Glad you stopped by this evening. It’s always good to sit out here on this hill after a thunderstorm has passed by. The air is crisp and clean and the grass always smells so good in the evening. Have a seat here I’d like to tell you about some things the Lord has been teaching me. His visits with me out here are so special and enlightening to me. I have a story to tell you while we sit here and look at this great night sky. Some day I hope to tell you about the five brothers and their sister that use to me come sit with me here but that’s a story for another time.
I was born on a Wednesday morning on September the 4th many, many, many years ago. That morning in that little red brick hospital in Western Oklahoma there were three babies born all within a short time of each other. Two were boys and the other a girl. Over the years I have visited from time to time with the other boy and know of his faith in Christ as well as his ministry for the Lord. I know the direction of my life and of his but have often wondered how the life of the young lady went.
I suppose having known the events of that day led me to contemplate them all in more detail while visiting this hilltop. When I was thirteen I would sit on this hilltop and meditate about the awesomeness of life. I knew that undoubtedly there were other babies born around the world on that same September day. Some, I don’t doubt were born deep in the jungles of Africa. I thought about our positions and places in life for all babies born on that September day. Why was I born in the land of freedom with the liberty to attend a Christian church, attend Sunday School to hear the Bible stories taught there and most of all hear the Gospel of Christ preached? I could count the number of bibles we had in our home and I would think about how my brother and I would listen to the radio preachers on the radio late at night on the powerful Mexican radio stations along the Rio Grande River. Why was I afforded all of these opportunities of Grace and others were not?
Then my thoughts would turn to those other kids that were possibly born on the same day yet in a different land and growing up with far less privileges in hearing the Gospel preached or even having access to any bible. What was the difference. Why was I here on this hilltop with the knowledge of God in my heart and being a believer in Jesus the Christ as the Savior of this world and others had never heard His name? This was not easy for me to understand and I struggled to know some real answers to these issues.
One doesn’t live long in this world before they understand that there are real differences in people. The way they look, think and act. The color of their skin, whether they are rich or poor, lovely to look at or lacking any attractiveness at all. There is an element in my extended family that is very racist. I never understood the racist attitude and could never figure out why they hated someone else because of the color of their skin. Why was the soul looking out through the eyes of my physical body born in the particular race that I am? I thought about why some are born into wealth and others are born into poverty. Why are some born and grow to be very beautiful and others have nothing physically attractive about them? Why are some born with deformatives and others appear to be the perfect specimen of health? I wondered why some were smarter and their schooling came so easy to them and I had to work at my studies so hard? When we would bring our school report cards home my little mother would say “I wish you were more like your brother and get better grades!” I never understood why math and the sciences came so easy to him but trust me, I was with my mother on this one. I wished it was easier for me too.
God would visit me as I would think on these things and helped me work through these issues in those early years. One can take the position that this is all left up to fickle chance, the luck of the draw or that which they call fate. As I studied the vastness of the heavens above I knew that He who created all things had not left them or us to our own devices. The deists believe that God created this universe but then backed away and left it alone. God visiting me on this hilltop made me to know His presence, that He was still here and His love was toward me. In these night sessions He taught me that there wasn’t anything in me that caused me be to be born the with the color of my skin, the financial rank of my family or whether I was to be smart or good looking. There was nothing in me that gave me bragging rights or complaining rights. I accepted His teaching and incorporated it into my life.
It was many years later that I heard the Apostle in teaching the great treatise on salvation, to the church in Rome, say “Nay but, O man who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?” The Apostle Peter wrote of the complexity of Paul’s writings “in which are some things hard to be understood…” and his treatise on salvation in the book of Romans is by no means an exception. It has been a battleground for theologians over the years. However it is very clear in this book that God is the potter over the clay to make these earthen vessels we inhabit and He is very clear that we are in no position to rail on Him for His work. God led me in these paths while I was very young and latter verified them by unfolding His written word teaching me that He is still here and working in our lives everyday. Yes, even today. Even the Apostle James verified this when he said “Go to now, ye that say To day or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”
Think about it the next time you are tempted to look down on others because of their looks, their financial level, their intellect or even their race. Not only is it wrong but they that do so are guilty of mocking the handiwork of God. I speak of the way God created us… not of men’s works as whether they are sinful or not. What do you and I have that we brought into this world? What shall we take with us when we leave? One song writer wrote “The last suit you wear won’t need any pockets”. That next breath we breathe is God given, the providence of your next meal is God given. The steps you take this day are ordered of Him. The Grace just to make it through this day is God given. Today and everyday may we acknowledge Him in all of our lives and live life as pleasing to Him, being thankful to Him and offering unto Him the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise, yes to Him who has called us into this Glorious Kingdom of Grace. Looking back let’s Thank Him!…Looking around let’s Praise Him!…Looking ahead let’s Trust Him!…Looking up let”s Expect Him!
That’s how I see it on this Pilgrimage to that Continuing City!