|Weather kitties look out the picture window.|
Yesterday's major storm left little more than a little dew on the ground, if that. I was thinking, "Why am I watering each rose and each tomato if it is going to rain cats and dogs soon?" We had all the indications, including dark clouds and the chilling breeze before the rain lets loose. But in Springdale, the weather report often needs to be reversed, as in, "Big storm will approach and head north to Joplin and St. Louis, or south to Ft. Smith and Little Rock."
Long ago, I was at a softball tournament in Moline, where those events are sacramental - sitting in the bleachers and facing an approaching storm. This had to be the best game of the day, and no one wanted to leave. First a greenish patch appeared in the sky. We felt the air conditioning go on and the breeze kick up. Doubtless the players were energized by cooling air and the excitement of the crowd. The patch grew larger and moved toward us. The boiling of the clouds suggested a big one. No, let us finish the game! No one left the stands. The system moved over our heads and let go with the coldest, heaviest rain anyone could imagine. Everyone ran at once for the cars. And we laughed all the way.
One reader wrote, "I am fertilizing the lawn before the rain." I responded, "Rain is fertilizer." In fact, nitrogen compounds in the rain provide that instant greening in Creation that everyone appreciates. Farmers say, "Watering keeps the crops alive, but rain makes them grow."
That is why Isaiah wrote about the inevitability of rain and snow. They never return empty make the plants flourish, providing seed for the sower and bread for the eater. In the same way, God's Word does three things:
- It never returns void.
- It accomplishes God's will.
- It always prospers His will.
Never void is the strongest possible description, the double negative allowing no exceptions. We often hedge what we say by using often or seldom or perhaps, which is honest since all human actions are subject to weakness and failure. But God says - never void. That explains why so many use gimmicks, tricks, entertainment, rock and pop music in church. They have no faith in God. They do not trust God's Word.
God's will accomplished includes both the good and the bad, from our perspective. For God, it is all good and in harmony with His will. If a congregation is split over genuine doctrinal difference, that is a good result. When Paul preached and a riot followed, that was good and accomplished God's will.
Nothing kills a minister's career faster than stirring people up. Synodical managers want everyone fat, happy, and asleep, just as they are. Luther's Reformation set Europe ablaze only because he taught the Word. The Pope tried to extinguish the Word with armies, executions, and torture. He failed. God's ironic humor shows in the threat of Muslim armies taking the Catholic Emperor's attention away from destroying the Lutherans altogether, so the Reformation was established.
God's Will Prospered means that His plans are accomplished so clearly that any believer can see how powerful God is. As I told more than one minister, "If God wants you to move, you cannot remain, no matter what you do. If He wants you to stay, you will see how that happens."
God delights in letting the wolf-preachers gather up huge crowds, to strip them of their money in their own lust for loot from the Prosperity Gospel. He brings down the entire circus in a moment, as we have seen with Mark Driscoll and Robert Schuller. As Driscoll yelled at his staff, "You are not the brand. I AM the brand." (The eighth I AM sermon was a failure.)
- it shall not return unto me void,
- but it shall accomplish that which I please,
- and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Working on John 15
The $5 bare root roses arrived, late last night. If you miss the John 15 reference, stay tuned.