Grief, David, Frustrations, Prayer, the Gospel, my Savior!

I think I am in the 4th stage of the 5 Stages of Grief: Depression. I cannot be angry, even though part of me wants to. I can’t think straight. I look forward to night, then when night comes, I look forward to day. Ugh! My heart is sad. Sad for so many reasons. It is Stages-of-griefsad for so many people and their families. I want the devil to not get any glory or attention in this…. You know, the Truth- be- told, this split…is not the Great Divorce of ALL Eternity. I mean, I think we can foretaste its bitterness, but it is not all compared to when the Lord removes His Spirit from this world. Oh! I dare not imagine it. Souls that deny Him will feel His withdrawal, and wail and say “The God, your God has forsaken us!”.  ~ O. There is an ache in my heart that only the One who created me can reach. Father, I need Your help. I cannot love without Your Holy Spirit’s guidance. Praise You, Lord, that You never forsake Your own.

I am frustrated. Frustrated. Furious. Furiously Frustrated. I don’t know if I can(should) handle the  ‘petty pretty gospel lite’ show.  The ‘let’s make the Gospel Message look and  sounketchup_gospeld appealing’ to the lost. NO! The Gospel is NOT appealing. It’s NOT attractive. It doesn’t feel good…yet! The Gospel is brutal! Did you not read of Isaiah 53’s imagery of our Lord? He didn’t look like a man; He didn’t look like a human! The Gospel is brutal. It’s message invites hostility(Romans 8:7). Yes. The Gospel is the message of True Love. But how many of us know that love doesn’t look pretty. It’s beautiful, but it isn’t pretty. Some of the greatest love stories (real life marriages) were and are not based on appeal, attractive figures, nor handsome faces. They are based on real love, that sees past all the fleeting appearances(Proverbs 31:30). Praise the Lord for His Holy Spirit that does a great Work in us. He says, “this Gospel message may not look good to you, but you need this Jesus.” He shows us our ugliness and our need for Jesus and then Jesus washes us clean! Praise You, Father, for sending Jesus!

Okay, what was I saying? Oh yeah. I feel such restraints, as if I am willing placing my hands in chains, when trying to beautify the Gospel. Jesus has set us free from all of the black-man-in-chainsprogrammatic stuff…remember the Pharisees? They were not Free because they were held captive and in chains by their own man-made traditions. How sad is that! How LOST they were. It’s a terrible thing to believe you are found, while all along you are lost.

You know …(long pause)….Jesus, did not take the time to objectify what He looked or sounded like when He was teaching and doing signs and wonders, that people may believe(John 20:31). He did not record His voice to make sure He didn’t sound monotone, or repeat “um” 50 times. He didn’t create youtube videos to dress rehearse His parables. NOPE! You know what He did? He prayed! He prayed. He prayed. Do I pray like He prayed? Do I love like He loved? He spent time with the Father, alone. As He says in John 5, various verses, He did the work that the Father was doing. How did He know what the Father was doing?  Answer: By spending time with the Father. How do you know what your children are doing? You talk with them and you spend time with them. Oh, Lord, thank You for wanting to spend time with me to share with me what You are doing in and around me!

Many of us lack the faith. We lack the wisdom. We lack the grace to endure. We lack vision. We lack in knowing our Father through relationship with Jesus Christ. All because we fail to pray. Amen?  I will sorrowfully admit, I have lacked in prayer at times. I have gone prayer-church-16x9days, weeks without spending true time in prayer with my LORD. And oh how miserable I was! I blind and FULL of ME, I had become. How lost I began to feel….you know, that drifting feeling. But, praise be to our God He is always there waiting for us to come to Him with a repentant heart. (It is a sin not to pray, you know) [1 Thessalonians 5:17, Luke 18:1-8, 1 Peter 4:7]. He beckons me to come eat, drink and be satisfied in Him. Oh, what great joy to know that my Father longs to be with me.

Well, I am feeling a little calmer now. My mind is settling down. I believe I have said all I was suppose to say, for now. I will close with the Word of the Lord.

John 5:19-20

‘So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.’

Do you marvel at what Jesus is doing in you and through you?

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UNashamed Obedience.

OBEDIENCE.

I use to, and still at times, dread the sound of the word and its derivatives. I can hear: “You need to obey.” “You must obey.” “You are not being obedient.” “You are being disobedient.” Obey, OBEY, OBEY, OBEY! I think I have heard it so many times that I at some point I became afraid of the word obedience. So much so, that when I WAS obedient, I was afraid that I wasn’t obedient. Crazy right!?

I know most are not like me, who once struggled with obedience more than I would like to admit. I mean, I was born going against the grain and its planter. (We all were, even the littlest ones) Let me tell you something, right here! Listen: ‘Knowing‘ and ‘doing‘ are two different words all together. Don’t get me wrong, here. They should work together well, but as most know- one tends the leave the other behind. My grandmother used to say, “There ought to be some sign.” Meaning: there should be a sign in your doing, that you know better!

Over the years, through many biblical teachings and discipleship and hard knock lessons. I have come to know that there is blessing in obedience. (Isn’t it just like the devil, to get to want me to despise the route in which my blessings fall.) Deuteronomy 11:27 the LORD GOD says, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.” and in Deuteronomy 28:1-2 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you [b]obey the Lord your God:” Exodus 23:22, “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”  Well now that is a blessing if I have ever read about one. And one more: “I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame!” – Psalm 119:31.  I’ll tell you something: shame is something I use to, at times am tempted to concern myself with. Unfounded shame. Because there is NO shame in following after Christ. NONE(Read Romans 10:11).  What a blessing! Just to be able to cling to the Lord and not having to be ashamed of it “I cling, let me not be put to shame.”  “I obey, let me not be ashamed.” Oh what a blessing! There is NO shame in obedience. And if there appears to be a trickle lingering in the heart, it’s root is pride. KILL IT! PRIDE: LOVE OF and PRESERVATION OF SELF! 

I remember as a child and/or a teen, being afraid to do the RIGHT THING (OBEY the LORD) because of people pleasing. Basically being afraid of what others might say or think of me. It isn’t always easy to obey the Lord in a counter-cultural, anti- Bible, Jesus hating world. Here are four reasons we disobey and the root of. We:

  • Do not agree with what is being asked of us root: pride
  • Have no regard for authority root: pride
  • Lack of trust/faith root: pride
  • Fear of what others might think/shame root: pride

Pride is a killer. It is worse than cancer. Cancer kills the body. Pride kills the soul. It keeps it from being regenerated by the Holy Spirit and sends many, many to eternal damnation.

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You know. I think about Joshua and the Israelites conquering the Wall of Jericho.  What if they were too ashamed or embarrassed to follow the LORD’s instructions? Too ashamed to be obedient? That awful sinful city would not have been destroyed. Rahab and her household would not have been saved. In Hebrews 11:31, it says, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Blessings right?  They were obedient. The writer of Hebrews places them among the faithful ones;  Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.”  Something tells me, there was NO SHAME IN THEIR FAITH! 

So how about you (and I)? How do you feel when you obey the LORD? When you don’t? What is He asking you to do that you really don’t want to do? Are you worried about what others will think? (PRIDE) Are you unwilling because you don’t think God’s way is best for you? (PRIDE) Are you afraid? (PRIDE) Do you not believe in the LORD, still? (PRIDE) Do you not trust Him? (PRIDE)

Let me tell you (and myself) something. Obeying the Lord is for our good. He knows best! Even when life’s circumstances look or actually are chaotic, it is best we obey. The enemy wants us to be so distracted by trying to save ourselves, than obey the LORD. Especially when there are others watching. Will you be too ashamed to obey the LORD? Are you too ashamed, right now, to obey the LORD? [Mark 8:37-38  “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”]

I tell you, once we have tasted of the LORD’s goodness and His faithfulness, we will find it easy to obey Him in the hardest of times. When all the on-lookers are shaking their heads and mumbling. We STAND UP with weak knees, yet unwavering because thus saith the LORD, “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.…” Isaiah 54:3-4 and He says,“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” Isaiah 61:7 

Tamika your obedience to your LORD and His Holy Spirit does not bring shame upon you. Despise the shame and keep walking it out with fear and trembling, knowing Who has called you and set you apart for that Day. You are His and He is Yours. Walk in UNashamed Obedience to the LORD your God!

Selah

“Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.”Psalm 116:6