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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Faith

Just As I Am – Part I- Getting Back To Basics


2014-10-18 19.21.09

Pig Pen from “Peanuts” by Charles Schultz

“Just as I am without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
– O Lamb of God, I come!

You’re A Mess!

One of my fondest memories from Childhood is Peanuts, by Charles Schultz.  When a Peanuts Special came on, everything stopped.  My family would gather around the TV and, for one hour, everything was good, and magical, and happy.

The character I always thought I identified with was Linus.  My sister thought so, too.  Mom, on the other hand, had an entirely different opinion of me.  Every time Pigpen crossed the screen, Mom would say, “There’s my David!”.

I couldn’t argue with Mom.  Well, I could, but she was right.  Anyone who has lived with me knows my Mom was right.  I am a Pigpen.  Ask any number of wives and lovers who has ever had to spend any amount of time with me, they will tell you, I am Pigpen.

It is entirely possible that, if you were to bathe me, place me immediately in a perfectly spherical room with nothing else in it, in a matter of hours, I could mess that room up and come out dirtier than before my bath.

I am a mess.

Tell me if you identify with this:

Life has happened and it was very messy.

You have been shaken to the core, and are confused.

You feel lost.

Things are to the point where you question the reality of your spiritual life.  You wonder if your spiritual life were anything better than an illusion manufactured by your emotions.  An illusion ready to be dissolved by the evidence of your circumstances.

Your prayers bounce off the ceiling.  You feel trapped.  You want escape from these circumstances.

Nothing is right, nothing is where it should be.  Nothing makes sense anymore.

You find yourself trapped in a world you have no idea how you got into.  You find you are alone, even in a room full of fellow believers.  Not only that, you discover that your circumstances make them not just uncomfortable, but they avoid you.

You suddenly identify with the guy in New York who is being mugged, and no one is helping, but everyone is watching.

You want out.  You want to run.  You feel like being irrational.  You want anything but what you have, and want to be any place but where you are.

If the truth were told, you’d practically sell your soul if you could just turn time back to the way things were before things got so messy.

In short, You Are A Mess.

Back To Where You Left Off

This series, however many entries it may have, will do its best to discuss this problem of the mess we are in.  I said “We” because I am in the same place as you.  A real mess.  A place where nothing makes sense.  A place where circumstances are not at all how things should have turned out.

I get it.

Come with me as we walk through this mess.  We will discover that there is a way to set things right.  There is hope.  There is a place of peace and sanctuary where you can heal, and start fresh.

It doesn’t matter why this mess is here.  Most likely, if you are honest, it is a mess of your own making.  I know mine is.

What we have to do is BE STILL.  Take Stock.  Be quiet and quit trying to clean up this mess.

We have to Be Still.  Stop Moving.  Be Silent.  We need to take stock of the truth.

What Is Certain

In being still, we discover certain truths.  We discover that the more we try to clean it up, the worse it gets.  We compound our guilt and shame every time we fail to recover from this terrible mess.

Be Still.

We will have to go back to what is Certain.

What is certain?

We are saved.

We are certain we are saved because we know that Jesus died of our sin, and took all our guilt and shame to the cross.  In exchange, He gave us the right to be called the Sons of God.

We are certain of the of Lord:  His Power, His Promise, His Salvation.

What is the formula for our faith?  Simple, Jesus brings you Himself as Lord.

Jesus brings you the Gospel of pardon; Just as you are, mess and all.

See….you don’t have to clean up to be saved.  You don’t have to stop messing things up in order to be saved.  You don’t have to adopt a lot of rules and regulations to be saved.  You ARE saved by the simple acceptance of His free gift.  HE paid the price of your mess for you.

To Him, you are already acceptable and clean.

Jesus brings you His peace – not as the world gives.  The world only accepts you when you behave in a manner that they accept.  Religions only accept you only when you behave the way they say you must.  Other Christians, unlike Jesus, only accept you when you act like they do.

Jesus, on the other hand, accepts you right now, just as you are.  It becomes the job of the Holy Spirit to affect any changes in you that Jesus sees you need.  Only God can change a mans’ heart.  Only God can draw you to Himself.  Only God can save you through Jesus death and resurrection.  Only God can clean up this mess.

It is not relevant who made it.  He will heal it.

And this He has done.

He loves you.

Just as you are.

Let’s stop, be still, and meditate on this.

It’s Really HIS Mess, Afterall

The contract Jesus had with God is that, because Humans are incapable of saving themselves from Hell and death, (The wages of sin is death), Jesus will die in our place.  In return, WE get forgiven of our rebellion and are inheritors of eternal life.

His promise to you is: Accept this free gift, and you, too will live.

This mess you are in no longer belongs to you.  It is HIS now.  Let Him deal with it, as He heals you of your circumstances.

You are a mess, and only Christ can clean it up.

Be Still and remember this.

“Just as I am without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
– O Lamb of God, I come!

I love you in Jesus’ name.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

 

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Faith

Be Still



For Sandy, who gave me this idea, and whom I love with an undying love.


From Wence Cometh the Storm?

My favorite Hymn is “It is Well”, especially lately. It seems like I have needed this Hymn a lot these past few months.

What has happened? I have lost my family. I have lost my love. My identity was stolen twice. The plans I had made for the future of my family were destroyed in one fell swoop.

In the end, I was left with nothing, alone, bereft, broken. The pain of these losses is almost unbearable. Grief and confusion are powerful things. This grief is all consuming and threatens to smash the ship of my soul against the breakers. I am lost, with no mooring, with no GuideStar, with no compass. Everything I believed about love and family been betrayed by falsehoods and deception.  The hopes I had for the future have been taken away from me.

This storm and confusion has taken hold of me and relentlessly tears my sails away. I have lost my anchor. I am taking on water. Where will I find that shore? Where is my mooring? Who will rescue me from this storm?

On top of this, if you know anything about Aspergers, you know that one so afflicted usually needs a “normal” to be the touchstone to all things normal. My touchstone is the woman I love, who is no longer part of my life. This too adds waves to my storm. My ship is being battered by things that normal people deal with as if only a gentle breeze were blowing. Without the touchstone, it doesn’t matter how “High Functioning” you are, some things simply do not make sense to you.

Where Do I Hide From the Storm?

You can’t.

If you run from the deck of your ship to the belly of your ship, you are still in the middle of the storm. So, where do you turn? How do you find your way back to safety, to the shore? Where is the touchstone? Where is your Guidestone? Where are safety and peace?

Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me, and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will let you find me.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14a.

One of the hardest things to realize is that even these things are for a purpose. It’s hard to remember the greater good when you are being torn to shreds by your own circumstances.  It ceases to matter why you are in this storm.  It can be a storm of your own making (Which is usually the case) or a storm brought on by the selfish desires of people you depended on.  Or this storm could be the plan of evil people who delight in your destruction for their own advancement.  It ceases to matter when your ship is taking on water, and your sails are gone.  At this juncture, all you can do is hang on to the nearest mast, lash yourself to it, and pray.

Screaming At the Storm Doesn’t Help.

I screamed.

I cried.

I tore my clothes (I only got more exposed to the storm that way).

I cursed the waves and the wind.

Then I prayed for the storm to take me. I welcomed the sweet release of death. I wanted it all to be over. The storm had won. I had lost.

Why bother…right?

I discovered that screaming at the storm only makes you hoarse. The storm doesn’t care. The storm rages on whether you love it or hate it.  Storms always do what storms do…wreak havoc.  That is what storms do.

So, what is left? Tied to my mast, getting drenched, broken in spirit, all I had left was to wait and let the storm do what the storm does.

Be Careful Where You Turn

I turned to fellow believers.

In America, fellow believers are too busy being American to let things like storms in other people’s lives divert them from their lives.  Afterall, it isn’t their storm, and God must have placed you (The Sailor) in that storm for a reason.

Best not to interfere with the storm.

What you, my fellow believers, fail to realize is, the storm exists to expose the heart of the sailor, and your heart. Indifference is not the fruit of the spirit. Berating the sailor in the storm is not a fruit of the spirit. Lecturing the sailor in the fine craft of Seamanship while the storm rages is not a fruit of the spirit.  Pulling out the Sailor’s “The Art of Sailing Manual” and lecturing on all the shoulda coulda and woulda is not a fruit of the spirit (Or have you not read Job?)

So, where does this battered sailor turn when all hope is lost?

Deep in the midst of the howling wind and blowing rain is a still small voice.  She is the voice of the Holy Spirit.  She calls you into the presence of God.  She reminds you that you are His beloved, whom He died for.

God is there, waiting for you to stop fighting the storm.  The storm is not the problem.  Storms come to everyone for any number of reasons.  But to the lives of His children, even the storm is meant to be a blessing (See Romans 8:28).  Storms sweep the deck of useless things.  Storms shake up your life in a way that forces you to take stock of what is important.

And what is it that God, my Father has said to me?

BE STILL and Know I Am God.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psa 46:10 WEB)

“God is mighty. God is infinite. God is Love. God is ever-present, even in our storms.”

That is what He said to me.

In my arrogance, I railed against God and shouted, “Lord, am I ever seeking you?”, “Do I not always pray, read your word, listen for you?”, “Where are you, Father?” ,”God, I am done with my life, please bring me home.”

He let me know that He is why my ship has not sunk to the depts of the sea. He is why the Leviathan has not attacked me.  He is what protects me from falling to my death.  He is why I am still alive.

He is not done with me.

I asked Him, “Then why has my love betrayed me, why have I lost everything dear to me?”

He tells me, “You have Me. That is sufficient.”

I cry.

I don’t feel like that is an answer.

Then something remarkable happens.

Even though the storm still rages, and my ship is being battered into toothpicks, all grows quiet.

A light penetrates the darkness.

He has arrived.

His hands are scarred from something that had pierced them.  His eyes are so full of love and compassion, I cannot stand to look at him.  I am undone.  I can’t hide from Him.

He stops right in front of me, where I am lashed to the Main Mast.  He looks at me with a love and compassion I have never, ever known before.

He tells me to stop fighting Him.

He tells me that the point in Being Still is to cease my useless striving after answers.

Be still…don’t move.

Stop speaking.

Stop trying to make it make sense.

Just…be, and know that He is God, not just of all the universes, but of my heart.

I will not tell you everything else He told me, but I will tell you this:

When you Be Still, and stop trying to put God in your little religious box, when you let Him into your storm, when you capitulate and know that your efforts are useless, when you give in and trust that He has your best interests at heart, that storm you tried to hide from becomes a ride that you relish.

You know that as Long as you be still and trust Him, no matter how things look to you, He is your Captain, and he will guide you through the breakers to a land full of His promise and purpose.

The difference is how much you try to fight the storm, or how well you stop fighting God.

My Confession

I recently told Sandy, “Really and truly, All I want is less of me and more of Him. But I must be doing this all wrong. The more I try, the farther away He seems.”

I was trying on my own might. Not only that, I was trusting others, and not God for direction.

Life is full of storms.

Your spouse will eventually let you down, maybe even betray you.

You may make and lose fortunes.

You will have friends and lose friends.

You will end up in places where you are utterly alone, in a hostile environment, with no one you can really call a brother.

I confess, I relied on all these trappings for my sense of place and belonging.

I cannot be less of me unless I first am still. God has to do the work. I have to submit.

I needed my deck cleared of all that stands between God and me.

I confess I am useless and hopeless without him. I confess I made the mistake of using others to anchor me. God has allowed this storm to clear away all the things that stand between Him and me.

Being Still

The first part of knowing that He is God is to be still…to stop striving…to stop your own efforts.

God will reveal himself to the heart that diligently seeks Him, but it first begins with being still.  Being diligent doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself, it means that you diligently submit your desires, will, and understanding to Him.

The Hebrew words for “Be Still” imply a rich tapestry of meaning: To stop moving (Of one’s own passionate volition), to stop acting out and to stop speaking. To leave off your striving, to capitulate over to the knowledge that He alone is God.

When the Lord appears to you in your storm, you have begun to be still. When His love washes over you, the storm takes on new meaning and purpose. Instead of fighting all that has happened, you finally get to the place where you trust He will guide you through this, and He has a purpose for this, too.

God does not send evil your way. Evil will still come to you. Storms happen. It no longer matters if you brought on the storm, or sailed right into it, or were minding your own business when the storm suddenly appears (they do that when you re at sea).

God will take advantage of your circumstances and show His love and His might, and He will guide you through this. No matter what brought on the Storm, if you will submit to His Lordship in your life, you will see that even this pain, this grief, this sorrow, will bring you closer to Him, and make you like Him, and He will teach you how even this bitter grief serves the Kingdom.

My storm is still there.  My sorrow is ever as deep as it ever was.  My tears still fall, and the pain is still ever present.   But I now know, He gathers all my tears in a bottle and will exchange them for His Joy.

Storms have to run their course.

However, in this storm, I have learned that all my vain striving is wasted and that I must fail, and accept that I have failed. No man can know God unless God reveals Himself to that man.

I have also learned that Heaven cannot be taken by storm, only by invitation. But I first must be still.  He makes the pain and tears and sadness and loss take on a new meaning.  We grieve for the loss of true love, but God will heal that hurt, if you just be still.

I cannot know the Lord unless I am still.

The Lord wants you to know Him, too.

Just be still….

I love you in Jesus.

PS – I love you, Sandy. No matter what. I love you, and I always will. No man can take that away from me. I pray God leads you to your new life. I will always love you.

David Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faithful


And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

(Php 1:6 AMP)

To The Point

There was this chicken farm out on the edge of Sarepta, Louisiana. In front of this chicken farm was a two-lane, blacktop road. Traffic was unusually heavy for such a rural location. Helga, the lead chicken, decided she’d show the other hens she is the lead for a reason and wanted to prove it by laying her eggs in a way no other had.

Helga ran to the Rooster and told him as much. The Rooster asked, “What do you plan on doing that is different than what you normally do?” “Well,” said Helga, “I will lay my egg right in the middle of the blacktop road out front! That’s what I’ll do!” The Rooster gave this some considerable thought. Finally, he said, “Ok, Helga, you do that, but I have one piece of advice.”

“What’s that advice, Rooster?” asked Helga.

“Well,” said the Rooster, “I reckon when you get out there on the road, you better get to the point and lay it right on the line.”

Good Advice

I’ll take that advice.

This blog entry is not for the milk and cookies boys who never said a discouraging word. Nor is it for those of you who are more religious than Christian. Neither of you would remotely understand. Tonight, I’m writing to people like me who struggle with their relationship with the Lord. I’m speaking specifically about those times when it seems all your prayers are bouncing off a brass sky. This is about the times when your old Pre-Christian life seemed to be bigger in promise than your Christian life seems.

Here we are, the newly faithful. We have a very colorful past. We have seen more in one year of our lives than most people see in two lifetimes. When we were sinners, we sinned in a way that made Satan blush. I’m talking to you. The rest of you…well…go do something useful…or watch the Olympics or something.

Here’s What You Are Going Through

  Right now, you hate your life.  You hate your job.  The people who say they are there for you aren’t really…they have their own lives, and you need to take a number. You are lonelier than you have ever been in your life. You see how easy it would be to find companionship, and the temptation to do so is nearly more than you can take.  You just want to talk to another human.  Talking to other Christians only makes you frustrated because while it appears they are listening, all they are really doing is getting ready to show you how well they can counsel you and tell you what is wrong with your thinking and attitude.  And you don’t have the words that would help them understand how desperate and in pain you are.  How abandoned you feel.

You feel as if you are not really in Christ, and that He has left you to your own devices.  You think you’ll go mad because you want a close friend, and you’d give up any moral values just to have someone to talk with, to spend time with, to affirm that you are worth something to someone.  Being this alone was never on your agenda.

Maybe you ask yourself if you are somehow getting what you deserve.  Afterall, if you were all that, your significant other would not have abandoned you, your friends would really be friends, not just meaningful acquaintances, and if your life were different, you wouldn’t be going through this.

HERE’S THE DEAL

I will not waste your time by telling you how I get it, and I understand, and that is exactly what I am going through.  If you are in half the pain I am in; you could care less what I, or anyone else, is going through.

But please understand this. There is one who was rejected by his own Father. He was abandoned by all his friends when he needed a friend. His family turned their backs on him and said he was crazy. He was completely and utterly rejected by everything and everyone he knew, both on earth and in heaven.

Jesus gets it.

The deal is this; HE chose you for salvation. You have to get this part. CHRIST ON PURPOSE chose YOU. You really do belong to Him.  I have to tell you, He is not done with you, even if you think it is all over.

These failures you are going through are for a reason. His strength is magnified in your weakness. Jesus will never stop being your Lord, and His Holy Spirit will never give up on you, abandon you, or forsake you. That is HIS promise.

No, that is not as fun as that sweet looking thing that wanted you to come up for coffee, but the result of His promise will lead you to happiness that no other can or will provide.

THE POINT:

Don’t give up. Find in you that place where faith resides. That place is filled with the gift of faith from Christ himself. It is not your faith, therefore it cannot be corrupted, bought, cheapened, or diminished in any way. It came from Christ and it belongs to Christ, and it is His gift to you forever. When you admit you are weakened to the point of breaking, He will reveal His mighty power in you. He promises, “A broken and contrite heart, He will not despise.”

Take that faith and let it rest in the assurance that because Christ chose you for salvation, he also chose you to complete you to be in his image. The point of what we are going through right now is so that we will learn to hand this to Him. He died of this stuff. It is His stuff now. Let Him have it. HE will take it and give to you, in return, His life, His glory, His gifts, His resources.

Please don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t give out your self to the next pretty face that offers you warmth. She will only leave you cold in the end, and full of even greater shame and pain than you know now.

HE IS FAITHFUL:

Nothing on earth or in heaven or under the earth can remove you from His loving arms. NOTHING. Big deal if you backslid, or gave up, or sought help from others. BIG DEAL. Stop and trust. Do it now.

He promises that he will never leave you or forsake you. He promises that he will always be with you, even when you don’t think he is

Give this to him, and watch Him work it out. You have no idea what being patient and resting in Him will eventually do. If you give up and give in to this temptation, you will get to start all over. This lesson is on purpose, and has value, and will lead to your growth. It’s all part of becoming like Him.

Please, don’t give up.

I love you,

David G. Perkins

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The Solution to The Problem


Struggling with Sin

“O wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of this body of death?  Thanks be then to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Paul, Romans 7:24-25  The Berean Bible www.Berean.Bible

I see where I made my mistake that day in the Physics 101 class I took at Louisiana Tech University.

The Professor was as excited to be teaching this load of non-physics majors as we were to be taking this required class.   He (the Prof) was droning on and on about Kepler and some problem Kepler had with figuring out where an invisible spot was that lay between two planets orbiting each other.  The invisible spot was supposed to be a place where the force of gravity between the two bodies is equal. It is called the “Kepler Problem.”  Oh, …not the spot, per se, but the whole mental exercise.

The Professor drew two circles on the board (We still had slate chalkboards back then). He said they were planets orbiting each other. He told us the mass of each planet, the distance between them in English miles, and how fast they orbited each other.

Herr Professor went through the class and asked each student where that “invisible spot” is.

The fun thing about being a high functioning Asperberger is that we process information very differently than the “normals” do. It isn’t a boast; it is a simple reality.  We see solutions as vividly as you see your hands.  The downside is, we have a very difficult time translating what we see in terms that are relatable to the normals.  We don’t get that we have to work the problem because that is as valuable as knowing the answer.

The trap of my own arrogance

The professor called on me next. He had just eviscerated a very lovely young woman for not even understanding the question being asked.  She was an English Major.  I was mad at him for humiliating this very pretty girl in front of everyone.

I went to the board and immediately drew a spot on the board and wrote a number down, representing the actual distance and position between the two planets, and wrote another number down describing the forces being applied on that spot by each planets’ gravity.

As I was walking back to my desk, the professor told me to come back to the board and complete the question he had asked. I went back up to the board.

Her Professor said that my answer is wrong. I told him it is not. He said that unless I can show my work, my answer is wrong. I challenged him that unless he can prove my answer is not the right one, he has no business teaching Physics.

He asked me to leave his class.

I got the ‘F’ I so richly deserved.

What has this got to do with Jesus, Sin and Salvation and Gods gift of Grace and Mercy?

Simple. Just like I needed the discipline of going through the steps to prove my assertion was right in that Physics class, I need to go through the discipline of facing the things the world throws at me.

See…I thought my peers would thank me for embarrassing the Professor. It turns out that I simply put more distance between my peers and me. I showed them that not only am I arrogant, but I cannot understand what others have to go through just to get through their day. I bypassed an essential element of growth and understanding.

Paul wrote Timothy this lesson: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. ” Ephesians 4:15-16 New International Version (NIV)

The Process of Temptation

We will grow.

Just like the cotton plant.

It only grows really strong roots and a full cotton bowl AFTER it has been placed outside the greenhouse, and into the field.  There, the plant faces lightning, hail, high winds, heat, and storms that can drown it.  That is the only way to build a healthy and strong bowl of cotton.  If it doesn’t face these things, the fruit it bears is weak and useless.

If I belong to the Living God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, then I must grow to be like Him.

In the place of our sin and sin nature, Jesus gave us the gift of His place before God. We are now God’s beloved, we are now Heirs to the Throne of Heaven. We are complete and perfect in God’s eyes.

The whole process of temptation is not because God is powerless to stop it, but to reveal in us where our sin nature must give way to the nature of our risen Lord, who was tempted in all ways, like we are, but without sin.

Growing is a process. It cannot be bypassed if you are a Human living on this planet, in this universe, in this time.

I was unwilling in that Physics class to succumb to the discipline of doing the hard work simply because I could accurately give the answer every time. This kind of knowledge is useless if you cannot share it or explain it.  Something about having to solve the problem is part of learning.  You get to see where your weaknesses are and where the discipline of doing has increased your understanding.

It isn’t when things are going well that Christ is revealed in us.  It is when we are facing the taskmaster of sin and slavery that we discover where our strength comes from.  It is how we deal with strong temptation that we learn where we apprehend God’s grace.  It is in this crucible, suspended over the cauldron that threatens to dissolve us that we discover that, “One like the Son of God” stands in this furnace with us. We would not survive this life without His presence. We would have no hope of the next life without His presence in this one.

That’s the point, isn’t it?

AND WHEN WE HAVE OVERCOME.

We will not be exactly like Jesus until we see Him face to face. But we will grow to be like Him.  He faced terrible temptation and torture on our behalf.  His lesson here is, we must go through these things to be purified.  We face these things so we can understand why His Grace is sufficient.  These lessons in temptation are meant to refine us and make us more like Him and less like ourselves so we can share Him with others who also struggle as we struggle.

What is revealed in the act of solving the problem tends to be more valuable than if you simply assume you get it.

Let’s not be reticent to do the hard work.  Let’s learn these lessons temptation brings us.

Let’s not be like the man who puts his hand in the jar, but refuses to lift it to his mouth.  Do you see the food, but refuse to eat?

Let’s strive to understand why it is true that, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Take the time it takes to face these things that tempt you. Face the things that sweetly desire to destroy you. Don’t run from the wearying effort of submission to His will. It IS hard. It is challenging. It is draining. It can crush your soul if you are not careful or if you try to do this on your own understanding.

Here is the lesson. You don’t have anything in you but sin. He offers you His Holiness in exchange for your sinful nature. That was the deal He made with God by going to the cross and dying of all your sin.

Just because you see the answer doesn’t mean you understand the answer.

Let’s be about it

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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How Does Your Garden Grow? (Revised Edition)


I was lying there in the garden, almost asleep.  A man came up the pathway, stopped and

placed his hands on the gate.  He looked around and asked if the garden was mine.  I told him it

was not mine, but I was keeping it for my Master.  He asked if I knew much about gardening.

“Well, of course, I do!”, I replied.

I told him that I had been to the best schools of gardening, and would probably forget more

about gardening in one day than he would learn in a year.  Inundated him with a deluge of

information from my vast knowledge of gardening.  I felt that would surely quiet my unwelcome

guest.

There was a moment of silence.  Perhaps I had been too hard on him.  I felt justified, though, he

did disturb my rest.

 

He looked at me and said:

“Have you been a gardener so long, yet without fruit?

Do you know all about the soils, yet have not tilled one foot of furrow?

Are all the seeds familiar to you, but you have not put one into the ground?

See, the weeds outnumber the leaves on the trees; the thistles are more abundant than the

flowers.

What kind of Husbandman would let his masters’ garden fall into such disarray?

You boast of being a gardener but have no fruit for all your knowledge.

How sad for you when the Master comes to judge the fruit of your labor.”

 

I sat there in stunned silence, at a complete loss for words.  I noticed as he vanished before my

very eyes that the gate on which he had been resting was bloody from wounds that had pierced

his hands.

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Faith, Observations

Are You Thirsty


Writer’s Note:  Recent events have led me to repost this.

Deer
AS A DEER GETS THIRSTY FOR STREAMS OF WATER;
I TRULY AM THIRSTY FOR YOU, MY GOD.
IN MY HEART, I AM THIRSTY FOR YOU, THE LIVING GOD.
WHEN WILL I SEE YOUR FACE?
PSALM 42:1 & 2 – CEV

Are You in that Wilderness?

Have I come to that place in my heart that I can say, “Enough!”? Has my rebellion against the will and way of God driven me far enough afield that my thirst for God has overpowered me? Have I come to my senses and finally seen that MY way has led me into the wilderness?

If I Thirst…

If I thirst, is it because my willfulness and rebellion has led me away from the source of “Living Water“? Only when I stray will I know this kind of thirst. Once I have drunk the Living Water, noting else will satisfy. If the cup is not at my lips, it is because I have put it down. It is not the father who has made me thirsty, it is my rebellion.

Whoever Drinks…

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.”

I have to humble myself in order to receive this water. I have to drink His cup in order to know real satisfaction.

When will I come and appear before God? When I have had enough of my own way.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Let’s be about it.

I love you in Jesus’ name.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith, Observations, Short Stories

Cast Your Cares


Cast your burden on Him.

GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

(1Pe 5:4-7 NASB)

I threw hay once. It was in the early 1990’s. I spent an entire summer throwing hay and cutting down trees for the winter season. Missouri can have very cold winters.

Well…anyway, hay. The farmer (Bill) drove the tractor that pulled a wagon. The farmer’s Son stood on the wagon and caught the hay bales that were tossed up to him. He neatly stacked the bales on the wagon.

My job? I was the idiot who agreed it would be GREAT fun to run along both sides of the wagon, grab a bale and toss it to the guy on the wagon. In those days, I ran long distances, and I was a weightlifter. So, how hard could throwing hay be…right? Right? Ok,…it was hell.

The bales were in rows on both sides of the wagon and staggered so that, when you grab a bale and toss it, you can run around behind the wagon and up to the next bale just in time to grab it, spin and toss. As soon as you tossed that bale, you had to run right back around the wagon for the next bale in the first row.

We tossed hay from daybreak to dusk. We stopped every 30 minutes for food and water. We did this all summer. There were several farms all along this rural route in Missouri, and my Cousin’s neighbor, the Farmer, said he’s delighted to gather all the hay and stow it in the barns for the local farmers. There was nothing he loved more than to spend the day riding his tractor and singing hymns.

All. Day. Long.

At the end of one day, just as the sun was setting, and we had stored the hay in the loft and barn, the Farmer looked out at the field and pointed out I had missed a bale. I looked. My heart sank. Way off on the other side, out in the field we just cleared, you could just make out this lone bale. Guess whose job it was to drag his tired butt all the way over there to get that last bale and bring it home? Yup. It was my job.

Carrying that one bale all that distance after a hard day in the sun was more work than anything I had already done that day. The burden was too great. I thought it would kill me before I got it to the loft.

When I got to the loft, Bil, the Farmer, chuckled and held his hands out to me and said, “Here, I’ve got this, you go rest.” I nearly wept from the relief as I stripped down and washed in the trough he had set up. My burden was no longer mine.

I had blessed relief.

THAT, my dear reader, is exactly what it means to cast your cares on the lord. You may be the reason you are so burdened, but you cannot manage it. Only God can. He is waiting with outstretched arms, telling you to let him have it. It is, after all, no longer yours.

Your burden of sin and arrogance and living a fallen life is why Christ died on the cross. He didn’t die for your sins..no. He died for YOU. He died OF your sin. He took your burden and dealt with it, and asked you to rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Jesus

(Mat 11:28-30 – NASB)

Cast all your cares on Him. He will give you rest.

Let’s be about it.

I love you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com  (Write me, sometimes, I’d love to hear from you)

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Faith

Our Position in Christ: When Trouble Comes Knocking


David G. Perkins

Forgiven“One of the great inhibitors to our boldness is the responses that people in our lives give.

Although God is merciful and ready to forgive, people are not.

We cannot let the responses of people affect our honesty before and our trust in the Lord.

Though people may reject us, God does not.”

Richards, James (2001-12-01). Grace: The Power To Change (Kindle Locations 542-544). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.

THE WORLD

When the world says I am a loser, I am too old to be part of what they are doing, or too fat, or overqualified, or under-qualified, or whatever excuse the world offers because I am not in my 20’s or 30’s and that is all they are looking for, it is easy for me to get discouraged.

When old friends or family know that I am a new creation in Christ, and say they have forgiven my…

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Restored Things


This is still true.

David G. Perkins

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

(Psa 51:17)

Broken

We all break. The array of things that break us is astonishing. Each thing is exactly the tool needed to do the breaking.

Most often, we are broken by the big three things:

Lust of the Eye

Lust of the Flesh

The Pride of Life

When we break, we look for a remedy from the pain. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to sex. Some turn to pills. Some turn to secular solutions, full of promise, empty of results.

If we belong to God we will see that what God could have prevented by His power, He allowed in His wisdom. It is to Him we take our broken pieces.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than…

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Lasting Impressions


“May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe…” Steve Green, “Find Us Faithful”

From now on let no one trouble me [by making it necessary for me to justify my authority as an apostle, and the absolute truth of the gospel], for I bear on my body the branding-marks of Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]. Galatians 6:17 AMP

The Roads We Travel

I love riding my bike. Since I moved to Pueblo from Houston, I’ve been able to ride my bike nearly every day. I couldn’t do that in Houston because the air is too thick and hot for me to breathe. The last 26 rides I’ve been on I have logged over 218 miles. After one arduous ride, I saw tattoos of the bike petals deeply embedded in the soles of my shoes.

These marks are proof to me that I have been there and done that.

Life takes us many directions. Some, we want to go, some we don’t. Some are good roads, some are bad. All the roads we travel have something in common. It leaves an impression.

Who Bears The Scars?

When I go back to the various trails I have recently ridden, I see no evidence I have been there, but my shoes bear the marks of all the effort I have made being there. This made me ask myself a question.

When I go anywhere, wherever I go, I pick up impressions in my heart and mind, and sometimes body, that I have been there. But what evidence of my being there did I leave behind? If there is any evidence, who bears the scars? If I have been there and represented Christ, the trail I leave behind will reflect Christ. If I have been there and have not served Christ, if I am lucky, there will be no evidence I have been there. Too often, in my life, in my world, the scars I leave behind aren’t mine but have been imposed on people I have been involved
with.

Paul’s Scars

Paul made many missionary journeys. He went places he wanted to go, and many he didn’t. Some places he wanted to go, he never got to see. But everywhere he went, he bore the scars in his body of having been there. The evidence he was there lives today. We have Christianity in Europe and America because of what Paul did.

My Prayer

Lord,

For once in my life, make my feet a blessing on the paths I wander. Lead me to walk in your way. Take me out of my way and place me on your way, so others can see the way. Let me bear the marks of Christ for the sake of the souls who need the mark of your salvation on their souls. For there is no other way to the Kingdom of God but through you, Lord Jesus.

Amen

I love you in the name of Jesus,

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Hope, You Can’t Live Without It.


David G. Perkins

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Wait!

The Bible talks a lot about waiting.

Waiting is not something I am known for. I am an action guy. I make decisive moves based on experience and training. I do not hesitate once I see the path of attack any situation needs. I am very mission minded. Once I see the mission, I quickly develop stratagem and tactics to achieve the goals of the mission. Even if I only see a 2% window of success, I go for that 2%, knowing that without significant risk, there is no reward. Reckless? Yes, sometimes. Sometimes, costly, too. But often the payoff is very worth the risk.

This approach to life has served me…

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Faith

Teach Me, Lord…


 

God,

When I feel like giving up, sustain me.

When people who claim to be your children act more like the children of your enemy, teach me to forgive.

When I am overwhelmed at how empty and meaningless life, sometimes, appears to be, come to me and fill me with your presence and joy.

When I feel tempted to be angry, or tempted to want revenge, remind me that, as your child, vengeance belongs to you.

Remind me that the judgment I want to use on others will be the judgment used on me. Teach me to love.

I have never felt more disconnected from others as I do now, and never felt more dismayed at those who say they belong to you. Alone, but I am not forsaken. You are with me.

By your stripes I am healed, so tend to my wounds and heal my heart.

I have less trouble over those who openly declare war on you than with those who swear they belong to you, yet act like the children of Satan.

Teach me mercy so I can show mercy.

Teach me grace so I can show grace.

Teach me your love so I can be lovely, even to those who I think deserve less than the bottom of my foot.

When Jesus took all your wrath and judgment on the cross, I was delivered from sin. I became your beloved child.

We are all your creation, but not all are your children.

Help me, therefore, Lord, to show in mighty ways what you showed me about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for me.

Help me give this gift away.

I love you.

David P.

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Sing to Me your Song


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand. – Jesus – (Joh 10:27-28)

My mind wanders, Lord. Bring me back to you.

Like a sheep in the wilderness, my heart wants to stray.

The grass looks tasty there, but you know what I need.

Lead me and keep me on your fruitful ground. Pull from my food the weeds that poison my thinking, my moods, and my heart.

Restore my hope, my joy and the love you have shown me.

Show me your tender mercies and sing to me your song.

I crave the sound of your voice and covet your ways.

Lord, lead me, my Shepherd.

Love,

David

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Tears in a Bottle


I’m supposed to be packing.

I’m supposed to be getting ready for this new chapter in my life.

I’m supposed to be strong and accept that yet another marriage has failed, and it is time to pick up the pieces and forget that the last 24 years were the whole world to me.

Inside my beating heart lives a little boy. He still believes in the magical world of make believe. He still believes that when he grows up, he’ll be Superman or a Firefighter, or a Marine.

He sees me packing boxes for our move, and he grabs my arm to stop me. This little boy believes that if I leave everything as it is, if I don’t change anything, if I hold still and believe, that everything will return to the way it was…the way it should be, the way it could be.

With each book I put in a box, each dish I wrap for safe moving, a small part of him dies. He doesn’t want to believe this is real and it is happening.

His tears become my tears. His hurt becomes my hurt. We can’t stop crying. So I stop packing for a while and we cry together. Our tears are hot and running down our faces as we hold each other. He wishes I could just believe, and I wish I could help him to stop hurting.

I have no way to explain to him why this hurt is on us. And I am not really the one that should do the explaining. The one who tore a hole in our lives needs to do that. So, we cry together until he is too weary to cry anymore. When he finally calms down and falls back asleep, I continue my packing.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8

Even in my brokenness, Lord, I believe in you and know you are guiding me through this storm. Get me out of the way, Lord until all anyone can see in me is you.

I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.

Let’s be about it

David.

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God Knows


The Testing of Your Faith

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

(Jas 1:2-8 NASB)

When it’s “OBVIOUS,” you are Guilty

What if someone you know, someone who is, in fact, a very real and devout Christian, has done something that has done you lots of harm. And what if that person is telling everyone he knows a great many tales to justify his behavior. These tales are very plausible because the people who hear them have known you for a long time. They are plausible because before you encountered the Grace of God, at the Cross, what they are hearing is most likely true. At best, they assume you never actually were met by His grace, and at the worst, they figure your contact fell on shallow soil and died. So…of course, what they are hearing must be the truth. Let’s not bother to find out and seek wisdom, or ask any questions.

But you know the truth is, you are, in fact, redeemed. You are, in fact, the child of God. For the first time in your life, you are actually innocent of the very things that would have been true just a short while ago.

You recognize you are not complete in Christlikeness. You know you are new and growing. As the flesh dies, you become more like Christ. But your flesh, having been so very corrupt, might take a longer time to be like Jesus our Lord.

First Things First

OK…there are actually two first things. This will be tough when you are in such pain over this betrayal. When all you want to do is fight back, or die, or hope the earth swallows you whole. When you know that everyone who knows about this is watching you to see if what you claim about Jesus is real in your life.

And there are actually TWO first things you have to do. And, believe a brother when I tell you, it ‘s hard.

  1. FORGIVE

    So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Col 3:12-13 NASB)

Just as the Lord forgave all your sin, just as He died of that sin on your behalf, you, I, we, as the redeemed, are compelled to be like Him who redeemed you and forgave you. This will be hard because your flesh sees the world differently, and your flesh wants judgment, not mercy. Your flesh is hurt deeply. You want an open forum where these things can be put on trial. But I am telling you, if you have been to the cross, and have done business with the One who died on your behalf, justice has already been taken care of. And as He forgave you while he was being punished for your sin, so should you forgive the ones who hurt you, who attempt to destroy you, who have done you great and painful damage, you are to forgive.

  1. Give it to God

    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1Pe 5:6-7 NASB)

This does, in fact, take humbling. You have to realize your judgment is imperfect and at best, self-serving. You have to surrender your sense of self to the Divine Will of God. In humbling yourself, you will see much of your anger dissipate. And you will encounter His love.

CASTING YOUR CARES: I baled hay when I was younger. This was before these large round bales became the norm. A tractor pulled a large flatbed trailer. Two or four guys would run along either side of the trailer, and as they came up on a bale of hay, he’d grab the bale and throw it with all his might at the guy standing on the flatbed who stacked it. Over time, the flatbed filled up with bales. The guy catching the bales climbed higher and higher. I had to toss farther up. Eventually, it took all I had just to throw the bale up to the catcher. I threw with everything in my body had to throw with. It took more than sheer muscle to do this, it took will, desire, determination, and strength.

That is what it means to cast your cares. You do it with all your will, all your desire, all your determination, and all your might.

The other end of that word picture is, just like the guy catching your bale, God is standing at the top of your heap with outstretched arms, desiring, willing, and straining to catch your bail. If you will just toss it his way. He is, in fact, more able to deal with this obstacle. All those bails of hay were obstacles in the field I was running in. I had to confront them, I had to deal with them, but don’t you think it makes more sense to toss them to the guy who knows what to do with them, rather than carry each one on your back as you encounter them?

So these are the two things you have to do simultaneously:

Forgive

Give it to God

I know this is hard, my friend. I know it because I have lived it, and am living it again. But God is my witness, if you forgive, as soon as possible, you will discover your love for the one who wronged you is so profound, that whatever hurt that person caused can be forgiven. You see him as God sees him. Forgiven and loved of the Father.

We all make mistakes. We all lie eventually. We all want to be justified in our actions, even if we know that what we are doing is purely selfish and self-serving. We even go so far as tell others this is what God wanted you to do. It may be, or it may not. But we have all been guilty. And we, as the redeemed in Christ, are forgiven. This does not mean we don’t reap what we sow, but it will not take you out of the hand of God. Unless you repent of the sin against your brother, you will reap what you sow, and you might still reap what you have sown, regardless. Trust God and give it to Him. He will Guide you.

IF you cast this care to God, He is waiting, straining in his reach toward you, desiring strongly that you give this to him. He will take care of this burden, and you will grow and be blessed. You will also see where you played a part in this fiasco, and be given wisdom how to redeem the error. He is sure to do all this for you if you will let Him.

GOD KNOWS

And is willing beyond your ability to understand.  He is your beloved Father. He knows exactly what it will take to complete you.

Let’s be about it.

I love you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

David G. Perkins

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When it Really Hurts


073014_2125_WhomGodChoo1.jpgJames 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Testing of Your Faith?

Sometimes “life” comes along and kicks you square in the balls.  There are events you just can’t prepare for.  You THINK you are prepared, until the reality of it hits you.   Thinking about what is real is not the same as living in the thing that is real.  Virtual isn’t the same as real.

I’m talking about the kind of event that goes beyond mere pain.  I’m talking about an event that makes you feel your soul was just sucked out through your tear ducts. An event so hard you spend at least one entire day crying until you think you will cry your guts up.  Thinking Is barely possible.  Forget eating.  Pain so real you don’t understand how you can keep existing.

When things get that real, the fight or flight instinct grabs you by the brain and tries to get you to do something stupid.

The magnitude of the pain tests the strength of your faith.  This is when you find out whose character you are possessed of.

Whose Faith?

I know, I know, the verse says YOUR faith.  But is it really yours?

 with Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ doth live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh — in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and did give himself for me;  Galatians 2:20Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

I picked this translation on purpose, because Young shows the reader WHOSE faith it really is.  The faith that is “in” is actually faith that is from Jesus.  (For Greek fans, it’s genitive ablative – It came from somewhere to somewhere, or someone to someone).  If I had to rely on my faith, I would fail this test.  If I didn’t need the faith from the Son of God in me, there would be no point in relying on Him who is our strength.

HERE’S THE POINT OF THE TEST

When I try to accomplish something on my own strength, yet insist I am a child of God, I get my strength tested, and I fail over and over.  If I say I am a Child of God through Jesus Christ, and I am, He gives me a measure of faith and it will be tested.

The point of the test is to learn to let go of your strength and understand you are too weak to do an act of the Holy Spirit without the aid of the Holy Spirit.  When you finally realize it is the power of God sustaining you, and not yourself, your FAITH in Him grows.  When your faith Grows, you become more steadfast in your reliance on Him, and in your walk with Him.  The inward strength from Him becomes an outward testimony of the power of God. It is then He will allow you to do greater things than you have already done.  You have to grow His faith planted in you by realizing it isn’t yours to play with, but His alone.  Your strength is meaningless.  It is your reliance on His strength in you that builds your faith.

JOY?

You’re kidding, right?  Joy?

No… and neither was James, and neither is Jesus.  Here you are, doubled over in wracking and heaving sobs, you can’t think, you cant even breathe, and you just want to die.  Where’s the joy in that?

One of the definitions is happiness, true, but another equally applicable definition is “calm reliance/assurance”.  You have confidence that He who began a good thing in you will be faithful to complete it.  You understand that ALL things work together for the good of those who are called…

…so cry.  Shout.  Heave and feel the pain.  Rest assured that, even though you were blindsided by this, and you just want the earth to swallow you whole, and you cannot see your way through this; This is not a surprise to Him who planed your every step before you were created.  This is going to make you stronger, more faithful, more steadfast, and when it is done, you’ll understand why.

I know this because I am going through this right now.  It is His hand on my shoulder, His voice reassuring me, that however bad the hurt, however mean the betrayal, however unexpected the trial, He is carrying me.  He is my strength.

HANG ON TIGHT

You cannot see the reason behind this mindless pain.  You never equated love with such hurt, until you saw that love removed.  This is when you can rest in Him.  Trust Him, Rely on Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5,6

I know it hurts.  And if someone were to try to tell me this while I hurt so badly, I’d tell them to go intercourse themselves.

Because I am going through this right now, and I have finally decided to rely on Him, I can tell you with real confidence, He does give you His strength to grow His faith in you.  It may feel like the end of the world, and it is the end of the world as you know it.  But whatever adventure lay ahead of you, He will guide your path if you trust.

 

Let’s be about it.

I Love you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.comn

 

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Faith

Hope, You Can’t Live Without It.


Isaiah 40:31 ESV

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Wait!

The Bible talks a lot about waiting.

Waiting is not something I am known for. I am an action guy. I make decisive moves based on experience and training. I do not hesitate once I see the path of attack any situation needs. I am very mission minded. Once I see the mission, I quickly develop stratagem and tactics to achieve the goals of the mission. Even if I only see a 2% window of success, I go for that 2%, knowing that without significant risk, there is no reward. Reckless? Yes, sometimes. Sometimes, costly, too. But often the payoff is very worth the risk.

This approach to life has served me well, except in the arena of things that genuinely matter. Where my first instinct is to react and do something, the economy of God says I must first wait on Him. Where I am willing to risk and deal with any pain my shortsighted behavior commits me to, God says that wise men wait on him.

His promise is that if we wait on Him, He will lead us. I either believe this promise, or I don’t. If I do, I wait. If I don’t, I learn to wait, and in learning to wait, I learn that He is faithful to see me through my circumstances. It is no sin to test God on his promises, especially if I have doubts about them. It is in this arena of my willful suspension of my disbelief that He proves to me He is God. I believe in God and His promises, but I have to learn to trust in Him. That comes by testing and seeing He Is faithful to keep His word.

Jesus demonstrated this truth when the man said to Him, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.”

When I learn that waiting is more important than action, I determine that my first reaction to any circumstance must begin with sitting in His presence and waiting on His will.

When waiting for Him becomes a habit, I discover that the seed of hope has germinated and grows into a fruitful tree of life. What appears to be hopeless, is seen differently when I wait. When I wait to see how God views my circumstances, I see the problem through His eyes. I see where He seizes my circumstances and takes me out of my way, and offers His solution to the problem. I learn to see the problem as a gift, and an opportunity to grow in Him. More of my way is removed so I can have room for doing things His way.

HOPE.

Ask any prisoner of war. When hope dies, you die. Hopelessness kills. Man made hope works only so long. In the end, we are powerless to sustain life-giving hope; The kind of hope that continually undergirds your world view. I have survived many terrible things through sheer determination and short-term hope, but the life-giving, sustaining Hope I refer to comes only from God.

So, today, I am choosing to suspend my cynicism, to let go of my need to react and find my own solutions. Today, I am determined to rest in the completed work of the Cross. I choose to accept the gifts Jesus exchanged with me when he became all my sin. I am his redeemed brother and a child of the living God.

I determine to boldly rest in Him and wait and see what amazing thing he will reveal in my circumstances. While I feel overwhelmed by what I face, I choose to wait for the Hope of His deliverance.

Psalm 39:7 ESV

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”

Let’s be about it.

I love you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Lord

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

When We Walk With The Lord


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Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent MeJohn 14:23-24

God Was Uninvited

I was brushing my teeth, getting ready for school.  It was the early ’60’s.  I could hear a young John Kennedy talking about the idea that some people believe God is dead.  Kennedy went on to say that he does not hold that belief, and if he gets to be president, he will make sure that our religious liberties remain intact.

President Kennedy did make it to the Oval office.  He was killed before he could make too many significant changes in America.

Shortly after that, God was kicked out of schools, offices and public discourse.  The Bible is forbidden in public.  The Ten Commandments are no longer tolerated and are being removed from every public display.

Children in public schools have every occult and ungodly viewpoint forced down their throats, but telling anyone of the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ is a hate crime.

When God was uninvited in our nation, in our schools, in our homes, we removed an aspect of God from our nation that kept evil at bay.  We removed His protection and guidance.

We removed His guiding wisdom.  We removed an objective viewpoint that made it possible for us to dileneate between good and evil. We removed clear vision and hope.  We removed the baseline for understanding honesty and the ability to recognize truth.

We now live in what liberals celebrate as the “Post-Truth” society.  Truth and facts are no longer as relevant as are our feelings about things.  We forget that feelings are not facts, and raise feelings to be above facts, and use that as the determiner of our behavior and the law.

When we evict God and His word from our lives, we get the America we see today.

When God is Absent, Evil is King.

So what do we get when we tell God to leave us alone.  Because He is not a dictator, because He has granted us complete freedom to do as we will, He gives us exactly what we have asked for.  In spite of the fact that every nation on earth who has abandoned God has fallen, we choose to ignore history and the will and word of God.  In our stupidity, we call ourselves “enlightened”, and do not see how wretched and blind we have made ourselves.

When God is absent, the Spirit of God, who protects His children, is removed.  Evil fills the vacuum and reigns over all.  We forget what happened to Israel back in the day when she did the very same thing:

Isaiah 5:20King James Version (KJV)

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

When we removed God from our hearts and souls, we opened ourselves for every delusion that can possibly exist.  We embrace the pleasure of evil, and forsake the discipline of truth.

There Is A Path To The Truth

When Jesus went to the cross, he became every sin that exists. He became everything God judges to be unholy, and it pleased God to pour His wrath on Jesus and judge him and put Him to death.  It pleased God to do this because He would rather do this to His own beloved Son than have YOU experience His wrath.  So, Jesus became all evil for all time.

Then He went to Hell and suffered.  When the cup of suffering was drained, God spoke the promise of eternal life and the reign of Heavn over Jesus and our Christ ascended from Hell, bringing with him all the dead who perished before the cross.  Death and hell no longer had authority, but Christ, the Son of the living God became all authority.

When you accept this free gift of the death and resurrection of Christ on your behalf, YOU become free of sin.  You become the Son of God, the Daughter of God, the sweet Child of God.  You will be free.  You will be free to know God in His infinite wisdom and love.  You will be able to see what the Word of God says and means.  You will no longer be mind blind and bereft of a living Soul.  You will be alive.  Really and truly and forever, alive.

His word will be food for you.  Your love for Him will be powerful and fulfilling.  You will not be obligated to any religion or law, but will be compelled out fo Love for God to be all you can to become just like Christ. Hisd Spirit will fill you and empower you to do all these things and more.

We need this to happen across America.  We need revival in our land.  We have kicked God out of our lives and our nation in the name of “Tolerance and Enlightenment”.

We are now stupid and blind.

Lets find time to invite God back.  He will never force Himself on anyone.  But he will respond to a broken and contrite heart.  He will pitch His tent with you and dwell with you.  His spirit will encompass you and protect you.

You will be His beloved Child.  No nation ever became Christian, only the people who inhabit it.  It starts one soul at a time.

Will you invite God back into your home?

 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

Let’s Be About It!

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

In Spite of Me, I Am Redeemed


And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT

I Struggle

On the one hand, I know I am redeemed.  I understand and accept that Jesus became all my sin, and died for my sin on the cross.  I am now, because of my acceptance of Jesus Christ, a “son of God” (John 1:12, 11:52, Gal. 3:26, 1 John 3:1-3)

In my heart, I accept this, but my life doesn’t always reflect this.  I struggle daily with temptation, the old self, and depression (a deep dark one that wants to swallow me in one bite).  I lay this on the altar of the throne of God because he says he cares about our daily struggles (1 Pet. 5:7).  Yet I struggle.  I ask God daily when my life will be so full of His life, that mine becomes invisible.  Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between people who are not saved and me.

I especially struggle with alienation because I am, according to the scriptures, “adopted” into God’s family (Gal. 4:5-6; Rom. 8:14-16).  And I know this is true because, when I spend time alone in prayer, or in the word, or when I tell others about the glory of His grace, I feel His presence.  I know He is there, and that He is my Father.

The alienation I feel comes when I get around other people who I know to be believers.  I am rarely completely accepted into their fellowship.  Perhaps I don’t do “Christianity” as they do, or our personalities just don’t mesh, or, whatever it is that separates us, separates us too deeply to be overcome.  I recently spent time around some people who have a close walk with God, and I wanted to know them more, and better, but they had their walls up, and I was feeling too socially awkward to attempt to penetrate those walls.

I wonder why this dysfunction is present in God’s family but have to remember, we are still human, and deal with our own issues.  We do not become perfected until the day we see Him face to face because it is then we will become just like Him (I Cor. 13:12).

The Solution

I have to understand that, just because I struggle with the same temptations as I struggled with before I accepted the free gift, I handle those struggles differently now than I did in the past. The biggest difference is that I can now take these struggles to a loving God, who carries me through them.

I am no longer ashamed of the Gospel.  I am no longer afraid to tell others about Jesus at the drop of the hat.  I am not timid about stopping and praying with anyone who asks for prayer.

The joy I get from giving away the word, my “wealth”, my time and freedom just so someone who was like me can understand God’s eternal Grace cannot be measured.

In the past, life was meaningless.  You could have died right in front of me, and I would hardly care at all.  Today, I see life as a very precious gift.

This is how I know that, even if people I love dearly do not love me back, I am still loved and accepted in the arms of God, my Father.

I cannot separate myself from God.  Not only do I have no desire to, but I couldn’t if I tried.  God’s hold on me is permanent and forever.  All the evil I have committed is in the past, and I am forever accepted into His kingdom.

I may have to struggle until the day I die with certain issues, but I know that, on the cross, Jesus became every sin I ever committed and ever will commit, and put them to death.  Jesus became the sin eater so I can partake of the divine joy of the feast of the bridegroom on that day.

Why I Wrote This One

I wrote this blog entry because I know there are others like me.  Others who know in their hearts the sweet joy of salvation.  Others who understand they are part of an eternal kingdom.  Yes, you will struggle with things, but Jesus made it clear that if you give that struggle to Him, your burden will be light.  He will give you the strength to walk through the trial and temptation and grow in grace and strength and patience.

It may be, like me, you are destined to walk in solitude, whether it is for a season or a lifetime.  It does not mean you are genuinely alone or forsaken.  It means you have a unique calling, and only you can do what the others cannot do.

I have to set aside my selfish and petty feelings when it hurts to be rejected by people I want a closer fellowship and relationship with.  It hurts because the Bible is all about restoring relationships.  But it may be, no matter how important that relationship may be to you, it is not that important to them.  You will need to accept this, and forgive the unintentional hurt, and move on.  When it is time for you to have close relationships, God Himself will bring it to pass.  When He does, it will be a perfect fit.

WALK WITH HIM

Walking with Christ, especially when you are new to Grace, is an exhilarating, sweet, hard, bitter, loving, tearful, strong, powerful, weakening, clarifying and confusing thing.  This is because the struggle of the flesh is a continuous battle.  The flesh does not want to die.  The world is all about the flesh.

The more you pursue Him, the more time you spend in the word and prayer, the bolder you allow yourself to be with others concerning your faith, the more like Him you will become.

No matter who rejects you, Jesus understands rejection.  No matter what temptation you endure, Jesus understands your temptation.  Jesus bore all our rejection and temptation on the cross.  In return, He gave you life and the right to be a child of God.

Now, take up your cross and walk with Him.  It will be lonely, at times, but you will never be alone.

Let’s be about it.

I love you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God.

David Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com


 

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