I’ve had a pretty rough time of it last week. Have you ever felt you’re not doing what it is God would have you do? Like you’re doing something wrong or something against His will? Well, I have to be honest with you, last week was just such a week for me.
I would like to point out, at this time, that THIS is NOT today’s lesson. These are just little stories I’d like to share with you to help you understand how I came to today’s lesson.
A Rough Week
It all started early in the week. We had a customer, one of our good ones. They were having problems and, because of our inability to fix them, they were considering hiring another service provider. I was asked to help by working with the on-site technician over the phone.
Love story short, I walked him through the problem and all was good again with the customer. My struggle came when the technician made his way back to the office. When he walked in, several of the other techs applauded his good works.
Me? I felt completely unappreciated. “What about me?” I thought to myself. “Don’t I get any credit for my work?” I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, but this is how I started my week.
As most of you know, I have a favorite “watering-hole” that I stop by every night after work. My job can be quite stressful, and I stop there for a few drinks and to play a video game. I find it relaxing as it takes my focus off work for a while as it causes me to concentrate on something else.
Wednesday night, when I arrived at my place, I discovered I had no cash in my wallet. Uh-oh, I’m not going to be able to play. I was at the bar before it opened, and all the managers were there for a meeting.
When one of them came out for a glass of water, I asked him if it would be possible to take $5.00 out of the register so I can play my game and simply add the money back onto my tab. He did so and went back to the meeting.
Other customers had arrived, and the meeting ended. The bartender went behind the bar and tended to the other customers as usual. When the one manager that had given me the money came out, he yelled across the bar, “Hey, make a note, I gave Woody $5.00 out of the register!” I thought, “How rude! I guess I am not trusted!” I felt embarrassed as I must have looked like a fool to the other customers.
Did they think I would simply walk out of there that evening and neglect to pay what was owed? Do they know me at all?
Once again, at my watering-hole, I was quietly sitting and playing my game. I wasn’t doing very well and, after losing my last quarter and still haven’t won, I just blurted-out, “Shit!”
Well, the entire bar turned their heads to me and looked at me as if I had just done something diabolical and dirty. I looked at them, just shrugged my shoulders and said, “What?” Was I not allowed to have a bad day?
Remember my co-worker? The one who recently lost his brother to suicide? After he returned to work, he was having a problem receiving his email on his phone. Okay, this is what I do… I “fix stuff,” so I took a look.
While I was in his email, I saw a letter from one of the managers. When we first heard of Frank’s loss, I gave this person several web-site links to my support group (The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors).
He had forwarded them on to Frank as if he had suggested it. Once again, I got no credit. I know that sounds selfish but, sometimes we all like a little credit for the good we try to do.
When I was relating all my mis-fortunes to Pamela on Friday, I told her I was questioning my faith. Apparently, God wasn’t paying attention as, I assumed, I must be doing something wrong.
Her response was, “What? You losing faith? You seriously need to go to Sunrise in the morning!” As I thought about that, I realized, she was right.
It has been a pretty cold start to the new year and I haven’t been able to ride my bike much at all. On top of that, as Casi can attest to, the Sunrises have been pretty cloudy and not much to see at all.
Nonetheless, despite the little chill in the air, I decided I would go yesterday morning (Saturday).
Okay, now we’re getting there…
When I got to the beach it was pretty quiet. There weren’t many people and the water was rather calm. I immediately made my way down to the shore and dropped to my knees.
I said my “standard prayers,” thanking God for another day and asking for His blessings over all that are sick or in need. When I got to the part, “In your precious Son’s Holy name I ask these things…,” I stopped myself.
I was on my knees or, more accurately, I was on one knee. I decided I wasn’t done. Why was God taking my faith from me when I’ve been trying, oh so hard, to retain what I already had and grow more to become a better servant.
I adjusted my position making sure both knees were firmly planted in the sand. I then put both hands out in front of me on the sand and bowed my head to God.
“Father, I need you! My faith is diminishing, and my strength is failing me! Please help me to understand what it is that I’m doing wrong, so I can fix this?!”
After praying, ranting and raving about how sorry I am about my weaknesses, I began to feel God’s answer to me. You see, there are little pieces to the stories I just told you that I forgot to mention. But God, wanted to remind me.
Okay, what I didn’t tell you on that one was, one of the managers who had witness all the applause and grandeur, walked over to my desk and said, “Thanks Wood!”
He got it, therefore, so did God!
Romans 2:6 – “God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done’”
I remain humble; I remain “unnoticed” by the ways of this world for, I know, my Father in Heaven sees all that I do.
After my anger had passed about being thought “untrustworthy,” the bartender came up to me in response to the other manager’s outburst about my “loan,” and said, “Why did he have to remind me of that, it’s Woody… you would’ve told me.”
Proverbs 21:3 – “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
Since returning to Christ, I have tried to live my life like this. I try never to lie, and to tell the truth always thus pleasing my God.
Once again, if the bartender got it, so does my God!
After my little “outburst,” a friend and yet another customer looked directly at me and said, “We’re just not accustomed to hearing you swear.”
James 5:12 – “Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by Heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned.”
With this one, God reminded me what I read further down in this email, it was at the very bottom of his message. “You really should consider talking to Woody.”
Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
This, to me, is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. “Clothe yourselves with compassion!” How much more understanding does that give you as to how our Lord would have us treat others?
This manager knew, therefore, so does my God!
Faith is Restored, I’m Doing Okay
Okay, now comes the bottom line to theses pointless little stories… It wasn’t until I dropped to my knees, listened for God who then calmed my spirit… that I finally understood.
I am living as He would have me live. I am trying, and that is all that He asks. He believes in me so why can’t I believe in myself? The answer to all these questions…
Okay, this is it! This is what I was driving at and the lesson that came to me from Our Lord that I wanted to deliver to you this morning.
As I mentioned, I hadn’t been to the shore or the Sunrise it quite some time. I had simply said my prayers each day as I wandered around the parking lot at the office or outside in the morning while I was walking my dog.
These are not the places where I feel closest to God. Likewise, these are not the places Christ taught us to pray.
Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
I wasn’t in my “secret place!” I wasn’t in the place where I knew my God would hear me loud and clear. I hadn’t been to where I felt the calmness of The Holy Spirit and wasn’t being filled by The Holy Spirit as I spoke with God.
Why We Kneel
Our God is the Most-High God. How great are His wonders? How many times has He been there for us… through good and through bad. He is consistent in His Love for us, and never abandons us during our trials.
Daniel 4:3 – “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”
If you ask “the experts” on why we bow down, you may find this…
“To pray on our knees is to communicate an attitude. As with any bodily gesture or posture, the act of kneeling before God says something. The body communicates a message.”
Yes! Let us pray with an attitude. Let us pray from our knees to show our respect for our God! Pray with a sense of purpose and thankfulness. Let Him know, in your “secret place,” of your Love, respect, appreciation and admiration for Him with an understanding that WE ARE HIS!
Okay, my memory is not all that good these days but yesterday, as I finished this little lesson up, I remembered most of what I said to God this weekend. Allow me to share it with you this morning.
Father, forgive my lack of faith. Forgive my negligence in communicating with you as your precious Son taught me. I have grown weak and cannot go on without you. I need you. I need you more than I need anything of this world.
Forgive my ignorance Father. Bring me your peace. Fill me with The Holy Spirit that I might rid myself of these sinful and unbelieving emotions. Remove the devil from my heart and shield me from his evil for I want nothing to do with his wickedness and sinful ways.
I am yours Lord. I am merely a humble servant, filled with sin and wrongdoings. But I have accepted your Son into my heart and into my soul. I welcome Him to me each day I pray. I long for His compassion and strive to do the things He has taught me.
Cleanse me Father. Make me well. Unblind my eyes, open my ears and fill me with your wisdom. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me once more with my Savior’s blood… that I might, once again, serve your glorious purpose here on earth.
I submit to you Father. I give you my heart and soul. Guide my path. Give me purpose and teach me what it is you would have me do to justify the Love you give to me.
I am unworthy and broken but I know, deep within my heart, of your Love for me. I know you will cleanse me once more. I know you will strengthen me again and believe in all that you do for me.
I am yours Father. Take me, and let me exalt your name… for when I can no longer stand, I will fall on you!
Maybe that all sounds a little deep to you but, let me tell you, it certainly filled my heart up to say those words and to confess my feelings, once again, in my secret place with God.
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As Brothers and Sisters in Christ and The Holy Spirit, and Sons and Daughters of the Most-High God, we are very susceptible to the dealings of the devil. Doubt and fear will enter our hearts before we have a chance to see them coming.
Do yourselves a favor. Remember who God is… remember all He has done for you and the Love He has shown you. Show your appreciation for His unending Love and bow down before Him in your secret place and praise Him.
Find peace with God. Truly believe in Him and keep the devil at bay through prayer and thankfulness. Be the good son… be the good daughter. Rise above the ways of this world and enter into God’s protection. Be strong, as He would have you be… and know, you are Loved!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)