February 17

“The land which I do give them, even the children of Israel.” Joshua 1:2

God here speaks in the immediate present. It is not something He is going to do, but something He does do, this moment. So faith ever speaks. So God ever gives. So He is meeting you today, in the present moment. This is the test of faith. So long as you are waiting for a thing, hoping for it, looking for it, you are not believing. It may be hope, it may be earnest desire, but it is not faith; for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The command in regard to believing prayer is the present tense. “When ye pray, believe that ye receive the things that ye desire, and ye shall have them.” Have we come to that moment? Have we met God in His everlasting NOW? (Streams in the Desert)

My mentors lived and ministered in the everlasting “now.” My childhood pastor, T. H. Harding, introduced me to the concept of ‘practicing the presence’ of God—living in the constant conscious awareness of God’s presence. In college, Dr. Donald Potts taught by example the necessity of being qualified and available to serve as Christ in the hour of decision. Dr. Al Fasol told me in seminary that the most valuable lesson I will ever learn in ministry is to “go with what you’ve got.” He emphasized the importance of perpetual preparation because one cannot call a recess when life demands a verdict. In Kenya, Bob Allen and Vance Kirkpatrick modeled incarnation, translating Christ in the moment according to immediate context.

You and I are of little use to the Kingdom if we press pause when the heat is on. Whether we like it or not, we will always “go with what we’ve got.” There is no alternative. The secret to adding value in any given moment is our depth of character developed in the shadows beforehand. I am either preparing or procrastinating; the former lends weight to the opportunity at hand, while the latter disqualifies me from relevance. The world will not wait for us to compose ourselves. Are you ready and disposed to serve meaningfully in the everlasting NOW?

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