A Choice To Serve


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.

Choices
Choices (Photo credit: Sky Noir)

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 to consider 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.

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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

 

“Pray 1st”


Psalm 121:1 A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 
Ps 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 
Ps 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 
Ps 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 
Ps 121:5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 
Ps 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 
Ps 121:7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 
Ps 121:8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

My awakening was greeted with the severest of pain. I have learned to live with it from day to day. Yet this morning, like so many others, it began with the horror of stillness summoning the acuity of my spirit.  The stabbing, burning suffering in my flesh upon awakening is more consistent in the last year. There is literally nothing immediate about the relief process naturally.  It can happen at the most inconvenient moments and with no apparent reason.

Hopefully, you will read my new book, “A Conqueror In Training” over the holiday season and discover how I came to realize the “Conqueror Lifestyle.”  In fact, I pray you will want your friends and loved ones to have the blessed experience of reading it as well through your gift giving via ebooks. When you have read it, the message of this post will resonate in your spirits more brightly.  His training has effectively taught me to “pray 1st.”  Today, and everyday I start out in prayer 1st helps me to continue to stay in the race and run on some more.  Doing this has proven His Sovereignty over my life from situation to situation, experience to experience, outcome after outcome ultimately revealing that “Prayer Changes Things.

Billie Holiday penned the song “Good Morning Heartache” while wrestling with her reality of pain and heartache experienced every morning when she needed another “fix.”  Her addiction to heroin was breaking her spiritually as her body required the drug more and more. Over time it destroyed her talent and took her life in death far too young.

English: Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York.
English: Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The imagery contained in this powerful recording demonstrates a heart overcome with brokenness and unwilling to “pray without ceasing.” I Thess. 5:17.  When you are caught up in your flesh and your spirit is conquered by sin, you will do everything humanly possible to discover change which can only come through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pain is painful.  God allows pain for the purpose of perfecting His will in us. A personal identity to Jesus’ suffering on the Cross is where this truth begins. Thanks be unto God for  the mighty power of His Spirit at work which manifests and maintains the Conqueror Lifestyle in me from day to day. You too can come to know the Conqueror Lifestyle God has just for you. When you pray 1st, you call His power into the situation immediately.  Humanity ceases and Divinity commences in spiritually defining ways to demonstrate His power in us.   And He will do, what no other power, can do.

Stay in the race!

Darrin

 

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.



	

Blessed Delay


 

 “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

Delayed
Delayed (Photo credit: Aquila) WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THERE IS A SUDDEN DELAY?

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!
 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.