Full of Courage


Courage
Courage (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

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.

Jesus Christ is the Way!

FAITH! When Family & Friends Don’t……………


 

Soaring Through the Storm


English: A tornado with no visible condensatio...

This post is going to offer explanation for why I use “Eagle” imagery. When I first went to my church I was totally bewildered.Life had really been harsh to me. Some of my hardship was because of my actions and some was because of how others responded to my choices. Pastor Black referenced and motioned an eagle “soaring through a storm” during the sermon. Ultimately, I have come to realize that no matter what the issue was, God was up to something good. He was using loss to get my attention and my heart. Thank God He has them today and for the rest of my life. I am completely sold out to this Conqueror lifestyle.

A cousin told me, while I was adjusting to the realities of loss in my personal life, that I was going to one day look back on that heartache, misery, mental/emotional pain, anger, fear and uncertainty and be able to realize that it was the best time of my life. “What do you mean by that?” was my immediate visceral response as I sat straight up in my chair and wiped the tears from my eyes. She offered me no explanation but instead issued a directive, which I have not forgotten – “JUST STAY IN POSITION!”

This experience was way before I got “INTO POSITION.” In fact, I thank God for using my cousin to challenge my faith. You see, at that point I had lost everything I had come to rely on – wife, kids, home, materialism, financial security…………  Every aspect of my life that I relied on, which gave me the power to “BE”, God removed from me. There was nothing left to rely on EXCEPT HIM. That conversation gave me a heightened awareness of my NEED for His power to “reign” in and over my life. I surrendered daily; I surrender (TO HIM) DAILY. “Every day I wake up I ALWAYS think of Him.” (A future ConquerorTune u will love) 🙂

Now, this idea about “soaring through the storm” is based in the benefits of “letting go and letting God” through daily surrender. Paul said it best in Philippians 4:13 “I CAN do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” When I was talking with my cousin I was in a storm that seemed like it just would NOT pass. The more work I did to “deal” with the problem, the more I realized the problem was too big to “deal” with. These life changes were totally designed for me to get to the “eye” of the storm (my core issues that I was unwilling to surrender to God) and let God abide.

Like an eagle, I learned that avoiding the storm was NO longer an option. God kept on bringing me these storms so that I could grow to understand this concept at my core, which is what He is concerned with. (Heb. 4:12)

“The eagle is the only bird which flies directly into a thunderstorm? Other birds fly away from a thunderstorm seeking refuge and shelter in the safety of a barn or their nest. But it is not so with the mighty eagle. The eagle flies directly into the thunderclouds.Turbulent winds cause the eagle to fly higher, giving him a larger view, lifting him above harassment, allowing him to use less effort, and helping him to fly faster.These updrafts cause the eagle to reach great heights as he soars with them. From this higher position his sharp eyes are able to see more. As he soars higher, he leaves behind all distractions. The feather structure prevents stalling, reduces the turbulence, and produces a relatively smooth ride with minimum effort – even in rough winds. Thus, when he glides in wind currents, speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour are not uncommon.”(THE WAY OF THE EAGLES,  Joe R. Garman,http://www.arm.org/eagles.htm)

Yesterday in Atlanta stormy weather prevailed. I had deep concern about the welfare of my family, who I no longer live with or fellowship with as a direct result of a divorce. I was concerned from within. One of the best things about a Conqueror lifestyle is that when you get concerned, fearful or worried about something that is out of your control, you have a direct connection with the One who controls ALL – El Elyon – the Creator and Owner of ALL things Earthly and Heavenly. My words could not change a thing. However, having good talk time with Him offers me an enormous resource – HIS SOVEREIGNTY. I prayed for them without ceasing. As the storm doplar radar weather report system, with the help of Brad Nitz and Glen Burns, reported close proximity to where they live, I was well aware of the danger associated with my former address. I decided to turn the TV off and go lay down.

This morning, when I got up, I turned on the TV and saw the video of the damaged areas. To my surprise I recognized my old neighborhood. The damage was significant as a tornado touched down around the corner from the subdivision. I SAT STRAIGHT UP IN MY BED and CHILLS went down my spine. That could have touched down “around the corner” where their house is BUT it did NOT! The Creator of Heaven and Earth and the SUSTAINER of life PROTECTED, PRESERVED AND PROVIDED for them yet again.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. (Read Hope & Faith) Yet when I saw this broadcast what I was hoping for became my reality. All the while I was able to REST in Him. That’s how it is to be an MTAC today. There is SAFETY “alone in His Presence.”

Hope & Faith


The Stone of Scone in the Coronation Chair at ...
The chair is only as secure as its substructure

It feels like Christmas today. I have waited patiently for this day to arrive and thank God it is here. As I developed the thematic content for ConquerorShots in January, I got excited then about today’s post. From now on 3/1 will forever be “Hope & Faith” day. You see, we have a progressive transition that is God-ordained.

 

All of my anticipation about this post is fueling my fingers to hit these keys because I no longer have to hold this in. I pray this blesses you all.

Hebrews 11: 1 is often referred to as the “introduction to the Hall of Faith.”

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

Hope and faith are clearly defined here. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for us to misuse these Heavenly gifts UNLESS you are not in agreement with this verse.

Faith is the “conviction of the truth of anything, belief.”

For an example let’s look at the simple act of sitting. When I was a kid, I witnessed my cousin Michael – a tall 6’7″ 300lb solid public figure – sit in a chair which collapsed in the process. The atmosphere was full of celebration and excitement because we were eating Sunday dinner and we had a chance to see our loved one who’s music was being played on the radio hourly. He was most definitely festive because of the meal he was about to eat on the plate he held in his had while chosing what resin chair to sit in on the porch. Without question he was “convinced” that he was about to sit down and “throw down” eating,  after being on the road for weeks performing. My other cousins and I were already seated and eating which made his entry into the scene so natural. He never considered the idea that he was about to “hit the deck”.

As he positioned himself in the chair, the legs of the synthetic material began to buckle outward. It all happened so fast! He sat down, the chair could not hold him and he hit the porch floor as his plate went up and the food landed on him and the porch. It was a total disaster of the worse kind. His faith in the chair failed him. It was unable to hold him up because of the force associated with his stature. It was a lesson for all of us to behold.

We are taught from childhood to sit. In fact, “timeout” is designed to make us sit down, to quiet down  rambunctious activities. Our instinct is to find a seat and sit. The decision to sit in the chair is based in the “conviction” of the truth that it will hold us up. It is a belief that we naturally realize. Yet we do not have to acknowledge our faith in the chair until the chair is not working for us i.e. it is unable to supply us with the rest from standing we need.  At that point,  panic sets in as the thought of the consequences of the chair’s failure yields horrifying circumstances from us hitting the ground. The acknowledgement is based in the fact that “faith failed us.” The expectation was to experience rest, relaxation and comfort. Instead, we are embarrassed, uncomfortable, possibly injured and so on. Faith is the substance………

The word substance in the verse is contained in the overall Heavenly blessing of this passage. It provides us with insight that is often overlooked. Simply put, faith is the “substructure or foundation”  or “confidence, firm trust, assurance” of what your hoping for. This idea is best understood when you consider the structure of a home. The substructure has to be strong enough to support the foundation, infrastructure and superstructure, of the home. It is the firm bedrock for the adjoining structures to rest on securely. The essence of our faith and the confidence of my hope NEEDS a constant attachment to “The Rock” which is CHRIST.   The evidence……………

We are constantly in search of proof to validate truth, whether we are honest about the pursuit or not is irrelevant. Back to the chair example, the reason we can so readily have faith in the chair is because of the continued success we have experienced over the course of a lifetime relative to the chair’s  ability to provide us with rest off of our feet.  When Mike got up off the floor he did not say “I am never going to sit in a chair again!” Instead, he cleaned himself off, got  another plate of food and went inside and sat at the dining room table to eat instead. He was not going to be so foolish as to STOP trusting in the chair to do for him what it was designed to do.  Christ came to this world to save sinners, through the death at Calvary, the burial and resurrection. Long before He established his earthly ministry, He was established as The Rock of our Salvation.

There is no better proof of the essence of His power that is greater than the FACT that He is the Son of God who arose from the dead and ascended back to His rightful place at the Right Hand of the Father where He now intercedes on our behalf.  No matter how messed up life may become, He NEVER FAILS!  HE CONQUERED THE POWER OF SIN AND DEATH AT CALVARY. Proof is further accomplished after we accept this SELFLESS act of salvation personally. I don’t know about you but the life that I now live is SOOOOO MUCH better than the life I use to lead. The difference? The power of sin is NO LONGER reigning over my life – HE IS! Even though we CAN’T see Him!

The evidence of things not seen. “Things” is so misunderstood and taken for granted. It is EVERYTHING THAT IS ALREADY DONE in God’s plan>The results are eternal but everyday I get a glimpse of the proof from the time I open my eyes and realize my lungs an my heart are working, my legs and my arms are still functional, my 5 senses are still in tact and He is present – providing, protecting, and purposing all of the events of the day for my good.  These “good works” that God ordained EVEN BEFORE I TOOK SHAPE IN MY MOTHER’S WOMB, are the “THINGS”. What a MIGHTY God!!!!!

 

Accept What God Allows


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Today is a beautiful day here in Atlana. The sun is shining, there is a pleasant breeze flowing through the atmosphere and most of all I am alive and well to engage in the various activities today will offer.  Life is good.

I was reading the 11, 12 & 13th chapters of Job in my devotional time.  I remember thinkingLord why am I reading this book.” Now if I was not obedient to His Sovereignty over my life I would have missed this blessing I am about to tell you of. It pays to LET GOD LEAD. A daily surrendered heart to the finished work @ Calvary keeps God in the leadership position. It also keeps me engaged in a conqueror lifestyle.

Job’s life exemplifies the value of a consistent presence of HOPE. He lost everything -wife, kids, job, home, good health, friends etc. – with no prior warning. It just happened to him, one loss after another. To make matters worse, he had 3 associates coming to him with various ideologies that supposed the idea they knew why Job’s life fell apart. Throughout all of the hardships Job encountered, he maintained an attitude of HOPE and EXPECTANCY.

Now that seems pretty significant to me. I can understand the devastating blows life can hit you with. That can be severe in nature. Job is the prime example of how to ACCEPT WHAT GOD ALLOWS. You see ACCEPTANCE is the answer to all my problems. We have a glaring lesson in the book of Job that supports the thought. All of the loss Job sustained WAS ALLOWED BY GOD. There was a bigger picture available for us to understand. Job’s losses were directly related to a Spiritual lesson between God and the enemy. Job, his wife and children, all of Job’s associates mentioned in the book only had an awareness for what they could see – A LIMITED PERSPECTIVE AT BEST. Yet Job had the willingness to TRUST God in his uncertainty. Why? JOB KNEW GOD IS SOVEREIGN. I think this is why he did not beat the hell out of those accusers. I know the thought must have crossed his mind 🙂

This is a lesson that continues to fuel my own climate for a HOPEFUL outlook day by day. It’s not always easy but it truly does work when you work it.

The Joy IS in the Journey


I know a man who taught me a valuable life-lesson that is based in hope. At the time he shared this with me I was 27 and clueless. I had my own idea of how life was supposed to be and I was working hard to realize my dreams. I was living well but I was always caught up in some type of chaos I was creating due to my inability to find the joy in the journey. My friend must have realized this and shared this lesson with me.

A Journey Called Life
The joy IS in the journey. The journey is life. Destination?

He had been a mail carrier for the USPS for decades. It brought financial security and marital stability along with a lifestyle that was envied by his family. He described his experience as what he thought were “the best years of his life.” His circumstances changed when he became ill. He lost his job and all of the financial security. He became unemployable and homeless. He found himself alone, needy and hopeless. After a major hospitalization caused by his apparent demise brought about by his “seemingly hopeless case of mind and body,” he heard, through a series of interactions with people who survived the same problem that was killing him, there is a solution. He stayed the course of a particular treatment plan wherein he found a constant presence of hope within. His life gradually began to change for the better. He became employable again but he dealt with serious blemishes in his history that deterred many potential employers from hiring him. Frustration ensued but willingness prevailed. A training program with the regional transit authority yielded him favorable results and he once again had work. He found unspeakable joy day after day as he struggled to establish himself again. He gained a new life that was exponentially better than “the best years of his life.” His joy still remains to this day as he is living better than ever in the second half of his life.

As I reflect on this life-lesson I am blessed today to realize that I now understand the value of his story that never abandoned my memory and I have used it to generate hope in my own hopelessness. God is always present. His realized presence provides an unlimited source of hope to carry us through life situations with a constant spirit of joy that positively affects our lives and the lives of others. As long as we are willing to show-up for life each day, we can live through any circumstance that materializes victoriously. This is a virtuous reality based in an Conqueror lifestyle. THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY!

I Have Hope


A Polish made Unitra turntable atop an Electro...
vinyl productions burned music on my soul permanently

Growing up I heard this classic Roberta Martin song “I Have Hope.” In addition to hearing it from the choir on Sunday mornings, I can recall the 33 playing on the record player ringing out the lyrics from the speakers in our living room on Aspen Place, Columbia Ave and Pennington Ave:

“I have hope, I have hope when trouble comes my way

I have hope, I have hope since Jesus has come to stay

I have hope, oh yes when things are not well with me

I have hope, it’s a beutiful hope and it sets me free

If your distressed , Jesus says come unto me. If your depresed I know he’ll give you liberty

Time may find you at the end of your line, but keep the faith its not too late the Lord will be on time.

I have hope, I have hope when darkness fills the sky

I have hope, I have hope since Jesus is ever nigh

I have hope, oh yes through dangers I can not see

I have hope its a beautiful hope that sets me free.”

http://www.last.fm/listen/artist/Roberta%2BMartin/similarartists is a link to this genre of music that features the Roberta Martin classics.

It was written in 1968 but the melody and message is timeless. Hope is a life principle that fuels my daily pace. It puts pep in my step and glide in my stride. Most of all it keeps a smile on my face that springs from true joy in my heart. The goodness of God is constantly present. Thank you Lord for saving me at Calvary. It gives me Hope, a beautiful Hope that sets me free one day at a time.