What Does God’s Word Mean to Me?

psalm 119 30

The question “What does God’s Word mean to me” is a very appropriate question to ask myself during this phase of my life.  I am currently less than a week away from taking on the North Hills Church of God in Springfield, Ohio.  The Ohio area does not offer a ton to me, as I do not have any family there and currently not too many friends, although I look forward to making new friends.  Before I talk more about this, let me rewind a couple of years prior to my freshman year of college.

Prior to college, I lived my entire life in Michigan.  Nearly my whole family lived within a 5 mile radius, I had a great church family, and I had my friends from my school.  I lived very comfortably in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for 17 years.  I had everything that I wanted: a great family, a great church family, and friends.  There was no attraction to leave the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  However, I felt called to go to the Atlanta Bible College in McDonough, Georgia.  I had no family or friends really in the area, but I felt God calling me to go to the Atlanta Bible College.  Therefore, I packed up my stuff, and 800 miles later I found myself at the Bible college, far away from home.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Bible college, and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering going.  However, my time came to an end after three delightful years at the Bible college.  It was then time for me to decide what to do after I graduated.  I decided to intern with Andy Cisneros at the Guthrie Grove Church.  This decision was largely based on one, the leadership skills of Andy, and two, the connections I had in the Pelzer, South Carolina area.  Most of my friends outside of my family lived in the South Carolina area, so it made great sense for me to move there.  Also, my then fiancée’s, now wife’s, family lived in the area.  Overall, the area had much to offer me.  The Guthrie Grove Church served me so well, and I again thoroughly enjoyed my time.  Life was great in South Carolina, and I could have very easily and enjoyably stayed in the area and worked with Andy for many years.  However, I felt God calling me to go to the North Hills Church, so I ended my work with Andy at Guthrie Grove.

Twice I moved on from a place that I so much would have enjoyed calling home, and both times were extremely hard.  It was very difficult for me to leave my home in Michigan where I had everything I wanted and go on to a place where I had no connections.  It was also extremely difficult to leave South Carolina.  There were many tears shed in leaving these two areas, and I so badly wanted to stay put.

So here I am today, twice removed from places where I could have very easily laid down my roots and about to head to a place where I have close to no connections.  This is not an easy decision to make, and it is a decision my wife, Jamie, and I have to ponder.  It is a decision that at times brings us to tears, as it is so difficult to leave those whom you love.  Therefore, we ask ourselves, why are we choosing to move away from our loved ones?  The answer is plain and simple.  It is because of what God’s Word means to us.

Jamie and I are making the decision to move on from an area where we had so much to an area where we have close to nothing because of what God’s Word means to us.  God is the reason for this move.  We feel God calling us to move to Ohio and serve the North Hills Church, which we are both excited about.  We have to remain obedient to God’s calling, and we remain obedient because of how much His Word means to us.

God is calling each and every one of you to do great works.  God has a specific plan and purpose for you to fulfill, which is quite awesome to think that the Almighty Creator has a specific plan and purpose for YOU!  We have two choices when we realize God’s calling for our life.  We can either accept his calling or deny it.  It would have been so easy to deny God’s calling for my life because I had everything I wanted in Michigan and South Carolina.  However, the meaning that God’s Word has on my life was all the encouragement that I needed to accept his calling. It is my hope and prayer that everyone who reads this will seek out God’s calling for them and accept God’s calling because of how much God’s Word means to them.  Therefore, when God calls you to do something out of the ordinary like moving away from your family, being a missionary, adopting a child, leading a church, or whatever it may be, I hope you remain faithful to his calling, that whisper inside, because of how much his word means to you.

-Kyle McClain

Even When it Hurts or Doesn’t “Make Sense” (2 Kings 4-5)

Sunday, November 6

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There are so many interesting stories and characters and lessons in today’s two short chapters, but here’s a few nuggets that strike me as extremely valuable.

First, there is the wisdom of the widow who faced debt collectors who were going to sell her two sons (her only assets) as slaves.  What a devastating predicament!  She did indeed feel like she had NOTHING.  But she went to a source of Godly wisdom and strength (Elisha), opened her eyes to what she did have (oil), and carefully followed Elisha’s directions – even when it was unclear how this was going to solve her problem.  As it turns out, the size of the miracle God blessed her with was in direct proportion to how much she prepared for a miracle. If she had left Elisha mumbling about how this didn’t seem like useful advice at all, such a waste of time, grumbling about feeling foolish going door-to-door asking for jars, and decided to ultimately just get 2 or 3 jars to give it a try – just enough to be a little obedient – her sons may well have been sold.  Skimping by, just doing the minimal and hoping for the best doesn’t lead to results that glorify God.  Even in a crisis situation – seek Godly wisdom, open your eyes to what you DO have, and throw yourself “all in”as you follow God’s direction – and be prepared to watch for God’s miracles.

The story of Naaman delivers more nuggets.  There was the foreign army commander who humbles himself, follows directions from a Godly prophet even when those directions didn’t appear to make sense.  He receives healing as well as the revelation that “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15).  There was also the greedy scheming and lies that turned Elisha’s right-hand man, Gehazi, into a leprous outcast who brought this curse on all of his descendants.  His greed didn’t get him the spoils he was thinking it would.  AND, perhaps my personal favorite – the young Israelite slave girl who remembered God and continued to believe in God’s almighty power and work through His prophets – even though her life had personally seen many heartaches at a young age (stolen from her homeland and made a slave in a foreign land).  Rather than trashing God and becoming sullen and bitter towards God and her foreign master – she shows compassion for her master and courage in speaking up and becomes a witness that leads Naaman to a miracle of healing  and the worship of the One True God.  It appears her trials had put her right in the place God wanted to use her.  May we handle our adversities as well – remaining faithful to the faithful God.  Be a witness of His power and love which just might lead someone else to healing and a new-found belief in Yahweh.

By Marcia Railton