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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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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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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Faith

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…

View original post 1,187 more words

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Faith

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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Faith

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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Faith

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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Faith

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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