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.
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.
… GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
(1Pe 5:4-7 NASB)
I threw hay once. It was in the early 1990’s. I spent an entire summer throwing hay and cutting down trees for the winter season. Missouri can have very cold winters.
Well…anyway, hay. The farmer (Bill) drove the tractor that pulled a wagon. The farmer’s Son stood on the wagon and caught the hay bales that were tossed up to him. He neatly stacked the bales on the wagon.
My job? I was the idiot who agreed it would be GREAT fun to run along both sides of the wagon, grab a bale and toss it to the guy on the wagon. In those days, I ran long distances, and I was a weightlifter. So, how hard could throwing hay be…right? Right? Ok,…it was hell.
The bales were in rows on both sides of the wagon and staggered so that, when you grab a bale and toss it, you can run around behind the wagon and up to the next bale just in time to grab it, spin and toss. As soon as you tossed that bale, you had to run right back around the wagon for the next bale in the first row.
We tossed hay from daybreak to dusk. We stopped every 30 minutes for food and water. We did this all summer. There were several farms all along this rural route in Missouri, and my Cousin’s neighbor, the Farmer, said he’s delighted to gather all the hay and stow it in the barns for the local farmers. There was nothing he loved more than to spend the day riding his tractor and singing hymns.
All. Day. Long.
At the end of one day, just as the sun was setting, and we had stored the hay in the loft and barn, the Farmer looked out at the field and pointed out I had missed a bale. I looked. My heart sank. Way off on the other side, out in the field we just cleared, you could just make out this lone bale. Guess whose job it was to drag his tired butt all the way over there to get that last bale and bring it home? Yup. It was my job.
Carrying that one bale all that distance after a hard day in the sun was more work than anything I had already done that day. The burden was too great. I thought it would kill me before I got it to the loft.
When I got to the loft, Bil, the Farmer, chuckled and held his hands out to me and said, “Here, I’ve got this, you go rest.” I nearly wept from the relief as I stripped down and washed in the trough he had set up. My burden was no longer mine.
I had blessed relief.
THAT, my dear reader, is exactly what it means to cast your cares on the lord. You may be the reason you are so burdened, but you cannot manage it. Only God can. He is waiting with outstretched arms, telling you to let him have it. It is, after all, no longer yours.
Your burden of sin and arrogance and living a fallen life is why Christ died on the cross. He didn’t die for your sins..no. He died for YOU. He died OF your sin. He took your burden and dealt with it, and asked you to rest.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Jesus
(Mat 11:28-30 – NASB)
Cast all your cares on Him. He will give you rest.
Let’s be about it.
I love you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
David G. Perkins
Sammy.firstname.lastname@example.org (Write me, sometimes, I’d love to hear from you)
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
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)
Hosea 4:6King James Version (KJV)
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Knowledge of God.
One thing that really irks me is the meme that the White House and Press are attempting to establish. That is that “we the people” are in fear or fearful. I don’t know who they are trying to kid, but we great unwashed masses are not afraid. We are angry. We are angry at a government that serves itself over the needs of her people, and who destroy the very Constitution that brought them into power. Rather than say we deserve whatever we get, I say we need to wake up and decide, today, what we will do about it.
We are not afraid. We are not fearful. We are, however, done with our own complacency. We are waking up. We are ready to solve this problem.
If anyone needs to fear, it is the fear mongers and liars that have brought this once great country to the state of disarray it has become.
There is no dishonor in stating the truth even if the cost is high. There is, however, a great dishonor to the soul to know what is right and true and do nothing about it.
We must decide if saving our right to not be offended is more important than preserving the rights of our citizens against the tyrants who have destroyed this great nation. If we give up our freedom for the sake of our comfort, we do not have the right to complain when they come to disarm you and destroy you.
We are no longer going to hide behind expediency. We are ready to solve this problem ourselves and restore a representative republic that is defined by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
We are not afraid.
Let’s be about it.
‘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.
This morning, I wrote in my journal. While I was writing, I realized I was not writing what was genuinely and truthfully on my heart, but what I thought would be pleasing to God. I was fishing for brownie points.
I stopped writing what I was writing and began writing what was on my heart.
I decided to share this with you because I know you are going through this, too.
Remember, every situation, no matter how difficult, is here for a reason.
I dedicate this to my friend, who is hurting right now. I pray for you and for answers that make sense. You know who you are.
***** From My Journal*****
Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
I wonder how quiet the world would be if we heeded this advice?
Do I speak just to hear myself speak? Is my speech such that others are blessed by it?…
We interrupt this diatribe so we can speak honestly about what is on our hearts.
Dear Lord God,
Why am I going around this mountain again?
What lesson is in this that I need to learn?
What part of yourself and your character are you trying to reveal and integrate into me?
Making pearls means having to deal with discomfort. Through our discomfort, we learn to apply the character of God to the situation. The end result is a thing of beauty.
So, I do not mind the discomfort as much as I object to my own ignorance.
Clear my mind, Lord, and prepare my heart for what it is you are working in my life. If my discomfort leads me to lead others to your Cross, then let’s make this time count.
I trust you , Lord, that your word is true when you said:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Rom 8:28 NASB)
In case I have never told anyone, I believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, who died of all my sin, and rose again on the third day to prove he is worthy to be my lord and savior. Because of this, I have inherited all that Christ has given in order to save me. This is part of the exchange on the cross. All that is unholy and sin became Jesus’, and all that is holy and righteous became mine. My righteousness has nothing to do with me, or anything I can do to please God. It all rests entirely on Jesus and what He accomplished in my place. Becoming what Jesus is, is what is known as laboring to rest in the finished work of the cross.
So, what am I? I am like you, someone who has sinned. Perhaps my sin nature was a bit more indulgent than yours. Perhaps not. Any sin separates us from God and demands a verdict of eternal damnation. In God’s eyes, all my sin is forgiven. In God’s eyes, I am His beloved child. In God’s eyes, I am no longer judged worthy of hell and damnation because I have accepted the mission of Jesus and the finished work of the cross. My fleshy character has to die, because it is dead, and will continue to die as I rest in the character of Jesus.
I am also someone who STILL sins. Just like you. I still sin, but I do not desire sin. Not any longer. I desire God and His kingdom. His grace sustains me as the Spirit of God leads me to a life that is better than the old life I lived. I am not alive anymore, but Jesus lives in me. I live this life because of the faith of Jesus that resides in me. I live this life because He lived me and gave His life for mine.
What I have described above is what GRACE is all about. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is bestowed on me because I have accepted a free gift. That gift was paid for in blood. Jesus’ blood.
God’s grace continues to this day. That is why this planet still exists. He is showing us how patient His grace is, so that, somehow, you will have the opportunity to accept this free gift too, instead of living your eternity in hell. Hell is reserved for Satan and his minions, and all who refuse to accept this free gift.
This is grace, and it is free to anyone who will accept it.
Here is the truth, however…
No one wants God on God’s terms. If they believe in God at all, it is through a filter of righteousness (Self), that tells God why all the good stuff they have done in their life merits passage into Heaven.
We prefer to earn what we cannot possibly earn because we are too proud to accept the free gift of Grace given to us.
The truth is, some Christians have made Jesus noting more than a role model, a buddy, someone who looks at your foibles, chuckles, slaps you on the back, and says, “Keep trying, buddy, I am rooting for you.” Part of this is true, but the tools of Satan is to mix truth with error.
The error is in believing that Jesus is no more aware of a divine standard than we are, and He is simply walking through this life as befuddled as you are, but maybe a bit smarter about negotiating the mine fields of life. This inclusive theology waters down who Jesus is, and leads millions to a false sense of security. After all, we need to make our march into hell as pleasant as we can, don’t we?
The truth is, some Christians believe that their particular religious dogma has cornered the market on God, and God HAS to be pleased with our efforts. They like to invent an agenda, map out a plan, and insist that God approve of it. This is especially true if our map started in the scriptures.
Here is an example:
I recently attended a Men’s Prayer Breakfast. The theme of that breakfast was, Psa 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;…”
The guest speaker rhapsodized about how it is our responsibility to build a Godly home. Which is true, but not the truth.
The speaker exposited that we have to work hard to make sure we are doing all we can to build a home that God will be proud of. The emphasis continued to be one of self-effort, self-righteousness, self, self, and self…ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
After all was said and done, I was asked what I thought. I spoke the truth. That unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.
I was in my home turf with this synagogue of fellows, as I was raised in this particular works righteousness religion.
I suggested, and I mean this, I was kind, polite, and friendly, charming… everything that my best friend, Mark, would have suggested I be…I suggested that we look again at this verse and underscore WHO is responsible for the building.
(I was once one of them, and I know how easily they get provoked to self-righteousness and anger, and how swiftly they run to their own ego when they are cornered.)
I suggested, ever so gently that, unless God moves us to build the house, and unless He leads the building, and unless the Holy Spirit empowers this project, nothing we do will last. I suggested that any fool can build what looks like a godly home, a godly church, a godly reputation, but, inside, can be full of empty promises, lies, deceit, and vain imaginations. If this were not so, all churches and all homes that appear to be Godly would be winning souls faster than water could be gathered for the baptism.
The stony silence I was greeted with was deafening. The party was over.
The Truth is… We do not really want the truth so much as we want reassurance that the lies we tell ourselves are the truth.
My only claim to anything is that Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. He died for my sin. I accept that I am a sinner, saved by Grace.
I would not be able to comprehend why grace is being applied to my life, if I first didn’t understand that there is sin, and a need of repentance.
Grace juxtaposes the image of what God is trying to give you against the reality of the hell you will receive if you do not choose His free gift.
Is Jesus my friend? Yes, He said so himself. It’s in the bible, look it up.
Jesus is my friend because I have believed in him, trusted him, and accepted this free gift.
When He became my savior, and the spirit of God entered me, I was driven to the inescapable conclusion that I also want to be just like Him, which made Jesus my Lord, as well.
Somewhere between the dogma of the self-righteous religions of this planet, and the idea that Jesus is your buddy, we have to come to terms with the truth of the Cross. The truth of why the cross was necessary. The truth that none of us, none of our religions, and none of our watered down lies of Jesus will ever save us from the hell we deserve.
Jesus IS the good news. Jesus is all of the Gospel. There is no separation of eternal life and the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. You cannot have one without the other. To live otherwise is to tell God you know better than He does about what is best for your eternal soul. This will not comfort you while you are in Hell.
The truth is, if Jesus can redeem someone as vile and dangerous as I was, then He can redeem anyone. The truth is, none of us, not one, can do anything at all worthy of Heaven, unless Jesus Himself does the thing through us.
When you accept that you are a sinner, and that your religion, or lack thereof, is not going to save you, and you turn to Jesus Christ, and see what He has done to grant you eternity in Heaven, you will be saved.
I was told that I must be soft and sweet when I deliver these next few messages. I was told that I must separate grace from truth, because truth is not palatable, and will scare people off.
I hold that if you are not cognizant of the truth, any effort you make at making Jesus your Friend will be wasted in regret. You will never know Grace apart from the hard truth.
The truth is, you can do nothing at all apart from Christ.
The truth is, you cannot have Heaven and bypass what Christ did on the cross.
The Truth is, your deciding whether Jesus is Lord or not does not negate the fact that He is Lord whether you acknowledge it or not.
The truth is, in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is lord.
Time is running out. Churches have failed Christ. We all have to stop and tell the truth and know the truth.
Grace reveals God’s love against our overwhelming sin. Grace reveals a truth that simultaneously hurts and heals.
Truth reveals Christ.
It pleased God to send His own Son to the cross so we, you, His creation, will not have to face His wrath. Jesus already absorbed God’s wrath. Sin is paid for. You are saved, if you believe what Jesus said about Himself.
Unless we first come to grips with our sin, and the overwhelming Grace God continues to show us, and until we accept this free gift of Salvation, we will never truly understand the depth of the powerful relation Jesus will be in your life. You cannot be His friend unless you first accept what he did for you. When that happens, you will see that he did not come here to build a religion, but a relationship.
Before any of my Hyper Grace friends ask me if I had thought twice about the gracelessness of this tome, and considered what Jesus would have done…I leave with this thought:
Still, it is all on His terms.
Let Him be about you.
I love you in Jesus Christ, and because of Him,
David G. Perkins
The world is watching right now. It is time to see the power of the living God at work in Ferguson, MO.
I believe prayer changes things. I believe that prayer can change the hearts of the people in Ferguson, The hearts of those who desire chaos, the hearts of those who desire anarchy, the hearts of those who say they want justice, but actually seek revenge.
It is written that God inhabits the praises of His saints. If you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, you are a saint. You are, by definition, one who has been sanctified, set apart, for His purposes. No power on earth can get between you and God.
All we as believers have to do is pray, praise, and persist in the faith. No plan of evil can overcome the power of God.
Jesus said that where two or more agree as touching ANYTHING then it will be granted to you by the Father in heaven, to the glory of Christ.
Do you want Jesus to be glorified, or are you content to sit, cluck your tongue, and thank God you are not part of the problem? The enemy depends on your absence in this war. His desire is that you be AWOL in the middle of the fight. All he has to do to win, is convince you are not needed in this battle.
You would be mistaken to fall for that lie.
Praise Him in the assembly, Praise Him in the streets, praise Him in your lack and want and agony, and praise Him when your life is flush with good things.
Lift your hands in holy sacrifice, and watch the power of the living God make a difference in this world.
Are you distressed over what is about to transpire in Missouri? Trust God and pray. Because you are Christ’s, you are God’s own child. Ask Him whatever you will in the name of Jesus and it will be done.
Go find a friend to pray with. Do this now and until this trouble is past.
We are called to a greater thing than our own selfish desires and our own comfort zone.
Put on the whole armor and show up for this battle and watch the mighty hand of the Living God deliver peace and Jesus to this situation.
Failure to do this is to give the enemy the very ground Jesus died to save…human souls.
Today, decide you will do this. Watch the mighty hand of God work through his children.
Jesus is our Lord, and He has sovereign right and power over all that exists. Never doubt this. never give up on this. Always rely on this truth.
If you cannot do this, shut up about what a mighty Christian you are.
Many are called, few are chosen.
Let’s Be About It!!!
I love you in Jesus’ name.
David G. Perkins
Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. ‘Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. ‘You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.” Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice. They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. (2Ch 20:14-24)
God chooses those who dare to act when God says to act, regardless of how they feel and regardless of the circumstances.
Chapter 20 of 2 Chronicles begins with this verse: Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. (2Ch 20:1)
This combined army came against Israel. They outnumbered Israel by an order of hundreds to one. Tiny Israel was out manned, out gunned, and in an indefensible position against these might armies. Their goal then, the same goal their descendants have today, was to wipe Israel out of all memory, to destroy them utterly, and destroy them all the way down to the infants. Israel was, frankly, overwhelmed with enemies, and fear.
When they turned to God, God told them that the fight is not theirs, to go and watch God hand them the victory, and to praise God for it.
The next morning, they went to where God told them to go. Instead of sending out the army, they sent out the choir. The choir praised God. God sent confusion on the enemies of Israel, and they wiped each other out to the last men. When the fight was over, Israel collected untold riches from the spoils of that war.
I like this story because it exemplifies what it means to be chosen of God, and what happens when we do things God’s way, and do not hesitate to trust and obey.
What do you think would happen in Ferguson, MO if, instead of Police and protesters, some church went out in the streets and sang praises to God, instead of shouting curses at the government? Someone should do this very thing. I promise you, God will show up, and change everyone there. Just do it. Don’t hesitate. God will be with you, and take charge of the conflict. Just do it. The power of God’s grace will reveal itself in the praises of his children.
The New Testament shows two people who were unflinchingly willing to act when God told them to act.
And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? (Act 3:2-12)
Peter and John gave what God had given them. They did not hesitate. In fact, they were on their way to church, when this beggar distracted them from their walk. They could have done what most Christians do, and ignore this guy, then gone to church and complained about that smelly beggar that almost made them late. Instead, they gave with reckless abandonment what God had given them, through Jesus Christ. They were instant. They were obedient. Then they made it clear that THEY were not the instrument of this power, but God was. It was there, in the midst of their praising God for this that a revival broke out.
God chooses those who have died to self, who have learned that they are powerless to affect anything apart from God, who are absolutely assured that they are walking in God’s plan, who are absolutely willing to be the channel through whom God blesses others, who feed daily on the promises of God who obey God’s voice without hesitation, and will reckless abandonment, not caring about the personal cost, having a greater prize in their sight.
FAITH MAKES YOU A DARING INDIVIDUAL
The prayer life and faith of the chosen of God are the stuff of legend. The chosen are the ones who dare to obey God, even if it looks stupid, or appears too costly for others to be willing to attempt. Faith is knowing that, because God has sent you, whatever God asks of you, you are willing to do it, regardless of the cost. This is because we know in our souls that His reward is more meaningful than any earthly delight the world can hope to offer.
We are not daring out of self-interest. We are not showing the love of God for what it has to offer us. We are not demonstrating God’s holy power so that all men may be drawn unto us…we do it for the sole purpose of drawing all men to Jesus Christ. There is no other reason in heaven or earth that the power of God’s grace is at work in you. That you may be drawn to Him through Jesus Christ, and so that you will be emptied of yourself and be used of God that others may be drawn to Jesus Christ.
We know, we chosen, that there is no such thing as earning brownie points with God. We either believe or we don’t, we either obey or we don’t, we either trust or we don’t, and we serve or we don’t.
The difference between the faith of the chosen and the faith of the rest of humanity is this, we obey the will of God in reckless abandonment. Our faith leaves us little choice and even less desire to do anything other than obey.
Do you want to be chosen? Here is all you have to do.
- Believe John 3:16 with all your heart: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
- Arrive at the point where you understand that you are helpless to become holy apart from Jesus Christ, and you have nothing at all to offer God other than your very soul.
- Through prayer and understanding of His word, have absolute understanding that you are in His plan.
- Be absolutely, selflessly willing to be a channel through which God blesses others. This is an act of Holy Love, a gift from God.
- Feed daily on the promises of God. Not just know them, but nourish your soul on them. That is what is meant by “Feed”.
- Dare to act when God says to act regardless how you feel and regardless of your circumstances.
All this is the result of God working in you through His Holy Spirit, because you have become a child of God through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to do this.
Be chosen. You will not regret it.
Let’s be about it.
I love you in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
David G. Perkins
The Promises are revealed in the Names of God, and fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2Pe 1:2-4)
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26)
When the believer understands, confesses, and relies completely on the promises revealed through Christ, God manifests the power of His grace in their lives, so that others will be drawn to Jesus, to the glory of God the Father. These are the spoken confessions of those whom God chooses.
HERE ARE THE PROMISES AS REVEALED BY HIS NAME – (Credit where credit is due: All the following information is taken from Dr. Jim Richard’s excellent book, “The Prayer Organizer”, Published by True Potential, Inc., P.O. Box 904, Travelers Rest, SC, 29690, www.truepotential.com, ISBN: 978-1-935769-56-9)
Jehova-Tsidkenu – “Jehovah is our Righteousness” – Jer. 23:6
I thank you Father that:
You have made me righteous in Jesus.
You made Him who knew no sin to be sin for me, that I might be the righteousness of God in Him” – 2 Cor: 5:21
Therefore, I have the gift of righteousness in Jesus. Rom. 5:17
He is the end of the law of righteousness for me. Rom. 10:4
My righteousness comes by faith in the Lord Jesus. Rom. 10:10, Phil. 3:9
I do not have to work for my righteousness. Titus 3:5, Isa. 64:6
I am a servant of righteousness because You have made me a new creature. Rom. 6:18, 2 Cor. 5:17
Christ is made righteous unto me. I Cor. 1:30
Jehova M’Kaddesh – “Jehova who Sanctifies” – Exodus 31:13
I thank you Father that:
You have sanctified me in Jesus.
I have been set apart in Him I Cor. 1:30
I am crucified with Christ Gal. 2:20
I am dead to the world, and the world is dead to me. Gal. 6:14
Sin has no dominion over me. Rom. 6:14
I am free from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2
I am sanctified by Your Spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus. I Cor. 6:11
I am set apart for the Master’s use. 2 Tim. 2:21
I am a royal priest set apart to show forth your praises, O God. I Peter 2:9
I am perfected forever by Your will, O God, because You have sanctified me by your spirit. Heb. 10:10, 14, Rom. 5:16
Jehova Shalom – “Jehova is my peace” – Judges 6:24
I thank you Father that:
You give me peace in Jesus
I have peace with you because I am justified by faith. Rom. 5:1
You are the God of peace, and You are with me. Rom. 15:33
I am spiritually minded; therefore, I have Your peace. Rom. 6:8, John 14:27
You give me perfect peace for my mind is stayed on You. Isa. 26:3
The peace of God that passes all understanding keeps my heart and my mind through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7
Your peace rules in my heart. Col. 3:15
I am at peace with all men. 2 Tim. 2:22
You make me to be a peacemaker. Matt. 5:9
You make even my enemies to be at peace with me. Proverbs 16:7
Jehova-Shammah – “Jehova is present” – Psalms 46:1
I thank you Father that:
You are present by Your Spirit.
You are always with me. Matt. 28:20
You did not leave me as an orphan, but You have come to me by Your Spirit. John 14:18
You will never leave me or forsake me. Heb. 13:5
You are in me, and I am in you by Jesus. John 17:21-23
When we gather in the name of Jesus, You are there with us. Matt. 18:20
I abide under Your shadow. Psalms 91:1
I am his in the secret of Your presence. Psalms 31:20
Your presence gives me rest. Exodus 33:14
Jehova-Rophe – “Jehova Heals” – Exodus 15:26
I thank you Father that:
You are my health and healing in Jesus.
You are the Lord God who heals me. Exodus 15:26
You put no sickness on me. Exodus 15:26
You keep me from every disease. Deut. 7:15
Jesus carried all my sickness, pains, and infirmities; therefore, I don’t have to carry them. Matt. 8:17
By His stripes I have been healed. I Peter 2:24
I am free from the curse of sickness. Gal. 3:13
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets me free from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2
The Spirit gives life to my physical body. Rom. 8:11
No plague can come near me or my dwelling. Psalms 91:10
I have the Son; therefore I have the life (ZOE) of God. I John 5:12, II Cor. 5:17, Gal. 2:20
Therefore, I forbid any sickness or disease to live in my body. I command every organ to function properly. I thank You that the life in me, by Your Spirit, overcomes death and disease. Mark 11:23, Rom. 8:2
Jehova-Jireh “Jehova’s provision shall be seen” – Genesis 22:14
I thank you Father that:
You are my provider in Jesus. I am free from the curse of poverty. Gal. 3:13
You have qualified me to receive the inheritance of the Kingdom of Light. Col. 1:12
All your blessings come on me and overtake me. Deut. 18:2
I am blessed, and I am a blessing wherever I go. Deut. 28:3
You give me the increase. Deut. 28:4
You make me plenteous in goods. Deut. 28:11
You bless the work of my hands. Deut. 28:12
You have delivered me from borrowing. Deut. 28:12
The wealth of the wicked is laid up for me. Prov. 13:22
Jesus has given me the abundant life. John 10:10
All your promises are mine. 2 Cor. 1:20
You supply all my needs (not according to my education, ability, or earning potential), according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19
Jesus took my poverty that I might take His riches. 2 Cor. 8:9
You make all grace abound unto me so that I ALWAYS have ALL sufficiency in ALL things so that I may abound unto every good work. 2 Cor.9:8
I give freely; therefore, I increase. Prov.11:24
Because I give, it is given unto me a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over do men give unto me. Luke 6:38
Jehova-Rohi “Jehova my Shepherd” – Psalms 23:1
I thank you Father that:
You are my shepherd in Jesus by Your Spirit.
I trust in You with all my heart; I lean not to my own understanding. In all my ways, I acknowledge you, and you direct my paths. Prov. 3:5-6
You make me toile down in green pastures (abundance). Psalms 23:2
You lead me beside still waters (Peace). Psalms 23:2
You restore my soul (emotions). Psalms 23:3
You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Psalms 23:3
Your rod and staff comfort me (in times of trouble). Psalms 23L4
You have given me the Spirit of Truth who leads me into all truth, (John16:13), who shows me the deep things of God, )1 Cor. 2:10), who leads me into perfect prayer, (Rom. 8:27), who gives me the mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 2:16
Because I am Your son, You lead me by Your Spirit, (Romans 8:14), who gives me the knowledge of Your will. Colossians 1:9
You renew my mind by Your Word and Spirit; therefore, I am able to know Your good and acceptable and perfect will, O God. Rom. 12:2
We know to confess these things because we have experienced the work of the Spirit of God who worked these things into us. This is not something we worked into ourselves. This is entirely the work of a loving Father, who, seeing we have submitted to His call, has made these truths manifest in our lives. It is because of this that we are chosen by Him to serve.
This is available to all who chose to accept the free gift of God’s love. John 3:16-18.
This is available to you, if you chose it. You will know that you need to do this because you will feel the call of God whisper in your heart. While you are still dead through sin, youwill feel God call you. If you will answer, and receive this free gift of salvation, p[rovided through the death of Jesus on the cross, then all the above truth will be written on your heart.
This is so others will see the Hand of God manifest in your life, so that they will have the opportunity to be drawn to Christ, just as you were.
Let’s be about it.
I love you because Christ has loved me.
David G. Perkins
Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”
(Mat 19:27) – NASB – e-Sword
Coming to the end of yourself is hard work. It is hard work because we do not really feel like dying to ourselves. Not really. We say we want to, but when it comes right down to it, we would rather Jesus compromise on what He meant when He said take up your cross and follow Him.
Between the being called and being chosen, you will go through a boot camp designed to empty you of you, and fill you with Him. The reason Jesus said few are chosen is because it is difficult work having to come to the end of yourself.
It took 40 years of shepherding sheep for Moses to reach the end of himself. It took Joseph a couple of decades of hardship to go from a spoiled brat to the most powerful man in Egypt. It took David years in the caves before he wore the crown. It took Peter being sifted by Satan before he could truly serve Jesus. It took Paul 11 years to get from Damascus to his first journey to spread the gospel.
We have to be brought to the place in our hearts where we understand that we can bring nothing to the game but our love of Christ, our love of Mankind, and our salvation. Even those things, we learn, are not ours, but were given to us by God.
Not all acts of obedience will result in fire falling from heaven and devouring the prophets of Baal. Some acts of obedience will carry you right into the lion’s den, or a fiery furnace. Sometimes our own stupidity carries us to very dark places, but God uses them to shine His light in our lives. Even then, we learn that, unless we get out of the way, and let the Spirit of God grow us up, we will have to go back to the classroom and relearn this lesson and retake the test.
In all cases, whether our obedience has brought down fire on our own heads, or our stupidity has done the same, we will find we are in a circumstance where we have two choices. We can take matters in our own hands, and forfeit whatever it is that God is trying to accomplish in us, or we can surrender to the mystery of God in this, and see Him walk us through this circumstance in a way that God is glorified in it.
Every circumstance has two purposes for you, the called. You will grow to be like Christ in this, and God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. This is why it is hard to be chosen. We want all the goodies, but the lessons leave us cold and fearful.
Until we appreciate we are helpless to be what God wants us to be, and have nothing God needs, we will get to repeat many lessons. The goal is not to make you feel worthless. The goal is to make you just Like Jesus Christ. This is an upgrade. This is what the world fears will happen. Our religion and the rest of the world is content for us to be complacent and religious, at best. But the minute we decide we genuinely want to answer the call, and do it no matter the cost, then we have joined the fray, and all bets are off. Your life will change.
When we learn to see things as Jesus saw them, we will see we are really free. We are beautifully made creatures, in the image of the Living God. We are valuable. We are no longer slaves to the world, or to sin. This is a message that the world does NOT want anyone to understand. We are free because of what Christ did on the Cross. When we decide to answer this call, we have to learn about this freedom. The message of the cross is the one message all religions and world systems fear so much, it is becoming against the law to preach it.
If you decide to take this journey from called to chosen, you will eventually find yourself in a place where your only hope and resource is going to come from the living God. When we run out of ourselves, we will be able to see Jesus fill us and flow from us in miraculous ways.
We just have to get out of the way.
Are you in a place where you cannot retreat, and you cannot see how to move forward? This is the place of purification. You will, if you chose, be able to see the Sovereign God move on your behalf in ways you never imagined. When you fall completely on Him in love and trust, you will see how precious it is to be a child of God. No matter how dark and scary things get, here, never give up on your faith in Him. He will see you through it. It is not until you come to the end of yourself that you will really be able to be the conduit through which the Spirit of God can flow.
While you are being purified, the world is watching. Let God be glorified. Let the world see “One like the son of God” standing in your midst. Do not struggle against the roaring lion, but let the peace and power of God overwhelm the circumstances for you.
When you finally get to the point where you can say, “I have left all, and have nothing left.” You will be able to see and experience the riches of the Kingdom of God in your life.
It is all a choice, from the time you are called, and the time you are chosen. God is patient. Be chosen. Let God have His perfect will in your life. You may be the only Jesus your corner of the world sees when you are too weak to stand in Jesus way.
Until you come to the end of yourself, it is hard to see the fullness of Christ in you.
Let’s be about it.
Storms happen in life. Just when things are looking good, life takes a left turn. Our response to these storms reveal a great deal about where we are in the process of being refined into the image of Christ. This Series is inspired from an e-mail conversation I had with my brother in the Lord, Mark Fox. (See His blog page here.) We were discussing a storm we (Perkins House) are going through. In the conversation, Mark made the comment, “God must have something amazingly special for you… to put you through this much “fire.” We know that the testing of our faith produces Godly character… but it must be amazingly difficult to see that truth in the midst of such a raging storm.”
I also thank Chuck and Jan Harrington whose love and prayer encourage us through this process.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 NASB)
One thing’s for sure, if you don’t really want to serve God, don’t tell Him you do, and don’t answer Him when He calls. Another thing is for sure; If He plans on using you for His purposes, He will make sure it happens. One way or another, God will prepare you for that call. The question you have to answer is: Will you allow God to prepare you?
Why I Write
If you have been reading this blog, you know the whole reason I started writing is in answer to a call to write. You know that this call to write is not some narcissistic desire to focus on me, but an attempt to be a “live” testimony to the power of the Grace of God. The testimony is that, in spite of my incredible predilection to let God down repeatedly, the power of God’s grace and the strength of His love means that He never tires of shaping me into the image of His Son, Jesus. The idea is that if God is tirelessly transforming someone whom all others would give up on, then there is hope for others out there who know they are called, but dropped the ball on that call, and have no idea how to get back to that call from where they are.
This series is my attempt to highlight five things God develops in the people He chooses.
Jesus made it clear that many are called, but few are chosen. Getting from the call to the choice is hard. It is hard because we have to learn to rest in the completed work of the cross. It is hard because we tend to get in the way of God. It is hard because we have a tendency to think we can be chosen and still live as if we are not.
We are not chosen because we are learned men or women, or because we are something special, or because we have something God needs. God uses the cast-offs and the rejected, the scorned and the unlikely to accomplish some of the most incredible wonders in His Kingdom. God has chosen you because you have acknowledged His call, and have decided that, one way or another, no life but the life of the chosen will do for you.
Nothing reveals our walk with God like our circumstances. Circumstances are a refining fire, revealing both the purity of the object, and the flaws in the object. Sometimes the fire is brought on by our own foolishness. Sometimes the fire is brought on by others. Sometimes, it is some combination of both. Some circumstances are simply life being life.
The beauty of our bad circumstances is that God will turn even this into a blessing. In order to take you out of your own way, and change you into the like ness of Christ, God, in His wisdom, will allow things to come along in your life He could have easily prevented in His power.
All circumstances exist so that one thing is revealed in the life of the called and chosen; the depth of Christ-likeness that exists in our life. This does not happen in a vacuum, or in a classroom, or off in a corner where no one else gets to see it, either. Circumstances happen right in front of the saint and sinner, and reveal what character may exist in each of them.
This fire exists to help the called decide if they really want to continue into the call. This fire exists to purify the chosen. This fire exists to reveal the truth of our testimonies before all mankind.
In the end it becomes less important as to why you are in the circumstances you are in, and more important that you learn to see where God is in the midst of the fire. When you can see that God is standing with you in your circumstances, and learn to see the circumstances the way He does, you will grow in refinement to be made into the image of His Son, Jesus.
It is easy to see the finished product and admire it, unless you are the finished product. The vessel is beautiful now, but you didn’t see it get pulverized and ground up, and smashed, and mixed up, and forced into a mold, and baked and broken and glazed and painted and finished.
You just see the vase.
The wine is delicious, but were you there when the grape was torn from the vine, pulverized, poured out, and bled to death? You just taste the wine.
It is also easy, looking from the outside in, to see someone get mangled, crushed, and reshaped, and wonder what in the world that person did wrong. It is easy to not recognize that God is doing a work on another believer. It is not our place, then, to judge, or evade, but to encourage, and support that vessel. That is also, part of the refining process.
As Children of God, we all want to be like Jesus, or at least we say we do. But are we willing to go through the hard work of the refining fire? Are we willing to have the dross burned out, and be sifted? Are we ready to have our character exposed to the world? Are we ready to become chosen, or will we walk away at the first sign of the refining fire?
The secret to becoming refined is understanding that YOU do not do the refining. God does. Just as with every aspect of the redeemed life, you have nothing to do with the process. It is God who created us. It is God who redeemed us. It is God who called us. It is God who chooses us, and it is God who refines us.
Our only part in this is that we have to be willing to go through the refining fire. We have to be willing to yield, and then we have to submit. There is a reason it is called “laboring to rest”.
The result of God’s refining fire is a vessel that can be used on earth to fulfill that which has already been accomplished in Heaven. The following five things will be true of you:
- In emptying your cup of you, He will fill you with Him.
- You will become absolutely aware and assured you are in the plan of God.
- You will be absolutely willing to be a channel through whom God blesses others.
- In feeding daily on the promises of God, you will deliver the bread of life to the hungry.
- You will acquire a reckless abandonment toward the will of God so that you will dare to act on what God says regardless of how you feel or regardless of your circumstances.
A vessel in the Kingdom of God is not a museum piece, to be set on a shelf and admired. It is a tool designed to get right in the deep end of life and get dirty, and dig the fallen out of the mire of the world they have chosen to wallow in.
This is what Jesus referred to when He talked of Fruit. Many are called, few are chosen. If you want to bear fruit, you have to get pruned and refined. You can chose to hang out in the garden, fruitlessly living your life, or you can allow God to prune away all that is not His, and bear beautiful fruit.
I hope you enjoy this series.
Let’s be about it.
I love you,
David G. Perkins
Dedication: This is for Pam, who constantly reminded me to guard my confession, and speak what God has said is true.Now I get it, Pam…now I get it.
I am a former member of the Kaju Kiado Kwai Kwoon Do, a specific club of Martial Artists. When I was in the Kwoon, I worked very hard at advancing my skills and rank.
Notice I said I worked HARD.
It took me forever to learn that working hard is not always working smart. I could have worked smart with as much persistence and diligence, and earned my belts faster and easier than if I had merely worked hard.
This was especially true with throwing stars and knives. When people saw me eyeing these weapons, they suddenly had other places to be. I hit everything except the target. Captain Klutz was in the house!
In order for my stars and knives to hit the target with meaningful outcomes, I had to clear my mind, and focus only on what was true about the target; it is the only thing in the room. In order to do that, I had to forget my fears and ego (My opinion), and not allow anything else to distract me from my path. I did not focus on not hitting the walls, or other people or anything else (My Fear). There became only me and the center of the target. My hoped for outcome became the only thing in the room. When I could finally understand and do that, my knives and stars hit whatever I aimed at.
I finally passed my Black Belts not because my technique was near perfect, but because I brought a faith and understanding that defied mere physical observation. I believed and saw what was not readily apparent. I had already prepared myself because I saw and confessed in my heart what the outcome would be. The difference, then, between winning a fight and losing it, lay not so much in my skill, but in what I believed about my outcomes over what my opponent believed about his. The first thing I had to do was forget I was Captain Klutz. He died when I joined the Kwoon.
I spent more time developing what I believed was true in my heart about my skill, and less time sweating out the techniques. I went from a mechanic, someone who knows all the right moves, to being an artist, one whose moves are manifestly the true art.
Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, and that of which I am afraid befalls me.
When I have declared that Jesus Christ is my savior, I have put off the Old Self, through the resurrection of Christ, and put on a New Self (See II Cor 5:17 & Galatians 2:20). If I want my Old Self to stay dead, I have to know how God sees me now, and confess it WITH MY MOUTH. I have to renew my mind daily. I cannot allow external distractions to sway me away from the faith Christ has planted in me. When fear tempts me, or circumstances try to persuade me that things are not the way God has declared them, I have to relax in the finished work of Jesus, where an incredible power resides. Just like in the martial arts, my outcomes will be what I genuinely believe they will be.
I have a friend, Pam.
She has an incredible faith in Jesus. Pam could see that, when I was under stress, or impatient, or tired, my confession strayed from what I know is true, to what I fear is true. THEN I would give voice to that fear. My fear, being fed, grew very strong, and invited his other fearful friends. Pam saw this, and reminded me to watch my confession. I agreed with her, intellectually, but lacked the spiritual discipline to do so. Instead, I took matters into my own hands and tried to fight these fears on my own. The end result was that, the thing I feared overtook me. Life became very difficult because I had taken my faith off the finished work of the cross, and made my confession to be opposite what I said I believe.
Even though I had been raised in a very strong Baptist background and attended Seminary, I am still a baby Christian. I am new to the work of the Holy Spirit, the finished work of the cross, and all the implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I understood these things for real just last August. I have a lot of Old Self habits that do not know they are dead. My confession reflected that fact.
I am writing this to you so you can see what I am learning from this experience.
Pro 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance, above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. – Solomon
Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
The battle field is in our heart. If we are in Jesus Christ, GOD is in our heart, His Kingdom is in our heart, the Holy Spirit is in our Heart. All believers, whether they are “new” or “mature” must DAILY labor to rest in the finished work of the cross. This happens not only by reading the scriptures daily, and praying daily, but developing, DAILY, a firm understanding of what being a Child of God really means. When you do this, in your heart, your mind changes from a perceived reality, to what is really real in God.
My Old Self will work very hard at trying to get me to confess negative things, hateful things, shameful things, and untrue things. My Old Self does not want to be dead, and will exert all its efforts to try to get me to believe I have not really changed. Whatever you believe is true about yourself, IS what will manifest in your life. Most of my life, I believed only negative things about me. The discipline of laboring in to the rest of the truth of my salvation means, I must know and confess with my mouth what God has said is true about me.
We guard our hearts, not by focusing on what we want to avoid doing, but by confessing what God has done in us, and how He sees us now that we are His children. My knives and stars didn’t hit the target because I focused on NOT hitting the walls and my teachers and fellow students. I hit the target by becoming the object of my aim, and believing that that object was the only truth. When you do this, you have NO OPTION but to hit it. It is the only thing in the room. In order for my confession to manifest itself, it has to become the only thing in the room of my heart and mind. All other distractions have to lose relevance, and my awareness.
I know that what Romans 8:1 says is true, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So my failure to trust and rest in the completed work of the Cross is not going to draw the wrath of God on me. God is not going to hold this against me. God will use this apparent defeat, and turn it for His good in me. The Holy Spirit will instruct me so I can learn from this.
Heb 10:23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess (with our mouth) and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.
Today, I know that, if I want to live the victory of being a child of God, I have to approach everything from the viewpoint of Victory. I do not work from defeat INTO victory. I start at Victory and walk out what God has said is true about me. When adversity and trials approach me, I will have victory when my confession is what God says is true about me. This gives me the subtle awareness of the ways the Old Self tries to attack and, from the vantage point of Victory, I defeat the Old Self simply by adhering to the truth, with my confession, and my heart, full of belief and understanding of What God has done in me.
I am learning, and am sharing with anyone who also is struggling with this.
Your faith is developed in your heart through your confession. When you confess anything, you see it, you feel it, you believe it, and you experience it in your heart. Whether the confession is true or false, positive or negative, real or fake, whatever you KNOW is true in your heart IS what will be true in your life. If you want to grow to be like Jesus, you have to confess that which is true about you in Jesus and Jesus in you. Because you are saved, and raised again with Christ, all that is true about Jesus is true about you. Visualize this fact in your mind, and feel the excitement of this in your heart, and confess it with your mouth, so your soul will understand, and it will manifest in your life.
Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Ok, so, like me, you blew it. Romans 8:28 tells us what God will do, even when we blow it. Now, confess this truth. Say it out loud. Believe it when you say it. See it happening in your mind’s eye. Feel what it is like for this to be true. Feel the relief that God turns even our stupidity and curses into His light and blessings. When you are in the dark, do what Jesus did when He was in Hell on our behalf. CONFESS WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE EVEN IF GOD SEEMS A BAZILLION MILES AWAY.
What you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart will come to manifest in your life. The only way to put off the old self is to stop confessing whatever the old self confessed.
See and understand how God sees you, now that you are His.
You are a new creation, so you get to make a new confession.
Let’s be about it!
I love you in Jesus Christ
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need].
My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].
Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help!
Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!
Psalms 27:7-9 Amplified (e-Sword)
WHEN LIFE IS ROUGH – PRAY
Jesus said you will have an abundant life. Life in Christ means a satisfying life, a fulfilling life. His promise is that God will supply all you need to live the life He has planned for you. I have to ask myself, when I pray, am I praying for selfish gain just to spend it on my fleshly desires? Worldly comforts and wealth flee at a moment’s notice.
If I have given my life completely over to Jesus Christ, and have said, “Do with me as you will, Lord!”, then I insist that I live any way I wish, and spend my life fulfilling fleshly pursuits, and then I reap the consequences of that pursuit, why am I startled when things go wrong?
Or, what if I am serving the Lord faithfully and see God work the miraculous in the lives of people around me, yet disaster strikes any way. What do I make of this circumstance?
Jesus said he sends the rain on the Just and the Unjust.
What we DO know is this, life happens to the sinner and the saint. There are rough patches. Paul described this situation like this: I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Php 4:12-13 Amplified (e-Sword)
We will have life that sometimes is hard. One thing is sure, if I am in a very hard and dark place, have I learned to do all I can to keep my relationship alive between God and me? I feel tempted to take matters into my own hands because things are too hard. Have I learned to pray, instead, for revelation of where God is in this situation? It is easy for me to praise God when things are going well, but do I trust Him enough to sustain me when things are going badly? If you are in this darkness because of your disobedience, know this, you caused it, but God is there in the middle of your circumstance with you. He will never forsake you. If you are here through your disobedience, remember how God did with Israel: “Many times He would deliver them; They, however, were rebellious in their counsel, And so sank down in their iniquity. Nevertheless He looked upon their distress When He heard their cry; And He remembered His covenant for their sake, And relented according to the greatness of His loving-kindness.” Psa 106:43-45 NASB (e-Sword) God will deliver you of your rebellion, and you will see He is loving, gentle and faithful to grow you up to be just Like His Son, Jesus. From your curses, He will deliver you in a blessing. From your darkness, He will deliver you into His light. You will be changed forever, and you will have an even deeper knowledge of God, and a more meaningful relationship with Him.
If you are here in spite of your obedience, know this, God did not cause this, but He is there in the middle of your circumstances with you. Turn to God and see Him supply all your need, and courage and strength. God will sustain your soul, your heart, your mind, and carry you through this to His glory. In the face of witnesses who scorned you for being in the dark place, God’s light will shine through you to dissipate the darkness, so others will see what wonders God does for His children. Keep praying it through. Cling to His promise. If you are in this dark place for the sake of the gospel, you are covered in His grace.
Remember, there is not enough darkness in the entire universe to extinguish the light of one small candle.
WHEN LIFE IS GREAT – PRAY!
Jesus said you will have an abundant life. Life in Christ means a satisfying life, a fulfilling life. His promise is that God will supply all you need to live the life He has planned for you. When we are on the mountain top, we should relish the fresh air and magnificent view. When we are flush in the abundance God has provided, we are meant to enjoy it. Joy is bound to happiness, and happiness leads to great celebration. We are free before God to relish His gifts without shame or guilt.
I look forward to these times in life, whether they last a while or are short lived. God gives us His blessings because of His great love for us. We are not talking about crumbs falling from the master’s table, either. When God blesses you, it is good, and abundant, and overflowing.
(When things are easy, though, I am tempted to forget God, and take over from here.)
God is all about every aspect of your character in relationship to His. When you have joy, He desires that you share with Him. When you have abundance, He rejoices at your generosity. God is not a part time God who is there only when things are bad.
While abundance is God’s design for you, it is not a thing to be sought after. Jesus said it best when He said: Mat 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
When life is great, I need to stay in God’s presence just as much as when things were going badly. The temptation to place God on the back burner is greater when I have everything I need. To pray without ceasing is just as important in the bright light of God’s goodness, as it is when things are really dark. I pray because He has given me good things. I pray because I need Him worse than I need His gifts. I pray because the life He has given me in Christ is the greatest gift of all. I pray when I have time to relax because I want to know Him even more. I pray because I want to be His son just as badly as He wants to be my Father. I pray when things are good so I will know how to act when things go wrong.
I pray without ceasing.
This is so that, by time God’s abundance overflows my vats, and overcomes my chariots, and floods my home, I will know God so well, that I will understand what it truly means to appreciate that abundance.
Let’s be about it!
I LOVE you in the name of Jesus
David G. Perkins
Dad needed to fly to Sarepta, Louisiana to take care of a family situation. He asked me to be his co-pilot. I was barely 18, and had never co-piloted, although Dad had been teaching me how to fly for about a year. Dad had a couple of airplanes at that time. One was a Bellanca Super-Viking. The Bellanca was tailored after the WWII Italian fighter plane made by the same factory. This air craft was FAST. If you needed to be somewhere right now, this aircraft was the one to take. Plainview, TX to Sarepta, LA would have been, what, a couple of hours if the wind were in your face. I was excited to be co-piloting the Super-Viking. All a tremble, I rode with Dad to the local Airport in Plainview.
We pulled up to the hangar. Dad’s other airplane, a Cherokee 6D, was on the tarmac, waiting for us to go. The Bellanca was still moored in the hangar space Dad rented. The Cherokee is a great airplane. But she is like the other sister. The Bellanca was fast, hot, sexy, and dared us to find her limits. The Cherokee, on the other hand, was pretty, like a sister is pretty. She is stable, steady, and a good and reliable performer. However, if you need to get there fast, the Cherokee 6D is not going to be able to accommodate you. What would take two hours in a Bellanca, will take about 5 or 6 hours in the Cherokee. Dad saw the disappointment on my face, and the fires leave my eyes. He told me to stow it, because he needed to get some hours on the Cherokee to stay current, and I needed my first co-piloting experience in an aircraft that will forgive the inexperienced fumbling of a newbie pilot. He was right. The Cherokee is very forgiving in flight. She is designed for comfort, not speed. Her wings are cantilevered, meaning they can absorb a lot of in-flight shock and air pressure changes.
After doing my pre-flight check, we loaded up our bags and took off. Everything about the Cherokee is smooth and easy. She is all about the flight, not the destination. I guess Dad actually knew what he was doing, since I was scared to death. I mean, I wrecked, no, I TOTALED over 5 automobiles from the time I was 16 to the time I was 17. My transportation record was not all that sterling. Flying, though…I loved it, and it loved me. I took to flying like a bird. (OK, if you disregard the fact that, on my very first lesson I nearly took out a radio tower in Lubbock, TX! Geeze, lighten UP!)
Since the flight was going to be a long one, and an easy one, Dad decided this flight will be the best time to polish my land navigation skills. FAA Maps are incredibly accurate. If that map said there is a cow chewing cud near a largish oak tree, you can count on it being true. Every detail of the land below was accurate. He told me to keep an eye on the instruments, but, for now, don’t rely on them. He pulled out his pilots slide rule and navigation tools. It was all on a nifty clipboard that attached to your leg. We practiced slow turns, navigating at varying speeds and altitude, and predicting the timing of getting from one location on the map to the other. He showed me how Sun angle matters, IF you see the sun. He showed me how to pick an object on the horizon that aligns with true north, and keep it located against my projected flight path.
All this was fun, and I was eating it up. After all, my Dad is a very experienced pilot, and I know that if I mess up, He will hop in and correct it, and teach me what I need to do to avoid another error like that. These times were golden for me. These were some of the few times my Dad and I had any real bonding moments. It was rich and satisfying. While I was doing all that “Leave it to Beaver “thinking, the airplane suddenly got very quiet. See, in a single engine craft, noise is normal. You are practically sitting on top of the engine. You have to wear headsets with microphones to even hope to hear each other talk. Quiet is not a good thing in this aircraft. I looked up from my navigation charts to see that the propeller was not spinning. I am no ACE pilot, or anything, but I believe a spinning propeller means a happy flight. We were about to have an unhappy flight, by my reckoning.
I looked at my Dad. He was all calm and cool, as if he regularly flies an airplane without using the actual engine. He asked me if I checked the fuel before take-off. He knew I did, because he saw me do it. The fuel was clean. The gauges showed both tanks should be full. Dad asked me why one tank should not be full. (These aircraft have two tanks, one in each wing). I looked at the gauges again. He was right; we had been flying for almost two hours. One gauge should definitely be showing fuel usage. I told him as much. He said that we cannot always trust our instruments, even when we think we did a good job in pre-flight checks. Dad switched to the other tank and tried to start the airplane. It didn’t start. He stayed calm but looked at me in that look that said, “We WILL discuss this later!” He called a May-Day to the DFW Airport (It was brand new, back then). DFW advised that we should land at the little Airport in Olney, TX. They also advised that that Airport was abandoned and not FAA commissioned. Good luck, they advised.
Dad calmly told me to find Olney on the map, and calculate a flight path to it, with the best glide slope, in the least time for landing. The beauty of this ever so wonderful and adorable Cherokee 6D is, IT GLIDES. It glides a long way when the engine fails. I LOVED THAT AIRPLANE MORE THAN ANYTHING AT THAT MOMENT!!
I did the math, and told Dad that we are 10 miles off the end of the runway. Looking at our air speed, altitude, and no engine, I calculated we will land short of the runway. What I didn’t say was that I hope we don’t land upside down. Dad nodded at me, and made ready for our approach. I was thinking, “ARE YOU INSANE, MAN? HAVE YOU SEEN MY MATH GRADES??? ARE YOU TAKING MY WORD FOR IT???” I knew we were doomed.
Dad flew on as if everything were OK. He updated DFW on a periodic basis. I saw the end of the runway. Sure enough, it looked like it was too far away. Dad was not even showing signs of stress. We were about 100 feet up, and approaching the grass off the end of the runway. We had not lowered our gear yet because we didn’t need the drag. Just as Dad said to lower the gear, three crop duster aircraft flew right beneath us. Dad did a trick with the airplane that made the plane seem to leap up another 20 or so feet. He adjusted for glide and landed right on the numbers at the end of the runway. We notified DFW of our landing, and rolled to a stop just off the runway.
What I thought was going to be a disaster because of my errors, Dad turned into a real live adventure. In the hands of an experienced pilot, this was no big deal. His training and experience brought him through this adventure. One of the crop duster pilots had tools in his aircraft. They helped us take apart the fuel floats (No electronics in the fuel tanks back then), to see what the problem was. The bane of fuel floats is they get stuck. So what looks to be a full tank actually isn’t. I should not have trusted the ground crew when they said they had topped off the tanks. I should have used the fuel stick and measured the amount of fuel in the tank.
Had all this happened in the Bellanca, I would not have been able to write this story. I could have chosen to stay home, that day, too. After all, there were still lots of girls on the Wayland Baptist College campus who had not had the rare privilege of knowing me. But I would not have learned as many things as that experience taught me. Everything from flight mechanics to “Is there really a God?” were covered during that flight.
KNOWING A THING IS NOT THE SAME AS DOING IT
Jesus said to GO. Teach. Bring home God’s lost sheep. He didn’t say it will happen from the comfort of our home. He didn’t say it would be easy. He didn’t say it will be smooth sailing. He said GO, and wherever we go, He will be right there with us. I want to serve the Living God as an evangelist and teacher of the Gospel. This is my calling. This means I cannot do it from my barka-lounger. I cannot do it during commercial breaks. I have to be willing to leave all the things I think are comforting and safe, and be willing to take the flight God has planned for me. I can read all about the great saints, all the martyrs, and read all the sermons by all the best preachers. Unless I am willing to take this journey with Jesus, and learn of Him, and trust that he knows what is going on, unless I am willing to take the chance at the unknown and uncomfortable, I will not get to live that life that God wants me to live.
It is time for believers to get up out of our comfort zones and take the risk that being just like Jesus is worth it. We can watch the world go to hell from our TV sets, or we can set out on a journey that God has chosen for us and watch God redeem mankind from the front-line of the action. You were not promised all the comforts of home when you decided to believe in and serve Jesus. But you were promised an abundant life, full of living and joy. God is a great pilot, if you will choose to fly with him.
Let’s be about it!
I love you.
David G. Perkins
Pro 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. (Amplified, e-sword)
Peter hopped out of the boat, but let the waves scared him, causing him to forget to keep his eyes on Jesus. Peter cut off a man’s ear. Jesus rebuked Peter, and put that man’s ear back on. Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Later on, after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter refused to eat with the Gentiles. The Lord lovingly rebuked him, and taught him that it was OK, because He had opened the entire world up to receive the Gospel. And all things were now clean because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Paul led an army from the Temple in Jerusalem into all the land of Israel and surrounding territories to persecute, murder, torture, and commit many atrocities in the name of the God of the Pharisees. Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus blinded and rebuked Paul. After he was healed, and the eyes of his understanding were opened, Jesus sent Paul into all of Europe and the Mediterranean to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible, we see that every man of God has fallen, and God lifted them back up.
All of these situations have something in common. When they fell the Lord rebuked them. When the Lord rebuked them, it was for their healing and understanding. Their ignorance of God’s way was stripped away and replaced with a better understanding of who and what the Lord is, and what God desires of all of us.
WE ALL FALL.
God did not bring that fall, you probably did. God will not judge you for that fall. All of God’s judgment and wrath was poured out on Jesus at the Cross. Because Jesus Christ is our Lord, we are not judged when we fall. God does not look down on you in scorn and say, “Well, you certainly deserved THAT!” Remember this scripture when you fall: Rom 8:1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. (Amp, e-Sword). The failure is not in the falling. The failure comes when we don’t learn the lesson God reveals to us through that fall.
I will use an example I heard Graham Cooke use at a church in Carrolton, TX. When a mother is teaching her baby to walk, and she stands the baby up, scoots back a bit, and holds out her arms, and says, “Walk to Mommy.”, and the baby takes a few halting steps, then falls and crawls the rest of the way to Mommy; Will that Mom get angry with the child and, in her scorn, tell the baby, “I told you to WALK! You fell down! I no longer love you because you don’t walk exactly as I do!” No! No mother who loves her child will do something that cruel.
God invites you to walk as His Son did. You take a few halting steps, yet you fall. Will God declare you unfit for His kingdom? Will he berate you for being a sinner, unworthy of His love? NO! God does not do that with His children. God loves us much more than any human could possibly love her child. God is Love, Joy, Peace, Forgiveness, Gentleness, Kind Hearted, Peaceable, Hope, and Redemption. To act any other way towards us, His children, would be out of His own character. God is teaching all His children to walk – toward Him.
WHEN WE FALL
You are not condemned by God.
Because we are seeking Him with all our heart; God will use this experience to take your understanding of Him to an even higher level. God is all about a relationship with you through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the ONLY way you can have a relationship with God. And Jesus, having become all sin that ever existed from eternity to eternity, understands what it is like to fall. He stands before God DAILY advocating on your behalf.
In your fall, you will experience the love, grace and kindness of God, through Jesus. You will learn that there is a difference between devotion to a person, and devotion to some principles or to a cause. Jesus didn’t come here proclaiming a cause. Any cause that replaces Jesus in your life, even if you think you are serving Jesus in it, is idolatry. Jesus came here to proclaim that your relationship with God is healed and renewed and available. The door to the Kingdom is open when we go through Jesus.
We are called out to a relationship, not a religion. We are called out to be made into the likeness of Jesus, as He is in Heaven. When we fall, we will be lifted back up by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. You are his beloved child. He loves you so much that He sacrificed His OWN beloved child so you can live.
We will fall, but when we do, God will reveal Himself in our circumstances, and show us what we need to learn from it, so we will grow stronger in a loving relationship with Him.
WHEN THE LORD LIFTS US UP
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (Amplified, e-Sword)
God’s thoughts of you are exactly the same as He has for Jesus. You are His beloved. You are His prize. You are God’s very own child. You have inherited all that Jesus has because you have believed in Him.
God has woven plans for you from before the beginning of time, and nothing can stop Him from fulfilling it in you. God will lift you up, and set you on His path. You will know you are not condemned, and that you are greatly loved of God. Sometimes, the path God has planned for us gets tangled when we take matters in our own hands. Rest assured, this will not surprise God. You will never hear God say, “Man, I didn’t see THAT coming!” Your progress is in His timing. Your growth is His idea. You are the redeemed.
This is not a license to fall, either. The deeper your relationship with God grows, the less the things of the world will appeal to you. When you fall, and the Lord lifts you up, you will see a side of Him that offers you redemption in the area you fell. He will show you a higher level of life to live. He is all about upgrading us to a perfect relationship with Him.
Php 1:6 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. (Amplified e-Sword)
You are God’s own handiwork, and He never tires of bringing you, lovingly, into the image of Christ.
WHEN YOU ARE REDEEMED
Remember what you were redeemed from. Remember who the redeemer is. When you meet someone in need, do not think that you are free to ignore that person. Don’t delude yourself by saying that, “He must be going through this because God is trying to teach him something, and he probably deserves it.” We have no right to judge what a person is going through, and we do not actually know. Only God knows. God just may have put that person in your path to see what YOU will do with the situation. Will you cross the street in order to remain clean, or will you dip your hands deep into the situation to show that person the only Godliness he may ever see? God’s redemption from any fall, from every fall, comes with gifts of love, grace, mercy, healing, and joy. When we experience these things, we are free to give them away to anyone who we run across. We are given generous measures of Grace. Grace is not ours to hoard. We give freely because we have been given freely.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
When you fell, you weren’t abandoned by God. When the Lord showed up to heal your circumstances, He walked beside you and taught you what you need to understand, in order to overcome this situation. It is the Lord who will lift you up. This is the work of God. Left to our own devices, we would rather wallow in our failures and whine about them. As a child of the Living God, we do not have to fear being alone in our darkest hour. We can trust God that He will heal us and redeem us in our darkest times. The Lord will never abandon you or forsake you. No power in any part of the universe, or in heaven, or beneath, can tear you out of God’s hand. Be encouraged, my friend, when you have problems, or when you fall. After you pass through this dark place, you will walk out of it looking more like Christ. God will turn this darkness into daylight, and turn your curses into blessings, so that all men will see that God is good.
When we see others fall, we are to treat them in the exact same manner as God treats us when we fall.
Let’s be about it.
I love you in the love of Jesus Christ
David G. Perkins
Have you ever prayed fervently for something, and got what you prayed for? I did, and it caused problems. The problem it caused is that I discovered I cannot serve two masters. I cannot have it my way, AND God’s way…not when my way does not harmonize with what it is God is trying to accomplish in my life. I discovered that what I had asked for was a compromise position on what it is that God wants to accomplish in the life of my family.
See, Sandy and I have been praying fervently that God grow us up, make real believers of us, and remake us to be the image of Christ.
I also asked God for something that I have been asking Him even before I came to know Him in a very real way, last August. Strangely enough, I got what I asked for. EXACTLY the way I asked for it.
At the time I did this, I didn’t know there was a big difference between what I want and what God wants for me.
It turns out that, God will place at your feet anything you ask, if you ask believing it will be done. The problem is that, you have to make sure that what you ask is what GOD wants to see happen in your life.
If what you get does not harmonize with the will of God for your life, then what you experience is going to end up being a painful experience. You will discover that you have to do things God’s way, your way, or someone else’s way.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. God called Abram of UR, out of UR to go to another land. Abram didn’t go right away. He was supposed to go when he was called. He was supposed to go alone, too. He waited, and then took his uncle, relatives and his half-sister, whom he married. He didn’t go to where God told him to go, either. Where he ended up quickly became a barren land and had a famine. God told Abram to go NORTH. Abram went SOUTH, to Egypt. THEN Abram lied to everyone and said the hot babe on his arm wasn’t his wife, but his sister. Eventually the truth would come out, and people would kick Abram out of the place, but offer him peace offerings for nearly committing adultery with his wife.
Foreigners had to tell Abram he was sinning against his own God. By this time, Abram is old, and has not seen the promise of a great multitude occupying the land. You know the rest of the story.
The point is, God called Abram, told him what needs to be done, and Abram did it his way. The Bible describes it this way: Pro 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (e-SWORD).
Abraham did what he thought was the right thing to do based on his understanding of the circumstances. What he did, however, slowed down the progress that God had in mind. But, through it all, Abraham became a man of great faith, because he got to see what God can do INSPITE of Abraham’s interference.
Abraham got the promise, but it took a long time. None-the-less, God was directing Abraham’s steps out of the path Abraham chose, and led him back into the promise.
When we take matters in our own hands, we slow the promise of God down. Then we end up in a situation. If we are smart, we will stop and ask relevant questions of God.
“What are you trying to reveal to me, God?” “Where are you in this situation?” “What are you trying to show me now that I am listening, that you couldn’t show me because I was asking for my own way?” God could have, by his power, prevented what He allowed to happen by His wisdom. The reason is because God needs to reveal Himself in every aspect of your life.
TRUST IN THE LORD
When you can finally quiet your heart, you have to ask these questions, then be still and listen for His answers. He WILL answer. If you ask God to rescue you from the consequences of you having your own way, He may do that, too. However, He will see to it that the lesson is repeated until you finally catch on to what it is that God is trying to show you.
The Bible puts it this way: Pro 3:5 & 6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I asked for what I wanted, and God let me have my way. I discovered that, having my way exposed several weaknesses in my character, and that I have a lot of growing up to do. God turned my selfishness into a blessing. Sandy and I pray constantly to be made like our Savior, Jesus Christ. If I ask for anything from God that contradicts His character, His will for us, or His vision of who we are in Heaven, then I have to be prepared to deal with the outcomes. Even then, God is not judging me. God has already fulfilled all his judgment in Christ Jesus.
God is going to use even my selfishness to teach me and upgrade me so that I can be better at understanding what it is that God wants us to do.
It is the way of the flesh to call someone out on their failings, and judge them and condemn them. It is God’s way to take your failings and call you up to a higher standard.
Through the power of God’s Grace, He will show you what it is you need to do. Through the power of His Grace, God will empower you to do that very thing.
Sandy and I have not yet understood all the lessons we need to learn through our circumstances. But one thing we do know, He made a promise to us, and, one way or another, He will see to it that His promise in us is fulfilled in us.
We are called to serve God because of Jesus Christ. We feel the urgency of this call, and we have a burning fire in our hearts to obey. Now we wait quietly to see what God wants us to do next.
Your outcome is secure if you have genuinely given your life to God through Jesus Christ. God is calling all of Humanity to come home to a relationship with Him. We have had several millennia to see what life is like apart from God. Jesus Christ did for all of humanity what we are not able to do for ourselves. He became all sin, all failure, all disease, all things that formed a barrier between us and God, and, for our sakes He died of them. He became the judged. He was the sin eater. He went to hell on our behalf. And he rose again to prove he has the right to be called the Son of God.
Sandy and I want to be part of the team of messengers He will be sending out to reap the final harvest.
The outcome of even my failings is, I will grow to be just like Jesus Christ. This is God’s promise to you, too.
MY PRAYER FOR US ALL
Father God, I come to you in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. I pray you give us all a vision of what needs doing, and the power of your Grace to get it done. Grow us all up to be just like Jesus Christ. Teach us to put aside all our vain imaginings, and selfish desire. Teach us daily how to be your Child. Make us into the image of Your Son, Jesus. Time is running out. The enemy is afoot, and we are too busy being religious and selfish to care what goes on around is, in front of us, and even because of us. Grant us mercy. Show us all your love and your will.
Let’s Be About It!
I Love You
David G. Perkins
The old man sat on the swing under the large sycamore tree. It was his little slice of heaven, his place to sit and watch, to see what else nature could teach him. Ancient and strong, the sycamore’s branches stretched far and wide, shading a very large portion of his back yard. Sunlight filtered green and golden through the giant leaves that sheltered all that sat in her shadow. Years ago, he had hung that porch swing on the low, horizontal branch, itself large enough to be a tree trunk for a smaller tree. Just like that old tree, my grandfather was ancient and strong.
Grandpa Perkins had been a woodsman most of his life. Felling timbers for International Paper in Sarepta, Louisiana, he had worked hard all his life. When he had grown too old to be a woodsman, International Paper had him spend the last years of his work life cleaning out the chimney stacks at the mill. That was just as hard, and even more dangerous. There were no real “Safety” regulations back then. Safety meant getting the hell out of the way before a block of ash fell on your head because you jarred it loose cleaning the stacks. He had grown up in a hard world, and learned the ways of the woodlands, and earned his keep off that woodland. Even as an old man, he looked to me to be strong enough to snap two by fours with his hands.
Momma told me to wait until after grandpa had his coffee before I pester him. So, I stood at the back door, looking out the screen, waiting for him to put his cup down, signaling he will be receiving an audience. Grandpa had an old border collie, named “Pup”. That old dog stood guard while Grandpa drank his coffee. When he heard the cup settle down next to the old swing, he would turn and wag his tail at Grandpa, and receive a good scratching between the ears for being a good dog. Pup growled low at most people who came up, but he treated me like I was his best friend.
Momma told me not to go out there and talk Grandpa’s ears off. So, I walked out there quiet as a church mouse, and, after giving Pup a good solid hug, I crawled slowly and quietly in to that old porch swing and just sat there, as silent as a tomb. Grandpa, Pup, and I would sit like that for the longest time. No one moved. There was no talking. The only sound we heard were the sound of cicadas or a slight breeze jostling the leaves on his prize “Cane Pole Garden”, and the chickens clucking in the yard. There was hardly any reason for us to chat. Grandpa was a man of few words, but even if he were a chatterbox, it seemed like it wasn’t necessary for us to have to talk. It felt as if all our talking happened through our hearts.
Eventually, Grandpa would turn his tired blue eyes on me, squeeze my knee, and nod. It was the benediction on a long and silent communion we alone had shared. It was time to do the chores.
His property was small for that part of Louisiana, but a poor woodsman could barely feed his family, let alone have a good stretch of land. What he had, he made the most of. He had a garden, he had chickens, and he had his famous cane poles, growing along the fence line. Grandpa grew the strongest and straightest Bamboo Cane Poles in North Louisiana. People came from far and wide just to try to get one. He had over a hundred poles growing at a time, but very few of them passed his standard of what makes a really good cane pole. What other men would accept as passable, Grandpa threw in the fire for kindling. Our first chore was to cover our mouth and noses with damp cloth and cut down some of the Bamboo Canes. Cane fibers would get in your lungs if you didn’t protect your breathing. Those fibers were like tiny spears that could penetrate your lungs. We had to cover up so we wouldn’t inhale them.
After that, he would choose which ones were worthy of being a Grandpa Perkins Fishing Pole, and have me strip all the tiny branches and buds off the pole. I had no idea I was working hard, all I knew was that me and my Grandpa were doing stuff together. I didn’t care, I was happy as a pig in slop just being around Grandpa. He taught me how to keep a really good cutting blade and a really good chopping blade. You don’t just go up to Bamboo poles and start hacking away at them. There is a way to cut them down. It is an art, and done right, means less hard work, and more poles to dry and season. I was too small to cut the big poles, so Grandpa had me clear the little bamboo from between the big ones. He said they would never grow to be a good pole, so they had to go. It was my job to make them go away. I felt like a real lumber jack cutting down those poles.
Grandpa was a woodsman, and being a lumberjack was mostly what he did. He taught me how to pick the right axe for the job, how to sharpen the axe, and keep it sharp. Out there, in rural Louisiana, there was no going to Home Depot to get a new axe or axe handle. I still have one of his axes. The one with the home made handle. That handle is better built than any I have used from a factory. Trust me; I have broken many axe handles, except that one. Grandpa taught me several lessons on that. If you want it right, do it yourself. Otherwise, you can’t say a word about it. Protect your tools, and they will feed you.
He showed me the different ways of cutting wood, and what type of strike did the most good for the type of tree you are felling and cutting up. He said that a man has to keep good care of his axes and saws because they took care of him. Besides, dull and badly kept blades made for twice as much work for half the pay. I had no idea what that meant at the time; I was just overjoyed to be around him, and him letting me inside his world.
Grandpa was known for being an outstanding fisherman. Louisiana is “Fisherman’s Paradise”, and Grandpa was famous for knowing all the hidey holes where all the good fish were. It was his secret, shared with no one else but me and my big sister, Carol. We would go out while it was still dark. I was little, so Grandpa already had the boat hooked up to his old Ford truck, and warmed up. He sat me in the passenger’s side and I fell back to sleep. The next thing I know, we are at Bodcau Bayou, near Minden, Louisiana. After swearing me to secrecy, we would launch our john-boat out to those hidey holes. Grandpa taught me how to hold a pole and how to “hear” the fish through the line. He showed me how to set bait, how to cut bait, and what to do when I catch a fish. Catching the fish was the fun part. Cleaning it was another. But Grandpa taught me that God gave us fish so we can catch them, eat and enjoy them, and be happy. Grandpa was very happy about fish.
I didn’t set out to learn how to make fishing poles, or cut timber, or catch fish, or sharpen axes and blades. All I wanted to do was hang out with Grandpa because I loved him so much. Learning how he does things was a byproduct of that relationship. He loved me very much, and gave me good things; simply because I thought he was more important than all the fish in Louisiana.
Seeking the kingdom of God…and all these things.
God brought all this to my remembrance yesterday. I cried happy tears at all those sweet memories. To this day, I still do those thing he did because I loved being with him, and he was a good and gentle teacher. That is the message God is trying to get through our sheepish skulls. Do you love God for all the stuff he will give you, or do you just love God, and want to be with Him? Sandy and I are facing some challenges in our life, right now, and we have been praying our hearts out over them. That is when the lessons my Grandfather taught came to my mind. I never asked Grandpa for anything, I just wanted to be near him and love him.
Am I to the point where that is why I want to be with God, or do I want to be with God because I want stuff from Him? Either way you go, God will be there with you. The difference is, if you hang out with Him simply because you love Him, all the rest of the things you seek will simply happen as a consequence of His love for you. In the meantime, He will help you grow up to be just like His beloved Son, Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who introduced you to God.
Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. Seek Him and His kingdom (Which happens to dwell in you already), and ALL these things will be added to you. You will be just like Jesus then. You might be the only Jesus people meet before they die.
Grandpa Perkins, with my Big Sister, 1952