Monthly Archives: July 2010

An Apology — An Encouragement

I had an encounter tonight that was a true blessing.  A gentleman came up to me and said, “I’ve been needing to talk to you for some time.”  My first reaction was “Uh OH!”  But that was very short-lived.  His next statement was, “I have been needing to apologize to you for several years about something.”  He then proceeded to remind me about the incident.  If I remember correctly, the situation happened somewhere in the late nineties, possibly just after the year 2000.

I’m not going to tell the details of the situation, but it was a time in my life when I had just begun questioning the way we do church and when it happened, it served as a great learning experience for me.  It confirmed some things that I had  been thinking.  So, in a weird sort of way, I learned that God’s freedom was a great deal bigger than I had imagined, even thought the situation hurt me deeply at the time.  I told the gentleman tonight that, at the very least, he did come to me.  He was glad that I had learned from it.  I told him that I was grateful for his words of apology and that all was forgotten.

One of the things he told me was, “I am not that same guy any more.”  We discussed a few things and he left.  His conscience had been cleared and I had a greater respect for him too.  It was a win win deal.

He is about the third c of C preacher in the last month who has contacted me with this “feeling” that we were getting it all wrong.  Interestingly, I’ve talked to all three about changing the situation.  Sadly, they are stuck in a system that will, at the very least, hinder them and, at the very most, completely stop them from ever changing.  I even ask him tonight, “Why is it that we realize the problem, but never change?”  He just shrugged his shoulders and looked disappointed.  Sad.

I am looking forward to the day when I myself will make the move.  I hope that won’t be long.  God is waiting, I believe, for those of us who know that established religion is from Satan, to break free and get involved in our world for Jesus.

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“Here I Raise My Ebenezar”

Many of us can remember the following words from the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

“Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.

The words are taken from the thought produced in the scripture found in 1 Samuel 7.  The event in the life of the Israelites involved the Lord delivering them from the hand of the Philistines.  When that happened Samuel erected a stone to commemorate the event.  Here is the scripture:  (1 Samuel 7:12-13 NCV)  “After this happened Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named the stone Ebenezer, saying, ‘The LORD has helped us to this point.’ So the Philistines were defeated and did not enter the Israelites’ land again. The LORD was against the Philistines all Samuel’s life.”

Tonight Ellen and I had an event in our life that we have termed our “Ebenezar.” We sat along the banks of the Tennessee and had a heart to heart with God and each other.  For a little over a year now, we have been through one of the toughest spiritual battles in our lifetimes.  For me it has been more difficult than anything I’ve ever endured.  I have allowed it to really cut into my faith in my God.  I have openly lashed out at God thinking I was going to some how manipulate Him into some kind of response.  Useless!  God is, as I had it pointed out to me this morning, trying to tear down some idols in my life.  I pray that I can expedite the process so that I can soon see the salvation of the Lord.

One of the watershed realizations we had tonight is the fact that we have tried to limit God in our prayers.  “God bless us, but do it like….”  I certainly believe in being specific in our prayer time, but sometimes we attempt to capture God, place Him in our box, and tell Him how He is going to act.  Useless!

So tonight I confessed before Ellen and to my God that I was sorry for acting the way I’ve been lately.  I have been so caught up in my circumstances that I’ve missed the fact that I’ve been taken care of all along.  I confessed too that I am through trying to put chains on God and make Him my puppet.  I am ready and open to God’s will for my life.  I ask you to pray for me as I get about seeking more deeply than ever before just what He has planned for me. I ask you to pray against the Evil One who I know is planning already how he can trip me up.  Try as he might, he has no power over my Lord!  I have claimed once again Jesus as my Lord and I declare in the name of Jesus, “Satan defeated!!!!!”  I don’t suspect I’ll be perfect from here on out, but I claim ultimate victory in Jesus Name.  I claim the power of the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, to be upon me and my family so strong that when (and I don’t mean if) Satan raises his ugly head, that Jesus will cut it off!!

I’m tired of yo yo rides up and down and  my going in and out of confidence in the Lord.  He is the Rock of my Salvation and I want to proclaim with the Psalmist,

(Psalms 11 NCV)  “I trust in the LORD for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to your mountain.  Like hunters, the wicked string their bows; they set their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from dark places at those who are honest. When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?”  The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD sits on his throne in heaven. He sees what people do; he keeps his eye on them. The LORD tests those who do right, but he hates the wicked and those who love to hurt others. He will send hot coals and burning sulfur on the wicked. A whirlwind is what they will get. The LORD does what is right, and he loves justice, so honest people will see his face.”

So in good and bad times, God help me to claim my Ebenezar and trust that You have taken care of me up until this time.  May I understand that Your ways are not mine!  May I bless your Holy Name no matter my circumstances.