Every so often you may read the headline that a scientist or group of scientists “accidentally” discovered something while doing something else. Their whole plan and purpose for the scientific research and experiments may be put on hold as they travel down this new path of discovery. It is an exciting time for scientists, the general public, and perhaps the world at large when these events happen. It provides hope for the future and research, perhaps in medicine and perhaps in the quality of life as we know it.
But what if these moments were not truly “accidents”? What if these moments were part of God’s given plan, allowing us to discover something small in the midst of a bigger project? After all, God created this world and everything in it. He knows it completely, and He recognizes what we have yet to discover. Perhaps it is part of His plan.
This should change our approach to research and science. Instead of being disappointed when findings and research don’t go the way that we intended them to go, instead maybe it can be another avenue worth exploring. A treatment may not cure cancer, but it may help somewhere else and someone else. The opposite can be true as well. A medicine may not help cure its intended disease, but it may help in cancer battles or other illnesses. We can’t put limits on the power of God, and we can’t put a limit on what He will allow us to do in the use of His world.
Instead of automatically labeling an undesired result in scientific research and experimenting an accident, I think it should be labeled an opportunity. It should be an opportunity to see what God has in store, to see where He is leading us, to see what blessing He has in store with the use of what He has created. It should be an opportunity to explore His world even further than we already have, and use it to the best of our ability and knowledge for His glory and for the betterment of others.
I look forward to the opportunities, discoveries, and new research that will come in the year 2024 and beyond. I pray that God will continue to show us what He has for us in His creation and also through the minds and skills of scientists, doctors, nurses, and even perhaps the non-scientific people. I trust that God can use whomever to show His creativity and to be a blessing to whatever community He chooses. In the end, God is in control, and we are stewards of the gifts that He has given us. Here’s to the exploration of more of those gifts and the opportunity to share them and use them for His honor and glory in this world.
The Wheeled Worshiper
“Ending the Year with Thankfulness”
One of the last big holidays we celebrate at the end of every year is Thanksgiving. We come together in person or via technology and are able to see and think about the blessings that God has given to each of us. We also come together as churches and communities in various ways of giving thanks to particular people by volunteering, donating and serving in our communities in various ways. Thankfulness is sad and shown a lot during this month and at this holiday.
The end of celebration for this holiday does not stop with the holiday of Thanksgiving. Although Christmas is seen as a time for giving, we also have the opportunity to say thank you, first and foremost to our heavenly father for the gift of his son. Then we have the opportunity to “thank” many people in our lives by the giving of gifts, a special card, or maybe a donation to a charity or group. What a great way to end each year: the opportunity to give thanks in a myriad of ways to many different people
As we anticipate entering into a new year, we get to be reminded once again of the lives that we lived in the previous year. We get to end the year thinking and thanking and we have the opportunity to begin the new year, the same way. We get the opportunity to thank God for a new year of his blessings and his opportunities yet to be unfolded. We get to thank God for the journey that he has carried each of us through. We get to think and imagine with God’s help what the new year will bring. And ultimately, experiencing those moments when God brings them into our lives, we get to thank him for the opportunity.
Some of us know some of the opportunities that will await us in the year of our Lord 2024. It may be the opportunity to attend college and study a particular passion that God has led you to. It may be the opportunity to pursue a career in a field you have long trained for, prayed for, and ultimately have been prepared for. Or it may be a totally new avenue for you to discover and take the first step in a new journey. Some of us do not know what this next year will hold and we will be trusting and believing in God even more fully than we ever have before.
In whatever situation we find ourselves in, in whatever opportunity we have put in front of us, we have the greater opportunity to be thankful. Thankful in the moment, thankful in the simplicity, thankful in the complex. Whatever the situation brings us we can be thankful that we have a God that is in control of it all. Whether we have the five steps down pat for our next adventure or are going into a new opportunity with eyes wide open, we have the opportunity to be thankful.
As we enter the year of our Lord 2024, we do so with thankfulness, thankfulness of where we have been in the past year, thankfulness of where we are now as we enter this new year and thankfulness that we know that we have a God that can carry us forward into the future. Thank You, Father, for always being with us even when the road seemed to end, the idea seemed to stop or the passion seemed to die. You alone know the plan for our lives and know the next steps that need to be taken. Thank you for what you have given us already in our lives and the opportunities that we will be given in this new year. Above all we thank you that we can move forward in the glorious reminder of the birth of your son. How can we not end each year with thankfulness?
The Wheeled Worshiper
An ongoing war in Israel, a political cycle at home, people fighting for equal work and equal pay, these are just some of the things that are playing out in our nation and world today. Bills that need to be paid, deadlines that need to be met, children that need to be taken care of, these are just a few of the many things that are playing out on the home front of many people’s lives today. I’m sure each of us could add their own items to the list, items that we are constantly thinking about, praying about and wondering about. It is in these moments where it’s hard to follow the title of this column and “seek Jesus.” How can we do that when our lives are so filled with the world and the immediate tasks in front of us? How can we seek Jesus when he seems so far away from our daily lives?
One important thing to remember is that Jesus is closer than you think. He is a friend that “sticks closer than a brother.” That doesn’t change regardless if you are going through a valley or are reaching a mountaintop in your life. That doesn’t change if you have been plugged into him and his word daily or if you have drifted away from him. As Jesus remains closer, so does his Word. It can be found in the book on your desk, the phone or other device you’re constantly on and it can also be found in your heart, remembering the words that have been a part of your life that may have been pushed aside or forgotten about until recently.
Jesus is waiting for us to find him and return to him once again. He is waiting for us to renew that connection that we had with him. This takes constant maintenance every day. Yes, we may be attached but how strong is the attachment? Are we putting God at a distance while we try to figure out earthly problems on our own or are we stuck like glue to the heart of the heavenly father through his son Jesus Christ? This is not a double checking of our salvation, it is a more of a reconnecting even more closely to our heavenly father, his son our brother, and the work and power of the Holy Spirit. There’s always room for us to get closer and Christ will always welcome us into a deeper relationship with him.
No matter where you are today and no matter what earthly pressures may be pulling you today, continue to seek Jesus. He is ultimately seeking you. When you find each other, you can grasp onto his tender love for you, his ultimate loyalty to you, his death and resurrection done for you. In doing so, you can hold the line and pass it along to someone else, someone who unknowingly may be also seeking Jesus. This isn’t some heavenly game of hide and seek, Jesus wants to be found and he desires to have a relationship with us. Turn to him, continue to seek him even now, even in the midst of a world and life which may seem untethered. Seek Jesus and you will find him, call on him and he will answer. May seeking him become our hearts’ desire, our soul focus and ultimately our greatest joy and reward.
The Wheeled Worshiper
The title of this piece alone should fill us with confidence, loyalty and praise to an Almighty Father who is always in the battle regardless of what it is. But does it? Does it fill us with confidence? Do we really give up our daily struggles to an Almighty God who is above everything in this world and everything that Satan can attack us with?
I pose these questions because they are serious questions for myself and I would imagine that they are for many of us. Too often, we want to look at the battle from a worldly perspective, from an earthly point of view. Instead of giving it to God and placing it at the foot of the cross we attempt to put our own spin on it, trying to use the world’s methods to overcome and advance. We can’t just seem to take in full humility that when Jesus says that we should “take heart” because he has overcome the world that that isn’t just a statement that should placate our hearts for a time. That is a statement that should resonate with our souls and lead us to ultimate praise, honor, glory and reverence. It should become so much a practice of laying our lives at the foot of the cross that the path is well-worn and easily identifiable.
Too often, we attempt to take the easy way out, a quick solution that the world may offer or even a solution that has a partial Christian truth to it but is misinterpreted by many. We often think that with God in the picture and partially doing what he wants, success must be the only outcome. Instead, we are often left dejected, hurt, and our souls are downcast as we attempt to reconcile why a perceived idea of God fell so flat on its face.
How do we really put the idea of “the battle belonging to the Lord” into practice, not just part way but in complete submission to our Heavenly Father? It starts by understanding and declaring that we have no hold or understanding of our earthly problems and situations except for by the grace of God. Yes, situations may happen to a variety of people, but there is still an element that we have to understand about ourselves in a situation. Why is this happening to us? What is God teaching us? These answers may not be readily identifiable but they are part of the journey that we can take in understanding who we are and who God is.
Once we fully submit the situation into the hands of God, we wait. This may be the toughest part for some of us (I know that it is for me). God knew what this situation involved even before came into our lives so furthermore he can know how to best handle it. Sometimes he does so by using us and we have to wait for his leading and guidance in regards to how best we can be a part of that process. Sometimes he leaves us out of the work using other people around us and perhaps strangers that we don’t even know to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes nothing happens and we have to wait until God is ready to move and his plan is ready to be fulfilled.
So, the next time a situation comes into your life no matter its size or scope, I encourage you to ask yourself the following question: does the battle really belongs to the Lord? If you can answer that question with a no then you may be headed down a road of struggle and disappointment. However, if you can answer the question with a faith filled and full hearted yes, then you can sit back in the loving arms of the Father knowing that he will work all things for your benefit and will call you forward when it is his time not yours. We are never the general in these battles. Instead, we are called to be willing and faithful soldiers to the cause and work of Christ.
The Wheeled Worshiper
Moving Forward in Faith
Summer can be a downtime for many people where they rest from their labors for a time, cutting back and enjoying some free time to do activities, go to events, and just spend time with family and friends. This is not a time where work or the job is completely abandoned, however. People still have to go into work, still have to fulfill the duties that they were hired to do, perhaps at a more relaxed pace. The same can be said of the church community. While summer is a downtime for many Bible studies, Sunday school, catechism, youth group, and other opportunities that doesn’t mean that the church is not at work. And furthermore, it does not mean that God is not at work in hearts, lives, and situations.
It may be stated in many different forms but one of the main goals of the church community is to move forward together in faith. We do that in many of the groups that are active in the various church seasons and perhaps participation outside the church as well. In the midst of it all God is preparing hearts and minds, putting things in place, for great things to happen in his kingdom and world and especially perhaps in the small corner of the world and church community of which you are a part. Understanding this can be a worthwhile reflection not only for leaders but also for future participants.
The church community does a great job of putting resources and opportunities out there for the church to participate in. The question we must ask ourselves is “Where is God calling us to go and grow?” Essentially, where is he calling us to move forward? For some, this may be a big step, such as a change in careers, for others it may be a small step such as taking on a new responsibility within your church or the surrounding community. Whatever it is, recognize that God has called you forward into the task.
At the beginning of the new church season, your church may put out many different opportunities for you to serve or to participate. You may hear the announcements, read the bulletin, or be encouraged to join particular opportunities but you also may feel overwhelmed. It is in these moments where I encourage you to do two things: first and most importantly pray that God will continue to lead you to where he wants you to be, whether that be in a men or women small group Bible study or taking on a leadership role as a volunteer in some capacity. Second, I encourage you to be brave enough to ask about opportunities you feel led to. There are people that are willing to explain to you what is happening in a particular opportunity, and they would love your input and for you to become a part of that aspect of your church community. Whether big or small, God has given us the opportunity for a reason, and he has placed us there for a reason as well. We may not find out until the end of the season what the reason was, but in the meantime, we were given the opportunity to grow in the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through his church.
I know preparations are being made even now for new opportunities in Bible study, volunteering activities, service trips, leadership roles and many other countless options. I pray that God will lay on our hearts and minds the opportunities that he has for us so that we can not only move forward in our understanding, in our growth, but ultimately in our faith. And I pray that that faith may continue to burn brighter in each and every opportunity that we get to have as a church community, not only uniting us together as a church, but also uniting and leading lost souls to the foot of the cross.
The Wheeled Worshiper