again. – Great dysfunction.

Long story short they threw him down into a deep well and sold him into slavery and told their father he was dead. But God had another plan. Go back and read this story in total. You’ll see God moving in miraculous ways, taking Joseph from the lowest point of prison, false accusation and sure death to becoming the highest official in the land, next to the Pharaoh. God gave Joseph the grace to give this response to his brothers, (verses 18-20 from the Bible in Basic English)

18 His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The poet William Cowper declared,

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

William Cowper

Even in the midst of great dysfunction, God has another plan. Even when it looks like all the odds are against you, God has another plan. Even when it looks like boobie traps have been laid all around you, doors seeming to close before you, enemies seem to be gathering together against you and it looks like you’ve played your last best card – God has another plan. While all of these unfortunate things were happening, God was making Joseph. God was molding Joseph. God was preparing Joseph to be a great and mighty Leader who would not only end up saving his brothers that hated him and sold him into slavery, but God would use Joseph to save the nation of Israel.

When you are faithful, when you are committed to do things God’s way even in the face of hatred and resentment from others, even in the face of pain and disappointment, even in the face of lies and false accusations – God is looking, God is watching, God is moving on your behalf. Joseph provides for us a great example. He didn’t try to fix things on his own. He didn’t try to repay evil for evil. Joseph just kept trusting, obeying and believing. Therefore, God exalted him to a place of honor and great responsibility.

In an article in the Cleveland news paper The Plain Dealer a few years ago, a minister shared this story…
“Blooming in the Mud”

“I saw some beautiful flowers at Euclid Creek. They were growing in mud and bird droppings and broken branches.. What most of us notice are the flowers. We tend to see what we like and ignore what makes things happen. We may see the things that support us as disgusting or unpleasant, but the things you dislike are basically what wake you up to the truth…Mud and bird droppings make the flower bloom and you are the flower.”
Proverbial mud and bird droppings produce the flowers in our lives…There are times in our lives, seasons in our lives when it looks like everything is going wrong and everything is going against you. But God is working and moving in ways that you are not able to see, in ways that you are not aware of, in ways that seem impossible. In each situation where Joseph was treated unfairly, treated harshly, denied a chance to “tell his side of the story,” God was working on his deliverance.

Even when people forget the good you’ve done to help them, God is not going to forget your labor of love. Even when those you’ve done the most for turn their face in a different direction when you need help, God will help you. Even when it looks like there is no one to walk with you as you go through the difficulties and struggles of your life, God will stand by you.

Here’s a great lesson from Joseph. When God delivers you, don’t try to repay your enemies. Don’t try to rub their misfortune in their faces, but if he or she is hungry, feed them. If they are in need of clothing, give them something to wear, if they are in trouble and call upon you, help them any way you can and God will continue to exalt you and He will cause them to repent and turn from their wicked ways.

I heard a story the other day about two women who lived in the country. For the purposes of this story I’ll call them Mary and Sue. Mary had a nice little home. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was her home and she had raised her family along with her husband there for many years. But Sue, her neighbor hated Mary for some unknown reason. Sue had a chicken coup near the edge of Mary’s property. And every time Sue would clean her chicken coup, she would dump the mess from her coup into Sue’s back yard.

But Mary never retaliated. She just kept tending to her garden on her property. She kept speaking to Sue whenever she came out of her house. She kept teaching her children to be respectful of Miss Sue, even though she was mean and disrespectful to their mother. Well, in the process of time, Sue became ill. She could no longer tend to her yard. She became bed ridden. But something wonderful began to happen in Mary’s yard.

The mess that Sue had flung into Mary’s yard, fell on the garden and caused the flowers in her garden to blossom and bloom. The flowers were so beautiful that Mary decided to pluck some and prepare a bouquet to take to Sue. When Mary went into see Sue, she gave her the beautiful flowers. Ashamed of how she’d treated Mary all these years, she asked for forgiveness and asked her, where in the world did she get such beautiful flowers, and Mary replied, “all that mess you flung over into my garden from your chicken coup helped to fertilize my garden and now I have these beautiful flowers.”

Take the mess that is flung into your life and fertilize your garden. Learn all you can from the mess and let God fertilize your life. Take the bitter and give it to God and let Him make it sweet. Remember, in the midst of it all, God is unfolding His plans in your life. Beauty is unfolding for you in due season! Won’t you trust him today?

Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris