A Hopeless Situation

Lazarus was dead. His strong body and determined will to live could not overcome his sickness. The doctors who treated his illness had given the family hope. His sisters had prayed to Jesus. Their faith in God had given them hope. But now not only was Lazarus dead, but he had been in the tomb for four days. His sisters did not want to open the grave because by now the body had begun to rot and it stunk. It was a hopeless situation.

When you think of the story of Lazarus, you may think only of a dead man being brought back to life. However, it occurs to me that this is a story of Jesus’ ability to overcome the most hopeless of situations. When Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus, everyone thought that He was four days late. However, Jesus is never late. He simply waited until Lazarus was dead enough for people to see and believe that He is Lord over the most hopeless of situations.

Many situations arise in our lives that appear to be hopeless. They may be caused by our own foolishness or maybe things happen that are beyond our control. Our will to overcome is not good enough. Friends speak of hope, yet we feel despair. We have prayed but it seems Jesus doesn’t hear. Now our situation stinks worse than a four day old corpse and we are saturated by hopelessness.

Jesus said; “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever.” If Jesus can raise a dead man for the Glory of God, He can handle your problems for the Glory of God. Bring your mess to Jesus, loose yourself and let yourself go. I promise you this, in Christ there are no hopeless situations.

Douglas & Deborah Huff
From Down Where The Pavement Ends

The Chosen Ones

Jesus personally called the men He wanted to be His disciples. These men were Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananite and Judas Iscariot. Now we know that Jesus walked this earth as a man, but He was The Great I Am. Therefore, He knew all there was to know about these men He wanted to be His disciples.

Judas was a thief who would sell his soul for thirty pieces of silver. Thomas doubted that Jesus could rise from the dead. James and John were called the Sons of Thunder, probably because they had violent tempers. Peter well, we all know that Peter denied he even knew Jesus. When Jesus called these men, He knew about their past. He knew about their current actions and He knew what they would do in the future. Yet He called them anyway, because these were the ones, He Himself wanted.

The disciples were all chosen by Jesus in spite of their sins and failures. The Bible teaches that there is a way that seems right to men, but the ways of men always end with death. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When Jesus called the disciples, they all repented and followed Him for eternal life. All except for Judas, who chose the way that seemed right to men and lost his soul.

There is good news for you and I. Jesus is still the Great I Am. He knows about your past, your future and what you are doing now. And yet He still chose you. Jesus has called out to us because we are the ones that He Himself wants. You and I are chosen in spite of our sins and failures. He does not call us because we are good or holy. He doesn’t call us because we are righteous and just. He calls us because we are sinners in need of a Savior and He is that Savior. So now you have a choice to make. Will you choose the way that seems right to men or will you choose to follow Him.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

What Really Matters

What Really Matters

            I once heard a story of a man who had turned the basement of his home into his man-cave. This was his place where he would chill out and do “man stuff”. In this man-cave, he had a wide screen television with a great sound system. The walls were hung with diplomas and certificates of achievements. His sports and hunting trophies were there. Sometimes he would go down, sit in his favorite chair and look fondly at all his stuff.

            One day while he was at work the area he lived in was hit by a tremendous storm. Rain poured for hours. Streets and homes were flooded. He rushed home to find that for the most part his home was ok. But when he opened the door to the basement, he saw that His man-cave was filled with water. Everything was destroyed. All his stuff was gone.

            While he stood looking and grieving over all his ruined possessions, he seemed to hear the voice of God speaks to him. God whispered in his ear saying, “Don’t worry about all this stuff, I was going to burn it all one day anyhow.” You see your stuff is just temporary and no matter how fond you are of it, it will not last. One day it will all rot, rust or burn.

            The message is this, “don’t get too attached to your stuff, because your stuff does not really matter”.  The Bible teaches that one day, “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”  The Bible also says that we should seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. The truth is there is no profit to be had in all the gold in the world. It is only the treasure that you lay up in Heaven that really matters.

Douglas Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Ouch

Once while working on a project I hit my finger with the hammer. Ouch, I threw the hammer down and grabbed my hand. Then I proceeded to jump and dance as I held my hand and sang ouch, ouch and ouch. I had almost stopped working for the day, but I decided to put up one more board. I had the board up and decided to swing the hammer one more time. I should have stopped while I was ahead, but I didn’t and so I had a finger that was the color of a grape and it hurt “ouch”.

It is a funny thing about pain, no one likes it and yet we know that it is a gift from God. Yes it is a gift, can you imagine what my hand would look like if there were no pain. I probably would have pounded my fingers into mincemeat and not even realized it. But God gives us pain to protect us from ourselves and the world. So “ouch” is a wonderful word!

Pain comes in many forms. The pain I have been talking about came about from a careless accident. It was physical. The finger healed; but I will remember it and be more careful. We often have emotional pain and sometimes we have spiritual pain. And sometimes all three combine. At these times we wish we could be like a wounded animal, and go find a deep dark cave and curl up and die.

I have felt this kind of pain as a result of being a pastor. With the help of the Holy Spirit I tried to be a good pastor. Seeking Gods will, all week long I would pray as I prepared the sermon. Then preaching until I had no more energy, I would pour my heart out for the congregation. Only to be pounded by people I thought I could trust, as they would go home and have roast preacher for lunch.

That pain was intense. There have been times when it was physical, my heart would hurt so bad that I was afraid I was having a heart attack. Emotionally I have faced depression; I have suffered with the lost of appetite and even lost the desire to preach. After all why preach? No one is listening, or so it seems. Spiritually, I became like Job and wondered why God had turned his back on me.

I know now that pain is my friend. Through it I learned how to trust God and I learned how to pray, I thought I already knew those things but I didn’t. In the last chapter of the book of Job, he says, “I had heard of God with my ears but now I have seen Him with my eyes.” In effect he was saying, before I thought I believed but now I know that God is real. Job had finally gotten to the place, were God wanted him to be. And that was the purpose of the pain in his life.

You know we face nothing that Christ did not face. As a pastor I understood that. When people abandoned me, I knew how Jesus must have felt when people went back from following him. When I was betrayed I remembered that a disciple betrayed Jesus with a kiss. When I hit my finger with a hammer and felt the intense pain, I knew that it was nothing compared to the nails driven through the hands and feet of my Savior!

So what should be our course of action? Well since pain teaches us about Jesus, when we suffer, let us worship Him. Pain will teach you how to pray, be strong, and to be wise. So when you suffer; kneel in prayer, stand in His strength and depend on His wisdom.

Pain, Ouch! A gift from God! Bringing us from where we are to where we must be if God is going to use us. Count it as all joy to suffer for Christ because He first suffered for you.

Douglas. & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Listening to My Friend

Most mornings I spend a half hour or so listening to my friend. As I sit, mostly with my eyes closed, I try to take in all that He has to say. Sometimes He tells me secrets about Himself that I never knew. Occasionally He reveals His reasons for things that seem to have no reason. Other times He just lets me know how glad He is that I am His friend.

My friend is Jehovah Shalom, the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Lover of my soul and my Prince of Peace. Some people would call what I am doing, “Prayer” but I call it listening to my Friend. Sometimes when I sit listening to Him I drift off to sleep. However, He does not mind that I go to sleep, no more than I mind when my grand-baby goes to sleep in my arms. You see it’s easy to fall asleep when you know the Peace that is beyond your understanding.

You might ask, since you are spending time with God shouldn’t you be praying for your friends and loved ones? Shouldn’t you be telling Him your trouble and asking for help. Aren’t you just wasting your time sitting there with your eyes closed? Don’t you have more important things to do? The answer is no, there is nothing more important than listening to my Friend

All day long God walks with me. He has told me to pray without ceasing, so we have a running conversation. We talk about my friends and their needs. He knows about the ones who are sick and hurting and He knows that you need encouragement. We talk about my family and I ask Him to watch over them. For the most part my days are filled with me talking and God listening.

That is why most mornings I spend time listening to my Friend. I enjoy the feel of His hand on my shoulder and the sound of His voice whispering in my ear. When He whispers in my ear I feel the warmth of His breath on my neck and His Spirit enlarging my soul. As I drift in and out of sleep, I dream the dreams of eternity. I have peace that is beyond my understanding because my Friend is God, the glorious One, the Lover of My Soul. He is Jehovah Shalom. He is my Prince of Peace.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

It is Good

In the first chapter of the Bible we read the glorious story of how all things came to be. It is a marvelously simple record of our God who came from nowhere, stood on nothing and by the power of His Word, spoke everything into existence. After the creation of all things, He created one more thing. He created rest. In the day of rest, He looked around at all things and said “This is good”.

Recently Deborah and I spent a weekend on top of Lookout Mountain. Now this mountain is well named because from its peak you can look out and see a beautiful and majestic world. The grandeur of the river and woods remind you of God’s opinion the world is good.

Also, from the top of Lookout Mountain, you could smell the smoke of a distant fire and hear the lonesome whistle of a far away train. As I looked at the cities and towns, with their busy factories and highways, I knew this too was God’s plan. Because after He created all things, He turned to man and said “This is yours to have dominion over.” I believe that when God looks on the works of man He smiles and says “ This is good.”

It is good to go up on a mountain sometimes. Because down here the world looks pretty messed up. Wars and rumors of wars and the wickedness of man make this world look hopelessly bad. But on the mountain, you can see the world as God sees it. He is The Great I AM. He has said, I am God and I change not. Because He does not change, His creation is still good. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and God the Father still says, “It is good.”

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Don’t Miss the Boat

Many people picture Noah’s ark as being a small boat crammed with animals. That is wrong. The ark was a huge barge like boat. It was designed to survive the most terrifying storm in history. It had no means of propulsion nor did it have a rudder. It was powered and guided by the Creator of the universe. The most amazing fact of all is that when the rain came the Ark was not crowded; it was only about one third full.

Yes, when the storm broke the Ark was sixty six percent empty. Why was the boat so large? Well, because God had designed it in such a way that many people could have been saved. It took Noah one hundred years to build this boat. While he was building the ark, he was also preaching. Noah prophesied that the storm was coming, but no one listened. He proclaimed that the door was open and whosoever will could come in. But nobody came. Everybody made fun of Noah’s preaching, until the rain came and God shut the door.

What can we learn from all the empty space on the ark? I think we can learn that salvation is available to everyone, but no one is going to make you get on the boat. The story of Noah’s ark is about mankind rejecting God’s offer of redemption. It has never been God’s will that people should perish. He has always offered a way to be saved. Noah pleaded for the people to come in. They refused and God shut the door. There was plenty of room in the ark, but the people chose to stay outside and they perished.

Because of the great Love that God has for us, He has expended the riches of His mercy on us. Jesus Christ is our Ark of salvation. His arms are open wide. The Lord is saying Whosoever will may come. There is plenty of room. He wants to carry you to the shores of eternal life. We do not know when the door of opportunity will be closed, so you need to get on board now. One day the ship will sail and you don’t want to miss the boat.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

WOW! God Loves Me!

“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean.” This is a line from one of my favorite old hymns. Like the writer of this old song I am in awe of the fact that the God of all creation loves me.

This morning as I sit in my study there is a fly buzzing around, and I am determined to hunt it down and swat it. As I think about my place in the history of this earth I know that life is but a vapor. Along with all the billions of people that have lived here before me, I know that I and that fly will soon be nothing but dust. The Word of God tells us this, it says, “from dust you were taken and to dust you will return”.

It is true that your body will return to dust. I know that sounds depressing. But understand this; there is a great and awesome God who is mindful of your soul. You are nothing but a tiny speck of dust on this earth and yet the God of all creation has set His great heart on you. You are the crowning jewel of His creation and He loves you.

It is because of His love for you that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son as an atoning sacrifice. Jesus the Son of God was crucified for your sins. He died, was buried and rose again so that you can receive forgiveness. In the grand scheme of things, on this earth your life is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. But if you believe in Jesus and trust Him with this tiny speck of dust that is your life, then you can live forever in Heaven in the presence of God .

That is why I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus my Savior, who took no thoughts for His own life but He shed drops of blood for mine.

Douglas Huff & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends