Good Friday 2019

I covet your prayers this season that God fulfill everything He ever willed for my life with nothing lost. I’ve learned that nothing changes calls that God puts in one’s heart. I don’t expect many to be able to relate to what I’m about to say because they are living God’s call on their life. In Luke 2:49 it says, ” And he said to His parents, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? “. In Matthew 12 Jesus mother and brothers wanted to talk to Him. Matthew 23:9 says, “And do not call anyone on earth father, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” Some regard His words as being harsh. For me, these are words of love that make perfect sense, and something I can relate to. What my earthly father wanted me to be, was antithetical to what God put in my heart. A mix of respect, trust, his wanting what’s best, and when that was failing, intimidation of bad things that would happen to me, had its effect. However, it turned into a tug of war inside of me between him and God. In the mean time, God did things in my life that forced me way outside of my comfort zone that I wouldn’t have asked, imagined, and even dreaded, that turned out to be blessings. When God won a tug of war, and nothing bad happened, he still would burn with anger at me. I don’t know what he expected when he brought me to church and sent me to Christian school, and learned from the heroes of faith in the Bible. What was terrifying to him and others, was never even a thought. Even though I knew Romans 11:29 that says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”, they are just words until you live with the bleeding inside for the things God puts in your heart that affects you in many ways. So today, when I see a child, I’m musing inside thinking, God, what are you doing there? He keeps everyone in suspense as one fascinating surprise after another buds and blooms. I scream YES inside when I see them latch on to the hand of their father in Heaven and walk in faith.

The most crippling events in my life came from fearing people, listening to my own logic, and thinking I was doing the right thing, as opposed what He had spoken in my heart. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” I learned when I pray and He gives me a sign, He doesn’t give me a scorpion when I ask for an egg (Luke 11:12), and He is the only one who knows the difference. I learned that trusting anyone but Him is a good way to get hurt. Living for others approval avoids persecution but doesn’t stop the bleeding, and no pep talk or manipulation of scriptures can change that.

The heroes of faith in the Bible in Hebrews 11 are not the ones with “no runs, no hits, and no errors.” Romans 4:3 says, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” He didn’t exactly have things figured out. In Isaiah 64:6 It says my righteousness is as filthy rags. Romans 1:17 says, “…as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” It seems today faith and hope have become abstract concepts, and what God is looking for in our lives has been redefined to a culturally modified holiness. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Not everyone in that chapter strikes me as a solid citizen. I used to think Gideon was pretty wimpy after being visited by an angel, God talking to him, and after lays out the fleece twice, and then he still needs a sign to hear what the Midianites were talking about. He doesn’t sound so wimpy anymore. I have more signs than New York city, and I have enough trouble of my own. I already know where a person is coming from when I hear prayers talking about confusion about my calling. Waiting upon the Lord means the opposite of waiting around. I used to think it was pretty weird how in 1 Kings 18 Elijah called down fire from Heaven and killed 450 prophets of Baal, and the next chapter a girl says she is going to kill him, and he fled to a cave in the wilderness where God says to him, What are you doing here? I learned I’m not that different. I could only walk a block at a time because my knees were so bad. I didn’t want the operation I needed and never be able to run again. After a Sunday night service service I asked to be anointed with oil and prayed for according to James 5. The next morning I started running but by the time I ran 25 yards the pain set in. I kept calling out, “Where is the Lord God of Israel?” (Remembering the words of Elisha wrongly), then with legs whipping from side to side and about to hit the cement I said, “Then glorify your name though my weakness”. When I was preparing to fall, my legs became strong, and the pain was gone. I was jumping and calling out, Thank you Jesus, for 5.5 miles. “…with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. After all of that, when I returned home, I was afraid. I hadn’t been able to run or even walk for very far for at least 9 months, and relieved nobody asked me. I drove to a friend’s business to tell him and drove away because I was afraid to tell him. (I did later) When I told the elder he said, “Type it up. I want a copy so that you can never be robbed of this.” When the next week I gave it to him, he said, “You need to tell other’s what God has done for you.” and “Now swing your mantle.” I don’t think its so weird anymore that Elijah hid in a cave after His spirit was attacked.

There have very literally been attacks against my life since being rescued as a baby. Jesus said in John 15:20 “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you”. I have seen Him defend me according to His word, yet somehow, as with Elijah, the attackers can leave their mark with a paralyzing loss of hope, feelings of inadequacy, and being terrified to receive anything good, let alone priceless, from God, which is odd, coming from someone whose entire life has been an off-the-charts testament of God’s unearned and undeserved grace.

There are blessings still unfulfilled in my life, and God’s call never goes away. I’m shredded by a massive war going on inside of me such as Luke 9:59-62 “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. There is too much of this going on with me. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” I’ve seen far too much to claim I didn’t know. Jesus was born to do the will of his father and we are too. The transition Jesus struggled during this season in the garden was way more than anything I will ever know.

I have purposely avoided many opportunities in a variety of ways in order to remain unentangled. I don’t want that to all be for nothing. Matthew 10:39 says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Not losing one’s life for His sake is simply dying an inch at a time on the inside, and anything I own has no value to me. When I was little I thought less of Peter when I heard he had denied Jesus 3 times. Today I’m not pointing any fingers. I know there are promises of rewards in Heaven. I know Matthew 6:26-26 says “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” I know Matthew 19:29 “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” What I understand is Matthew 6:26 , “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” and Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” If you think doing the will of your Father is hard, try not doing it for a while. I don’t even know why I want to do these things, but it isn’t to be holy. Picture a fish out of water trying to get back into the ocean.

The cloud of witnesses the Bible talks about must be about ready to blow a gasket watching me, as am I. Pray they very soon get the happy ending they are rooting for and while watching you too.

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