The Minor Prophets Speak To Today
Zechariah 8:20-23 NLT
THE GREAT DIVIDE BETWEEN TRUTH AND FALSE BELIEF
If any one scripture speaks to the sins and Godlessness of some teachings within Islam today, God's promise to Abraham certainly does.
Abraham left his father's family and native land and went to the land God showed him. God clearly blessed him. And God has made many great nations from Abraham's children more than the promise of just one.
Few historical figures are more famous than Abraham and we Christian believe, and our scriptures from God teach, that through Christ, one of Abraham's seeds, he has been a blessing to others.
Those who blessed Abraham were indeed blessed and those who treated him with contempt were cursed including those who rejected Abraham's God and his moral standards. Just ask Sodom and Gomorrah.
But the last sentence helps set a divide between true followers of Abraham. The last sentence speaks to the sins of Godlessness in the actions and teaching of too many within Islam today. They curse all families of the earth but themselves. Their actions, words, and death-dealing do not bring blessing or belief in Abraham's God.
This last sentence remains unfulfilled through Islam, Judaism, and even those of us in Christianity. All families on earth do not yet know of Abraham's God and have not received a blessing through his children.
AN AUDACIOUS PRAYER
When I lived in Columbia, South Carolina, I became very discontent and despaired that God would ever use me for the calling that had brought me to Columbia International University for training. I felt stuck in a low paying job, crushed by debt, and unused. Of course, those who knew my life then know God was using me. Through Facebook, even I get to reap the blessings from the things I did back then.
But, one day when distressed, I prayed a very audacious prayer. A prayer that looking back sounds very selfish. I said to God, "If you will not let me leave this place them bless Columbia for my being here." This prayer came direct from reading God's promise to Abraham. Looking back, I know God himself lead me to ask that prayer. He was about to teach me a lesson and prepare my self-depreciating heart for levels of leadership I never dreamed I'd fulfill.
First, God pushed me to become active in the Midlands Homeless Services Coalition. They had been asking, but I had not taken on any role. Within two years, we won more funding for homeless services in the Midlands from both federal and state sources. In that short time, I lead a group interested in veterans services in developing a transitional housing facility with same site wrap around support services. We began a work training program with the National Home Builders Association. I lead a Listening Project that laid the foundation for empowering one of the local neighborhoods and secured funding to start a youth program at a local service center. These programs outlasted my time in Columbia.
God indeed blessed Columbia for my being there.
As these things were progressing, through the relationship I had developed with HUD, I began starting other homeless coalitions in other regions of South Carolina, places I had never been to. Two began within that time and one won major federal funding. Another, based on the work we had done, organized itself after I left.
I remember saying to God as I drove to Sumter, "Okay. This is enough. You made me a blessing in Columbia and now regionally. Thank you."
You see, I was very nervous about this push into leadership outside my comfort zone.
But God was not done.
Next, through HUD and these coalitions, we began to build a statewide coalition for the homeless to strengthen the amount of funds available from HUD. That organization officially launched on my last day working in South Carolina, but I knew in advance that it and the region work I had done had in fact blessed the state of South Carolina for my being there.
However, before that official launch, I said to God, "Okay, okay. You have blessed me more than I ever dreamed and blessed Columbia, the Midlands, and now the State for my being here. That is enough."
But of course, to God that was not enough. During that time, the Department of Veterans Affairs contacted me and asked me to serve as an advisor to help other groups succeed in securing money from the VA. They invited me to Washington to show off our plans. God was making me a blessing on the national level.
Now, those who were Boy Scouts under me at Ridgewood Missionary Baptist Church are probably objecting. God used me there to have a long-term blessing in many of your lives and you have moved throughout the country and by your lives you too are blessing this nation and in some instances the world. But to me all of that was hidden as the years unfolded. You were simply one of the most enjoyable parts of my living in Columbia as was all my unfolding involvement at Ridgewood Missionary Baptist Church.
The day came when God moved me on. Beyond expectation, God gave the position of Executive Director of World Relief-Chicago. There the dream I thought I had trained for became an awesome reality. I worked through the churches with trauma victims from the Bosnian War. I still view that time as one of the greatest parts of my life.
And, you know what; through my work in Chicago, God provided opportunities that blessed at least two nations overseas.
Be careful what you pray! God may pull an Abraham on you.
AN UNFULFILLED PROMISE
Which brings us back to our passage from Zechariah:
Still point of a turning world by Patrick Emerson some rights reserved @flickr.com