Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Fourteen of our pastors and youth ministers enjoyed a period of time at Alto Frio for our annual Pastors/Staff Retreat. It was led by Dr. Chris S. Osborne of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The fellowship was good, the share time was good and a brief time away from our busy schedules was also welcome. Thanks to the Alto Frio staff for taking care of us while we were there. Dr. Osborne led us to what I considered 3 key points: Prayer, Fasting and God’s Timing.
Prayer: God may answer our prayers as Yes, No, Wait, or something different. Many times, our prayers seem to go unanswered. Why is that? It was pointed out to us that many times our prayers are too self-centered instead of God-centered. Think about that! We ask God for what we want, maybe how we want it, and when, etc. Maybe our prayers should reflect that of Jesus’ prayer before going to the cross when He said “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). In James 4:15 we read: “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” Evaluate your prayer life and see if it measures up to God’s terms.
Fasting: A brief period of time going without food for the purpose of seeking guidance from the Lord in an urgent matter. In Acts we find a few examples of this: “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…”(Acts 13:2). “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:3). “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord…” (Acts 14:23). We don’t hear of this much at all today. And yet it may be something we should reconsider. We fast as needed, to seek the Lord in a matter, a very Biblical practice and something we can do as individuals or as a group.
God’s Timing: In the book of Esther, when Mordecai had learned of the edict to destroy and kill the Jews, he mourned deeply. Then he sent word to Queen Esther, his cousin, about this edict and asked her to go before the King on behalf of her people, the Jews. Mordecai shared these words: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Could it be that these words are for us today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, that God has placed us where we are “for such a time as this?” We have the opportunity to share the only hope we have…through Jesus Christ…to many who are looking for hope. Think about it: we as Christians are the only light that can penetrate this dark world we are living in. Let’s let that light shine like never before in our hearts, our words, our behavior and our lifestyle.
During these days and months and years ahead, let’s commit to praying more, fasting more and accepting the fact that God has placed us where we are for His time and purpose. Thank you for taking this to heart. I appreciate all you do in serving our incredible Heavenly Father.
Your Fellow Servant,