I have started posting videos on YouTube for men all around the world. This is the latest installment. God uses the opening of the video to display how perseverance works in my life. It is my hope that this ministry will sow seeds of inspiration to anyone who is recovering from the storms of life. My goal is to empower men to stand in the truth of God’s Word and in the hope of God’s plan being revealed in their lives. The Conqueror Lifestyle is changing lives!
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)”
The celebrity lifestyle includes destructive behaviors. It alarms us all when we hear of a celebrity who has been pronounced dead after a short lived life fueled with the excesses of drugs, alcohol, sex and the phenomenon of “more” naturally. There are many people who are in position throughout the music, film, television, comedy and sports entertainment industries, all of whom are there strictly to provide the celebrity with “more” destructive devices. These “yes people” provide the means for more opportunities to spin out of control and ultimately follow in the footsteps of legendary performers like Billy Holiday, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Len Bias, Michael Carl Blaze, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Chris Farley, John Belushi and countless others both well known and unknown. Celebrities are so much more prone to the excesses to offset the absolute nature of insanity induced by a life absorbed in the abuse of alcohol and drugs. When will we – as a regenerated people – stand for what is right and oppose such tragedies?
Today is a day when such a stand is possible. Justin Bieber is not alone in his quest to “have a good time.” No! However, because of his recent arrest at 4am in Miami, Florida after allegedly being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and operating a Lamborghini in a drag racing scenario, his actions are enough to initiate all of the help opportunities we can as Christians. Christians are in no way perfect. Yes, my book “A Conqueror In Training” intimately portrays the level of imperfection we experience in our Christian walk. But what we are not, when we are living the Conqueror Lifestyle, is “conquered by sin.” Justin’s behavior and his recent arrest are all examples of how he is in the grips of the origins of being overtaken by drugs and alcohol. People who are conquered by sin manifest this spiritual condition through the excesses of drugs, alcohol, sex and music. The history of the entertainment business, including the sports world, is such that we as Americans know how prevalent these behaviors are and yet they continue on year after year. Dr. Drew has even taken the syndrome to the television medium to publicly portray all of the negative proclivities by which human beings can realize their affinity to self destruct. Justin is conquered by sin. One of the ways being conquered by sin becomes possible is when various worldly tactics are employed exposing the innocent to their natural phenomenon of “more” – no matter how talented or smart one may be.
The problem is this: talent is a human condition that is used as a form of capitalization. Capitalism promotes wealth. Wealth promotes the love of money. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Evil is released into the lives of these unsuspecting, innocent, unsupervised youth and early adults as they travel up the “ladder of success” at a diabolical rate of speed and velocity. Ultimately they are consumed by the distractions of the world and all its vices and become overwhelmed with the cares of life. The downward spiral ensues and there is no where else to end up – with all the riches, fame, notoriety and increased opportunities to be of service to others – but 6 feet under.
How devastated were you when you heard of the death of Michael Jackson? Justin Bieber is on the same path. The Conqueror Lifestyle is available to you Justin to help you realize all that God designed you to be if you would by faith try this way of life. This lifestyle promotes experiencing the phenomenon of “more” spiritually. However, if anyone else is interested in helping Justin, or anyone else, by getting help through what we do here at Conqueror Ministries we will do all we can to be of service to you to help anyone develop and maintain the Conqueror Lifestyle. It is an antidote to a life conquered by sin.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Every day you realize you are awake and able to live another day, you have a choice to make. In addition to the choices about what you will wear, what you will eat and what you will do first as you survey your list of options, you are responsible for an even greater choice. If you are not willing to make this choice, your decision is made for you. You can thank Adam for that. Whether you are God‘s child, or not, the life you live will always present opportunities for you to become willing to make a choice to serve the God who created the Heavens and the Earth or the gods of this world.
The choice is found in who you will serve – who you will work for through the service of your life. We all are destined to be used by God – goodness and evil are all manifested by God’s Sovereignty. Many of you seperate good from evil and designate good as being of God and evil exclusively being from Satan. We need toconsider Psalm 24:1 A Psalm of David and I Corinthians 10:26 An Epistle of Paul’s – “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” – EVERYTHING THAT IS HERE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS HERE IS BECAUSE OF THE LORD’S SOVEREIGNTY. If you fail to accept this truth then your choice will always be manipulated by your own ideas. Even the evil that manifests through you is under the authority of Christ today.
Joshua was nearly at the end of his life when he delivered this sermon in Joshua 24. It gives attention to doctrine and application. The doctrine is represented by all of the deeds in which the Lord God Almighty provided for His people. From the calling of Abraham, the birth of Isaac, the deliverance out of Egypt and through the Red Sea and their warring victories into the Promised Land, God proved His determined will and put it on display for the world to know. The Hebrews were recipients of the consistent manifestation of God’s Sovereign Power. They had proof to know that no other god is comparable to the God of the Heavens and the Earth. But it is the application of the sermon where we find the purpose of the choice to serve.
Your acquaintance with good and evil notwithstanding, it is a fundamental Biblical truth that when your flesh is controlled by sin you can not please God. You sow seeds of sin through all types of lifestyle choices. Every decision you make is based on your pursuit to manifest and fulfill the desires of the flesh. Joshua was reminded of Moses who declared the importance to choose life with a heart that loves the Lord, His Word all with a willingness to serve Him daily. Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20. You can offset any affinity towards sin when you make a choice to serve God by praying for the knowledge of His will and the power to be all that He has created you to be. You can be of maximum service to God, realize the Conqueror Lifestyle and serve Him and others effectively, when His power is working in you and through you conforming you to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But you can make this choice to serve God only because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ which gives you access into His grace.
Others realize your choice by every word that comes out of your mouth, every deed of your hands and every direction that your feet move towards. The heart decides which choice is to be made. A heart that is willing to freely surrender to God’s Sovereignty is a direct result of a quickened spirit connected to the power of the resurrection at work in you. It’s not hard at all to make Jesus your choice when you accept all that He has freely done for you. You willingly desire to serve Him because of how effectively He serves you. Stop trying to be your best you independent of God’s spiritual blessings at work in you. You will know true service as He manifests His good works in your life when you make the choice to depend on and serve Him in all that you say and do. Agree with me and Joshua and make your choice THE LORD.
The mere mention of her name elicits the world of prostitution. Her Biblical story reveals that she was a ‘working girl’ who was willing to help 2 Israelite men who Joshua sent to spy on the land, including Jericho. The fact that she was willingly accommodating to these young, viral men could suggest the theory she was preying on their vulnerability giving rise to an opportunity for her to capitalize and get paid. The human mind will also fantasize about the origins of the spies ending up at a harlot’s house. In fantasy they may have deliberately ended up there to “blow off some steam.”
In the story’s enticing opening the reader will want to find out what happens. This is a great read in and of itself. However, the emphasis for this “shot” is on what Rahab heard and how she responded. As she takes the liberty to check on the spies she divulges her true nature. Here we see that the word was spreading about God‘s power being demonstrated through the chosen Israelites. The news worthiness of their trek through the Red Sea and the conquering of 2 kings was a source of awakening in the hearts of many. Rahab’s awakening is clearly stated in verse 11″When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath .”
Rahab heard what God had done and her heart awakened to TRUST IN GOD. The Israelite men were God’s men. She did not view them as objects for capital gain. Instead she was IN POSITION as a vessel for God to use as He deemed necessary. It is this design for FAITHTHAT WE WILL NEED TO REALIZE IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN A CONQUEROR LIFESTYLE. We live life from day-to-day under the auspices of God’s Sovereignty. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, HAPPENS BY SURPRISE IN THE CREATOR’S WORLD. Yet human beings are constantly attempting to act as “the controlling force” of their destiny. Psalms 24:1 says the Earth is the Lords and the FULLNESS thereof. If you are ever going to be of use to anyone it is because of God and God alone. God is ALWAYS UP TO SOMETHING GOOD BECAUSE GOOD IS ALL HE DOES.
You have to hear about God’s power; hear about God’s grace; hear about God’s love; hear about God’s faithfulness; hear about God’s Sovereignty. Have you heard that Jesus Christ SAVES to the UTMOST?
Hear how He provides, protects and preserves His people. Hear how He can DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL. You can hear it from Genesis to Revelations as you read about the Mighty God we serve. All the while your heart will awaken to a continuous cultivation of FAITH in all that you hear about Him. As this faith matures, a newness in the way you think and respond to ANY life situation erupts. You will say things that you thought you would never say, do things you thought you would never do and life will take on new meaning. This and more is likely when you HEAR of his goodness, strength and power and discover He is always available for you. Faith comes by what you heard and what you hear from the Word of God.
“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!
Saying “I’m sorry” is the first act of humility that can bring about a life changing experience based in forgiveness. The person who you wronged may spend months, years, even decades desiring to hear these words. While waiting to hear these words, fueled by a spirit of anger, resentment, loss, fear and pain,his/her life can be greatly affected by the elements of negative behaviors – drugs, alcohol, crime, etc. Whatever the actions which brought about the wrong needing correction with an apology, the overall damaging affects can never be erased. There are no words that can efface the subsequent issues wreaking havoc in his/her life because of what you said, did or did not do.
How does silence help the healing in forgiveness? How can silence be a catalyst to forgiveness? Can there be a visceral response to inaudibility? Of course, the answer is yes! How? This question would likely follow. Here is what I know today. When there are elements of disconnect that create boundaries which prevent a needed verbal exchange of apology, silence is your best alternative. When you try to communicate to the best of your ability and all your efforts to apologize are not welcomed, silence is your defensive ally. When you have the opportunity to communicate remorse and you are quieted by his barrage of anger in reply to your effort to apologize, silence speaks forgiveness more than any words.
It takes an ongoing spirit of humility from a renewed heart that becomes willing to apologize for wrongdoings. However, your willingness to speak an apology must be met with a willingness to hear the apology. If the opportunity is constantly unavailable because of those boundaries the sufferer has positioned in his/her life as a means of protection from any additional pain from you, the solution is silent forgiveness- not from the sufferer but from you. You must be able to continue to “accept the things you can NOT change.” Silent forgiveness begins in you. The sufferer will become a recipient of your forgiveness of yourself for your wrongs and the sufferers actions that are fueled by fear, anger, hurt and pain that you caused. This is the epitome of love.
The best example I have to cite is the suffering of Christ. Here we delve into the sometimes controversial aspect of His Deity during His earthly ministry. We learned that at the time of His baptism, John the Baptist declared Him to be “the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” That was His mission. At the time when the Hebrews rejected Christ, they turned on Him and supposed that His claims of being the Son of God was criminal. They wanted Him dead. But He was God in the flesh! He knew more than just what was seen at the time of His earthly ministry. He was on a mission and that was prophesied in Isaiah 53 – that of being crucified.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
All of the times when He made attempts to gain their faithfulness as a Nation, His desires went unmet. They took all they could get from Him but in the end they did not want Him around. Instead, they wanted Him to be nailed to a cross, hanging, bleeding, suffering unto death – the most horrible, degrading form of death known to them. And He did it willingly. He did not need to plead his case, retaliate against his opposition or “change their minds” about who He is. He was fulfilling a mission that was determined even before the world began. The essence of His “Silent Forgiveness” is realized when, while hanging on the Cross, He uttered “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Your silent forgiveness is motivated by the same source of love resting firmly in your spirit as a direct result of knowing who you are in Christ. Your willingness to make right the wrongs of your past to him/her is based in your love. You can not experience unfeigned, self love if you have not accepted Christ’s undying love for you and the sufferer. Acceptance of the “finished work” at Calvary and the resurrection gave you the opportunity to become a “joint heir” with Him today. You, a wretched sinner who inflicted pain and misery in loved ones’ lives because of your own selfish desires and the sufferers who have their own crosses to bear because of your actions, are ALLforgiven under the blood that Jesus shed at the Cross. God gave His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed, die and resurrect just for you! And not just for you but for all who would by faith believe in Him. That’s the love that every soul in need of a Savior desires and every spirit washed in the precious blood of the lamb experiences daily.
This love is the catalyst for a “new creation in Christ… old things are passed away and behold ALL things are new.” This is a process that overshadows any obstacles that sin can attempt to block God’s will. Therefore, since you have been redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb, you do NOT get to determine what actions you can give/receive forgiveness for and which ones that you will never be forgiven for. Forgiveness of sins is not on a sliding scale! At the Cross, ALL sin is forgiven once and for all! Silent forgiveness then is the act of receiving the forgiveness that resulted at Calvary and being willing to forgive others without ever speaking a word. In God’s time he/she will also forgive you. God is able! TRUST HIM AND LIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE IN HIM!
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
The New York Subway system is great. There is a fundamental element associated with traveling from downtown to uptown. When I was a child, per my cousin Gary, there were two trains that got the task done. From Penn Station you could catch the “A” train, a local route making many stops throughout the entire boro of Manhattan. Mostly everyone used this one because of its frequent regular schedule during the day. But if you knew what you were doing and your goal was to get uptown, you could travel up a steep flight of stairs, wait a while and get on the “AA” train instead. This express line offered you the freedom to arrive at your destination in a fraction of the time uninformed/impatient passengers realized on the popular local route. Today it is known as the “A Express.” On a good day you can get from 42nd street to 168st in 4 stops.
The Serenity Prayer offers us the same advantage.This prayer is like an express train to my core. On the exterior, when I find myself honestly appealing to God‘s Sovereignty over my life as I face some sort of issue, this prayer acquaints me with the dilemma’s affect on me. It also provides me with a Divine solution – PEACE! Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Each request in the Serenity Prayer is significant.
At the point when I am “boarding” this train, my spirit cries out “GOD.” Now I must tell you that I had to learn how to interpret this instinctive cry and utilize this prayer. I can vividly remember my twenties, when I was SO overwhelmed by life and too afraid to ask for help,I thought/BELIEVED I was supposed to be able to know how to handle all of the things going on around and in my life. Asking for help seemed like a weak, spineless cop out. In essence, the lies had me fooled and I was destined to experience all of the calamity and blessings that God OK’d. I am so thankful for the Old Testament because my consistent pursuit into that portion of scripture, during my twenties, gave me this level of clarity as my twenties came to a close. However, I did not realize God’s sovereignty until my 30’s.
I take my “seat” on the train as my spirit declares “Grant me the SERENITY.” In other words, my peace has been disrupted. Some person, place, thing or situation has interrupted the harmony within me that fuels my purpose. It’s obvious to me now that at this point I have conceded to myself that I am in need of help – GOD’S HELP – in order to arrive at His desired will for my life. Somehow, someway I have gone astray and I NEED to be restored.
“Accept the things that I cannot change” – Action occurs as the train speeds towards the next stop. Acceptance is in motion. What characterizes the motion experience like that of an actual subway ride is how I adapt to the bumpy segments between stops. When you ride the subway it can sometimes be a rough ride. So it is as I have to get myself to this acceptance of whatever it is that has interfered with my peace. The plea for acceptance directly calls into focus what I CANNOT change. Here is where the bumps get intense. Who cares to admit that they can’t do something when they are so engrossed in the prospects of consistently looking good on the outside. The prayer quickly challenges every aspect of my ego. Summarily, everything that goes on outside of me that affects my core – people, places, things, situations – are BEYOND my control. Acceptance gets me into an awareness that God controls every aspect of what goes on outside of me PERFECTLY (whether I want to believe it or not) and I AM NOT GOD. The doors close and the train leaves the stop quickly speeding towards the next one.
“Courage to change the things that I can” – Finally something that I can do. The action of acceptance does not stop. In addition , I now call on God to provide what I can physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually utilize to affect change in effort to achieve peace at all these levels – COURAGE. It enables me to honestly assess all that is going on at my core – what I am feeling, how I am thinking and most of all HOW MUCH I AM TRUSTING IN GOD VS TRUSTING IN ME OR OTHERS. Courage is necessary in order for me to make whatever changes that are necessary within me that puts God back in His proper place -1st.
Why is this such an important life principle? All month I have delved into courage to gain a greater willingness to get all that courage affords me. I am a fearful being on so many levels. So to arrive at the place where I can honestly seek the Lord’s presence from day to day, and continue to experience the power that His presence does supply, offers me a vast supply of courage. The courage I write about is based in TRUST, HOPE AND FAITH IN THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, who created me. It just seems so apparent to me that one of the biggest problems we face in our core is keeping God engaged in our day to day affairs. A daily surrender to the finished work at Calvary is not an obstacle when you realize your need for a Savior. The Apostle Paul made a simple but profound declaration in Philippians 4:13 “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENS ME.”
The train doors close again as it speeds towards the destination. Along the way, my countenance has changed. I am now eager as I realize I am almost there. It is amazing at how quickly I have gone from 34th – downtown feeling all out of sorts and “off” – to 168th street – uptown Harlem – on top of my game, resting in the peace of God which is far beyond what I can possibly understand. Peace is at work because I called on God, requested “serenity now”, actively engaged acceptance and willingly utilized courage. But as the doors open at my final destination I am still in need of “The wisdom to know the difference.” Having the blessing of peace continuously at work in and around me requires a continued presence of wisdom. Wisdom to assess those things that are in my control and out of my control. The wisdom to know when I need to get back on the “aa” train.