KEEPERS OF THE FLAME. LET NOT YOUR FIRE GO OUT!
Posts Tagged With: Devotion
THE ENCOUNTER III > This story is written as if fictional, but it is not, I’m living this every day. Have you heard a call in your heart saying, “Gotham needs me?” This is one man’s attempt to take up the mantle of being a caped crusader, caped in God’s Covering, for his city. Indianapolis is my Gotham.
“The downtown Central Library? Well, no, I have not been there since they remodeled. Isn’t that a ways for you to drive? Okay. Works for me. 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. Got it. See you then.” Don clicked off the cell phone and sat back in his chair rather amazed. Facebook had been successful. It took a couple weeks to get back into it, and then send a “friend request” to the young man named Chris. It had only taken a few days and a meeting was now set, but Don had to wonder what God was doing?
In his younger days Don had been heavily involved with youth ministry. During those many years Chris had been one of the young guys he had worked with, but he was thirty years old and had a family of his own now. Over the years their paths had crossed from time to time, but the last crossing had been at least two years ago, and why had God brought him back to mind? How many other people he could have thought of, but no, it had been Chris, and now it was set.
Even more puzzling was the meeting place. Since Don was not working he had offered to meet any time and any place, and Chris lived north east of downtown by quite a ways. Why not meet at Castleton? Or Pendleton? “Hhmm, this is very curious, Lord. I haven’t said anything to Chris about my interest in downtown, and yet he wants to meet at the Central Library? Says he wants to show me what is available there. Okay, Lord. I know you’re doing something and I shouldn’t be surprised, right? After all, we have a lot of prayers going, and you are ordering my steps. I can hardly wait till Thursday!”
“Speaking of prayers, Lord. You know this Prayer Life Group that no one has been coming to? The one that has been at my house for months now. The one I remodeled the room for. What am I supposed to do with this? I’ve invited and invited. Everyone is too busy to pray! Well…okay, not everyone. I have enjoyed those early morning prayer meetings at Charity Church. Don, Rick, Pastor Paul, and a few others. It has been so precious. I’m not sure what I would have done without their prayer support on this downtown mission. It’s just not happening at the other Church, Lord. I’ve been there over three years and it’s just not happening for me at least. Maybe there is a change in the wind? I need to talk to Pastor. A lot of things are changing right now, as I am searching this new mission. Maybe that is going to change too? Guess I need to set another meeting.”
Flipping his phone open and searching the number, the call quickly goes forth. “Hey Pastor, how you doing today? Good. Hey, when can we get together and talk?”
Another meeting was set. So many pieces on the chessboard of life. This move, that move; this knight, and that castle. Strongholds over a city. Evil in the streets. A Dark Knight is invading in the cover of the unknown. This move, that move. This prayer, that prayer. Words spoken, prophetic visions, obedience and faith. What shall be the shape of this thing when all is said and done? It takes a seeker to find out. It takes a person willing to lay it all on the line and follow that voice no matter where it leads. But first it takes a person who can HEAR. Let him who hath ears, HEAR.
How can I get the most out of the hand I have been dealt? How can I win more hands, and what does winning actually look like?
First you have to make a choice. What do you think a real win is? What is a real ‘W’ as they say? For myself, it was critical I answer a couple of questions. Whether we believe in faith or not, most of us make our decisions based on what we do believe. I could not define a ‘win’ without first deciding what I believed about a couple of things.
Question #1> “Do I have an eternal soul, or is everything simply over when I die?”
Question #2> “Based on my answer to #1, then what path leads to winning the war, not just a few battles?”
In order to avoid writing a book here, Question #1, in a nutshell, boiled down to their simply being too much design to everything around me. You can’t get something from total nothing. It’s impossible. Therefore there is something supernatural involved in my existence. As I continued down this path I simply could not deny an inner knowing, a conscience, a 6th sense, confirming to me that I was more than flesh and blood, I was also spirit. I think people underestimate the power of this “knowing”, because God says he has put eternity in the heart of every man. We do have an inner knowing, if we will be honest with ourself.
After that, the second question was easy because I already knew I wanted to win the war, not simply a few battles. I wanted long-term success, and long-term was now defined as eternity.
Each of us must answer these questions for ourself before we can effectively play our hand, and there are many clues, facts, evidences, teachers, archeological findings, logic, as well as gut-feelings to lead us to our answers. The theory of evolution seems to be a big factor for many, even though there are so many big holes in that theory. Such as, how does total nothing evolve? How can it even ‘bang’? This is all I’m going to say on this, because the evidence is really all around us, and within us to make a wise decision if we really want to.
So how do I get the most out of each hand I’m dealt every day?
First, make sure of what is a true WIN. God has defined this in his Word, but you may choose differently if you so desire.
Secondly, after you have a good vision of what is your WIN, have the RIGHT ATTITUDE!
God’s Word defines the right attitude this way> “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt. 6:33)
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)
Phil. 4:8-9> “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me— everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
With these things in mind, you can play a better hand.
Blackie’s story could not end with him being ‘damaged goods trapped in a cage’.
Those words echoed in Dan’s mind as he knelt with his two boys and they anxiously awaited Blackie to appear. A full two months had passed since that day and God had restored Dan’s wings. Not much had changed in his external world, but a life of the supernatural now manifested inside him, he practiced his priesthood, lived in the high places, and knew a supernatural harvest was coming. He did not know what the shape of it would be, but God would have an assignment for him, and it would be more than selling pipe.
Dan had learned what it was to live in the high places and walk in the Spirit. His old perspective of life was long gone, and he viewed everything from the high places now. His life of excessive ‘flapping’ had been replaced with peaceful ‘soaring’. It was a supernatural thing only God could do, and there would be more, as he proved faithful, an assignment would come, God’s voice would lead him, and until then, he practiced the broken wings of a tender heart, so he would always soar.
This time with his family today was precious. He looked over at his little girl, Tammy, in the arms of his wife, Cathy. He looked at his two boys right by his side, his arms around them as they waited for Blackie. He was rich beyond compare at that very moment. From the high places, in his new perspective, he could see the true riches of life, and it had very little to do with money and material things.
“There he is mommy!” Tammy almost shouted, but caught herself as she remembered what Mrs. Parker the bird doctor had said.
Both of the boys tensed in Dan’s arms as Blackie appeared on the window ledge. “Look, dad, his bandages are off. Do you think he can fly?”
“I don’t know, son, but I bet he is going to try.”
Another little shove from Mrs. Parker and Blackie the black bird hopped out into full view. As he did, a flurry of black wings fanned the air! He flapped just enough to keep from crashing into the ground, providing a controlled fall, rather than an all out crash.
Mrs. Parker came out the side door and joined Dan’s family. She saw the look of concern on all their faces. “This is not unusual, folks. Remember, he had a traumatic experience when he collided with your dad’s truck, he was badly injured, and has not been allowed to flap his wings for two months now. Have faith and give him a little time.”
Again, Dan felt like Mrs. Parker was talking about him. Perhaps God was still using this bird to show him things. He was anxious for an assignment, perhaps even to quit his job and find something new, but God was taking his time, he still needed a little time. Dan needed to have faith, and take his time.
Blackie tilted his head this way and that as if trying to understand his audience. Tammy giggled at the funny bird. “Look, mommy, he is watching us while we are watching him.” Everybody laughed.
Suddenly a flurry of black wings flashed again! “Caw! Caw!”, he sounded off. This time his wings carried him to a large limb inside the pin. He landed upon it, fluttered a little more while catching his balance, and settled in, once again staring at the crowd outside. You could hear the children gasp when Blackie first left the ground. One of the boys yelled, “Go Blackie!” And Tammy clapped her little hands while grinning from ear to ear, face all aglow with joy. But Blackie still had not flown for the open door. Did he even see it?
Mrs. Parker reached into her pocket and pulled out a handful of corn. Walking over to the pin she let Blackie see what was in her hand and then reached up and placed it on the small platform connected to the open door. Blackie tilted his head again, eyeballing the platform. “Caw! Caw!” The children watched intently.
It didn’t take long after that. When Blackie saw the open door, he did not hesitate. Just like Dan, when he had found answers in a book called, “Flap Less / Soar More”, he dug in and immediately changed his life. Those black wings started flapping again, and when he reached the door he did not even stop for the corn but just kept right on flying into freedom! Everyone began applauding, as they listened to his cawing disappear into the sky. Blackie the black bird was free to soar again, and probably a wiser bird, because he now had personal experience with moving vehicles.
Dan ordered in pizza for everyone and they all celebrated a restored bird with Mrs. Parker the bird doctor. On one of the pizzas he ordered black olives, and extra black olives; this was for Blackie. It was a grand celebration in the bird place that day.
Before leaving, Mrs. Parker explained how things don’t always go so well, and she showed the family a bird who had failed to fly. He had been with her for two years, and would never fly again. At first Dan thought it was another black bird, but turns out it was a raven.
Just before leaving, he walked over to the donation box and dropped in a fifty, and then it hit him, he knew what he was going to do. Out of the blue God had dropped it in his soul as simply as he dropped a fifty in a box. Dan was going to write a story, a children’s story, only for adults!
HERE IS A CHALLENGING ONE, FOLKS:
“Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?”
“Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded.”
The Blog site: “The Critical Eye”, by John David has been running quotes from C. S. Lewis for quite a while now, of which I have enjoyed many. I really had no idea that Lewis had so many excellent quotes. This morning I was reading from a favorite devotional of mine, and I thought about how much more I was enjoying it since putting on sheep-glasses, or “Bride” of the Lamb glasses. The devotional had always been a favorite of mine, but now there was a freshness, impact, and depth beyond what I had even experienced before! I love the way new glasses help you see new things!
However, the point is that I decided if John David can bless us on a regular basis with C. S. Lewis, then perhaps God wants me to be a platform for Oswald Chambers. And so I shall…starting with quotes from his devotional: “My Utmost for His Highest”. Hope you enjoy.
“”Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?” > Oswald Chambers