Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little story about my coming to understanding. Part 1

While conducting my Bible Study for the day, I read Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house,and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (KJV) This is a true mandate of God which has a direct bearing on tithing and the principles behind tithing. If followed, this mandate will show itself to be a reality and is very self-evident in nature! I, for one, have tested this in obedience to the Almighty God with results which show His absolute miraculous capabilities. *It should be noted I struggled with this in understanding it and actually realizing its intended meaning for the first few months of my new life with God. It wasn't until after recently realizing the true meaning and following the rule that I began to see fruits.

And it was also not until complete obedience to this mandate did I realize the extent of God's promises for my life. After tithing faithfully for a couple of months I began to notice very real changes in my life. I began to receive; a new vehicle, raised compensation from the Veteran Affairs, ability to move from one state (of which I spent most of my life trying to escape) to another, and noticeable betterment in my health status. All of which were only achieved after my complete surrender to God and obedience to God. All of which I have been recently praying on and asking for, and in the past, attempting to accomplish myself under my own ill-conceived efforts through years of hard effort and worn-out patience in the forwardness of these endeavours. Although I exhausted every avenue of approach in my own futile attempts to better my own life, I only served myself in going nowhere. Only after realizing my own personal attempts were taking me nowhere did I begin to seek out God and read and meditate on His Word daily, even hourly. It is also important to understand that I began to fall into line with God's Word and listen to the Holy Spirit. This was also made possible due to very patient people in my life who served as spiritual mentors to me namely my sister who I love so dearly, and my unsuspecting brother who is an atheist. He has unknowingly been used by God to help me in times of need. Oh, if he only knew the power of faith in God.

Yes, after years of waiting and hundreds of man hours of sweat-inducing work did I start to realize I was headed down a dead-end street. I reached my point of self-realization that I could not make these things happen any more than I could control the weather. It was after meeting my rock-bottom that I gave my own spirit up and threw in the gloves. After my recent divorce in which I was the divorcee, and only then did I seek out God and guess what? He answered! It was confusing, surprising, intriguing, and deboggling all in one wrapped up present. But, I found this peace. A peace that was better than any physical enjoyment I have ever had. I no longer felt the desire to please myself or indulge in my own interests and pleasures. I lost all sense of control but somehow I knew that the end far outweighed the means and everything I was and my entire identity as a human was amazingly recreated. I was a new person.

I cannot explain this feeling in words but it far surpasses all feelings of anything we know as people or anything which we could even imagine. I was never so comfortable, never so at home with myself. If there could be just one phrase to sum the feeling it would have to be "Spiritual Extasy!" By no means can it be summed up into one, simple phrase, but if it could, that is how I would phrase it. Yes, "Spiritual Extasy."

You see, God doesn't just have certain "kudo's" that are attached to His grace called salvation. No, it goes so much deeper than that. God ensures that once we get a true taste of His glory and splendor, we will want more and more and more.....................And we do, I do! God has this whole program allotted for our lives irregardless of what our final decision will be. Eternal Life or Eternal Death! That is ultimately our decision because God so graciously created us with the ability to choose. But, despite our own insecurities, God has security for us. Not security in the sense of human needs, security with so many more strings attached. All of them bonuses. All of them better than the last and less than the next. God is a game plan. God is a religion. God is a job. God is a way of life so that we may obtain life. In other words, a life lived with God in control is a life lived to the fullest. He doesn't just have this bonus called Heaven waiting for us in the afterlife, He has a life full of fullness and contentment awaiting us now!

We can spend our whole lives running around busying ourselves in our own vices and pleasures. But, from experience, I promise you that we will NEVER receive completeness in anything we do or anyone we meet. No number of people in our lives or money in our bank account can give us the feeling of completeness at the end of the day. All the riches in the world brings with it so much heartbreak and emptiness. At our death beds, you won't hear the father requesting his current number of IRA's or the amount of equity he has accrued with his home. He won't ask his son for a list of accomplishments on the community board. No, he will ask to see his family one last time. He will cry for the crumbling relationship between him and his prodigal son or daughter. He will be saddened by the small number of family members present for his upcoming funeral. He will have this nagging sense of something missing in his life and then he will weakly ponder his impending future in death that is getting progressively closer by the minute. Where am I really going? Who is on the other side of my one last breath? What awaits me? Who awaits me? Wait...................Did I treat everyone with respect? Did I contribute to society in a positive way? How about all those transients I treated so harshly years ago................That was a lifetime ago, but it seems so close now........................What if there really is a hell?????

This is something I dealt with for years in my youth. The mere mention of death triggered this shockingly but very real fear in the pit of my soul! For years, I worked around dead people as a police officer, I saw the worst possible scenarios; dead baby call, woman who had attempted suicide by using a .38 Smith & Wesson only to have half of her brain and skull fragmented on the wall behind the bed she was sitting on, a boy-somewhat of a local favorite-drowned in a residential lake with a maximum depth of 8 feet, and the wife of a cheating husband who drove off a 90 degree angle cliff of approximately 200 yards in height in a mini van. These are all very real incidents which I had the unfortunate luxury of observing on a daily basis. I was on the local Special Reaction Team and one day on a hostage situation call to a local school to intercept a man with a gun only to be called off seconds after the man took his wife's life then his own. Luckily, his son was in a different classroom at the time. I was the point man or shield-man of the team and I would have been the first to engage the disturbed man.

All of these very real, all of these very sad. Did the woman go to heaven? Did she have a conversion during the three days she was hooked up to life support with only her organs functioning? Was the boy right with God? Did the parents of the baby ever survive the ordeal? All serious and necessary questions. Serious because reality is much different than the television! Necessary because salvation and damnation are the only two alternatives! The most important question you should ask yourself is "Am I ready to face God if I died tonight?" I know that this might stir some emotions, some of you might have experienced similar situations, and others may just be wondering and asking the same questions. But the important point I am trying to make is that God is the absolute only way of ensuring that when and if that time comes, we are prepared. God is the only answer to our problems and because of His grace and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, are we able to look forward to eternal life with Him. Because of the pain endured at the cross are we able to bypass the pain here on earth while we approach our lives eternal in the New Kingdom.

So, let this be sobering but serious. Let each of us take a step back and reevaluate our lives and ask ourselves, are we ready? God has offered us eternal life, but we must understand that this offer does not limit our ability to enjoy our lives here on earth. We are meant to have good and prosperous lives while we borrow this worn out piece of dirt called earth. So let us take every thought captive, bring all of our problems, pains, and issues to God. And most importantly, let us show by our own lives who we serve and who we love as He first loved us. Amen.

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