Archive for: May, 2014

God’s Blessings

May 27 2014 Published by under Life, Ministry

By Dr. John Bueno

John Bueno 10 09The Book of Isaiah is one of the most amazing books in the Old Testament. It is the background and basis for all that occurred in the New Testament. Hundreds of years before it was fulfilled, God revealed through the Holy Spirit His promise of redemption for mankind.

 

Isaiah 51:2 should inspire us all as we serve our Master: “But Abraham was only one when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation” (TLB, emphasis added).

 

Sometimes it seems as if we’re working alone, or at least within a very small minority God has called to share His wonderful message. Even surrounded by millions of people, it is easy to feel isolated. We are tempted to believe our contribution is insignificant in the great scheme of things. However, God’s word to Abraham serves as a guarantee to us all that with the Lord’s blessing we are a great majority.

 

I need and want God’s blessing upon my life, and I am sure that is your desire as well. As you read this, pause to breathe a prayer and open your heart to God’s blessing. When He comes into our lives, everything changes. The thing that seems so impossible can become a reality in God’s will and purpose. The blessing of God is essential for anything we do. No matter how good our training or talents might be, we will be ineffective unless we have God’s blessing upon our lives. The exponential fact of God’s blessing is unbelievable. God took one individual—Abraham—and made a great nation that is spread across the globe even today. He wants to do the same with us.

 

The promises of God extend to all of us. I have a word from the Lord for your life: Seek His blessing today in all you do—“But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”

 

Dr. John Bueno is the President and Founder of El Salvador Schools, Liceo Cristiano, and previously served as the Executive Director of Assemblies of God World Missions for 14 years. He can be reached at jbueno@globaluniversity.edu.

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The Power of His Presence

May 12 2014 Published by under Life, Ministry, Missions

By Rev. Joel Ellis

joeyellisIt was late at night when we arrived at the old Russian-built hotel, deep in the heart of Bulgaria. My friend and I had traveled from the US to meet a missionary and plan for a construction project in a city on the other side of the nation. My luggage didn’t arrive and we had a long journey ahead of us. We asked the missionary if we could simply drive through the night to get to our destination. We were only scheduled to be on the ground for 3 days.

He said, “Sure, if we want to die. There are mafias here that control the roads at night. They will certainly stop us, take our vehicle, and kill us.”

So we decided to stop at dusk. The only hotel around was old, dark, and gloomy. The phones were out. It was cold outside and the radiator in the room didn’t work. My fatigue gave way to my imagination and at one point I thought, “If I die out here, my family will never find me.”

As I lay in bed that night, I remember a very isolated, lonely feeling come over me that I’ve never forgotten. It was into the darkness of that night that Jesus spoke his presence. “Don’t worry, I’m with you.” And with that, I drifted off to sleep.

One of the most meaningful words in the Bible to me is the word “with.” It speaks of presence and friendship. It wars against feelings of loneliness and isolation.

God reminds his people of his presence throughout the tapestry of Scripture. He displayed his presence in visible ways (pillar of cloud and pillar of fire, Ex. 13:21) to build confidence and give direction. He reconfirmed the promise of his presence, “I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous,” (Josh. 1:5,6). John wrote of the presence of God on earth, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14). Jesus knew his disciples would feel abandoned, so he said, “I am withyou always, even to the end of the age,” (Matt. 28:20).

It is one thing to be alone in a healthy way. At times we all need space to pray and think and regroup and breathe with no one else around. Jesus did. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray,” (Luke 5:16). There is certainly a time to be alone.

It is an entirely different matter to feel completely alone and isolated. It is especially difficult even while surrounded by people on the job, at school, or in the ministry. It is into this feeling that God breathes his presence. “For the life of the believer, one thing is beautifully and abundantly true: God’s chief concern in your suffering is to be with you and be Himself for you.”[1]

As I write this, our family is in the process of recovering from the sudden death of my brother’s wife. It has been a very painful journey riddled with questions. We may never fully understand all of our “Why” questions, but we’re learning that we don’t need answers as much as we need God’s presence.

Today, be reminded of God’s presence through David’s words, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” (Ps. 23:4).

 

Rev. Joel Ellis serves as the Vice President of Global Operations for Global University. He can be reached at jellis@globaluniversity.edu.

 

[1] Tullian Tchividjian, (2012). Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free. David C. Cook, 12.

 

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