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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' (discussion) on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

6-1-2024    Reflections

In the previous three blogs, we’ve talked about the importance of laying a strong foundation of faith in our lives.  We talked about the tools Father gives us to grow that faith and we talked about who Jesus is. 

The basis of our faith is God’s love for us and our love for our God.  Father has given us one commandment ‘to have no other gods before Him’ (Exod. 20:3).  That translates into loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).  Commandments, two through ten, give us an overview of how to apply that love (Exod. 20:4-17).  As we operate in God’s love, we discover how Father interacts with us, in us and through us.  We overcome issues of this world and help others by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies as we yield ourselves totally to Jesus Christ (Rev.12:11)

Now, I’d like to share some experiences from my personal life as to how I’ve seen these things come to pass.  No, I’m not bragging nor am I citing every incident, but hopefully enough so that you get the idea God does work in us and through us.

Many of my formative years were spent in a Southern Baptist church – evangelical, very into what the bible says.  I strayed from the church after high school, not attending on a regular basis.  I did my ’tour of duty, in ‘Nam’, with the army and it was still about five years, after that, before I stepped back into a church.  From High School to the five years after military duty it was nearly decade before I started going to church again?  Why I strayed is not the issue here, but why did I start going back?

I met the woman I intended to marry.  She was a Virginian.  No, I don’t mean virgin, she was from Virginia.  She also had a Southern Baptist background.  I suggested that we go to the church I attended as a youth.  Now, in my absence from church, they had the audacity to bring in another pastor to replace the one who had retired.  I used to think that a pastor stayed with his church forever.  I’ve learned much over the years.  However, it did work to my advantage.  My new pastor had some funny ideas.  One was that a marriage, without Jesus, was doomed before it even got started.  So he would not perform the marriage ceremony until he knew that Jesus was in our lives.  As we counseled for marriage, he asked me (more than once) had I let Jesus into my heart.  I responded as to how long I had attended the church and a few other dodges.  After each dodge pastor replied “that’s not what I asked you.  Have you ever let Jesus into your heart?”  THEN, I had this overwhelming feeling of conviction come over me.  I admitted “No, I haven’t.”  “Would you like to let Him in now?”  I prayed, asking Jesus into my heart.  At that moment, I (literally) felt like a ten ton boulder had been lifted off of me.  I knew Jesus had honored my request.  The pastor also asked my bride to be if she had let Jesus into her heart.  She lied and said ’yes’.  He accepted her response and still performed our ceremony.  About three years later, my wife did give her heart to Jesus.

It’s crazy, a few months after the office visit, baptism was held for all the new converts.  I’ve heard how people praise God at water baptism but all I got was wet – no feelings, no experience.  Later, Father told me my ‘experience’ came in the pastor’s office the day I asked Jesus into my heart.  I’m not ‘dissin’ water baptism.  It is an outward, public expression of having accepted Jesus and that my sins have been ‘washed away’ (PTL).  A public testimony.

Not long after we married, we moved around a lot, other communities in the county and, as time passed, even into different counties in our state, so after a couple of years, we found ourselves not able to get back that ‘our’ church and began our search for another church, more locally (for us), to attend.  We did run into that pastor a few years later, told him my wife finally gave her life to Jesus and asked him why he went ahead with our ceremony.  His response “I knew your wife lied that day, but I also knew that with Jesus in the marriage, it was just a matter of time.  I spent thirty-four years with my wife until the Lord took her home.

Jesus said that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6-8, Heb. 13:5).  Hmmmm.  Oh!  Father said it too!  The bible says that by two or more witness a thing is established (Deut. 17:6, 1 Corinth. 13:1).  Must be true!

I can’t count all the times Father has helped me to reflect on all the times He has been with me and not forsaken me.  My experiences have not been as harrowing as some other people’s, but they are mine.  The motorcycle accident that wasn’t (thank you Holy Ghost).  Driving down the BW Parkway between Baltimore and Washington DC, rounding a curve in the road, about thirty yards ahead, traffic was at a dead stop.  Speed limit- 65 MPH.  Do I just plow into the last car in line?  Nah!  I don’t think so.  Do I lay the bike down and slide under the last car in line?  Ooooh, the road burn and the sudden stop at the end, I don’t think so!  I had about 90 feet to decide.  Then I heard a voice in my head “Release the throttle, steer over onto the gravel shoulder and don’t hit the brakes until you’ve slowed enough to safely stop.”  I did and I avoided what could have been a very nasty accident.  PTL!  I remember two guys on the hillside (by the shoulder) looking at me as I whizzed past them (crazy fool!). 

In Vietnam, three of us, on rotating shifts, ran a Stratcom (microwave radio) substation in the Cholon district of Saigon.  Our main site was at Ton Son Nhut airbase, a couple of miles outside the city.  I was on duty when Our CO called and said that we were on ‘red alert’.  The Viet Cong were dumping mortar shells all around and in the airbase and the indication was that they were poised to come into the city.  I said “OK” and hung up.  I looked over at our on-site gun rack with its lone M-14 rifle and one clip (20 rounds of ammo) beside it.  I said to myself “Ooookaaay).  After about an hour, the guy on the next shift came in about three early (he got bored).  I told him that we were on red alert.  He look at our gun rack look back to me with a quizzical look on his face.  I responded “No sweat unless there are twenty one of them (Viet Cong)”.  We laughed.  As it turned out, the Viet Cong did come towards Saigon kicked the snot out of Saigon police station (about half way between Saigon and Ton Son Nhut then withdrew and left.  Two months later, my tour was up and I came home.  Two months after that, the Viet Cong did come into Saigon in an unsuccessful attempt to take the city.  I was safe at home.      

Also, in Cholon, the army housed me in a three story hotel, practically across the street from my duty station (It was such a long walk to work (lol).  I was on the rooftop one evening, looking out over the city, just to see what I could see.  Tran Hung Dao, the main street into Saigon proper, was at the hotel’s front door, housing on two sides and an ARVN compound on the final side.  The ARVN were South Vietnamese military troops.  As I peered over the side I heard a voice in my head “jump!”  I backed off the edge and went back, downstairs, to my room.  Never went back up on the roof.  The Holy Ghost talks to us through our heart (or mind) and He knows our heart (Prov. 19:21, Jer. 17:9-10, Luke 16:15).   I’ve learned that Satan can also introduce thoughts into our head, as exampled through my experience in Saigon and the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). 

The Holy Ghost will lead us into all truth and understanding (John 16:13),

Here are several examples of Father’s influence in my life.  Father taught me about baptizing in Jesus’ name.  We were with a church, for a while, that taught the only way into heaven was to be baptized “in the “name of Jesus”.  “Father Son and Holy Ghost” was not a viable option.  Father showed me that the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all one and the same.  Father is the essence of His being; Jesus is the physical manifestation of His love and word; and the Holy Ghost brings it all into action.  When we come to understand this unity, we also come to understand the Godhead (Col. 2:9).  The words used in baptism, Father Son and Holy Ghost or Jesus’ Name are the same. Don’t know about you.  I serve only one God.

I had never heard of the 5-fold Ministry until I started attending the church with which I am now affiliated.  Early in my experience with this fellowship, the pastor mentioned the 5-Fold Ministry (Eph. 4:10-16).  In my heart I asked myself “What’s a 5-Fold ministry”.  Pastor gave a brief explanation, then Father gave me a deeper understanding of how those five  ministries should operate and the necessity of these ministries in the church today.

As well as the bible, Father has spoken to me through other Christians, birds and even a T shirt.  Once, during a ‘renewal’ service, we had some brothers and sisters come and minister with and to us.  After the ‘meeting’ we broke off into several groups, each headed by one of the prophets.  Each prophet had a 2-member team, I thought for prayer support and learning.  Pastor assigned me to one of the prophets and said “Use him” (meaning me).  We had several people waiting to receive a word from God.  A young man stepped up first.  Then, to my surprise, the prophet looked to me and said “Give him a word from the Lord”.  Upt to that time, I had never done this before.  I looked at the prophet, I looked at the young man, and in my heart “Lord, now what am I supposed to say?” Father brought to my attention the blue T-shirt, with the big red “S” on the chest which he was wearing.  Father then told me what to say to the Young man.  I don’t know about the young man, but I was totally surprised.  I believe that the young man was edified by the word – I know I was.

Over the years, I have also discovered that Father also helps us with the ‘little’ things in life as well.  At FDA, I was part of a team that processed and assigned identifying information to the incoming drug applications for scientific review and eventual approval.  some documents were easier to process than others.  I was grumbling with myself one day, when I heard “Give Me the job”.  What?  Okay, it’s Yours!  First thing Father did was change my attitude.  Then from that time until I retired and because of my faithfulness to Him, Father gave me eight promotions.  He has helped me with many other decisions, small or great.  As example I would pick out a shirt to wear (on any occasion) and He would say “not this one but that one.”  Crazy?  Father does care about even the little things in our lives. 

I thank Father for all the experiences He has brought my way and the things He has taught me over the years.  He has given me a deeper understanding of His Word and how to apply it into my own life as well.  AND He has given me a deeper understanding into my relationship with Him!  P-T-L!!!

One of many songs Father has given me over the years was titled “Lawdy, Lawdy, Holy Spirit”, based on a song from a gentleman named Lloyd Price from 1950.  In the song Father gave me is a phrase ‘I get weak in the knees and shivers if you please, I know this can’t be me’.  It describes in (part) how I feel when I’m with the Lord.  The first song Father ever gave me about our relationship was a song He titled “Slipping Away” (into your presence my God).

I share these experiences so that those who read this may realize that God is not just some imaginary, unseen being living somewhere in the heavens.  He is real and does want a relationship with us.  To teach us.  To protect us.  To help us through difficult times.  To love us.  AND enable us to love Him in return.

Can we do any less?


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