Simple, Spiritual Self-Service


 

1.Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
Self-service kiosk
Self-service kiosk (Photo credit: melitroncorp)

Self service is a common part of human services that we realize throughout the course of every day. Whether it is at the ATM, airport, gas station, supermarket, workplace, etc., there is always some type of self service facility where you can serve yourself.  It has become the basic standard of service that we as Americans have come to expect. It is a simple, time and cost effective service tool which provides us with a new level of independence.  You can go, choose what you want and quickly keep it moving. It’s that simple!

 

The key to spiritual self-service is the acceptance of Christ’s unconditional service to humans, through His birth, life, Earthly ministry, death and resurrection, thereby establishing and fulfilling a Divine plan of redemption through the forgiveness of sin.  His Service to us At the Cross was unconditional work because He was born to provide us with the means of spiritual salvation  that we all can benefit from Eternally.  Whether we choose to believe in Him or not, His service to us is forever established. When we surrender our bodies to our Heavenly Father because we need forgiveness of our sins on a daily basis, we begin the process of spiritual self-service. True holiness is realized through your own personal identity with your need for forgiveness.  Spiritual self-service is that simple!!

 

There is Spiritual power of unknown proportions available to you when you are willing to present your body to God on a daily basis, totally surrendered to His Sovereignty over your life. His Power is revealed in your walk, your talk and your manner of life. Through every opportunity that makes up your day, you can experience the spiritual freedom of the conqueror lifestyle.  You see, when you choose to start your day, or in some cases re-start your day, by surrendering yourself under God’s authority, you are securing His leadership over every aspect of your day.  However, if you go through your day without this simple, spiritual self-service,  you are living a life that is solely reliant on your own abilities. Every idea, desire, motive and goal is born out of a spirit that is quenched by a soul that is sickened by unconfessed sin. Your body becomes a host for evil rather than God’s goodness. Unconfessed sin is a breeding ground for a swarm of complications that are designed to continue to distract you from His goodness as the world’s appeal demands your attention.

 

Your life can greatly benefit from the simple, spiritual self-service of surrendering to the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ daily.  The reasonable service begins with a mindset to pray without ceasing, having a thankful heart and mind willing to submit your body, mind i.e soul and spirit to Him all reliant on His will for your life from day to day.  A healthy prayer life and daily attachment to His Word completes the simple, spiritual process. It is a simple process that can humbly begin every time you wake up from rest you are blessed to realize. It gets you going spiritually!

 

Find out how I was trained to realize the importance of this self-service model in my new book     “A Conqueror In Training

 

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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.



	

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!

LOVE NEVER FAILS


We all  experience  the presence of buoyancy time and again. Whether I am enjoying the simplicity of an afternoon of fun and relaxation in the park, a social gathering in the community or an intimate get together with friends/family, I have found that the term “I love……” is used far more frequently today. The statement “Oh my God, I love………” is a popular phrase  both young and older people have coined into their mode of expressing this powerful emotion.  Quite honestly, I hear the phrase “I love…….” being used so often that I have begun to question the nature of the sentiment.

Do you ever find yourself asking the question, “Are you serious? You don’t even know________?  This inquiry seems to really surface when I hear people describe artistry – music, art, poetry,

John Legend~Get Lifted
John Legend~Get Lifted (Photo credit: bamalibrarylady) There’s More to It!

dance, etc. – as people are describing how what they see and hear affects them to their core. John Legend is a gifted male musician/vocalist. His timeless hit “Ordinary People” moved many fans to listen to that song over and over again. We could not hear it enough when it hit the airwaves; we bought the CD in bulk to give to friends/family as gifts; we flocked to his concerts to hear his live version and I am sure that even now, after many more tunes he may perform, nothing will stir the crowd more than when he begins to play the opening cords to “Ordinary People.”  If you ever found yourself caught up in the storm that was “Ordinary People” you may have said “I love John Legend.”

I can not begin to understand why love is such a flippant expression. Personally, I believe that my own personal entanglement with the human elements attached to the expectations of “love” have challenged my perspective on how I receive the term when I hear it.  Today I am not so quick to readily apply my personal understanding of love to another person’s expression of love. It is fair play to naturally navigate through the varied currents of love with a relative outlook.  But one thing that I can understand about love, no matter how trivialized, over emphasized or grandiose it may be is this – LOVE NEVER FAILS.

People fail. Systems fail. Every aspect of human experience has the potential to fail. How can you love something or someone else when you don’t love yourself through your own failures?  A battle between the intellect and the emotion continues. But God is LOVE! He is the solution to every issue with love. Everything that He Is is LOVE. From the onset of Creation until today and beyond, FAILURE IS NOT IN HIS repertoire. His example is not to be understood but instead, trusted.

We ALL need Love and we NEED to be able to express true, unconditional love.  Life breeds love of all types. Often times, the love that I hear about and even describe today is absent of depth. It can be turned on/off at a whim. This is dangerous.

An assessment on the state of the heart (https://conquerorshots.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/check-up-on-the-heart/) will reveal the subsequent harm done to a person’s core if you are willing to be honest about what love truly is. (I Corinthians 13) There can be an enormous debate over the fluidity of love. Because it stems from the core i.e. the heart, human interpretation is subject to many differences of opinions.

Here at ConquerorShots we are united in the belief that if you want to understand, practice and experience true love, God is the reference source. Specifically, if ever you are perplexed over the idea of what love truly is, what it does and how to give and receive it, we recommend a trip to Calvary and all of the details including the Resurrection for the most honest, revealing, life-enriching display of love. It will shape your life’s existence of true love and provide you with wisdom to know otherwise.

The Good Comes Through AS U COME THROUGH


“Cast your care on Jesus today,Leave your worry and fear;

Burdens are lifted @ Calvary. Jesus is very near.

Troubled soul, the Saviour can see,Ev’ry heartache and tear;

Burdens are lifted @ Calvary. Jesus is very near.”

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Calvary, Calvary,
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.

I Peter 5:6-11(NASB)

 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion,seeking someone to devour.

But resist him, firm in your faith knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect,

confirm, strengthen and establish you.

 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Every hardship that you encounter is evidence of God’s mighty hand at work on your life. Trials are God’s designs on your life to shape you, mold you, designate you as a child of God fit for the presence of His Spirit at work in you so that you can arrive at the good works that God has prepared in advance for you with His power and might.  When you realize that path, all of the hardships – losses, fears, insecurities, spiritual battles, trauma, infirmities, rejections, uncertainties……… – were necessary to get you to realize that He deserves ALL the praise, glory and honor for all of the “good” that He allows. And you are responsible for an awareness of His goodness because that’s how you can experience joy and thanksgiving during hardship.

The potter picks up a piece of clay and prepares it for molding. There is a distinct plan in mind from the time he chooses the clay type and all the way through the various steps to prepare the clay to become a beautiful, distinct, desirable piece of pottery that someone will NEED to possess. I will never forget being on vacation in the Bahamas years ago. There was a large display of pottery in the marketplace and there was a lady making a fuss over the “distinction” of a particular vase. It was large in stature and totally unattractive to my eye. However, this woman was enamored by it’s appeal so much so that she let everyone around her know – she found this piece. She was loud, energetic and loaded with joy. She had to have a specific need for it that she was unable to fulfill before her discovery that day.Her joy infected that market. That’s what God’s designs on us are for.

He knows his people and He knows the plan. His mighty hand is CONSTANTLY at work on His creation. So burdens are the training ground for our faith muscles. When I was in my teens and 20’s I was in marvelous physical shape. My training ground for building and maintaining my physique was the gym, the track and the courts.

English: CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 28, 2011) Sail...
The harder you work out the better the results.

I loved to lift weights to keep my natural definition toned and shaped. I ran 2-3 miles a day 5 days a week at my peek so as to keep my legs and my core lean. I would play racquetball and tennis to engage in competitive athletics. That shaped my body, mind and spirit.

Then it happened. I learned over time that my body, that used to respond to exercise and sport so well, was not able to keep up with my spirit for working out because of a defective spine. 2 decades later I am not able to exercise my body at all like I used to. Yet my faith is lifting weights I never, ever thought I would need to try. All of the burdens -heartache, pain, misery, ego-bursting, loss, disappointments, guilt, regrets, failures, etc. – were teaching me how to use my faith muscles. The process of conditioning began when I became willing to trust the “finished work at Calvary” as a sufficient source of God’s power in my life. The cross serves us so much goodness that we just take for granted. Trials give us a more defined aptitude for all of the work Christ “finished.” James put it best when he wrote in 1:2-3

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Get happy when you come across a trial that God designed for you just like I used to get happy when I was leaving the ins/outs of my daily life and escaping to the gym,track or court. When I engaged those activities everything else was on hold until I was done. So it is with the Cross. You can let everything go when you take all of your anxieties, fears, temptations, and life issues to Calvary and “Leave Them There.” Don’t get caught up in a pity party along the way. You have plenty of examples in this world to know that you are not the only one who has to endure hardship. Instead, get to the place in you where you realize that you have the best remedy for hardships – Christ. All the good comes through- AS YOU COME THROUGH -the suffering, the trial, the hardship because burdens are lifted at Calvary.

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!!!!!