Taking the Word to the World

Archive for November, 2011

The Broken Pieces of a Stained Glass Window

Guest post by Candra J. Poitras

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV).

Ever dropped something made of glass? Come on. In all truthfulness pretty much everyone has the typical glass breaking trauma story. Mine may or may not have something to do with the Rodenbush’s butter dish…or I guess I should say, former butter dish. The bad thing about glass breaking is that you can’t put it back the way it was. After you have shattered something on the kitchen floor, it isn’t exactly possible to simply put it back together. Once broken, there is no going back.

Photo by Buzz Hoffman

Ever felt much like that broken glass? Lying on the floor, shattered in dozens of pieces. Unfixable. Permanently damaged. Past the point of hope. Perhaps you now feel as though you are broken into hundreds of tiny pieces and you will never be put back together into one whole piece again. The situation is a Mission Impossible; a dying cause. Or so you think. What if all your concepts are wrong? You see, for the most part, the breaking of glass is always viewed as a bad thing, when in reality it can be very good.

In the Middle Ages, a new art form became popular and has carried through even till today—the fine art of the stained glass window. I don’t know how much you know about stained glass windows, but I Googled them and everything, so I am now quite the expert. For all of you less informed in the art, stained glass windows start out as panes of glass that must be broken into pieces. Actually, more specifically, they aren’t broken at all, but rather, cut to fit a specific design. The glass isn’t stained, but painted in great detail by the master’s hand.

“For I know the thoughts that I have towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God had a specific plan for you. The blueprint is already made; the end of your story written. Now, here is the thing. What if all the things we have been through, all the trials, heartbreaks, failures, and disappointments, what if all the things that left you broken, what if they didn’t leave you broken at all? Perhaps, it was the Lord cutting, shaping, and molding you to fit his master plan. What if the things that you thought left you broken, useless, and stained, were actually the Lord shaping and cutting you into the masterpiece He always intended you to be?

Romans 8: 28-30 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and who he called, them he has also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

First of all, “all things work together for good to them that love God.” I think a lot of the time we can interpret that incorrectly. It does not say that everything will always be good, that we won’t have problems, or pain, or suffering. It says that if we love God and are called, He will take all of those things and use them for your good.

Secondly, “to them who are called according to His purpose.” How many of you feel like God has placed a calling on your life? Ever feel like you have been called and things have gone on, and mistakes have been made, and you feel disqualified a bit from your calling? Well, that isn’t what my Bible says. My Bible says that as long as you love the Lord and are called, He had a plan for you before you were even born. He already knew the end of you story as well as the beginning and middle. And He justified your past. Therefore, he knew long before you were born how things were going to turn out and He has already taken care of it.

The last component of a stained glass window is the glue or mortar that puts all the pieces back. It comes along and fills in all the cracks. It is the finishing; the thing that holds our world together. Our strength when we are weak, our comfort when we are weary, our help in time of, He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is Daystar, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Wonder, Great I am, and Counselor. His name is Jesus; the glue that completes the puzzle of His master plan for your life. Without the last component, you can do nothing. If you step out His will and purpose, you become nothing more than little broken pieces of glass. His master plan for your life has to contain both you and Him. Without both, the plan cannot succeed.

The pain may be great, though the process may not be pleasant, but if you will just submit yourself to His master plan and allow Him to be the glue that hold your world together, the end result may just stun the world with its beauty. And don’t you find it interesting that the most intricate stained glass windows are the ones that must be broken/cut the most? Surrender to His plan, follow His will, stick to Jesus in the process, and know that the end result is going to be simply beautiful. Allow Jesus to fill in the cracks of your life and shape you into His masterpiece.

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The Next Right Step

I’m not sure why finding the will of God is so difficult. But, it is. It’s as complex at eighteen as it is at fifty-one or seventy-three years of age. You would think that it would be only a colossal task for teenagers making their journey in life. I guess that unveils the secret right there. It is summed up in the word “journey.” Too often we focus on the will of God as the destination, the completed journey, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Our focus is faulty. The journey is never over as long as we have breath to breathe and a heart to do something for God and His people. We mistakenly focus on the road in the distance and bypass watching the single steps.

The journey—the Christian walk—has always been about traveling from one place to another. Like any journey it takes time; a long time. The road is etched with ups and downs. Occasional tough times meet our moving onward and upward. There are mountains and valleys. Sometimes we falter. Sometimes we fall. But, we get up and keep on going.

Like Kathryn Scott beautifully penned, “We still believe and though the journey has been hard we will confess your goodness…” I love it when she sings from “soaring wings to the shattered dream.” I’d quote the whole song here but it’s really not the Lord’s will to break copyright laws.

So, what is the will of God? It’s not so much about the destination as it is about the journey. Amazingly, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, ESV). Was it some sort of blind faith or ruthless, risky abandonment? Probably not! He just took the next right step. The will of God is all about taking the next right step. We don’t have to know twenty steps or ten miles down the road. Just get a grip on the next step. God told Abram, “Go.” And he went. He journeyed one step at a time.

Like the heroes of Hebrews 11, we are all pilgrims on this planet. They believed. They had faith. They trusted in God’s promises. They obeyed His Word; the road map in life. So it is with us. We are not moving aimlessly or living without direction; walking around in circles. Our steps are ordered. They are established. Remember, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way” (Psalms 37:23, NKJV). We are walking in step with God. He blazes the trail. It sounds so easy. It is. However, we make it difficult. How? By trying to see the whole trip instead of today’s instructions.

Abraham’s servant testified, “As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey” (Genesis 24:27, NIV). How did that happen? The answer is simple. He heard from the master. He embarked on a journey. He believed he would accomplish his purpose. He found the will of God one step at a time.

Seeking God’s will for your life? Just concentrate on taking the next right step.

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Another Modern Day Miracle

Last fall Bro Miguel, the pastor in San Lucas, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala had three heart attacks on a Sunday afternoon after church. After weeks of testing and medicines her was informed that he had five dead spots in his heart, all of his arteries were blocked with only 30% of his heart functioning. Unfortunately there was no one in Central America that could help him. Medically the only possibility of help was in the US or Europe. But Bro Miguel had faith that God would heal him. After many prayers and much faith, this past Sunday he read the doctor’s letters to the church. The doctors are dumbfounded. Their report states that he has either received a heart from someone else or his heart is completely healed. God completely healed him! The doctor said it is like having a transplant because his heart is like the heart of a young person. All the dead parts of the heart are now alive and functioning. The doctors claim it is “unexplainable.” This is the hand of our miraculous God!