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

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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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.

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

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.

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

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