The Greatest Need of our Day – COURAGE!

In the myriad complexities of this tech savvy world, filled with challenge and responsibility, one can feel overwhelmed. Pressure, challenges, tests, relationships, time crunches…do not require another trip to the gym, a better vitamin or supplement, or a better nights sleep. I believe the greatest need of our day is courage. The comforts of the […]

In the myriad complexities of this tech savvy world, filled with challenge and responsibility, one can feel overwhelmed. Pressure, challenges, tests, relationships, time crunches…do not require another trip to the gym, a better vitamin or supplement, or a better nights sleep. I believe the greatest need of our day is courage. The comforts of the familiar are gone, our upbringing is not enough to navigate a planet populated by now over 7 billion people, daily, we must face the fear of the unknown.

courage baby

Yet, we were never designed to face these things alone! Jesus, is with us!

He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can be strong in Him, and the power of HIS might.

This morning, these words from the Scripture leaped off the page at me:

Joshua 1: 7  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Just like God spoke to Joshua so many years ago, I feel Him speaking to me today from these passages:

BE STRONG! BE COURAGEOUS! I AM WITH YOU!

May you join me in this incredible journey Jesus promised, this life and life more abundantly.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come – carpe diem – ‘Seize the Day!’

Now faith is, Today is the day of salvation, His steadfast love never ceases, but His mercies are new every morning – His name is I AM!

future known

Let’s pray:

‘Father, I need You! I seek You today. Jesus, lead me, and rule and overrule all my distractions, fears, and discouragement, as together we face the future unknown to me, but fully known to You, I love You Lord, Amen’

Fear Not! Though I Walk through the Waters!

Fear Not!
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
Is 43:1 ¶ But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
16 Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

This whole chapter is beautiful in its encouragement to me, and to you, personally, if you will let the Lord speak it to you.
fear not Is 43
Some years ago, while running our construction company, we experienced a typical Oklahoma thunderstorm, a real ‘gully washer’ with the sky black as night, and lit up with spectacular bursts of chain lightening. It was a Friday night, after a brutal work week, and I was bone tired, and so into my truck I jumped, headed for the house, 20 miles away. Our office and shop were located behind Jenks airport on 81st or Peoria or Elm, whatever the same street is called along there. (Oklahoma humor…). I decided to take the shortest route home, following 81st behind the airport, knowing that this section of road often flooded, but in the hope that I could beat the rising water. It was raining real hard, a driving rain, with explosions of thunder so close it seemed to shake the truck. As I got to the little bridge culvert there behind the airport, sure enough, the road was flooded completely, and I looked down the corridor of water, to see, at the other end of the flooded section, a Ford pick-up enter into the water, and begin to proceed towards me. I figured if that guy could make it in his Ford, my Toyota Tundra would surely go through, and I was too tired, to want to drive the extra couple of miles around the airport to get on the highway the safe way. Had a thought flash across my mind, from a minister named David Hogan, of a story that I had heard on his ‘faith to raise the dead’ tapes, of how he drove right through a swollen river, with the truck completely submerged, emerging from the other side, without a problem, just a good testimony.
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
So, like a red-necked idiot, I proceeded into the water. As I drove, I noticed that there was a pretty good current flowing across the road, and that it was getting deeper. Of course, the road was underwater, and it was really dark, so it was difficult to keep it between the ditches, cause I couldn’t see where they were. Well, I noticed that the water level was now bumping the bottom of my side mirrors, and I was a little concerned. As I came up alongside the guy in the Ford, the current caught his truck, and swept him into the ditch, putting his truck off the road, under water. I touched the brakes thinking I might stop and help him, but when I did, seems I had created a pretty good ‘bow’ wave, and the water swept over the hood, and a wave went over the windshield. So, I punched the gas, and thought ‘hope that other fella can swim’, and amazingly the truck windshield cleared, and I drove right on outta there!
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
So, I called my wife on the cell, and she was weeping. Said that God had spoke to her that I was in danger, and she had been crying out to God repeatedly: ‘2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:’.

Musta worked, because the truck became a submarine that day, and did not stall, nor get swept off the road…(I know, it would be a good place to insert a Toyota Tundra ad…LOL!). I believe that God supernaturally delivered me that day, with no harm to me or the truck, simply because my wife prayed. Good to have a praying wife…(In hindsight, I sure hope the other guy could swim…not a lot of love on my part)
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

Let’s Pray:
“Father, the devil is defeated by the blood of the lamb, and the word of our testimony. I pray that you bring these verses to mind and out of the mouth, in violent faith, in the lives of any of your children in danger, now, or in the future, in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen”

Fear NOT!

Fear Not!
fear face everything
Is 41:10 ¶ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

One of the over 300 ‘Fear Not’s!’ in the Bible.

Fear is a horrible taskmaster. Deep horrible thoughts, that emanate from the darkrooms of our lives, where negatives are developed. Fear has torment, and it will steal our sleep, our rest, our peace, our judgment, and if we let it, our lives.
fear confidence
“The only thing we have to fear is fear it’self – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
—- FDR – First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
“Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.”
—- Edgar Wallace – The Clue of the Twisted Candle (1916)

For us, who know Jesus, there is nothing to fear! He is love, and His perfect love destroys our deepest fears. God is with us, He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He is as close as our next breath, if we would only talk to him.

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The best way I have discovered to conquer fear, is to face it, and get busy.

One night, I was taking my children up the street to a wonderful park we discovered, only about a half mile from my house. It has a little pond, and is quite large, and we had fun walking, and looking for insects, for our homeschool science. As I walkno fear

ed home, I marveled at how we have lived here for five years, and never discovered this park, and suddenly, I realized why: ‘I have been afraid of dogs!
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.
We have had several encounters with stray pit bulls attacking my children over the years, and truthfully, there are still a couple of unrestrained large dogs that walk our street. I suddenly realized that God has protected us. We have never been bitten by one of these mongrels, and I have limited our expeditions, because of these dogs!. Fear brings bondage, and mine broke last night in this area! Sometimes, the best thing you can do in life is face your fears, and go on.
fear parachute
I remember in college at Carleton university, the high diving platform. Anyone could jump off of the high diving board, and some, the first platform, but there were two more higher, and although the third platform did not look too high from the ground, once you got up there, that pool looks mighty small… So, me and this guy named Steve, would climb up there each Saturday night after swim practice, and challenge each other to jump. And, jump we would! Didn’t understand it at the time, but there is an exhilaration that only comes from conquering your fears!

So what fears do you need to face today, in the power of God?
Chris Karen Walsh's photo.

Ever been afraid of the dark, where every creak and sound, sounds like a home intruder or axe murderer?

Did you know that there are actual demon spirits, spirits of fear, that bring those thoughts?

We had a problem with nightmares, and kids afraid to sleep in their own beds, until we discovered the 91st Psalm:

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

One night, when I woke up, almost paralyzed by fear awakened after a horrible nightmare, I said out of my spirit – ‘Terror by night – get out of my house’ it is written: ‘He gives me sweet sleep!’ – I literally felt the fear leave my room! Peace came, and I slept peacefully. I have remembered that night well, and the lesson the Lord taught me through it, for we have now travelled on countless missions trips, where evil spirits would attempt to attack us in the night, after we had worked to hard that day, and not prayed enough. Yet, each time, I rebuked them, and we sleep soundly.
Ps 4-8 sleep

Let’s pray, for we are children of victory!

‘Father, show me my fears, the things I have been afraid of, often unknowingly. Deliver me from them, and show me how to face, conquer and forever banish them from my life, in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.

fear prison

The Greatest Need of our Day – COURAGE!

In the myriad complexities of this tech savvy world, filled with challenge and responsibility, one can feel overwhelmed. Pressure, challenges, tests, relationships, time crunches…do not require another trip to the gym, a better vitamin or supplement, or a better nights sleep. I believe the greatest need of our day is courage. The comforts of the familiar are gone, our upbringing is not enough to navigate a planet populated by now over 7 billion people, daily, we must face the fear of the unknown.

courage baby

Yet, we were never designed to face these things alone! Jesus, is with us!

He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can be strong in Him, and the power of HIS might.

This morning, these words from the Scripture leaped off the page at me:

Joshua 1: 7  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Just like God spoke to Joshua so many years ago, I feel Him speaking to me today from these passages:

BE STRONG! BE COURAGEOUS! I AM WITH YOU!

May you join me in this incredible journey Jesus promised, this life and life more abundantly.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come – carpe diem – ‘Seize the Day!’

Now faith is, Today is the day of salvation, His steadfast love never ceases, but His mercies are new every morning – His name is I AM!

future known

Let’s pray:

‘Father, I need You! I seek You today. Jesus, lead me, and rule and overrule all my distractions, fears, and discouragement, as together we face the future unknown to me, but fully known to You, I love You Lord, Amen’

Know Jesus, Know Peace – No Jesus, No Peace

monsters

Fueled by the naïve belief that God dwelt in church buildings in a special way, the people forgot the words of Jesus, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead,’ and the church proudly engaged in opening graveyards close to the ‘holy’ church buildings, where people felt they were safe from the monstors and dragons:

Wolfgang Simpson: The House Church Book.

reneck be church

Kill Fear! Believe God!

Kill Fear! Believe God!

FEAR!
Kill it, or it will kill you!
Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.
Heard a guy say once, that most of the bad things that I thought were going to happen, didn’t.
It is the darkroom of our mind, where negatives are developed.
In this case, it is the key to understanding the book of Job. God did not bring evil to him, it was there already, pacing outside his guarded gate, for satan is a predator, seeking to kill, steal and destroy.
Job’s fear, his dread, unlocked the gate, the hedge of protection that God had set around him, by his faith and words.
Notice the conversation between God and satan:
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, BEHOLD all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Notice the word, BEHOLD. God was not delivering Job into satan’s hand, as many have taught, rather, He simply revealed to that slavering dog, the hole in the hedge, the open door.
Fear believes that bad things are going to happen, and according to our belief, they do.
FAITH – Fantastic Adventures In Trusting HIM
Faith believes that God loves us, and has prepared GOOD Works for us to walk in. That good and perfect gifts are coming down into our lives, each day, because we have a heavenly Father that is a giver, He delights to give, He loves to create, for He is the Creator, and He loves to be trusted, and ALWAYS honors our active trust in Him.
So, each day, we choose what we are going to do that day. Will we choose, love, life, liberty, and to believe, on purpose, the promises of God, receiving this day, the bread of heaven, and provision of his promises, or will we let down our guard, become complacent, or worse yet, become afraid of the future, and actively open the door to hell on earth…
One thing I love about America is this: truly, it is the land of the free, home of the brave, where we fight for freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
Bravery, or courage is not the absence of fear, it is the conquering of it.
I remember when my dad was posted to Victoria, British Columbia, and then promptly began to take 3 week trips to sea, as a naval officer. We bought a house, and moved to new school, and a gang of bullies beat the fire out of me several days in school. This went on for about a month, of them chasing me, and almost killing me on several occasions, until one day, I had had enough. In gym class that day, we were assigned to play floor hockey. I had been a leader on my little league hockey team before we moved from Nova Scotia, and that day, a gang of bullies got seriously hurt. The gracious gym teacher knew of their reign of terror, and looked the other way, as one by one I took them on, and took them out in brutal play.
Next day, they tried again, and there was another trail of bloody noses, and cracked ribs in phys. Ed class, and that was the end of it. Sure, I took a few lumps too, but compared to the beatings I had already been given, nothing serious. Was I scared? Yes! I feared for my life! Yet, I was not going to allow bullies to dictate my life!
From that day on, I was one of the gang, and everyone befriended me. Lesson: Strong people only respect strength.
Spiritual truth: The sword and the gospel go hand in hand. Soldiers, policemen, and strong government, that govern righteously, are no threat to people wanting peace, truth, and the gospel, they only restrain the criminal element in society. However, they too are subject to the Word of God, and must govern in the fear of the Lord, or the very sword they wield, will be turned against them, as one special force military unit declares: Every so often the banner of freedom, must be washed afresh in the blood of tyrants. Fearing God, and walking with Jesus, will prevent needless bloodshed, if we would only love, honor and respect each other, using our strengths to uphold the weak, not to bully them!
Never would have happened if I had kept allowing them to beat on me all year.
Couple of questions:
What are you afraid of?
What are you going to do to face your fears?
What are you believing God for?
What are you doing to strengthen your faith and see, manifest in your life, that you have believed for?
Let’s pray:
‘Father, fear is of the heart. You know what we are afraid of. Please, reveal to us, Your perfect love, that destroys our deepest fears and insecurities. Now, Lord Jesus, You are the high priest of my confession, ever watching over Your Word today, to perform it. I ask you for wisdom, strength, courage, special faith, revelation, the hearing of Your voice, clear direction, favor, healing, health, provision, prosperity, dreams and visions of Your glory granted to us. I choose to look to You, and believe I receive these things, now, for I ask you Father, in Your name Lord Jesus, AMEN!’

THE FEAR OF MAN BRINGS A SNARE:

THE FEAR OF MAN BRINGS A SNARE:

The fear of man brings a snare:

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Eight things that the fear of man will bring:
1. Lack of persistence or follow through of God given dreams or desires.
2. Stifling of God given gifts, talents and abilities.
3. Lack of peace.
4. Anger, frustration, depression.
5. Hopelessness and despair.
6. Lack of passion, zeal, and purpose.
7. Lack of courage to lead.
8. Stifling of creativity.

In reading Napoleon Hill, I read of one of his hindrances to success, defined as a lack of persistence. One of his reasons for this he calls: “FEAR OF CRITICISM – a failure to make plans, and put them into action, because of what other people will think, do, or say. This enemy, belongs at the head of the list, because it generally exists in one’s subconscious mind, where its presence is not recognized.

In examining this fear he states: The majority of people permit relatives, friends, and the public at large to so influence them that they cannot live their own lives, because they fear criticism…

Millions of people neglect to acquire belated educations, after having left school, because they fear criticism.

Countless numbers of men and women, both young and old, permit relatives to wreck their lives, in the name of DUTY because they fear criticism. (Duty does not require any person to submit to the destruction of his personal ambitions and the right to live his or her own life in his or her own way)

People refuse to take chances in business, because they fear the criticism which may follow if they fail. The fear of criticism, in such cases is stronger than the desire for success.”

Paraphrased, from ‘Think and Grow Rich’ p 219

Again, I recite from Proverbs, the wisdom of God:

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Here we see an insight from heaven that confirms Mr. Hill’s thoughts. Notice this verse is very succinct, yet pertinent. It diagnoses a condition, and immediately presents the cure:

THE CONDITION: The fear of man.

THE SYMPTOM: A captive life, ensnared in relationships or commitments contrary to the vision or God given ambition or desire of one’s heart.

THE CURE: Faith! Deliberate turning away from people, places, or things that would fetter one from your God given destiny and desire. Delilberate trust in God Himself.

This is not irresponsible, or negligent, as many would love to throw the net of guilt upon one set upon running the race of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; rather, is simply obeying God, not man, any man, even if that man is a close relative. We cannot, indeed, MUST not be fettered by the ungodly tyrannical chains, of family tradition.

Honor our family, our relatives, and definitely our parents and elders, YES!

Yet, honoring them, does not mean obeying them, as adults. We can gently, with strength, humility, and purpose, choose our own way to fulfill our God given destiny, whether they agree or not!

I remember one morning in devotions, when I knew clearly that Jesus Himself had spoken to me, to leave a certain person close to me, who was obviously going a different direction to what I knew to be the specific plan and will of God for me, personally. As I prayed about what to do, in anguished prayer, I heard Him say: ‘Leave them, and you will be of use to them, in years to come!’

Ultimately, one day, we will each stand before God to give an account of our lives, alone.

So, we run our particular race, with passion, zeal, purpose, for that which WE have been created to do, not what others might think we should be doing!

It is a fight!

Remaining free from the tyranny of ungodly expectations of others!

This is why, as parents, we must be careful to diligently pray for our children, inquiring of heaven, the will of God for them, nor necessarily what we would desire for them:

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in THE WAY HE SHOULD GO: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Ecclesiastes 12:13
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

1 Peter 1:17
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Obey God, not man…

Let’s Pray:
‘Father, deliver me from every fear of criticism, of what people might think, and may I fully embrace the purpose, destiny, and desires YOU have for me. Set me free from the insane tyranny of ungodly expectations, that I might find the rule and reign of Jesus, the Prince of peace, and follow His peace, all the days of my life here in the earth, Amen’

Wisdom of the Elders

Bucket-of-crabs

The Wisdom of the Elders

Some years ago, up in Canada, I was driving to work, and happened to tune the radio into CBC to catch the morning news. Instead, I heard a wonderful interview with an Ojibwa elder, an older women who was being interviewed, about some of the high suicide, alcohol, and abuse rates that were being reported on the ‘Grassy Narrow’s’ reservation. Seems that a social worker had reported that eight infants, had been literally dropped in the snow, in sub-zero temperatures, on ‘check-day’ on the reservation, while their mothers and fathers, were getting drunk and high at some party.

The interviewer was trying, with some degree of compassion, to understand the dynamics that would cause such behavior, and had quoted some serious statistics regarding alcohol, drug abuse, domestic violence, and suicide and substance abuse related deaths on the reservation.

The interviewer asked: ‘With so much money, and resource available to help your people, why is this so?’

The reply of this wise woman, has stayed with me all these years, and as a minister, I have used her story, several times over the years. She replied:

“Let me tell you a story. There were four Canadians who had travelled all the way to the Pacific ocean, to walk the beach. There was a black man, a Chinese man, a white man, and a native American Indian. It was the time of Spring solstice, when the moon is full, and tides are great, and this particular afternoon, the tides were especially low, exposing miles and miles of tide pools, as far as the eye could see along this great beach. They decided to take advantage of this, and each grabbed a bucket, and headed out on the beach to attempt to catch crabs for an evening meal. Several hours later, they came together again, and the white, black and Chinese Canadians had empty buckets, while the Indian had a full pail! The white guy immediately exclaimed: ‘I don’t believe it! How did you catch so many crabs? Seems every time I caught one, and then turned around, it quickly climbed up the side of the bucket, and escaped to freedom, hiding under a rock before I could re-catch it!’ The black and Chinese men nodded with understanding, having had a similar experience, when the Indian exclaimed: ‘Well, I only catch Indian crabs.”

“Indian crabs? What on earth is an Indian crab? They all look the same to me!”

“Well,” the Indian continued, “All I do, is catch two crabs at once, and put them in the bucket together. When the first one tries to climb out to freedom, the other one grabs his back legs, and pulls him back into the pail!”
Wisdom of the Elders
This elder then went on to say, that this was the plight of her people. Yes, there was great poverty, substance abuse, and heartbreak on the reservation, but when a young person decided to try to escape, and to get a job off the reservation, or go away to school, that when they came home, they were usually called ‘a disgrace to the race, a red apple, red on the outside, but white on the inside,’ That unless that person was exceptionally strong, they were rarely if ever able to escape the peer pressure and ostracization of family and friends, and usually fell back into the cycle of partying and substance abuse.

I have used this illustration over the years, as I taught an alcohol drug rehabilitation course.

In the Bible, we learn that close relationships have the power to either promote, drag us back into our horrible habits. That it is important to make a clean break with people, places and things, that would bring us down, and until we are strong and healed enough, certain people needed to leave our lives, whether friends or family, in order that we get free of our addictive and destructive lifestyles.

Yet, over the past year, I have been studying intensely, the history of the North American First Nations peoples, and it is a story that needs to be told. Horrible atrocities have occurred in terms of broken treaties, genocides, forced removals from tribal lands on to reservations, and children placed in boarding or residential schools, where dehumanizing things occurred.

As I listened to Ivan Doxstator speak, an Iroquois counselor to First Nations people’s, he made a statement, that is a far deeper answer to that question that many white people ask, with respect to suffering Indians living in dire circumstances upon reservations. “Why don’t the leave the reservations?” Ivan replied: ‘Because they feel that the government will take their land.”

This is no nebulous fear, if you understand the history of broken treaties, in the occupation of traditional Indian lands by treachery or the power of the cavalry across North America, and one that needs to be addressed adequately by both the church, and the US and Canadian governments, if we are to see justice, healing, and true reconciliation come to the Indian reservations of North America.

Let’s pray:
‘Father, forgive us for destroying our lives away from You. Where we need to leave unhealthy relationships, places, or spaces that are destroying us, give us strength, courage, wisdom, direction, and provision to get to where we need to be. Deliver us from our fears, and grant to us healing, true justice, grace, and protection. We choose to forgive those who have lied to us, stolen from us, and tried to steal our destiny, language, culture, lands, and identity in You. If there be any real danger, of predatory businesses, or corrupt governments still attempting to steal from me, my family, or my people, STOP them, in the name and authority of Jesus I pray, Amen.’

Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Commitment
Philippians 1:21
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Hus’s last words were, “What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood.”
Source Unknown.
Ever notice that to try something out, is easy. To fully commit, and go for it, takes everything you’ve got. Couple of years ago, I experienced a mild stroke driving home from work. Blacked out at the wheel on the highway. Amazingly, I came to on the grassy median between the four lanes. Called my wife, and headed into a walk in clinic to discover what had happened. Blood pressure 200/150 meant I needed some meds, and to make some radical life changes in work, diet, exercise, and had to learn a whole new way of living. For a year or so, I simply worked on getting to the gym four times a week, drinking water instead of soft drinks, energy drinks, and gallons of coffee each day, and to add fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods back into my life, instead of simply driving through whatever was close to the job, and chowing down on the meal deal of the day.
Then, I was introduced to P90X! Thought I would do the 90 day gig with my wife just to humor her, and after a day or two was so sore I could hardly move. Tried to start it again with fresh resolve, but man, that program is tough! So, I sat down, read through the program, bought the vitamins, and recovery drink, and then aggressively decided to nail the diet down. This time, I committed!
Took everything I had, but I finished the 90 days! Lost 40 lbs, and bench pressed 315lbs for the first time in my life. Not bad for a 50 year old man! Ended up doing the program 2 more times over the next year and a half, and even ran a bunch of 5km runs. (Now, 2 years later, I need to get back into it…)
Read this quote today, and thought about my radical commitment to Jesus and His calling upon my life:
Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.
Oswald Chambers in Christian Discipline.
In this life, there are things we go through that are hard. Yet, when we are strong, they are less difficult..usually.
In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 “famous and exceptionally gifted people” called Cradles of Eminence. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness, what common thread might run through all of these outstanding people’s lives. Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact was that virtually all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were.
Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 134.
Today’s exhortation is for those of us in the fight. Perhaps this is the long dark night of your soul. Today, I am fighting a health challenge and some personal struggles that are excruciating…Yet, I am not dead, therefore I will not quit!
On a wall in his bedroom Charles Spurgeon had a plaque with Isaiah 48:10 on it: “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” “It is no mean thing to be chosen of God,” he wrote. “God’s choice makes chosen men choice men…We are chosen, not in the palace, but in the furnace. In the furnace, beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed; yet here eternal love reveals its secrets, and declares its choice.”
W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 223.
Are you in the furnace today? The place where all of our vanity, strength, and foolishness gets destroyed in the flames, and what emerges is the pure gold character of a sanctified life, fully committed to Jesus, with power from heaven that clearly demonstrates to all, that Jesus is fully committed to us….
I still drink coffee in the morning. Thought about quitting, but it brings back many good memories on cold mornings before work, where dad and I would take a fresh loaf of bread out of the bread maker, and drink a pot of coffee together, as we headed out the door in the dark before work. Guess I could quit, but I like my coffee. As I looked at my cup, I saw this quote, and it seems to fit my rambling today:
A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.
Mildred Witte Struven, in Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 6.
I still remember crossing the Atlantic under sail, aboard a 65 schooner named ‘The Illusion’, when I was 21. We were determined to cross the ocean, fully under sail, and 26 days after leaving Key West, Florida, we heard the welcome sound of ‘land ahoy’ as we approached the Azores islands off of Portugal. As the youngest crew member, I always drew night watch, and so we would set our heading, and under the star lit night, swish through the waves in the darkness. Yet, there would come Venus, the one sailors call ‘the morning star’, in the deepest darkness of the night. When we saw her, we knew that soon, the sky would begin to glow, from black, to deep blue, to orange, before the sunrise lit the horizon each day. I remember the dread, and sense of responsibility that I felt, as I struggled to stay awake, and on course as the safety of the other seven sleeping crew members was in my young hands, and the old saying took on new meaning for me:
‘The hour is always darkest before the dawn..’
I am not sure who I am writing for today, but I know it for someone…Don’t give up on your dream!
Let’s pray:
‘Father, You see us, You know where we are at, and how we feel, and Lord Jesus, You are touched by the feelings of our weaknesses. Yet, You are with us. You will never leave us, nor forsake us. Bring Your encouragement, your gentle whispers to our heart that we so need to hear today, that we, straight as an arrow, would fly true to the mark of the high calling upon our lives, without compromise. Cause us to hear, and do, Your perfect will today, Amen!’