where love is alive 

I have a old dictionary that sits on the closest shelf to the desk in my study. How old is it? Well, it was printed in the year immediately following my birth year! Recently I dusted off the old reference book to look up the word PROVIDENCE. The definition read: divine guidance and care.

The Old Testament story of Esther tells of a young Hebrew girl’s rise to become Queen of the Persian Empire. When a sinister plot threatens the Hebrew people, Esther’s uncle encourages her to use her position as Queen to stop the massacre. He suggests that her emergence as Queen was not merely a tribute to her natural beauty and charm but also the fulfillment of divine providence: And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 14:14 NIV

When Esther accepts her role as an agent of God’s sovereign plan, she is very intentional in her own actions, beginning with fasting and prayer (Esther 4:16). Here we witness her a mysterious balance between God’s endeavors to bring about His chosen plan and Esther’s choices to influence this same outcome. What an amazing thing that God has honored us with the ability to choose ways in harmony with His great schemes.

It is comforting to know that in an infinite number of ways, God is at work to bring us to where we need to be to fulfill His purposes. In dimensions beyond number, with us, through us, for us, and even in spite of us, His kingdom comes together. In a 1999 interview with Newsweek magazine Billy Graham said, I am convinced one of the joys of heaven will be discovering the hidden ways that God, in his sovereignty, acted in our lives on earth to protect us and guide us so as to bring glory to his name, in spite of our frailty.

Late last week something providential came our way: Voices of Lee from Lee University contacted our office offering to sing in our worship services this Sunday morning. We happily accepted their gracious offer. It will be an honor to have them here leading us in praise during in the first half of both these worship hours.

Maybe there is even more providence at work! Remember my challenged for 2014 to be The Year of Invitation for North Cleveland Baptist Church. Perhaps for such a time as this God wants you to pick up the phone, send a text, write an email, pass a message through social media, or talk to someone  face to face inviting him or her to join you here this Sunday morning. You will both be blessed. Divine guidance always is at work.    Jay



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