On April 19, 2012, I turned sixty-two. Time really flies by as you get older. I really don’t like a lot of attention, especially birthday parties. My daughter had been building me up about her getting me the greatest birthday present of all time. Over the weeks leading up to the big day she would ask me what I wanted. I have more clothes than I can wear. I didn’t need anymore toys or tools. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted or needed. The 19th came. To me, it was just another day. Amy called and wanted us to come over at six. I was beginning to wonder what she had for me. You know how it goes, people get so excited about giving you something. Everybody has gotten that gift that you have to put on the fake smile for.
When we arrived, she wanted us to go upstairs to the playroom. Nobody except family was there so I was relieved, no surprise party. She asked me to sit down and close my eyes. I was handed a package. When I opened my eyes, I had two large manila envelopes containing many letters. I had letters from friends, coworkers, family, and neighbors I had known over my life. She had gotten in contact with each one asking them to write something about me.
As I began to read the letters, tears began to flow. It was so touching to read each one and relive the memories. Some were funny, like my friend who wrote about an episode that happened at Parris Island when we were in boot camp. One was from my nephew with whom I had worked with doing construction. It’s amazing some of the things we’ve forgotten over the years that others remembered.
I had almost sixty two letters, which was my daughter’s goal. Amy told me my legacy was that I was known as a man of prayer, and I loved God’s word. You will never know how humbling that was. I was truly blessed beyond any material gift that I could have recieved.
As I have read and reread each letter I give thanks to the Lord for every person He has allowed me to know over my life. It makes me want to be a better example and represent Jesus every day to the best of my ability. I have heard it said, “Our life may be the only Bible that some people ever read.” As followers of Jesus I would like to exhort everyone to live your life like an open book that everyone is going to read. Let’s make it a best seller for His Glory.
Image credit: Ricky
Manteo Mitchell said, “I felt it break. I heard it. I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear it. I wanted to just lie down. It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half.”
“I knew if I finished strong we could still get it around. I saw (teammate) Josh Mance motioning me in for me to hand the baton off to him, which lifted me. I didn’t want to let those three guys down or the team down, so I just ran on it. It hurt so bad. I’m pretty amazed that I still split 45 seconds on a broken leg.”
Just like the Olympian we have the race of a lifetime in front of us. We have our company of believers cheering us on, plus a cloud of witnesses. ~Hebrews 12:1 (AMP)
Like the Olympians we too must push past our pain and continue our race. We have people that work alongside of us to get God’s word into the earth. It’s not a one man show; we all have a part to play. When I’m weak and haven’t prayed much, then I know that I can count on people in the body to encourage me.
I have been at a place personally that has been dry. I’ve been in pain physically, but the enemy was trying even harder to stop me in the spirit. He wants to get me focused on my circumstances. I know I can’t quit. I have somewhere to go in the spirit, and it’s not just for me. It’s for other people.
One difference between Christians and Olympians is that we don’t have a huge crowd cheering us on. We have to know that we are pleasing God and one day we will get a reward that will not rust. I don’t have to have a medal all I need to hear is well done thy good and faithful servant.
Image Credit © Tammy Sanders
Have you ever been reading a scripture and wished you could ask them what they were thinking? That recently happened to me while reading the book of Mark chapter six. It is about the wonderful miracles the disciples witnessed Jesus do. They had seen Him heal a withered hand. He had cast out unclean spirits. They saw a little girl raised from the dead when Jesus spoke to her. They had seen Him heal the woman with the issue of blood. They had witnessed Him calm a storm. Imagine how they felt seeing Jesus feed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish!
Later, Jesus had gone to a mountain to pray. Another storm comes up while the disciples are on a boat. The same men who had been walking with Jesus and witnessing His power become troubled.
~Mark 6:52: “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their hearts were hardened.”
The definition of hardened here means dull, lacking in understanding. I wanted to ask the disciples how this could be possible with all of the miracles they had seen. Had they all just slipped their mind, really? I wished I could give them a piece of my mind! Then it happened. I had a reality check. How many times had I been guilty of the same thing? God has done more miracles for me than I can count. Over forty lumps in my breast disappeared over night. The Lord healed me of asthma. He miraculously healed me of cataracts. I was also healed of macular degeneration. There has been much more I have seen Him do. How could I fall into fear and doubt when a new need arises? I fail to remember the “miracle of the fish and loaves “ in my own life.
Like the old song says, I will learn to count my blessings. Name them one by one. Count your many blessings. See what God had done.
NIGHT STORM 2
© Yanik Chauvin | Dreamstime.com
Thank you, precious enemy, for all of the good you’ve done.
I’m learning how to judge myself. I want to be more like the son!
My friends would never hurt me. They would never say the things you’ve said.
But thanks to you, dear enemy, this old flesh is dead.
Jesus has so many friends. They love him more than life.
He also had an enemy, full of bitterness and strife.
There had to be that enemy to nail our saviour to a tree.
There has to be someone like you, to crucify me like you do.
I’m finding strength where I’ve been weak.
I’m learning how to think, then speak.
So please, dear enemy, don’t stop yet.
All of my goals have not been met.
I’m striving for a place divine, where Fathers ways are also mine.
PLAYERS OR PIECES
© Maciej Sekowski | Dreamstime.com
I recently experienced the most wonderful, unexpected blessing. To my surprise, my rose bush bloomed. I thought the bush was dead since I neglected it for so long. Usually, if I am lucky enough, it will bloom one rose if it blooms at all. This year was different for some reason. It produced several beautiful, orange roses. They were not very big, but I was excited to see them bloom anyway. I really wanted to share their beauty with someone who needed cheering up for the day. “But, who Lord?” I spoke silently to myself. I really had no idea with whom to share it. It wasn’t long after I started to pray that the Lord gave me a name. I did not know anything about the problems this person was experiencing. However, the Lord knew her situation and the love from the rose made her cry. She later told me she felt dead inside, and it was a reminder to her that God was still alive. It was such a simple act and it changed her whole day.
The lesson I learned from that day was humility. I felt so humbled that God could use a person like me to make someone else feel special. It was inspiring to me that the little things I could do, could help change someone’s ashes to beauty. It was a lesson to remind me that even when I am feeling good, there are always others that are feeling sad. We just never know when we can make a difference in someone else’s life.
Image credit: ORANGE AND RED ROSE
© Cyrus Cornell | Dreamstime.com
When I think about the Lord is a song we sing here at Gateway. One Sunday evening as the praise team began to sing this very song I saw it like never before. I was able to focus on each verse and what it really meant to me.
-How He saved me- How God sent His son Jesus to die for me. I was on the path of failure and destruction. Regardless of the path I was on He knew what I was capable of being.
-How He raised me- He was able to bring me up out of the mess I was in and put me in a place where I could become stable.
-How He filled me with the Holy Ghost- I remember when I was filled with the Holy Ghost, who prayed with me and the exact room at Gateway back in 1998. I don’t remember the exact day and time but I do know that from that day on, my life has not been the same.
-How He healed me to the uttermost- At one time in my life I was faced with a scary situation about my health and told I had a disease. I went through some very extensive blood tests. During that time I had went to church, requested prayer, and all blood tests came back negative. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I gave all glory to God!
-How He picked me up and turned me around, How He set my feet on solid ground- I am forever thankful to God for setting my feet on solid ground and that began by placing my feet in this house here at Gateway. My life has been completely turned around since I have been here, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I still have a lot of growing to do but I know that here at Gateway I am able to continue to grow and develop because of the truth that’s released in this house.
It makes me wanna’ shout Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!
Lord you are worthy of all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise!!
We should never just go through the motions during praise and worship. We should always focus on what the song is really saying and give God praise for all He has done for us and just for who He is!
SKY CLOUDS ABOVE THE TREETOPS
© Deymos | Dreamstime.com
I have struggled with many things in my past. Failures, mistakes, bad decisions that led to more failures and feeling like no one has benefited from my existence here on earth. No matter how much preaching I hear or how much I read the Word, I still struggle with this.
The lyrics of a song I heard recently spoke about dwelling on our past, but all God has to do is speak our name and we are set free. When I heard this song, all the teaching in my head reversed like movies do as we press the rewind button and you see everything that happened back up in fast motion. My head had to catch up with my spirit in the teachings of it’s ok to fail because God knows that we are going to fail. He is well aware that we are human. For goodness sakes, He created us.
. If you are like me, you spend more time beating yourself up about things you could have or should have done in your life. All this does is gives satan an open door to cause you to waste even more time in your life to be focused on the wrong thing. In reality we need to pick ourselves up, brush our knees off and start the journey again.
. A very wise and anointed apostle has said many times, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” I have learned that this statement is so true in more than one way. The key to being successful in changing our life is to stop and think about what you think about. If your thoughts keep you in bondage, think differently. If your actions hold you back, act differently.
It is much easier said than done, but the concept is really quiet simple. If you want to get something else, you’ve got to do something else. God has already forgiven us for our past, we just have to forgive ourselves and let it go; and this would be a good change of mind. Forgiving ourselves would get us one step closer in God’s direction and it would break one more string that satan has attached to us. I want something different, do you?
Spring is here! The grass and trees turn green. God paints the ground and landscape with vibrant colors through flowers and budding trees. The temperature changes. The sun’s warmth increases. And birds, long gone to escape the cold of winter, return in mass to once again fill the air with songs of joy and celebration!
Well, just as life is being released once again into our part of the world, God is doing the same thing in His people. I know for me, as well as many others, that the past couple of years have seemed like a winter. Nothing much happening. Frustrated with the chill inside of me. Wondering what had happened to the dreams God had given me. Wondering if I would ever see deliverance in certain areas of my life. Almost giving up hope of seeing the passion I once had for God ever returning.
But hark! What is that I hear? The voice of the prophets, the Word of God, declaring deliverance, freedom, and a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit for God’s people, this year! The chains which have held us in the bondage of our winters are being melted by the power and mercies of God!
In the spiritual realm, we are already free! The chains have been removed. Now it is time for us to begin exercising those weak and achy muscles, and to spread our wings! For God has called us each to soar on wings like eagles, to declare the good news of the gospel, and once again release the songs of joy and celebration that God is here! It’s a new season of spiritual life!