I don’t often see eye to eye with the author of the below, but it is nearly identical to what I was going to write.
From “Lessons in the Wilderness” by David G. Perkins
Author’s note. This is revision 2 of the same article published a while back. It needed refining.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
We all break. The array of things that break us is astonishing. Each thing is exactly the tool needed to do the breaking.
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.
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice (Psa 51:8)
God understands brokenness. Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was shattered on the cross for us. Jesus was broken. Yet, He rose again.
God’s strength is revealed in our broken pieces. God mends all that is broken and restores the damaged vessel to a greater purpose. His handiwork is revealed in our brokenness.
What others have written off as trash and useless, God will mend with His pure love. No one is so broken that God cannot mend him. What pieces are discarded, He replaces with Himself. You become a reflection of His Own Son in the handiwork of His healing.
Broken things become blessed things when God does the mending.
“…by His stripes, we are healed” Isaiah 53:5
Take your broken pieces to God.
His love will repair you and restore you.
Your purpose in Him will grow to greater things than before.
Let’s be about it.
David G. Perkins
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)
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.
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.
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!
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?
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT
On the one hand, I know I am redeemed. I understand and accept that Jesus became all my sin, and died for my sin on the cross. I am now, because of my acceptance of Jesus Christ, a “son of God” (John 1:12, 11:52, Gal. 3:26, 1 John 3:1-3)
In my heart, I accept this, but my life doesn’t always reflect this. I struggle daily with temptation, the old self, and depression (a deep dark one that wants to swallow me in one bite). I lay this on the altar of the throne of God because he says he cares about our daily struggles (1 Pet. 5:7). Yet I struggle. I ask God daily when my life will be so full of His life, that mine becomes invisible. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between people who are not saved and me.
I especially struggle with alienation because I am, according to the scriptures, “adopted” into God’s family (Gal. 4:5-6; Rom. 8:14-16). And I know this is true because, when I spend time alone in prayer, or in the word, or when I tell others about the glory of His grace, I feel His presence. I know He is there, and that He is my Father.
The alienation I feel comes when I get around other people who I know to be believers. I am rarely completely accepted into their fellowship. Perhaps I don’t do “Christianity” as they do, or our personalities just don’t mesh, or, whatever it is that separates us, separates us too deeply to be overcome. I recently spent time around some people who have a close walk with God, and I wanted to know them more, and better, but they had their walls up, and I was feeling too socially awkward to attempt to penetrate those walls.
I wonder why this dysfunction is present in God’s family but have to remember, we are still human, and deal with our own issues. We do not become perfected until the day we see Him face to face because it is then we will become just like Him (I Cor. 13:12).
I have to understand that, just because I struggle with the same temptations as I struggled with before I accepted the free gift, I handle those struggles differently now than I did in the past. The biggest difference is that I can now take these struggles to a loving God, who carries me through them.
I am no longer ashamed of the Gospel. I am no longer afraid to tell others about Jesus at the drop of the hat. I am not timid about stopping and praying with anyone who asks for prayer.
The joy I get from giving away the word, my “wealth”, my time and freedom just so someone who was like me can understand God’s eternal Grace cannot be measured.
In the past, life was meaningless. You could have died right in front of me, and I would hardly care at all. Today, I see life as a very precious gift.
This is how I know that, even if people I love dearly do not love me back, I am still loved and accepted in the arms of God, my Father.
I cannot separate myself from God. Not only do I have no desire to, but I couldn’t if I tried. God’s hold on me is permanent and forever. All the evil I have committed is in the past, and I am forever accepted into His kingdom.
I may have to struggle until the day I die with certain issues, but I know that, on the cross, Jesus became every sin I ever committed and ever will commit, and put them to death. Jesus became the sin eater so I can partake of the divine joy of the feast of the bridegroom on that day.
Why I Wrote This One
I wrote this blog entry because I know there are others like me. Others who know in their hearts the sweet joy of salvation. Others who understand they are part of an eternal kingdom. Yes, you will struggle with things, but Jesus made it clear that if you give that struggle to Him, your burden will be light. He will give you the strength to walk through the trial and temptation and grow in grace and strength and patience.
It may be, like me, you are destined to walk in solitude, whether it is for a season or a lifetime. It does not mean you are genuinely alone or forsaken. It means you have a unique calling, and only you can do what the others cannot do.
I have to set aside my selfish and petty feelings when it hurts to be rejected by people I want a closer fellowship and relationship with. It hurts because the Bible is all about restoring relationships. But it may be, no matter how important that relationship may be to you, it is not that important to them. You will need to accept this, and forgive the unintentional hurt, and move on. When it is time for you to have close relationships, God Himself will bring it to pass. When He does, it will be a perfect fit.
WALK WITH HIM
Walking with Christ, especially when you are new to Grace, is an exhilarating, sweet, hard, bitter, loving, tearful, strong, powerful, weakening, clarifying and confusing thing. This is because the struggle of the flesh is a continuous battle. The flesh does not want to die. The world is all about the flesh.
The more you pursue Him, the more time you spend in the word and prayer, the bolder you allow yourself to be with others concerning your faith, the more like Him you will become.
No matter who rejects you, Jesus understands rejection. No matter what temptation you endure, Jesus understands your temptation. Jesus bore all our rejection and temptation on the cross. In return, He gave you life and the right to be a child of God.
Now, take up your cross and walk with Him. It will be lonely, at times, but you will never be alone.
Let’s be about it.
I love you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God.
“My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3
A Breaking Heart
The thing about a breaking heart is, it is the very first step toward restoration of fellowship with God. “When shall I come and appear before God? Ps. 42:1 – When tears have become your food.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
When you come to the altar to reconcile with God, know that no matter how eloquent you wax, what God is looking for is your broken spirit.
When I Am Finally Weak
It is when you have dropped dead of thirst in your wilderness and begin to cry out for the Hand of the Savior that you are really of any use to God. It is through the admission of your weakness and despair that the strength of God is admitted into your heart.
WHERE IS YOUR GOD?
He is the one who is holding you to his breast while you cry; So go ahead and cry. Cry well and thoroughly. Just as your tears restore your sanity, so does your broken heart restore you to the Living God.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Jesus, Book of Matthew 11:28-30
LET’S BE ABOUT IT
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. One 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.
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
God’s Gift of Salvation
1. We are sinners. As the Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sin is falling short of God’s perfection. Everyone has sinned many times in life. We have all lied, or stolen, or cheated, or done something wrong at some time in our lives. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10).
2. We deserve Hell. Realize that there is a punishment for being a sinner, and that punishment is death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Not only a physical death, but also a spiritual death. The place of spiritual death is called Hell. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rom. 21:8). There is probably no person alive who can say that they never told a lie. We all have sinned and we all deserve the punishment of Hell for our sin.
3. Jesus died for our sins. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus willingly went to the cross, shed His blood, and died for our sins. He paid the price for our sins. He suffered the punishment that we deserve. When He was on the cross, Jesus suffered Hell for us. Hell is a place of total separation from God. When Jesus was on the cross, God the Father separated Himself from God the Son. That is why Jesus cried out “with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus was experiencing separation from God the Father. He was suffering the Hell that we deserve. He was paying for our sins.
4. We must receive Christ by faith. In order to become a Christian, it is not enough to know that we are sinners, that we deserve Hell, and that Christ died for our sins, but we must receive Christ by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8,9).
Notice that we cannot earn our way to heaven. We obtain salvation through faith, not by works. Faith basically boils down to placing your trust in something or someone. If you are sitting down while reading this, you are placing your faith or trust in the chair that you are sitting upon. Faith requires more than just an intellectual belief; it involves an action of your will. For example, if there were a pond covered with ice, and there were people standing around saying that the ice could hold them up, but they were not willing to walk on the ice, then they would only be demonstrating an intellectual belief and not faith. If they stepped out onto the ice, they would be demonstrating faith.
One can place their faith in Christ by simply calling out to Him in prayer, for the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I expressed faith in Christ by sincerely praying a prayer like this:
“Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I deserve Hell. Thank you for dying for my sins. Save me. Come into my life. Make me the kind of person that you want me to be. I thank you that you have and that you will take me to heaven when I die. Amen.”
If you sincerely pray that prayer with all your heart, then the Lord Jesus will come into your life and forgive your sins, and save you from an eternity of Hell. If you were to die tomorrow, you would go to heaven. Not because you are good enough to get there, but because you have received the payment of your sins. It is that simple.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (Jn 5:24)
‘Cause tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain
– Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw – “Bring On The Rain”
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV
DAYS LIKE THIS
The Flight Attendant brought me a fresh, steaming cup of coffee. I had been up since 4:30 in the morning, and was on the last leg of travel that would get me to Chicago. I hoped the coffee would wake me up enough to make this final leg of my travels.
As the flight attendant hurried down the aisle of this tiny and overcrowded jet, I stirred in my sugar, and lifted the cup for a sip. Just as I did, the flight attendant came rushing back down the aisle, stopped suddenly next to my seat, and turned around to talk to another passenger. As she turned, she forgot to tuck her elbows in. Her right elbow struck the bottom of my coffee cup just as I was taking that first sip.
Hot coffee splashed all over my face, my glasses and my shirt. I cleaned up as best as I could under the circumstances, but reeked of airliner coffee the rest of the day. I was finally wide awake. The coffee had done its job.
Our flight landed and was delayed on the tarmac because the gate was still occupied by another jet.
After debarking, I headed to baggage claim B, where my ticket, and the flight attendant, said our bags would be found.
It took an additional 30 minutes for the bags to get to the wrong baggage claim kiosk. I wouldn’t have discovered this if I had not heard another passenger ranting about how the bags ended up in the wrong place. The electronic board at baggage claim happily claimed that my bags would be at claim B, even though the bags were being offloaded somewhere else.
The delay of the jet getting to the gate on time, and the confusion in baggage caused a delay in getting to the shuttle for the hotel. I ran as fast as a fat guy could run, but arrived only to see the tail pipe of the hotel shuttle bus speeding away. I called the hotel. They said they will send the shuttle back, but I would have to wait.
Two hours later, the shuttle returned. On my way to the hotel, I was lectured on what the shuttle schedule is, and why it is important to be on time. It would have been pointless to tell the driver about my adventures with the airline.
While I was in training class, my computer crashed and had to be replaced with another one. After that, the software we were learning how to use kept failing to do what it was advertised to be able to do. In order for me to complete my training labs, I had to shut down the program frequently, restart, and continue on where I left off.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
Before I left for my trip to Chicago, my company issued cell phone decided that it needed to reboot itself repeatedly then die. It is now dead. I get a “New” one this Monday.
LIFE LIKE THIS
During a lull in training, I thought about these things. The cell phone, the coffee, the baggage, the hotel shuttle, and the computer issues. It occurred to me that my life is generously peppered with little events like this.
Lately, it seems as if my life has been one interesting event after another, peppered by occasional bouts of normalcy. The frequency of these interesting events has increased ever since I started my job at this internationally famous company. I do NOT hold them responsible. I merely use this event as a time marker that earmarks when things really started getting even more interesting in my life.
My boss wrote me, regarding this run of “luck” I seem to be having, and asked,
“David, Have you always gone through life with that little cloud over your head that follows you everywhere? Eleanor (A co-worker who issues our phones) and I were talking about you…and all the things you have had to endure since you have been with us. Satan is really trying to trip you up, isn’t he?”
IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT
Jesus never said that becoming his disciple would protect us from life’s circumstances. – Jim Richards, “How To Stop The Pain”
Even Jesus was tempted in every way we are all tempted. In Matthew 18:7 Jesus said, “It is necessary that temptation comes.”
The opportunity my circumstances bring me is the chance to allow the Spirit of God to work in my life, making me a light and disciple of Christ.
The danger is that I will not.
That is not how the bumper sticker says it, but you get my drift.
I used to get seriously angry at all these little paper cuts. I am learning, through experience with the Holy Spirit, that blowing up only means I get to do it all over again.
I handle big events rather well. It is the little, niggling, “dogs chewing at my shoes” events that tend to bring out my worst.
Even though God Himself tempts no man, God is not going to stop problems from coming your way any more than He prevented them from happening to Jesus.
We are not better than our master.
How we deal with circumstances is what tells the rest of the world how much we really believe Christ changes our lives.
There is a season for everything under the sun.
This season of interesting events lead me to either cling to God in faith, or curse God for allowing them to happen. It all depends on how well I chose to understand what the Bible actually says about pain and suffering.
Whether these temptations are genuinely from Satan or are just life happening becomes a moot point. Jesus said, “Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influence to do wrong.” And “Woe to the person on whose account or by whom these temptations comes!”
The World and Satan are in league with each other in that, if they have to go to hell, then so do the rest of us.
If I have said I do not have to go to hell on account of Jesus and his finished work on the cross, then I have told the World and Satan they can stuff their ambitions for my life.
Satan and the World do not like it when a sheep tells them to stuff it. So they fight back.
We either trust our Shepherd to take care of us, or we don’t.
So…let there be clouds, and let it rain…I was thirsty anyway!
Romans 8:28King James Version (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Let’s be about it!
Love always, and it’s good to be back in the blogosphere.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
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.
“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
— Lord Kelvin
“Flight by machines heavier than air is impractical and insignificant, if
not utterly impossible.”
— Simon Newcomb, Director, U.S. Naval Observatory, 1902
“Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which man will never
be able to cope.”
— Simon Newcomb, 1903
“The resistance of air increases as the square of the speed and works as
the cube [of speed]…. It is clear that with our present devices there
is no hope of aircraft competing for racing speed with either our
locomotives or automobiles.”
— William H. Pickering, Director, Harvard College Observatory, 1910
“The popular mind often pictures gigantic flying machines speeding across
the Atlantic carrying innumerable passengers in a way analogous to our
modern steam ships. . . it seems safe to say that such ideas are wholly
visionary and even if the machine could get across with one or two
passengers the expense would be prohibitive to any but the capitalist who
could use his own yacht.”
— William Henry Pickering, Astronomer, 1910
“A popular fantasy is to suppose that flying machines could
be used to drop dynamite on the enemy in time of war.”
— William H. Pickering, Director, Harvard College Observatory, 1908
“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”
— Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de
“The aeroplane is the invention of the devil and will never play any part
in such a serious business as the defence of a nation.”
— Sir Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister of Defence, 1914
“By no possibility can the carriage of freight or passengers through
mid-air compete with their carriage on the earth’s surface. The field
for aerial navigation is then limited to military use and for sporting
purposes. The former is doubtful, the latter is fairly certain.”
— Hugh Dryden, 1908
“The [flying] machines will eventually be fast; they will be used in
sport but they should not be thought of as commercial carriers.”
— Octave Chanute, 1910
Their flight took off. It flew. Still, even afterward, the detractors continued to insist it was impossible, even though they were eye witnesses to it.
Whatever you do, never give up on your dreams. Ignore the people who say it is impossible.
God has been waiting all this time for you to not know how impossible something is.
Go do it.
Follow your dream. It is worth what ever sacrifice it takes. It may be hard, but never ever give up.
Even after you start, lesser people will say it cannot be done.
Just imagine what YOU can do with all that passion in your heart.
God didn’t put it there just so you can ignore it.
Let’s be about it!
“In fact, our investigator told us that you have failed three other businesses. Furthermore, your editor in Kansas City said you are completely devoid of any imagination whatsoever.”
“We are willing to take a risk on you simply because it is the only way we can get rid of you.”
“Sign here, and we’ll get started.”
So, I signed my name.
“Why do you persist, any way, Mr….Um, I can’t read your writing, it is too flamboyant”.
“I persist because I believe in my work; It is what is in my heart. It’s just the thing that will lift all our spirits. And my name is Walter, Walter Disney. You can call me Walt.”
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4New American Standard Bible (NASB)
…and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17:23b
A co-worker asked me how I know what faith feels like. I got crickets…well, at first, I did. I wasn’t sure what to tell him. It dawned on me that having faith, and being able to explain the joy of it, are two different things. I could wax rhapsodic about the glorious feeling I get inside when I consider what happened at the great exchange on the cross. I could explain to him the famous verse about faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
But that would be using the word I am trying to define in the definition. That kind of circular reasoning will not give a real answer. This guy has a very high IQ, and is more often looking for an argument in which to showcase his intelligence. I do not want to get into that kind of thing. It would be pointless and frustrating.
I was left with the proverbial problem of trying to describe the color orange to a blind man. Then I remembered I was once blind to faith, too. I was blinded to the things of God, and wanted to understand them, just like this guy does. Like him, I had God in a box, I new more than anyone else, and had very little patience with the cretins around me who had no idea about anything. How do I explain faith to someone who is like this?
The Root of the Matter
I told my coworker I will only answer in the context of what the Bible has to say about faith, but needed time to frame an answer. His immediate reaction was to tell me he doesn’t want to hear my religious point of view, but only wants a philosophical discussion.
I recognize an evasive maneuver when I see one. I used to use this very argument when I was under conviction, and was afraid the answer would get too real for me to handle. Fear drives that sort of thinking.
I needed God to show me how to get past the wall of fear this guy has constructed so I can show him what faith looks like. I knew that the only thing to do was give this to God and wait for Him to show me how to explain faith.
I asked God to open my eyes, and the eyes of my coworker, so we could both see what God wants to show us both about faith.
IN THE MEAN TIME
The company I work for sent me to Richmond, Virginia for training. At the end of the week would be a final exam. The brochure made it clear that the exam period is 8 hours. The company booked my flight to leave right in the middle of the testing time. This was really bad timing. I would have to walk out during the middle of the test just to make my flight.
I called the home office and explained my situation. Their answer was that it would cost too much to reschedule my flight, and, besides, one of my peers claimed to have taken the test in one hour, so I shouldn’t have a problem doing the same thing.
I checked with the instructor about the testing times. He explained that no one in the history of this test has ever completed it in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. I called the home office back and told them what the instructor said. The answer was a very firm “no”. It was made very clear to to me that there was no way the flight would be changed. I would just have to work it out to be done with the test in time to leave for the airport.
The Old David (Me before the Holy Spirit) would have thrown a very loud fit and gone totally nuts. I was tempted to be angry and frustrated. For once in my life, though, I obeyed God and took this to Him. I called Sandy and we prayed about it ( Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. – Jesus – Matt. 18:19)
Within two hours of our praying, I got an e-mail from the home office telling me that my flight was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday. The solid and resounding “NO!!!” had been turned into a “But of course we can!” after Sandy and I prayed.
When I got the e-mail, I nearly cried. God had moved the hearts of the people on my behalf. Once again, God had come through in a situation where the world had said it was not possible.
I felt complete in Him through this. I felt assurance of His love for me that His promise is true: Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Even in the little things, God shows His love and care. For the first time in my existence, I felt what it is like to know the love of a caring father. This is why it is so easy to trust Him. He cares. He loves. He demonstrates that love in the most remarkable ways. It is when things are really frustrating that God is able to reveal something that I would have otherwise missed. All I have to do is remember to trust him with my circumstances.
It is easy to have faith in one whose love is complete and unconditional.
THERE WAS MY ANSWER
It dawned on me that God had opened my eyes. Again, He revealed Himself. Perfect love casts out all fear. It is easy to have faith in one who loves you completely and demonstrates that love so freely. God’s perfect love casts out all my fears. When the world says no, God says, yes.
WHAT DOES FAITH FEEL LIKE?
Faith feels like love.
This Love fills me with reckless abandon toward the things of God.
Faith feels fearless, Charles.
That is what faith feels like.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
I love you in the name of Jesus,
Now, Let’s Be About It!
David G. Perkins