Willingness To Wait


wait
wait (Photo credit: CmdrFire) It’s Not As Difficult As You Might Think

When one is willing he/she is practicing the act of making a choice. Decision making is a process we are introduced to as early as our toddler years. Remember when you or your child was learning to walk. The toddler develops a comfortable stride and encounters the opportunity to demonstrate willingness. Will he walk up the stairs, down the stairs, out the door, outside the fenced area, etc. His willing heart will try to venture about with his new found gift – the ability to walk.

A Willingness to wait on the LORD requires faith. Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus establishes the relationship between you and the LORD. The onset of the relationship is when you become willing to trust that He died, was buried and arose from the dead to save you from your sins and the judgement of eternal separation from God. Faith produces a willingness to believe that all things are working together for your good and the difficulties have intentional results DIRECTLY associated with His will JUST FOR YOU. REMEMBER He died so that you can live. Your life’s spiritual awakening, development and maturity is the relationship. During the maturity of the relationship, He uses the “waiting” to mature your faith through His Word. The Christian faith establishes the power of God in us through the resurrection of Christ Jesus. By this we are equipped to walk by faith; not by sight.

Christians are often referred to as “children of God” mainly because of the spiritual adoption principle found in Romans 8:14-15. We are His children always. When we are in receipt of the “gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” we are forever classified as children of God which makes up the family of God here on Earth.

In today’s world we live in everybody wants everything NOW. NO ONE LIKES TO WAIT FOR ANYTHING – phone assistance, public transportation, traffic jams, DMV lines, restaurant seating, the cable man etc., etc., etc…  The wait produces the need to focus on God’s presence during the wait!
God is our refuge and strength – a very present help in trouble.

He maintains this description to ALL of His children no matter what level of spiritual maturity we are working with.Try as hard as you can to disprove this Heavenly attribute while you engage life matters from day to day. You will find that He Is ALWAYS present and He NEVER COMES UP SHORT. But you do all the time, and you will even try to blame others, including our Heavenly Father, for your own shortcomings. Ultimately you will find a need to wait on Him and encounter your own willingness to wait. In times of waiting, the trials will mature you and you will be better because of your willingness to wait.

Psalm 27:14  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 130:5  I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Proverbs 20:22  Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Lamentations 3:25-26 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

The fact is that a willingness to wait on the Lord is a practice that yields an experience similar to how a toddler practices his decision making skills when learning all the opportunity “at his feet.” My hope is that you will benefit from the use of the Conqueror Lifestyle to willingly wait on the LORD and grow in the process. It will help you soar to new heights In Christ that you could never experience outside of Christ. All of the possibilities are manifested in your willingness to wait. Waiting develops patience. Patience develops perseverance. Perseverance develops hope. Hope propels a Christian to maintain his/her position in Christ because He NEVER fails. Surrender to win and be a witness to the power of living victoriously day after day. 

 “Qualities of A Conqueror Volume 1” – a textbook/workbook compilation available now to help you develop and maintain The Conqueror Lifestyle.

Stay in the race!

If You Believe……..



Imagine Her Cameo Perfomance in "The Wiz"

“If you believe
Within your heart
You’ll know that no one can change
The path that you must go
Believe what you feel and know you’re right because the time will come around when you’ll say it’s yours…………That’s why I want you to believe in yourself right from the start. Believe in the magic right there in your heart. Go ahead believe all these things not because I told you to. But believe in yourself; If you believe in yourself; Just believe in yourself as I believe in you.” source:http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/w/wizmusicallyrics/ifyoubelievelyrics.html

The Wiz was released on October 24, 1978. I was entering the preadolescent stage of development. My toddler aged sister was with my mom and I when we saw this groundbreaking movie. This was during a tumultuous season in my history as the dysfunction of my family was negatively impacting my maturity. The imagery of Ms. Lena Horne‘s performance singing “If You Believe” was a breathtaking moment as she entered the scene with an entourage of small, black babies, adorned in identical, purple outfits, complete with head coverings, as Ms. Horne captivated the screne and a stellar display of sparkling stars illuminated their background. At the close of her dialogue with Dorothy, the orchestral score initiated the transition and Ms. Horne delivered the soul stirring vocal captioned above.

How does this timeless portrayal of Glenda the good witch tie into this month’s theme – spiritual integrity? Here at ConquerorShots we maintain the definition of integrity as the quality or state of our spirit being complete or undivided. We stand on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and rely on the finished work at Calvary to realize spiritual completeness. This is the foundation of our belief in the power of God, NOT THE “MAGIC” IN YOUR HEART, through the Holy Spirit working in and through us from day to day. The results of which are a cumulative source of power to spiritually conquer our biggest enemy – sin.

The lyrical content of “believe” in the song has a strong identification in one’s self. However, ConquerorShots maintains that “self” needs a Savior in order to be its best. The Word clearly defines the condition of our heart i.e. “self” as “deceitful and above all desperately wicked…..”So, today the lyrical content helps to apply the principle of spiritual integrity in a defining way where we can attain belief in “self.”

When you have “Blessed Assurance” in your heart – not in your mind – about the finished work at Calvary and how it serves your spiritual needs from day to day, you are NO LONGER left with the task of being the source of your own destiny. God has provided all of the Mastery of ordering your steps before you lived your first day. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God has prepared in advance that we should walk in them.”

The spiritual principles of Honesty, Hope, Faith and Courage, all stemming from a healthy spiritual appetite for the Word of God and prayer, serve our daily belief system in “The Christ in us”. If you believe in yourself from this prospective, as God believes in you because He CREATED you, you have a ROCK SOLID foundation in spiritual integrity that can NOT be shaken from day to day.

Experience the blessing of SECURITY in CHRIST which yields FREEDOM to be who GOD created you to be IF YOU BELIEVE.



	

Healing Hope


Jesus in Pray
Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Son of God called on “Daddy”

 

Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”(NASB)

 

 

 

I have a friend who I met a few years ago. It was at a time when I was devastated by the effects of separation from my wife and kids which ultimately led to divorce and continual estrangement from my children. During the first year of our friendship he would listen to me as I became willing to share my pain, misery, heartache and despair that plagued me daily. He too knew the suffering associated with a life dream of marriage bliss becoming a nightmare of perpetual horror disguised as divorce.

 

He listened.(Thank you Lord for giving me a friend who understood and listened!) He offered very little verbiage to the phone conversations at first. As I began to hear the words that were describing my issues, he would then share his awakenings with me. I had no idea how to begin to process any resolutions. It seemed that my ability to think rationally was completely destroyed by the constant barrage of emotional torpedoes that simultaneously connected to the unimaginable bull’s eye attached to my heart by my trials and tribulations. He instinctively knew when I was rid of the debris. Every time I had the wisdom to listen to his experience I opened myself to the origins of HEALING HOPE.

 

The first time we spoke in this manner I asked him to pray for me. I had no prior knowledge of his prayer life but I knew he possessed an  awareness and relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. To my surprise, gratefully so, he obliged. It is not uncommon for me to appeal to others for prayer particularly when I am too weak to pray earnestly for myself as in those prior months. Yet I was ALWAYS mindful of my personal need for prayer – even if the words were simply, “Lord, have mercy. In Jesus name Amen.”  There were many times when that was ALL THAT I COULD SAY………  My friend however, was primed and ready to offer prayer on my behalf. He began in the most prolific and personable manner – “DADDY!”

 

I sat straight up in the chair as he yelled with conviction this opening to prayer that was soul-stirring. His tone of assurance that God, HIS HEAVENLY FATHER, was listening and ready to attend to the specific needs he would offer which included a particular instance of thanksgiving that soothed my battered heart. My friend knew how fragile my spirit was. He was also aware of the constant associations that were in my immediate surroundings that intensified the matter. The manifestations of fear and bondage had greatly overtaken me then. His prayer reminded me of the depths of “ABBA FATHER aka DADDY.

 

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  It is for these results spiritually, mentally and physically, which are the direct result of my personal salvation, that I can call Him Daddy.

 

Calling God “Daddy” helps me get in touch with His Fatherly love for me. I was not fortunate to know a healthy human father/son relationship. I struggled greatly with the identity of this necessary human dynamic. It is no coincidence that God would ultimately have to demonstrate His Fatherly qualities to me over the course of my life – specifically my teens, twenties and thirties  It was during these years that I became a father myself. I remember the concerns I had as my oldest son was born and I realized how inadequate I was to be called his father. It was then that I became personally acquainted with the HEALING HOPE associated with “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” This is true even more so as God reveals His Heavenly designs of fatherhood in my life. God allowed for ALL my deficiencies in order for HIS SUFFICIENCY to have weight and depth IN my life.

 

HEALING HOPE is an extraordinary gift from God that originated in the beginning. Hope is Eternal when we realize how Heavenly salvation really is. However, knowing “DADDY” also provides HEALING HOPE when life happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste


A Taste

Write text here…

The Problem vs. The Promise


Words
Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

I heard a sermon that climaxed with a message of perseverance. Life happens and we attempt to “do our best” to “help God out.” Our faith in God becomes superimposed by our human goals to handle circumstances with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.

It all starts out with a God-given blessing by way of a message of promise, Divinely ordained just for you to experience, whereby  lives will forever be affected in a Godly manner and God’s glory is magnified. The problem arises when you have to contend with facts that obstruct a human understanding of how the particulars will happen. You become inundated with doubts, uncertainty and pessimism all because you can’t understand how the promise from God will become a reality. It is completely natural to rely on human intervention that can aid your heart felt desire to realize this dream that you now have. But if human intervention supersedes God’s power then you have mistakenly focused on the problem. The God-given dream you so desperately want to realize will not be fulfilled without FAITH. When you focus on the fact that God’s Word is ABSOLUTE, then you have unmistakably focused on the promise – by faith in HIM the dream becomes a reality.

SOVEREIGN FACTS:GOD NEVER FAILS!   GOD MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE!    GOD MAKES WAYS OUT OF NO WAY!       GOD CAN DO ANYTHING BUT FAIL!                                                                GOD IS OUR ALL AND ALL!

The character in the Bible that personifies this life issue is Sarah.  In Genesis 15 God promised Abram a son. He was old and she was old and barren. Fact! In Genesis 16 Sarah has assessed the facts and comes up with a plan that is devoid of faith in God’s promise but instead based in the prospect of human intervention. “An old man can still produce sperm.  If I give my husband my hand maiden and they have sex then she will conceive the baby that God promised. THIS MUST BE WHAT GOD MEANT!”  The message of how our minds take over what our spirits discern is truly telling for our personal spiritual maturity. This is why Paul writes in Romans 12 “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…..”  Sarah was an enterprising, beautiful woman as she utilized surrogacy way before it was politically correct. 🙂  But all of these efforts were contrived in her mind because she was focused on the FACT that she was old and barren.  Her faith in God became superimposed by her human goals to problem solve with human interventions rather than relying on God’s Word.

All the while God said what He said and the act was done. Ishmael was born. By Genesis 18 God specifically promises that Sarah will have a son. Sarah was eavesdropping and, motivated by her knowledge of the FACTS, she doubted God’s Word inwardly and laughed to herself. Be mindful of the elements of sarcasm today. God knows the intents of the heart along with His Divine plan. Sarah is confronted with the reality of this when she must consider the question, “is there anything too difficult for the LORD?” Her conclusion must have been NO because Hebrews 11:11 declares ” Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” In Genesis 18 we see her move her focus from the problem (the facts). Her attempts to use her intellect and human intervention were designed to get her to accept in her heart and mind that if God said it He CAN do it! She focused on Him as the all powerful, all knowing Creator of the Heaven, the Earth and mankind. Her faith in the promise changed her life and is still changing lives today.

We contend with our human nature on so many levels. Consider this in response to the contention: God created you and ALL that is around you. He can not and WILL not be overtaken by a problem. He is the Creator who created something out of nothing – you were formed from the dirt of the earth. If you realize there is destiny for your life but the facts are overwhelming your belief in His promises, tell yourself, “self, there is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD!

 

Silent Forgiveness


Shhhhh....
Shhhhh…. (Photo credit: Valerie Everett)

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 ALL forgiven 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!

When the Sail is Broken


 

 

Yesterday I received a delivery. The young delivery man appeared to be unbalanced – nervous, twitchy, inattentive to details about the delivery process and payment – and aloof. I had never encountered such a delivery experience before. My heart became sensitive to his inner turmoil. Ultimately it was time to start talking about the solution. He listened. He received the gift of Salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and left my home revived. In the midst of all his turmoil God is present and ABLE to save.

 

 

Psalm 34:18 NASB declares “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

 

 

Humiliation breeds resentment. Face it, when a situation occurs that is a direct blow to your pride (ego) your immediate response is subversion – get rid of this thought, issue, desire, person, place or thing that is attempting to destroy you.  If you can remove the threatening element yourself and keep your pride in tact, your ego is fueled. But if you are unable to thwart the process of humiliation then you are faced with a pierced ego/broken heart.

 

 

The Hebrew word for “BROKENHEARTED” is derived from shabar (unto them that are of a broken) and leb (heart). David describes that of a broken mind. The breaking process is likened to a ship wrecked in a stormy sea.

A Nonsuch 30' under sail
“Without Him life would be drifting like a ship without a sail.”

Picture a sail boat gracefully gliding across a body of water. Instantly a violent storm produces winds and lightening that ultimately destroys the large sail on the boat. The storm then moves on leaving the boat stranded in the water unable to navigate the waters because the sail is broken.

 

How precious it must have been for David when he realized this process of humiliation yielded a closeness to The LORD.

 

Jehovah“the self-existent One, He that is who He is, the eternal I AM; a special relation of Deity, in His Jehovah character, to man, and all Scripture emphasizes this; the redemption name of Deity, a beautiful type of the righteousness provided by the Lord God through sacrifice (Romans 3:2125 http://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/romans/passage.aspx?q=romans+3:21-25); 

 

in God’s redemptive relation to man, various compound names of Jehovah are found which reveal Him as meeting EVERY need of man from his lost state to the end {Jehovah-jireh – the Lord will provide – Jehovah-rapha The Lord who heals and Jehovah -shammah – the Lord IS PRESENT.” (the Scofield reference Bible, pg.117)

 

 

God has our entire existence in His hands. Humiliation gives rise to the reality that you are in need of Him. The flesh laments in the disdain of ego assassination but the spirit is primed for God’s Heavenly intervention. “He saves those who are crushed in spirit” The “saving” implies a significant force or power behind the action. God saves us at the level of our spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is an inside job!  Humiliation of the flesh crushes the spirit of a man in such a way that he/she is WILLING to receive DIVINE INTERVENTION or HELP in the time of trouble. My experience with the deliveryman demonstrated how IMMEDIATELY God can restore. Your circumstances outside of you may not change right away BUT God’s Word changes the condition of your heart and fortifies you, equips you with the strength, courage and wisdom to navigate through the difficulties with grace, love, peace, hope and perseverance.

 

 

You can’t tell HELP how to HELP. You can only ASK for HELP. When HELP shows up just RECEIVE IT. To my surprise the deliveryman asked for a solution to the angst of fear, uncertainty and heartache attached to him. His inquiry surfaced after hearing the Word of God.  All that was happening up to that point was God’s Sovereign hands preparing the way for this young soul to receive the message of God’s Saving power.

 

 

When the sail is broken, God is present to help restore you, revive you, rebuild you from within. It is then obvious that His presence was in effect during the humiliation process evidenced by His grace. If you are honest with yourself you can realize that your humiliation could have been a lot worse. The fact that you are still alive, able to realize His presence and receive His power is the proof that He Is.

 

 

Embrace humiliation and get into the solution. David’s pronouncement of the Lord’s nearness generates hope in times of hopelessness, strength in times of weakness, power in times of powerlessness. OUR LORD JESUS SAVES to the UTMOST.

 

Humbled To Find Humility


(A Short Story from the ConquerorShotMaker.)

Darrin was leaving the sanctuary that was releasing over 6000 attendees from the Sunday morning worship service. His spirit was elated with the Heavenly fruit of the Spirit and the joy of the Lord was upon him. In transit towards the west wing exit, he was met by one of the brothers from the church choir. Arthur was notorious for being a zealous soul, full of gratitude for His Savior’s love. On this day Arthur’s head was hung low as he walked directly into Darrin’s right arm. The meeting was surprising to Darrin as he embraced Arthur to slow him down. In the moment that Arthur realized it was Darrin now holding his arms firmly as he saw his lips moving but was unable to hear the words. Arthur was overwhelmed by the noise in his mind as the thoughts of terror associated with the loss of his life-savings plagued him thoroughly. He too was in the same service.

How is it that 2 Christian men can be in the same church service and leave with 2 different realities?

The dichotomy is associated with the condition of each mans’ heart spiritually. We all are inundated with the human conundrum of the mental and emotional contributions we receive from our heart. From a Biblical perspective we learn the following about our hearts’ human potential:

Genesis 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

Pro 18:12  Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. 

Pro 19:3  The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD. 
Pro 19:21  There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. 
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Matthew 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.boys red black heart picture and wallpaper

The verses are clear. A human heart absent of the blood of Jesus is permanently darkened with these conditions. No matter how “good” you may be, your heart is subject to manifest itself as described above. The reason why is because God said so, not me. Many people have such a darkened heart that they REFUSE to receive this truth. Arthur is struggling with this truth as he and Darrin interact in the vestibule. Darrin is startled as the reality of Arthur’s distractions are immense. He continued to look into Darrin’s eyes with a blank stare absent of the presence of joy. Darrin was not inclined to let go of his arms. Despair and anguish were written all over Arthur’s face. At that moment Darrin’s spirit awakens him with the truth of the Word of God:

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…………

and 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ‘s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Gal 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Arthur was overwhelmed with a heart that was actively being humbled as a result of the affairs in his life. Today he was made to realize how sin sick he had become.  He was a hard worker and quite successful at making a living. His long-term relationship with his wife and children ended abruptly as they were killed in an accident. He was left with a brain injury from the accident that rendered him disabled. He was no longer able to drive himself around after the incident. Public transportation and help from others were his transportation options after years of self-sufficiency being mobile. He was learning to live alone without any direct interaction from family after years of having direct family involvements. And now, in the past week, he learns that a man, who he met in church and trusted to manage his life savings, took all his money and now his life’s brokenness includes financial hardship.

Arthur was overwhelmed with the internal dynamics of the “how” and “why” questions. His heart was consumed with grief and his flesh wanted to retaliate in some way. In fact, he desperately needed to escape this pain by any means necessary. He was perplexed with the thoughts of how he could end it all and go home to be with the Lord. Yet, he was determined to trust God. In the church service they were leaving, the pastor delivered a powerful message.

I Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  The sermon title: HUMBLED TO FIND HUMILITY.

The sermon confronted his heart’s condition as he heard the pastor deliver the point that God allows suffering “to

make somebody feel less important: to make somebody feel less proud or convinced of   his or her own importance.”

That stung Arthur’s heart but good! Arthur’s trust in God included regular church attendance. The payoff for his commitment initiated. In the midst of all his loss and his need for human involvement after loosing all family ties, his heart was still egotistical, prideful and driven by a spirit of human arrogance. With all the loss, he still had a human will to “be strong and never let them see me sweat” attitude. In his alone time he was consumed with anger, envy, hatred, wrath, strife and the works continued to manifest. His current living conditions, coupled with a regular spiritual battle with God’s unending love, was a recipe that called for God’s intervention.  The pastor proclaimed, “GET LOW BEFORE CALVARY AND FIND HUMILITY.” Arthur was stunned with the truth in the power of the cross.

The pastor’s final words were: “God’ knows how to use our circumstances to get our hearts right before Him. Will you give Him yours today?”

Arthur was too weak to answer but troubled nonetheless. He stayed in place throughout the rest of the service. The time came to exit. He walked aimlessly through the vestibule in fear of what he would do to himself if he left the building. The fear and uncertainty became so overwhelming as he made up his mind to go. Just then he ran into Darrin who grabbed him and would not let him go.

Darrin knew this warfare between flesh and spirit all too well himself. With a discerning spirit, he began to sing in the space of the vestibule they occupied,

“Give me a clean heart. So I may serve Thee. Lord, fix my heart so that I may be used by Thee. For I’m not worthy of all these blessings. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.

I’m not asking for the riches of the land. I’m not asking for high men to know my name.

Please give me Lord a clean heart so that I may follow Thee. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.

I am up sometimes I am down. Sometimes I am almost level to the ground.

Please give me Lord a clean heart so that I may follow Thee. Give me a clean heart and I’ll follow Thee.”

A song that Arthur sang in the choir years ago, that would illuminate his zealous spirit so many times during choir rehearsals and worship services, was now ministering to Arthur’s troubled heart as the inhabitants throughout the vestibule – transient and gathered – joined in on the singing of the chorus. Arthur was now standing upright, his head held up and his facial countenance being restored through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The tears streamed down his face as the joy of God’s presence lifted his heart and his arms were now lifted up high above his head as he sang to the Lord, pleading for God to fix what was broken. Arthur’s sorrow, as he was obediently yielding to the truth of his inferiority and need of God’s superiority, allowed him to find the willingness to modestly and respectfully stand in the presence of God and receive the healing his heart desperately was in need of. The praise in the worship service continued in the vestibule as the unity of the saints worked together with the Spirit of Christ and a humbled heart found the grace and love of God in due time. Arthur’s commitment to trust God resulted in newness of life that day. like Darrin,his instinctual fervor for a conqueror lifestyle is serving him and others today. God is good ALL THE TIME.

 

A Confirming Breeze


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.

Phlox subulata 'Amazing Grace'
Phlox subulata ‘Amazing Grace’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 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

Experience the blessing of a confirming breeze.