SOME REALLY GOOD LEMONADE! Read Acts 8

Ever wonder why tough times come your way?  That’s really a silly question…who hasn’t and is still breathing.  Why me?  Why this? When will it end and how?  What’s going to happen next, Lord?  If you’re there right now , remember you are at the point of a new beginning, a new opportunity from the Lord.  Reading Acts 8, we discover that a ferocious persecution has broken in Jerusalem against Christians making it impossible for most believers to stay safely within the walls of that ‘holy city’.  It was so dangerous that the Bible says they ‘scattered’ …to save  their lives.  Moaning and groaning and complaining and and whining about all their problems and the lack of appreciation of  those religious folks who should know better; and those big, bad Roman soldiers with their mighty weapons!  Not quite: ‘Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went'(Acts 8:4).  Wherever the dangerous rip-tide of persecution took them, the Word of Jesus went with them.  Boldly they spread the Good News of Jesus everywhere they went.  I’m sure they didn’t like being persecuted.  None of us likes going through turbulent times.  But what they had, and what we have, is the assurance of God’s presence with us, His hand of mercy going before, above, underneath and ahead of our every step.  Think about that for a moment today.  Just pause and remember Immanuel, ‘God with us’.  He is…even and especially when the dark clouds roll in blocking out the sun and light of our life.Let me be personal for a moment.   I remember that time when I was so hurt by my old denomination.  It was like they were telling me to get out of Jerusalem or else; and while you’re at it  don’t preach anymore, anywhere. Period.  Attending a local pastor’s Bible study, I shared my dilemma with my fellow pastors.  One of them, one of the oldest (probably younger than me now!), maybe he’d been to Bible school for a year and that’s all, a 2nd career minister after being a car mechanic most of his adult life, with a very small church.  When I told them how I felt and wondered what to do, he asked me point-blank : ‘did God call you to preach?’  I answered an unequivocal ‘yes, He did.’  My friend then said, ‘Why do you listen to those people?  If God calls you to preach, you preach.!’  That might not sound like much to you, but those words from God’s mouth through my friend’s lips changed my whole life.  I went home after Bible study, wrote a short letter of resignation to my old denomination, and started preaching again,  then for 5 years hosted  weekly personal testimony/evangelism TV show, then was called to be pastor of a local church , where I just finished 14 years as pastor, their longest serving minister in their over 100 years of ministry.  And now I am their Pastor Emeritus.  Wow!  Could I ever have imagined what God would do through that terrible time in my life.  Did I love going through it all and can’t wait for the next time?!  No, of course not.  But I do love the One who turned my lemons into the best tasting lemonade I’ve ever enjoyed!  How about you?  Going through whatever?  You won’t go alone and the outcome is going to be better than even you or I  could ever imagine.  Trust me.  No, trust Him!

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