I WAS EXHAUSTED.
many pastors and laymen, I was weary from doing well.
I had a shelf full of "success" books. Had read them all. Had put most of the principles into practice. By resorting to a lot of what I would later call "might and power" stuff I had, at a still young age, done rather well for myself.
I was empty.
I felt disconnected.
How could it have come to this? I had asked God to give me a pastor's heart.
And he did. What had gone wrong? How could a lifeway which held so much promise
produce so much pain?
"Your composition is good," and "the theme is important."
Later he added,
"Your craftsmanship is outstanding."
Then he paused, as though puzzled, and finally with a snap of his fingers said:
"But it needs THAT!"
When the preacher spoke those words, accompanied by THAT finger snapping gesture, God got my attention. Bells went off in my spirit. Light flashed in my soul. In that way I know to be his speaking to me, God said:
THAT is missing in your life.
And what was THAT?
I knew immediately. A spiritual disconnect had occurred. I was missing THAT
spiritual power for which no amount of flesh activity can compensate. Earlier
in my life I had connected with God as Father. Later in my spiritual journey,
I had connected with God as Son. Now I needed to connect with God as Holy Spirit.
I decided I'd better do something about THAT.
DID IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Then I crashed. Despite my public "might and power" prowess, I was forced to face my personal fragility. It was a stark moment. Bleak and biting. As I was to learn, it was also seminal.For months I had been going through a painful kaleidoscope of negative experiences. I hate to admit it, but, if I'm going to be helpful to you, I must be honest.
Somewhere along the line I allowed a seed of bitterness to take root.
Hebrews 12:15 warns that when we do that, we open ourselves to all kinds of trouble: emotional, relational, professional and spiritual. That's what happened to me.
My attitude was terrible.
My demeanor, at times, left a lot to be desired.
Important relationships were frayed.
My marriage was strained to the breaking point.
quote my untutored but street-wise father,
To make a long
story short, God used a soft-spoken prayer warrior with the gift of discernment
to deliver me from satanic oppression. My healing was so complete, I can't tell
you today what it feels like to be bitter!
Some serious confession,
repentance, forgiveness and fence-mending were required on my part.
As a born again evangelical I had no theology for what had happened. Most folks like me were wary of things "Pentecostal." Maybe you still are. Was there a Biblical basis for what God was doing in my life? There had to be or it was a sham.
and deliberately I asked the Counselor,
I had to give the third person of the trinity the prerogatives of Deity.
THE TRIUNITY OF GOD IS A MYSTERY.
While the essence
of mystery is that it cannot be told, God's triunity is disclosed in a triad
of God's self-revelations.
The creation is God's revelation in space.
These three speak in unison to the fact of God's triunity.
The mystery of God being three in one, or one in three, is a puzzlement but it is not past believing. A simple graphic may be helpful.
Starting at the
hub and moving outward, notice how, in nature or being, God is one in three.
God is Father. God is Son. God is Holy Spirit.
Shifting to the rim you see how, in function or operation, God is three in one. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Father. Yet all three are God. There is distinction, but not separation.*My predicament lay in the fact that I was unfamiliar with one third of this triunity. The Holy Spirit was, so to speak, out of focus for me.
The word of God through the prophet Zechariah is as accurate today as it was over 2000 years ago:
Sadly, there are many born again believers for whom, THAT--the Holy Spirit--is missing.
They are "might and power" people, just as I was.
In my case, thank
God, there was also a void which ached for Something More.
A GENTLE MENTAL EXERCISE.
The events recorded in the first two chapters of Acts may be well known to you but, just to be safe, let's review them quickly.
Dr. Luke connects
then this powerful word in Acts 3:19:
5REPENTANCE: A TURNING FROM AND A TURNING TO.
It's an old word:
"Repent." So old, perhaps, you may not be acquainted with it. Put simply:
won't try to define what that means for you.
know what you need to turn from.
is not only a turning from, it is also a turning to.
There may be some
question about what you need to turn from,
A friend shared
a deep concern for her spouse. He had a drinking problem. After a lengthy period
of sobriety, he started drinking again. She said,
The mystery of
wonder of wonders, the closer you get to Jesus the weaker will be
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