Beautiful Blogger Award


I am ecstatic that ConquerorShots has a nomination for this award. Thank you Gloria for honoring the ministry’s commitment to share our experience, strength and hope with the blogger community one person at a time. On behalf of my guest bloggers and I, we appreciate you taking the time to follow/read/share and nominate us. 

On a personal note, I am seriously encouraged by this kind gesture. I, too, am a beginner. The past 6 months have served others, worldwide, but I think it has served me greater. I am more aware of the blessings that are possible as we, through blogging, freely give back what God has given to us. I do not seek monetary gain. I only want to create a forum whereby men/women, boys/girls alike can utilize ConquerorShots throughout the course of their day and be inspired to know God more intimately. Hopefully our “Shots” will serve them richly as opposed to the traditional “shot” one can get in a bar.  🙂

An unrealized benefit when I started blogging was the continued blessings I receive from following other blogs including http://clayhearts.wordpress.com/. Slowly but surely I am learning to appreciate other blogs just as much as I value the work here at ConquerorShots. Before I started blogging my days were less interesting. Today, I look forward to a blog experience daily. The blogger community ultimately gave me a license to navigate through the world of social networking, message board communities and various other on-line outlets that were once foreign to me. I am better because of it.

The Guidelines:
  • List seven random facts about yourself
  • Post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you
  • Link to seven other bloggers who are deserving of the award
  • Let those bloggers know that you’ve nominated them

Here are 7 random things about me, the ConquerorShot Maker a.k.a. Darrin, that I hope will bring a smile to your face.

1. Singing is my passion. Teaching/Preaching the Gospel is my life.

2. I am a quiet soul until I am given a forum to speak.

3. Most of my life I spent running from a real relationship with God.

4. Playing Pinochle, Bid Whist, and Poker face to face are loves I will never leave.

5. I know what it feels like to break the heart of a loved one and how it feels to have a broken heart.

6. Therapy has helped me understand my mind but God has provided and secured change in my spirit.

7.  I cook anything I want with ease and it is usually delectable.

7 blogs to consider.

  1.  http://queenlyandconfident.com/(The author of this blog graciously, patiently and consistently encouraged me to blog. Thank you Z!)
  2. http://jonbalun.wordpress.com/
  3. http://revelationsinwriting.wordpress.com/
  4. http://www.pkfaith.com/blog.html
  5. http://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/
  6. http://possesshispromises.com/
  7. http://manipalphotoblog.wordpress.com/

A spirit of forgiveness is integrity in action.

Wait on the Lord

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15

What’s true forgiveness? It cost Jesus His life and the wrath of God. God now sees His children through the blood of Jesus. Jesus paid the price for my sins and the sins of the world. I need to see others through the blood of Jesus on the cross.

But how do I actually develop this mindset? I can say “I forgive you.” A week later I may see you and remember the hurt that I felt; indeed, my life may still be broken from that hurt … but my will is saying that “I forgive you.”

As Jesus hung from the cross, He said “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” He acknowledged that the…

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“and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32. Truth breeds integrity.

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pharaoh-Tutankhamun-3I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you (Exodus 7:3-4).

Have you ever met someone who was just plain stubborn? You might know people within your circle of friends who insist on having their way. They are hardheaded and obstinate about what they want. A moment of reflection may cause you to feel uncomfortable at the thought (you know, personally). God calls it a heart problem. This problem of self-centeredness has existed from the beginning of time, documented in the lives of people we read about in Scripture as well as people we live with today.

Pharaoh is probably the best illustration in the Bible of a person with a hard heart. He was exposed to the truth over and over again, yet refused to respond accordingly. Notice God said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” God engineered…

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Liberty and Justice for All (a response to the Presidential announcement)


James Madison, fourth president of the United ...
James Madison, fourth president of the United States wrote the Constitution at his estate near Orange Virginia, called Montpelier. Pictured here after an extensive renovation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is too much confusion going on about President Obama’s decision to be pro gay marriage. The confusion is easily settled when we consider The First Amendment Our President did teach this stuff at the college level.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

— The First Amendment

Largely because of this prohibition against government regulation or endorsement of religion, diverse faiths have flourished and thrived in America since the founding of the republic. Indeed, James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, once observed that “the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.” (http://www.adl.org/issue_religious_freedom/separation_cs_primer.asp)

My country,' tis of thee, 
	sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; 
	land where my fathers died, 
	land of the pilgrims' pride, 
	from every mountainside let freedom ring!
 2.	My native country, thee, 
	land of the noble free, thy name I love; 
	I love thy rocks and rills, 
	thy woods and templed hills; 
	my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.
 3.	Let music swell the breeze, 
	and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song; 
	let mortal tongues awake; 
	let all that breathe partake; 
	let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong. 
4.	Our fathers' God, to thee, 
	author of liberty, to thee we sing; 
	long may our land be bright 
	with freedom's holy light; 
	protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

Every American – black/white/red/yellow, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender,Jewish,Christian,Baptist,Methodist,7 Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Episcopalian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., rich/poor, employed/unemployed and alive – all have one thing in common. We ALL depend on the aspects of freedom that living in this country has to offer.

Freedom is the most attractive aspect of being an American. Foreigners have died or been imprisoned as a result of attempting to enter this country because of their personal pursuit to realize the democracy of the USA as a citizen.

“The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.

Because the promotion of human rights is an important national interest, the United States seeks to:

  • Hold governments accountable to their obligations under universal human rights norms and international human rights instruments;
  • Promote greater respect for human rights, including freedom from torture, freedom of expression, press freedom, women’s rights, children’s rights, and the protection of minorities;
  • Promote the rule of law, seek accountability, and change cultures of impunity;
  • Assist efforts to reform and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Commission on Human Rights; and
  • Coordinate human rights activities with important allies, including the EU, and regional organizations.” (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/hr/index.htm)

The President’s decision is not based on religious beliefs but on the fundamental establishment of “Liberty and Justice for All” that our country stands on. Whenever we, as Americans, forget the designs of the Constitution and want to infuse our belief systems into society, we always have to contend with the First Amendment.

Hos 4:6 “My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. You priests have refused to learn, so I will refuse to let you be priests for me. You have forgotten the law of your God, so I will forget your children.”

They are destroyed for lack of it, for the true knowledge of God is the life of the soul, true life, eternal life, as our Saviour saith, “This is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.” John 17:3

Hosea was writing about the failure of the Hebrews to know, accept and live the life God called them to. Instead they regularly reverted from God’s way to the way of the world. The result – God allowed suffering to come to the Hebrews. The sufferings were designed to ALWAYS motivate them  to turn from their wicked ways and repent and return to the plans that God had for them as a nation.  The root cause of their reversion was sin.

God has offered us evidence of how He can deal with human extremism resulting in a nation or nations in which ungodliness is the norm. We need the book of Genesis to appreciate the historical elements and the overall outcome of Sodom and Gomorrah. Human beings who reverence God’s Word know that God allows people the freedom to live but always maintains His authority over us – whether we acknowledge it or not is again based in freedom. When you choose not to do it God’s way you have two authorities to answer to – His and the governments.

Sin is at the root of this issue of Gay marriage. The President was not elected to handle the affairs of the heart. His role as the Leader of this great nation is to uphold the law and lead this country in such a way that our freedom is protected, our democracy is paramount and our futures are secure as human beings. To do this “The President is the administrative head of the executive branch of the Government, which includes numerous agencies, both temporary and permanent, as well as the 15 executive (Cabinet-level) departments.”(http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/presbrief.htm)

Religious leaders, including myself, all have a major job to do as well. We, as Christians, are to uphold the truth of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations. Jesus said in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The freedom He describes is different from the freedom established in the Constitution. The government can not provide for the freedom of my spirit – only God can and does handle this area in ALL of us. Therefore, preachers, teachers, ministers, evangelists and lay-people are ALL responsible for upholding the truth as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6 meticulously defines the issue of sin. Furthermore, a thorough study of Romans 1-8 is recommended if one wants to lay a firm foundation of truth relative to God and sin today. In society we want to rationalize sin by way of moral guidelines. This methodology is flawed only in respects to a Biblical perspective. Morals then are the antithesis to what God deems as the problem humanity has always encountered since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. They are the world’s attempt to harness and manage the soul sickness he/she is destined to experience. Rationalization and justification are the means by which moral morphology continues. The law of the land is designed to handle the matters that result from one’s tarnished moral fiber.

When we try to marry the two we fail miserably. President Obama exercised his authority over the affairs of the USA by establishing his position on a moral matter that plagues our country. We as Americans are aware of his decision. It is irrelevant to support his decision from a personal and/or religious standpoint. He is clearly looking out for how human beings can have a better quality of life as they engage in same sex behaviors. However, what is relevant is to let the President be the President and let God be God. What a wonderful world this would be if everybody got on the same page about this.




	

Athlete, Champion, Conqueror


Third seed Serena Williams, USA returns a shot...
Third seed Serena Williams, USA returns a shot during her 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 victory over Natalie Dechy, at the Family Circle Cup Tennis Tournament on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US Open, September, 1998 had my complete attention as a fan of the legendary Pete Sampras. Unfortunately, due to injury, Pete lost the final. The following year he would arouse the support of his fan base as he rose to victory at Wimbledon against Andre Agassi. My enthusiasm for tennis grew even greater as we watched the thrilling competition between these 2 American champions. It was so good that we looked forward to another duel between them in the 1999 US open. To me they were the reason for loving the sport.

Pistol Pete did realize the opportunity to win yet another Grand Slam title, making it to the final but was unexpectedly forced to drop out of the tournament due to a significant back injury. A physical setback that I am all too familiar with myself. His exit from the ’99 Open yielded a shift in my focus as a fan of the Americans. Women’s tennis infiltrated my life as I watched Serena Williams begin construction on a historical career as athlete, champion and conqueror.

She beat her sister Venus at age 17 and became the first Williams sister to win a Grand Slam single‘s title. All eyes remained on Venus as she too would excel to historical greatness in her own right. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Venus at Charleston and NYC later on in life. But unfortunately, I have not been able to see Serena play live yet. However, what I have had the blessing to realize, as a result of consistently following her career, is a heralding athletic example that personifies a conqueror lifestyle.

From ’99-’04 I sat in front of my TV and watched every tournament she played in, and there were many victories. The infamous cat suit at the US open was just one of the highlights of her invincibility. Everything about her was appealing to me – her look, her body, her game and her life. It was good to gain access into her budding life outside of the tennis world through various exposure outlets. But her career would eventually realize the strains of maturity as she had to learn to contend with injuries, game losses, family tragedy, personal heartache and failure.

We counted her all but gone as the start of the tennis season began in 2007 down under. When she took her place in the Rod Laver  arena again it was a bitter-sweet showing. As a fan I was happy to see her back where she belonged for our viewership and the value of her  entertainment would again be realized. Yet her blatant lack of physical training presented a Serena that was not the norm. Honestly, I, along with countless others, remained pessimistic about any real opportunity for her game to prevail. BUT IT DID! Against all the odds and the opposition of new players and old foes, Serena emerged as a CONQUEROR of the sport of women’s tennis to win the Australian Open for a 3rd time in her continuing career. She was not done.

Subsequently, Serena’s career would again experience a higher intensity of extreme setbacks, designed to alter the foundation of her monumental career. A verbal outburst would define a devastating loss on the all too familiar Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she vanquished her opponents 3 times prior. Sorrowfully we watched Serena explode in a display of anger that I understood. The issues – personal and professional were obviously affecting her standing example of grace under pressure. Growing pains have a way of manifesting outwardly to where onlookers – supporters and haters alike – clearly offer insights that destructively miss the mark. Yet those of us who have the gifts of empathy and compassion know that the best response you can offer to someone who is not handling the effects of growing pains well is to encourage them in the faith and pray for God’s continued grace and mercy to prevail.

The shift would continue with more physical injuries, some grave . Yet Ms. Williams maintains her pursuit to take part in the sport, which her dad introduced her to as a child, against all odds. I read an article in People magazine while I was at my doctor’s office. Serena made it clear her determination to walk back on a Grand Slam court again, even after surviving a PE and all the medical therapy associated with recovery. Shortly afterwards, Serena Williams, garbed in signature Wimbledon white attire gracing the freshly cut grass on Centre Court, would again experience all the emotional joy she came to know along her career. Yet this time her response yielded the infamous “tears of joy” that I identified to as I desperately desired a “win” in my life again. My personal anticipation received a boost while watching her once again show me what victory looks like publicly.

It’s a difficult task to perform and achieve what many have said is “the impossible” as they know of your struggles. Courage becomes a crucial reality. I know of many personal struggles life has acquainted me with during my lifetime where so many friends, family and loved ones counted me out.  But God’s grace shows up in so many wonderful experiences and the blessings continue as I see examples displaying how His power prevails.  Serena’s continued success is a beacon of light in my life and I hope so many others are getting the same lessons.

Every time Serena steps on a court to play another tennis match it is inspiring to the most troubled soul who is watching. As an athlete and champion, Serena offers every one of her millions of viewers confirmation of just how possible the impossible is. I have taken the opportunity to label her as a conqueror when I can, not because of her spiritual choices – I do not know how they work for her – but as I continue to write, teach, preach and represent Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” I continue to see how this declarative statement made by the Apostle Paul materializes through the example of an athlete in the career of Ms. Serena Williams.

Thank you Lord for giving us the realm of athletics, specifically individual head to head sports like tennis, to prove what your Son did at Calvary for all who would by faith believe.

 

The Great Grab Bag


Danboard holding a Christmas gift.
The Giver gives freely!

Every year during Christmas time at the workplace, there was always a department in the hospital that sponsored a grab bag. The first time I encountered the event, in my teens, I was totally attracted to this concept of gift giving. The requirements were simple –

  • Registration
  • Shopping with a cap amount
  • Wrapping the gift
  • The event

The person who directed the affairs of the event was ALWAYS happy and full of cheer. Even on the most chaotic days at work, if you called or visited him/her regarding the event, cheer was present. The entire grab bag experience was a happy occasion from beginning to the end. Everyone who participated in the event was unified, working together as well as independently honoring their commitment to secure their gift in the grab bag. Shopping was taken seriously most of the time.

The best part about the experience to me was the gift giving being anonymous. I learned how to gauge from facial expressions who might have purchased the gift while we all opened our gifts one at a time. This was a simple task whenever someone responded negatively to a gift. Conversely, I always worked on my poker face when the gift I submitted was chosen. There was a sense of fulfillment that is indescribable as the recipient immediately “loved” the gift I chose. He/she was actually happy they received it and they were going to hold on to it and use it. It implied that I was good at gift giving at this level. The recipient was “HAPPY” with their gift. That in turn made me HAPPY.” 

What makes a grab bag “great” is that every gift contained in the container maintains a purpose to the recipient that will NEVER disappoint. Ultimately, upon receipt of the gift his/her life will will be changed for the better. King David and others, while composing the Psalms, always acknowledged the characteristic of being “BLESSED.” This Biblical principle offers readers the continuous opportunity to participate in a lifestyle that NEVER disappoints. The gifts of forgiveness of sin and eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, make “Happiness” possible from day to day. Any time you read the Psalms you participate in the Great Grab Bag as a recipient.

“The blood of Jesus will never loose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain and flows to the lowest valley. The blood, that gives you strength from day to day, will never loose its power.” (The Blood Will Never Loose Its Power, Andre Crouch, 1962) The power of the blood that keeps on cleansing children of God is the GREATNESS in the GIFT BAG of forgiveness. You don’t have to wait for an annual event to experience the happiness of all the gifts contained in Christ Jesus. They are ALWAYS available.

Here are some samples – ENJOY!

How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked,or stand in the pathway with sinners,or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Psalms 1.1         How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned! How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the LORD does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32.1&2   How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD and does not seek help from the proud or from liars! Psalm 40.4    How blessed are those who live in your temple and praise you continually! (Selah)  How blessed are those who find their strength in you,and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! Psalm 84.4&5  How blessed are the people who worship you! O LORD, they experience your favor.  Psalm 89.15   (NET Bible)

 

Spiritual Integrity in Action


This is spiritual integrity in action. “For His ways are packed full of peace, even as we stand in the storm. He alone can speak to the chaos, ‘Be still,’ and the calm must show its form.”

Revelations In Writing

There are days when my heart is so heavy,

and all around me produces such ache.

All the more I must call on my Savior,

to come lead me on which path I should take.

For despair is not where He’s leading,

nor sorrow, nor anger, nor fear –

though emotions we have to experience,

His heart is for us to draw ever near.

He will hold up our hearts in the heartache,

take our hand in the places of pain;

lead us on to His love everlasting,

that covers our sin, hurt and shame.

For His ways are packed full of peace,

even as we stand in the storm.

He alone can speak to the chaos,

Be still,” and the calm must show its form.

What’s heavy is but like a speck,

a miniscule grain of the sand,

to our mighty, conquering Redeemer,

Who holds the world…

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