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.

 

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Hope & Faith


The Stone of Scone in the Coronation Chair at ...
The chair is only as secure as its substructure

It feels like Christmas today. I have waited patiently for this day to arrive and thank God it is here. As I developed the thematic content for ConquerorShots in January, I got excited then about today’s post. From now on 3/1 will forever be “Hope & Faith” day. You see, we have a progressive transition that is God-ordained.

 

All of my anticipation about this post is fueling my fingers to hit these keys because I no longer have to hold this in. I pray this blesses you all.

Hebrews 11: 1 is often referred to as the “introduction to the Hall of Faith.”

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 

Hope and faith are clearly defined here. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for us to misuse these Heavenly gifts UNLESS you are not in agreement with this verse.

Faith is the “conviction of the truth of anything, belief.”

For an example let’s look at the simple act of sitting. When I was a kid, I witnessed my cousin Michael – a tall 6’7″ 300lb solid public figure – sit in a chair which collapsed in the process. The atmosphere was full of celebration and excitement because we were eating Sunday dinner and we had a chance to see our loved one who’s music was being played on the radio hourly. He was most definitely festive because of the meal he was about to eat on the plate he held in his had while chosing what resin chair to sit in on the porch. Without question he was “convinced” that he was about to sit down and “throw down” eating,  after being on the road for weeks performing. My other cousins and I were already seated and eating which made his entry into the scene so natural. He never considered the idea that he was about to “hit the deck”.

As he positioned himself in the chair, the legs of the synthetic material began to buckle outward. It all happened so fast! He sat down, the chair could not hold him and he hit the porch floor as his plate went up and the food landed on him and the porch. It was a total disaster of the worse kind. His faith in the chair failed him. It was unable to hold him up because of the force associated with his stature. It was a lesson for all of us to behold.

We are taught from childhood to sit. In fact, “timeout” is designed to make us sit down, to quiet down  rambunctious activities. Our instinct is to find a seat and sit. The decision to sit in the chair is based in the “conviction” of the truth that it will hold us up. It is a belief that we naturally realize. Yet we do not have to acknowledge our faith in the chair until the chair is not working for us i.e. it is unable to supply us with the rest from standing we need.  At that point,  panic sets in as the thought of the consequences of the chair’s failure yields horrifying circumstances from us hitting the ground. The acknowledgement is based in the fact that “faith failed us.” The expectation was to experience rest, relaxation and comfort. Instead, we are embarrassed, uncomfortable, possibly injured and so on. Faith is the substance………

The word substance in the verse is contained in the overall Heavenly blessing of this passage. It provides us with insight that is often overlooked. Simply put, faith is the “substructure or foundation”  or “confidence, firm trust, assurance” of what your hoping for. This idea is best understood when you consider the structure of a home. The substructure has to be strong enough to support the foundation, infrastructure and superstructure, of the home. It is the firm bedrock for the adjoining structures to rest on securely. The essence of our faith and the confidence of my hope NEEDS a constant attachment to “The Rock” which is CHRIST.   The evidence……………

We are constantly in search of proof to validate truth, whether we are honest about the pursuit or not is irrelevant. Back to the chair example, the reason we can so readily have faith in the chair is because of the continued success we have experienced over the course of a lifetime relative to the chair’s  ability to provide us with rest off of our feet.  When Mike got up off the floor he did not say “I am never going to sit in a chair again!” Instead, he cleaned himself off, got  another plate of food and went inside and sat at the dining room table to eat instead. He was not going to be so foolish as to STOP trusting in the chair to do for him what it was designed to do.  Christ came to this world to save sinners, through the death at Calvary, the burial and resurrection. Long before He established his earthly ministry, He was established as The Rock of our Salvation.

There is no better proof of the essence of His power that is greater than the FACT that He is the Son of God who arose from the dead and ascended back to His rightful place at the Right Hand of the Father where He now intercedes on our behalf.  No matter how messed up life may become, He NEVER FAILS!  HE CONQUERED THE POWER OF SIN AND DEATH AT CALVARY. Proof is further accomplished after we accept this SELFLESS act of salvation personally. I don’t know about you but the life that I now live is SOOOOO MUCH better than the life I use to lead. The difference? The power of sin is NO LONGER reigning over my life – HE IS! Even though we CAN’T see Him!

The evidence of things not seen. “Things” is so misunderstood and taken for granted. It is EVERYTHING THAT IS ALREADY DONE in God’s plan>The results are eternal but everyday I get a glimpse of the proof from the time I open my eyes and realize my lungs an my heart are working, my legs and my arms are still functional, my 5 senses are still in tact and He is present – providing, protecting, and purposing all of the events of the day for my good.  These “good works” that God ordained EVEN BEFORE I TOOK SHAPE IN MY MOTHER’S WOMB, are the “THINGS”. What a MIGHTY God!!!!!