Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
It's about week six of the men's Bible study which, in spite of having a designated format, has recently taken to chasing rabbits. This is fine with me as long as they are good, healthy and applicable rabbits. 
The single greatest contributing factor for this development is Kevin. Kevin is a lean forty something, with piercing eyes and a socially acceptable southern drawl. He is also very animated when he speaks. He can be loud which combined with the animation, will make some people uncomfortable. When you get past that though, he is sincere and like all of us when we are honest, has some real questions about God, faith, eternity, pre-destination and all. Another characteristic of his is that it takes him five minutes to ask a thirty second question. Tonight, he is fixated on "What does God want from me? Why don't I hear Him clearly? Why doesn't He just tell me exactly what I am to do?"
Nugget:  Many, if not all have asked these questions, but few abide the answers. He goes on with his questioning - "I am an equipment operator, and when I pull this lever on a track-hoe, I know what it is going to do. If I tell it to go up, it goes up. If I tell it to come to me, it comes to me. I know what it's going to do, and I know why it does it!!" His focus turns to his Bible. "That's how I want God's Word to work. I want to pick it up, find what I want, and have the desired results. Why can't I have that!?" 
Now a confession from the pastor. This whole process took near a half an hour due in no small part to my thinking I had the answers; at least four of them, including drawings, charts and sports analogies. I thought I was waxing eloquently. It was crystal clear to me, but somehow wasn't making it to the targeted area, Kevin.  Finally, on the fourth attempt at his questioning in the which he restated all of the above, my co-minister Bill interrupted him and said: "You ainít in the operator's seat Kevin --- You the bucket".  The balance of the men chuckled a little, and Kevin was pinned back in his chair, with not a little water in his eyes. He got it immediately, while it took the rest of the guys a few seconds. Then somber silence as the full weight of the truth of Bill's words took hold. 
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch.  Most who claim to know Christ believe (though they would not admit it) in part or parcel, that they are the center of the universe, and God is little more than a Genie who will grant their wishes if they live and pray correctly. The Scripture is replete with the antithesis of this with things like: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not what I say?" Luke 6:46   Or, "Hath not the potter power over the clay....?" Rom. 9:21   Or, Phil. 2:13 which says: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."  Paul dealt with this attitude in Romans 11:34 and 35 when He asks (quoting the Old Test.): "For who hath known the mind of The Lord, or who hath been His counselor?"  "Or who hath first given Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?"  When we demand that God explain Himself to us, we are in Spiritual Mutiny to the fact that "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than you ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9.  Are you still trying to pull God's levers?  Are you striving to occupy the operator's seat?  You will have no peace till you realize, --- you the bucket.  God bless. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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