“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Psalms 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all myfears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Unhappiness and dissatisfaction cannot exist when you put your faith in the Lord and He takes away your fears.
There are times when you just have to walk in faith. This is to say that in life an absolute dependence on God and His Word become paramount in good times as well as bad times. I can attest to faith on God on both levels. There is no doubt that God has been nothing less than incredible in my life and to speak of things most recent would take a book just to begin to understand the many twists and turns that have led me to this point. Let me explain.
Many may be familiar with the fact that I am in Texas as a result of the Fort Worth veteran’s health clinic offering me a chaplaincy internship. Now, the Fort Worth clinic is part of the larger Dallas VA medical system. Still, with that offer I quickly accepted the position while I was still in Baltimore and began in earnest to make my way to Texas. Of course this was not an easy task because I had been unemployed for some time and was unable to pay for any means of transportation. Well, this was nothing for God. As a matter of course I was put in touch with the founder of an organization called The Open Table (http://theopentable.org/). Without hesitation the founder sponsored my trip to Texas and provided other financial aid. So, someone please tell me that God does not take care of His own!
Still, that is far from the end of the story. I also needed a place to stay and while researching what could be done I learned of Veteran’s Community Outreach (http://www.vetsco.org/). I received the same type of response from its founder as I did with The Open Table. Without hesitation the founder simply said, “I’ll help you.” And with that he did help. I was picked up at the train station in Fort Worth, transported to a hotel that Sunday evening, picked up Monday morning and transported to a wonderful four-bedroom house in Arlington, TX. It is true that God does put people in our way to be a blessing to us. The fact is that God uses people to bless people so I would encourage all that have a hard time receiving to open wide your hands so that God can do what He does best.
To my dismay the Veteran’s Administration was not nearly as accommodating. After getting to Texas and doing all that was required I soon learned that things within the Veteran’s Administration are far from honorable. No doubt that many have heard of the atrocities at the hands of the Veteran’s Administration in which a number of veterans died waiting to be served. While my situation is not as dire as that suffice it to say that I served in the United States Marine Corps. I was honorably discharged in 1985. From that time I have had no problems because of my not registering with the Selective Services. In fact the Selective Services letters I have clearly show that because of my service I should be denied nothing from the Federal Government.
Well, this did not matter to the Dallas Veteran’s Administration. I had already started my internship and was fully seated. My background was clear; I was able to get through a very intense interview process among other things. And while human resources did not fire me they did say that my package had to be sent to Washington, D.C. for clearance. The process could take as much as ninety days. So, after much hard work my program was suspended impacting not just me but also my co-workers. With that it seems that well qualified veterans such as I deserve extra scrutiny in order to work with veterans. For real? Is this the way veterans should be treated?
It needs to be made painfully clear that my experience with Human Resources of the VA has nothing to do with my immediate supervisor. In fact my supervisor in the Fort Worth clinic, insofar as I am concerned, is a superior and wonderful person. In fact all the chaplains I have met in the Texas VA have proven to be high quality people many of whom are themselves veterans. My issue is the administration and the administration alone. The fact of the matters is that my supervisor was kind enough to refer me to a chaplain at Huguley Hospital (http://www.texashealthhuguley.org/) in Fort Worth. After meeting with him his words were “I can see why they hired you” and immediately offered me a position. Yes, there was some red tape but nothing like that of the Veteran’s Administration. My work at Huguley is to start Monday the sixteenth.
Now, this will be a very intense program. Within two and a half months I will put in at least four hundred hours and about ten on-call days. This means that I will be spending much less time online as I walk further into my destiny. And while I will not be online a lot my plan is to chronicle my experience with the Huguley Hospital internship weekly. Please be sure to follow what is going on in my walk as I continue to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
With that said it is my hope that all be encouraged. It took several years for me to get to this point with considerable opposition. Some have said that I was not qualified while others mocked my faithfulness. Some saw no reason for me to perform academically while others have chosen to smother themselves in the stench of jealously. This will also happen to you if you choose to go after what God has for you. But, be not dismayed. Do not give up. Keep on moving toward your destiny and your end will be most victorious. No, don’t you dare quit!
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said,
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin, Selah
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found,
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.
King James Version (KJV)
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.
No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”
God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!
If you are thinking about the movie The Runaway Bride featuring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, I am so far from that! Sorry. Not sure if it is a good movie or not but…… when I get a word from the Holy Spirit I either move in obedience or I don’t. The title came to me out of nowhere. I was sitting down minding my own business when a spoken word came. Things that make you go Hmmmm.
The video will do all the talking for me but as a fellow sister and blogger, I wanted to reach out through typing as well. I’ve missed writing to you all! Please know that I continue to write but I will also be sharing messages through my YouTube vlogs. I’m becoming a bit more comfortable doing it so here we go! Remember that God loves you and adores you. I did not speak or emphasize this portion of scripture on video but I wanted to share it with you here. And the Word tells us in the book of Ephesians:
Instructions for Christian Households
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
So I implore you brothers and sisters in Christ to cleave to Him as the Head of your life whether you are single or married. Be the best bride you can be and do it with all your might and strength in the Lord with love and adoration.
Be blessed and encouraged always in the Lord,
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)