Maybe I Need to be Fixed

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  – Luke 6:35

Recently, I don’t think I have ever seen so many examples of people who believe they have been done wrong and have made it public.  I’ve seen it at a construction site, I’ve seen it at church, I’ve seen it at restaurants, and I’ve seen it on social media . . . of course, it is always on social media.  

I remember one time how tempted I was to play my greatest injustice out on social media.  I knew without a doubt that I would gain the sympathy of the overwhelming majority.  It would have felt so good to “pay them back,” even if for just a little bit.  God was adamant in constantly showing me verses like Luke 6:35. They always said the same thing in essence, “Adam, you will do no such thing.”  Like a little kid that didn’t get his way, I would always ask “Why, Lord?”  The reply would always be some form of, “Because you are mine, and you don’t get to do things like the world does.”

Now that I am well on the other side of it all, I read Luke 6:35 a little bit differently.  Honestly, I never really made it past the first sentence.  I just always thought that it sucked having to do good to my enemies knowing that I would not receive goodness in return.  I did it anyway.  I did it reluctantly, but I did it.  I am just now arriving at the second sentence of Luke 6:35, and I see what God was doing.  

Then your reward will be great

I think we spend so much time figuring out how to pay back our enemies that we never even consider the fact that if we can learn to take injustices being done to us, then there is a reward involved.  Yes, there is probably an eternal reward in heaven, but the ultimate reward is that we become more like Him.  Think about it, one of His 12 best friends literally sold Him out.  Religious people held illegal meetings at night to discuss how they could terminate Him.  People who shouted, “Hosanna in the highest!” to Him last week were shouting “Crucify Him!” this week.  Oh my goodness how He could have paid them back!  He could have paid them back like nobody in history has ever paid anyone back.  Yet, do you know what He finally said when He got a moment to take a painful breath on the cross?  “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”  He did the greatest thing that could possibly be done for them . . . He forgave them.

And you will be children of the Most High

I get it now as I look at God’s Son on the cross.  I see how He handled the greatest injustice that has ever taken place.  He gave it all receiving nothing in return.  Look at how He was able to take all that had been done to Him.  It almost makes me sick because His follower, Adam Hopkins, hasn’t been able to take anything.  For the first time in my soon to be 46-year-old life, I feel like I took something for Him and didn’t react the way that I would have normally reacted.  I feel more connected with Him.  I realize that the goal of injustice is never to “pay my enemies back,” but to change me to look more like Him.  God’s kids look different than the world’s kids.

Because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked

The funny thing about this last part, is thinking about how many times I’ve been ungrateful and wicked.  Yet, I’ve wanted Him to “bring down fire from heaven,” on people who have been ungrateful and wicked to me.  All I can say is “Thank You, God, for being the merciful God that You are.”  He is working on others just like He worked on me.  I must be good to ungrateful and wicked people.  Why?  Because He was so good to me when I was just like them.  

Lord, I want to be different.  I want to graduate from Basic Bible 101.  But when I stew in anger and hope that my enemies “get what’s coming to them,’ I could not be further from You.  I open up my heart to the power of the Holy Spirit.  Stir a passion in my heart, Lord.  While on the cross You forgave.  Surely, I can do it in the comfort of my own home.  How could someone be given as much as I have and be bitter towards anyone?  You have blessed me above and beyond what anyone could possibly deserve.  Plus, I know You.  May I never take that for granted.  When I go through hard things, help me to think one thing and one thing only, “How are You going to use this to change me? How will this make me more like You?”   For the first time in my life, instead of saying “fix this, Lord” I have the capability of saying, “Maybe I am the one who needs to be fixed.”  Help me, God.  You know I need it.  Amen

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Great Things

The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. – Psalm 126:3

Sometimes I get caught up in how bad things are.  Things right now in this world are bad.  If I dwelt on those things, I would stay a miserable soul.  I have done a lot of wrong in this life, and I have had a lot of wrong done to me.  It is so easy to beat myself up for the wrong I’ve done, and it is just as easy to want to hurt those who have hurt me.  My mind seems to have the default setting of dwelling on negative things.  I am thankful for Bible verses like this that snap me out of it.  

In context, this verse is contained within a restoration.  At first read, I thought it meant the restoration of the Israelites to their homeland and of course they were simply glad to be back worshipping in the temple of God.  However, I read a commentary that took it to mean that they were “restored” back into captivity like they were in Egypt before God brought them out.  They were glad because He was correcting them and still working in their lives.  Either way, whether they were home restored with things going their way, or if they were in captivity being corrected . . . they were glad.  

Right now, I am glad.  The definition of glad is “pleased” or “delighted.”  I am pleased that all the wrong I have done has served to make sure I never want to repeat those wrongs.  I am delighted that God has taken what my enemies have meant for evil and turned it for good.  It does not matter if I am in a valley or on a mountaintop, both places are merely circumstances in my life.  What does matter is that in both places, God has done great things for me and will continue to do great things for me. 

Sometimes I really miss being in the pulpit of a church preaching.  Church has without a doubt produced the peaks of my mountaintops and the lowest of my valleys.  I have been elated and ever so joyful in church, and I have been beaten down and crushed.  The Lord has done great things for me in and through both situations, and by His grace, I sit here glad this morning.  

This past Sunday there were 20 of us in the wilderness.  There was a couple from Woodruff, a couple from Greer, a family from Charleston, a family from Moncks Corner, and some locals as well.  As we worshipped singing “Holiness, Holiness, is what I long for,” I scanned the people and thought, “This group of people will never be together meeting like this again this side of heaven.”    God worked it out so that little group of people would be singing to Him and diving into His word together at that precise moment in time.  I don’t think I have ever been so amazed by something so simple.

The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. – Psalm 126:3

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The Wilderness (Part 3)

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” – Isaiah 40:3

I call this devotional part 3, not because I have written two other parts, but because there have been two other parts in this journey I’ve been on.  I believe God has called me to 40 weeks in the wilderness.  The first part was at Jocassee Valley Brewing Company.  The second was at Tamassee DAR campus.  This last leg, part 3, is at Oconee State Park.  

I continue to be amazed at the process God puts people through that truly follow Him.  There have been so many twists and turns in my life.  Some of those turns have led to incredible heartbreak, but God has always worked them out for my good.  When my wife and I prayed to God under that tent for the first time at Jocassee Valley, I was about as down and out as I had ever been.  My heart was shattered into a million pieces.  I felt used and I felt rejected.  I was crushed.  Those little bible studies we did under the tent was the beginning of a healing that I didn’t think was possible.  

As time went on, it got cold . . . really cold.  Tamassee DAR provided shelter for us.  The physical covering was like a spiritual covering for me.  God took all my hurt, dealt with it, and asked me to give it all to Him.  In all this time, I never really preached any sermons.  The group we had would just read scriptures and we would all provide input as to what it meant to us, and we’d end up with these perspectives that we would have never gotten otherwise.  Like those guys on the road to Emmaus, I look back on it and think, “Didn’t our spirits just burn while we sat there and simply talked about God.”  (Derived from Luke 24:32).  

Fast forward to this past Sunday.  I preached to twelve people.  They had gotten up in the morning while on vacation and made the trek to the little amphitheater at Oconee State Park.  As I watched them take their place, I thought of how pure this all was and how blessed these people must be simply because they have a heart that longs to be around God.  I asked God to help me and fill me up with His Spirit.  He did exceedingly abundantly above all I could think or ask.  We asked ourselves what kind of follower of Jesus we are.  Are we wannabes that just go through the motions and do things so we will look the part of a Christian?  Are we super religious, but still lost?  Or are we authentic followers of Jesus Christ?  If you want, you can read Acts 5 and find all three types.  

The whole service ended with us praying for a man to be healed.  He had tonsil cancer.  They removed his tonsils, but it had spread to his lymph nodes.  Of course he was worried about what his near future looked like.  We all gathered around him, and we prayed.  We had just read in Acts 5 that those disciples prayed for healing wherever they went, so we did the same.  I left in awe that God had used me.  There is no better feeling on this planet than to be used by Him and know without a doubt that He is right here with you.  

Lord, how could I ever thank You?  I am 45 years old, and You have done so much in my life.  You have seen me through so many peaks and valleys.  You have saved me.  You have put me in this beautiful place where I can sit here on this second of June in 2021 and be so content.  Even if for this little moment, I am perfectly content.  I am resting in You and there is no place I’d rather be.  Continue to use me as I complete this season in the wilderness.  Bring people to the campground services and show me what You would have me preach.  I am willing.  I am able.  Here am I, send me.  Bless all who take the time to read this this morning.  I pray that You are working in each one’s heart, soul, body, and mind.  I pray that You will fill them with Your Holy Spirit that they may walk differently in this world.  Use us, Lord, to draw people to You.  For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever . . . Amen. 

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The Time

Don’t put it off; do it now!  Don’t rest until you do! – Proverbs 6:4 (NLT)

“I just don’t have the time.”  How many times have I heard it?  How many times have I said it?  In America, this has to be our number one excuse.  We can’t do hardly anything for God because we simply don’t have the time.  It is amazing to me the excuses that people make.  It really shouldn’t be because I’ve made them as well.  In Luke 14, Jesus asks three people to follow Him, and they make three different excuses.  

Follow me,” Jesus says.  “I can’t, I’ve just bought a field and must check it out,” says the first guy.  “I can’t, I’ve just bought five yokes of oxen . . . I’ve got to get to work,” says the second.  “I just got married.  Let me get settled into my new life and I might get around to following You, Jesus. Right now, I just don’t have the time.”  

I remember having a powerful conversation with a young woman not too long ago.  She did not like where she was in life, didn’t like the way her relationship with her boyfriend was going, nor did she like her spiritual condition.  We laid out a plan to water the spiritual seeds that had been planted in her heart.  Each day I saw her, I would ask, “Did you spend time with Him?”  “No, I had ________ going on and didn’t have a chance . . .  I will though.”  She ended up later making a monster mistake simply because she didn’t have the power of God growing inside of her.

Unfortunately, as much as I have grown in 29 years of being a Christian, I’m still more than susceptible to the same laziness and excuses.  These past few months, God put it on my heart to go and read Billy Graham’s book, “Nearing Home” to my last living grandparent.  Of course, I said I would.  I never said it out loud but ended up with this plan to do it when school was out.  I reasoned that I was working three jobs, and in the Summer, things would just be a lot easier.  

Well, here I sit this morning with only five school days left.  I spoke at my grandma’s funeral just five days ago.  I didn’t have the time I thought I did.   

Lord, I’m sorry.  I have certainly learned the hard way that delayed obedience is disobedience.  I’m sorry for always seeming to have to learn the hard way.  Help me to not make excuses.  Help me from this day forward to do immediately what You ask of me.  No excuses.  Thank You that Grandma knew You and was ready to go.  Thank You that it was in no way dependent on her excuse making grandson.  Thank You that I will see her again in Glory.  Only You offer this kind of hope.  Thank You for helping me to put this principle to work immediately.  Last night, You asked me to begin reading a book to my son . . . oh how I wanted to go on to sleep after a really long day.  I didn’t want to make the same mistake, so I got up and did it.  We ended up having a great time talking about You, and I still slept well.  My spirit is willing, but my flesh is crazy weak.  Help me to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You for the rest of my days.  Amen.

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The Purpose of Evil

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.  But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. – 1 Peter 3:12

Any follower of Jesus who has ever tried to tell a lost person about Him inevitably runs into this question:  Why does God allow evil in this world?  Many, many people either can’t get past this fact, or they simply use it as an excuse to ignore Him.  Either way, the fact that evil exists on this planet is a sore spot for a lot of people. 

The first line of defense that I take with anyone who asks this question is this:  Have you ever done anything evil?  I will then say that I certainly have.  I have lied, I have stolen, I have hated, I have lusted, I have used people, and done many other dark, dark things.  I am thankful that God didn’t destroy me as soon as I committed my first evil deed.  God is patient with us, not willing that anyone perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Inevitably, most people will try to convince themselves and you that they are not that bad.  Here, I might point out Romans 3:23 (All have sinned) or Romans 6:23: The wages of sin (all sin . . . even “not that bad” sin) is death.   You will usually be met with silence on that one.  

However, use the opportunity to push further.

The first purpose of evil is that it provides a clear choice.  God has made very clear His standard in the Bible.  When it comes to religion, philosophy, doctrine, faith, or belief, you must choose Jesus Christ.  He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  If you choose anything else, you have chosen evil.  “What?!?!”, they may exclaim.  “Yes,” you have to say . . . the very first of the 10 commandments is that you shall have no other gods before me.  They may not like it, but at least it is abundantly clear.  Should you choose to lie, cheat, steal, have sex outside of marriage, or even strongly desire the possessions of another, you have chosen evil over God’s commands.  Furthermore, if you choose evil, you will not have the benefits of Him watching over you and His ears will not hear your prayers.  In fact, today’s verse clearly states the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.  Furthermore, God’s line of evil is way, way further back than yours. (See Matthew 5:27-28 for an example)

The second purpose of evil is that without it, love cannot exist.  How do I know that I love my wife?  For me, I want to do those things I said I’d do when I married her.  It is not simply the fact that I forsake all other women . . . it is the fact that I want to.  For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, when I feel like it and when I don’t . . . I choose her either way.  If she does the same for me . . . I know for a fact that she loves me.  I know she chooses me over all others and that makes me feel quite loved.  It makes me want to do all the things God said He’d do for me; I want to watch over her, I want to listen to her, and I don’t want to turn away from her at all.

Why would God not be the same way?  When we choose to walk away from sexual temptation, even though everything in the world teaches us that it is no big deal . . . this immediately grabs the Lord’s attention, and He wants to watch over us.  When we do good to those who have only done evil to us and spoken badly of us, He opens His ears to our prayers.  When we choose to lie, gossip, and participate in worldly activity, He simply turns His face away.

I didn’t say it . . . the Bible did.

I just happen to believe it.

Lord, oh how I want You to watch over me for the rest of my life!  Oh, how I want You to hear my prayers!  Help me to clearly choose right that Your face might be turned towards me and not away from me.  This morning as I sit and soak in Your presence, I choose You, Lord.  I choose You all over again.  Thank You for not destroying me when I clearly and willingly choose evil over You.  Thank You for still hearing my prayers of repentance.  Thank You for giving me Your Spirit and helping me hide Thy Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.  There is no one like You.  Help me, Lord for I am so poor in Spirit.  It is only in You that I live and move and breathe.  Thine is the kingdom . . . I don’t want to build one, I just want to be a part of Yours.  Thine is the power . . . I have none except that which comes from You.  Thine is the glory . . . it is all Yours, help me to not even want any for myself.  Power wash my soul once more, Lord.  May I be as clean as possible when I type the last period on this prayer.  Thank You so much for the blood which atones for my sins.  Help me by Thy power, strength and might to be clean, prepared, and ready on that glorious day when my faith becomes sight.  Amen.

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The Way

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to Your word. – Psalm 119:9

Young men right now are in trouble.  There are very few that are led by the Spirit.  Plenty will say that they believe God exists, but very few make a real attempt to follow Him.  I would go as far as to say that they believe that Jesus died for their sins, but they have no problem remaining in those sins.  The reason, I believe, is that they do not have the Holy Spirit residing in them.  I know it is a topic of debate whether we receive the Holy Spirit when we are saved.  At least for me, I believe it was a separate event.  When I first got saved as a young man, I had no real interest in living a Godly life, I just didn’t want to go to hell.  When I wanted to really know God, I wanted the Holy Spirit.  When I began to desire Him, I began to be obedient to His Word.  Since learning to live by the Spirit, I haven’t longed for Egypt and wanted to return to a life without Him.

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.  – Acts 5:32

I asked someone the other day, “We know God’s love is unconditional, but do you believe His Holy Spirit is as well?”  We chewed on that one a couple of days.  Then, I read that verse in Acts.  It is quite clear; God only gives His Holy Spirit to those with a heart willing to obey Him.  It is amazing the number of people on both sides of the Holy Spirit fence.  There are those (mainly the young ones) who simply love their sin and would rather “believe in God” and think they will be okay in the end rather than learn to follow Him and His ways.  Then there are older ones who have built up a set of rules that they think God wants them to live by.  Anyone who lives outside their set of perceived rules is judged, and anyone who lives inside those rules is accepted.  No religious group is more divided than the church.  There are almost countless denominations.  It is impossible for one person trying to walk out his or her faith to fit in to them all.  They all have different looks and different expectations.  

I say all that to say this:  The path is the same, but everyone’s walk with the Lord looks different.  If you read Pilgrim’s Progress, some of the things Christian had to deal with, Christiana didn’t have to deal with at all.  They walked the same path to Celestial City, but different obstacles deterred them and kept them from moving forward at times.  But the thing they had in common is the fact that they chose to go through the Wicket Gate and walk the path which led to Eternal Life.  

Young man, you must choose to either walk the path of the Lord or walk your own path.  Once you are on His path, it will seem so impossible and so difficult.  But the Bible tells us how to keep our way pure.  By guarding it according to the Word.  You will never get stuck if, when faced with a decision having two distinct ways:  Your way or His way, you choose His way.  His way will fly in the face of sinful friends, and His way will often even fly in the face of religious church people.  It is a difficult way . . . but it is how you keep your way pure.

Lord, I pray for young men today.  I can count on one hand the number of students that I have taught that made an honest attempt at living for You.  Most have no problem putting off spiritual growth until later.  One even told me that he wants to be old and wise, but first he wants to be young and stupid.  That young man is sitting in a prison cell.  He didn’t have to be.  So many are on the wide road that leads to destruction and they are so comfortable because so many are with them on the same path.  There is some sort of comfort in surrounding yourself with likeminded people despite the fact you are all on the road to hell.  Help the young men.  Sweep through the land with Your Holy Spirit drawing them once more.  Bind the evil that keeps their spiritual senses dull and saying “no” to You.  Bring back old school conviction where you choose to either grab on to your seat and stay like you are or kneel before a Holy God and allow Him to power wash your soul.  Please don’t let us watch our nation go to hell.  Help a new generation guard their ways according to Thy Word.  Amen

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Lessons from an Abandoned Car and some Dead Grass

This WMD was written by Shaun Watkins.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5:16

A year ago (May 2020) I was called by a friend of a friend to come and help move some things from a house that friend had inherited after the death of his uncle. While there I notice a nice car in the garage. I ask how much he wanted for the car and he gave me a price. It was more than I wanted to pay mainly because I didn’t need the car. Also, the car hadn’t run in a while so we didn’t know what was wrong with it.

After walking around the house and seeing all that needed to be done so the friend could sell the house, I made an offer on the car. I said, “I will help you paint the interior of the house for the car.” The friend actually agreed. About a week later I got a call that all the material was there to paint the house. Backfire! Look, I only wanted to help paint the house so that I could hang out with the friend’s friend and get to know him. I wanted to build a relationship with him. 

Well, I got my brothers to help, and we painted the house over a couple of weeks. We only saw the friend’s friend a couple of times when we were there painting. 

We finished up the painting and got the car. I had the car towed to my house, because remember, it didn’t run. So, for the past year the car has sat in the same spot in my yard. I was able to get it to run once and then it sat for a while and the next time I tried to start it, it would not start. So, the car just sat. 

A week ago, I decided that I didn’t want the car to just sit in my yard, so I decided to scrap it. One of my brothers said, “let try and sell it,” which we did the next day. After the car was gone the only thing that was left was a dead rectangle in my grass where the car had sat for the past year. 

One week after the car left, I was cutting grass and I saw one of the most beautiful things. Right in the middle of the dead rectangle, there was new, beautiful, green grass growing. It was almost like an audible voice from the Lord saying, “You see, darkness kills everything! In darkness there is no life, but when the Light shines upon the dead, it doesn’t matter how long it was dead because I can restore it.” It was the greatest thing. What a perfect illustration!

Why do I share this? Because you may never know what a difference you make in others. You may never know how a simple smile, or good morning, or a “hey how are you?” could help someone. Or maybe you feel dead and need to be restored. Our brokenness is where the light shines in. We need the light of Jesus to shine on us because He is the only thing that can bring life from death and darkness.

Also remember as believers we are the hands and feet of Jesus! It is His light that people see in us. Not a little light, but a light that is like a city on a hill. It was never meant to be hidden. The true light of God was meant to be seen for afar.

What do people see when they see you? Light? Darkness? Both? 

Father I pray that today we are the light like a city on a hill. A light that others can see. I pray that we stop hiding our light. That we are the light in this dark world. Father if we are living in darkness that we get out of the shadow and into the light so that we can be restored by You. That you bring us into new life. We need Christians that are on fire. Not Christians that just let their little lights shine. Nothing is worse than a lukewarm Christian, that is dangerous. God let us be Believers that people see You in us! Not that we get any glory for it, but all for Your glory!

In Jesus Name!

Amen

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All in One Shot

All in One Shot

Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  – Ephesians 3:20

Eighteen months ago, my time as a pastor came to an end.  It was a hurt that I didn’t think I’d ever get over.  I was crushed as badly as I’d ever been crushed.  I had chances to do the rebound thing and preach at another church.  I also had the opportunity to become a worship leader.  But for some reason all I could think of was “Go into the wilderness.”  I had no idea what that looked like, but I was willing to go.  I wanted to go.

Tonya and I, on a cold and rainy Sunday morning went to Jocassee Valley Brewing Company and sat under a tent in nasty weather.  Honestly, I felt kind of foolish.  I thought that Tonya and I would just end up praying together and we’d go home.  While we were praying, a couple pulled up.  After that, another pulled up.  The six of us met with God . . . it was pretty wonderful.  God did exceedingly abundantly all that I could ask or think.

A handful of us have been meeting in the wilderness since October.  I believe that God wants me to spend 40 weeks there.  The Israelites had to spend 40 years wandering there.  Jesus spent 40 days.  I believe that He told me that I’m to spend 40 weeks there.  After I receive more confirmation, I will tell you where we will spend the remaining weeks and how only God could have worked it out.  I think it is just amazing.

What I wanted to record in this WMD though is something that I want to never ever forget.  A few Sundays ago, I was preaching for my friend, Shaun.  Because he posted a video of a tornado touching down at his church, Fox News happened to visit him that Sunday.  While they were there, they went ahead and streamed the whole service.  It has ten thousand views.  Now, I know that 10,000 people probably didn’t watch the whole thing, but I’m still amazed at how these numbers work out.  At my previous church, attendance would be around 140 people on Sunday mornings.  Now, check out this equation:  18 months x 4 Sundays x 140 people = 10,080.  I got to preach for just as many people in one shot as I would have if I’d been preaching every Sunday for the last year and a half.  To me that is God doing exceedingly abundantly above all that I could think or imagine.

One more thing that someone else pointed out to me: I spoke on the Beatitudes, which is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  Here is what the Bible says right before He began:  

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them. – Matthew 5:1-2

There I was thinking that I was only teaching disciples inside that church building.  But that Fox News camera was rolling.  There was a crowd that I couldn’t see.  How crazy is it that right before Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” there was a multitude?  Right before I spoke the same words, Jesus worked it out so that a multitude could hear.     

Lord, I couldn’t dream up some of the things You’ve done for me if I tried.  Most of the time when I pray, I ask for simple, doable things.  But You . . . You Lord do exceedingly and abundantly more than anything that I could ever dream up or imagine.  Continue to do so, Lord.  Show all of Your followers just how great and how mighty You are.  Help us to fall in love with You so that You are the greatest in our hearts, minds, and lives.  No body and nothing could ever deserve that spot but You.  I’m sorry when I let the cares of this world creep in, and I forget.  Thank You that You have always been faithful to bring me back home.  I recognize just how poor in spirit I am, Lord.  Keep me and everyone reading this on the narrow path that leads to life everlasting.  Amen.  

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Harmless as Doves

Harmless as Doves

Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  – Matthew 10:16

I read a story about farmer’s wife who tried to help two different birds on two separate occasions.  The first time, there was a hawk stuck in the barn with a damaged wing.  She moved all kinds of items just to back it into a corner where she could possibly try to help the bird.  This process took place every time she would try to help.  Each time she tried to bandage or apply ointment to the wounds, she was met with fierce talons and loud squawks.  One day, the hawk hurt her pretty badly, so she let him run out (not fly) and never saw it again.

Years later, a dove would be found on its back in her driveway.  The bird cooed in fear as she lifted it into her hands.  The bird looked pretty roughed up and could not fly because of a badly damaged wing.  Unlike the hawk, there was no fight.  After about one month of feeding, watering, and doctoring the wing, the bird took flight and soared back into the heavens.  

Reading that story, I understood Matthew 10:16 for maybe the first time.  How many years did I fight God?  There He was trying to help me by sending people time and time again to let me know what I needed to do, how I needed to behave, and how I needed to live.  There was His Holy Word sitting on my nightstand calling for me to be healed, but I ignored it.  I fought Him every step of the way.  I thought He was mean.  I thought He was trying to hurt me.  I thought He just wanted to make me do things I didn’t want to do.  I thought He was just trying to keep me from having any fun.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  I am so glad and so thankful that He didn’t give up! 

Lord, thank You for making me more and more like the dove as the years go by.  Thank You for sending this story to me.  With all my heart, I want to allow You to work on me so that I too may soar in the heavens.  Help me rise above all the pettiness that this world sucks me into so quickly.  There is and never will be another like You, my God, my rock, my healer, and my redeemer.  Amen

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Perfect Peace

Perfect Peace

Be still and know that I am God. — Psalm 46:10

Usually, I am writing from a place of just wanting to be filled with God.  I’m like a thirsty person just wanting a drink of water.  I am ever so aware of how easily I wander from Him and His ways.  I’m usually like the lamb who strayed just a little too far away from the Shepherd.  Sometimes I look around to find Him and I just realize that I haven’t been near Him.  I want with all of my heart to stay close to Him under the protection of that rod and that staff.

This morning I am not writing from that place.  I am writing from a place of almost perfect contentment.  I’ve never been so sure that God is on me, in me, and working through me.  I’ve never been more rested in Him.  With that being said, I hate that little voice that seems to sit ever so near that whispers, “Just wait . . . turmoil is right around the corner.”  I’m so glad that a while ago while working out at Total Fitness that I heard the song “to hell with the devil” by Stryper.  I’ve listened to it so many times since then.  When I start to think that things can’t possibly stay good for me, those are the exact words I say.  

You know what Lord?  You have been so good to me.  I could sit here and think about all the stuff that has to transpire today and all the stuff I have to do, but I just want to sit here at Your feet as long as I can.  I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed You more.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been this content knowing without a doubt that You’ve got me.  Help me always picture in my mind Satan coming to bow before You and asking if he can mess with me or my family.  This is what he had to do to harm Job.  I would guess it is the same with me.  To hell with the devil for that is his fate.  To hell with the words that he whispers in my hear.  I am so sorry that I have believed he was Your opposite.  At best, he is only the opposite of one of Your angels.  He is nothing like You.  Grant me permission, Lord to keep this peace as long as possible today and to simply enjoy being Yours.  

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love

Moment by moment I’ve life from above

Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine

Moment by moment oh Lord I am thine  

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