You know, there aren't many times, in my opinion, that we really take stock and realize how greatly we are loved. We sometimes take it for granted, and then in a time of loss people will come together and we will be reminded of just how loved we are.
Prayer, do we really believe in the power of it? I know a lot of times we say we do, but do we really accept it's power, or do we take it for granted when we pray? I imagine we would all say we believe in prayer, especially those that have seen answered prayer in their lives but take my personal experience. Two and a half years ago, I was saved but out of church, not serving like I should, neglecting my Bible, neglecting God in my life. I still said my prayers at night though, and one in particular I prayed every night, that I be made a better Christian. Now I didn't know what that entailed, I knew I needed to go to church somewhere, I figured that would make me a better Christian, but even though I wanted to get up and go, I couldn't find my get up and go. So I guess I thought praying that prayer, God would put it on my mind more, impress upon me the need to do better. I learned God's ways aren't our ways. I lost my wife, my marriage over, I didn't know where to turn so I turned to God. I got back in church, I started serving.
So God answered that prayer, not in the way I thought He would, but He did answer it, and yes it was excruciating at first, but God helped me make it through.
So I was studying and thought I understood Proverbs 3:5, I interpreted it to trust God, don't try to figure it out. No matter what happened in my life, trust God and don't try to figure it out. I didn't know how personal that verse would become to me, and how I would be tested in following through in what I was hearing from that scripture.
But think about that, don't try to think your way out of a situation, trust that God is using it for His good, and guess what His good is going to be good for you even if you don't get it at first. Don't question what happened just trust that God is in control. And verse 6 reminds us to acknowledge Him in all ways and He will direct our paths. If we trust Him and acknowledge He's in control of our life, He's going to lead us, He's going to show us the way. He's going to place us on the path He wants us to be in. Do you get that part of it, He's going to direct you to go where He wants you, it's part of acknowledging Him, it's giving Him control over your life.
When you give Him that control, He's saying don't question what's going on, don't be a back seat driver, trust that He has His hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. He knows the best road to take, even when to us it looks like a hard road. See to God it isn't a hard road, it's just a road and He knows if He wants us to get down that road as long as we trust Him we will make it because He strengthens us, He does it for us through His strength. He carries us when we're too weak, He helps us until we can walk the walk on our own.
The Lord is that good shepherd that leads us beside still waters. He leads me in the paths of righteousness. When I am in the shadow of the valley of death, He is there with me.
Are you letting Him lead your life? Do you want to lead or do you want to follow? Do you want control, or would you rather God direct your path?
Lead or follow?
I prayed another prayer too. This one.
Lord, fill me with your spirit this week. In scripture we see the spirit come in different ways so I would ask that you send your spirit as rain to refresh me, send your spirit to open rivers in me that I might become an overflowing tributary of your spirit's fullness to others, as wind to breathe new life in me, as a fresh anointing of oil to give me practical wisdom for life, fill me with holy wine that I not be filled with the things of this world, come as fire to refine me into what you would have me be to inflame me with a passion for your work and send your spirit as a dove to rest upon me and grant me peace.
I took for granted that God would answer it, I thought He'll send His spirit and It will do these things in me and I'll be lifted and I'll be somehow better for it maybe. But God's ways are not our ways. See I missed something big.
For the Spirit to refresh me as rain, I need to be a dry and thirsty land, I needed to be parched.
To become an overflowing tributary of the Spirit's fullness, to be filled with that river I would need to be emptied of myself.
If the Spirit was going to breathe new life in me, then I have an old life I have to let go of.
If I wanted to be anointed with His wisdom, I had to let go of my own.
To be filled with the wine of the Spirit, I had to be emptied not just of myself, but of the things of this world that live in me.
If I wanted to be refined by His fire, I would have to accept, there are things in me that need to be burned away.
And if I was to receive peace, I would have to experience turmoil.
See God answers prayers, it's true, but His ways are not ours and He will use our prayers to make us look more like His son, to conform to the image of Christ. We pray for what we want, the Spirit in us communicates what we need. And though we don't always understand it right away, it's what we need, it's necessary for us to be what we were called to be. Because sometimes we let stuff, people, ourselves get between us and God, and He has to move those things so we can get closer to Him.
Like the preacher said Sunday night, if you love anyone, or anything more than God, then that person is in danger because God will move the things that keep you from Him. That's how much He loves us. That's grace, not that I would find Him, but that He came for me. Not that I was looking for Christ but that when I was running as fast and far away as I could on a slope getting steeper and steeper on a path straight down into hell, that when I was running from God, He outran me! That is grace that He would come for us, who ran from Him.
A journey is always began with a single step, and usually the road is smooth because unless you like hiking and are a masochist, why would you start a journey where the road is hard.
O the joy and O the sorrow
O the sorrow
And yet will He bring
Dark to light
And yet will He bring
Day from night
When shadows fall on us
We will not fear
We will remember
When darkness falls on us
We will not fear
We will remember
When all seems lost
When we're thrown and we're tossed
We'll remember the cost
We're resting in the
Shadow of the cross
I had one, I saw a boy collapse as I drove by and I thought to myself, "he's just playing." The reality is, if someone else hadn't seen and called for help he may have died.
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
A lesson I learned this week.
Such a good weekend, but man I just don't know where I stand anymore. I need to man up.
Leaving mcdonalds after church there was a man sitting there and I knew I needed to talk to him, but I kept walking, I was supposed to talk to him about salvation but I was a coward.
And at the same time I did something so stupid, putting myself out there more than I ever have to get shot down. I used to have some bad behavior but it was out of arrogance, today I knew better, knew I was pushing where I shouldn't, knew I was going to go to far, and then I did. And I should apologize, but I haven't, I need to man up.
Everything good from this weekend was erased in a few seconds of the old me responding.
I hate being lonely, but I don't date. I have felt that when God knew I was ready that I would know who she was, but I'm finding that maybe I was wrong and either she isn't coming, or it's more work than I thought it would be. Should I start dating? There are other fish in the sea as they say, and I have been putting my eggs in one basket. People tell me I should move on, doesn't matter how I great I tell them she is. They tell me I need to man up.
I'm thinking about her now though, even though it hurts, I can;t get her off my mind, and that's a problem when you feel more for a person than they do for you. It's a recipe for disaster, for heartache, and yet I keep on, to caught up in my feelings for her to let go, to caught up in my sureness of what we can be together. I need to let go. I need to man up.
How do you do that though, how do you abandon someone you feel so strongly for, just because the relationship isn't what you wanted? How do you walk away from someone you call a friend? I can't, and walking away isn't being a man.
It's what I would have done. The hurt would have been so much at just the thought that I would have crossed the bridge, burnt it down and scattered the ashes.
But even though it hurts now, it's worth it if I get to see her smile one more time. And even more so when I know I put the smile on her face.
What's the difference between being available, and being a doormat? I can't answer that, I don't feel like a doormat though.
Man up! Serve God. Got an offer to preach today, ready to man up. Ready to preach the word.
I still don't understand it though, how can I feel this much for her? How can I miss a friend like this? Why do I have these feelings? How do I get rid of them if nothing is ever going to happen?
Part of me schemes, thinking maybe if you do this or that she'll see you in a different light, but the realist in me knows, she'll never have feelings for you. She's in love with someone else and as long as that's the case she'll never be able to give you a chance.
Does that mean she might miss out on something special, yes. But it means I miss out on that something special too.
It doesn't hurt any less to find out slow or fast that I'm playing for second no matter what.
It doesn't hurt any less to know that no matter how much fun, how much we click, how much we can talk, how close we grow that she will always see him first as she waits for him, like you wait for her.
Man up! Either go for it all or go home, but quit playing it safe. You can tell her how you feel, if it doesn't affect her then know it isn't going to happen. Because let's face it, if it was going to happen, it would.
So accept the loneliness of your life. Accept that for you, this may be all there is. Accept that for you she's not going to come around. Man up.
I'm James Lingerfelt and I'm a Christian. Called to preach the Gospel of Christ to my neighbors.
Look to the story of the good Samaritan. The Samaritan was the beaten and left for dead man's neighbor because he had what the man needed. Just like we are neighbors to anyone who is dying and in need of the help we carry. And I mean the Gospel. We carry the thing that can give them life, can heal their wounds, can set them free, can give them hope and life everlasting.
I am a man that struggles just like any other man.
I have heartache and pain, joy and love.
I have people I like a lot, and others I could do without, but I have to love them just the same.
I have been a coward, not because of the things I won't do, but because of the things I chose to do. I chose to take the easy way, to join in making fun of others. I chose to drive past people in need of assistance. I chose not to tell a stranger about Jesus when given an opportunity. I chose to drop out of church for too many years. I chose to be a bad husband. I chose to live a life I can't look back at and be proud of.
I was a coward.
I don't have to be any more. I can open my heart to all the things the Lord has for me and accept that I was made for a purpose, that I am made the way I am to be placed in a certain place at a certain time to do a specific task.
I can accept that I am where I am now. I can accept that I am learning from this time things that God will use to carry me through future days.
He prepares me now because He loves me and wants me to be prepared not because He wants me to hurt or struggle with fear or loneliness.
He is an awesome God I serve. I joke that I am awesome a lot, I am made in God's image, any awesomeness you see in me is just a reflection of the awesomeness of God.
I am James Lingerfelt, a Christian, saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ who gave his life freely upon the cross after living a sinless life. That same Jesus that was then buried and rose again on the third day and appeared to many before returning to Heaven.
Shattered dreams like shattered glass litter the hallway of my heart
and I bleed from the cuts your words inflict
I know I said I'd never hurt again
but those were lies.
So I fall on my face and my tears rain down like a hurricane
and you won't know about my lonesome call
perched upon your ivory tower
too far away to see.
And I scream as loud as I can letting loose my pride
held in the expanse of my mind
and shamefaced I stand
letting myself go.
Into the darkness, into the abyss, silently I slip
forgetting all I've known
burying my dreams
with this sack of bones.
When it hurts too much to go on breathing
when it hurts too much to smile
I'll trust the cold ground
before your cold heart again.
It's been the same for far too long
there's a lion caged in my heart
roaring for release
straining at the chains.
These shattered dreams await a broken spirit
that knows no peace
Like a banshee scream ripping through my heart
comes the crescendo of pain
and my heart that beats no more
is in your hands.
And you just look at me and smile
as you rip it from my chest
because you don't care
the grave in your wake.
A broken life
a broken heart
a broken man
a broken dream.
I sit and cry out
my body shaken by my grief
as you walk away
and I gasp for life.
Too many times
too many times
too many times
its been this way.
The dreams that are shattered
the heart that is broken
and all I do is give up
and not even try.
Thunder shakes the room as I stand from my seat
to take my place in the hall of warriors
putting on my armor, gathering my shield
for the next time.
Walls I build around me
defenses for my heart
to keep them out
that could hurt me.
I build my prison walls thinking they protect me
never seeing that they keep others out
at the expense of my experience
and I throw away the key.
No one gets in this time
I'll live on my island and no one can hurt me
except myself and your memory.