Wrather Thoughts

A daily journal of the thoughts, ideas, and life of Ed Wrather who is a pastor and writer of the Burning Bush Devotional www.theburningbush.net wrather@dobsonteleco.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Today is my mother's birthday and we took some time to visit her and my Dad and had a good visit. We also visited with my mother-in-law. Visits like these are joyous but also difficult because of the decline in the health of those we love. Of course we remember the great times we had with them in the past but know they cannot be repeated. If we knew then what we know now we would have treasured those times even more greatly as we were experiencing them.
The Burning Bush Devotional
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It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. - 2 Samuel 11:1-4.

A 25-year-old woman in Germany became a little upset over the Saturday night television viewing options. She was angered because of the slate of boring programs and even more boring reruns. Her solution? Probably what we all ought to do - she threw the television out of her fifth floor apartment window. Veronika K. told newspaper reporters, “There was nothing decent on so I just threw the thing out the window.” Thankfully, no one was injured as a result of the falling television set and Veronika later calmed down and watched another television with her family.

Veronika’s real problem is not with boring television programs and reruns. Her real problem is that she is so bored she relies on what the entertainment industry happens to provide to give her enjoyment in life. Boredom is a dangerous condition as King David found out. David’s boredom was a result of his shirking his responsibilities. How did he shirk his responsibilities? His army along with his mighty men were out fighting battles during “the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle….” It was during this time that David grew bored and found some adulterous entertainment with Bathsheba. David was in the wrong place at the wrong time and apparently so was Bathsheba. Maybe they were both bored. Bathsheba may have been bored because her husband was out fighting battles and was exactly where he was supposed to be.

It has been said that “idle hands are the devil’s tools” and there is much truth in the saying. Allowing yourself to become accustomed to the boring and non-productive activities of the world is just asking for trouble. The world sees nothing wrong with laying around all day every day and doing nothing. Unless you miss work or cause someone else some inconvenience and then the world does care.

How can we avoid the trap of boredom and unproductiveness? The Bible says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).” How do we “walk in the Spirit?” In Romans 6 we are told, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:12-13).” The key thought for avoidance of boredom and for walking in the Spirit is presenting yourself or submitting yourself to God. Instead of allowing sin to reign in your life give yourself to God - walk in the Spirit. If we have given control of our lives to God and are walking in the Spirit we will not be bored.

There are always choices in life and we can choose to be bogged down in the worldly choices for entertainment or we can step outside of the world’s boring box. We can willfully submit ourselves to the will of God and in doing so we will find that we have been given the cure for boredom. We will have life!

Monday, October 20, 2003

The Burning Bush Devotional
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While Waiting

And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are--northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.” - Genesis 13:14-16.

When I was saved 33 years ago, I received the first glimmer of God’s call upon my life to preach the Gospel. However, being a baby Christian I quickly forgot about it. In 1979 while my wife and I were sponsors for a group of young people at camp during the summer God spoke to me again. This time it was clear to me that He wanted me to preach His Word and I was willing. Jeanie was not as willing and could see little evidence in my life of any capability of preaching or of being a pastor. This was perhaps one of the most painful moments of my life - hearing God’s call but being prevented from responding. It is difficult having a calling, a vision, a dream from God and not be able to immediately launch out to see it fulfilled.

Abraham encountered something very similar in that God gave him a promise, a dream, a vision, a call when he was about 75 years old but the beginning of the fulfillment of this did not occur until much later. In fact, Abraham was about 25 years older before his first descendant, a son, was born. Think of all those years of knowing what God wants in your life and you want it too but it is not happening. Why Lord? Abraham and Sarah try to bring about the dream through their fleshly efforts. First, they try adoption, and then they try having a substitute mother but neither of those courses of action was God’s will. God had another plan even though it did not seem feasible according to human wisdom.

From the perspective of 24 years, I can see why God used my wife as a timing mechanism. From 1979 to 1990, God moved in my life to grow me and prepare me to be able to be a pastor. Through the hours of prayer about why I was waiting and when the waiting would be over, I came to recognize the Father’s Voice. Through the years of reading and studying God’s Word, I grew in knowledge and wisdom of His will and plan. Through the years of increasing responsibility in the church God molded me into the shape necessary for future service. God did much the same in the life of Abraham. During those years of waiting God molded Abraham into the father that was needed - a father of faith.

I can laugh and rejoice now about how God used my wife to delay and then as an indication that the time had come for the call to become a reality. Because when God revealed through prayer and His Word beyond any doubt His will - Jeanie was more than ready at that point to move forward in faith with me.

Looking back now, I can see that for Abraham and me those years of waiting were not wasted years. No, those were valuable years of preparation for the service that was ahead. Without those years, I would have been at a loss when encountering many of the situations that I have faced as a pastor. With those years, I have been able to be an instrument God could use to a much greater extent than without the years of waiting.

Has God given you a promise, or a dream, or a vision, or a call? Are you frustrated because you have not seen fulfillment? Are you tired of the waiting? Are you anxious to move on to the next stage? It is in the waiting that God prepares you for the fulfillment of what He has for you. It is through the praying and the searching of His Word that you grow to become what is necessary to effectively fulfill all that God wants for your life. Don’t rush this time! Work hard at the preparation that you know is needed before you can be what God wants. Remember God is never late and He is always, always on time.