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.

Love Is Giving and Receiving a Clean Slate


 

 

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him should  not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 

Try Jesus. He satisfies!

In His Presence I See………


Sky Window
Sky Window (Photo credit: saturn ♄)

 

 

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

 

This month’s theme of Humility has truly been refreshing to my spirit. I must admit, this month’s life events have truly elicited personal character building and spiritual maturity. I lost a very dear loved one to death, other very dear loved ones to sinful circumstances beyond my control and still more loss that is just and pure.

 

Loss is a part of life. Try as we do to avoid the emotional and physical manifestations of loss, we must have these experiences.

 

Hopefully they will propel you towards the ever present luster of God’s faithfulness. There, alone in His presence, you will find His Amazing Grace materializing as blindness becomes sight, muteness gives rise to audibility and paralysis yields sensitivity to new strengths and sensations otherwise unknown. GOD IS ABLE……….

 

Here are some notes by Dr. Barnes on the scriptural reference above. Enjoy, be blessed and continue to stop by ConquerorShots.

 

RE 42:5 “Referring to the indistinct views which we have of anything by merely hearing of it, compared with the clear apprehension which is furnished by sight. Job had had such views of God as one may obtain by being told of him; he now had such views as are furnished by the sight. The meaning is, that his views of God before were dark and obscure.We are not to suppose that Job means to say that he actually “saw” God, but that his apprehensions of him were clear and bright “as if” he did. There is no evidence that God appeared to Job in any visible form. He is said, indeed, to have spoken from the whirlwind, but no visible manifestation of Yahweh is mentioned.”
 
RE 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself: “I see that I am a sinner to be loathed and abhorred. Job, though he did not claim to be perfect, had yet unquestionably been unduly exalted with the conception of his own righteousness, and in the zeal of his argument, and under the excitement of his feelings when reproached by his friends, had indulged in indefensible language respecting his own integrity. 
He now saw the error and folly of this, and desired to take the lowest place of humiliation. Compared with a pure and holy God, he saw that he was utterly vile and loathsome, and was not unwilling now to confess it. ‘And repent.'”
 
In dust and ashes: “The philosophy of this was – like the custom of wearing “black” for mourning apparel – that the external appearance ought to correspond with the internal emotions, and that deep sorrow would be appropriately expressed by disfiguring the outward aspect as much as possible. The sense here is, that Job meant to give expression to the profoundest and sincerest feelings of penitence for his sins.”
“A correct view of the character and presence of God is adapted to produce humility and penitence.
Such a view of the presence of God will produce what no argument can in causing penitence and humility. 
A good man will be willing to confess that he is vile, when he has any clear views of God. He will be so affected with a sense of the majesty and holiness of his Maker, that he will be overwhelmed with a sense of his own unworthiness.”

 

In His service,
Darrin

 

 

 

Humility Now


Humility is knowing God ALWAYS CARES

English: Clouds & Sky. Portland, Oregon.

http://www.888c.com/z1Pe05.htm#1Pe0506

BELIEVE

LOOK UP & SEE

When the Sail is Broken


 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Humbled To Find Humility


(A Short Story from the ConquerorShotMaker.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Confirming Breeze


Mostly everyone has a light switch   on the wall of an entryway into their home. When you come in at night it is customary to hit the switch to “light up” the darkness of the dwelling. This action is an unrealized willingness to exercise faith in what you can NOT see. Electricity is the source of power that runs through the domiciles of the world to provide a “power source” to run appliances, heating/air conditioning gadgets and the most important element – light. What does electricity look like?

A building without electricity is like a dead body. On the outside it looks fine – absent of decay – but on the inside there is no activity because there is no power. Unseen electrical currents in either source provide for the presence of power and the opportunity to experience life. We come to rely on the power of electricity so heavily that we pay for it no matter what the cost.  We need power to run our homes, businesses, churches and society. Conversely, we NEED the power of the Spirit of God to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of. Joh 10:10 “10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”NASB  The power of God is confirmed daily and the abundant life is possible because of the finished work at Calvary.

Like electricity, we can NOT see God. Yet, as Christians, we exercise a faith in His presence from day-to-day. We come to rely on His presence through the affirmation of His power revealed in us and through us. His power is most assuredly realized through the gospel of the Grace of God. Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” Romans 1:16 adds For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” NASB       Human beings find it easier to trust in electricity more than they can trust in the power of God. 

For nearly 20 years, June 15th marked the beginning of a series of annual celebrations for me – marriage, birthday and Father’s Day. Today, like last year, the celebration is no more. The affects of divorce have taken the celebrations I learned to anticipate. Instead, there is a willingness to “show up” and live life one day at a time, a desire to realize the love of Christ which enables me to experience a “conqueror lifestyle,” and a spirit of liberty which fuels a pursuit to “accept what God allows” everyday. I thank God that in the midst of my losses He is my gain. A summer breeze confirms His power.

Change is difficult sometimes but the results of the difficulty are “working together for the good of them who love the Lord;to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It(change) has given rise to darkness and uncertainty on many occasions. I love the song Amazing Grace for many reasons, all of which consume my spirit with a realistic appreciation and gratitude for God’s uncensored grace abounding richly in my life.

Phlox subulata 'Amazing Grace'
Phlox subulata ‘Amazing Grace’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The heat in Atlanta can be brutal. When I moved here from the north, a conversation with a deacon in the church about the lack of cool breezes during the hot summer days enlightened me. At that time I had a large amount of grass that I would maintain in the afternoons. Deacon Knuckles told me that I was going about it all wrong. I had no clue and so he offered me some of his Georgia bred wisdom.  His explanation yielded a new-found awareness and appreciation for the early mornings and late evenings in which we inevitably experience a breeze outside. His recommendation was to rearrange my schedule for landscaping to coincide with these times of the hot summer days. It worked.

A breeze made all the difference in my experiences working outside. A few years later, the tribulation of having major surgery changed my life forever. During the first 6 months of recovery, and learning how to walk again, it was a time of darkness. I was overcome with despair, grief, heartache, uncertainty and an unusual amount of physical pain. My days and nights were consumed with loneliness, fear and anxiety. Even though my children, wife and mother-in-law were there with me, they could NOT offer me any power. They tried by being there and doing for me the simplest tasks that I could not do for myself and I appreciate them immensely.  But I needed more.

My home therapy included using my walker and walking in intervals of 5 minutes. Over time I was up to 15 minutes. That progress allowed for me to exercise some courage to go outside to my driveway. There I would work to increase my walk time. The backyard is decorated with an assortment of tall trees – oak, dogwood, cedar and maple – in the large wooded area. Prior to my recovery, I only appreciated their response to wind when stormy weather hit our neighborhood. The motion in the trees would “speak” to me in a way that I knew when the weather pattern was threatening.

One day while struggling to walk my routine I experienced the blessing of a confirming breeze. I was stuck physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As the tears rolled down my face on the beautiful summer day while standing in my driveway on my walker, God’s presence was once again realized as the cool, confirming breeze swept over our subdivision. The natural response of the trees yielded a heralding sound of the leaves response to the force of the breeze. The trees began to sway with ease as the unclouded sky revealed the splendor of the sunlight. It was majestic, unlike all of my earlier exposure to the outside elements. It said to me “I am here…..fear not…..”

My tears dried up and my body was overcome with a spirit of amazement as I realized God’s presence being confirmed in the breeze of a summer day. It forever heightened my appreciation for God’s grace. You can’t see the wind but the breeze makes itself known through the responses of all the matter of the earth. You can’t see God’s presence but you can experience all the fullness of His power that can change your entire prospective and outlook on life. God uses change to confirm His presence, His power and His grace. I made it back  inside and picked up my dusty Bible and the Lord’s confirming power was further revealed in this popular passage:

Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. KJV

Experience the blessing of a confirming breeze.

Get Tested! It Saves


Jordon river
Jordon river (Photo credit: swortman53)

I know someone who is desperately afraid of going to the doctor. His apprehension subjects him to incredulous fears associated with the process of finding out the status of his health. Day after day he experiences physical symptoms that force him to contend with the fact that his body is in need of medical attention. Yet his fear allows him to stay nestled in the confines of uncertainty. He continues to go on about the daily routines his life has constructed. Amidst all the vocational, social, political and ecclesiastical activities he fervidly attends to during the course of  weeks and months that have passed – with an astounding zeal for life, the fact of a physical struggle continues to plague him. He lacks a willingness to get honest and get tested.

All around the city of Atlanta there is an advertising campaign for children and adults to “Get Tested” for HIV. Billboards, TV commercials and print media all serve to push this message socially . The ad seems to present the point from the perspective that it is better to “know your status” and be treated rather than NOT know and do more harm to yourself and others.  A life of promiscuity and/or sexual irresponsibility, compounded with the guise of sexual crimes, all seem to give rise to this fear and more and more people are physically,mentally, emotionally and spiritually spent. The rippling effects of this crippling dilemma is rectified IF there is a willingness to get honest and get tested.

We can understand how medical testing yields physical, mental and emotional treatments BUT what testing applies to spiritual treatments?

The answer:

LIFE ISSUES i.e. TRIALS i.e. PROBLEMS i.e. HARDSHIPS i.e. DIFFICULTY i.e. UNCERTAINTY i.e TRIBULATION

The human race deems life issues as a NEGATIVE and not a POSITIVE. This is largely due to how the world order views these guaranteed life phenomena. The world has developed a safeguard to greatly support the negative associations with “life issues” so much so that when they materialize in a person’s life, an immediate barrier presents itself between him/her and the world.

For example, when someone is plagued with sickness –  PROBLEM – she not only has to deal with the mundane processes associated with treatment and the pursuit towards wellness. The issues magnify with the steady stresses of the employer, finances, loss, dissociation from society and certain peer groups and family and all the fears of loneliness. Meanwhile, people continue to make the world “go around” with their selfish and self-centered idealism towards preservation, progress and upward mobility while isolating themselves from the sick and shut-in. It is selfishness to the core that makes an associate retreat and withdraw from a person plagued with illness while being fully aware of their own ability to offer the sick with the resource of certainty – a certain affirmation that you will do all that is within your power to support the sick. That ideology is now absent in several American cultures today – and sadly, the church (without naming denominations) is in this number. It would seem obvious that they (the local church) would be inclined to serve the sick, poor and widowed most willingly. This is not to say that the existing church programs are not serving “Life Issues.” Oh no! Their service history supports the blatant reality of a need for more involvement from their neighboring local church bodies thereby exposing the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace that Paul clearly addresses.

Ephesians 4:2(NET) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
4:3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

At the end of the book of Joshua, the author makes a compelling appeal to Israel before his apparent death.

Furthermore, Joshua was prophesying to Israel that they would need to have courage and consistency in dealing with “Life Issues” in the future.

English: The Walls of Jericho Fall Down (Josh....
English: The Walls of Jericho Fall Down (Josh. 5:16, 6:1-10,13-19) Русский: Падение стен Иерихона (Иис. 5:16, 6:1-10,13-19) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joshua 23:6-11 (NET)
(6) Be very strong! Carefully obey all that is written in the law scroll of Moses so you won’t swerve from it to the right or the left,
(7) or associate with these nations that remain near you. You must not invoke or make solemn declarations by the names of their gods! You must not worship or bow down to them!
(8) But you must be loyal to the LORD your God, as you have been to this very day.
(9) “The LORD drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you to this very day.
(10) One of you makes a thousand run away, for the LORD your God fights for you as he promised you he would.
(11) Watch yourselves carefully! Love the LORD your God!”

His instruction is concise: “REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS SAID, WHAT HE HAS DONE AND CHOOSE HIM DAILY – in war and peace”  One example is pertinent here – JERICHO. Jericho was a city that Israel needed to go through to get to the Jordan River. It was God’s Determined will that Israel would cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Jericho was an immediate “Life Issue” to Israel because of its great army and wall that was designed to protect its inhabitants. Israel was ill-equipped to handle Jericho’s might militarily. However, Joshua was in complete relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who meticulously brought the Israelites out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and preserved them in the wilderness. The story concludes with the Israelites marching silently for 6 days around the wall as God instructed them. Victory prevailed on the 7th day as they marched silently, blew the trumpet and began to shout on Josh’s command. Simultaneously, the walls of Jericho tumbled down. God permanently dealt with the barrier.

The Israelite‘s  testing i.e. “Life Issue”  in the Old Testament offers Bible readers a glimpse into God’s character. The tests were all designed to get them to line up with His will for them. Israel’s history with God gives rise to the importance for humans to practice willingness to be honest and get tested.

Every “Life Issue” has a Divine purpose. Get Tested! It saves.

Liberty and Justice for All (a response to the Presidential announcement)


James Madison, fourth president of the United ...
James Madison, fourth president of the United States wrote the Constitution at his estate near Orange Virginia, called Montpelier. Pictured here after an extensive renovation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is too much confusion going on about President Obama’s decision to be pro gay marriage. The confusion is easily settled when we consider The First Amendment Our President did teach this stuff at the college level.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

— The First Amendment

Largely because of this prohibition against government regulation or endorsement of religion, diverse faiths have flourished and thrived in America since the founding of the republic. Indeed, James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, once observed that “the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.” (http://www.adl.org/issue_religious_freedom/separation_cs_primer.asp)

My country,' tis of thee, 
	sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; 
	land where my fathers died, 
	land of the pilgrims' pride, 
	from every mountainside let freedom ring!
 2.	My native country, thee, 
	land of the noble free, thy name I love; 
	I love thy rocks and rills, 
	thy woods and templed hills; 
	my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.
 3.	Let music swell the breeze, 
	and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song; 
	let mortal tongues awake; 
	let all that breathe partake; 
	let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong. 
4.	Our fathers' God, to thee, 
	author of liberty, to thee we sing; 
	long may our land be bright 
	with freedom's holy light; 
	protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

Every American – black/white/red/yellow, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender,Jewish,Christian,Baptist,Methodist,7 Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Episcopalian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., rich/poor, employed/unemployed and alive – all have one thing in common. We ALL depend on the aspects of freedom that living in this country has to offer.

Freedom is the most attractive aspect of being an American. Foreigners have died or been imprisoned as a result of attempting to enter this country because of their personal pursuit to realize the democracy of the USA as a citizen.

“The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.

Because the promotion of human rights is an important national interest, the United States seeks to:

  • Hold governments accountable to their obligations under universal human rights norms and international human rights instruments;
  • Promote greater respect for human rights, including freedom from torture, freedom of expression, press freedom, women’s rights, children’s rights, and the protection of minorities;
  • Promote the rule of law, seek accountability, and change cultures of impunity;
  • Assist efforts to reform and strengthen the institutional capacity of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Commission on Human Rights; and
  • Coordinate human rights activities with important allies, including the EU, and regional organizations.” (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/hr/index.htm)

The President’s decision is not based on religious beliefs but on the fundamental establishment of “Liberty and Justice for All” that our country stands on. Whenever we, as Americans, forget the designs of the Constitution and want to infuse our belief systems into society, we always have to contend with the First Amendment.

Hos 4:6 “My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. You priests have refused to learn, so I will refuse to let you be priests for me. You have forgotten the law of your God, so I will forget your children.”

They are destroyed for lack of it, for the true knowledge of God is the life of the soul, true life, eternal life, as our Saviour saith, “This is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.” John 17:3

Hosea was writing about the failure of the Hebrews to know, accept and live the life God called them to. Instead they regularly reverted from God’s way to the way of the world. The result – God allowed suffering to come to the Hebrews. The sufferings were designed to ALWAYS motivate them  to turn from their wicked ways and repent and return to the plans that God had for them as a nation.  The root cause of their reversion was sin.

God has offered us evidence of how He can deal with human extremism resulting in a nation or nations in which ungodliness is the norm. We need the book of Genesis to appreciate the historical elements and the overall outcome of Sodom and Gomorrah. Human beings who reverence God’s Word know that God allows people the freedom to live but always maintains His authority over us – whether we acknowledge it or not is again based in freedom. When you choose not to do it God’s way you have two authorities to answer to – His and the governments.

Sin is at the root of this issue of Gay marriage. The President was not elected to handle the affairs of the heart. His role as the Leader of this great nation is to uphold the law and lead this country in such a way that our freedom is protected, our democracy is paramount and our futures are secure as human beings. To do this “The President is the administrative head of the executive branch of the Government, which includes numerous agencies, both temporary and permanent, as well as the 15 executive (Cabinet-level) departments.”(http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/presbrief.htm)

Religious leaders, including myself, all have a major job to do as well. We, as Christians, are to uphold the truth of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations. Jesus said in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The freedom He describes is different from the freedom established in the Constitution. The government can not provide for the freedom of my spirit – only God can and does handle this area in ALL of us. Therefore, preachers, teachers, ministers, evangelists and lay-people are ALL responsible for upholding the truth as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6 meticulously defines the issue of sin. Furthermore, a thorough study of Romans 1-8 is recommended if one wants to lay a firm foundation of truth relative to God and sin today. In society we want to rationalize sin by way of moral guidelines. This methodology is flawed only in respects to a Biblical perspective. Morals then are the antithesis to what God deems as the problem humanity has always encountered since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. They are the world’s attempt to harness and manage the soul sickness he/she is destined to experience. Rationalization and justification are the means by which moral morphology continues. The law of the land is designed to handle the matters that result from one’s tarnished moral fiber.

When we try to marry the two we fail miserably. President Obama exercised his authority over the affairs of the USA by establishing his position on a moral matter that plagues our country. We as Americans are aware of his decision. It is irrelevant to support his decision from a personal and/or religious standpoint. He is clearly looking out for how human beings can have a better quality of life as they engage in same sex behaviors. However, what is relevant is to let the President be the President and let God be God. What a wonderful world this would be if everybody got on the same page about this.