The economy, well, let me rephrase that, MY economy isn’t doing so great these days. Its nothing to go to a retail store and find a nice shirt or pair of pants for a low price these days. Shoes, now thats another story. These days, shoes aren’t cheap. There was a time not to long ago, when I had one pair of shoes to wear for everything. Work, church, job interviews, and lounging. Now that my shoe “arsenal” has expanded, I find myself in the same pattern of habit, while simultaneously neglecting my nicer shoes. I pray that my walk with Christ doesn’t reflect my different pairs of shoes, but thats a whole other story. The Bible tells us, “The steps of a righteous man, are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way.” David was a man after God’s own heart, so I take this passage in Psalms and heavily apply it to my own life. Order is a versatile word, so it can mean many different things to people. In my case, it means organization and functionality. When I woke up this morning, I saw my newest pair of sneakers, looking like a complete mess. It was time to put an old toothbrush and some soap to these bad boys. As I began scrubbing, the dirt and dust melted off of the rubber soles, and what appeared as a dusty gray color five minutes prior, became jet black. They looked brand new. I began to think of how our feet represent our ministry, and how over time our shoes can pick up a lot of gunk, dirt, and dust as we stroll through our daily life. Quite often, the original plans God has for our ministry can get covered by the impurities that exist around us in the world, and once again we are required to return to the advice God gives us in His Word. Ephesians 5:26 states, “to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s Word.” The solution is simple. The same thing the water and elbow grease did for my shoes, the Word of God does for the ministry, and our walk with him. Just like we have to bust out the ol’ soap and water for the dirty things in the physical, we have to bust out the Word of God for the impure things in our spiritual lives. God doesn’t want to throw us out and replace us, or even change His plan for us from a good pair of sneakers to yard shoes. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him, and He wouldn’t change our purpose in life for anything. Most of the time, He just needs to knock a little bit of the dirt off of us, so that we can continue our purpose for which we were intended.
Its truly awesome when God gives us a word of encouragement, gives us a hand with the weather, or softens our hearts to bring forgiveness. Its really awesome when He helps us with our chores. We have three dogs now, and are watching after two others for the week. Sure they are cute, and provide the type of unique joy and companionship that only a pet can bring. What they leave in the yard, is another story. In a yard covered with leaves, their little “presents” can sneak up on a brand new shoe like a ninja, leaving you frustrated, and balancing on one foot, prodding at the tread of your shoe with a stick. It was time to play catch up, and get these land-mines out of the yard. The biggest problem was finding them, due to the large amount of leaves in the yard, also brown, due to the season. Raking across one of those bad boys is almost as bad as stepping in one, so the rake idea was out the window. Then, God spoke. Yeah I know what you are thinking. Just remember what the Bible says in James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights”, and if this plan worked out, it was definitely good and perfect. The plan was, get the blower and blow the leaves off the yard, and you are left with the “presents”. Then get a shovel, and take care of business. The plan worked beautifully(Thank You Lord!). After all matters had been handled, God gave me revelation regarding the task. Yeah. A revelation from scooping up dog doo-doo. Hey, if he can use a donkey like in Numbers 22:28, He can use anything to speak to us right? He showed me that sometimes to get rid of the sin, or junk, in our life, He has to blow away all of the things that hide it, and camouflage the sin in our life. Yeah, things like money, friends, and even religion. Are leaves bad? Absolutely not. Its the stuff hidden underneath that hurts us and causes us problems. And trust me, in due season, the leaves will return, hopefully not just to cover up junk, but to make way for new growth. Do not get discouraged when there are things in your life that seem to flee, because it could be giving you the opportunity to remove somethings in your life that will make a mess later.
I never was too fond of reading the Books of the Prophets. I always had the tendency to breeze through them, eager to get to the teachings of Jesus, the Day of Pentecost, or the letters of advice that Paul had for the churches. To be honest, even reading the Book of Revelation, despite my lack of understanding, was more exciting to me than the Prophets. There was nothing more nerve-wracking then reading the Word of the Lord at, what I thought, was God at his angriest. I guess the God that destroyed the whole world with a 40 day, torrential downpour of rain resulting in the worst flood ever, was offset by the fact he saved Noah, his family, and what people today would consider the most impressive zoo ever. Regardless, God was speaking to his prophets about how disappointed and angry He was, at people in lands that I was completely unfamiliar with. A couple nights ago I planned on reading out of the Book of Isaiah, but turned to the book of Ezekiel. I didn’t know much about this book, other then the fact he told the Lord, as a clean man, he was definitely not cool with cooking his food over human dung. After expressing his dislike to God’s instructions, the Lord said ok then, use cow dung instead. I continued to read, and after reading the 16th chapter, something clicked. Through Gods analogy of caring for an abandoned child, the child growing up to become a beautiful woman, and then forgetting who cared for her and becoming consumed with pride, betraying the very one who was the reason for her existence. I realized we have become a living example of this parable. We have so many individuals in the body of Christ who have become engulfed in a prideful spirit due to the gifts we possess, we forgot to honor the Giver of those gifts. It was a simple revelation, yet something I never in a million years, thought I would grow to understand from the Books of the prophets. Deep in every part of the Bible, there is a word that can change our life for the better, as long as we give God the opportunity to speak to us through the Word in its entirety. This is an ongoing process. More word, more understanding. Then I realized when all of the anger and frustration was taking place. When it looked as though all was lost, and God became frustrated with His people, He sent us the greatest gift of all: His Son. I consider myself spiritual, and maybe thats the problem. It’s not me, but it is He who lives within me, that possesses the power to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that is in the world that tries to come against His awesome plan for my life. The greatest gifts always seem to come after the greatest struggles, and if we as the church can manage to cast our burdens on Him, and allow Him to carry us through the darkest places of our walk, we will come into brighter days then we could ever imagine. We can’t do this on our own, but He can. He gave us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to do the real dirty work. We remain faithful in the little, and He will make us ruler over much. We just have to be sure that when we reach our mountaintop, we always remember who got us there.
I believe the one thing that was missing from my last attempt at blogging was my personal testimony. In Revelation the Word says we are over-comers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. To truly understand a person’s drive, and burden for souls, you have to have an idea of where they came from. I never want my testimony to become a platform to gain self pity, or to glorify the sin of my past life with a tone that portrays a regret for turning away from my past. The Bible reminds us that sin is fun for a season, but ultimately ends in death. I give God all of the glory for bringing me out of my junk, because if it wasn’t for Him hearing my true hearts cry, then I believe I would be in prison or dead. Matter of fact, I KNOW I would be in prison, or dead. I never want to be the individual to just tell an exciting biography, only to forget the very moment God heard my cry, and answered me. I have to highlight that He met me in my mess, put me on the Potter’s wheel, and began shaping, forming, and molding me to become a vessel in His kingdom. In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells His prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” God is not a respecter of persons, so this very declaration He made to Jeremiah applies to all of us, and He is anticipating the day when we will cry out to Him and become bondservants in His kingdom.
I was blessed with a wonderful family, and there was a time we experienced financial struggle, but as a child I never truly recognized it because my parents always provided us with our needs. There was always true love present in our family, to provide encouragement to direct us on the right path. In high school I looked down on those who did drugs, and never expected that at age 25, I would be a full blown crystal meth addict. After the so called friends departed, the good job was gone, and I failed my 4th attempt at education beyond high school, I was forced to get a good look in a very graphic mirror. My family was the only ones there for me, and I was completely dependent on them financially. I believed in the God of the Universe. You know, the one we picture standing high above the Earth, watching our every move, waiting on us to mess up so He can scold us and send us to hell. Little did I know I was about to meet the True, Living God of deliverance, healing, and restoration. I was without supply, and feigning for more, yet knowing that if this routine continued in my life, the next step would be either homelessness, prison, or death. With tears in my eyes, I asked God to change my life, or take it. Little did I know, He Heard My Cry.
I never fell asleep that night, but anticipated the daylight to try and come up with a way to feed my addiction. I went to work for my grandmother the next morning, and we were on our way to pick up supplies for my work for the day, when I received a phone call. All of the things I was doing in darkness, came to light. My mom found everything I had that I was using to make and consume my drugs. My first reaction was to lie about what it was for, but God wasn’t having it. Every single ounce of darkness and secret sin in my life was exposed, and left me completely naked and vulnerable. Lucky for me, that is exactly how God wants us. A blank canvas. A pliable lump of clay, longing to be shaped into something useful once again. That was almost 3 years ago, and I still remember my first day, my heart’s cry, and how God worked in my life to get me where I am today. It still feels like the beginning, yet I have been trained by God to set my face like flint, and never to turn back to Sodom and Gommorah. I am thankful for what I have had to endure to develop the intimate relationship I have with God today, and know that without His daily grace, I cannot make it through. I hope that this helped those who read this get an understanding of how good God is, and how even in our junk, He will come and save us.
First off, I had to give myself a fresh start. I am the type of guy who buys a new notebook, takes intricate notes on the first ten pages or so, then…..what happened? I feel the same has taken place with my previous venture in the world of blogging. Its is time for me to turn over a new leaf, and go beyond a strong start. Fortunately, I did something right this time. Although there is a huge gap in the last blogs ending, and this ones beginning, I continued to write down my studies old school(using several 1/3 notebooks in the process) just like the scribes of old. In my ministry, it is not conducive to tote a laptop around from place to place, and in most cases I need full use of both hands.
I was extremely blessed, and able to attend John Bevere’s Iron Men conference last week at Destiny Worship Center in Destin, FL. As always, the Lord did not disappoint, and gave John a revelation that resulted in me putting my hand back on the plow with this blog. He read from Matthew 25:14-30; the Parable of the Talents. If you haven’t read this parable before, it goes like this. A master is headed out on a journey, and has three servants. He gives one servant 5 talents(a measure of money in those times),another servant 2, and another 1 talent. He goes on his journey, returns, and calls for his servants. The servant he gave 5, used those to make 5 more; the servant he gave 2, made an additional 2; and the servant he gave 1 buried his to insure he had it for his master upon his return. The master calls the first two servants good and faithful for their use of their talents. He then scolds the third servant, calling him wicked and lazy. Immediately, John points out the adjectives used to describe the first two servants: good and faithful. We are called to be faithful with the talents that the Lord has given us, and do more then just bury them until we meet the Lord. God isn’t impressed with us just having them….He’s the one that gave them to us in the first place! He is pleased, and calls us faithful Christians when we use our talents to bring increase into the Kingdom of God.
For this very reason, I am dedicating myself to giving blogging another shot. My ultimate goal is to hear, “Well done. Enter in my good and faithful servant.” and the Lord has given me an assignment to share my thoughts, my experiences, and His Word in the form of writing.