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Wit and Wisdom of Gateway Church Athens GA

As we begin our new church life … so too a new blog!

Category Archives: Faith

One problem in talking about faith is actually using it. Don’t go to God and discuss faith issues with him unless you are willing to put YOUR faith on the line. I know what I am talking about because I speak from experience.

The last week, was a week of tests for me. I was involved in several business related issues that didn’t go as I had expected them to go. In fact, they went south. I might add, they went south in a hurry. I experienced being “thrown under a bus” by someone I had trusted. This was a good old fashion sneak up behind them and stick them in the back when they aren’t looking kind of thing. My beloved happened to be with me on the way to dinner when I got the unexpected back stabbing.

I would love to tell you I stopped the car, jumped outside and threw my arms in the air yelling “praise God for this opportunity to suffer for you Lord.” I would love to tell you that, but then I would be adding lying to the whole sordid mess. What did I do? I swore. Loudly I might add. My beloved didn’t say anything but I knew she was concerned. As we ate dinner, I thought about what had just happened. Normally, I would sulk and pout and whine about it. I didn’t do that this time. Well at least I didn’t do it as long as I normally do.

I kept quiet and when I got home I asked the Lord what to do? The distinct impression I got was to do nothing. Don’t dig into it until the morning. My beloved asked me a question after we watched Gibbs, Kate, Ducky, Abbey and Denozo work through another sticky situation on NCIS. (Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to work through every situation in 45 minutes with time for several commercials as well thus stretching the problem out to an hour with a neat and tidy bow on it at the end.) I told her I didn’t want to deal with it until tomorrow.

When the morning came I sat down refreshed and ready to do digital combat with the former friend turned villain that so treacherously stuck me in the back when I wasn’t looking. As I started, I began blasting out an e-mail worthy of John Steinbeck, John Ludlum or Margaret Mitchell. It was awesome. When I was ¾ of the way through it, I asked the Lord to comment, and He did. I began to see scripture and how it tied to this situation. I saw 1st Corinthians 13 in a new light. I saw how the Lord wanted me to respond. Here are the distinct impressions I got:

 

  1. First of all don’t return evil for evil. Galatians tells us that.
  2. Love doesn’t keep track of wrongs suffered. 1st Corinthians tells us that.
  3. Jesus, when confronted with wrong doing, kept his mouth shut not responding to his opponents.
  4. Jesus relied upon God to respond for him. He didn’t respond on his own.

 

Well with this in mind, I asked the Lord to help me write a professional response that dealt with the issues raised without attacking or trashing the person involved. It took 4 hours, but was worth the struggle. The final document accomplished the goal of alerting everyone to the problem at hand, but did not respond in kind to the person involved.

This faith thing is tough. I’m determined to get it right though. In the process I sense the Lord making progress in my life. That’s a good thing.

Lord: Help me to respond to situations like this one consistently in a way that honors you and helps me to grow in Christ.

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Two Sundays ago I taught a Bible study at church talking about living in faith and walking by faith and not by sight.  The Lord convinced me I was to teach this.  I spoke to Tom about it and He agreed, it was the right thing to do.  This week I had abundant opportunity to practice my new found truths

This has been a week of extremes for me.  Extreme pressure, extreme hours, more extreme pressure and of course, travel.  A couple of days ago, I had responded poorly to a challenge I had been presented with.  Quite frankly, I responded in a not so Christ like way.  I remember thinking almost aloud while sitting in the car at the hotel: “It’s like I am two separate people.  There are times the good Dr. Jekyll is speaking and other times it is the evil Mr. Hyde.”  There is the good Andy and the bad Andy, but there is definitely two Andy’s.  I didn’t give it much thought as I had a lot of training to do.

The next morning (Thursday morning) after an allergy riddled night, I stepped out of the shower and suddenly I remembered a document I received at Onsite last November.  I was so caught unaware, that I simply stood there almost speechless.

An old Cherokee Chief was speaking to a young warrior.  He told him there were two wolves that lived inside of him.  A good wolf and a bad wolf.  They were constantly fighting.  The young warrior asked him, “Who will win?”  The wise old chief answered “The one you feed the most.”

I got goose bumps galore and in a flash, I saw something I had been told, but it didn’t sink in until this morning in the shower in a hotel in Asheville NC.  I am a task oriented person for sure. I want a formulae to work with, something I can do that makes me feel like I am accomplishing something.  I’ve not been able to overcome things in my life that are driving me batty!  I’ve tried and tried and tried, but to no avail.  Gritting my teeth and trying harder produces less results and more frustration.  That clearly isn’t the answer.

But here, in a lonely hotel room under all kinds of pressure, the Lord in his infinite kindness gave me an answer to a question I asked just the day before.  The answer came at the right time, in the right manner for me to understand.  My problem is, I’m feeding the wrong wolf.  Suddenly pieces of the puzzle of my life just plopped into place.  I had a key to my life.  Well, at least the key to a door I couldn’t seem to get through.  Stop feeding the bad wolf and feed the good wolf!  Simple yet profound.  Profound yet something I can do.  Simply stop feeding the bad wolf!  Wow!  My heart was full of hope.  I sensed the Lord smiling as one of his kids “gets it”.

I finished drying off, got dressed and logged on to prepare for my day by reading Small Straws in a Soft Wind by Marsha Burns.  This was for 5-12-2011:.

Haven’t I said that I would give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches in secret places?  Stop and ponder.  You will find that I have brought the light of revelation in areas of your life that you didn’t even expect.  Rejoice that you are growing in understanding because this understanding will make you more effective in My kingdom, says the Lord.  I have given you a taste and a glimpse of My glory, which will make you desire even more.

  Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

Oh most gracious Lord …. Thank you for your patience and kindness.  Thank you for teaching me in a way I can understand.  Forgive me for being so slow Lord but thank you for your secret places.

Hebrews 11:1 Amplified Bible

NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see {and} the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

​Over the last several months, I’ve been looking very closely at Biblical faith and what it means.  I’ve always been one to read something and then try to figure out how it applies to me.  So it has been with the subject of faith.  I’ve really been trying to get my arms around Biblical faith and what it means for us to operate in faith.  I want to please God.  I want to do what He wants me to do.  I want to be what He wants me to be.  But in order for me to fulfill these lofty goals, I better understand faith.  Hebrews 11:6 adds a bit more fuel to the fire so to speak:

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please {and} be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly {and} diligently seek Him [out].

I believe the Lord has given me some guidance on this topic and I felt so strongly about it I asked Tom if I might have some time to discuss it with the class. He graciously agreed and so this Sunday during our class in the “blue room”, I want to dive into this subject and see how we can make it applicable to our daily lives.  It’s clear that faith is vital to our walk with God.  I wonder if we give it enough due consideration for it to be a force in our lives.

Take some time today or tomorrow and read the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the “hall of faith” and then meditate on it.  We are going to look at some very practical things and attempt to tie them to our daily lives at Gateway.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

​Andy

PS:  Right after I posted the original blog, I received this timely “Small Straws” update:

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by Marsha Burns — 4/29/11:

I saw the letters “TGH”. What does this mean, LORD? “To Greater Heights!” It is time for you to go forth with a sense of action, adventure, excitement and expectation. If you stay where you are spiritually, you will miss out on one of the greatest moves of My Spirit that has ever been. Watch for opportunities to launch out in faith and do what I’ve given you to do. Be courageous, and refuse to allow fear to keep you from My HIGHEST and best, says the Lord.

Luke 5:4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

If you don’t know about “Small Straws in a soft wind”, it is a prophetic ministry that has been so timely and uplifting in my life.  I encourage you to check out Marsha Burns ministry as well as sign up for the daily word she sends out.  Ms. Missy was the first person to tell me about this wonderful ministry. 

Here is the link to sign up:  http://ft111.com/