After much time spent on releasing our second book “Qualities of a Conqueror Vol. 1” and experiencing real change personally, the Lord God Almighty beckoned me to write here. God willing ConquerorShots will regularly coincide with our “#TellUrSelf tweets.” Ultimately you will experience spiritual delicacies to enhance your experience living the Conqueror Lifestyle. Our goal is to make it easier for you to get familiar with our Christian brand through our books, ConquerorShots, upcoming workshops and teaching materials and more all to enhance your walk with God through Christ Jesus one day at a time.
Psalm 136:26 NET BIBLE Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his loyal love endures! If you have never read this chapter we suggest you do so and make it a regular reading for your personal gratitude prayers. Giving thanks, i.e. gratitude, is a necessary daily experience children of God, MTaCs, practice. We learn that in giving thanks we find the production of the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in amazing circumstances. God, who created the Heavens and the Earth, you and I and everything we appreciate while we are living day by day, is worthy of our daily gratitude because of His loyal love. The NET Bible uses the word loyal so perfectly here. No matter what we do, or do not do, in the way of service to God and others, God’s love for us NEVER changes! He is the most loyal love I have ever known.
When we put emphasis on gratitude for the material, human accomplishments – education, money, success, children, spouses, careers, houses, land, cars, boats, vacations et al – we are subject to the evil of deception and confusion as we focus on the Earthly rather than the Heavenly. This is where the application of “Humble Thanks” is best realized. When you are in spiritual acceptance of your NEED for a Savior, and Jesus Christ is REAL to you, you willingly humble your human nature under the authority of God.
By regular confession of sins, transgressions, iniquity, guilt,shame and fear before Him in prayer and thanksgiving for the simplest of blessings you come to realize through your need for His providence, you will humble yourself under God’s mighty hand for His continual protection and power in your life and the lives of others. The air you breath, the blood running warm in your veins, the activity of your limbs and your mind being sane and at peace become blessings of enormous praiseworthiness.
In humble thanks to God’s loyal love which endures through any and all human conditions, your gratitude will always be acceptable to God and it will reflect His love off of you into many other lives, situations, circumstances and conditions here on Earth. Heaven is our home but the Earth is our training ground. Be humble before God as your realize your spiritual training. Every scripture in Psalm 136 KJVends with “His mercy endureth for ever” to emphasize that all of the human accomplishments acknowledged in the list exist because of the eternal endurance of God’s faithful, goodness and kindness towards His children. Give humble thanks daily and create your own list – IT WORKS!
I have not written a ConquerorShot in quite some time. My life’s journey has allowed me to realize new opportunities to write, speak, teach and live the Conqueror Lifestyle. Yet I have missed this outlet to share truth relative to life situations and how we experience the “more” in Romans 8:37 . This month’s principle is INTEGRITY. Today, in my awakening, the resounding voice of truth of the blessed freedom we, children of God, possess, gave me clarity of mind and spirit as I reflect on God’s faithfulness. I pray that every reader and follower will rejoice with me in knowing that John 8:36 says “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.(NET)” “Our God IS FAITHFUL.“
I was awakened by a phone call from my daughter (progress) “Daddy, I need you to come here… I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT… HURRY DADDY!” As the urgency in her voice called me to immediate action to “get there” I rushed to my 2 car garage (progress) and got in my car (progress) to go and see about my “baby girl.” I was too “busy” to pray, ponder a principle, reflect on Scripture or anything concerning my spiritual hygiene and therefore it was on “auto.” Similarly, I had not brushed my teeth, washed my face or showered my body. My call to action only gave me time to “get there.” When I pulled up I immediately noticed her car. Then I saw her standing there on the side of the curvey, 2-lane, slippery road. To my surprise she was standing, tall, unharmed in any way from this obvious loss of control with life-threatening potential. I had to contain myself concerning my visceral response to what I realized driving up. As I hurried over to her my heart was pounding with overwhelming joy for God’s faithfulness. “He protected my daughter once again!”
As I grabbed her into my arms I could feel her tension as she was in shock. Her embrace was firm until she exhaled and sobbed in anguish over what she had just experienced. The obvious loss of her car was annunciating her regret as she was just starting to get used to her freedom of having her own vehicle in her fourth week. As I listened to her lament over this apparent “MTaC” moment, the Lord reminded me of this passage of scripture:
7 The angel of the LORDencampsaround those who fear Him, And rescues them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good ; How blessed is the man who takesrefuge in Him!(Psalm34:7-8 NASB)
While I was on my way to “get there” God and His angels “were already there!” There was no other way to help her than to share my thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God concerning my daughter and His child. He gave His angels charge over the entire aspect of her first accident. What I knew as I drove up was she was driving in the same direction I was, yet her car did not hit the tree HEAD ON! The impact was TOTALLY absorbed by the rear of her car as it amazingly was ‘TURNED AROUND.” She could not explain how it ended up in that position as she described the spinning experience as she braced herself for impact. But God was fueling my spirit with the POWER, THE SAME POWER, that managed her miraculous outcome. He was the reason for her protection, safety, and most of all her blessed freedom to walk away from that accident without ANY injury to her body.
I COMMENCED PRAISE & THANKSGIVING by testifying of His goodness, grace and faithfulness all around that accident scene and reminded her of the evidence as she was standing there, tall and beautiful, unharmed with no visible scars. There was no need to visit the ER and, as she would later prove, she was in good enough condition to go on to school later that morning and take a physics test, pass it and maintain her A average. There is Blessed Freedom in knowing God IS able!!!
In the same manner, I am fortunate enough to have an ongoing experience with Blessed freedom as the Conqueror Lifestyle continues to make my pathway straight. I told you I had not performed any spiritual hygiene or bodily hygiene as I rushed to “get there” But the fact that I have routinely upheld my responsibilities towards personal and spiritual hygiene daily prior to the accident, there was evidence of it as I had to interact with my daughter, the officers, the tow truck driver and even myself. The qualities of a conqueror include being prepared to walk in the freedom that is realized as I maintain my position In Christ. His blessed freedom is possible because I continue to trust in, rely on and believe that His Power is in me. If you know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will sustain you, protect you, provide for you, mature you and most of all bless you with “more than you could ever ask or think of.” We serve a Mighty God with unlimited resources. It is in your best interest to allow for your integral attachment to the Spirit of Christ, through His death, burial and resurrection to sustain your integrity in Him on a daily basis. The results include Blessed Freedom to realize His faithfulness. “John 8:36 says “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.(NET)”
16. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment ; because as He is, so also are we in this world.18. There is no fear in love ; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19. We love, because He first loved us.
God gave us the cogent example of the Pharisee in the Gospels to demonstrate how human wisdom and human interpretation of God’s word leads to spiritual blindness. The Pharisees were experts in the letter of the law but they did not have a clue about the significance of Christ – whose identity originates in the Old Testament to prophets like Moses, who wrote the Torah.
Consider the lesson contained in the reaction Christ demonstrates towards the Pharisees.
If you too are so focused on keeping your outside clean for others to think you have it all together, yet you continue to neglect God’s goodness to your spirit, through his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy at Calvary, then, like the Pharisees, you too are guilty of hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law — justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.
23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! (NET Bible)
I am perplexed over a matter that I know is controversial among humans. Why is it that Biblical truth is not an anchor in the choice for who to follow politically? This week I have pondered this stark reality as I listen to political news broadcasts, read political new articles and listen to the talking heads a.k.a political pundits debate their views about the 2012 Presidential candidates strategies, viewpoints, dilemmas, achievements and forecasts.
The economy is a major issues that will steer the American voter’s choice on November, 6, 2012. MONEY is the central theme of any economy. How it is made and how it is spent is determined by our President and Congress. Americans who are financially comfortable have one view-point and Americans who are not financially comfortable have another view-point. The view-points are a driving factor that fuels the decision-making process of the voter. Though there are other issues of consideration in the campaigns, there is a significant emphasis on the state of affairs on economics.
My perplexity’s foundation is in the trickery that the right-wing Christian conservatives have adopted and portray in the support they garner for Mr. Romney’s campaign. There is a monumental heir of evil associated with the deception of the republican regime. Here at ConquerorShots we continue to uphold the banner of truth about God’s Word. Historically, from a Biblical perspective of the events in the Old Testament and the upcoming prophetic events, any effort that man can make to put more emphasis on the creation (atheism and agnosticism thrive from this prospective), and not the Creator, meets profound, life-changing events where God’s power prevails unequivocally. Yet man continues to follow the path of manifesting his will rather than endeavoring to keep the focus on Him who created us all. I am concerned about the nature of the Republican party’s agenda being a course for evil to attempt to prevail over a blessed nation that has shifted its focus far AWAY from the Creator.
The manner in which I hear the commentary about the state of the economics in America is a direct indicator to harness a specific wretchedness in their economic affairs and agendas. This is nothing new. The Apostle Paul had a full understanding of this human dilemma and warned us with No uncertainty.
TO ALL “Right wing Christian conservatives” PLEASE CONSIDER GOD’S WORD YOU PROFESS TO BELIEVE IN TODAY:
1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that. 6:9 Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.
The number of “right-wing conservative Christians” who REFUSE to “HOLD ON TO TRUTH” are failing both America’s heritage and the God they claim to have personal relationship with.
The apex of my perplexity is in the “How” and “Why” of this monumental shift in belief. Have you even taken the time to consider the religious platform that Mr. Romney represents openly? I am a supporter of an American’s right to worship whomever and however they choose. Furthermore, I fully grasp the concept of the ecumenical movement worldwide. But all human beings who profess to be “members of the Body of Christ” i.e. Christians are spiritually supplied with a bond that maintains God’s truth based in His Word. IT IS UNDENIABLE! Therefore, it is crucial that you do NOT neglect the opportunity for your vote to show who AND what you TRULY BELIEVE IN!
Mormonism is NOT Christianity. Here’s why:
1. Mormons believe there are "many" Gods. Christians believe in One Triune God.http://www.triunegod.org/
2. Mormons believe Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be" (D&C 93:29). Christians believe Man is a finite being, not an eternal one. The first man Adam was created at a specific point in time (Ge 1:26-27; 2:7; 1Co 15:45-49).3. Mormons believe Christ's death on the cross (the atonement) canceled the penalty of death imposed on ALL men through Adam's sin, thereby ensuring that all men would be redeemed - resurrected and given immortality (the reuniting of spirit with body)-as a gift."If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection. The body would have remained forever in the grave" (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., p.63)"Redemption from death, through the sufferings of Christ, is for all men, both the righteous and the wicked" (Ibid., p. 65) and Christians believe not everyone is blessed through Christ's crucifixion. Only those who accept His sacrifice and surrender themselves to Him (Ro 10:9) will receive the benefit of Jesus' death and resurrection, which is forgiveness of sins (Ac 10:43) and salvation (Ro 3:24). Eternal life "in Christ," and not just simply eternal existence through resurrection, is the gift offered by God to humanity (Ro 6:23). This gift is obtainable only by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10). Jesus' death serves to reconcile all believers to God (Ro 5:10). In dying, Jesus broke down the wall of separation between us and God that was present through man's disobedience to the Law (Eph 2:11-22)(http://contenderministries.org/mormonism/comparison.php)
Saying “I’m sorry” is the first act of humility that can bring about a life changing experience based in forgiveness. The person who you wronged may spend months, years, even decades desiring to hear these words. While waiting to hear these words, fueled by a spirit of anger, resentment, loss, fear and pain,his/her life can be greatly affected by the elements of negative behaviors – drugs, alcohol, crime, etc. Whatever the actions which brought about the wrong needing correction with an apology, the overall damaging affects can never be erased. There are no words that can efface the subsequent issues wreaking havoc in his/her life because of what you said, did or did not do.
How does silence help the healing in forgiveness? How can silence be a catalyst to forgiveness? Can there be a visceral response to inaudibility? Of course, the answer is yes! How? This question would likely follow. Here is what I know today. When there are elements of disconnect that create boundaries which prevent a needed verbal exchange of apology, silence is your best alternative. When you try to communicate to the best of your ability and all your efforts to apologize are not welcomed, silence is your defensive ally. When you have the opportunity to communicate remorse and you are quieted by his barrage of anger in reply to your effort to apologize, silence speaks forgiveness more than any words.
It takes an ongoing spirit of humility from a renewed heart that becomes willing to apologize for wrongdoings. However, your willingness to speak an apology must be met with a willingness to hear the apology. If the opportunity is constantly unavailable because of those boundaries the sufferer has positioned in his/her life as a means of protection from any additional pain from you, the solution is silent forgiveness- not from the sufferer but from you. You must be able to continue to “accept the things you can NOT change.” Silent forgiveness begins in you. The sufferer will become a recipient of your forgiveness of yourself for your wrongs and the sufferers actions that are fueled by fear, anger, hurt and pain that you caused. This is the epitome of love.
The best example I have to cite is the suffering of Christ. Here we delve into the sometimes controversial aspect of His Deity during His earthly ministry. We learned that at the time of His baptism, John the Baptist declared Him to be “the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” That was His mission. At the time when the Hebrews rejected Christ, they turned on Him and supposed that His claims of being the Son of God was criminal. They wanted Him dead. But He was God in the flesh! He knew more than just what was seen at the time of His earthly ministry. He was on a mission and that was prophesied in Isaiah 53 – that of being crucified.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
All of the times when He made attempts to gain their faithfulness as a Nation, His desires went unmet. They took all they could get from Him but in the end they did not want Him around. Instead, they wanted Him to be nailed to a cross, hanging, bleeding, suffering unto death – the most horrible, degrading form of death known to them. And He did it willingly. He did not need to plead his case, retaliate against his opposition or “change their minds” about who He is. He was fulfilling a mission that was determined even before the world began. The essence of His “Silent Forgiveness” is realized when, while hanging on the Cross, He uttered “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Your silent forgiveness is motivated by the same source of love resting firmly in your spirit as a direct result of knowing who you are in Christ. Your willingness to make right the wrongs of your past to him/her is based in your love. You can not experience unfeigned, self love if you have not accepted Christ’s undying love for you and the sufferer. Acceptance of the “finished work” at Calvary and the resurrection gave you the opportunity to become a “joint heir” with Him today. You, a wretched sinner who inflicted pain and misery in loved ones’ lives because of your own selfish desires and the sufferers who have their own crosses to bear because of your actions, are ALLforgiven under the blood that Jesus shed at the Cross. God gave His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed, die and resurrect just for you! And not just for you but for all who would by faith believe in Him. That’s the love that every soul in need of a Savior desires and every spirit washed in the precious blood of the lamb experiences daily.
This love is the catalyst for a “new creation in Christ… old things are passed away and behold ALL things are new.” This is a process that overshadows any obstacles that sin can attempt to block God’s will. Therefore, since you have been redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb, you do NOT get to determine what actions you can give/receive forgiveness for and which ones that you will never be forgiven for. Forgiveness of sins is not on a sliding scale! At the Cross, ALL sin is forgiven once and for all! Silent forgiveness then is the act of receiving the forgiveness that resulted at Calvary and being willing to forgive others without ever speaking a word. In God’s time he/she will also forgive you. God is able! TRUST HIM AND LIVE AN ABUNDANT LIFE IN HIM!
Mostly everyone has a light switch on the wall of an entryway into their home. When you come in at night it is customary to hit the switch to “light up” the darkness of the dwelling. This action is an unrealized willingness to exercise faith in what you can NOT see. Electricity is the source of power that runs through the domiciles of the world to provide a “power source” to run appliances, heating/air conditioning gadgets and the most important element – light. What does electricity look like?
A building without electricity is like a dead body. On the outside it looks fine – absent of decay – but on the inside there is no activity because there is no power. Unseen electrical currents in either source provide for the presence of power and the opportunity to experience life. We come to rely on the power of electricity so heavily that we pay for it no matter what the cost. We need power to run our homes, businesses, churches and society. Conversely, we NEED the power of the Spirit of God to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of. Joh 10:10 “10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”NASB The power of God is confirmed daily and the abundant life is possible because of the finished work at Calvary.
Like electricity, we can NOT see God. Yet, as Christians, we exercise a faith in His presence from day-to-day. We come to rely on His presence through the affirmation of His power revealed in us and through us. His power is most assuredly realized through the gospel of the Grace of God. Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” Romans 1:16 adds For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” NASB Human beings find it easier to trust in electricity more than they can trust in the power of God.
For nearly 20 years, June 15th marked the beginning of a series of annual celebrations for me – marriage, birthday and Father’s Day. Today, like last year, the celebration is no more. The affects of divorce have taken the celebrations I learned to anticipate. Instead, there is a willingness to “show up” and live life one day at a time, a desire to realize the love of Christ which enables me to experience a “conqueror lifestyle,” and a spirit of liberty which fuels a pursuit to “accept what God allows” everyday. I thank God that in the midst of my losses He is my gain. A summer breeze confirms His power.
Change is difficult sometimes but the results of the difficulty are “working together for the good of them who love the Lord;to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It(change) has given rise to darkness and uncertainty on many occasions. I love the song Amazing Grace for many reasons, all of which consume my spirit with a realistic appreciation and gratitude for God’s uncensored grace abounding richly in my life.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The heat in Atlanta can be brutal. When I moved here from the north, a conversation with a deacon in the church about the lack of cool breezes during the hot summer days enlightened me. At that time I had a large amount of grass that I would maintain in the afternoons. Deacon Knuckles told me that I was going about it all wrong. I had no clue and so he offered me some of his Georgia bred wisdom. His explanation yielded a new-found awareness and appreciation for the early mornings and late evenings in which we inevitably experience a breeze outside. His recommendation was to rearrange my schedule for landscaping to coincide with these times of the hot summer days. It worked.
A breeze made all the difference in my experiences working outside. A few years later, the tribulation of having major surgery changed my life forever. During the first 6 months of recovery, and learning how to walk again, it was a time of darkness. I was overcome with despair, grief, heartache, uncertainty and an unusual amount of physical pain. My days and nights were consumed with loneliness, fear and anxiety. Even though my children, wife and mother-in-law were there with me, they could NOT offer me any power. They tried by being there and doing for me the simplest tasks that I could not do for myself and I appreciate them immensely. But I needed more.
My home therapy included using my walker and walking in intervals of 5 minutes. Over time I was up to 15 minutes. That progress allowed for me to exercise some courage to go outside to my driveway. There I would work to increase my walk time. The backyard is decorated with an assortment of tall trees – oak, dogwood, cedar and maple – in the large wooded area. Prior to my recovery, I only appreciated their response to wind when stormy weather hit our neighborhood. The motion in the trees would “speak” to me in a way that I knew when the weather pattern was threatening.
One day while struggling to walk my routine I experienced the blessing of a confirming breeze. I was stuck physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As the tears rolled down my face on the beautiful summer day while standing in my driveway on my walker, God’s presence was once again realized as the cool, confirming breeze swept over our subdivision. The natural response of the trees yielded a heralding sound of the leaves response to the force of the breeze. The trees began to sway with ease as the unclouded sky revealed the splendor of the sunlight. It was majestic, unlike all of my earlier exposure to the outside elements. It said to me “I am here…..fear not…..”
My tears dried up and my body was overcome with a spirit of amazement as I realized God’s presence being confirmed in the breeze of a summer day. It forever heightened my appreciation for God’s grace. You can’t see the wind but the breeze makes itself known through the responses of all the matter of the earth. You can’t see God’s presence but you can experience all the fullness of His power that can change your entire prospective and outlook on life. God uses change to confirm His presence, His power and His grace. I made it back inside and picked up my dusty Bible and the Lord’s confirming power was further revealed in this popular passage:
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. KJV
Every year during Christmas time at the workplace, there was always a department in the hospital that sponsored a grab bag. The first time I encountered the event, in my teens, I was totally attracted to this concept of gift giving. The requirements were simple –
Shopping with a cap amount
Wrapping the gift
The person who directed the affairs of the event was ALWAYS happy and full of cheer. Even on the most chaotic days at work, if you called or visited him/her regarding the event, cheer was present. The entire grab bag experience was a happy occasion from beginning to the end. Everyone who participated in the event was unified, working together as well as independently honoring their commitment to secure their gift in the grab bag. Shopping was taken seriously most of the time.
The best part about the experience to me was the gift giving being anonymous. I learned how to gauge from facial expressions who might have purchased the gift while we all opened our gifts one at a time. This was a simple task whenever someone responded negatively to a gift. Conversely, I always worked on my poker face when the gift I submitted was chosen. There was a sense of fulfillment that is indescribable as the recipient immediately “loved” the gift I chose. He/she was actually happy they received it and they were going to hold on to it and use it. It implied that I was good at gift giving at this level. The recipient was “HAPPY” with their gift. That in turn made me “HAPPY.”
What makes a grab bag “great” is that every gift contained in the container maintains a purpose to the recipient that will NEVERdisappoint. Ultimately, upon receipt of the gift his/her life will will be changed for the better. King David and others, while composing the Psalms, always acknowledged the characteristic of being “BLESSED.” This Biblical principle offers readers the continuous opportunity to participate in a lifestyle that NEVER disappoints. The gifts of forgiveness of sin and eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, make “Happiness” possible from day to day. Any time you read the Psalms you participate in the Great Grab Bag as a recipient.
“The blood of Jesus will never loose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain and flows to the lowest valley. The blood, that gives you strength from day to day, will never loose its power.” (The Blood Will Never Loose Its Power, Andre Crouch, 1962) The power of the blood that keeps on cleansing children of God is the GREATNESS in the GIFT BAG of forgiveness. You don’t have to wait for an annual event to experience the happiness of all the gifts contained in Christ Jesus. They are ALWAYS available.
Here are some samples – ENJOY!
How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked,or stand in the pathway with sinners,or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Psalms 1.1 How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned! How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the LORD does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32.1&2 How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD and does not seek help from the proud or from liars! Psalm 40.4 How blessed are those who live in your temple and praise you continually! (Selah) How blessed are those who find their strength in you,and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! Psalm 84.4&5 How blessed are the people who worship you! O LORD, they experience your favor. Psalm 89.15 (NET Bible)
The New York Subway system is great. There is a fundamental element associated with traveling from downtown to uptown. When I was a child, per my cousin Gary, there were two trains that got the task done. From Penn Station you could catch the “A” train, a local route making many stops throughout the entire boro of Manhattan. Mostly everyone used this one because of its frequent regular schedule during the day. But if you knew what you were doing and your goal was to get uptown, you could travel up a steep flight of stairs, wait a while and get on the “AA” train instead. This express line offered you the freedom to arrive at your destination in a fraction of the time uninformed/impatient passengers realized on the popular local route. Today it is known as the “A Express.” On a good day you can get from 42nd street to 168st in 4 stops.
The Serenity Prayer offers us the same advantage.This prayer is like an express train to my core. On the exterior, when I find myself honestly appealing to God‘s Sovereignty over my life as I face some sort of issue, this prayer acquaints me with the dilemma’s affect on me. It also provides me with a Divine solution – PEACE! Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Each request in the Serenity Prayer is significant.
At the point when I am “boarding” this train, my spirit cries out “GOD.” Now I must tell you that I had to learn how to interpret this instinctive cry and utilize this prayer. I can vividly remember my twenties, when I was SO overwhelmed by life and too afraid to ask for help,I thought/BELIEVED I was supposed to be able to know how to handle all of the things going on around and in my life. Asking for help seemed like a weak, spineless cop out. In essence, the lies had me fooled and I was destined to experience all of the calamity and blessings that God OK’d. I am so thankful for the Old Testament because my consistent pursuit into that portion of scripture, during my twenties, gave me this level of clarity as my twenties came to a close. However, I did not realize God’s sovereignty until my 30’s.
I take my “seat” on the train as my spirit declares “Grant me the SERENITY.” In other words, my peace has been disrupted. Some person, place, thing or situation has interrupted the harmony within me that fuels my purpose. It’s obvious to me now that at this point I have conceded to myself that I am in need of help – GOD’S HELP – in order to arrive at His desired will for my life. Somehow, someway I have gone astray and I NEED to be restored.
“Accept the things that I cannot change” – Action occurs as the train speeds towards the next stop. Acceptance is in motion. What characterizes the motion experience like that of an actual subway ride is how I adapt to the bumpy segments between stops. When you ride the subway it can sometimes be a rough ride. So it is as I have to get myself to this acceptance of whatever it is that has interfered with my peace. The plea for acceptance directly calls into focus what I CANNOT change. Here is where the bumps get intense. Who cares to admit that they can’t do something when they are so engrossed in the prospects of consistently looking good on the outside. The prayer quickly challenges every aspect of my ego. Summarily, everything that goes on outside of me that affects my core – people, places, things, situations – are BEYOND my control. Acceptance gets me into an awareness that God controls every aspect of what goes on outside of me PERFECTLY (whether I want to believe it or not) and I AM NOT GOD. The doors close and the train leaves the stop quickly speeding towards the next one.
“Courage to change the things that I can” – Finally something that I can do. The action of acceptance does not stop. In addition , I now call on God to provide what I can physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually utilize to affect change in effort to achieve peace at all these levels – COURAGE. It enables me to honestly assess all that is going on at my core – what I am feeling, how I am thinking and most of all HOW MUCH I AM TRUSTING IN GOD VS TRUSTING IN ME OR OTHERS. Courage is necessary in order for me to make whatever changes that are necessary within me that puts God back in His proper place -1st.
Why is this such an important life principle? All month I have delved into courage to gain a greater willingness to get all that courage affords me. I am a fearful being on so many levels. So to arrive at the place where I can honestly seek the Lord’s presence from day to day, and continue to experience the power that His presence does supply, offers me a vast supply of courage. The courage I write about is based in TRUST, HOPE AND FAITH IN THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, who created me. It just seems so apparent to me that one of the biggest problems we face in our core is keeping God engaged in our day to day affairs. A daily surrender to the finished work at Calvary is not an obstacle when you realize your need for a Savior. The Apostle Paul made a simple but profound declaration in Philippians 4:13 “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENS ME.”
The train doors close again as it speeds towards the destination. Along the way, my countenance has changed. I am now eager as I realize I am almost there. It is amazing at how quickly I have gone from 34th – downtown feeling all out of sorts and “off” – to 168th street – uptown Harlem – on top of my game, resting in the peace of God which is far beyond what I can possibly understand. Peace is at work because I called on God, requested “serenity now”, actively engaged acceptance and willingly utilized courage. But as the doors open at my final destination I am still in need of “The wisdom to know the difference.” Having the blessing of peace continuously at work in and around me requires a continued presence of wisdom. Wisdom to assess those things that are in my control and out of my control. The wisdom to know when I need to get back on the “aa” train.
In my lifetime I have been accused of being full of s_ _ t for various reasons – where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, what happened……… Sometimes I was even accused of this status even though I was as sober as a judge and telling the God‘s honest truth. It then occurred to me that this expression is a cliche’ and not necessarily a response that I needed to take to heart. It gave me the wisdom to “consider the source.”
That consideration has prompted me to examine the statement “full of courage” today. When have you ever used this expression in describing someone? Try saying it – “You (are) full of courage!” The tone and expression of this observation begs the question – “How is this possible?” You must admit that when you stumble upon someone that is endowed with courage it can be confrontational to you as you perhaps are entangled in a fear-driven reality. If honesty is present, and you are willing to acknowledge this person’s courage and inquire about how to attain it personally, the act of inquiry opens up your spirit to the opportunity to become “full of courage” yourself. BUT YOU MUST CONSIDER THE SOURCE!
2Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord —
5:7 for we live by faith, not by sight.
5:8 Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.(NASB)
The person is the example but the source of courage which fills the person is the BLESSED ASSURANCE OF THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD THROUGH THE POWER OF CHRIST THE RISEN SAVIOR AT WORK IN HIM/HER BY THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The theme of Paul’s writing deals specifically with the spiritual reality of the GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN WITH CHRIST and the human struggles associated with living on Earth with all of its daily issues we face. This human reality is apparent to all- no matter what their socio-economic status may be. However, the spiritual component is what seperates “the men from the boys.”
Paul in this chapter defines being “full of courage” as a standard design for living as an Ambassador for Christ. It comes, not because of ANY attainment of status in the flesh (the flesh is to experience the continual “dying” process he defines in Galatians 2:20) which humans aspire towards naturally. When Christ was here on Earth performing all of the duties of His Earthly ministry, His most substantial acts were the death at Calvary, His burial and resurrection. By these acts, He secured the benefit to mankind for a “continued presence of His spirit in us” thereby relieving man of any need to please Him in the flesh. PERSONAL COURAGE IN HUMAN ABILITIES IS FUTILE FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE. IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH!
A thorough persuasion of the “fear of the Lord” is at work in this instance. This reverence is the bedrock of our “walk by faith, not by sight.” It yields the assurance of the appointed time which God ordained before the foundations of the world whereby we must all appear before the “Judgement seat of Christ.” Notice that there is no hesitation for this great appearing. It is a bold statement that infers a “Blessed Assurance” that “Jesus Paid It ALL” at Calvary. Therefore, all of the blessings associated with His “Finished” work at Calvary cultivates a fullness of courage deep within our spirits that garners a great expectation for our Eternal Life over any human expectation for our Earthly life. And so, we are FREE then to experience ALL of the FULLNESS OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE through the “good works that God foreordained that we should walk in them” during our lifetime while we “look forward to that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” eternally.
Stop trying to fix yourself with human effort and let God create your NEWNESS through His spirit at work in you today.
The fact remains WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IN CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR OR NOT you will STAND before HIM in eternity. You can stand before Him at the Great White Throne IN FEAR OF THE ETERNAL OUTCOME or you can BOLDLY STAND before Him at The Judgement Seat of Christ FULL OF COURAGE! This earthly life you are blessed with is afforded to you as an opportunity to GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN.