Sunday, January 1, 2012

God Has A Dream


Philippians 1:6 I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Just living is not enough – I want to live for something greater than my life.

Life should be a script which only God can write.

One month after I turned 18 Brenda and I got married. The moment we were pronounced man and wife fulfilled every dream I had ever had up until that point. It was all I could remember wanting and the only thing I had ever prayed for. The day after we were married Brenda told me that she had made a terrible mistake – she realized that she did not love me. But since she had a hatred for divorce she decided to stay with me and try to make the best of it. This was not the new adventure either of us expected.

I really don’t know what I expected from marriage other than you got to be with the one you love every day, and I loved Brenda. Neither one of us had any idea about our future - we just fell into the routine of living. There was nothing special about us, week in and week out we just kept going to school and work then on the weekends we partied like everyone else. Little did we realize that God had plans for our life. He had a dream …

If someone had given me Aladdin’s Lamp and a Genie appeared to grant me three wishes, no doubt I would have wasted them all on something temporary and stupid. If God had have sent a prophet to tell me I could have anything I wanted, I might have gotten a new car or a house for Brenda. I couldn’t imagine greater. Certainly I had needs but I was truly unaware of most of them and I viewed life only from my point of reality. My reality limited me … but thankfully my reality did not limit God.

It was not that I had no imagination but rather that I never did imagine for myself what God was imagining for me and my family.

God did what I had asked Him to do … He gave me the woman I loved for my wife and in return I had pledged to serve Him. Even without my knowledge He guided my decisions and directed my steps. He picked me up when I failed and encouraged me to imagine a greater day.

In 1976 Brenda and I were on the verge of divorce. It seemed we had nothing in common and we fought all the time. We were living just outside of London, England, and one day a missionary came to visit some friends and ended up talking to Brenda in a little café. He challenged her to make Jesus the Lord of her life. No doubt God had been preparing her heart for some time and when she prayed with this missionary, she changed.

For the next three weeks I witnessed what God was doing in her life and finally came to the place of repentance myself. Together we began learning how to live a life pleasing to God. Soon we began to see the evident hand of God’s blessing on our lives. We prayed and read the Bible together and God healed us of our wounds. Looking back I now can see just how much the hand of the Lord was on us with each step we took. Occasionally Brenda and I will re-visit the houses we lived in during those early years and reminisce as we sit in front of each one in amazement of all the God had to do to get us where we are. He had a dream for us …

In the summer of 1979 I was standing in a Baptist Church in Simms, Texas during the invitation when I felt the call of God to go forward and submit my life to the ministry of the Gospel. I did not hesitate … people came up after church to shake my hand and all I could do was cry.

When I got home that day I felt so scared and a little embarrassed. There was just no way that I could ever be a preacher I thought – not me! I knew me and I could not imagine that God could use anyone like me.

I went into the house and fell onto my back on the sofa. It was unusual for me not to help Brenda get our two kids out of the car and in the house … but I was unable … all I could do was to cry and wish I had never walked up that isle. I laid on that couch talking honestly as I could with the Lord. I told Him that most of all I was sorry that I had made such a mistake and I hoped it did not bring embarrassment to Him or to the Church or Pastor. I repented of everything I could think of that would make me do such a thing or think that God could use me like that.

Finally I told the Lord that I really believed I had missed Him, I didn’t know what I had felt during the invitation but that I did not want to let it go until I had given Him one last chance to have His say. Laying there on my back I had the Bible which my mom had given me for my 16th birthday sitting on my chest. I told the Lord that this was His chance … I was going to throw that Bible up in the air above me and when it came back down I was going to put my finger on a verse on the page it flew open to and if that verse did not confirm my calling then I was going to phone the pastor and deacons and go back to church that night and repent in front of the whole congregation. I would just have to suffer the humiliation but I had rather do that than to presume God had called me to be something I was not.

Without waiting for any feedback concerning my plan, I quickly threw my Bible up as high as I could and caught it with my arms fully stretched towards the ceiling. I put my finger on the page that was open and brought the Bible down to my face so I could determine my fate. When I blinked to clear the tears and began to focus, my left index finger was perfectly positioned at the very beginning of Luke chapter 4, verse 18.

Luke 4

18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

I have had several life experiences since that sofa moment which directly referencing this same passage confirming this is my life scripture. I know I am a teacher and I am anointed to put life’s truths into meaningful stories. However, I have also been blessed with a great supply of passion … but … no passion is greater within me than the passion of compassion.

At least 5 times in the Gospels we are told that Jesus, or a representation of Jesus, was “moved with compassion”.

1. Matthew 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, Jesus was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

2. Matthew 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

3. Matthew 18:27 "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

4. Mark 1:41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."

5. Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.

In some instances Jesus was moved to pray, in others moved to heal, to forgive, to feed the multitudes or simply to teach someone a simple truth.

When I was 18 I never imagined that God would work so much compassion in me as I have today … or … get so much work out of me because of that same compassion. All this week I have been struggling to know how to best serve you in this New Year. I realized late last night that what I need to do is to simply love you and let the compassion of Christ flow through me to you. Today I am living a dream, God’s dream for me.

God has a dream for you and it’s greater than you can imagine! However, right now you may not see it. You may be poor, brokenhearted, in a prison, blind, or bound in oppression. Allow me to move with a shepherd’s compassion and pray for you right now. What better way to start the New Year than to give you everything He has given me. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to help Him meet your needs. Let the dream begin!” – Pray for:

· Financial needs

· Broken-heartedness

· Deliverance from sickness, diseases and addictions

· Recovery of Sight Physically and Spiritually

· Oppression, Depression, Worry or Fear

Proclaim the year of Jubilee & Dedicate this New Year to God!