Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Men
God takes ordinary men and makes them extraordinary. What separates the ordinary from the extraordinary is the Lord Jesus Christ living in their hearts. An extraordinary man lives with joy and rejoicing through the storms of life. When we lose connection with the “control booth” God will call out to us, “what am I thinking.” To know God’s thoughts, we must know his Word and our priority must be to love the Lord our God with all our heart. In the trials of everyday life we don’t need to wonder “what was God thinking.” When we walk in fellowship, His word is our word and his thoughts are our thoughts… That we may know our Lord Jesus Christ, the fellowship of his suffering, the supreme sacrifice of his death on our behalf, and the power of redemption when God raised him from the dead.
In marriage in order to know our wives, we need to spend time walking with them with intimacy in their presence. Husbands and wives need to take responsibility to love one another with the love of God. God will “gift us with suffering” according to Philippians 3. The gospels and suffering are closely linked. Jesus Christ redeemed mankind through his suffering and death. For he who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. To know God intimately, we must die to ourselves in order to live for him, take up our cross daily, and follow him. To understand perseverance, God designed for us to endure trials and tribulations.
Psalm 18 is about David’s rejoicing through trials because God’s love endures forever. Trials and tribulations and the pain of this world last but for a moment. Even the worldly kinds of love have a short shelf life. However the love of God endures forever. When our loved ones die, they will teach us the value of life, both in the here and now and in the hereafter. Pete’s wife Suzan reminds Pete, “we’ve had a great life and I’m ready to go.” In Psalm 18 David said, “I called upon the Lord and the Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” The “large place” is where we can see from God’s eternal perspective… where we can meditate upon the trials of life and know how to respond the way that Jesus did. Ordinary guys see from a “small place”…a short-sighted worldly perspective. They cannot see beyond their present affliction while they focus on the immediacy of the pain, distress, anxiety, and fear. However, from the large place of God’s eternal perspective, we can see beyond the cares of this world. John 8:32 says, “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The context of this verse is God’s eternal perspective of salvation. Jesus Christ said that he himself is truth. Truth is forever. Truth is the only way. This verse answers all the questions of life. Jesus Christ is the truth… He is the meaning of life itself.
In the Word of God, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the wages of sin is death and that without Christ all are destined to judgement and death. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to save us from the wages of sin. Because of Christ’s payment for sin on our behalf, as Isaiah said, “though your sins be as scarlet, ye shall be as white as snow.”
Paul said, “I have been made all things to all men so that in all things I may save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel.” Ordinary is made extraordinary when we think and endure like the apostle Paul who said, “I have suffered all things for the furtherance of the gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ.” Even when we sin, God has given us forgiveness according to his grace and mercy. 1 John 1:9 says, “for if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we learn to run back to God for confession and forgiveness, then we can have fellowship with him and keep our old sin nature in check. Then we will live our lives preparing for difficulty, challenges, trials, tribulations and distress. When we are prepared, we will respond through the the storm like Ruth told Naomi: “Your God shall be my God and your people shall be my people.”
According to Suzan’s wishes, Pete, Suzan and their family agreed not to take any extraordinary measures to extend Suzan’s life. When they took her home they started feeding her a diet that “homeopathic experts” said would be good for her. She refused the “herbal remedies” and treatments. When Suzan refused, they decided instead to give her the pecan pie that she wanted. The lesson they learned was “let go and let God.” Let her enjoy these precious remaining days of her life with her family and friends. Suzan is living with gratitude that her life is being sustained and lifted up by the continuous prayers of her prayer warriors. As God’s extraordinary daughter, she continues to teach her family, “joy is not the absence of pain, rather, Joy is the presence of the Lord.”
We’re living through extraordinary times and it will take extraordinary men to demonstrate how great our God is. When the storms and wind and waves and distress of life crash upon us, our house will stand if it is built on the firm rock. Jesus Christ is the rock…the firm foundation upon which we stand. Jesus Christ himself rose to the occasion through the darkest time. He drank to the dregs the cup of suffering, separation, and death. Through this extraordinary time, he rose to the extraordinary challenge… Jesus Christ who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross disposing the shame, and is set down upon the right hand of the throne of God. Therefore walk in the light as he is in the light and we will have fellowship one with another. This is a foretaste of what it will be like in heaven. Paul said, “do all things for the sake of the gospel so that we may share fully in what God has made us in Christ.” He has saved us by his grace. Our challenge is to become extraordinary men in extraordinary times, for we are his workmanship, his great work of art, created in Christ Jesus unto good works that he has prepared in advance that we should walk with him.
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,