Be A Praise To GOD

(Originally written as a Facebook status post, this day, three years ago.  Be blessed.)

Zephaniah 3:20 KJV
“…I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth…  …saith the Lord .”
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Matthew 9:2 KJV
“…Son, BE OF GOOD CHEER; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
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Mark 6:50 KJV
“…BE OF GOOD CHEER: it is I; be not afraid.
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John 16:33 KJV
“…BE OF GOOD CHEER; I have overcome the world.”
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Acts 23:11 KJV
“…BE OF GOOD CHEER, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”
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God told Israel that they would be made a name and A PRAISE among the people of the earth.

If we have been grafted into the Body of Christ, and we are a part of that Body by adoption and election, then we are as Israel, and where there is a promise given to Israel, we may claim that as our own.

Therefore, WE are a praise among the people.  We are to live our lives subject to God’s Will.  His Will is that we would joyously follow after Him through all circumstances.

When Christ says “be of good cheer” He is saying to be courageous, yes.  He also is reminding us of the Word of God which says “I will make you… a praise.”

What greater praise is there to God than to live our lives for Him?  We need to speak our testimony, for the change within us that only He can do is praise to Him.  But so, also, is our joy in our trials, our thankfulness in all things, our submission no matter the cost.  We are praise to Him or, at least, we should be.

So, when Christ says “be of good cheer,” He could also be saying “be praise,” or “act accordingly and be a praise to God.”

In all circumstances, He reminds us that He is Who He is, and He has done what He has done, therefore, we need to be what we were created to be…  a praise to Him.

Be of good cheer, brethren, for nothing matters but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Praise Him and be a praise to Him, for He is The Lord, and He made you to glorify Him!  So glorify Him and be a praise among the people!!

SDG

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From Him To Me

But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” II Corinthians 2:1-4

If the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these words to the believers in Corinth and if the Holy Spirit still speaks to each of us One to one through what is written in the Bible, then allow me to share the passage again as the Spirit might speak to us on Jesus’ behalf as He would have us hear before He comes again.

“But I (Jesus) determined this with Myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness (for when He comes again, though He will return as a Lion, his own will rejoice).  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh Me glad, but the same which is made sorry by Me (Nothing we do will surprise the Lord, but He will still mourn those who do not believe in Truth and come to Him before He returns to us, as He goes on to say…)?  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that My joy is the joy of you all.  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you (because He loves us so much that He has shown His Love to us by sacrificing Himself and all He has asked is that we believe).”

I thank God for the movement and the anointing of the Holy Spirit through His Word.  Having read this as though directly from Him to me, I know that I am not to worry about the things of this world, but simply rejoice and be thankful for my Lord Who has already overcome all of this and then look up, being ready for His return.

SDG

Tough Choices

And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women.  And Samuel here Again in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.” I Samuel 15:33

Sometimes, to perform that which the Lord has asked of us may be a very difficult decision.  It may not appear to others as though that which is done is of the Lord; but, when we are in a close, personal, loving relationship with Jesus, we will understand that obedience is the ultimate display of love for our God.

Jesus told us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.  This obedience is an important part of the relationship just like fidelity and faithfulness to our spouse.  If a man is supposed to leave his family to join the woman’s and they become one, then shouldn’t that man defend his wife and his marriage against the onslaught of temptation toward himself or even the argumentative nature of his own family toward her at times as though defending himself?  It is of utmost importance that we do these things which our Father God has instructed even when those closest to us don’t understand and cause us grief over it.

It will be difficult, at times.  The tough choice isn’t always the popular one.  But, if that choice is the one God wants us to make, it will always be the right one.

SDG

What A Day

There are days when everything seems to be perfect.  On those days, nothing seems out of place.  Nothing is out of order and everyone is happy.  Those days are few and far between.  Today was already shaping up to not be one of those days.

It began at home.  I had planned last night to get up early this morning and spend some time with the Lord, perhaps swing into Starbucks and chill before work, and then begin a nice productive day.  Instead, I reset my alarm twice and got out of bed at the usual time, feeling groggy from messing up that last juncture of sleep.  No REM sleep was accomplished in that last hour, I can tell you.  But, I fell into the normal routine, shrugging off my laziness in getting up and not thinking about it otherwise.  I did not yet know what sort of day it was turning into, but I would very quickly find out.

I got on my motorcycle and headed out on the road to work.  That road takes me straight up Interstate 15 North, from the very south end of town.  Traffic was a little heavier than normal, but not a big deal.  I did notice a few cars were jockeying to be the first ones to merge onto the 15, so I allowed them to go ahead and do so, wary that they might not see me if I hadn’t.  All was routinely normal until we passed the South Point Casino/Hotel.  This is where the express lane divides into two lanes from one.

I merged into the express lane from the normal passing lane and stayed to the right.  That was when I saw it – RED.  Suddenly and without warning, vehicles in both express lanes had bright red brake lights rising into the air.  There was smoke from rubber tires screeching on the pavement filling the air.  Time seemed to slow down.  I surveyed my next action and direction of escape.  I had allowed several car lengths between myself and the cars ahead of me, so there was time, but it was fleeting as I tried to decide.  Almost reflexively, I ended up pulling to the right toward the regular lanes of traffic.  There was a big black truck there and I could have cut just in front of him, but I chose to ride the dividing lines instead.  They provided me a lane which was just enough for my bike without cutting off that truck.

As I watched the accident unfold, there was debris flying everywhere.  Four cars were involved and they were all struggling to maintain control of their vehicles.  One of them began moving toward me.  I was showered with plastic car part fragments as I held my bike steady and watched.  As if the hand of God Himself came down to adjust the situation, that car changed direction and headed left.  I’m not saying I saw it move sideways of its own accord, but that’s how it appeared to me.  One moment, I thought I was hamburger meat, the next I was free and clear of a tragic fate.  I slowed down after passing the pile-up, to assess the scene in my mirrors.  All four cars in the accident and several cars behind them had stopped and traffic was already going around.

I found myself in a daze.  I was unresponsive emotionally.  I drove on, following all the others who did not stop to help those in the accident.  I was not upset.  I was not angry.  I wasn’t fearful, shaken, scared, or anything.  I just drove.  When I finally exited the freeway onto Sahara, it hit me.  I could have died.  At highway speed, had I been hit by that car and sent in front of the truck which was to my right, I would have been crushed.

My thoughts were on this for most of the morning while at work.  I couldn’t focus at coffee in the break room, where I normally read the Word before getting to work.  My mind was racing over what had happened earlier.  This is the reason for writing about it now.  I had to document it.  God is good all  the time and this morning, He was faithful to His plans for me and for my life.  You see, He wants to use me.  How exactly that will look is still unknown to me, but I know the day is coming, just like Jesus knew it was not yet His time to die on the Sea of Galilee (you know, when He slept during the storm that almost flooded the boat and the disciples had to wake Him because they were terrified?).  Perhaps that is why I had no emotional reaction as that accident unfolded.  I wasn’t scared of death.  I knew God had it all along.  I knew I was not going to die on that highway.  I did my part.  I reacted to the best of my ability.  God did the rest.  Come to think of it, I’m going to go ahead and say God slid that car to my left as I passed it so that I didn’t get hit.  Yes, I’m saying it.

I hope and pray that no one was seriously injured in that accident.  No one died or the local news would have covered it, so I have that comfort.  I trust my Lord to glorify Himself in it, as He already has within me, proving to me that His promises are true.  His yes is still yes and His no is still no.  He still sits on the thrown.  So, though today began as a normally imperfect day, it is one in which the blessing was given early and clearly.  God showed me that it is a good day and it could have been a lot worse.  He is always there and, with Him, every day is exactly what it needs to be for us.  With that frame of mind, every day is perfect.  Nothing is out of order.  Nothing is out of place.  His sovereignty knows no bounds.  I’m happy and joyful in realizing that it’s all for my good.  All of it.  It all happened just the way He knew that it would.  It turned out to be a great day!

SDG

A Wilderness Hike

Yesterday, I went on a hike.  It was one in which I would be challenged physically, as there were boulders to be circumvented throughout and much of the walk would be in direct sunlight, even in the gorge, on the way to the Colorado River.  The Colorado and the hot spring baths near the end were to be the reward for the work of the journey.  I was excited to get going in the morning and my friend and I quickly outpaced quite a few people at the outset of our trip.

It wasn’t long before we encountered the first few sets of boulders and began spryly hopping or climbing our way down them.  In only a very short time, I found out that the shoes I had decided to wear were not the optimal choice for such a journey.  They had very little grip and, since these boulders were smooth from years of running water, I found it difficult to maintain safe traction.  Needless to say, when traversing one such boulder, my shoe slipped as I shifted my weight onto that foot.  I was stopped abruptly by another rock.  All two hundred pounds of me laid into the outside of my arch and a sharp pain shot through my leg as my momentum carried me just past the threshold of what my body could handle.  I had hurt myself quite badly.

Pride is a funny thing.  Even though I knew I was hurt, I played it off as being no big deal, and the hike continued.  I said nothing as the trail became more and more treacherous and, as a result, my injury became more and more painful.  I simply did not want to be a disappointment to my friend nor did I want to miss out on the hot springs I had heard so much about.  It was an hour later that we finally reached the Colorado River.

At this point, I knew I was in some serious trouble.  I wasn’t sure I could make it out of the gorge on my own and I even jokingly referenced calling a chopper to haul out someone else in a different party who was feeling overwhelmed.  I never did get into a hot spring nor did I swim near the river.  I didn’t think I would be able to handle the additional physical activity even though it sounded like fun.  I was exhausted already, in pain, and feeling the heat of the day start to drain my energy.  I let my friend swim and interact with others as I sat on the side watching some mallards beg for food.  In what seemed like a flash, we were ready to head back up the trail.

Climbing back up those ropes and traversing the slippery path took whatever energy I had left from me.  When we finally reached the emergency water station, I was ready to pass out.  The twenty minutes it should have taken to get to the car from there stretched itself into an hour or more.  It was in this last stretch that I really felt like the Lord was showing me my current life.

I have felt like I have been in my own personal wilderness for quite some time now.  The truth is, at the onset, I was excited to enter it.  I didn’t realize I was entering a wilderness, only that there seemed to be an ultimate goal that was worth any trouble I might have in getting there.  Boy, was I wrong!  It has taken such a toll on my spirit and soul to have walked through this time, and the goal I thought was once worth it has been since abandoned as it now holds no worth at all.  I’ve gotten myself into a place that seems unreachable by anyone else, and I certainly cannot get out of it on my own.  Yet, the Lord has promised He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  He has been here with me, even in the darkest of times, all along.  I have tried to walk this Christian in my own strength and I have exhausted myself in the process.  I’m tired, y’all, so very tired.

So, as I forced myself to take step after step, painfully putting my own weight on a bad foot and straining the muscles in the other leg to compensate, I began to ask Him for help.  I quietly prayed for His strength to get me through and I tried to ignore the pain.  Worship music began to play in my mind.  I was quietly whispering along to “Lilly of the Valley” as my heart began to realize that what I was feeling and experiencing in the physical was what God wanted me to realize in the spiritual.  I was never going to make it without His help and I was hurting, even if I tried to ignore that fact.  The truth is that the only way out of the valley is to let the Spirit of God lead.  God is a Spirit and He is the only One we can turn to for navigation through the spiritual world which we cannot see.  It was only one step at a time out of that gorge yesterday, and I couldn’t see past the next two or three.  It is the same within the spiritual.  I cannot see the next step unless God shows it to me and He generally will not show it to me until I take the one which He has shown me last.  One step at a time, trusting God to lead the way, is the only way to successfully live this thing called life.

It took some time, but I eventually got out of the gorge and back to the car.  Interestingly, it was the very place I began when I thought it was going to be worth the reward.  I surely hope that God hasn’t hit the reset button to have me start again from a previous place.  I am, however, grateful that He is getting me through my wilderness, even if I have to go back to a new start.  I am tired from my own weight, walking on worn spiritual feet, but I’m surrendering to Him.  Whatever it takes, I’m stopping trying on my own to do this.  The Lilly of the Valley is right here for me to stop and take in the beauty.  The sweet aroma of Christ and the beauty that persists in the ugliest of places in my life is where I am heading.  He will show me the way, and I am going to lean on Him to get me through.  I simply wish it hadn’t taken an injury for me to get it.

SDG