Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Table

Yes, that is a picture of a table.  One does not equate a table as the subject of a blog, or many other things (besides eating, and poker).  Even though a table is an inanimate object, this table is special.

Once a month the men at my church (a spirit filled and wonderful church if you ask me) get together for a teaching and fellowship.  The gathering is most often on the first Monday of the month and the remaining Mondays we come together for prayer.  Special times.  Woo-hoo!!  It is often at this table where we can be free to express ourselves, our ideas and thoughts.  During these "get together's" we do not observe titles or positions or any of that stuff.  We are all here because we love the Lord and want to encourage one another in the spiritual journey we are all on. 

Men sometimes have a facade that they like to portray and it gets in the way of God wanting to work in my/our lives because we do not want to appear weak or let our guard down.  NOT WITH ME.  Every month I look forward to these meetings because it is just the men. 

Before I go on, let me say we all see each other during the week at our other services and bible studies and the lot, but godly men need each.  Several times at these meetings we have aired out our personal problems and the difficulties we are experiencing in the world.  Some of us do not have this available at our jobs, the freedom to talk about religious and personal issues (work place sensitivity), and the fact not many others we work with are born-again believers.  Many of our close-in-age- friends are many miles away and time does not always allow for a heart felt discussion.  So, when we get together we more times than not have a very blessed time because we are among brothers and like minded people.  

When Jesus was here with his disciples , they sat around tables and discussed kingdom issues.  I also  believe that they discussed issues of the heart.  Did they talk about their families and children?  Definitely.  These men had chosen to give up their families and jobs to follow Jesus.  Who among these 13 men did not leave their natural home to do God's will?    Jesus says in the book of Luke 14:33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple."  Was it easy for the 12 to accept these words?  No.  Is it any easier for me to accept them?  No. 

Life, for them, was a lot simpler than it is now for us today.  But, Jesus said we must forsake all that we have.  All.  My struggles with this concept are daily.  So, even though the Spirit of God is with me on a daily basis I take great pleasure in meeting with my brothers in Christ if only to see and hear how the Lord has helped them get through. 

In closing, I can honestly say that without the men of the church setting a godly example for me and helping me I would not be as far along in the spirit as I am now.  The examples that they show is Christ in them and it it more of  Christ I am seeking as I come to the table on a monthly basis.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Day After

There was an erie silence to the beginning of my day.  My senses were not awake and my focus was off.  My super suit had not come back from the cleaners and I was feeling pretty vulnerable.  Danger was in the air. 
Two days had gone by and with it my declaration to know my God better than I do now and not to give in to the temptations of sin.  I knew something was amiss and yet I could not see anything, yet in my spirit I just... knew.  Having sat up on the side of my bed it took some time to fight through the fog of sleepiness and the hope of a new day.  My hope was in the LORD, thank goodness. 

Amassed in an army ,I could not count, just outside my front door was the enemy.  One of the soldiers had an banner on a stick, very small yet the words could be seen from miles away.  I caught sight of them and was taken aback by the five letters.  The banner read WORLD.  Now that I had given myself over to the Lord and am not going to look back on my decision, the forces of evil have decided to come against me all-the-more.  What a time it will be. 

In the book of 2nd Kings 6, the prophet Elisha and his servant had such a beginning to their day.  The King of Syria sent an number of horses and chariots to 'fetch' the prophet.  It says in verse 15 that "when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots.  And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?"  The prophet Elisha said "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."  To make a short story shorter, Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant would be opened, God answered and the eyes of the servant were opened and he saw, and beheld that the mountains was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha and his servant.

On many occassions I have read this passage of scripture and never before was it as real to me as it was the day after I made my declaration unto the Lord.  My fears did not rush to the forefront and my heart rate did not rise to v-tach levels (potentially life threatening).  Within me was the peace of God, following after the Spirit of God. No longer will I fear those things that I cannot control because I know now that God is in control.  It is with this assurance that I now go about my days and nights.  I had to purpose in my heart and spirit to let God be God around me and within me. 

Psalm 121:1-2 says "I am to lift up my eyes to the hills from which my help comes.  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."  Jehovah has surrounded me with a heavenly host and unless I am in HIS will then I am outside his realm of protection.  What do I need to fear?  God has made a covenant with me and it can never be broken (Numbers 23:19)        

Thursday, January 12, 2012

As For Me

2011 is becoming a distant memory to me.  The decorations are slowly coming down, the lights once lining the streets are not as bright and multitude of colors are giving way to the more traditional white snow and the dying colors of the trees and plants.  2012 now slowly unfolds as life returns to normal and the busyness of the holidays recedes. 

If I could describe 2011 in a few words it would be tumultuous and taxing.  It is with joy and relief that I say goodbye.  Forgive me if my tone is not one of fond remembrance.  On record, 2011 was in the top 5 of my most difficult years.

I, however, will not lay the blame at any ones feet but my own.  Looking back, my decision making and emotional state were not to par of what is expected of myself.  Let me just say that I am human and I make mistakes, and am far from perfect. 

Ephesians 6:12 says "our battles are not fleshly battles but spiritual battles." 

All throughout 2011 it seemed as if  I was fighting battles on all fronts day and night.  Having experienced all this I have come to the realization that I needed to let God  have control of my life.  Some of my short comings have been as a result of 'not letting go and letting God' do HIS work.  Each new year brings with it an opportunity to grow and build upon the successes gained from the prior months.  But what happens to the person who refuses to look forward?  What happens to the person who does not see it from a "godly perspective"?  What happens to the person who does not change or sees change as necessary?  Truly the battle IS lost. Such said person was me in 2011 and slowly but surely my emotional and spiritual forces were being defeated at every turn. 

Where could I turn? and Whom could I trust? 

When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by Satan, he used the word of God to defeat him.  Jesus did not say or do anything on his own.  Satan certainly did not sneak up on Jesus while God had his back turned.  So why do I react the way I do when Satan comes against me and tempts me?  Why do I feel as if God has turned his back and Satan slithered in through the back door?  My faith.  Or lack thereof.  I had gotten accustomed to a pattern of behavior and expectancy in my life and it was with that tool that Satan tied and bound me.  A change was needed and badly.

I want so badly to be an effective servant and witness for the MOST HIGH, and I'm sure GOD would have the same for me.  But, when will it happen?  It will happen when I set my heart towards GOD.
So accustomed had I become to doing things that I forgot that I was to be doing for the Lord and not out of habit.  My works had become my faith.  I needed to refocus.

How did I go astray?
Where was my passion?
Where was my desire?

One day the Spirit of God brought something to my remembrance three words,  "As for me".
Throughout the scriptures these three words convey statement of declaration with intent to do.
God says them in Genesis 17 when speaking to Abraham "As for me behold, my covenant is with thee,"
Joshua utters the same words in Joshua 24 "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The prophet Samuel said them to the nation of Israel in 1st Samuel 12 "As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD and cease to pray for you:"
King David to Solomon his son in 1st Chronicles 22 "My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house for the LORD.."

There are many others examples contained in the bible but you see what I am trying to say.
The change had to take place within me before it could go outward to the world around me.  The truth of my actions and what I believe had to become real to me once again. 
So, with the beginning of 2012 and newness of life I am making my declaration of intent to serve the LORD and him only.
I once taught a lesson called "12 stones" and it dealt with Israel as they were coming out of the wilderness and into the land of promise.  As you know 40 years had passed and new leadership was in place and a new beginning awaited them.  However, before they could claim all this they had to cross-over from the old and into the new.  These people had to reclaim their rightful place as God's chosen people, they had to find faith in the God who had done so many miracles for them and sustained them.  Each person, (man woman and child) had to say "As for me" I will serve the Lord.
Then and only then could they go forward across the Jordan river.

Yes, Satan will come against me and only in the name of Jesus can he be defeated.  Not by me. 

God is the god of new beginnings and on this day of January 12, 2012 I would like to say:
  *As for me, I will walk in the faith of my faithful God, and in the wellspring of his unending love and mercy. 
  *As for me, I will no longer fear tomorrow or what it may bring.
  *As for me, the enemy Satan will no longer bind me with my own fears and failures.  Christ has overcome the world."
  *As for me, I will serve the Lord and raise my banner high, for HE is my God