There is always someone who is in need of help. Driving through Atlanta it is clear to me that people are struggling. The homeless need shelter, food, clothing while the drug addicts need a dose of self honesty to stop the downward cycle of self-destruction. Commuters encounter each other in the hustle and bustle of hard work, appointment making and networking often in need of help just to smile. Hell, I need help just to cope with the mental, emotional and physical demands of being me – a middle-aged man called by God to preach, teach and live to serve others as a vessel of Light. There is a solution!
Helping others is spiritual. It promotes selfless acts of love inspired by inwardly receiving the love of Christ ourselves. Jesus Christ is love. We would not know true love if it was not first demonstrated by Him towards us. “We love Him because He first loved us.”(1 John 4:19) His loving kindness is so enduring it progressively proves the excellence that is God’s faithfulness towards us. No one else in this world is going to love us like Him. His love is spiritual and great enough to influence that which is natural and earthly. Through His love in us, we become willing to help others experience real love through giving, caring, sharing, laughing and releasing it into the lives of others.
Agape love is the love of Christ characterized in 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s how it works for me:
When I see my ex-wife happy in another relationship and/or my associates happy in their marriages and family lives, my selfishness can make me bitter, disinterested and aloof. Agape love is patient, kind and is not jealous. Through Christ I can be glad for their happiness and thankful for the happiness I have know in my former marriage and family. I can and do celebrate their lives unselfishly.
– my adult children’s safety, their financial stability and life choices – Here is where I become fixated on controlling tactics to influence outcomes in others that will make me feel better about myself. The fact is agape love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Through Christ I can experience the peace of God through His love effectually embracing me spiritually. It is so powerful it enables me to experience faith overriding my fear. In the moment of someone’s crisis, I can “be” a staple of love, kindness, wisdom, hope and willing to help others – loved ones, strangers, members of the Body of Christ, etc.
In myself (my flesh) I am unwilling to be of help (service) to anyone unless I am getting something out of the experience. Selfishness will even make me lose out on capitalizing moments. However, through my spiritual position “IN CHRIST” I am fortified to be a vessel through which His love is freely demonstrated towards others. You too can experience the powerful, strengthening love of Christ Jesus compelling you to live in the Spirit and stay willing to help others in any way possible. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
I have not lost my mom to death even though I watched her breathe her last breath. The pain of knowing I can’t call her, visit her any longer is horrific. However, I know she is in Heaven where there is no more suffering to be had. I can only imagine how wonderful it is for her now. That brings me joy. I am thankful for all the years she labored teaching me God’s word rightly-divided. Here is a reflection I began in the hospital and completed today:
I am watching my mom transition into eternity. I can’t help but be reminded of all the years of service (50+) to others teaching God’s Word. My sister and I were her lifetime students. Through the years mom and I have cast an unknown number of seeds of faith in the gospel of the grace of God.
It is for this reason that I am sharing 1 Corinthians 3. Paul’s message in the text lines up with the intention of this writing. It makes no sense to argue, debate or even choose whose message is noteworthy. Gospel seed planting is a group effort with Christ being the LEADER of the group. It does not matter who plants the seeds or who waters the seed to facilitate growth. In fact no seed can thrive on one round of watering. It is necessary for regular hydration agriculturally and Spiritually. Most importantly, all lessons, sermons, publications, blog posts et al require God’s increase for Spiritually, effectual results. No man or woman has the power to cause one’s heart to yield to the authority of scripture. Therefore, we must avoid the temptation to expect or demand instant results when sharing the gospel.
Stop insisting the student/hearer must respond to the Word in the moment of delivery for spiritual validation. Also, avoid being bias to the teaching/preaching of one person. The text indicates that, under the Authority of Christ, God uses multiple vessels to deliver His Word. Be equipped to discern the Authority of Christ and His Word as it is delivered. Or be equipped to discern where man is attempting to deliver the word himself.
Mom taught me, while teaching Bible study throughout the Tri-State area when I was a boy, God is responsible for any and all results after we deliver the Word. All efforts to teach, preach, share or write the gospel should be seasoned with the Spirit. Then, the Holy Spirit adds the increase in accordance to the Father’s will. All the while it is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, sourcing His Word into His children. What a Mighty God we serve. I’ll see you in Glory mom!
I have not written a ConquerorShot in quite some time. My life’s journey has allowed me to realize new opportunities to write, speak, teach and live the Conqueror Lifestyle. Yet I have missed this outlet to share truth relative to life situations and how we experience the “more” in Romans 8:37 . This month’s principle is INTEGRITY. Today, in my awakening, the resounding voice of truth of the blessed freedom we, children of God, possess, gave me clarity of mind and spirit as I reflect on God’s faithfulness. I pray that every reader and follower will rejoice with me in knowing that John 8:36 says “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.(NET)” “Our God IS FAITHFUL.“
I was awakened by a phone call from my daughter (progress) “Daddy, I need you to come here… I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT… HURRY DADDY!” As the urgency in her voice called me to immediate action to “get there” I rushed to my 2 car garage (progress) and got in my car (progress) to go and see about my “baby girl.” I was too “busy” to pray, ponder a principle, reflect on Scripture or anything concerning my spiritual hygiene and therefore it was on “auto.” Similarly, I had not brushed my teeth, washed my face or showered my body. My call to action only gave me time to “get there.” When I pulled up I immediately noticed her car. Then I saw her standing there on the side of the curvey, 2-lane, slippery road. To my surprise she was standing, tall, unharmed in any way from this obvious loss of control with life-threatening potential. I had to contain myself concerning my visceral response to what I realized driving up. As I hurried over to her my heart was pounding with overwhelming joy for God’s faithfulness. “He protected my daughter once again!”
As I grabbed her into my arms I could feel her tension as she was in shock. Her embrace was firm until she exhaled and sobbed in anguish over what she had just experienced. The obvious loss of her car was annunciating her regret as she was just starting to get used to her freedom of having her own vehicle in her fourth week. As I listened to her lament over this apparent “MTaC” moment, the Lord reminded me of this passage of scripture:
7 The angel of the LORDencampsaround those who fear Him, And rescues them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good ; How blessed is the man who takesrefuge in Him!(Psalm34:7-8 NASB)
While I was on my way to “get there” God and His angels “were already there!” There was no other way to help her than to share my thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God concerning my daughter and His child. He gave His angels charge over the entire aspect of her first accident. What I knew as I drove up was she was driving in the same direction I was, yet her car did not hit the tree HEAD ON! The impact was TOTALLY absorbed by the rear of her car as it amazingly was ‘TURNED AROUND.” She could not explain how it ended up in that position as she described the spinning experience as she braced herself for impact. But God was fueling my spirit with the POWER, THE SAME POWER, that managed her miraculous outcome. He was the reason for her protection, safety, and most of all her blessed freedom to walk away from that accident without ANY injury to her body.
I COMMENCED PRAISE & THANKSGIVING by testifying of His goodness, grace and faithfulness all around that accident scene and reminded her of the evidence as she was standing there, tall and beautiful, unharmed with no visible scars. There was no need to visit the ER and, as she would later prove, she was in good enough condition to go on to school later that morning and take a physics test, pass it and maintain her A average. There is Blessed Freedom in knowing God IS able!!!
In the same manner, I am fortunate enough to have an ongoing experience with Blessed freedom as the Conqueror Lifestyle continues to make my pathway straight. I told you I had not performed any spiritual hygiene or bodily hygiene as I rushed to “get there” But the fact that I have routinely upheld my responsibilities towards personal and spiritual hygiene daily prior to the accident, there was evidence of it as I had to interact with my daughter, the officers, the tow truck driver and even myself. The qualities of a conqueror include being prepared to walk in the freedom that is realized as I maintain my position In Christ. His blessed freedom is possible because I continue to trust in, rely on and believe that His Power is in me. If you know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will sustain you, protect you, provide for you, mature you and most of all bless you with “more than you could ever ask or think of.” We serve a Mighty God with unlimited resources. It is in your best interest to allow for your integral attachment to the Spirit of Christ, through His death, burial and resurrection to sustain your integrity in Him on a daily basis. The results include Blessed Freedom to realize His faithfulness. “John 8:36 says “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.(NET)”
This month we will talk at length about forgiveness on Conqueror Talk. Every human being has experience with this principle in one way or another. All week this ConquerorShot has lingered in my spirit and I pray that you will be as blessed by the formula revealed in the title of this article. It adds up every time. When you can forgive anyone who wrongs you and forget anything that caused you to linger in an unforgiving stupor, you will experience a freeness in your spirit that is life-giving.
How many times have you held a grudge against someone because they did not do what you wanted them to? Perhaps they could have done something for you that you needed but they did not. Maybe they had no idea of your expectations and they were unable to meet your unrealistic mark. More importantly, God is allowing the disappointment you must eventually forgive and forget to demonstrate the gracious, loving kindness His Son Jesus Christ manifested at the Cross. There are so many wonderful gifts available to us. His hand reveals just a few good ones.
During Jesus’ Earthly ministry to the Jews, the Gospel of Luke reveals specific analysis relative to the formula we are using. Luke 17:4 “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”His message helps us to be aware of our human propensity to be trespassed against i.e. disappointed numerously by one or many individuals. What comes to mind for me is family. Whether it is immediate family or distant relatives, family will trespass against you. In fact, no one can hurt us more than our family members. They can gutt us to the core with their words, actions, attitudes, silent scorn and whatever else their flesh can think of. But Jesus reminds us that when they are willing to admit they have wronged us, it is our duty as humans to forgive them. When we make the decision to disagree with their appeal and disallow for them to experience our forgiveness through our personal charity, we CHOOSE to stay in spiritual bondage. This bondage includes a loss of spiritual unity with the finished work at the Cross for you and the effectual working of His Hand in our lives.
2 Corinthians 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Your forgiveness of anyone else is required because of the continual forgiveness Christ supply’s you with on a daily basis. When you can’t extend that to someone else/anyone else it is most likely because His Hand is not working in your life. God can and will fix it EVERYTIME!
Next week we will get into the second part of the formula “forget” here on ConquerorShots.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalms 27:13-14
Recall a time when you were in need of DELIVERANCE and instead of an “IMMEDIATELY” result, you encounter a significant DELAY. Nothing is more dreadful than having to wait for a particular outcome you KNOW you need. The difficulty you face as you MUST “endure the hardships” of the circumstances can work in one of two ways:
1. The delay can distract you from the plan and purpose of the circumstance. This personal response fuels hopelessness and despair as you move away from God. You will find human alternatives that can serve you like band aids on a bleeding wound.
2. The delay can propel you towards the plan and purpose of the circumstance. This personal response fuels hope and faith in God through prayer and reading and studying His Word. "His word is a lamp unto your feet and a light to your pathway." DARKNESS OR DESPAIR WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HINDER YOU. You will find His power and peace to preserve you while you "wait" and His Heavenly purpose will ALWAYS be revealed,BLESSED DELAY results in His Faithfulness.
I am blessed to have the gift of “waiting on the Lord” in my spiritual arsenal. However, I did not always consider the delays that God allows as a blessing. In fact, there was a particular delay in my life in which I thought I was receiving NO additional Godly intervention. I believed that it was God’s will for this particular matter in my life and HE WAS NEVER GOING TO ALLOW FOR CHANGE. I WAS SO WRONG!While this was a painful reality for me to accept, it FORCED ME TO DRAW CLOSER TO HIM BECAUSE OF A PERSONAL NEED FOR HIS POWER TO SUPPLEMENT MY POWERLESSNESS. “His STRENGTH IS PERFECT WHEN OUR STRENGTH IS GONE!” Through the process of getting closer to Him He eventually allowed for MORE change. “GOD’S DELAY IS NOT A DENIAL.”
The more I realized #2 at work in my life the more HOPE I REALIZED AS IT WAS MANUFACTURED IN MY SPIRIT DURING THE BLESSED DELAY. All the while I could experience the goodness of the Lord through His continual provision for me, His peace in me and His plan for me. The essence of Him presiding over the “NEED” also manifested in the lives of my loved ones all around me. The song writer wrote “He Keeps On Doing GREAT Things For Me.” Ultimately, the presence of HOPE in my spirit yielded a fertile ground for SEEDS from the WORD OF GOD to cultivate IN ME.
You too can experience “THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.” HAVE FAITH IN HIM and ALLOW for a BLESSED DELAY in your life. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. PLEASE WAIT ON THE LORD!
Mostly everyone has a light switch on the wall of an entryway into their home. When you come in at night it is customary to hit the switch to “light up” the darkness of the dwelling. This action is an unrealized willingness to exercise faith in what you can NOT see. Electricity is the source of power that runs through the domiciles of the world to provide a “power source” to run appliances, heating/air conditioning gadgets and the most important element – light. What does electricity look like?
A building without electricity is like a dead body. On the outside it looks fine – absent of decay – but on the inside there is no activity because there is no power. Unseen electrical currents in either source provide for the presence of power and the opportunity to experience life. We come to rely on the power of electricity so heavily that we pay for it no matter what the cost. We need power to run our homes, businesses, churches and society. Conversely, we NEED the power of the Spirit of God to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of. Joh 10:10 “10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”NASB The power of God is confirmed daily and the abundant life is possible because of the finished work at Calvary.
Like electricity, we can NOT see God. Yet, as Christians, we exercise a faith in His presence from day-to-day. We come to rely on His presence through the affirmation of His power revealed in us and through us. His power is most assuredly realized through the gospel of the Grace of God. Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” Romans 1:16 adds For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” NASB Human beings find it easier to trust in electricity more than they can trust in the power of God.
For nearly 20 years, June 15th marked the beginning of a series of annual celebrations for me – marriage, birthday and Father’s Day. Today, like last year, the celebration is no more. The affects of divorce have taken the celebrations I learned to anticipate. Instead, there is a willingness to “show up” and live life one day at a time, a desire to realize the love of Christ which enables me to experience a “conqueror lifestyle,” and a spirit of liberty which fuels a pursuit to “accept what God allows” everyday. I thank God that in the midst of my losses He is my gain. A summer breeze confirms His power.
Change is difficult sometimes but the results of the difficulty are “working together for the good of them who love the Lord;to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It(change) has given rise to darkness and uncertainty on many occasions. I love the song Amazing Grace for many reasons, all of which consume my spirit with a realistic appreciation and gratitude for God’s uncensored grace abounding richly in my life.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The heat in Atlanta can be brutal. When I moved here from the north, a conversation with a deacon in the church about the lack of cool breezes during the hot summer days enlightened me. At that time I had a large amount of grass that I would maintain in the afternoons. Deacon Knuckles told me that I was going about it all wrong. I had no clue and so he offered me some of his Georgia bred wisdom. His explanation yielded a new-found awareness and appreciation for the early mornings and late evenings in which we inevitably experience a breeze outside. His recommendation was to rearrange my schedule for landscaping to coincide with these times of the hot summer days. It worked.
A breeze made all the difference in my experiences working outside. A few years later, the tribulation of having major surgery changed my life forever. During the first 6 months of recovery, and learning how to walk again, it was a time of darkness. I was overcome with despair, grief, heartache, uncertainty and an unusual amount of physical pain. My days and nights were consumed with loneliness, fear and anxiety. Even though my children, wife and mother-in-law were there with me, they could NOT offer me any power. They tried by being there and doing for me the simplest tasks that I could not do for myself and I appreciate them immensely. But I needed more.
My home therapy included using my walker and walking in intervals of 5 minutes. Over time I was up to 15 minutes. That progress allowed for me to exercise some courage to go outside to my driveway. There I would work to increase my walk time. The backyard is decorated with an assortment of tall trees – oak, dogwood, cedar and maple – in the large wooded area. Prior to my recovery, I only appreciated their response to wind when stormy weather hit our neighborhood. The motion in the trees would “speak” to me in a way that I knew when the weather pattern was threatening.
One day while struggling to walk my routine I experienced the blessing of a confirming breeze. I was stuck physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As the tears rolled down my face on the beautiful summer day while standing in my driveway on my walker, God’s presence was once again realized as the cool, confirming breeze swept over our subdivision. The natural response of the trees yielded a heralding sound of the leaves response to the force of the breeze. The trees began to sway with ease as the unclouded sky revealed the splendor of the sunlight. It was majestic, unlike all of my earlier exposure to the outside elements. It said to me “I am here…..fear not…..”
My tears dried up and my body was overcome with a spirit of amazement as I realized God’s presence being confirmed in the breeze of a summer day. It forever heightened my appreciation for God’s grace. You can’t see the wind but the breeze makes itself known through the responses of all the matter of the earth. You can’t see God’s presence but you can experience all the fullness of His power that can change your entire prospective and outlook on life. God uses change to confirm His presence, His power and His grace. I made it back inside and picked up my dusty Bible and the Lord’s confirming power was further revealed in this popular passage:
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. KJV
In my lifetime I have been accused of being full of s_ _ t for various reasons – where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, what happened……… Sometimes I was even accused of this status even though I was as sober as a judge and telling the God‘s honest truth. It then occurred to me that this expression is a cliche’ and not necessarily a response that I needed to take to heart. It gave me the wisdom to “consider the source.”
That consideration has prompted me to examine the statement “full of courage” today. When have you ever used this expression in describing someone? Try saying it – “You (are) full of courage!” The tone and expression of this observation begs the question – “How is this possible?” You must admit that when you stumble upon someone that is endowed with courage it can be confrontational to you as you perhaps are entangled in a fear-driven reality. If honesty is present, and you are willing to acknowledge this person’s courage and inquire about how to attain it personally, the act of inquiry opens up your spirit to the opportunity to become “full of courage” yourself. BUT YOU MUST CONSIDER THE SOURCE!
2Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord —
5:7 for we live by faith, not by sight.
5:8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.(NASB)
The person is the example but the source of courage which fills the person is the BLESSED ASSURANCE OF THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD THROUGH THE POWER OF CHRIST THE RISEN SAVIOR AT WORK IN HIM/HER BY THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The theme of Paul’s writing deals specifically with the spiritual reality of the GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN WITH CHRIST and the human struggles associated with living on Earth with all of its daily issues we face. This human reality is apparent to all- no matter what their socio-economic status may be. However, the spiritual component is what seperates “the men from the boys.”
Paul in this chapter defines being “full of courage” as a standard design for living as an Ambassador for Christ. It comes, not because of ANY attainment of status in the flesh (the flesh is to experience the continual “dying” process he defines in Galatians 2:20) which humans aspire towards naturally. When Christ was here on Earth performing all of the duties of His Earthly ministry, His most substantial acts were the death at Calvary, His burial and resurrection. By these acts, He secured the benefit to mankind for a “continued presence of His spirit in us” thereby relieving man of any need to please Him in the flesh. PERSONAL COURAGE IN HUMAN ABILITIES IS FUTILE FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE. IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH!
A thorough persuasion of the “fear of the Lord” is at work in this instance. This reverence is the bedrock of our “walk by faith, not by sight.” It yields the assurance of the appointed time which God ordained before the foundations of the world whereby we must all appear before the “Judgement seat of Christ.” Notice that there is no hesitation for this great appearing. It is a bold statement that infers a “Blessed Assurance” that “Jesus Paid It ALL” at Calvary. Therefore, all of the blessings associated with His “Finished” work at Calvary cultivates a fullness of courage deep within our spirits that garners a great expectation for our Eternal Life over any human expectation for our Earthly life. And so, we are FREE then to experience ALL of the FULLNESS OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE through the “good works that God foreordained that we should walk in them” during our lifetime while we “look forward to that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” eternally.
Stop trying to fix yourself with human effort and let God create your NEWNESS through His spirit at work in you today.
The fact remains WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IN CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR OR NOT you will STAND before HIM in eternity. You can stand before Him at the Great White Throne IN FEAR OF THE ETERNAL OUTCOME or you can BOLDLY STAND before Him at The Judgement Seat of Christ FULL OF COURAGE! This earthly life you are blessed with is afforded to you as an opportunity to GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN.