Happy Memorial Day CLMNWA Family,

I guess the Lord is not through with me yet. I saw this verse this morning, and knew there was a message attached to it.  So, here I am again writing another message, and I can’t wait to get into it so I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time introducing it.  I think y’all will be able to relate to what I’m about to say, and this is one of those messages that as the anointing on it…but it’s more of a message from my heart.  So, the Lord’s allowed me to freestyle if you will, and so I’m excited to see if this message relates and resonates…and I hope it blesses y’all.  AS y’all may have guessed…I started writing this last night, but wound up calling it a day before I finished writing it.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” – John 15:16 (NKJV)

At one point or another in our childhood or going through school we were asked by either teachers or parents or grandparents “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and that’s when they get an idea of what your dreams and goals are.  Some answer that they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a baseball player, but I doubt that many (if any) answer that question with “I want to be a preacher or pastor.”

I’ll save you the suspense.  The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a firefighter because one of my favorite shows as a kid (and still as an adult) was Emergency with Johnny Gage and Roy De Soto. I was thrilled to discover that Netflix has all 6 seasons of Emergency, and that I was able to sit and share my love for the firefighter show with Elisabeth. She will even ask me some times if we can watch the firefighter show.  Of course, today, one of my favorite shows is Chicago Fire, but it’s a little too racy for Lizzie to watch so I’m glad Emergency is still around since it’s a little more PG if y’all know what I mean.  I also wanted to be a police officer, a truck driver, and thanks to my paper route I began wanting to be in the military.  I did accomplish one of those as I earned my title and claimed my place as a United States Marine. My point in this is to say that at no time can I remember saying that I wanted to help the devil completely destroy my life so that one day God could use me for His glory.

However, that’s exactly what happened, and that’s exactly what I am doing today. That’s what struck me this morning about this scripture.  We often talk about how God knew us and formed us in the womb, and that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made…but how many of us know (and I mean really KNOW) that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of our lives!?!  How many of you know God doesn’t create one person without a destiny and a plan for their lives?  Yes, that means nobody is here by accident or mistake, and God knows exactly what we’re all supposed to do. No one is alive just to fill space or breath air…we are all created with a purpose and destiny, and it’s God that places that within us.  I think many of us decide what we want to do with our lives, but we never ask God what He wants us to do with the live He gave us.

Listen. We all know there are people who place themselves in ministry positions God didn’t call, ordain, or anoint them to be in.  So, it’s not really a stretch to say that we also place ourselves in secular jobs and positions that God never intended for us to be in.  I’m convinced of this because I never consulted God about what He wanted me to do with my life I just sort of decided for Him, and I wonder if part of the reason I wasn’t ever really successful in those positions (even though I have a good work ethic) is because I never really asked Him what He wanted me to do or to be.  I mean, He’s always had His hand on my life, and helped me to be productive…but I wonder how much better I could’ve done or how much more successful I could’ve been if I asked God for His direction in my life instead of deciding for myself…and then needing God to help me.

These days, what I find is that next to being a stay at home dad serving God has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. The training period wasn’t always all that enjoyable, but Romans 8:28 tells us that God will cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  So, as they say God turned my mess into my message, my trials into triumphs, and my tests into my testimonies. He’s taken me from the miry clay, set my feet upon the Rock, and given me a way to serve Him that brings Him glory and honor and praise.

I guess the word “destined” really has a new meaning to me today because I find that I’m walking in the middle of my destiny.  I recognize that this is what I was created for, and ordained to do. I’m sure y’all know by now that I’ve never stepped foot in a Bible School.  The only formal ministry training I’ve had comes from the Holy Ghost Himself, and a few key men and women of God along the way that have given me what I can only describe as hands-on training.  I’ve been blessed to have men of God like Pastor Cass Hill now of Equip The Nations Missions, Pastor Stephen Robbins formerly of No Greater Love Family Church, Pastor Ronnie Swaddley Jr. co-pastor of Word of Life Fellowship, Josh Radford revivalist and evangelist of Revival Life Ministries, Pastor Joel Stockstill, and many others impart into my life.  Sitting underneath them for me really hasn’t been like going to church, but I consider them mentors and teachers.  They taught not only in the pulpit, but they also taught me by their lives and by being examples to me of what it means to be a true disciple and ambassador for Christ.

Of course, there was my grandmother that I sat and watched Jimmy Swaggart with on Sunday mornings for years upon years. She dedicated my life to the Lord like Hannah did for Samuel before I was even born, there are many images in my mind of her sitting on the edge of her bed praying for me and over me and with me to receive Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior. She saw to it that I heard the Gospel, and it’s only fitting that I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior one night sitting beside her after having heard the Gospel preached by Jimmy Swaggart. I can’t even list all of those who I learned from via television or radio.  Men like Jimmy and Donnie Swaggart, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, TD Jakes, Tony Evans, Paula White, Damon Thompson, and many others who have all imparted into my life.

I guess what I’m saying is that I can see now how God strategically placed people in my life that kept steering me towards the life I’m now living both in the flesh and in the spirit. He always made sure that I never strayed to far from Him, He’s always had His hand on my life, and there were many times that (like the man in the Footprints in the Sand poem) I realize the reason there was only one set of footprints is because He was carrying me.  I guess it’s true what they say that hindsight is always better than foresight and present sight because it’s when you look back that you are truly able to see where you were when God took over…and then you’re able to see where you are now.

This week I’ll start a new season as my little Lizzie will become a full-time preschooler, and I’ll begin seeking the Lord for direction.  Hopefully He will open a door for me to be able to make some money so that I can help support my family and ministry, but the most important thing to me today is making sure that I continue to walk in the vocation in which He has called and ordained and anointed me to walk in. I will continue to work towards becoming the husband, father, son, pastor, and person that God has always destined for me to be. I’ll continue to soak in the moments like now when God’s presence floods my office, and realize that’s a moment for me to sit at His feet. I must be on to something because He’s chosen this moment to visit with me, and I’m going to take a moment to enjoy His visit before I work to proofread and post this for all to see.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.”

Thank You, Lord for choosing me. Thank You, Lord for giving me direction, purpose, and a destiny. Thank You, Lord for Your love, Your grace, and Your mercy. Thank You, Lord for the Cross. Thank You…Jesus for those You have placed in my path to teach me and model Christ for me. Thank You, Lord for the gift and ability to write, and thank You for helping me to become a better writer. Thank You for the near 200 nations You have taken some of my messages to, and thank You for all the members of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family…thank You for giving and trusting me with sheep to feed.  Lord, I ask that You would continue to mold and shape me into the man of God that You have called me to be…and that You will one day say of me that I was a man after Your heart. Please watch over each and every one of us, Lord God. Meet needs where there is lack, heal those who need healing in their bodies, find those who are lost and need to come Home, comfort those who are hurting and mourning, and encourage those who are called and chosen to serve You to get off the sidelines. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen & Amen.

And thank you…Christlike Ministries NWA Family. Thank you for being a part of the CLMNWA Family.  Thank you for the likes and comments and shares.  Thank you to those of you who have sown financially into the ministry. Thank you for those of you who pray over me and for me and for my ministry and for my family as you would for your own.  There wouldn’t be a Christlike Ministries NWA without you…the Christlike Ministries NWA Family.  I love and appreciate you all.

Have a blessed day in the Lord & Happy Memorial Day to you all!

Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B

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