Faith

Have Mercy


I heard a song on the radio.  The lyrics were about Jesus’ suffering on the cross.  The lyrics were:

“For the sake of His suffering, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

These lyrics were being repeated over and over and over, as in a chant.  I realized I had tuned into the Roman Catholic Radio station.  The RCs like to keep Christ on the Cross and keep their believers in perpetual shame.  It’s good for business when you can keep your followers believing there is always one more thing you need to do to prove you are worthy of God, but that is a blog for another day.

Even so, I thought about these lyrics.

His Meekness

Before I can address God’s Mercy, I need to discuss Jesus’ Meekness.

When the scriptures say Jesus was meek and mild, God is not saying His son was some light-in-the-loafers, Casper milquetoast.

Meek in Jesus’s case was that although He had the power and authority to wage the most horrible war against all sin and all sinners, He chose to defer his judgement in favor of God’s mercy.

This meek Christ is the same one who braided a whip, beat money changers at the temple and overturned 100 pound tables.

God’s Mercy

Back to the lyrics:

“For the sake of His suffering, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

The concept of sin is foreign to this world.  Everything goes.  If I say this is sin, or that is sin, I am being politically incorrect.  Who am I , after all, to judge anyone?  OK, I’m no one, and I am not judging you.  That is God’s job.  In God’s eyes, there is sin.  Sin must be punished.  It is written that the wages of sin is death.  All who sin are worthy of death and unworthy of God.  That includes all humanity.  No one is sinless.

With one exception.

The Holy Law is that there is a way to redeem sinners, and that way is accomplished only if one person who is without sin freely gives his life to God; and must be willing to take on all God’s wrath and punishment of all sin on behalf of all sinners, even though he himself is sinless.

That is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus is the only one who was ever without sin.  He willingly and voluntarily became all sin, and was judged by God on our behalf.

There isn’t a sin you can think of that Jesus did not become.  The sinless one became, on our behalf, all sin that ever was and will be.

2Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

For our sake, he died of all our sin.

Sometimes God’s mercies don’t look so merciful.  It is written that it pleased God to kill his own son so that we, His creation would live. (See Isaiah 53:10)

The exchange on the cross is this:  Jesus became all our sin, past present and future. In return, you become God’s own beloved child.

Jesus told Nicodemus

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(Joh 3:16-18 KJV)

If you accept this free gift from God, you are born again.  If you reject this, you need to understand, you are already dead.

“For the sake of His suffering, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Jesus’s suffering was God’s mercy.  If you will accept it.

Let’s be about it

David Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

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Faith

In The Wilderness


For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom 8:38-39 AMP)

This Wilderness

We all, eventually, end up in the wilderness. Whether we bring ourselves there or are dragged there against our will or run headlong into it thinking it has to be better than where we are right now or are led there by Ruach ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit of Yahweh, we will eventually find ourselves in “The Wilderness. ”

If you haven’t had this fantastic experience, perhaps you should ask why. Read the word, everyone the Father equips for service goes through some kind of experience where his mettle is tested, where he is purified by the refining fire of God, where all the useless dross is scraped away. There, in the wilderness, God prepares a table for you to learn to fellowship with Him and him alone. The question I have to ask myself then, is, have I denied myself and taken up His cross?

The Place Called Wilderness

Moses was kicked out of Egypt…with good reason. The mercy Pharaoh showed Moses by not killing him outright for the crime of murder is where the evidence of the Grace of the Living God began to exert itself. Moses was driven to the wilderness, eventually learning how to do the unprincely task of being a shepherd. Egyptians thought Shepherds were among the unclean and unwashed of society. Shepherds were shunned. Moses became a shepherd. Think of all the things Moses had to unlearn to learn to be a shepherd. It wasn’t until after a long while of being a shepherd that Moses was finally fit to serve the Living God. Moses had to lose the identity he was raised to believe about himself to become someone God could use. It was in that wilderness of humbling that God called Moses to take off his sandals and follow Him. It wasn’t until Moses lost his perceived identity as a Prince of Egypt that he gained the status as “The Friend of God.”

What self-deceptions do I need to shed to become “The Friend of God?”

Elijah had just witnessed the Living God consume the prophets of Ba’al with a holy blowtorch that consumed everything on and around Mt. Carmel. When Jezebel caught wind of this defeat, she sent word that she will personally destroy Elijah. When he heard about this threat, Elijah immediately ran over 80 miles away from Jezebel’s kingdom, then fled even farther into the wilderness. Elijah stopped under a juniper tree and begged God to take his life. Elijah thrust himself into the wilderness because it looked a lot better than his circumstances looked where he was. Fear and doubt are powerful forces. The conditions Elijah found himself in were not what he expected. After witnessing the awesome power of God at work, neither Ahab or Jezebel were moved to recognize the presence or authority of the Living God. Instead, they grew more defiant and angry. Instead of taking on God (Who just demonstrated he can put on a vast Bar B Que) Jezebel and her henpecked lackey, Ahab defied God and wanted to exact revenge on His messenger, Elijah.

Elijah wanted God to let him die, thinking it would be better to die at God’s hand than to suffer the agonies Jezebel was known to mete out to her enemies. He fell asleep from exhaustion.

While he slept, an angel of God made breakfast for Elijah, and gently woke Elijah up and fed him. Elijah was so exhausted he fell back asleep. A second time, the Angel came, woke Elijah and fed him.

After Elijah ate and rested, God gave Elijah evidence that He is always present and that He is the still speaks to His servants, and He gave Elijah new orders.

What we miss in our sermons here is this: God did not berate Elijah, but served him breakfast in bed, demonstrated His love for Elijah and encouraged him to keep going. When Elijah was exhausted and hiding in the wilderness, God showed up and reaffirmed that He is mightier than any circumstances that arise. Grace, not judgement, was what God fed Elijah.

Sometimes we lead ourselves to the wilderness. Even so, God will meet us there, take care of us, reassure us, and show us He is still God over our circumstances.

Have I led myself to a wilderness? Am I willing to be honest with God about my circumstances? Will I listen to His still quiet voice reassure me He is still Lord of my life?

Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tested. The Holy Spirit of God led him there. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, and at the end of that time, when he was weakest, Satan tried to tempt Jesus. If Satan did this to Jesus, you could bet he will eventually do this with you. Satan will tempt us with things God has already promised us. He will tempt us by questioning our position in God. Satan will examine your calling and offer what appears to be a better deal than God provided. He will challenge your very existence and ask you to do something foolish to prove you are who God has said you are. In every case, Jesus stood fast on the promises of God. Jesus showed if you resist the evil one, he will flee.

When this kind of wilderness arrives in our lives, rest assured, you will be sifted, and God has your back. God’s word has already equipped, you…know the word of God.

Would I survive this wilderness of testing at the hands of God’s enemies? How well do I know God? How well do I know His word?

Wherever your wilderness is; however you got there, understand that regardless the circumstances, God is in control, He hears you, He will take care of you, and he will fortify you when you are tempted beyond measure.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

(Psa 23:4-5 AMP)

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom He called he also justified, and those whom He justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:25-30 ESV)

In the end, the only time we belong in the wilderness is when God leads us there.

Let’s be about it.

David Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

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Faith

A Father’s Heart


Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7 NIV

Let me ask you this: Suppose you did all you could to make sure your child knew how to swim. Swimming lessons, life safety classes, even a few snorkeling classes. After all, you were once a lifeguard, and you know the ropes, so you took extra care to make sure she can swim. Then comes a day when you can take her to the lake to play with her friends. You are sure she knows what to do in the water, but you keep an eye out just in case. After all, even the best swimmers can get into the breakers, occasionally.

You start the bar-b-cue pit up, throw some doggies on the burner, some burgers, corn, a few other yummy treats. About the time you have that under control, you look up to see your worst nightmare.

She is drowning.

What do you do?

Now imagine this scenario: You tell anyone who is listening to call 911 while you strip down and get ready to rescue her. But all your friends and other people on the beach try their best to stop you. They tell you that she got herself into this, she needs to get herself out. They say all you will do is make things worse. They tell you if you go in after her, you might drown, too, or get hurt, or she may not want you to rescue her. What if even the lifeguard on duty tells you the same thing?

Will you stand on the shore and let her fend for herself? Will you stop and weigh the possible outcomes? Will you wait and consider the advice of everyone on the beach?

No! You will do all it takes, up to losing your own life to rescue her. She is your life, your heart, and your love. What kind of monster would ignore his own drowning child?

And what kinds of monsters give the advice that everyone gave you?

Now let me ask you this:

Suppose you did all you know how to do to make sure your beloved child knows Jesus Christ? You took her to church. You read the Bible to her. You prayed with her. You made sure she went to Christian schools. And when you look up, you see that she is drowning in a sea of bad choices? What if she isn’t even aware of the extreme danger she has put her soul in?

And just like the people on the beach, you get the exact same advice, even from people who serve the Lord.

Now, try to see this scenario:

When God created us, did He make sure we knew the ropes, and pitfalls to make sure we would always have eternal life with Him in Eden? Did He provide all we needed? Did He pour His love on us?

Imagine how it must have hurt when we rebelled and sinned. Imagine the heart-rending pain when He had to judge us, the earth, and the universe for all our sin?

Did He leave us to our own devices? Did He say, “They got themselves into this mess, they will have to figure it out?”  Did the angels warn Him that, if he interfered, it would only get worse?

Did he write us off?

What did God do?

He came here in the form of a Man and took on the penalty for our sin. He bore the judgment of death on His self so we would not have to. He gave up His kingdom so we can inherit it. He loved us so much that while we are at war with him, He sent Jesus Christ to die in our place, to bear the wrath and judgment of God. Jesus, the God-Man, became all our sin so we can become all his righteousness.

That is what God did.

So, now I ask you; If you see your daughter dying of the very sin Jesus already paid for, what would you do?

It is in the Father’s heart to give his own life for the life of His beloved children.

It is in my heart to give all I have and am to help rescue my child.

It is in this father’s heart to be like the Savior who died for me. I will give all I have to see that my child lives with me in eternity in the presence of the Living God.

Examine your souls, Christian. If you are not willing to lose everything so that others may live, stop saying you are His child. Selfishness is the fruit of Satan.

This father will give all he has unto death if it means his child will live in eternity with Christ. How can I cross the street to witness to a stranger if I am not ready to give up everything for my own child? What hypocrite worries about pain in the face of need? What kind of abject spiritual poverty demands you leave your child to drown in sin?

Godliness begins at home, people. And if you cannot manage that, you have no business taking your brand of Christianity anywhere. I may have failed my daughter in the past, but while I have life, I have hope, and I will spend every ounce of both doing all I can to bring the Love of God to my drowning daughter. I cannot save her, but I know who can. I cannot redeem her, but I know who will. I cannot give up my salvation so she can have it, but I know the one who has already done this.
The greatest gift I have ever received is the love and grace of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is the only thing I have left worth having in this life, and I will give that to her.

It is what is in this father’s heart.

Go and do the same.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! – Romans 5:10 NIV

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Faith

Who Does God Receive?


For Harland Cason, who reminded me what really matters.

 

jesus_hug

Jesus, the Healer of Our Souls

The Forsaken

Thank you, God, that you are the father of the fatherless. You are the friend of the friendless. The comforter of those who are broken, mourning and lost. You are the everlasting companion to the orphan.

I was forsaken until Jesus died on the cross and became the most wretched and forsaken being in all the known universes.
When He rose from the dead, I was no longer forsaken, but am now a Son of God.

Had I not been lost, you would not have found me.

Thank you for being my father, my friend, my comfort when all others forsake me. Teach me to forgive the hurts others have brought me in shunning me, just as you have forgiven me for shunning you.

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”  Psalm 27:10 NIV

The Sick

Thank you, God, that by His stripes I am healed. Thank you that you cleansed the world of the sickness and decay of sin. I may not see or realize yet the efficacious power of your healing blood, but I receive your gift of life. Thank you that you touched me and have healed me.

“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” Malachi 4:2 NIV

The Blind

Who is more blind, the one who has no eyes, or the one who refuses to see? Yet, to prove you are the Righteous Son of God, and to prove you have the power to forgive sin, in order to open MY eyes, you healed the eyes of Bartimaeus.

Even though my eyes may fail me, I see clearly that you are the Lord, The Only Begotten Son of God.

Teach me to see hope when I cannot see. Teach me to see love when I have none to give. Teach me to see the needs of others and meet those needs, just as you have continuously met mine.

Dry the tears from my eyes so I can see your grace and mercy and love and glory.

Thank you for helping me see, even in the darkest of night and despair.

Teach me to open the eyes of those who refuse to see, just as you have opened my eyes.

“Jesus said,a “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  NIV

The Dead

Before I knew you, before I was even born, you knew me. Even though I was your sworn enemy, and dead to the Father, you loved me and breathed life into my dead, parched soul.
If I had not known you, Jesus, I would be dead. You gave me life. You died so I can live.

If you don’t receive this free gift Jesus paid for with his life, you are still dead. Come to life. Come to Jesus. I plead with you, LIVE in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, the Living Son, the Holy Anointed one, the one who spoke everything that exists into being. By his breath, you will live, if only you will receive it.

Because of our sin, we are all dead, unless we let Him bring us to the cross, and we die with him and are raised into a new life as he was.

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

The Wretched

I thought I was a prince among men. I boasted of my skills and prowess. Then I was brought low and wretched. A reject to all who knew me. Then Jesus reached through all my filth, my sin, all the evil I had done in this world. He became wretched for my sake so I can be a child of God.

Until you can know that all your finery, status, education and wealth amount to absolutely nothing in Gods eyes, you will be more wretched than the lowest beggar on the street. God is not impressed with titles, or with wealth, or knowledge. All these things are puny and will be destroyed on the day of judgment, along with your soul. You will die a dreadful death until you come to the point where you realize what a desperate wretch you are.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24 Berean Study Bible

The Disgraced

In the eyes of the world, I am a disgrace. I have squandered all my talents, my life, and my love.

But Jesus became a curse so I can receive His blessing. He reaches through the mire of my guilt and sin and lifts me up.

His Grace has made me whole.

There is no one alive whose life is so disturbingly disgraceful that Jesus cannot reach down and lift him up, and by His Grace, make you His beloved brother or sister. You cannot be too disgusting for God. All you have to do is receive the gift of Jesus Christ, and you will be clean and whole again.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Isaiah 50:7 NIV

 

God receives none but those who are forsaken,
restores health to none but those who are sick,
gives sight to none but the blind,
and life to none but the dead…
He has mercy on none but the wretched
and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace.
(Luther, Weimar Ausgabe 1, p. 183f)

Let’s Be About It!

I love you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, whose death paid for our freedom, and whose resurrection lifted us up to the Throne of God, that we are called the Sons of God.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

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Faith

In Christ I Stand


My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

 

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale,

My anchor holds within the veil.

 

His oath, His covenant, His blood,

Support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay.

 

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in Him be found;

In Him, my righteousness, alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne.

 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

 All other ground is sinking sand.

Not By My Self

One of the best butt kickings I ever had was while I was a student at the Seidokan Aikido School in Fort Worth, Texas.

She was probably 110 pounds soaking wet.

She was maybe 5’-0”.

She looked as if a strong wind could carry her away.

We were paired together to practice a technique called “Heaven to Earth.” The outcome of this technique is self-explanatory, but, when it is done on you, you see why it is called that. You fly through the heavens and land hard on the earth.

I was to be her assailant. Me, muscular, several black belts, virile, agile, and deadly (I was in my late 20’s back then, so…I thought I was all that). She had to protect herself from my attack.

I felt terrible about this pairing, but Master Sosa insisted we practice this technique together. I even warned her that I’m some kind of big deal in the Martial Arts World, and have combat experience, and am, well….awesome.

She smiled her charming, demure smile, looked at me with her big brown almond shaped eyes, tied her very long cascade of black hair behind her head with a leather string, and said, “We still have to do what we have to do. “

I attacked her hard.

When I woke up, little birdies were orbiting my head.

It turns out, she was an advanced black belt in the Aikido world. She taught the Dallas Police Department S.W.A.T. team Combat fighting and non-lethal takedown techniques. She also taught a women’s rape prevention course.

Regardless how highly I thought of myself, my opinion was immediately negated when faced with the real deal. I was not qualified on my own experience and merit to be part of the elite members of the Seidokan team.

Not By My Membership

I was a member of the Kaju Kiado Kwai Kwoon Do. The Red Dragons.

I spent decades studying several martial arts and earned black belts in many of them.

I assumed that my confirmed experience and membership in the Kwoon would mean something to Master Sosa.

Belonging to a particular club held no merit in Master Sosa’s eyes. It was what was in my heart that he wanted to reach and teach. I either wanted to be a real Aikidoka, or I could just go pound sand elsewhere.

When I stood on the judgment ground of the DoJo, my membership to the Kwoon became pointless. No one from the Kwoon was there to back me. I was on my own. I was defeated before the action began, and I didn’t even know it. My membership to the Kwoon didn’t admit me to the inner circle of the Seidokan Elite Team.

My arrogance was in the way.

In God’s Eyes

When you die, what will you take with you to your judgment?
When it comes to facing the test of your faith, will you rely on the fact that you taught Sunday School for decades?
Will you depend on your reputation as a Religious person to get you into the Kingdom?
Will you brag to God that you belong to the best church in town, and have been a member since you were a zygote?

Lucifer had more than that going for him, and God cast him from heaven to earth.

The only thing that matters now, and will ever matter, is where you are in Christ Jesus.

Your skill as a bible student will not get you there. Being a graduate of Seminary will not get you there. Being a Minister or Sunday school teacher will not get you there.

Hell will be filled with Religious Christians, Ministers, Sunday School teachers, people who belonged to the very best churches money could buy, yet, there they are, in Hell.

It is only because of Jesus and His righteousness, because of His suffering on the Cross, His death, and resurrection, that we even have a claim to God. It is only by His grace and faith in His promise that you are saved and qualified to be called a Son of God.

God doesn’t care how famous you are as a “Christian.” The book of Matthiew (Sheep and Goats) covers what happens to people who have deluded themselves into thinking they are safe from God’s judgment.

Jesus told them, “I never knew you.”

Does He know you?

Let’s be about it.

 


Written by: David G. Perkins – sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com


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Faith, Observations

To Serve Mankind


Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. (Mat 16:24-25 WEB)

I have witnesses to what I am about to tell you.

When I was a teenager, I was also an evangelist.  I wanted to be the next Billy Graham.  When I couldn’t get anyone to stand still long enough to hear me preach, I would go out to Camp Bowie, Brownwood, where certain Cattlemen kept their cows.  I would preach to those poor cows.  I have to warn you, if a cow accepts Jesus as His or Her Lord and Savior, be careful when you baptise it.  Cows are very difficult to baptise.  Just trust me on this, OK?

I fell from grace when I was in my 20’s.

When I was in my early 30’s I repented, reaffirmed my relationship to Jesus Christ as my savior, and started evangelizing.  What I thought was a repentance was not much more than me missing being a baptist.  I even went to a baptist seminary.

I discovered the depth of my “renewed” faith when something really awful happened.  When that awful thing happened, God let me know in very clear terms that, if I stand with Him, He will guide me through this very hard thing.  The weakness in my faith revealed itself, though, and I returned to that life of rampant sin and violence I lived in my 20’s, but I did it even more and to greater depths.  When I committ, I go all the way, or no way.  I don’t really have an in between.

Four years ago, I discovered what the Cross of Christ is really about.  I learned what terrible price Jesus paid for me.  I learned He didn’t die for my sin, he died for me, OF my sin.  All sin.  Past present and future were put to death on the Cross with Christ.  Eventually, I learned, as Paul pointed out, that when He died on that cross, and because I accepted that free gift, I also died with him.  Now, I live by the grace of God through the measure of faith Christ invested in me (Galations 2:20).

Before this revelatrion of Grace, the music my soul played was awful.  I was awful.  I hated everything and everyone.  When people saw me coming, they left the room before I even got there.  (Very true story, if you want witnesses, I’ll tell you who to call).

After Grace happened, I saw everyone as someone Christ died for.  Instead of wanting to harm people and hate people, I was filled with an understanding of the Love God has for everyone.

I never knew such a spectacular love.  I never realized what Grace can do for a person.  The grace of God, His mercy, His love, His free gift of salvation is spectacularly immeasurable wonderful.  And it IS free to anyone who will accept it.  Simple, right?

Just after my real and very power conversion, another very bad thing happened in my life.  This hurt goes deep to the bone, to the heart, through the soul.  The difference this time is, I belong to the Living God through Jesus Christ…for real.  I am determined to not repeat the mistakes I made the last time I was hurt this badly.

I knew I was supposed to come to Colorado.  My belief was that I would walk right into a ministry and serve.  I want to serve so very badly.  I figured that God was orchestrating this, too.

I figured this because my getting here was a miracle in itself.  I didn’t have the means to move to Colorado, but the means came to me, unbidden, in ways that let me know God was doing this.

I got to Colorado.  Pueblo, specifically.  There is a reason God had me come here.  I wanted to live in Colorado Springs, but God orchestrated things so that I ended up here, instead.

And I still want to serve.  And I pray to serve.  But God’s answer is, and remains, “Be Still, you are not ready to serve.”

I asked God what he meant.

I’ll share His answer with you.

See…for Christmas, I got a Slow Cooker.  I am a terrible cook, but I am learning how to survive on what I make using the slow cooker.  I am alone for the first time in my life, and have no cooking skills whatsoever.  But I am learning.  Last Thursday evening, I started up the slow cooker before I went to my Pilates class.  I was praying while I was preparing.  I was asking God when all this grief will pass, and when will I be allowed off the bench and into the game.

After I got home from Pilates, the house smelled wonderful, but the meal was not ready.  While I added water and some spices, I prayed again about my wanting to serve.

God answered me with this illustration:

Thursday, right after work, and before my Pilates class, I grabbed some ingredients and placed them in the slow cooker.  I put in Salmon steak, rice, assorted vegetables, spices, and a can of Progresso Spicy Vegetable Soup.
Each ingredient alone is good, savory, tasty, and delicious.  Ingredients, however,  are better when they are cooked together in a slow cooker.
Ingredients in a slow cooker are not a meal until they have cooked at the right temperature and at the right pressure.  It is a meal when it is the right mix (You wouldn’t drink a Sesame Orange marinade right out of the bottle, but you’d love the way it flavors your meal once it has infused into the rice and fish), and have been blended in a way that make a meal, and have cooked the right length of time.  Time and temperature take care of the cooking.
Eventually, the aroma of the thing being slow cooked starts to waft through the house.  It smells good, but it is not a meal yet.
 After Pilates and my errands, when I walked into the house, my house smelled wonderful, but it still was not a meal.
I had to get a big spoon, stir, add a touch of water, maybe a spice or two.
(Some spices aren’t supposed to be added until a certain amount of cooking happens, and stirring agitates the blend of ingredients so that the flavor is evenly dispersed, and the food doesn’t burn (Thereby ruining the meal)).
All this time, heat, pressure and effort goes into so simple a thing as slow cooking.  There comes the point in the process that the aroma is so delicious that you KNOW intuitively, YOU HAVE A MEAL READY TO ENJOY.  And that first bite tells the story, and is delicious and filling and…yummy.
 Serving a meal takes time and effort.  The bitterness of some vegetables is removed during the cooking process, and they become sweet or savory vegetables when it is time to serve them.  Salmon is a great protein, but you cannot eat it frozen and shouldn’t eat it raw.  But when it has been properly prepared, it is delicious and succulent and savory.
That is what it is like to be prepared for His service.
I have all the ingredients to serve, but I have not been properly prepared, properly seasoned, properly stirred, properly simmered…yet.  But when I have been, God will say, “Now he is ready to serve.”
God has to prepare his servants.
We are to give up our individual identity and be part of something greater than us.  We are to be altered to the point where we are no longer inedible, but are savory and inviting.  Service is not a part-time hobby.  God’s true servants give up their identity and very lives for God.  When we are a pleasing aroma in His nose, then we are ready to be served up to a hungry world in need of answers.
And we will be consumed by serving, because, Like Christ, we are to be completely consumed by our call.  A hungry soul is looking for something he can sink his teeth into, and the soul that belongs to Satan wants to destroy God and all His servants, and throw us out.  Either way, we cannot be accepted or rejected until we have been properly prepared to be the meal offering that God needs us to be.
That is the lesson God showed me while I was impatiently waiting for the timer on the slow cooker to ding.
If, like me, you want to be served up, you have to wait for God to prepare you, temper you, stir you up, put you under pressure, and strip you down until you are no longer your own, but part of the Free Gift he is serving to a dying world.  It takes time and patience.
Let’s Be About It!
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