Saturday, June 24, 2023

Uninvited Visitor


Photo by Nature's Pic's 2006

I was working at my desk one morning when I heard an insistent hammering on the roof, so loud that I at first thought a burglar was trying to break in! Then I realized how strange it would be to choose the roof as an entry point, given numerous sliding glass doors in our house.

I was then reminded of a scam I had read about many years ago, where “roofers” who “happened to be in the area” offered free “inspections” to unsuspecting seniors. The con men would then actually damage the roof, claim the leaks were pre-existing, and extort vast sums of money for the “repair.”

But before I got too far down the rabbit hole of speculation, I called to my husband Richard: “What is that ungodly racket?”

He did the typical man thing, grabbing his BB gun before racing out the door to check on the situation. He soon returned, reporting that a small bird was causing all the fracas, about the size of his hand, tan- colored with dark speckles, and a long, curved bill that it was incessantly jabbing into our roof!

As much as I love birds and other wildlife, I feared that this uninvited visitor would damage the roof we had replaced a few years ago, at great expense. An Internet search confirmed that this species of woodpecker often did attack roofs, in search of insects to eat, or worse yet, to make a nesting cavity, and could in fact destroy the roof in the process.

My desk was right under the besieged portion of the roof, so I commanded Alexa to play heavy metal, hoping that the din would scare away the woodpecker. But to no avail. Its piercing jabs continued, punctuating the heavy metal like a unique percussion instrument. The woodpecker was bad enough, and the blaring rock band and its obscenities assailed my ears and my spirit. Enough! Alexa, stop!

In the relative quiet that ensued, I searched further online and learned of solutions for this problem, which entailed understanding the bird’s seemingly aggressive behavior. The woodpecker was merely trying to satisfy its basic needs for food and shelter. So, the ecofriendly solutions involved providing for these needs in ways that would not destroy our home.

I told Richard that all we had to do was to hang a suet feeder, as woodpeckers apparently prefer suet to roof-dwelling insects, and a medium-sized bird house to lure him away from our unexplainedly attractive roof. We opted for the bird house first, and Richard happily spent the next few hours constructing one from scrap lumber, complete with a street address of our house number plus one-half!

Whether the woodpecker appreciated our efforts or not, he left our roof, at least momentarily, allowing us to enjoy the blissful quiet, interrupted only by the gentle chirping of cardinals that frequent our many trees.

Perhaps our uninvited visitor was inspired by the cardinals’ example to enjoy the natural habitat our yard offers. We have many trees that he could peck at to his heart’s content, whether for insects to eat or a hole to nest in, should he prefer that to our “guest cottage,” now hanging in a tree not far from his favorite spot on our roof!

This experience got me thinking about how we as Christians should react to unexpected visitors in our lives, whether a first-time visitor at church, a new classmate or coworker, new neighbors on our street, or immigrants from a foreign country. Once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven, we should try to be more like Christ each day, which is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2).

Are we suspicious of these uninvited visitors, concerned about how they may make us uncomfortable, disrupt our traditions or lifestyle, take away opportunities we had wanted ourselves, or utilize our limited resources? Do we misinterpret their attitudes or behaviors as aggressive, aloof or disruptive, and fail to understand the loneliness and isolation they may feel? Do we understand their needs for acceptance, belonging, and physical and spiritual sustenance, and try to meet these needs (James 2:15-16) as God shows us how?

James, the brother of Jesus, who was saved only after Christ’s resurrection, gave us practical wisdom for how to treat a church visitor. We should greet all visitors and welcome them with impartiality, making all feel at home rather than preferentially treating a well-dressed, prosperous visitor who might tithe more or attract wealthier visitors, while relegating the beggar to the back row (James 2:1-9).

At one church we attended, a retired sheriff was a member. He treated all men first-time visitors impartially, giving them a manly, back-patting hug – his way of discreetly checking to see if they were packing! An interesting blend of suspicion and hospitality!  

Laws given by God to Moses also addressed how strangers were to be treated by Hebrews in Israel. When harvesting their crops, they were not to harvest the corners of their fields, and whatever crops fell to the ground in the first pass were to be left there for strangers to glean, that their needs would be met (Leviticus 19:9-10). Ruth benefited from this practice first-hand, gleaning enough barley to provide for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi, especially as her future husband Boaz commanded his men to leave behind extra barley for her to gather, and to allow her to eat with them (Ruth 2:7-19).

The author of Hebrews urges us to extend hospitality to strangers, for in so doing, we may entertain angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2). The apostle Paul also tells us to be hospitable, to be kind to those of lesser means, and even to bless those who persecute us (Romans 12:10-14). The apostle Peter’s admonition is to fervently and selflessly love one another, which covers a multitude of sins, and to show hospitality to one another without grudging, as good stewards of the grace of God (1 Peter 4:8-10). Not surprisingly, hospitality is a virtue of the ideal woman Solomon describes (Proverbs 31:20), and a requirement for church leaders (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).

While we were lost, we were alienated from God (Ephesians 2:11-12; 4:18; Colossians 1:21) – His enemies (Romans 5:10; James 4:4); rebels against His Word and His will; and children of the devil (John 8:44), His archenemy. Yet once we are born again (John 3:3-8) by trusting Christ as our Lord and Savior, He graciously adopts us into His family (Galatians 4:5; Matthew 5:9; Luke 20:36), seats us at His family table, blesses us according to His riches in glory (Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19), and makes us joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).

Even now, Jesus Christ is preparing a place for each of His children to spend eternity with Him (John 14:2-3). Until we reach that Holy City, we are but strangers and pilgrims passing through a foreign country on our way to the Promised Land (Hebrews 11:13). We depend on God’s grace, guidance and provision, mostly realized through the kindness and compassion of fellow believers, to sustain us on that journey, May we have that same attitude toward uninvited visitors God places in our path, blessing them and ourselves through the joy of giving and hospitality!   

© 2023 Laurie Collett

Saturday, June 17, 2023

David Gifts His Son Solomon with His Godly Legacy and Kingdom

David presents the sceptre to his son, King Solomon
As we celebrate Father's Day, it is good to remember that no earthly father is perfect. King David was no exception, yet as a man after God's own heart, he gifted his son Solomon with his Godly legacy and passed on to him the reins of his kingdom. May all our readers who celebrate Father's Day have a blessed time with family, honoring the Godly men and leaders God has placed in their lives.

As Solomon became King, God granted his prayer for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-14; 4.29-32), also blessing him with wealth and power (1 Chronicles 29:25). He was therefore divinely gifted to take on the mission God intended for him – to rule His people, to judge them fairly (1 Kings 3:16-28), and to build His temple. Solomon’s father, King David, proclaimed to his princescaptains and stewards, in the presence of his officersmighty men, and valiant men, that Solomon would oversee the construction of God’s house (1 Chronicles 28:1)

David’s desireintention, and preparation had been to build “an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God” (v. 2). But God would not allow him to do it, for David had been a warrior and had shed blood, whereas Solomon would rule in peace (1 Chronicles 22:9), making him better suited for this honor (1 Chronicles 28:3).

Just as God had chosen David to be king over Israel, selecting him from the house of Judah, from the house of his father; and from his many brothers, he chose Solomon from all David’s sons to be David’s successor, to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel, and to build God’s house and courts (v. 4-6).

God had told David of this plan for Solomon, whom He had chosen to be His son, to whom He would be Father, and for whom He would establish his kingdom forever, if he continued to obey God (v. 7). This was a conditional promise, as David explained to Solomon in the presence of all Israel, the Lord’s congregation, and before the audience of God Himself (v. 8).

When a follower of God embarks on His divine mission, doing so before the church body ensures accountabilityguidance, and support (Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:25). David was passing the torch to his son Solomon as ruler over Israelpatriarch over the family (1 Chronicles 29:25), and as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It is therefore fitting that he did so in the assembly of his royal court, his sons, and Almighty God (1 Chronicles 28:1,8).

Usually God communicates with believers through His recorded Word (Psalm 119); sometimes God speaks to us directly (1 Kings 19:12), as He did in this case to David; and often He sends us a message via Godly counsel (Psalm 37:30), just as He revealed His plan for Solomon through his father. David announced God’s desire that Solomon would keep and seek for all His commandmentsknow the God of his father David, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind (1 Chronicles 28:8-9).

It is interesting that God referred to Himself very specifically as “the God of thy father.” In His complete foreknowledge, He knew that Solomon would be drawn away by his pagan wives to follow false gods (1 Kings 11), for He searches all hearts, and understands all our thoughts and imaginings. But if Solomon sought after the One True God, he would find Himpossess the good land of Israel, and leave it to his children as a perpetual inheritance. Conversely, if Solomon forsook God, He would cast him off forever (1 Chronicles 28: 8-9).

Because God had chosen Solomon to build His house, David urged him to take heedbe strong, and do it. He gave him floor plans for the temple porchhouses, and treasuries, with details for the upper chambers, the inner parlors, and the place of the mercy seat. All these were inspired by the Spirit, Who gave the design for the courts, surrounding chambers, and treasuries of the house of God, He also provided plans for the courses of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord (v. 10-13).

Here we see the Trinity represented by the Holy Spirit, with the other two Members symbolized by King David as the Father and Solomon as His Son. Solomon was chosen by God to build His temple, where His glory would dwell with men (2 Chronicles 5:14).

This foreshadows the plan of salvation, foreordained by the Trinity before the beginning of time, by which sinful man can be saved and have eternal life (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). God the Father would send Jesus Christ the Son, robed in human flesh (John 1:14), to be God dwelling with us (Emmanuel; Matthew 1:23), the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins, and the Lamb of God (John 1:29) reconciling us to Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:16). The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus Christ to obey the will of His Fatherendure the suffering on the cross, and rise again from the dead.

David not only provided Solomon with the temple plans he had received from God, and the Godly counsel to complete the task, but also material wealth of gold and silver for the temple instrumentsfurnishings, and altar (1 Chronicles 28: 8-18). “All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern” (v. 19).

Clearly this was not merely a passing thought that entered David’s mind, perhaps of his own imagination, but a detailed missive from God Himself, engraved onto his very being. When instructions from the Holy Spirit are that clearthorough, and detailed, we ignore them at our own peril (John 10:27). David recognized their origin and responded appropriately because he was in the habit of communing with God and listening to His voice. No wonder that God chose David to author so many Psalms!

Again David emphasized to Solomon that he must be strongfearless, and do what God had commanded, for the Lord God, even my Godwill be with thee; he will not fail theenor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:20).

God would empower Solomon in this project not only by His own guidance and David’s treasure, but by the rich human resources of all the people of Israel. The religious leadersartisans, and even the princes would be at Solomon’s beck and call, doing whatever he commanded to complete this great work (v. 21).

Praise God that when He calls us to His service, He provides all we need to fulfill His mission: fundingmanpower, and prayer support through fellow believers! May we be strong through the power of His might; courageous, knowing that the victory is His, and just do it!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Bible and Alcohol: What Would Jesus Drink?


Photo by DesignbyNur 9/28/2004

Many of those who argue that Christians can drink alcohol point out that Jesus Himself not only drank wine (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34), but even changed water into wine as His first miracle, at the wedding of Cana (John 2: 1-11). He even promised to drink “the fruit of the vine” with His disciples again in His new Kingdom (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). However, that argument evaporates if the “wine” Jesus created and will drink again was and will be new wine, or unfermented grape juice.

The Hebrew word for "juice" was not widely used in Bible times, and in fact it only appears once in the entire Bible (Song of Solomon 8:2), in reference to pomegranate juice. There are nine Hebrew words and four Greek words translated "wine" in the King James Bible. The word “wine” as used in the Bible is a general term for any grape juice product in various states of fermentation, including new wine, which was unfermented, freshly pressed grape juice.

“Wine” may even refer to grape juice so fresh that it is still in the grape clusters, which God describes as containing a great blessing (Isaiah 65:8). Modern science confirms the health benefits of grape juice, which is a rich source of natural antioxidants and polyphenols combating free radical damage involved in aging, cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.

And clearly Jesus Himself saw grapes as a symbol of goodness and sustenance, as He described Himself as the True Vine and us as the branches. He promised that if we abide in Him and He in us, we will bear much spiritual fruit, but that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:1-8).

In other words, if we are saved by placing our faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), His Holy Spirit enters our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). If we yield to His Spirit by dying daily to self (1 Corinthians 15:31), we can be fruitful in our works for Him. But if we quench or grieve the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30) and feed our flesh, we cannot be fruitful any more than branches separated from the vine can bear grapes.

Paul contrasts the life dedicated to fulfilling fleshly desires with the Spirit-filled life by saying: “[B]e not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), referring in this verse to fermented wine containing alcohol rather than to unfermented grape juice. Clearly, new wine cannot cause drunkenness, but alcoholic wine can.

Some Christians justify alcohol drinking by claiming that wine and spirits derive from naturally occurring plants that God created to bless us. By that argument, smoking marijuana and using hallucinogenic mushrooms would be acceptable, even though both can deprive us of the opportunity to be Spirit-filled, can impair judgment and can cause health problems or even death. Certain species of hallucinogenic mushrooms are highly toxic and often lethal.

Were marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and other harmful or poisonous plants present in the Garden of Eden for man’s “enjoyment,” or did they enter the world as part of the curse of sin and death following Adam and Eve’s fall? I suspect the latter, because thorns and thistles then entered the world to hinder man’s cultivation of the ground (Genesis 3:18), and along with these presumably came other noxious species used by Satan to trouble mankind and to tempt him to sin.

Let’s assume that grapes were present in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:12.29), because not only are they beautiful, but also delicious, healthful, and endorsed by Jesus, as discussed above. Did the grapes in Eden ferment into wine, via “natural” processes God allowed in this perfect Paradise?

I think not. Fermentation of sugar into alcohol requires yeast, now found on the skin of grapes. But was yeast present in Eden? Yeast is a form of fungus, with biological similarities to mushrooms (many of which are toxic, as noted above) and to mold, associated with spoiled bread (Joshua 9:5,12).

Yeast, or leaven, is also used to make bread rise, but it was only after the fall that man had to eat bread, made through his own grueling labor (Genesis 3:19), Leaven in the Bible is used as a symbol for sin (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1), and only unleavened bread was allowed for offerings and religious feasts (Exodus 12:15,19,20,39, etc.). Various species of yeast, such as Candida, can infect humans and cause disease.

Biochemically speaking, enzymes present in yeast catalyze, or promote the formation of, ethanol, or pure alcohol, and carbon dioxide from glucose, or sugar, present in the grape or other fruit used to make wine or spirits, and oxygen. The human body metabolizes, or breaks down, ethanol, to acetaldehyde, which is chemically similar to the highly toxic compound formaldehyde (used to preserve corpses), and then to acetic acid (the acid found in vinegar). Not only is alcohol directly toxic to nerve and other cells, but acetaldehyde can damage DNA, trigger chromosomal abnormalities, and promote development of certain cancers.

These reactions involved in human metabolism of alcohoi are known as oxidation reactions, meaning that they use up oxygen and generate free radicals, or extra electrons. Free radicals are the culprit implicated in aging, inflammation, and most diseases – essentially the biochemical mediator of the curse of death following Adam and Eve’s fall. An easily observed oxidation reaction is rust, referred to in the Bible as a destructive force depriving us of our earthly treasures (Matthew 6:19,20; James 5:3). And, as discussed above, grapes in their unfermented form are a rich source of antioxidants fighting free radical damage, helping to explain their many health benefits.

Some recent studies suggest that moderate wine drinking may be beneficial to health, but in these studies, it is difficult to separate the effects of the alcohol content of the wine from the known benefits of the healthful antioxidants and polyphenols in the grapes themselves. In contrast, the harms of alcohol to the brain, nerves, muscle, liver, heart, and other organs are well documented, highly prevalent, severe and often fatal.

In light of Paul’s admonition that the body of the born-again believer is the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, why would we want to pollute the temple? Paul urges us to present our bodies as a holy, living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1) and warns that if any man defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him, because our body is the holy temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Using alcohol or other harmful substances will not jeopardize our salvation, but it has consequences, which may include untimely death or unnecessary illness and suffering, any of which may disrupt or terminate God-given ministries.

So what would Jesus drink? For all the above reasons, I believe that what He created at the wedding of Cana, and what He will drink with us in His Kingdom, is new wine, or unfermented grape juice. In Bible times, new wine was more highly prized than alcoholic wine, because they had no way to preserve it. Through the fermentation process, grape juice turned to alcohol and ultimately to vinegar.

(Today, cool temperatures, corking and bottling technology, and addition of sulfites or other preservatives help to arrest the fermentation process at the desired stage, but ultimately even these cannot indefinitely prevent a bottle of aged wine from turning to acetaldehyde and vinegar).

The governor of the feast at the Cana wedding praised the bridegroom for keeping the best wine, i.e. the new wine, for last, not knowing that it was Jesus Who transformed water into the new wine. The custom in those days was to serve the best, new wine first, while the guests could still appreciate it, and then to shift to older, more alcoholic wines when they would be too drunk to notice the progressively worse quality (John 2:9-10).

As I consider “What would Jesus drink?” I therefore conclude that grape juice is a blessing, but that alcohol results from the curse of sin and should not pollute the temple of the Holy Spirit that is my body.

© 2014 Laurie Collett

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Unlikely, Unexpected Ministry


Photo by Rolf Dietrich Brecher 2014

I had a dream in which a dear lady from church entered Hospice care. It was a small place, with only one visitor per patient at a time. Her family all had to go together to attend to an urgent matter, so they asked me to stay with her.

She is in pain, but as I pray with her, she starts to relax and falls asleep. Her husband returns soon thereafter and I leave so that he can stay with her. Outside it’s dark, and I have no car, phone or money with me. As I walk away from the hospice facility toward home, the road becomes pitch black. I can’t even see my hand in front of my face and am frightened of getting lost or attacked.

Way off in the distance, in the middle of nowhere, I see an Outback chain restaurant, lit up, with nothing around it. I decide to go in to get my bearings and be in a place of safety. The restaurant is noisy and crowded, and aromas from the kitchen make me realize I’m hungry, but I have no way to pay for the food.

A man who used to attend our former church comes up to me and I see that he’s sitting with some members from that church. He says the church would like to pay for my dinner. I thank him and tell him that’s not necessary, but he insists, saying, “You have to eat, because you have a long night ahead of you.”

He explains that he has a message to deliver to me. There is a chronic care facility further up the road that would like me to visit and pray with the patients one-on-one. I agree to go, and again find myself walking in the dark with no landmarks other than the restaurant getting smaller and dimmer the further away I get.

Finally I spot a well-lit building, with a sign saying it is a chronic care facility. When I get there, many hospital staff are busy around the nurses’ station. I introduce myself to one of the nurses and tell her why I’m there. She says that I’m needed in the operating room, where one of the surgeons has asked for me.

I go there and he explains that he needs me to give a patient a spinal injection of stem cells. I protest, saying that I’m not qualified, that it’s been years since I even did a spinal tap, and that I have never given a spinal injection. He says it will rejuvenate the patient’s spinal cord and allow him to walk again. He hands me a large metal contraption holding a very large needle and syringe full of clear fluid.

I awake with mixed emotions – wanting to help the patient by letting God use me for a miracle of healing, but fear that I could injure him, and regret over being rusty in my medical skills. And yet the dream gave me hope that God could use me in unexpected ways, thankfulness that He has not placed me on the shelf (1 Corinthians 9:27), and that He guides me and provides for me in the opportunities He gives.

When trying to interpret the dream, I realized that the ministry doors God opened (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12) were unexpected and outside my comfort zone. On our way home to Heaven, to eternal life with Jesus Christ, the path may sometimes be dark, and how we serve Him may take unexpected turns, at least from our perspective.

Despite my medical training and profession, I have never felt led to minister by visiting and praying with those in the hospital, although I have provided informal counsel to those who ask me about various aspects of their medical care or conditions, and I pray daily for family, church family, friends and acquaintances who are ill or going through other special trials. However, I greatly respect others who have chosen this highly valued ministry. Visiting someone in the hospital is as if we have visited Christ Himself (Matthew 25:34-40), and the prayer of faith shall save the sick (James 5:15).

Nor have I ever felt led to use my training or profession to go on a medical mission, and I have been retired from clinical practice for so long that I doubt it would even be possible. But nothing is too difficult for God! (Isaiah 59:1).

As the saying goes, “God looks not for ability but for availability.” When He uses an unlikely subject to accomplish an unexpected ministry, God gets all the glory, for that person could not have done it in His own strength. Once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), God empowers us to learn, follow and do His will through His Holy Spirit living in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Lately my prayer has been, “Father, please use me in whatever way you see fit.”  I am blessed that God has called me to sing to His glory, including Christian lyrics I have written, and to teach His Word, both of which seem unlikely and unexpected in my own ability, as I grew up challenged by an often severe stuttering problem.

I began writing this blog on Memorial Day weekend 11 years ago, after seeing the movie “Julie and Julia” in which the heroine decides to test one of Julia Child’s recipes daily and write a blog post about it. An unlikely inspiration for a Christian blog, and unexpected that God would allow me to continue it to the present day!

My husband and I are blessed that He continues to use us in a physically challenging form of dance ministry, which is unlikely and unexpected given our age and my husband’s battle with cancer.

Yet looking back, we can see God’s provision and preparation in our lives for these ministries long before we were even saved! He gave me a love of music, poetry, dance and song, and a home where these gifts would be encouraged. I attended a school where we had writing assignments every day, and continuing to write medical articles after retiring from clinical practice no doubt helped with the discipline of writing a weekly blog.

God brought my husband and me together through a series of “coincidences” defying all probability, and He strengthened our marriage even when others thought the unexpected partnership was unlikely to succeed, given differences in our upbringing and backgrounds. We danced together at our first meeting and loved it, giving us motivation to hone our dance skills for years before we were saved and devoted this gift to Him.

I don’t believe that God has called me through this dream to shift gears and abandon the ministries He has so graciously appointed to us. However, sometimes He does ask His children to set a different course, even when a current ministry seems to be fruitful. For example, we are blessed to know a missionary leader who followed God’s call to resign as Pastor from a growing church he had planted, and to become the full-time founding director of a missionary organization that has trained and supported indigenous pastors all over the globe.

Thank God that no matter what form our primary ministry takes, no matter where we are, and no matter what physical or financial limitations we may have, we can and should pray for souls to be saved, and lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17), interceding for them as we come boldly to His throne of grace! (Hebrews 4:16).

I believe God is showing me that He is my Commander, Provider and Guide in all that He has set forth for me to do. In the dream, He gave various assignments, which I could complete only with His help. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him, all things are possible!  (Matthew 19:26).

When the path was dark, He supernaturally led me to the next destination (Psalm 119:105). When I didn’t know where I was going, He illuminated the buildings where I had divine appointments and communicated with me through His children. When I was hungry, He fed me (Psalm 37:25), using brothers and sisters in Christ to do so, as we are to build up and help one another, bearing one another’s burdens and fulfilling His law (Galatians 6:2).

The restaurant being an Outback restaurant I believe is a reference to the Australian Outback, which Wikipedia describes as “a remote, vast, sparsely populated area of Australia.… more remote than the bush.” It reminds me that sometimes God’s calling on the lives of His children is to spread His Word across the globe, to the most desolate places, and yet that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), for He is with us wherever we go (Psalm 139:7).

Had I taken the leap of faith in the dream and administered the spinal injection, I believe He would have guided my hands and used the surgeon who asked for my help to instruct me in the proper technique, to perform a healing miracle, allowing the lame to walk (Matthew 11:5) through His power and grace! What a blessing when God uses us to accomplish His perfect will! And yet, what regret and loss we will experience if we learn at the Judgment Seat that we failed to walk through ministry doors He opened (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

May we all let God use us as He sees fit, even if it is in an unlikely and unexpected ministry that takes us far from our comfort zone! May we be blessed in knowing that God sees our labor and will reward us richly!

© 2023 Laurie Collett