Hardship/t

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Wrote this thinking about a son in ministry going through medical challenges:

I talked to God about you this morning.

I started to ask Him why His children experience hardship, but in frustration, I dropped the “p” and a used a “t”.

I’m not sure He was pleased, but I’m sure He understood.

Why we are allowed to encounter challenges?
And yes the scripture comes to mind.
Yeah,
I believe it,
But some of us love you and live for you,
Read of you
And
Depend on you,
Desire to be like you,
And point others to you!

Are we that hard headed, that we have to experience pain?

Are we that stubborn that we must face struggles?

Are we that unfaithful that we must feel hopeless?

It’s still quiet!

I guess I’m talking to myself?

Even amidst my thoughts,
I know He’s there and listening,
Compassionate and not just Concerned.

He is God!

And while we understand in part,
He understand in total.

I prayed that God would speak to you in a flow
Like you displayed (he was an excellent freestyle rapper).

I saw Him taking memories and holding them up one by one,
Just like you used to freestyle,
Displaying random things,
And sticking together verse after verse,

Masterfully,

Creating a hook by accident,
Making verses out of nothing,
Adjusting His cadence to life’s beat,
While we sit eyes and ears open
Waiting for what’s next,
Knowing that the verse that had been spoken,
He’s not spitting off the dome,
But recounting pages of lines in one breath.

I breath in
And asked Him to not only fill your lungs,
But to fill you with the hope
And the faith that allowed you to pursue your passion to inspire others!

Love you!

#PastorJDO3

Dermal Pain

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 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there
remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be
reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer
your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24

 

I am honored to be in relationship with some pretty amazing people.  One of these great individuals is a spiritual daughter of mines who has pierced in a tattoo parlor.  In an effort to learn more about her, I did some research on not only tattoos, but piercings. dermal-post-1 To say the least, it was fascinating (and no I will not be getting any tats or piercings).  So many techniques and different intricacies in the craft, that I decided to ask more about the Dermal Process.

Once the process was explained, there were many things that came to mind.

  1.  There is always something beneath the surface!

First, to keep the jewelry in place, an anchor is placed under the skin.  It is a piece that is actually parallel to the skin and appropriately wider than the entry point, which is secured via their own technique or best practices.   Once in place, the jewelry is attached, and the patron is ready to display their artwork.

While we all see the jewelry displayed on top of the skin, we are oblivious to the fact that it is secured by a plate that lays beneath the surface.  This truth parallels what happens in our daily lives with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  When we interact with one another, we must be constantly aware that the person we are interacting with has things that are beneath the surface.  These things are often anchors that display not offense but the pretty jewelry that covers the hole that exists.

Our interaction with those wounded can be like walking through an abandoned minefield.   Thus in our speech and interaction, we can’t haphazardly walk or wander through territory.  And once discovered, we must do our best to avoid what could cause explosions, leading to harm for both the offended and offender.

2.  Healed Wounds Can Cause Pain During Restoration

When discussing the plate, it was revealed that the plate contains 3 holes.  The center hole is for the Rhinestone of choice, and the outer two serve as support.   Support?  Yes!  As the Body recovers from the procedure, the skin tightens, and the flesh grows around and through the plate, fastening it into place. dermal-post-extension-215x182

The plate is considered permanent by piercers in that it become a part of the body.  In this, it is more painful to remove it than it is to place it.  As she spoke, I though once again about the many injuries we have incurred over the years.  These encounters often leave wounds, scars and have categorized many as disabled.  Things that have wounded us have been covered up in many ways, leaving us with unaddressed and mishandled pain and suffering.

And we know that restoration is possible.  The plate can be removed.  In this, we acknowledge that it will take more than stretching the skin to remove the plate.  Flesh will be cut and or torn in addition to skin being broken.  Furthermore, the healing process from the healed wound will be longer and more painful than the original injury itself.

Which brings us to the text that came to mind as she spoke.  Jesus said,

…remember that your brother has something against you,
leave…..First be reconciled to your brother   Mark 5:23-24

He advises us to be aggressive in reconciling our relationships with each other.  While God can and will heal and forgive, it seems that He understands the damage that is done while situations go unaddressed.  Throughout the Word, He is constantly telling us to forgive one another, not let the sun go down, love one another, do unto others and to live at peace with one another.

In this, Jesus places a time frame called immediate into play.  He says, when you “remember something…leave!”  Don’t spend time worshiping me, offering sacrifices to me, repenting and asking for forgiveness when you have harmed one of my children.  I wonder what damage has been done by not acting to correct our harmful actions?  How many words spoken have been woven into the fabric of individuals?  How many are staying away from the house of God to avoid contact with His children and in this keeping them from worshiping Him in His home?  How many hurting people are there, in need of an apology, and working actions to demonstrate our sincerity?

We must place the reconciliation of relationships as a premium.   Let’s remove the plate before the wound heals and anchors deep within.

 

#PastorJDO3

Enough! (I Kings 19:4,8)

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Life has a way of draining us.  I know; not you, its just me.  You have never been in the place where you have spent all your energy, applied all your focus, expended all your ideas!   That one last email that hits the inbox at 4:30 pm, after you have put out all the fires, re-planned and reorganized, re-equipped the staff, and you are packing your things for the day only to hear that haunting ding, and the refresh of your inbox!  Elijah had survived the big show down, emerged victorious, proved His God and in the process proved his self, only to receive word from the messenger of Jezebel, you have 24 hours to live!  1080-The-Prophet-Elijah-Receiving-Bread-and-Water-from-an-Angel-by-unknown-painter-in-church-Santa-Maria-della-Salute-600x922

Elijah, exhausted, ran to the desert, discouraged and afraid.  He looked to the hills, where his help comes from, and declared in verse 4, ….” ‘I’ve had enough!’ ”  It wasn’t the fight; it was one more fight!  I know you have never been there, but I have often asked my God, “How many more fights are ahead!”  “How many more times will we have to prove you are the true and living God. How many times will I have to stand in faith and boldness just to show that I am your man of God? ”

Honestly, Jezebel was not match for Elijah!  She was the worshiper and servant of a false God who had already been shown to be powerless, and was facing a woman who’s power was her ability to manipulate and influence those with power to carry out her bidding!  He had defeated her prophets, and would surely defeat her with the power of the Lord, but Elijah had had “Enough!”

Mentally, he was unable to imagine himself lifting his hand or his sword one more time.  He couldn’t muster up the image of himself facing one last battle!  Could he? Would he? Should he enter into another battle?

Emotionally, he faced the call for his very life.  He had to see himself as mortal, and face the knowledge that his days were numbered, and that he wasn’t privied to God’s personal book of life or schedule for life and death.  He focused on his mortality so much, that he had decided that death by Jezebel was inevitable and requested that God take his life.

Spiritually, he was unable to silence the voice of the enemy and hear the voice of the divine.  Though the messenger delivered the message, the voice of Jezebel and her promise rang louder and louder.  It was so loud that it was all he could focus on!  So loud that it muted the voice of the Lord!

I know, I am the only one that has ever been there Mentally, Emotionally and Spiritually, or maybe one of a few that will admit that we have all layed under the tree, and said, “I’ve had enough!”

Enough is that place of emptiness!  It’s the place where all of your resources have been used, and the reserve is non existent! Elijah was there!  He could go no further.  It was time to turn over the reigns!

The great part of this story is that Elijah wasn’t the only one that had enough!  Verse 8 says, “…That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached the mountain of God in Horeb.”  God met Elijah’s “Enough” with “Enough”.  God provided Elijah with enough sustenance to strengthen him not for the fight, but for the journey.  Elijah would never have to fight Jezebel, but he did have to make a journey to spend time with the Lord!

I love that God gave him enough strength to travel for 40 days and 40 nights.  One meal was enough to keep him!  One meal was enough to empower him!  One meal was enough to restore him!  I thank God for enough.  There are times in my life when I have been at enough, only to be met with God’s enough!  God sends a Word and Provisions via the hand of the Angel that allowed him to make it through the long journey.

I find it interesting that the toughest battle Elijah fought in this story wasn’t against the prophets of Baal, but with his mind.  Elijah was able to face the prophets with the strength of the Lord, but the battle he fell subject to was within.  We must fight to keep our focus, and must understand that peace is truly found to those who keep their minds stayed on God.

In your hour of despair, it is great to know that God doesn’t abandon you when you run into the desert!  God sends a Word!  God sends provision!  God sends companionship!  God never leaves us nor does He forsake us!

#PastorJDO3

Why Am I Fighting You?

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Ezekiel 7:14 They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath [is] upon all the multitude thereof. Ezekiel 7:19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.

When we rebel against the will and commandments of God, we find ourselves involved in combat with the divine. Combat you say. Going against Gods will for our lives and the commandments He has put in place, we are involved in ourselves in a war with Him. Upon reading this text, I asked myself, “Why am I fighting You?” In all of our pasts, we have seen God’s victories, both on paper and in person. We have born witness to the many last place finishers in the ring. We have watched in amazement as we have seen the fall from grace of the willing combatants that have dared to spare with you, become disillusioned, and then step into the ring with you. We have seen the medics attending to them, watched the referee counting them out, watched them shake in fiend-like conditions, watched them walk the streets in search for the next conquest, finding themselves on a bed sick with a disease, seen them hauled off to jail merchandise still in the bag, watched the marriage fall apart from the lovers they have had, watched their prosperity divided in half. We have seen the results of those who fight against your law and will, but yet I ask myself “Why am I fighting You?”

We know that you have not lost a battle. We know that you are all powerful. We know that you are the conqueror. We know that vengeance is yours. We know that you have all resources and that wisdom comes from you. We know all of this, and yet we have to ask ourselves, “Why are we fighting You?”

Is it somehow that we are still believe somehow that the fruit from the trees that we sample are better for us than the fruit that you provide? Is it that we feel like we are missing out on the adventure or some lesson or wisdom that comes along with the experience? Is it that we still have doubt as to whether righteousness is truly the way? The truth is that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and we are your children, thus, from time to time, foolishness floats to the surface, and the rod of correction must beat it out of us. Painful as it is, its just reality. Even us grown folks experience our own rod, and honestly, its very much deserved. All the things that we have and cherish are yours. All the things we have acquired are yours. All the things we have been given are yours. Please forgive us. All the training that we have is useless against you. All the money we have is useless against you. All the degrees we have acquired are useless against you. All the friends we have in our corner are useless against you.

Truly the blessings of the Lord brings no sorrow, but if we loose sight of the one that has provided the blessings, they can bring wrath. I desire not your wrath. I need not experience your hand against me. I need not see your face turned from me. I need you, and more of you than I already have. You are the one resource that I can never get enough of. “Why ye fightest Thee?” the old writers might have blogged. I’m really not sure. I guess we are all gluttons for punishment.

#PastorJDO3

I Can’t Stand the Pain

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I Can’t Stand the Pain

You have been given an advantage.
In this world where people lack the ability to feel,
You are sensitive to the world around you,
Seeing it for what it is,
Aware of what it has become,
Knowledgeable of what it was to be,

Now, just one big confrontation,
of good and evil,
Of light and darkness,
Of pain and pleasure,
A distorted of reality,
A dissertation of fools,
Instructions leading to dead ends,

Yet many seek to numb its presence,
By sedating themselves with life’s medicine,
Poison rather,
Killing themselves slowly,
Taking Calgon like escapes from what exist,

Relaxing in a hot bath of sin,
Unaware that flesh living,
Is a death sentence,
With judgement at the end,
And the manifestations of the flesh on earth,

A punishment to all that reject the Spirit,
Ignoring Her voice,
As she bares witness to our existence,
A compass, pointing North,
As we wander South,
At best East or West,

Having directions,
But walking without them,
Needy,
But not lacking,
Our hearts and minds pricked,
Adding value,
Allowing your very thoughts,
To be renewed,
Then,
Expressing to someone,
The sacrifice made for their benefit,
The original pay it forward,
Made long ago,
The sheet of paper,
Like the cross,
Bears the burden of our sins and worries,
Relieving us from the pain ,
Of carrying that which we are not suited to carry.
We truly are not camels,
Or pack mules,
Truth is,
It’s a long channel to swim across,
Our fears and desires are accompany us,
Making life like swimming across an ocean,
With a life jacket with weights attached to it.

That life jacket is Christ.
He will keep you afloat,
But if you don’t lighten the load,
Even the best life jacket will fail,
Not because it doesn’t work,
But because it was placed at a disadvantage.
By one who wouldn’t release that which was pulling them under.

#Spiritual Sunglasses
#PastorJDO3

Give me Legs, or Give me Life……

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Today, I had the pleasure of ministering at a Senior Complex. It was a simple message (Matthew 28:20) encouraging the residents and ensuring them that the Lord was with them. Though I was there to minister, a resident ministered to me.  There was a gentleman, 72, who had both of his legs amputated. He shared with me his story and confirmed the message that was shared.  He shared 2 nuggets with me:

1. He said when he was on the operating table, having his legs removed to stop the spread of Gangrene, he saw standing beside the doctor an angel of the Lord.  He said he was overcome with peace because he knew that things would go well and that he would make it through.  He was encouraged by the presence of the Lord because it confirmed that the Lord was confirming His Word to “Keep Him.”  I thought about how my grannies and grandpa’s would speak that same language.  We throw things away these days as they loose value and effectiveness and are quick to replace and cast aside, but our forefathers knew what it was to “Keep” something, thus their understanding of “Keep” far surpasses our understanding.   Lord, give us this same understanding so that we can appreciate things, life and you all the more!!!!
2.  He said that he considered the importance of his legs in his life, but knew that as long as he had God with him, he could function without his legs.   His faith was active before the surgery, during the surgery and after the surgery.  His faith enabled him to see past the hardship, and to see himself continuing to prosper in a different circumstance.  He learned how to walk once, and through God, he would be able to walk again.  The power of God is evident in His ability to adapt us, not just to “Keep” us.  We don’t just have to be content in a situation!  As long as God is with us, we can excel in a situation.
3.  He said that he watched a man slightly after him die from Gangrene because he could not see his life without his legs, despite his attempt to share with him.  He said he watched a man perish holding on to his legs which were facilitating his death!   This man mistakenly equated life with legs.  His declaration, give me legs, or give me death!  I wondered how many of us are facilitating our death by holding on to the very thing that is killing us?  He realized that even in having his legs removed, God was adding, and renovating his body to face the next phase of his journey.He said the truth is that he misses his legs, but he was right in that he knew that life was possible without the things that once gave him a sense of comfort and normalcy!
WHAT ARE YOU HANGING ON TO? WHY WONT YOU ALLOW THE MASTER SURGEON TO REMOVE WHAT IS CONSUMING YOU?