Dry Places

There is a reason why most people avoid living in a desert.  Living conditions in really dry places are never favorable for life.  Yes, there are plants, wild life, and people that have found ways to survive, but thriving in a desert is almost impossible.  When you find yourself in a desert, all you can think about is water.

As you plod your way through the knee deep sand dunes, your mind remains fixed on the reality that without proper hydration you won’t be able to thrive.  What you really want and need is water.  Physically, I have never truly experienced what it feels like to be on the verge of death due to dehydration.  Spiritually, I have.  Frankly, I began and continue writing this blog post from this type of inhospitable territory.  At some point, I looked around and realized how thirsty I had become, yet how little water I could find.

Sadly, it is mostly during drought-like conditions that you realize how much you love the rain.  It’s so easy to take for granted the unending flow of a water faucet until you turn the knob one day and nothing comes out.  This is where I have been.  Having served the Lord now for many years, I am not blindly under the impression that every day will be like a spiritual Disney Land.  I am fully aware that some days will be more difficult than others.  Some days we are able to strongly sense God’s presence and on others the silence is unbearable.  During the latter, you find out how deep your roots are.

In the extended dry seasons of our spiritual life, it can be tempting to become frustrated with God.  When you pray and hear nothing you start to question everything you know.  The enemy pulls out and flaunts the not so secret weapon of condemnation.  You start frantically looking around for that thirst quenching water.  You wonder where you went wrong and if the water is inches or miles below the sandy surface you are stumbling across.

In seasons like this, you depend upon the roots of your faith and the foundational truths of God’s Word.  The roots that are the deepest will be depended upon for finding moisture and sustaining life.  I know God wants us to thrive and that is His ultimate plan for our lives.  However, during dry seasons I have found that sometimes you just have to survive until you thrive.  Sometimes all you can do is collect the dew overnight and drink that.

Recently, I have just been drinking the dew and trusting in the promises riddled throughout His Word.  Even if I can’t sense His presence sometimes, I remain sure that His word still brings forth life.  Scripture says, “My child, pay attention to what I say.  Listen carefully to my words.  Don’t lose sight of them.  Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring forth LIFE to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

This is a very transparent blog post and I realize that…However, I don’t think it helps anyone to give off the false impression that you never struggle and act like everything is unicorns, rainbows, and glory clouds.  People struggle, Christians struggle, I struggle…but we ARE victorious.  I’m not victorious because of my great fortitude, but because of God’s Grace.  I’m victorious because of Jesus. He has never left us and He never will.

His promises aren’t voided because the landscape seems dusty.   We may find ourselves in a desert, but we are never deserted.  God delivered Israel in the desert by piercing a rock and an abundance of water flowed forth.  He makes pathways through the wildernesses and creates rivers in the dry wastelands. (Isaiah 43:14-20)

We all walk through dry places, whether we do it to ourselves or if it’s ordained by God.  Though water may seem scarce during those times, it is actually only a rocky crust and a little faith away.  Just because we cannot see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s only a matter of time before it will come gushing forth, nourishing the very depths of who we are.  Those deep roots that sustained us in the desert season will only grow stronger and the ones that weren’t quite as deep will have stretched out and reached new springs. In the past, I have complained about the dry season, but I am learning to give thanks in the midst of it. This is growth.  We will thrive, no matter the terrain around us, because we are not abandoned. (Deuteronomy 31:6)  God will sustain us. He is and always has been faithful!  Hydration is on the way!

“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” – Isaiah‬ ‭58:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Tea Time

“So much to do, so little time.” – “Hurry!” – “Work harder!” – “You had better take advantage of every second if you want to be successful.” – “Keep your head down and carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.” – “If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.” – “If you want to please everyone you have to get it done right now.” – “This is ASAP!” – “You are highly valuable…if you succeed at what you do.” – “You can push yourself harder.” – “Don’t stop working until you drop or your health starts crippling you.”

These types of statements or thoughts are rarely verbalized, but let’s be honest, these are the subtle messages that has been propagated across American culture for years now. Personally, I could fill up pages with similar thoughts that go through my mind. This has become our default mode of operation.  We are experts at filling up empty space with some sort of work or noise (guilty). It is as though we have become addicted to achievement…sometimes at the expense of gifts that God has put in our lives.  Often times at the expense of our quiet time with God.

Our culture has forgotten how to sit on the front porch and carry on a conversation. We have lost our ability (or desire) to relax. Have you ever taken a “relaxing” vacation and noticed how it took the entire trip just to begin to relax? What is the deal?!

One of things I love most about traveling is learning from other cultures. Something I learned quickly when visiting India on three different occasions, is that Indian culture does not operate at the same panic level that we do. Yes, things still get done, but certainly not at the break neck speed of modern America.

In America, we will skip breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner because we are SOOOO busy (again guilty). In India, from Government officials, all the way down to the poorest of society, everything stops when it’s “tea time”.

During “tea time” in India (and most of Eastern culture), tea is not consumed the way we consume the holy bean…aka coffee. Drinking coffee in our culture, most often happens as we are running out the door on the way to school or work. We may grab some more mid-afternoon, not necessarily for the pleasure of it, but to ward off the post-lunch lull so that we can continue to be “productive”.

Drinking tea in Eastern/Asian culture is more of an event. It is a predetermined and set aside time of the day in which conversation occurs. It can be very formal or very casual, as you can see from this roadside chai walla we visited (by the way, this masala chai was ridiculously good).

Processed with Snapseed.

Having tea with someone is an enjoyable way of building relationship through conversation. Leaders within communities usually have tea together before discussing business deals or making decisions. If you are putting together a schedule for an event, you must incorporate tea time. Tea time is simply a part of the rhythm of life in India.

Lately, I have been considering what it would look like for me…for us, as followers of Christ, to slow down and take more time for “tea”. I am fairly certain that the Savior of our souls would love to meet us there. In India, you can find tea stands on almost every street. At any moment, you can pull over and partake of the masala goodness! What if we decided to pull over more often and take some time fellowshipping with our Heavenly Chai Walla?

What if we stopped giving so much of ourselves to the ASAP’s of the moment (which are never as critical as they actually seem) and took more time to drink in God’s presence?  The traffic is often unbearable in the larger cities in India. So, why not pull over and drink tea? Why do we feel like we must keep the pedal to the metal and white knuckle the steering wheel right on through the traffic of the day? Right on through our lunch hour? These are questions I am asking myself!

At what point did I allow my task list to supplant my quiet time? This happens without even thinking. The enemy wants us to skip our “meals” with Jesus. He wants us to remain distracted and out of rhythm. He is happy with us being overwhelmed and striving for man’s approval and that elusive pat on the back. He wants us to physically and mentally break down under the stresses of life. He wants us to keep looking inward and not upward, because he knows we have no power in our own strength.

Our strength lies in our tea times. I love that with God it doesn’t have to be formal. We don’t have to dress up for the occasion. We can pull over at any time, right in the middle of the chaos of the day and drink in His love and encouragement. His nourishment is never prepackaged. It is the real deal. It’s authentic. It is full of fresh ingredients and His recipe is perfect. It is exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. Why won’t we just pull over?

Lord, we simply ask that tea time with you would become a more prevalent part of the rhythm of our lives.  Help us to remember that as we rest in You, we are demonstrating confidence in Your faithfulness. Please remind us in those ASAP moments that the only thing that is actually “critical” is our relationship with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Destiny Over Adversity

It has been over seven years.

In between the cyclical routines of life, I still have random moments of surreality in which I reflect. I reflect on the fact that by God’s divine providence, the destinies of two high school sweet hearts from Sand Mountain collided and somehow merged into the overcrowded streets of Kolkata, India.  I reflect on destiny.

As much as we were in awe of the sheer beauty of the countryside, the majesty of the Taj Mahal, and appreciative of the history of the Victoria Memorial…As phenomenal as it was to the visit the home and burial place of Mother Teresa, it wasn’t why we had come to the alluring country of India.  It was destiny.

So when I reflect, I reflect on that moment where the most beautiful 13 month old Bengali boy I have ever seen was carried through an office doorway and transferred into our care forever.  It was all about destiny.

Even with the obvious recognition and understanding of what this process was about, reflection has not always come easily. In fact, only recently have I allowed myself to briefly wander into the past to actually reflect.  People tend to avoid places of adversity, even if (especially if) it’s in their own mind. It is amazing how good memories and joyful moments can effortlessly give way to the fog of overwhelming pain if we let it.

The process of adoption can be a long and lonely road.  The road can often be bumpy and confusing, leaving you tail spinning and wondering where the road actually is.  It can jar and jolt all the passengers with such force that it feels as though you are driving on bare rims and half the car is in the ditch. To further compound things is the destiny destroying land mines buried below the surface and covered with a thin layer of chalk dirt, obviously planted there by Satan himself.

As a family, we have quietly endured our share of adversity. We have went toe to toe with the forces of hell, sometimes (often times) feeling like we took the beating in the process. We have chipped away at stone only to recognize our own need of chiseling.

Sometimes the process to progress is so slow-moving that it appears to have completely stalled out.  However, when you step back and adjust your perception, you realize that it’s not that progression isn’t occurring, it’s that the object being moved is so massive that it can appear as though it hasn’t budged.

It is only natural to be frustrated at “almost” invisible progress, but we all must continue to be okay with the fact that even if you have only moved a centimeter beyond your starting point, it is STILL progress.

Destiny is like that. It can be a large and slow moving object.  It’s glacier-like ways make it an easy target for adversity. However, “what the enemy means for evil, God means it for good” (Gen 50:20). As children of God, “no weapon formed against us shall prosper…This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Is 54:17)”.

The enemy of our soul intends to blind us with the fog of failures, struggles, condemnation, and pain.  He wants us to focus on our weakness. So we fight. Not that we have any strength in ourselves, but that Jesus is our strength. He fights for us. We fight by resting. We fight the fog with piercing rays of thankfulness. We must actively pursue those easily evasive moments of joy.

This is about destiny. Destiny always comes with adversity. It is understood. But as children of the Most High God, our destinies will NOT be sidetracked by adversity. Adversity only serves to prove the greatness of God and His plans.

We showed up in a country of over 1.2 billion people because of the destiny of one.  The One who sees the end AND the beginning intertwined the sinews of our hearts with a far away land because of one. His one. We were there because of destiny…our family’s destiny.

Throughout the up’s and down’s of life, the Groundhog days, the fun days and the boring ones, it is easy to lose sight of why we are all here.  It is easy to allow the varied adversities we all face each day to win out for first place position in our thoughts.  But as we reflect on the greatness and sovereignty of God we are reminded that destiny will ultimately win out over adversity.

Criticizing Christians

My grandmother has been sick for about three weeks, including a week or so in the local hospital. Her immune system isn’t what it used to be now that she has reached her mid 80’s. She has been a widow now for over a decade, has very little in the form of monetary wealth, and doesn’t get to go on trips or even to church anymore. On the surface you would think she had plenty of room to complain. You would think she would begin to see things through a lens of negativity and discouragement. However, you would be wrong.


If you are alive and pay any attention at all to the world around you, it is blatantly obvious that we live in some critical times. The media and the phenomenon of social media has magnified this fact. As a follower of Jesus, I also tend to pay attention to the “spiritual climate” of our culture…and the culture within the body of Christ (the church world-wide).  I am no expert, nor would I ever pretend to be, but in the last couple of years I have begun to sense a spirit of criticism that has infiltrated “the church”.


Maybe it has been there for a long time and I’m just noticing it.  Maybe I’ve had my head in the sand.  Maybe it’s more noticeable, because with social media, people feel free to display their true feelings as quickly as they can type…and often what I see is very ugly and frankly disappointing.


I have a high tolerance for this kind of behavior as it relates to non-believers.  These are people who simply haven’t discovered the love of Jesus.  I even have a high tolerance for people who maybe just react in emotion before they respond thoughtfully.  I have done this more than once. But my tolerance is wearing thin for people who know Him and His love, yet find it comfortably fitting to put another brother or sister on blast.


With all of the pain, fear, suffering, depression, hopelessness, brokenness, and emptiness that floods the hearts of the people on this earth, I find it absolutely BAFFLING that other “Christians” would waste their breath (or time) on criticizing other believers, churches, and in particular….Pastors.


It is a disturbing trend that can only be compared to a noxious poison that if not eliminated, can wipe out a population of existing and potential believers.  God doesn’t empower criticism.  In fact, I believe where criticism begins, is where power ceases to exist.   


How about we use up the limited number of breaths we have, to build up one another with encouragement, to extend a loving hand and lift someone out of a deep pit of pain. How about you substitute the time it took you to type that ridiculously critical Facebook posts about Joel Osteen being a heretic, or a wolf in sheep clothing, or whatever, to actually bless others and display grace the way he does.


I love “the church”, what it represents, what it does for the least of these, the amazing people who comprise it. I love my brothers and sisters around the globe…and with the persecution that is taking place against Christians world-wide, I for one cannot understand why other “believers” would decide to join in with them.  I will not sit by and watch my brothers and sisters get ripped by other “believers”.  If this is the way you truly feel about people who share the gospel, I would challenge you to look in the mirror and examine the clothing you are wearing.  Maybe the wolf isn’t Joel Osteen (or name any number of men or women of God)…


I called my grandmother last week to check on how she was feeling as I do from time to time.  I could tell that her voice was still being affected by the sinus infection she was getting over.  She told me how sick she had been and all about her hospital visit.  But then she told me how she was watching her Pastor (Joel Osteen) a couple of nights ago.  She said she was feeling really sick, but at some point during his sermon he prayed for those at the church and those watching by television who were sick.  Here is what she said: “Clint, it was like he was praying directly for me. I raised my hands and just received that prayer.  Right after that I started to feel better, and I have felt better ever since.”


You see, since she is unable to go to church anymore, she says she has two pastors…Pastor Rusty Nelson (my pastor) and Pastor Joel Osteen.  My grandmother has always had a sanguine personality.  She has always been, outgoing, energetic, and upbeat. But in the last few years I have seen her grow in her faith.  In the face of loneliness, she maintains a positive outlook on life and is thankful for every extra day God gives her on this earth.  I literally cannot have a conversation with her without hearing her say, “Think positive and not negative.  God wants us to be positive.”  That sounds a lot like someone I know…(So deceptive and tricky right??)


This isn’t a post to defend Joel Osteen specifically, but if that’s how it comes across…so be it.  Actually, God defends Joel Osteen.  So you can throw rocks and trash people like him all you want, but you can’t convince me that lives aren’t being changed by the ministry God has entrusted to him.  Is he perfect? Of course not.  Do I agree with every single word he says? Probably not. However, I believe God has equipped EVERY christian (those in the secular work force, missionaries, teachers, prophets, artists, writers, intercessors, Pastors, etc) with a specific mission, with a specific voice, and with specific influence to do great things in His name.


Far be it from me to show up on a Facebook “News Feed”, Twitter, or behind someone’s back like a finger wagging Pharisee.   Far be it from me to judge a man of God, or any human, especially one I don’t even know on a personal level.  Time is short, and if you are a follower of Christ that has given in to the spirit of criticism, you are doing more harm than good by aiming your arrows in the wrong direction!  The enemy is not Joel Osteen or any other person.  The real enemy is satan, aka the accuser of the brethren.  Snap out of it!


I’ll close with the scriptures below (and there are many more), because my words aren’t good enough to elaborate on the magnitude of the critical spirit.  What’s interesting is to see how Jesus responded to his disciples who were trying to stop another man of God from casting out demons in Jesus’ name.


Mark 9:38-40 says:
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us.


Here is what Matthew Henry’s commentary says about this passage:
“Many have been like the disciples, ready to silence men who have success in preaching to sinners repentance in Christ’s name, because they follow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, reminding them that he who wrought miracles in his name would not be likely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, to believe in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher.”


Why was this Windows 8 machine not functioning properly?  After all, it was practically a brand new computer.  The capabilities of this high-end, workhorse touchscreen system had been reduced to that of a Dell dinosaur running Windows 95 (or worse).  At some point, just about everyone with experience using computers knows what it’s like to have their machine slow to a proverbial crawl due to the sneaky existence of viruses, malware, spyware, scareware, etc.  What exactly was it this time?  I didn’t know…but what I did know is that this computer was no different from any that I have ever worked on.

In some cases, the problem is subtle, hidden, slowly crippling the machine by running excessive processes that occupy precious system resources like your processor and memory.  In other cases, the culprit is obvious.  The giant flashing pop-up demanding that you call “support” because your machine has 80,345 viruses is hard to miss.  Either way, from my perspective, the process of removing an infection and getting the machine back to it’s maximum level of optimization really doesn’t change.  It starts and ends with troubleshooting.  In my line of work, it is literally what I do every day.

My basic process for troubleshooting starts by establishing a clear understanding of how a particular system is actually supposed to function. I establish this baseline. I ask myself, “What is the expected or desired behavior?  Is the machine clearly operating at the level it was designed to?” Secondly, I will usually ask the owner to take me back to the last time it was working correctly, and what happened right before they noticed problems. I observe: When does the problem occur?  I attempt to identify a problem by observing the response of the machine.  Through this process, I also aim to eliminate what it could NOT be. By a deliberate process of elimination, I begin to isolate and establish a root cause. Finally, I address this root by utilizing certain tools I have accumulated over the years, while leaning on my past experience (and other times…Google).

What is my point in all this? I believe the troubleshooting process can be applied to our spiritual lives as well.

Satan is a savvy black hat hacker. He is looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our lives  that he might be able to exploit. He will attempt to brute force attack, trying to obtain internal access by relentlessly utilizing different passwords over and over again.  All the while he is simultaneously preparing to send Trojan horse packages to attack us from the inside.  He tries sowing things into our lives that looks like an enticing gift, but is actually delivered with the intent to wreak havoc once unwrapped.

Once the enemy gets into our systems we begin to degrade and fail to operate as we were designed.  Successful attacks sometimes happen overnight, but what I most often find is that this usually occurs over an extended period of neglectfulness.  It’s clear that unaddressed indifference and neglect ultimately result in unintended complications.  There must be a well thought out strategy and plan in place for not just maintaining, but also continually improving.  Thankfully God has the tech specs laid out before us, white pages full of detailed instructions.

So what is our “troubleshooting strategy” when something lands on my hard drive that shouldn’t be there?  Yes!  We as Christians have the Ultimate Firewall…Jesus!  We are covered, protected, and redeemed by the blood of our Savior.  No weapon formed against us will prosper.  But what if we neglect our relationship with Him? What if we never take the time to patch or upgrade our operating systems via prayer and studying His Word?  If we maintain the same old operating system, the enemy will eventually begin finding new back doors and vulnerabilities.

In the world of IT, from the perspective of the firewall Administrator, there is a fine balance between allowing users enough freedom and flexibility to do what needs to be done and completely locking down the network to the point that too much freedom is taken away and the environment is 100% controlled.  God is not going to lock down the network and control every decision in our lives.  He is going to allow us the freedom to make our own choices.  In IT, we can have the greatest firewall in the world, but if users are intentionally (or unintentionally) opening their systems up to attack, it’s only a matter of time before some “troubleshooting” is going to need to take place.

Make no mistake, the status of our salvation will never have to be maintained by our works.  The slowed computer is still a computer.  However, neglecting our relationship with Him and ignoring the little foxes in our lives will directly affect the quality of our walk and the lives of those closest to us. We will be like that high-end machine, operating at 30% capacity.  We as children of God, were not meant to operate below or even at a basic baseline level.  We were made to operate above capacity with unlimited upgradability. A piece of malware may find it’s way onto our hard drive from time to time, but when discovered it will be violently attacked by our anti-malware agents.

God, thank you that you are our anti-malware Agent…our Firewall.  You give us free will to make choices.  Thank you, that as we follow you and lean in to hear your voice more clearly, you show us how to avoid the little foxes and how to not open ourselves up to attacks. You lead us directly to root cause. You are the ultimate Administrator.  There is no virus that you cannot remove.  You make us into more than we could have ever imagined by expanding our capacities and capabilities.  Thank you that you made us infinitely re-writeable.  Thank you that even when we fall down or infect ourselves with bad coding, as we turn to you for help, by Your grace You delete the malicious and replace it truth and forgiveness!  You fortify us against the schemes of the enemy.  We lean into you, and we open up our lives to Your wisdom. We give you free reign to optimize our coding.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Perimeter Breach

There’s a deep desire in all of us to do something great.  God made us that way for the ultimate purpose of glorifying Himself.  The question I’ve had recently is, what does that look like for me, for my family? How can we tackle an existing problem and make a difference? Who can we help? How can we share the Love of God in ways we never imagined? The over-shadowing question to these types of questions is…How can we navigate our way beyond the boarders of our circle of safe-ism and move more into the uncomfortable?  I’m talking about the place where we take the things we learned in the circle and drag it outside to be exposed to new adventure and less calculated risks. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t yet completely know what this looks like for me…but I do know it requires a paradigm shift, faith, boldness, allowing yourself to dream a little, and being okay with doing something unconventional.  My personality tends to fights this, but I presume I recognize it and that the status quo needs to be shaken up a little.

God uniquely created each of us with specific gifts and talents (and dreams and desires).  Based on how we steward and sharpen those things will ultimately adjust the trajectory of our lives, our impact.  To give an example, I’ve dedicated almost half of my life now to providing solutions to computer problems.  Troubleshooting a variety of technical issues, determining root cause and resolving problems, ranging from simple to complex.  Over this course of time, I have personally resolved thousands of computer related problems.  It is now just a normal part of my life and can sometimes do it in my sleep (however, there are still days I see something I’ve never seen before).  God has given me a gift or talent that over the years, through trial and error, failures and successes, stress and satisfaction, mixed with a little help and some training, has allowed me to ultimately succeed at what I do.


For me however, maybe it’s possible that due to my familiarity with my work and my skill set, I have settled into the circle for long enough that it has lead not just to contentment, but maybe some degree of complacency.  A better way to say it is; perhaps I have placed a limitation on myself that Information Technology is the only way I will be able to safely impact the world.  Maybe my identity has become too intertwined with what I do and less about who God has called me to be.  Maybe I have forgotten how to dream and see beyond the boarders of the perimeter I have established for myself and safely operate behind.


This example, among other things, is a part my little circle of safe-ism.  It’s what I feel comfortable doing. I have constructed and solidified the boarders of this circle over time, sometimes unconsciously, other times I worked hard to construct it.


I’m not saying my life has been free from risks.  We have done some unorthodox things along the way, including adopting a child from India.  However, after experiencing some time outside the circle, we ever so quickly find our way back inside without even thinking. It’s like auto pilot kicks in and we re-calibrate to center circle.


I’ve found that during the moments of stepping out and not depending solely on myself and my skill set, I have actually felt most alive.  So why don’t we do it? And why does God give us those really specific skills and life experiences that don’t always seem match the subtle gnawing inside to make the most of the short time we have been given on earth.  Why is it so difficult at times to see the path forward?  These are the types of questions that I have been asking myself recently. I have an idea how to answer these in an oh so average way, but I’m not looking for pat answers anymore. I am ready to do something great. Something greater than myself that won’t look like me at the end, but Jesus.


Speaking of technical things, I believe our lives have a certain capacity, much like a hard drive or a data storage device in a computer.  However, we are not limited by a maximum storage capacity, but only by time itself.  I feel like we are only storing a few Microsoft Word documents on a 100 Terabyte hard drive.  What are we doing with the limited time we have been given? Are we growing in relationship with Jesus? How am I submitting my life to the Author and Finisher of my faith? Am I holding back? If so, why? Am I setting the right example at home? How can I improve as a husband and father?  How am I impacting the lives of the poor, the broken, and outcast?


Life reflection has nothing to do with bringing condemnation on ourselves relative to what we haven’t seen fulfilled in our lives, but instead is about asking ourselves the right questions so that we can begin to re-calibrate our lives outside the circle a bit.  I have noticed that the longer the answers to these questions go unanswered (and unasked), the longer I continue my auto-calibration to center circle. I am convinced that our lives have a capacity for so much more.  I’m thankful for everything I have learned and experienced in my life.  I wouldn’t exchange any of my experiences, but I think it is important not to stay there.


King David learned how to be a king by working in a pasture, but he didn’t have a problem with breaching his perimeter and slaying giants.  I know there is so much more outside the circle.  We serve an unlimited God with an unlimited supply to easily satisfy our demand.  I guess I just want to place more of a demand on His supply.  Our “Willing Supplier” dwells on the inside of each of us and wants us to walk bountifully into our destinies…His destiny for us!  It’s time to breech the perimeter!

No, I Won’t Shut Up

We’ve all experienced the helplessness and desperation of life’s darkest moments. It’s during those times that the enemy of our soul does everything he can to silence us from crying out to the only One who can redeem us.  If he can succeed in silencing us he can prevent us from telling the Master what it is we need.

I love the biblical story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, who’s account was recorded in both Luke 18 and Mark 10.

Here is Luke’s account:
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

In this story, we see the blind beggar in the midst of a crowd of people.  He hears a huge commotion and asked the people around him what was going on.  They tell him Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.  Now obviously, Jesus’ reputation was already preceding him, because Bartimaeus knew who He was and immediately knew what to do.  He called out to Jesus by name, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  What is often overlooked in this passage is the fact that the people actually rebuked him and basically told him to shut up.

This is where I have so often found myself.  In my moments of pain, disappointment (in myself and others), self-condemnation, weakness, and the like.  In these moments we just want to shout out and tell God what we want.  But these, these are the pivotal moments in our lives where the enemy loves to step in and tell us to, “shut up”.  That it won’t do any good…that we haven’t done enough to have our prayers answered…that we are alone in our pain…that we are too dirty…unworthy of the Master’s attention…that God is too busy with more important things…that we just need sit down and shut up.

The people in the crowd tried to shut him up. I can’t help but think that these people were being used by Satan to prevent this man from receiving the restoration of his eyesight. The enemy knew what would happen if he did. He knew that the restoration of his eyesight was only the beginning. He knew that not only would the man’s life be radically changed physically, but also spiritually.

I believe the man’s response to the efforts of the enemy (again, recorded twice in the New Testament), was recorded so that we would know how to respond in critical moments like these. So what did he do? The Bible says that he cried out all the more! He basically said to them in his response, “No, I won’t shut up. I will not be denied! I know who that Man is and what He can do for me. Now excuse me, but I am going to get His attention.”

So what happens next? What is the response of Jesus?

So Jesus, in the midst of a throng of people, obviously a pretty raucous group, hears the man over all of them.  He heard Him, number one, because He is always listening for the desperate cries of the broken, and number two, because the man actually cried out.  So when He hears the cry of the blind man, He stops.  (That alone is an entire message in and of itself. )  He stopped in His tracks and said (paraphrasing), “Hey, bring that guy over here.” He then (knowing the guy was blind) proceeds to ask him what he wants. This gave the man the opportunity to simply say what it is he needed.

I think it is important to note that there was no pre-requisites prior to Jesus answering the man’s request…just like many of the miracles of healing Jesus performed on scores of people recorded in scripture.  He didn’t tell the man to first go to the temple and repent, put on sack cloth and ashes, and beg Him really hard and maybe just maybe healing would occur.  No, He said, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man told Him, he received his sight, his life was changed, and he began to follow Jesus.

Father help us to cry out in the midst of our pain.  Help us to ignore the voice of the antagonist.  Help us to cut out offering futile, justifiable reasonings as to why we think we do or do not deserve to have our needs met.  You gave us example after example through scripture where you responded to those who, knowing of your goodness, simply cried out to you.   May we ever be like little children running to our Father with our requests, knowing that we have a Good Father who will make sure that our needs are met. In Jesus name, Amen.