Even in the darkest storms of life, we can maneuver through emotional upheaval and make our place at His “throne of Grace.”
Even in the darkest storms of life, we can maneuver through emotional upheaval and make our place at His “throne of Grace.”
Last February, on my way to minister in Australia, I spent 13 hours on the plane beside a Professor of Evolution.
A week later, while touring an Australian wildlife sanctuary on one of my days off, I met the author of a book disproving evolution. I live in Oregon. The Australian author’s book was published in Oregon.
Meeting the professor of Evolution, followed by getting acquainted with the author of a book disproving evolution led me to conclude that neither was coincidental.
Then it happened again.
April 5th, while returning from serving the Lord in North Carolina, my seat number was beside another Professor of Evolution. Imagine my surprise! But then this sort of non-coincidence happens to me so often as to be typical.
“Are you a science teacher?” I said, politely interrupting his reading.
“I’m a professor of Human Evolution,” he said.
“Where at?” I asked.
I told my seat neighbor about sitting beside a professor of evolution on my last international flight. We both agreed that such a thing is so mathematically improbable as to be more than coincidence.
“I’m a Bible teacher,” I told him. (This is what I tell people when they ask, “What do you do?” It’s easily understood and avoids confusion and needing to try to explain my role in the Church to those without the grid to understand.)
The evolution professor gave one silent nod with a look like, “Oh whoopee! Here we go.”
I’m not the preacher that he hoped to never sit beside on a four-and-a-half-hour flight. You know the one. They mesmerize folks with “the Four Spiritual Laws.” As exciting as they may be, that sort of sermonizing doesn’t fit me and I don’t think preaching at people is all that effective outside of church environments.
So, no sermons from me while on the plane. But since the Lord arranged our seating, didn’t He want me to share my hope with the professor?
Before doing so, first I needed to learn why he’s an evolutionist when the evidence of creation by design is everywhere we look. I’m sincerely baffled by what seems obvious to me–every living thing is far too complex and intricate to be the product of evolutionary processes. Adaptation, yes. Evolution, one species into an entirely different species, no.Perplexed by what’s obvious to so many of us, I sought to understand.
My professor neighbor explained his reasoning and stated that his belief in evolution, as well as what’s printed in academic material, is based on unproven hypothesis. Additionally, he said that he believes creation by design also is unproven. He said that he believes that both are based upon stories invented by mankind.
Our conversation helped me understand where he’s coming from. Then when he paused, I invited him to understand where I’m coming from.
“I wasn’t raised in a Christian environment,” I said. “I was a latch key kid–being left alone for hours at a time was my reality. It was normal to be home alone.”
As I spoke, the professor watched my face with interest.
“When I was eight years old, I arrived home from school to an empty house. No one was home but me. My hand was on the front doorknob when I heard someone, who I couldn’t see, tell me to run from my house. There was no-one there.
“I ran to my next door neighbor’s when, before I reached her door, my house exploded into flames. I knew that the One who saved me was the Lord. I had been praying to him every night and, for nights before this happened, I had even asked for His protection.”
I kept my jaw firmly closed, because his surprised reaction totally surprised me, and my jaw wanted to flop open and my eyes wanted to bug out, but I kept them in their place. Relaxed. Calm. Unemotional. His jaw was in his lap…well, not quite, but almost.
As his jaw flopped open, I saw wheels turning in his profoundly intellectual mind. Well, no actual wheels, but his facial expression revealed that at the conclusion of my testimony he was in deep thought, and this blessed me.
Maybe something I said gave him a glimpse at a Christianity that he didn’t know existed or perhaps he’s now questioning his evolution-based theories. I hope both are true. And most of all, I hope that he will ask the Lord, “Lord, if You’re real, like that woman said, then let me know somehow that it’s true.”
Today in worship, it dawned on me that having wrong assumptions hinders what God desires to do with and through us in reaching those around us with His amazing love.
For instance, it’s easy to assume that the Professor of Evolution has zero interest in hearing why I love God.
But isn’t it just as easy to assume that such a person longs to hear about legitimate God-miracles?
The proliferation of bad, depressing, twisted news has created a vacuum waiting to be filled with encouragement, inspiration and hope.
It’s my belief that people everywhere want to encounter good news. Let’s love and honor those around us, and tell them about the time when the Lord helped someone we know, or when He intervened to save our lives, or how He healed us. Or_____. You fill in the blank.
Our experiences matter. When we share them, they make a difference—a big, big difference.
So, I thank our Lord Jesus for delivering me and my sister, when we were children, from not one but 4 house fires, and for seating me next to Professors of Evolution.
Shine your light whenever there’s darkness,
P.S. When I think about God’s seating arrangement, I’m amused and amazed. After all, I was diagnosed “Learning Disabled” and placed in Special Education classes. But He seated me next to Professors of Evolution. This is far too amazing! Isn’t that just like our Good and Wise Father?
Please don’t sabotage the future by neglecting the priorities of today. I feel deeply impressed to encourage you. Do not forfeit what will be yours in due time.
Don’t be like Esau who gave into his natural urges and exchanged a bowl of stew for the inheritance of wealth that was rightfully his. (Genesis 25: 29-34.)
No matter where you live or what you do, God has something better than meat, potatoes and gravy for you. Your life is of greater substance than lentils, vegetables and broth. There’s a reason you’re alive. Don’t fall for the savory aromas that fill the air around you, because a “bowl of stew” is a cheap price to pay for losing what never can be replaced.
Esau received from his brother Jacob his appetite’s desire. That delicious, warm, aromatic stew entered his mouth, his stomach, and then where did it go? We all know. In a huge way, he flushed his heritage down the toilet. What he lost would never be regained.
Throwing something of worth away isn’t what any of us desire for our lives. I’m sure if I asked you, what are you throwing down the toilet? You’d look at me quizzically. But reality is, we live in an era when, if we’re not living purposeful lives with God blessed priorities and goals in focus, we could easily flush the precious and valued down the drain.
Cell phones, social media, television, hobbies, careers, shopping, socializing, and serving others all have worth and are important in their intended use. Certainly, food also has some value, for sure, and if you’re dying of hunger, its value increases enormously. But there was no lack of food in Esau’s life, only a lack of self-discipline, wisdom and foresight.
I urge you, please don’t sabotage your future, your loved ones, or your inheritance by living as though a cheap “bowl of stew” is more important than what’s truly precious and valued in your life.
Pamela Koefoed © Copyright 2017
Part II coming soon~
What if your candidate isn’t elected? Here’s another equally exciting question…How will you respond if your candidate is elected?
As votes for the 2016 Presidential Elections are tallied and their totals announced, remember in whom you believe. Many Christians will choose Ms. Clinton and many Mr. Trump, some another of the candidates.
Let’s each think how we will respond when the results are in. If the candidate you believed the most capable isn‘t elected…No panic. No fear. No name calling or accusations. No hostility. No judging those who voted for the person who you would absolutely never vote for. No depression.
Regardless of who becomes America’s next president, those who are lost, broken and dying need, as their vital necessity, to encounter the life changing power and love of God. Pray earnestly for God’s kingdom to come and to spread from sea to shining sea. And remember in whom you believe.
Respond with praise to the Lord for the blessings that we each enjoy, for the love of family, for friends, for our homes, for eternal life. Praise Him for the abilities that you have, for the freedoms that are yours, for the opportunities that you have each day to learn, to work, to give, and to bless others. Praise Him for the good that’s happening all around you, whether you live in a congested city, or in a rural area like I do.
Don’t let a single complaint slip from your lips. Instead, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord”–Psalm 150:6.
As followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to respond in grace, godliness, and love. How we react to crisis (perceived or real) sends an amplified message to the world around us. If indeed God is our Lord, then we are the people of His bright and shining light that shines brighter as the day of Christ’s return approaches.
I’m finishing this word to you, my brothers and sisters, with a simple but sincere prayer that you will be known by your love and faith in God. I pray this for myself as well. May I be known as someone who tried to love well and someone with child-like faith in God.
Remember in WHOM you believe.
God bless each of you, your families, and God bless America.
I’m remaking the Ignite School of Ministry website, a project that I complete in increments due to repetitive motion injuries to both hands. I stepped away from the computer for a short break. When I returned, look who I found in my chair.
Max always has “important” input. He wants whatever I’m doing to include fun. I know this by a certain sparkle in his eyes and by the way he perks up his ears. Several times a day, Max tells me “play, play, play!”
My baby doberman reminds me that our Heavenly Father wants us to live today while we keep our eyes on the goal ahead of us.
From Max, I’ve learned the following:
Wishing you joy in your journey,
Copyright 2016 Pamela Koefoed
Every time I’ve set aside early morning time to seek the Lord, I belly flop. My eyes become heavy with sleep, my mind wanders, and my heart feels guilty for not being more holy like the rest of everyone who knows anything about being a Christian.
No fewer than a dozen times over the years, I’ve heard preachers and teachers of the Word say that we prioritize our lives based upon whatever is most important to us. They say that if Jesus is number 1, then this will be evident by how we begin every day. He should be first in the morning before we do anything else, they add, because the Bible tells us so.
Somehow the Priority Principle has never jelled in my mold. I want it to. My morning routine involves prayer, but I wait until later in the day for that deeper experience with Jesus that I’ve grown to cherish.
In my world, most everyday is filled with unending tasks and responsibilities—Believe me! Sometimes the “to do” list is incomprehensible. In addition to work and the ministry, there are always household chores, and friendship and family ties that keep me on my toes.
Such a busy life! I’m chasing after my shadow as I try to catch up with myself.
Think with me for a second; Is Jesus less important to me than He is to you if you begin your morning with your personal devotion time, but I postpone that aspect of my walk with Jesus until after I’ve tackled a project that weighs on my mind?
You see, not only do I become very sleepy while in early morning prayer, but the way I’m wired may be different than the way you’re wired. Until I clear my schedule of urgent matters—a report, for instance, that must be delivered today to my local judge and to all of the legal parties to a particular court case—it’s almost impossible for me to focus my entire heart on the Lord. But once I complete the projects for which others depend upon me, I’m more able to enter into “The Secret Place” of His Presence.
Keeping Jesus a priority takes a little doing in a busy life, but I can’t imagine a day without being with Him. In fact, right now as I share this with you, my heart is stirred with desire for Him. So, I’ll sign off now and hurry to complete that court report responsibility, and then I’ll have an entire afternoon to be with the Lord.
Jesus is without question my priority, and I hope He is number 1 in your life, too.
Keep going after God.