THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 10, 2020

The saga of surrender continues. I wrote yesterday about God being in charge of the forthcoming meeting for our Celebrate Recovery core leadership meeting this Sunday. He literally informed me to let it go as He was in charge. I had to let go several times for my mind wants to do the planning so the outcome is what I think is needed. Well, I got a call last night that the meeting is not Sunday, it is next Tuesday which is a better day for everyone else. It helped me realize that God is taking lead and I need to let this go once and for all. He told me this morning that my role is to be present. This I will do.

This morning I had another awakening. It started with my devotional reading from Oswald Chambers. In it he writes about the clouds in our lives. These typically represent sorrow, burdens, circumstances out of our control, etc. Oswald says that God is in these clouds. They accompany His Presence. What became much clearer to me this morning in reading this is that God’s Presence is Light which exposes these items. The reason they accompany Him is not about Him putting them upon us–life in this human flesh does that. God’s Presence exposes them and with this He offers us a chance to give them over to Him–surrender them. In so doing I take myself out of the equation of trying to fix them. Instead, I take a step back, surrender them to God and wait “patiently” for Him to shed Light on what I am to do, if anything.

This is the very truth God is wanting me to see about the upcoming meeting. Oswald goes on to say that these times are not so much about what we need to learn as they are about what we need to unlearn. Instead of me putting time into planning every detail, I need to let go and trust that God is doing what He says. There are times He wants me to put details together, but, this is not one of them. His Light has so shone and now it is time for me to surrender and obey.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 9, 2020

I have no idea how many times I’ve written here that God is AMAZING. Once again, I need to write it. What I am referencing is the detail for which God brings out in our lives. All of us in our Celebrate Recovery leadership know that we are functional, but not really inspired. The apathy towards the purpose of leadership is very present. We have been talking about this for a couple of years but the talking is only that–talk. We have now had two meetings with the core leaders to address this apathy within us. To show how real it is, only 4 of the core team showed for the meeting last night. The other 4 “couldn’t make it” for a number of reason, even though 2 weeks ago everyone said this date would work. This Sunday is to be our monthly leadership meeting so I suggested we have last night’s meeting this Sunday only inviting this core group. That is what the 4 present last night decided was right.

As I arose this early morning I began to journal some things which I knew needed to be addressed this Sunday in our meeting. However, as soon as I did, God reminded me that today is not Sunday–it is today. He already has a plan for Sunday and I am not the one He wants planning it. Today has its own work to do and I need to stay focused on today. It is one thing to be grateful for God’s leadership, it is another thing to try and take charge of His leading telling Him we need to do this and that. I’m good at this flaw.

I’ve written of late about the book study I’m doing with I Give You Authority. I’ve learned a good deal from it already and we are only half way through it. The authority God gives is huge but we don’t receive it in its fullness unless we learn to obey this authority by surrendering our own will to His. I have authority over my will and daily I must remember this truth. The authority over my will doesn’t mean I no longer have a “will”. It means that my will is now directed by The Holy Spirit Who has been waiting patiently for me to learn what genuine surrender looks like. I’m sure not done with this lesson, but my ears and my eyes are now open a good deal more.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 8, 2020

I had a rather striking awakening this morning as I began my time with God. I had begun to journal thinking I’d missed my time with my prayer warrior yesterday. I was wanting that time to help me jump a hurdle or two about the things I wrote about yesterday. God had told me He wanted to address them with me directly, but–oh me of little faith wasn’t sure about my part. This morning as I was journaling I asked Him what He wanted me to know for today? He took me back to when I asked His Son Jesus into my heart. I was 10 or 11 years old. By this time in my life I was already a scared boy of dad’s overwhelming power over me and that I was very different from him and my brothers. In this God reminded me of my fears about living for Him: I could never be a preacher for that person had to be much stronger than I was. I could possibly be a missionary because they did things, not preach things. I could be a teacher because they didn’t preach, they taught lessons which were already made by someone else. This I could do. Fear dominated this boy, God was showing me, just as fear tries to dominate this older man today.

I have learned a great deal about fear over my lifetime. But, not until this morning did I see the dominance it has played in my life. This Light of Truth shone into a closet of darkness I’ve kept hidden. It has so much to do with capability or belief of capability. Today I see that God wants me to see the difference between believing fully in His capability vs mine. When He asks something of me, I can be sure He will be the One doing it through me. My role is to be obedient. I’ve always seen the mental picture of me blowing it. God wants me to see Him working through this “jar of clay” Ephesians 2:7.

I don’t need to be this child of fear any longer. Fear may enter the picture but letting it dominate my actions has now become a “high place” for which God has given me hind’s feet to climb over. This is His promise from Habakkuk 3:19.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 7, 2020

This morning I was going to be meeting with my prayer warrior. I had set it up so we could talk more deeply about what God has been showing me regarding His authority which is ours through The Holy Spirit when we accept Christ into our lives. Lastly, I wanted to talk more about the gifts we are given by God upon birth and how we use them to His Glory rather than hide them. Late yesterday I got a text from her saying she has a fever and some other ill effects so we shouldn’t meet today. I told her it was my turn to pray for her! However, God pointed out that He was wanting to be the One to clarify more fully these items I addressed above.

Faith is the big item here–(My devotions talked much about this today). Faith that the gifts God gives are real and true and Trust that when I go out into the day God will use them to His Honor and Glory. Stepping into this seems like something I would do each and every day. However, what is being confronted here for me are the voices in my head about motives. I am doing nothing to gain status in man’s eyes. These are the voices of old and the ones Satan wants to haunt me with. I will give them to Jesus so He deals with them. I’ll surrender the voices just like I will surrender myself unto the day for whatever work Jesus has in store for the day.

This is the time to stand up with Christ Jesus and proclaim His victory over the lies which I’ve dealt with all my life. To God be all Glory for great things He has done!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 6, 2020

Well, the journey does continue. As I began my journaling this morning I saw the letter my prayer warrior had sent me only a few days ago. It was challenging me to take a look at my “worthiness factor”. Had I seen it improve–she was asking? The book I’m going through with another man which I’ve written about–I Give You Authority, challenges us to believe the authority for which we are given when Christ comes into our lives. The author goes on to say that God gifts each of us differently, but He does give each of us gifts. The authority He gives us helps us to use these gifts for Him.

For several years I’ve been challenged to take a verse of promise and read it several times a day for a month so I will believe the truth of the verse. One of them is Psalms 139:14–“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” Every time I’ve tried this I just couldn’t stay with it. This practice caused too much disturbance in my mind with all of dad’s old messages screaming at me. As I saw my letter this morning I was going to ignore it again, but God was pressing me to read it. In so doing I read that Satan purposefully does all he can in his power to destroy our ability to use the gifts given to us by God. As I was processing all of this I realized I have always discontinued the practice of believing because the outcome of believing led me to see only what dad would tell me and I never wanted to be someone who thought he was better than his family and would disown them. This time God was showing me that He, my Father, was the giver of gifts. My using them completed His purposes in my life, not my earthly father’s.

A veil of darkness was lifted this morning. Gifts are given for us to complete God’s purposes in our lives. I’ve known this all of my life. But, truth be known, I’ve tried to avoid at all cost any recognition for any gift being used for God. A very different picture is forming in my spirit today. How I love the faithfulness of our loving Father God!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 5, 2020

About halfway through yesterday morning we received a phone call from our youngest daughter. She was wanting to tell us that her ex-husband and father of her youngest two sons is in ICU with blood clots in his lungs and a compromised heart from COVID. His message seemed to indicate that he was scared for his life and wanted people to be prepared. No one can see him so I sent a text to him telling him we were praying for him that he would have a complete recovery. He did respond with a thanks.

I awoke several times during the night and prayed for Troy. He knows God and there is no better time to get to know God well than when we are hurting. This morning early I felt prompted to remind him that Jesus died and rose again so we could live! Join me in praying for this young man. I don’t believe God is done with him yet!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 4, 2020

There is an author whose name I don’t recall, but he talked about word pictures. He says that when we can put our concern into words which paint a picture the reader or listener can see in their minds, it gets the meaning across in a more permanent, clear fashion. That is what happened for me this morning as I was having my devotional reading. Oswald Chambers is one of the writers who God is using to touch many lives today adding clarity to building one’s relationship with our Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.

Oswald writes that, “We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off….” As I read this I began to see clearly something I’ve always wanted to hide. This is the burden of having gay thoughts. My childhood abuse left me with hetero and homo thoughts. Neither are sins, they are apart of our flesh. I’ve always wanted to hide this, however, keeping it a secret. This morning as I read this devotional I could see that this is a burden God is intentionally leaving with me so “we” can use it. In fact, we do use it, I just don’t like using it. Oswald goes on in his writing to say that when God has left a burden with us we can share the load with Christ for He wants to share this burden and use it for His Honor and Glory helping others with similar struggles.

I had never thought about sharing the load this way. However, this morning I could see clearly Christ taking the one end of the load onto His Shoulders. It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 11:29 which says, “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.” Today I gave the one end of this burden to Christ and thanked Him for it knowing He uses it and I get to be part of the use. How humbling, comforting and rewarding this is. What a GREAT GOD we serve!

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: sEPT. 3, 2020

I had a remarkable awakening this morning as I began my journaling. I didn’t seem to have too much to write once I’d written what I was grateful for regarding yesterday. I asked Jesus my daily question of what He wanted me to know for today and He immediately brought to mind the song He has been having me focus on for a few weeks now. The song is Amazing Love. As I began to sing it quietly and write out the words He asked me to write what I love about myself. I instantly recalled having my counselor ask me this question for which I didn’t answer. It triggered ugly memories of dad’s condemnation when I would do anything worthwhile as a kid growing up. He’d say I did whatever it was to “get the bighead”. This time, however, there were things that came to mind. I wrote them down and then He asked me what I love about Him? The first thing that came to mind was that He loved me. I know so much about love but I have believed so little about it. It has been a lot easier for me to live life doing what I could and what I thought I was suppose to, rather than thinking about things like love.

Yesterday I got a letter from my prayer warrior. In it she wrote out the gifts she sees in me which God gave me. Only now do I call them gifts. I use to call them curses because they were what dad ridiculed so much. This morning’s journaling caused me to realize that I can now thank God for these gifts. As I did I began to well up inside with humble gratitude. God has never given up helping me move from condemnation all the way to gratitude.

Lastly, I began to see that I am not the one who uses these gifts. It is actually The Holy Spirit within me. In surrendering myself to The Holy Spirit’s leadership, He is able to complete His work through me. He is the One who prompts the messages which come forth, He is the One who nudges and then follows through with the nudge’s purpose. My job is to respond obediently to the nudge.

This has been a tough message to write out but I know God is likely doing this same work in many of us. I pray for His Light to shine forth for you as it is beginning to do so for me in such dark places in my life.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 2, 2020

I have mentioned a book study I’m doing with another man each week. The book is I Give You Authority. It has been very awakening to the fact that God is Spirit, He sent Jesus to us in flesh and Jesus has conquered the death of flesh so we can enter heaven with the spirit given to us. In addition to all of this, when we accept Jesus into our lives He gives us the Gift of The Holy Spirit. All of that said, Satan is spirit and all of his minions too. I have known all of this but in reality, I’ve not given too much attention to it. The fact that I battle a sin nature and its temptations, I’ve battled the sins done to me through abuse in my growing up years, has not been processed until now through the lens of spirit and demons.

I realize this topic is controversial for many folks today, but I also want to stress that this is real whether we want to believe it or not. My grandma would talk about this often and I never questioned its validity. I just never applied it to me much of the time. The authority we are granted through Christ entering our lives and the power of this authority has been very under used and valued as I’ve lived my life. Today I can recognize this much more clearly. The shame of sin, the pride of man are tools Satan uses to cause us to keep our minds on ourselves rather than on the overcoming POWER of Christ’s presence in our lives.

The power of BELIEF, the confidence of TRUST and FAITH, come from the STRENGTH of GOD who is SPIRIT. I’m learning much about this. Some might say I’m going off on the deep end, but in reality, I’m finally getting the truth of Who God Is, and who God has been wanting me to know about myself with Him through HIS SON JESUS CHRIST! Amen.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES: SEPT. 1, 2020

September is a great month and I love its arrival. The intensity of summer’s heat ends in this month and the mornings are cool with the days still possessing warmth of fall’s arrival. It mirrors spring where the opposite happens with winter’s intensity of the cold. Spring will always be my favorite, but fall comes in next.

This morning’s devotion brought me face to face with the verse God gave me in Habakkuk 3:19. I’ve written about it a couple of times. Oswald Chambers devotion this morning was about Paul selling out totally to Christ’s purpose for his life. Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” Paul thought he was doing the work of God only to find out he was totally wrong. When he understood this he went about face with his life and commitment to now serving Christ–the Son of God. Paul’s beliefs were completely off base just as mine were for so long. Beliefs were one of these high places talked about in my verse. But, God has fully shown me His Truth.

God has also shown me other high places I believed. These are things like my value, my sexuality, my differences from dad and my brothers as it comes to areas of giftedness. My identity is being aligned with God’s purpose in creating me. God has been working on these areas for quite some time with me, and I’m seeing the truth of this verse today: “…He makes my feet like hind’s feet and will make me to walk and make progress upon my high places.” Thank you Father!