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Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided this E-book titled Living in the Wilderness written by Author Richard A. Peyton. We hope you will explore our many studies and programs at Christianity Oasis that look into all aspects of the Christian Walk and reveal truth and bring forth understanding and peace.


Welcome to Christianity Oasis Purity Publications. This E-book is titled Living in the Wilderness written by Author Richard A. Peyton. Christianity Oasis in association with Purity Publications proudly presents you with this Living in the Wilderness E-Book free of charge for your enjoyment.

Living in the Wilderness

the wilderness

by Richard A. Peyton


Living in the Wilderness
The Unknown Leader

Can Anything Good Come Out of This
Praying in the Wilderness
Attitude in the Wilderness
Let Your Light Shine
Not Perfect But Better
Garment of Praise
Tell Your Story


Luke 4:1-2 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

The journey in the wilderness was not a dainty walk. Most likely the conditions in the wilderness were far from the delicate looking pictures that you may see of Jesus. No timid looking person would be able to make it through the wilderness and come out looking like they did not sweat or get a little dirty. If Jesus went into the wilderness during the spring or summer, in most cases he sweated due to the heat and he got plenty of dirt on his clothes as well as his hands and feet. He did not look squeaky clean. If his walk in the wilderness was during the fall and winter season, he may have gotten dirty still along with combating the cold temperatures. Regardless of the season, Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days and he did get hungry. Can you spend time in the wilderness alone for forty days? Is it possible for you to remain there without eating?

It does not say if he built a shelter or if he kept a fire going at night to keep him warm. It does let you know that he lived there for forty days. There is nothing written in the scriptures that gives us any insight regarding the weather condition during those days. It may have rained on and off, maybe there were some humid days as well as some cold nights. We can just only use our imagination. If the weather condition today is similar to the times when Jesus spent here on earth in the wilderness then it would be fair to say that he experienced the weather that was common for that region as we do today. According to geography Jerusalem is located on a mountain range which is close to 2700 ft in elevation. You can expect to get rain and snow during the winter months along the western slopes. On the eastern side you can expect to experience extremely high temperatures. May it be fair to say that the conditions were the same then, as they are today. He was in the wilderness to be tempted. No one was there to hold his hand. He did not get any special treatment from His Father. As a matter of fact, it was the Spirit of the Father that led Him to the place of testing. It was not a place near green pastures to receive restoration. It was not in a place located beside still waters. It was in the wilderness, a place to see if Jesus would rely on the Word to keep Him. His only resource of help was the Holy Spirit that dwelled within Him.

Are you prepared to live in the wilderness? Just like Jesus if we belong to Him, we are destined to be tested of the Father. It does not matter what season in life we may be in. Time, location and conditions have no say in how we will be tested. When it is time to journey into the wilderness, then it is time. Just like a mother bird who drops her chicks out of the nest to cause them to fly, when it is time for the little birdies to be dropped, then it is time. They have no say in the matter. We have no say in when we will be tested. We just have to remember that we at one point as we started our walk with the Lord somewhere along the way we told Him to make us into His image, His likeness. The wilderness is the school of testing. Are you ready for your test?

Just know the outcome will depend on your attitude. In Luke chapter four the scriptures informs us that Jesus relied on the Word. Also it says that He was filled with the Holy Ghost. The key to His success was relying on the Word and listening to the Holy Ghost. Jesus was obedient from the beginning. The Spirit did not force Jesus to go into the wilderness, it led Him. Would it be wrong to say that Jesus followed the Spirit? If someone leads you, most likely you are following them because you chose to do so. The Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself, but always points towards the Father. Jesus always delighted in pleasing the Father.

Are you filled with the Holy Ghost? Do you have the Word within you? Just like Jesus, these are the tools that we need in order to live in the wilderness. We will not be given any advance notice in what the conditions may be. We will have to go with a knowing that the manual which is the Bible, will work if we use it. The outcome will benefit not only us but others that we will come in contact with later on in life. Jesus exited the wilderness in the power of the Holy Ghost. Your life in the wilderness will equip you with an anointing that will be used only to be a blessing to help encourage and bring strength to those that may be on the path of life that you may walk on. It is a walk of Faith. Yes you will hunger for many things along the way that may try to still your focus and may want to cause you to slow down to relax and esteem other things more than your spiritual development. But to choose to sacrifice, take the step into a place where it may seem impossible. If Jesus was capable of living in the wilderness, then may it be right to say that we can do it as well. Jesus was being an example to us. He lived his life by example, showing us that all things are possible if we just only trust His Word.

The walk is an individual walk. It is a personal walk. Only as you walk with the Lord in your wilderness will you be able to understand His will for your life. In this walk you will be able to see Him work in you His nature and take out of you your old ways. It is not a group thing where you compare your life with another person’s life. If this was, possibly along the way someone would easily discourage you, if they did not have the stamina to walk alone by themselves. Israel walked in the wilderness for 40 years due to being disobedient to the Lord. They complained and grumbled. They should have been there only for eight to twelve days but their unbelief hindered them. The wilderness is not a place to grumble or complain. It is a place where you are looking for ways to survive until you depart from it. The wilderness again is not a place designed for us to stay and live for a long period. It is a place for testing only, a temporal place to stay for a limited time. School is a place where we come to learn, then, we depart because we learned the lesson. Then when we leave we are empowered with wisdom and understanding. If we fail in school we end up repeating the class until we pass it. This can be said also about the spiritual wilderness. There is no get out of jail cards here. You either pass or remain until you do.

Let’s not eat of the things that will hinder our growth in the things of God. Living in the Wilderness will cause us to hear the voice of God. Then as we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Ghost we will be able to speak in harmony with the Word of God. We will be able to resist the enemy of our soul and the cravings of the fleshly desires that weigh us down and hinder us from doing the will of God. The Wilderness will prepare us to stand and say boldly “it is written” just as Jesus did when He was tempted. We will be able to walk through any obstacle that may come our way. The following chapters will give some views on how we may be able to adapt to the things that we may face in life. May the words that you read provide you with insight on how to cope with whatever situation you may find yourself in today! Let’s go into the wilderness!

Living in the Wilderness

It is amazing to see life in the wilderness. Every day is not the same. The way of life in the wilderness is not govern by a clock as we live by in the modern world. There is never a moment where you can say that the days are the same. Of course the place may look the same from day to day but you can never say that the daily events will be performed in a timely fashion. One day may render moments of peace and tranquil wherein other days may present harsh times or moments due to the extreme weather that may be forecasted for that day. Who knows, you may happen to walk upon some wild creature that you may have only read or seen in a magazine. The wilderness is a place that has not been modernized by man. It is a place that contains its natural surroundings since creation. It is a place that has not been disturbed by mankind.

For some locations the wilderness may be a dry place like the Grand Canyons or the dessert that is located in a remote place in Africa. The wilderness can be located in a distant forest located in the high elevations of Canada. States like New Mexico and Arizona offer the dry sands and the tumble weeds that blow across the land during the hot dry seasons. To many this is a wilderness where water can be hard to find. Of course a place of shelter from the sun under a nice shaded tree or large rock formations would be a place of refuge for any man or beast who sought out ways to find relief from a blazing sun. Oh please do not forget the heat that may be at an extreme high. In the wilderness there is very little plant life. Or may it be said that there is plant life but nothing compared to what you would see in a nice tropical place where the resources of water is plentiful. May we add that the northern section of some countries that have plenty of green trees and grass are in abundance due to the watering of the rains that may visit the earth in these regions due to the geographic location of these place’s. It is a wonder to see how animals as well as insects survive in places like the wilderness. The wilderness is not a desired place to live in. With the harsh conditions that it offers very few can survive in a place that is in great need of water and shelter. Oh let’s not forget about the supply of food, let alone finding a place to even harvest food or raise a farm that’s capable of obtaining a herd of cattle or any other livestock to raise. The wooded area is also a place that is considered to be a wilderness even if you are able to find shelter from the beating sun or a place that may provide you some water. With the beauty of the trees and the view of majestic mountains the wooded and mountainous regions of this earth also can be considered to be a wilderness. With no survival skills or any idea or thought on how to function in the dessert or mountainous terrain any place can be a wilderness to the uneducated person. There are times it can turn out to be a wilderness experience for the skilled person who may have been taken by surprised due to an unexpected event or circumstance that may have happened. The Boy Scouts along with certain branches of the military and private organizations teaches wilderness survival skills. Even though a person may take a survival course, it becomes more effective to them when they apply the skills that they learned to their daily lives. A refresher course can be helpful but it is more practical when a person can actually go out and apply these skills when they seasonally go out on a survival campaign. This allows them to put to practice what they have learned and also learn how to perfect the skill in order for it to fit them. The weather that we know of can render to us all types of conditions according to the seasons and what each season offers. No matter where it may be, rain, snow extreme heat, tornados as well as hurricanes can hit any place at any given time. The weather has a way of changing the present conditions where a person may dwell. A nice warm summer day can be turned into a drenched day due to the unexpected rain storm followed up by a tornado. A nice fall mountain retreat can be canceled out due to the unscheduled snow storm. Many unexpected factors can change what may be accepted into a dreaded and unpleasant event due to the conditions at hand.

In the life of a Christian in the beginning stages of a person’s personal walk it is almost stated to them that there is going to be a life that is of ease with no more worries and that everything will be ok because of the new life that is found in the Lord Jesus. Yes when a person gives their life to Jesus there is a new joy and peace within the heart and spirit. Yes there is a refreshing and a new outlook on life. Yes according to the written word, old things are passed away and that all things are become new. All of this is true. Also what is true is the fact that there will be days in your walk where you will feel as if you are all alone. What seems to be familiar will seem to be a place of the unknown. It will be a place where you walk in everyday but you will be seeking direction. You will be in a place called the wilderness. May it be said that this place can be a challenge for all Christians no matter how long they have been walking with the Lord. The wilderness has no respect of person, but this is a place where one can be trained to overcome the various obstacles. This is a place where your natural way of reasoning will not work. We have to understand and we must learn that in the walk as a Christians a new principle must be applied. This is where we have to understand that the old things that we used to rely on do not work. In this new arena that we are in we may have not been informed that we have to apply a new skill. A new survival skill has to be applied because we are in a spiritual arena walking a spiritual walk. In the natural we did things that we naturally did because of the way we were taught. We did things naturally because of our nature. We were able to adapt naturally. In this spiritual arena we have to learn a new skill set in order to survive because in this arena there are harsh conditions and we have to be prepared. Are you ready to live in this spiritual wilderness?

The word of God is more than just words that tell of how great and majestic God is. It teaches us how to survive in life. If we read closely, we will be able to see that many characters of the Bible lived in wilderness settings. The New Testament contains the book of Luke that tells of the wilderness experience Jesus went through. It says that He was led into the wilderness by the Spirit (Holy Ghost). The wilderness was a place of testing for Him. This is the place where He used the word of God. Hmmm…..would you say that the wilderness was a place of learning? Would you say it is a place to learn how God’s word will work for you when you apply it? Growing up we all, or may it be said that many of us went to some type of school to learn something. In any school there is an instructional period as well as a time wherein we had to learn whatever the class consisted of. During the course of the classes there may have been some pop quizzes along the way. At times the course may have been long and boring but at the end there was a test. The test was a way to see if we learned anything from what the teacher was trying to instill in us as a class, as a student. What determined our success was the amount of knowledge we stored up within our memory. Sure we may have been a popular student but popularity never gave us a passing grade. It was what we learned and obtained that rendered to us a passing score. Of course we all want to pass any test that may come our way. The outcome of that depends on how we handle any information that may be presented to us. This is what determines if we are capable of passing any test. Jesus knew what would keep him in the wilderness. His challenging moment came when he was hungry. A normal person in the wilderness would run to the opportunity of having a good meal. Jesus knew the purpose of the one who tested him. Jesus also knew the purpose of the one who was used in the test as well. Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tested. Jesus was tested by the devil. ** If you can see that here, there is a source that wants Jesus to pass the test, and another source wants Jesus to fail the test. **

Jesus knew what was capable of keeping him while he was in the wilderness. That was the word that he had learned. He knew that the benefits of the one that he should rely on while he was being tested, was beneficial to his outcome. Jesus was in the natural flesh just like any human. He felt the hungry pains as he went through those forty days of fasting. But he did not let that control his thinking nor did he give in to the feelings of his flesh. His words were “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” We need more than natural things to keep us going. When the spirit man is not fed, you will feel as if you are in a wilderness all alone. You will feel the need to look for a place of relief or some source of nourishment. One thing for sure there is nothing that can replenish your thirst like water. Natural things cannot replenish the spirit of man. Only the creator of man can fill that desire. Remember Jesus was led into the wilderness with one purpose, and that purpose was to be tested. During this time he was also kept and covered by the Holy Ghost. The word of God is always accompanied by the Holy Ghost when it is doing something. As the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness it was also sustaining Him as He walked along the way. As Jesus placed His trust in the word, that trust that He placed in the word allowed the Holy Ghost to move upon the word because the word was activated by faith which empowered the Holy Ghost to move. You may be able to understand this more when you read the first chapter of Genesis. Jesus was sustained by the word of God. He placed his confidence in the word of God as well. That is why he was able to stand up against the test that came his way. He stood up against the devil. Oh please do not refer to the old saying “That was Jesus.” Yes it was him, and he passed the test. He was in natural flesh just like any human being. This is good news for us all. Not only did Jesus give us an example of how to apply the word to a test, he made it possible for us all to use it today. He has given us the tools to pass any test that may come our way. His word gives us the wisdom and strength to pass any test that will come to us. He has made a way for us to live in the wilderness of life. The tools that we have available to us work. They are the written word of God, the ability to choose and the ability to learn and understand how to apply God’s word to our lives. These tools give us the ability to understand and speak the word with confidence and assurance. There are examples that we can review in the word of God on how people stepped out by faith just on the word regardless of the situation that they may have faced at hand. One challenging moment was when Peter asked Jesus to bid him to come to him by walking on the water. Jesus’ only word to Peter was “Come.” Just one word motivated Peter to walk on water. He did it with assurance and confidence because he allowed his faith to rest on the one that he looked to. When you read this story which is located in the book of Matthew you will see that Peter needed the help of Jesus. Walking on the water was a big thing for Peter to do I am sure but as we see in the story Peter began to sink. He needed help or else he would have gone down into the water, perhaps drowned. We all need help at times in our lives. We may not pass every test that may come our way in life. It is a good thing to know that help is always available. That is good to know. It is good to know that as we go along today in life, God is always available to lift us up. There will be some tests that we will be able to pass continuously but due to the fact that while we remain alive on this earth there will always be a test of some kind. Tests are good for us because they have a way of letting us know that we are learning and we can always grow daily. We will be able to see positive results as we understand each test that may come our way. Walking in the ways of the Lord Jesus is a progressive walk. It takes us from one stage to another. It is a walk of faith. Living in the wilderness of life is designed to make you strong in your faith with God. It is not designed to kill you. If the wilderness of life was designed to kill you, then what we know of the natural wilderness will testify to us that we are not capable of surviving in the wilderness of any kind. But seeing that there are stories of how man was able to blaze across various types of conditions and lived to tell of them, by all means then we are able to live and tell of the conquests of a spiritual wilderness experience. There is life in the wilderness. There are many types of plants that grow in the wilderness. From the tiniest to the largest form, many creatures roam in the wilderness. You can find food to eat if you know where to look. In the book Isaiah, chapter 43:19 say that God will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Are we ready to live in the wilderness or desert with God? Do we want to be led in the wilderness by the Spirit of God? The wilderness or desert is not a popular place to be. You will find crowds of people at the beach or at some far away remote resort with all of the finer things of life within hands reach. But you will not see a mass of people ready to venture out into the wilderness for a vacation. No one can truly say that they desire to be in a place that is barren. I am sure that you may have seen homeless people out on the street. That is not a good thing to see. Somehow for some that live on the street they find ways of surviving. Yes, the city streets can be considered to be called the wilderness. Has there been a way made for you when you were in a barren place? Do you remember when you needed help and there was no way that you knew of that could have resolved the issue that faced you? Unexpectedly ways are made when you are in the wilderness. It takes faith in God’s word to make it in the wilderness. As we study God’s word it will help us in understanding His ways and it will help and teach us how to know God in a personal way. When we learn and know God personally for ourselves we will be able to understand what He is saying to us through His word. We will be able to speak His word in harmony with His will for our lives as we walk in His ways. As we speak His word we will be able to see Him perform His will for us and through our lives to be a blessing to others as well. But first we will have to have some wilderness experiences in order to be tested. The word that we have learned as well as learning will be tested. We will be tested to see if we believe it from the heart. Not from the mind. Each test is designed to transform us into the nature of Jesus Christ. The tests are set in place to change us from our old way of doing things into a new and better way of functioning in our lives. The tests come to see if we will rely on the word of God as well as to see if we trust in the word of God with our whole heart. Even better still the tests come to strengthen our relationship with God if we see it from that point of view. Be encouraged in your heart. Psalms 23 says that He is with us. No matter what, He walks with us in the wilderness. He will never leave us. We can live in God as we live in the wilderness of life. As we walk through our wilderness experiences we have to be mindful that God will not put on us more than we can bear. The book of James encourages us to “count it all joy when we fall into various tests or trials.” If we see the wilderness as a place of preparation as well as a place of development we will be able to walk with a positive attitude. We will walk through the testing moments knowing that things are working out to help us, not to break us. Yes there will be days when you will wonder to yourself did you make a wrong turn somewhere along the way. There will be times when you may wonder if God is with you. You may even think that you failed God due to a mistake that you have made along the way in your walk and it seems as if you cannot get that connection that you once had in God flowing again, so it seems. The fact that you are seeking after God in the wilderness that you may find yourself in today is a sure sign that God is with you. If you are seeking after God right now and you are seeking to feel His anointing, please continue to seek after God. Seek His heart and will, not His hand. Do not go by the way you may feel; go by what His word says. Sooner or later you will experience His presence. You will feel the touch that you desire from Him. Remember that the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness. It did not leave Him there alone. The Spirit will also lead you out of the wilderness as well so keep heart. Be strong and continue to look up towards the one who is available to help you. That person is Jesus our Lord.

David was a man who loved to worship God. He is admired by many Bible students today. He is the one who defeated the lion and the bear when he tended to sheep as a young lad. As a young man he was the one who splayed the giant Goliath. He was the one who played skillfully on the harp before King Saul. David was blessed in many ways by God. With a resume like this who would have thought that David lived in the wilderness? See it here in the scriptures, in the book of 1 Samuel 23:14 And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. David went from tending sheep to loving in the palace after he defeated the giant Goliath. He found favor with Saul the King who instructed him to live in the palace. Some would say that it was a blessing. How would you feel if the President of your country instructed you to move to the palace or to the same place of residence as his? Of course some would marvel at the thought of being given such an invitation. You would have the best of everything at your exposure. Imagine the conversation back at David’s home. Perhaps someone said “He has it made in the shade.” Even if it was you I am sure you would hear someone say “boy wished it was me.” In the change that took place in his life David conducted himself in a respectable way. He was mindful to be wise in his mannerism. David respected King Saul as he did his father Jesse. We all have come from various types of backgrounds. As a kid I can remember growing up in a small townhouse. We barely had furniture in the home. I remember a sofa, a small table and a couple of chairs in the kitchen. I remember maybe three beds for a family of six at that time, my parents included. We did not have much at all. We were poor. Fortunately we the children moved to a new place where we had beds to sleep on. The whole house was furnished. Times living in the palace for David did not last long during this early part of his life. He ended up being a man on the run for his life. As we read in 1 Samuel 23:14 David lived in the wilderness. Can you see your current life now and the condition that you are in? If you are living in a place of comfort and blessings are flowing, how will your life be if at once you found yourself living in the wilderness? Throughout this world today there are so many people who would say that they had no idea that the hurricane, or that earthquake, or even that Tsunami that came their way was something they had prepared for. It is a wilderness when you have lost all that you have had. It is a wilderness when you lost your home or a job. It is a wilderness when you have lost your family or loved one to death. It is a wilderness when God takes you from what you considered to be the best and take you to another world when you have to totally trust Him. Please do not get me wrong, sure in these times we wonder how did we get here (in this wilderness) but it is a good thing to know we have a right mind. A right mind, where we are able to think clearly. Yes we may wonder and have questions but we are ok. We may need a little help in getting direction from the Lord. The wilderness is not a place that is glamorous. David had to flee to this place to protect himself. Can you imagine David asking himself, “What did I do wrong?” The Bible says that David behaved himself wisely but still he ended up in the wilderness. Have you ever done all the right things but still ended up in a wilderness place? You are not alone. Many of us have been there and are still there today. Some have been delivered out from their wilderness and some are still waiting for their appointed time to be delivered out of their wilderness. Never-the-less, can you live in the wilderness? Do you want the word of God that is in you to be tested? Are you ready for spiritual growth to take place in your life? Is there a desire within you to have a stronger relationship with the Lord Jesus? Are you looking to have a stable and firm foundation on the word of God? Get ready to live in the wilderness. Get ready to have your life full of adventure as you walk with the Lord Jesus as you go through your wilderness experience. Whenever it may happen, you will find that living in the wilderness will benefit your life as you allow the Holy Spirit lead you along the way.

The Unknown Leader

Who are you? What are your goals? Is there anything within your heart that is speaking to you; telling you that there is more to your life than what you are seeing right now? Do you feel that your life was meant to be a blessing to people in some particular way? The question you may have right now is how do you achieve the dream or goals that you have? How do you position yourself to be a help to others? For every goal or dream there is always a starting point. They all have their virgin moments. This is to be said of any leader in any position. Whether you are groomed to be a manager or somehow forced to take the reins as CEO of the organization you currently lead, there is always the newness of operating in the position of a leader. Every one that functions in a leadership role starts off as an unknown. In its own particular way, your life is equipped with all of the tools to form and fashion you into a good leader. It doesn’t matter if you are from a famous family or not. Your background and your personality consist of the right formula that is needed to forge you into the person that you need to be in order for you to function in that designated role as a leader. David was a unique individual. I am quite sure that the life he lived was full of adventure. Looking at the beginning of his life, one might say that he was an average person. David was a shepherd, a tender of sheep. Some may say that he lived a very simple life but I am sure that it was far from a life of simplicity. As we travel to and fro, we see so many strangers along the way. To any one that may pass you by, they may view you as a person who may live an average life riding to your destination. You may be on your way to work or to a place of recreation, it does not matter, to them you are normal. They have no clue of who you are but in their own mind they have summed you up to be just an average person. Perhaps the same may have been said of David’s life. But once a person learns of the life that he lived they will be able to see David in a different light; from another point of view. In his early days, David was surrounded by bleating sheep every day. The daily routine was the same from sunrise to sunset. The life of a shepherd; was no glorious task. It was a job that caused you to be active and alert to your surroundings and to the care of flock. This job had so many responsibilities. It was the feeding of the sheep. There was the protection of the sheep. Quite often health issues may occur when attending the flock. The shepherd himself had to make sure that he was equipped to do the work every day. He had to be in good health. His mental condition had to be sharp and alert. David was dedicated to this assignment. Can you see yourself in this position? No it is not an easy job. But that did not discourage David nor should your current assignment discourage you. There will be days that will challenge you with many unexpected situations. From hot humid days to cold irritating days; to wet days and nights, the conditions may be similar but the results that may occur in these days are never the same. But the story of David informs us that he protected the sheep from the lion and the bear. This tells me that a good Shepherd stands up for his flock. His task is to keep enemies away from the sheep. David was a good shepherd. He was dedicated, courageous, and wise. These are attributes that all good leaders have within themselves. It takes wisdom and understanding when it comes to leading sheep. Spending time with something that you are assigned to will teach you how to become good at what you are doing. Even though it does not say who taught David how to be a shepherd, I am sure he learned from someone the basic rules of how to tend to a flock. As David did his assignments from day to day, his ability as a shepherd grew stronger each and every day! The skills that he had were perfected. The skills that you have now may be in their beginning stages. Be confident and know that the more you function in your skill sets you will grow and excel. We all have a beginning point. No matter who you are, everyone has a beginning. Even God himself started Creation with a beginning. As we grow and develop into a particular skill set; while we are in the process, we will realize that we will improve as we move forward in the things that we are learning and progressing in. Being good at a particular skill will cause you to become good in other areas as well. David had the ability to make good decisions. Good judgment caused him to think wisely when he embraced the obstacles that may have hindered him from doing his job. Wisdom along with good judgment gave him the ability to protect his flock against wild animals. This enhanced his confidence and courage. Confidence and courage will cause you to function in your assignment with ease. Even though the work may be hard and long you will be able to do it with a knowing within yourself saying to you that you are doing the right thing. Patience plays a big part in the life of a shepherd as well. The flock has to be lead at a slow pace. Sheep are not designed to be driven fast. They are to be led slowly along the way. A wise shepherd knows how to lead and guide his flock through various types of terrain. With this understanding he the shepherd knows that it will take time to go through certain places as they travel. The size of the flock, the number of ewes in the flock, as well as the condition of the flock will determine the time that it will take to lead the flock to its desired destination. A good shepherd is mindful of this. It is good to know that the shepherd experiences the same conditions that the sheep does as well. In our modern life that we live, it is good when any leader has the ability to identify with the people that he leads. He can relate with them when they speak of the high gas prices due to the fact that he may have a gas guzzler just like his fellow team mates. He will be able to provide solutions as well when they speak of domestic issues at home due to the fact that he has a life away from work, just like everyone else. A leader of men should be a person who has the ability to relate to the men that he may lead. In order for Him to be able to understand their good moments and their bad moments he would have to be a part of their lives or have a similar lifestyle. You cannot lead any man from a distance. You have to be right where they are. In order to lead in any position you have to be in front. You have to be a guide. The shepherd was always in front, pulling them through woods, water, thickets and brush. The sheep follow the sound of the leader’s voice. Men will follow the voice and the instructions of a good leader. To be a good leader it will be wise to think of what is best for those that you lead. A good leader will train all that is under his leadership to the best of his ability. He is aware of the strong and weak qualities that he may have as well as those that he leads. Every leader should strive to get the best out of those that he trains. He should do it in a way that encourages growth and support for his team. When a leader walks in the same place where he sees his men walking, they will respect him as a leader because they know that their leader is able to relate to their lives. A leader moves forward in confidence because of his experience and knowledge. He gains knowledge due to the experience. With experience and knowledge a person that is in a leadership role will have understanding. Understanding gives the leader the ability to make adjustments due to current conditions that may be at hand. He does not follow a script or pattern. Men love to follow leaders who have experience. David had the opportunity to defend the nation of Israel against the giant Goliath. This was the beginning of him being recognized among the people. When he came before the king, he was looked upon as a boy.

He was an unknown. King Saul did not know of how David slew the lion and the bear that he slew. He was just a little ruddy kid, who was sent by his Father to bring food to his brothers. When David walked out to met the giant Goliath, King Saul asked of him, 1 Samuel 17:55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?" Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know." David was an unknown. When you start bringing in positive results, people will look and ask of you. You may not have your name on billboards, or your face on the front page of the local newspaper, but they will notice you, the unknown because of the way you function as a leader. Your skill will speak volumes about you as you do all that you do with a spirit of excellence. Doing this will cause others to take a look at you and remember you due to the fact that your actions left a positive impression on them thus bringing an end to you of being a person not known by many. When David killed the giant Goliath at once it seemed that he was a household name over night.

David cared for his sheep and for the men that he was placed over. He cared for the nation that he led. He stood and protected the nation from their enemies. One of the burdens that David had as a leader was when he and his men lost all that they had. It was good that David lived in the same location where his men dwelt. David lost his possessions and family just like his men who lost all as well. It was a painful experience for all of them on that day. In 1 Samuel 30: 1-4 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, smote Ziklag and burned it with fire. They took the women captive, that were therein: they did not kill any but carried all away whether they were small or great. So when David and his men came to the city they saw that it was burned with fire and that their wives, and their sons and their daughters were taken captive. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept until they had no more power to weep.

Their homes were in an attack by their enemy. David was able to relate to the pain and the sorrow of his men, but he did not lose hope. Even though this great lose impacted David as well he did not let it deter him. In verse six of this chapter David steps up as a leader to look for direction. It says “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” It is easy to follow a leader who has hope under hard circumstances. As David moved forward in his life he was blessed to become the leader of God's people. As the leader of God’s people, David fought against the enemies of the people he protracted. As he did this in his youth, he did this in his adult life as well. He also led the people to the Lord. As king and priest, David worshipped the God that brought victory to all. Throughout his life there were times of difficulty, but David still worshipped the God of his youth. He did this always before the people as an example to them. When times were good David worshipped. When times were bad David worshipped. Even when David was chastised by the prophet, who spoke to David of his wrong doings, David still worshipped God. And he did this by example. Every good leader leads by example. Just looking at the life of the people in the Bible, we can see that they had various trials and testing’s. No matter what they faced there was always help from the Lord. By now I hope that you are able to see that David's leadership ability started when he was a young lad leading sheep. This caused him to grow up into the leader of men into the leader of a nation. The skills that you have now as a leader will grow and expand as you go forward in life. Be open to the opportunities that may come your way. Enjoy your beginnings. Do not get frustrated or discouraged. Each moment is working for you, helping you to developed and grow into a great leader. Do not faint within your heart. Do not give up. David was an unknown. Even when he was called by the prophet Samuel, he was an unknown. You may be an unknown, somewhere alone in a small town or in a warehouse behind some isle, but do not worry nor fret. As you stay dedicated to your task, in his time God will call you out before the people. When this day come, just be assured that you are prepared.

When this time comes, always remember the God who was with you in your isolated days. Remember those days, when you worshipped the Lord by yourself. It was just you and the living God, alone in some room, or when it was just you and Him; when you were riding in your car late one night telling the Lord Jesus that you loved Him. Remember that it was Him, Jesus that walked with you, instructing you and encouraging you. As you needed Him then, you will need Him the more because only God can lead a good leader in the place that will encourage and strengthen other men. You may be unknown, but a leader in the making.

Can Anything Good Come Out of This?

Have you ever heard someone say “how did this happen?” I am sure you have. You may have said the same thing yourself when you ended up in an unexpected situation. The life of Judah took a surprising path in which I am sure he caught off guard in the results that occurred on a particular day. Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob, who was the grandson of Abraham, the father of Faith. When it appeared that he was to be the final judge in what appeared to be an act of prostitution played out by his daughter-in-law, it came out at the end that he played a key role in her pregnancy. How did this happen? Not to justify any of his actions, Judah seemed to be a man of honor and accountability. Here is where the source of my conclusion is found. Let’s look at how the story played out.

The story is found in Genesis 38: 1-30; Judah’s oldest son married a woman named Tamar. In the process of time the son died. Judah’s second son married Tamar in order to produce children in behalf of his brother who passed away. The second son did not like this idea so he passed his seed onto the ground. This action of his displeased God, who in turned killed the second son. There was a third son in whom Tamar was hoping that she would marry due to the request of her father-in-law who was Judah. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law went up to Timnath to shear his sheep. So Tamar put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah (Judah’s son )was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned towards her by the way, and said, Go to, I desire of you to allow me to sleep with you. Let’s find someplace to be together. Judah did not know that Tamar was his daughter in law because he did not see her face due to the fact she had it covered. And she said, “What will you give me, if I allow you to come and sleep with me?” And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Will you give me a pledge, till you send it? And he said, “What pledge shall I give thee?” And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in your hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and went away, and took off the veil from off her face, and put on the garments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not. Then he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side?” And they said, “There was no harlot in this place.” And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt”. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. This is where Judah displayed that he was a man of accountability and honor. He took ownership of the signet, bracelet and staff. That showed accountability regarding his actions that he did towards Tamar. He honored her as well by acknowledging to her as well as those around him of what he did with her. Even when at first when he did not know who the one who caused Tamar to get pregnant, he was standing up for the honor of the family to vindicate the actions that seemed to have caused Tamar to be pregnant in the first place. But to Judah’s surprise he was the one who caused all of this to have happened. But then again, may it be said that it seems as if he was tricked. I am sure that a lot of thoughts may have flashed across his mind when he saw his signet, bracelet, and staff. Can anything good come out of this? Have you ever been in a situation wherein you were the one wherein all fingers pointed to you as the guilty one? A time where you wished that you could crawl under a rock? Did Judah feel this way, I wonder? God has a way of turning our mess into a blessing. I am not saying that Judah was right in sleeping with Tamar which caused the results that followed. I believe that if Judah’s wife did not die, he would have been faithful to her and that this situation would not have happened.

But it did. What good can come out of a Father-in-law ending up sleeping with his daughter in law? That would be a big topic on some talk show! Well I am sure that this has given you the desire to read Genesis 38 for yourself. As you can see twins were born from the results of what took place between Judah and Tamar. From the seed of Judah one of the twins was named Pharez was recorded as being named within the lineage where Jesus was born. God has a way of taking our unexpected situations of life that we may view as a loss or setback and cause them to be opportunities to bring hope and inspiration to others. As you can see, Pharez was not born within a traditional family. The two parents were not married to each other but God blessed his life anyway.

Looking at the size of Jacob’s family I am sure there was never a dull moment. This man had twelve sons. On top of that He had two wives who were related. They were sisters. A lot could be said about them. But let’s look at Joseph’s life a little. He was the eleventh son of Jacob. The Lord was doing an early work in his life, but there was much for him to learn. In all of His receiving dreams and revelation from the Lord as a young man, there was much that He had to learn and grow up in. His biggest challenge that he faced growing up was with His brothers. They did not like his boasting when it came to dreams and revelations. They plotted to do him harm. Let’s look at the scriptures located the 37th chapter of Genesis.

Genesis 37:23-24 “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.”

Can you imagine the thoughts that went through Joseph's mind when he hit the bottom of that pit? They threw him in the pit! Wow who would have thought, Joseph’s own brothers did this to him. On top of that they sold him.

Genesis 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ish'maelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh: and his brethren were content.

Wow, they did not have any second thoughts regarding the fact that their brother the dreamer was gone. He was out of mind, out of sight. Peace at last from all of the dreams and visions from someone that they hardly knew, even though he was family. For Joseph it seemed as if things did turn for the better when he ended up working for Pot’iphar a guard in Egypt. When you have time read the 39th chapter of Genesis.

Genesis 39:1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Pot'iphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ish'maelites, which had brought him down thither. All that Joseph did worked out well. He did so good that his master allowed him to be overseer over all that was in the house and all that he put his hand to.

Now can you imagine the thoughts going through Joseph's mind? Maybe the thoughts were, “I was put in a pit and sold by my brothers, but now I am doing well. Life is good after all. The Lord is blessing me.”

When things are going well for us we do find mental relief. We take a mental inventory of our past and rest in the joy and peace that has come our way. The enjoyment of the prosperity that we may be currently experiencing, seem to have no end. But things take a turn in Joseph’s life.

Genesis 39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

Genesis 39:11-12 And it came to pass about this time that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand and fled, and got him out.”

This lady had a plan and she was determined to see it through. She wanted to have a sexual encounter with Joseph. When it did not turn out the way she intended it to, she had to come up with a backup plan to cover the rejection that she was possibly feeling. She vindicated herself by lying on Joseph. She had to do something that would cause her end of the story to stick. The fact that she had Joseph’s garment gave her the evidence and support for the lie that she told her husband.

Joseph was thrown in jail. “Sent up the creek without a paddle” Here we go again, from one disaster, into another one. When Joseph was at home with his family perhaps in his thinking, all of his dreams and insights that he shared with his family, he was only sharing them to inform them of what was exciting to him. But the results caused him to be in thrown into a pit, thus sold into slavery. The opportunity to live with a wealthy master was a blessing to Joseph. The home wherein he worked in turn was blessed because of Joseph. Over all, everyone prospered due to the fact that the Lord was with Joseph. What made it challenging for Joseph was that another man’s wife lusted after him in a way that challenged his own personal integrity as well as his moral respect towards his master. The results of it all caused him to end up in prison. Can anything good come out of this?

In the process of time Joseph was brought before the king to interpret a dream that the king had. The king was pleased to hear the wisdom that was shown from Joseph that He promoted him to oversee all that needed to be done regarding the dream. The dream told of the future events that were going to affect the Egyptian nation during that time as well as all that lived nearby. Joseph’s wisdom caused him to be removed from the prison to a place of authority. This position allowed him to be in a place where he was able to restore the fellowship between him and his brother’s who sold him many years ago when he was a young lad. It also reunited him back with his father. Even though there were times when seemed that Joseph’s life was going in a way as if it did not matter how much good that he did, nothing was going to work out for him. But at the end of it all, things turned out good for him and his family. The bigger thing out of all of this, Joseph’s life positioned him to be at the right place at the right time. Even though it did not seem fair, but the right place for Joseph was to be in prison.

We may not see it right now, but the right place for us is right where we are in life right now. Yes it may seem unfair, yea it hurts. I am sure you may be confused and fill as if God is nowhere to be found. You may have in your own way, argued at God. That was a short lived argument as you soon realized that you argued by yourself. God does not argue with us. He just waits until we are ready to work with Him regarding the plans that He has for us. The problem for a lot of us is that our mind is crowded with the clutter of life and the sounds of confusion and despair. This keeps us from receiving from the Lord. It also blinds us and tricks us into thinking that God does not care for us at all. In His unique plan, God causes all that we face and experience in life work out for the good. Yes something will come out for the good from all that we are experiencing. The things that seem to be pain to us will turn out to be a blessing. We have to trust the one who orders the steps we take from day to day.

Paul & Silas did not know that their journey would cause them to end up in jail. On one of their missionary tours they encountered a girl who had a familiar spirit. This gave her the ability to do things that caused her owners to gain much profit by using her to their advantage. When this girl began to speak of Paul & Silas, this action irritated Paul so much that in turn he casted the spirit out of the little girl thus setting her free. This was a good thing for the girl, but it was a lost to those that owned her. You can find this story in the book of Acts, the sixteenth chapter tells of the events that took place that caused Paul and Silas to be placed in jail. How did they end up in a place like this? For sure they were accused of teaching against the customs of that city. The bad thing is that their accusers did not take time to learn of their heritage or background. Their accusers were upset due to the fact that they no longer had a business that was being operated illegally. What good can come out of this? They were beaten and then thrown in prison. On top of that there was an earthquake. In all of this, what appeared to be a humiliating situation turned out to be a blessing instead. God has a unique way of reaching people. He does not follow a plan according to our thinking.

The earthquake was the vehicle that caused the jailor to seek deliverance and salvation. He, the jailor of the prison where Paul and Silas ended up taking them to his home were they ministered to their wounds. The end results were that the jailors whole house was saved. The set up was when they delivered the young soothsayer. This caused them to be connected to the jailor. The good that came out of this was that a family was saved. Paul & Silas’s trial was not about them. Their trial was the thing that positioned them into a placed that caused them to be a witness to a family. While they were being locked up, they offered up thanksgiving and praise to the Lord Jesus. In all of this everything worked out together for the good.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Hebrew men who were brought to Babylon due to the invasion of their country. They were the product of war, which in turned caused them to by force migrate to another country. The challenge for them via envy of their knowledge and promotion within a new country was to bow down to the regulations of their captors. If not they penalty was to be burned in a furnace. Now being in prison is one thing, but to be tossed into a furnace is another!

Daniel 3:16-18 tells of the events that occurred in their lives due to the stand that they took in regards to their faith. Take a look at the scriptures and see how this story unfolds. Let’s begin at the 16th verse.

Verse 16 ... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

Verse 17 ... If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

Verse 18 ... But if not, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

As you can see according to the scriptures, they are in a situation that probably is out of the norm. Can any good come out of this? Well at the end, the King decreed that there should not be any talk against the God of the three Hebrew men.

Daniel 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

The last verse tells of the promotion that came to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. Their fiery trial caused them to receive a promotion from the king himself.

The fiery trial that we are in today will promote us. As we stand firm on the word of God. His word says “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” Even though it looks like there is a delay or that God has forgotten us, just rest and be assured that in all that we go through, God has a way of turning things around for our good. All things work together for the good to them that love God and to them that are called according to His purpose. God has a way of turning your trial into a blessing for someone else. Your “Can anything good come out of this?” moment will be the very thing that will be a blessing for someone else.

Praying in the Wilderness

For anyone that may live in the country you know that there are some things that are not easy to get to as if you lived in a populated area. The nearest store could be anywhere from five to ten miles away from your home. Can you imagine someone living in a remote location where there is no electricity? There will not be any telephone lines; or any television shows to broadcast any current news or any other form of communication. If there is a mail service most likely in a place like this it is possible that mail may be delivered maybe once a month.

When trying to communication in a place of this sort, most likely you will have to be creative. With the technology that we Have today, it is easy to make a call from almost any location due to the Satellites that are positioned high in the heavens. Without this it is almost impossible to get reception for the phones that we carry today.

Among many hindrances that a cell phone may have, the need for charging the battery is vital in order to have power. In most cases if you are in the wilderness, miles away from an electrical power source or generator your phone eventually will lose its power, thus leaving you to rely on natural means of communicating to the outside world. If you are able to make smoke signals, I would say that you are very good. Some may be able to take mirrors and cause the light of the sun to reflect off the glass; allowing it to reflect over to another mirror that is off in a distance. The sounds of beating drums from ancient civilizations of years gone by; is a way of communicating as well.

In the hustle of life people from all walks of life have to rely on communication. If the language of a host country is not known to a foreigner it would be fair to say that the foreigner is in a wilderness of some sort due to the fact that everything is new as well as strange to him. The city streets are not familiar neither is the Language that they may hear, thus placing him/her in a modern wilderness. The only chance of survival is to find a way to communicate in order to understand how to function in the environment the foreigner may find themselves in.


This is the same with a person who is trying to communicate on a Spiritual level that may be new to them. If the language is not processed correctly then there will be problems. The communication frequencies tend to get jammed up often by the mental waves that cloud the mind of a person. Within they know what they desire to achieve but they get frustrated due to the fact that they may not have available to them the things needed to get the desired results that they are trying to achieve.


It is a wonderful thing to come together with other Christians to pray. Doing this helps many to be strengthened within their inner man. When people gather together this allow you share stories with someone who may be able to relate to where you are in life. And while you may not talk about issues all the time; you will know that the people you see at these meetings are ones who may be challenged like you but you all can say that you all place your trust in the tool of prayer. Encouraging each other will be a natural thing because of what you all may have in common.

Communication is a vital tool that is used throughout the world. From the beginning of time there has always been some form of communication. From the writing in the sand on the sea shores to the smoke signals that float across the skies, man has always found ways to communicate with one another. Archaeologists have found primitive forms of drawings of past Civilizations as well as tablets with markings that tell the story of how cultures expressed themselves to one another.

Praying in the wilderness is different from praying in a corporate setting. In most cases this prayer is the most challenging to ones psychological being. Jesus often left the company of man to be alone.

In Luke 5:16 it says “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” This was where he was able to commune with the Father. Jesus resorted to this many times. Even though Jesus was capable of doing more than what has been written in the scriptures, in my opinion it would be safe to say that the source of His strength came through prayerful times with the Father. We all need time alone to be with God. These are moments when we can refuel and strengthen our spiritual man. But times and situations do not always present the perfect opportunity in which we are always running to pray with a gleeful attitude. The pressures of life at best seem to make it a burden and less desirable to pray when the heat of life is on. Raging trials of all types have only one purpose in mind. That is to take us away from spending time in prayer. The tests that we face almost dictate to us “why pray….what’s the use?” We at times feel as if all hope is gone and that the power of prayer has lost its strength against all odds that seem to rage against us. When it feels this way, you can say that you are in a wilderness. There seem to be no break through coming your way. The words that you are saying seem to just be there and that is all. It is a press to pray when you are feeling like your world is caving in with no hope or direction in site.

But what keeps us praying in times like these is trust. Trusting in the fact that what we are doing will render to us results. We trust in the fact that God hears us, and that he will answer our prayers. How He does that is up to Him. As we press inwardly in prayer, this causes us to close out all outside distractions and center our attention on the one who is able to help us. The wilderness of prayer; is the place that distracts and pulls our attention away from our source of help. Some of the things that compete for our attention are our emotions. Uncontrolled thought patterns may tend to fly around in our head as well, seeking only to take away the peace that is designed to help bring balance to our minds.

The whirlwind of thoughts, unfinished business as well as our emotional feelings are like an uncharted forest in need of order. To get through this wilderness one must be able to face up to the task of bringing order to ones chaotic mind. Only commitment and determination will reward the pursuer its fruits of peace and assurance.

Praying is not always a glamorous event. You can get bored real fast if your focus is not in the right place. What may seem to be an hour of prayer often turns out to be only five or ten minutes. There happen to be times when it seems like you are going over the same thing, but it will be that way on some days, but we have to press through regardless of what it may seem like or feel. You may feel as if your time is useless and that you picked the wrong day to pray. The most distracting thing that you may encounter is the notion of doing something at that moment that suggests that there is something important that needs to be done so maybe you should come back later to pray. The wilderness has a way of casting shadows of discomfort and discouragement but we have to know that our pursuit will be worth the struggle. The hard floor that you may be sitting on or the tiredness of your feet due to the fact that you may be walking, dictates to you to stop. It is not what we experience while we are praying in the wilderness that we should have our focus on, it is the desired results that we should have our eyes set on. This is what pulls us through the wilderness of crazy thoughts and the negative emotions.

The Garden of Gethsemane was the place wherein Jesus prayed before he was arrested by the roman soldiers. During his time of prayer Jesus asked of the Father twice to remove the cup of which he was to partake. The scriptures tell of the fact that he prayed and sweated blood (Luke 22:44). This was very intense, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly”

It is no picnic when a person is praying in agony and sweating blood. There is much at stake. The feeling of giving up is so ever present. Every second matters. Every move towards a breakthrough is important and vital. Jesus knew how vital it was for him to go through that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everything was on the line. In the beginning of his journey in ministry Jesus was led in the wilderness to be tested. At the end of His journey in ministry he was tested for a final time to render to the will of the Father. All of his experiences prepared Him for the final moment of Victory.

All that you have gone through in life has prepared you for the tests that you are facing today. Your consisted prayer was the thing that caused you to communicate with God in the wilderness. It was God that gave you the desire to pray in the first place. It was your spirit that was obedient to the desire that came from the Father. In all of your fiery trials, no matter how challenging they may seem to be, God was always communicating with you thus causing you to communicate back with Him. All that He has brought you through was only preparing you for a greater victory.

As we allow our mind to be in tuned with our spirit we will be able to hear more from the Holy Spirit that resides in us. When we hear Him clearly then we will be able to communicate with the Lord Jesus with ease instead of from a place of frustration. In the wilderness a person who may be a tracker or a trail blazer moves forward with confidence and with ease. It is not to say that they know the way completely, but it is to say that they have learned how to function in the wilderness. Time as well as learned experiences taught them what to do as well as what not to do. In our communication in the wilderness of life, as we walk with the Lord Jesus we will learn what to do that will be a help to our lives as well as what not to do which in turn will be a blessing to us as well. There is a end to every wilderness. On the other side of every forest is a clearing. A breakthrough from all of the clutter of trees, bushes, and rocks, that may cause you to stumble up along the way. Your mind will be clear of all the negative thoughts that seek your attention as you pray in the wilderness that you may be in today. Your emotions will have come to a place of submission as you allow your spirit man to communicate to the one who walks with you at all times. Jesus says that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” If He is always with us, just know He is always seeking ways to communicate with us. He did say that His sheep hear His voice. He is talking to us today. He will lead us and guide us through the valley of life. There is no need to fear. Victory is at the end. No matter where you find yourself today find time to pray in the wilderness.

Attitude in the Wilderness

The National Weather Center along with other news agencies across the world provides us with alerts or warnings in the case of any major storm that may cause damage or harm to the viewing or listening audience. This is done to allow everyone under their coverage to prepare for any outcome that may be coming to the particular areas they service. In the case of severe weather instructions are provided along with safety warnings, in order for people to make sound judgments regarding their plans to secure their property or to evacuate the area where a storm may cause damage not only to someone’s physical property but to their lives as well. Many have suffered more than what they should have due to their attitude regarding the storm warnings. For the ones who may have avoided the warnings of people who were placed in authority either they suffered injury or their life was lost. If it did not happen to them, it happened to someone close to them. These agencies at times give out warning alerts, with the purpose to educate the public on what to do in the event of any emergency that may hit our area. They do this so that we can have the right information in advance. They do this hoping that we the public will comply and trust their judgment.

When things happen to us we at times may not be prepared for it. We in our way have given names to them. We call them trials, storms, tests, trouble, the unexpected or the enemy. Trouble has a way of tapping us on the shoulder when we least expect it. Sometimes things happen to us without any warnings or alerts. There are times when we are able to see things forming ahead of time which gives us the luxury to brace ourselves for the impact that it may render to us. No matter when, where or how the unexpected has no respect of persons. The unexpected trouble or test has a way of brewing up like an undetected hail storm that never showed up on the weather radar. Without warning the sky turns dark, the wind blows vigorously causing the victims to seek shelter in a hurry.

When the storms of life hit us, it seems as if we at times are defenseless. Our emotions have a way of overriding our minds which causes us to get overwhelmed. It is almost like someone if someone walked in on you inexpertly and you are caught in the act of your present condition, whatever that may be. The thing is, when trails, tests, storms, trouble come our way, what kind of attitude do we have? Do we go into a rage? Do we stick our head in the sand and hope that it will pass us by? Does fear grip us and hold us hostage to unanswered questions? This is something that we all have experienced in life. Even though they come up to us unexpectedly without warning, trials come and visit us all. There is no billboard posted on the highway or commercial provided by the media saying “Coming to a town near you! Trouble and its fiery friends of disaster! Be ready to feel their wrath as they take hold of your life and tear you apart. Feel the fear as trouble and tests challenge you to your wits end, leaving you hopeless and ashamed.”  Rated “W” for (Warning).”  Imagine hearing this as an announcement similar to what they do in the movies.  Only on billboards that you may see on the highway or in a movie theaters are previews of coming attractions are given to us. When reading or hearing of any upcoming event we may at times be excited and look forward with expectancy to what may come. This causes us to prepare.

Our attitude is governed in a controlled manor due to the fact we have a handle on our emotions.  But in real life the unexpected do happen. When we are faced with the unexpected how do we really react to what we see or feel at that time? During 911 many people reacted in fear and anger due to the events that took place on the east coast of the United States. This was something that caught many by surprise. The reaction of people who lived in the Washington, D.C. and the New York was something that you would see in a Hollywood move. But on this day there was no script in which the people responded to. There was no director there barking “Action” to the people on that day. The events that took place on that day were real.  The trials that you experience in life today are real. When loss has seized your mind, and anxiety has taken you hostage, what do you do? When you are vulnerable to lack and need echo’s to your mind to run because fear is seeking to destroy you how do you cope with the tests that face you head on? There is no generic fix to what may come our way. Even though the need for resolution or restoration because of any test that we may is sought by us all, our outcome will hinge on how we react to what we may be going through today. Our attitude plays a key role in this.

In the Bible within the scriptures there are stories of many who faced challenging situations. Their outcome hinged on how they reacted to what they were going through during those times. The book of Daniel tells of how Daniel was place in the den of lions. This can be found in chapter six.  The story tells of Daniel being in the den during the night. The king came to the den early in the morning to see if Daniel was still alive. Daniel testified to the king that God had shut the mouth of the lions. Even though it does not give detailed information of what happened there in the den that night between Daniel and the lions. I am sure that he had nothing to worry about. It seems as if he had a calm reaction to the events that took place. The book of Acts, tell of Paul & Silas being thrown in prison. They were beaten prior to being chained up by foot and hands. During the night Paul & Silas sang songs to the Lord Jesus. Their attitude is as if they had no worries at all.

Jesus was in a boat asleep according to Mark chapter 4. His disciples were rowing trying to get to the other side when they were engulfed by the high winds and the rage of the sea. His disciples came and woke him up. They were fearful. Jesus rebuked the wind and calmed the sea. There was a peace. The whole while, during the storm Jesus was on the same boat with the disciples. He did not separate himself as if He went off on a journey mentally or spiritually. He was right there with them. I am sure that He was well aware of what was going on. He just reacted with authority. He did not allow the circumstances dictate to Him on how to respond.

In Matthew 14 the disciples were in a similar situation, they are caught in another storm, but this time Jesus was not with them.  The story tells of how the disciples see Jesus walking on the water towards them. Peter calls out to Jesus with a request to come out and walk on the water to Jesus. His desire was granted. Peter walks on water! Here we see that Peter reaction to this storm is a little different to the storm that was reported in Mark chapter 4. His focus is at the beginning on Jesus not the storm. He has a different attitude, from fear to faith.

As we look at Daniel, Paul and Silas, it seems that these three men had a peace in the midst of the test that they were in. There was no associated scripture stating that they feared. The scriptures seem to suggest that they did not allow their circumstance control their emotions or outlook of their trial. In Matthew and Mark we do see that Jesus was on the scene with His disciples. He was in their presence or close by. He was aware of their reactions to the tests of life. He knew that their faith was still being developed due to their attitude, their response to the test that they were in. His attitude towards them was always in question form. “Why are ye so fearful?”  is the question relating to Mark chapter 4. “Oh thou of little faith, where did you doubt?” is the question that relates to Matthew chapter 14.

In His manor of asking, I believe that Jesus had a positive as well as an encouraging way in which He asked the question. Even in His teaching the disciples Jesus displayed a healthy attitude towards them. What is on display while you are going through your trial? When that financial hurricane begins to blow everything out of order around you do you sink in despair or do you fix your eyes on the solution? When the raging voices of bill collectors crowd your voicemail, do you tremble at their growl or do you rest in the peace of knowing that your needs will be met?  On a given day, anyone can lose everything that they may have. Again, trouble has no respect of person. It is how we react to what may take place in our lives. Yes pain may grip us, worry and fear may sit beside us requesting that we entertain their presence. But we have a message from the Lord. It is His word. He has provided the pre-warning instructions for us.  Just like the weather alerts that are broadcasted for us to hear when natural storm are on the horizon, God has provided for us His word to keep us in the midst of any trial or test we may face today.

In the scriptures there are so many alerts that let us know that God is with us.

Proverbs 2:12  To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speak harsh things.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Psalm 27:1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.

Even though there are so many encouraging words we can find in the scriptures that will warn us as well as to build us up into an attitude that is confident as well as being positive plays an important role while we are in the wilderness.  As you grow in your walk with Jesus, your attitude is important. It will determine your growth rate as well as your outcome.  Take a look at the scripture below.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

When we know that our outcome will work out in a positive manor then we have hope. Having hope causes us to go through our trouble a whole lot better than going through a trial with no hope. A person in prison has hope when they know that they have the benefit of getting out. No matter if they are doing five or ten years, they have hope. They know that they will get out. Yes of course they may want to get out sooner, but just to know that they will get out is peace to their mind. A person may lose a home to fire. They are at a lost, but they have hope knowing that they can always rebuild. Your life today is not at a lost. Even though you may be in the wilderness today allow your attitude to set the tone. Sing a song like Paul & Silas did. Find peace within the storm. Every hurricane has an eye. In the midst of your storm you can walk in peace. No matter how things may rage on the outside, within choose to dwell in the haven of peace. Eventually all storms pass away. So does your trouble if you have the proper attitude. Joy, let it be your strength while you are going through the test of life today. Allow God’s peace to comfort you. Let this be your attitude in the wilderness!

Let Your Light Shine

Many athletic teams today participate in the Olympic games that are held throughout the world in various places. These games offer various competitive events. From the indoor to the outdoor events, people from all over the world come to represent their country. They are recognized as the best in the sport event that they tend to perform in. People from all walks of life as well as from various range of age participate in these events. The most exciting event of them all is the lighting of the Olympic torch. This ceremony kicks off the games. It is said that the Olympic torch is carried by any runners and it is carried many miles to its final destination. The runners do not decide which route they may take; nor do they choose the type of weather conditions that they should run in. The route along with its terrain mixed in with the unpredictable weather conditions are a part of the task of being a torch bearer. The responsibility of the runner is to prepare for the journey. The runner should be in good shape due to the fact that they are carrying an object that is of great importance to the entire event. The 2012 Olympics will be held in England. The torch relay will cover 8000 miles. This area can be unpredictable due to the fact that there can be frequent moments of rain as cloudy conditions on a regular basis. England can be divided into two major regions. They are called highland zone and the lowland zone. The highland zone is the region where there are big hills and mountains in the north and west. The lowland zone in the south and east contain mostly rolling plains. The highland zone contains rugged hills, mountains, and eroded areas continuously broken by valleys and plain. The highest point is 2930 ft above sea level. The Highland is cooler than the Lowland, and gets more rainfall and less sunlight. In many places in the Highlands it's impossible to farm. The soil is often to thin and stony, with hard rock formation below the ground. The Olympic torch bearers will run the 8000 mile course with the mind and goal of passing the torch to the next person who in turn will do the same with the one common goal of lighting the Olympic cauldron. The Olympic Torch today is ignited several months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece. It is said that the torch is kindled by the light of the Sun, its rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror. These runners are many that cover the miles that lead to the final runner who has the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron. Many have run through the mountains, the valleys, over the hills through the rain, the sun, over rocky and hard roads to be a part of something so grand. The Olympic flame has been tested to be weather proof. It works in temperatures between -5C to 40C, as well as in 95% humidity, rain, snow, and wind gusts of up to 50mph. It was even taken up Mount Snowdon, and the flame didn't go out. If for some unexpected reason that the flame did go out, then it has to be re-lighted by the same flame from which it originated from. Any other aide will not be original. It must obtain its authenticity due to the importance of what it represents. Any other flammable assistance would be considered to be false.

Our lives are similar as we run this race as Christians. In the reading of Ecclesiastes 9:11 "...I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Also In Hebrews it says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us………..

There are so many situations that we face from one day to another. They all may look similar but they are not exactly the same. When it may appear as if one person is having an easy day in their walk based on the outward appearance, within they may be going through the most challenging moment of their lives. Our life experiences have a way of preparing us for the next day or moment. Each event that we face is working in us the abilities to fortify us for days ahead that we are not aware of. Just as the torch runners who trained from day to day for the grandest race of their lives, we are being prepared to be a light to someone else that we may come across in our Christian walk today. I remember that a particular person asked of my well being. On another occasion there were associates who informed me of the trials that they have encountered. Another person shared how they were inspired by the fact that there was someone close by who shared the same faith that they did. These three examples are people who carry the torch, the light of God within their lives. While maintaining the course despite the hardness of life they had the fortitude within themselves to endure the rocky hills of life. Their steps through the mud of disappointments and the rains of worry allowed them to shine in the mist of it all, bearing a flame of light within themselves to give hope to a fellow runner. When running in a race, runners are encouraged as well as motivated when they see another runner along the way.

As we run in the race towards the end of our Christian journey we can be rekindled by the flame of God that resides within a fellow Christian. Only their flame can restart us if we falter along the way. No other flame will do. In this race we all get the gold prize as long as we endure to the end. It is not about “who gets there first.”

While we run, along the way there will be someone moving at a slower pace. There will be someone moving just a little faster than we may be doing, but as long as we are moving, we all benefit from it all. As you move forward, remember to pass the torch to a fellow runner no matter what pace they a running. They will be inspired by the torch of love, the torch of peace, the torch of joy as well as the torch of faith that may shine from your life. We have no clue of when a person may need the flame of torch that may glitter from your life, but being always ready to allow it to be passed onto another runner along the way. Be alert and committed in keeping the flame burning, with an open channel from where the source of your flame generates from.

The Olympic Cauldron is seen from miles and its flame is burning until the end of the events. The light of it is seen during the day as well as into the late night season. While we are in the race, let’s allow the Light of Jesus shine from within us outwardly so that others may be inspired as well as have hope today. There are so many events that we may face in this life and many times so many people end up walking around with a defeated outlook on life. Regardless of the event that may come our way in life and no matter how challenging it may appear to be, we all can walk through with joy, love and confidence. There is someone looking at your life because they see a light shining from you. The light that is glowing from you is causing them to press forward. In the competativeness of life they seem to find inspiration because you are moving forward as well. While you are striving to achieve your goal, in some way without your knowledge, you are inspiring someone. We may not see each the light of that we carry, but in some way we are a light to the ones that we do not see. The person that may see you on the subway platform across on the other side may never have the chance to speak to you, but in some unique way their life has been touched by your unspoken words. They move ahead in life with confidence just because of the courage you show in facing your day, no matter how it may appear to be. As long as we are maintaining the forward movement on the course that we are running on, we will be ok. There will be stations along the way to encourage us. As long as we know and understand that we all are running together and that we can get help from one another, then we will understand that we are a part of one another. Your light is helping me along the way. The fact that you are moving a little slower could mean that you are just a guide to me along the way, thus causing me to know which way that I should take. Your pace does not mean that I have obtained more than you because I am moving a little faster than you. Your pace could mean that, without your light, I could easily lose my way, despite of the faster pace that I may be obtaining. The story of the hare and tortoise is a great example of who was fast but tired before the end. But the slow turtle finished because of the steady pace that he was able to maintain. The light that you have within you, let it shine. Someone is being blessed by its glow. As you pass someone, as some runner passes you by; and as someone waves you on, we are all lights to each other so that we can make it to the end of our journey. There will be day’s were we may not see our way. There will be times when the desire to give up the race will be so ever present. What will keep us and sustain us is having the mind to be patience as well as the desire to move forward. This will generate the light of patience along with understanding. Understanding that all forward movement no matter the pace is positive which is causing you to reach your goal. It is not the terrain, the fog or rain, nor is it the steepness of the road that may be before us.

The most challenging thing regarding the race that we are in today is our thoughts. It’s what we deciding to do while we are in the race. Choose to let your light shine, and press towards the mark, the goal that is before you. While you are in your wilderness, let your light shine so that they may see the way. You may be up in the distance before them. Shine for them. You are marking a trail for them to follow. They may be disoriented in their way of direction. They need your light. Living in the wilderness is not glamorous, but a light along the way will cause the journey along the way to be more bearable while you are living in the wilderness. Let your light shine!

Not Perfect But Better

The media as we know it at times feature popular actors, athletes or some political person in the news when there happens to be some scandal or juicy gossip to report. Some people call that information news. If they told stories of the good that people tend to do in life regardless of whom, or where the source of the information was generated from maybe people will listen to the news more often. It would be not only entertaining but inspiring as well. Yes we can learn from the lives of others. No one is perfect. When telling the news of any popular figure it should be reported of how the individual learned from their mistake or tragedy, thus seeing the good that came out of a bad situation. That should be what attracts the media or gossip columns. The victories or the happy endings that came from a difficult situation should be the highlight of the story, not what they did wrong. They should down play the negative but up sale the positive lessons learned.

The Bible consists of stories of so many people who walked through many challenges. You hear very little of the life the Good Samaritan may have lived. What of the boy who had the loaves of bread and fish that fed the multitude of people? These two individuals made an impact on the lives of people they did not know personally. What did they do afterwards? Who or where did they come from? These two characters of the Bible seemed to be good people. Of course I am sure that they were good because of the mere fact that they both had a desire to help people. As you look at their lives closely, you will be able to see that they were giving people. Yes of course we do not know their names but we know that they gave of themselves to be a blessing to others.

When reading the stories on some of the biblical characters that are mentioned in the Bible there is little said of how they conducted themselves from day to day. One example is the Prodigal Son. Yes, there is some insight provided on his life style regarding what he did with his inheritance. But scriptures do not give detailed information on how he was as a person. Was he generous? Did he treat everyone with kindness? What of the thief who was dying on the cross or the woman with the issue of blood? Who were these people? How did they treat the ones in whom they came in contact with? Where they nice, loving, compassionate people? Did they care for anyone at all? The Bible has a way of introducing various types of people to us as readers without providing us with some formal introduction into their personal lives other than the challenge that we find them in as we read about them. In the days of my youth, within me were the thoughts that everyone who was named in the Bible was good or perfect but to my surprise later on when I educated myself, it was revealed to me that the Bible is full of examples of people who made have erred in some form. There were evil men as well as people who sought to live a peaceful life. Every person that was conceived in a natural way had faults of their own. No one who lived had a perfect life. All were people who lived and sought to trust in the one that created them but were guilty of short comings.

Under the microscope of religion and self righteousness the three characters, the prodigal son, the thief on the cross and the woman with the issue of blood could be ridiculed by the religious sect of their time if they may have been caught up within the snares of the dedicated temple worshipper, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Let’s view these three persons as if they lived in the society of today.

What if the issues of the three was to be of one who was a drunkard, the second a prostitute and the third person was of one who lived the high life, a gambler? What can we say of the person(s) who may serve as a church official with a title attached to their name or the church member who has been dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus all their lives? Would they judge the three with compassion or would they shove their church history of “how faithful and dedicated that they are to God, and that they (the three) need to be like them in order to be accepted by God” It is funny…my mistake… is not funny. But my argument is, why do we, as a people fail to forget that we all have to be and still is being cleaned up by the word of God. So what, you may have been serving God for 15 years. So what, you have a title to your name. Did you forget that it is God’s grace that we all are here? It is by His grace alone that you have the walk with Him as you do. You came through so many trials and tests that caused you to be the person that you are in Him today. Not by your merit or skill. We have to be graceful and show mercy with love on those that have gone through as well as are going through the trials of life. Jesus was and is the perfect example. He told the woman who was caught in adultery that He was not there to accuse her. His only request to her was to “go and sin no more” In that moment, in that one on one encounter, Jesus showed to that woman only mercy and love. He did not condemn her at all. Yes it is possible she may have felt bad when the men brought her out into publicly, so that everyone could see her in her mess. They wanted to judge not only her, but they wanted to judge Jesus as well. To their disappointment, these accusers, these religious leaders ended up being judged by their own inner consciousness. But by the mercies of God she was publicly shown grace and forgiveness by the one who operated out of love, not religion or self righteousness. Mind you Jesus was not supporting the sin, but He was seeking to restore a person who was found in a fault. That should be our purpose and desire; to restore or to give healthy advice in a way to that people will be able to receive it without feeling condemned even if they may not be where you are.

With the various types of life styles that Jesus encountered while He lived with mankind, He never exalted Himself with an attitude of arrogance. He was able to blend in with all people. The lives that He touched spanned from the rich to the poor, from the old to the young, and from all races and genders. Are we like Him in our dealings with the ones that we may see today? Or do we have picks according to our social status or is it according to our taste or likings in life? Do we see ourselves better or above the next person or do we at times talk at or down to them as if they need to reach up to be on our level? Jesus came down to us to be with us as well as to help us. In all of His greatness, he could have changed us from affair off. He could have just changed us by one word. His love for us compelled Him with a willing heart to come and tabernacle with us as well as to identify with us. This causes Him to always care and understand all that we go through in life. So as a high priest who understands our weaknesses as well as our lack of understanding of His ways, He is able to lead us as well as deliver us out of what-ever challenge that may be hindering us because of His tender mercies.

That is why it does not matter what the thief did in his life. When He, the thief was dying on the cross he said to Jesus, “Remember me. ”Jesus told him. “This day shall thou be with me in paradise” Only in His own way and manor does Jesus saves. The thief did not become perfect all at once. The woman with the issue of blood said within herself “If I just touch the hem of His garment.” The prodigal son said within himself “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” These three individuals proclaimed a confession by faith. It does not matter if the prostitute that you see, or the drunken man that may be on the corner, or the gambler who seems to throw away his money is not on your level. It matters if you love them the way Jesus wants us to. It matters if we show them the same compassion and love as Jesus did. I am sure that Jesus would receive these three in the same manner today as He did when he walked this earth. Can we do the same today? What moved Jesus to work in their lives was their confession of faith. He did not look on their level of understanding of church educates or some knowledge of the scriptures. Can we look on the life of someone and see them the same way that Jesus did? Can we or do we have what it takes to minister to a person with love and understanding even if they seem to have challenges that we may frown at? As Jesus did towards us all, let’s do the same towards our brother and sister, that is “give them a break” from our “holier than thou” attitude. Even though you are not perfected as of yet and that there is much more of the fleshly nature that needs to die from within our lives, Jesus still has a desire to fellowship with us. With a willing heart and compassion for us, Jesus wants to teach as well to walk with us along our journey from day to day without judging us. He knows that we will get better as we grow in Him. He knows that we are not perfect but as we continue on with Him only He will perfect those things that concern us. When we gave our lives to Jesus we realized that there was a lot to learn and to grow up in. Yes there was the desire and zeal to know the scriptures. The excitement of seeing blessing come our way always motivated us to keep on walking towards the things of God. Every person who experienced the new birth has at one point felt the excitement and thrill of walking in the newness of the life in Christ Jesus. Our spirit man has become born again. But what of the natural man, the shell that covers up the new generated spiritual man? The natural man still lives. You soon realize that there are things that need to be addressed. The things that have to be dealt with you find are within you. Before your new birth experience there were so many things that you did wherein to you, it was only natural to do what you did. Just name it; if it felt good to you, you did it. If it looked good, tasted good, sound good, with no restraint or second thought it was ok to partake in the activity that you sought after or sought after you. There was no need to regulate the pattern of you mind or monitor the words that you said or monitor the way that you expressed yourself. By all means it was who you are. You, me, we all lived and reacted to life according to our nature, our natural man. God knew and he still knows that once we become aware of the two natures that we have, the natural man as well as the spiritual man, it will take time for us to get understanding on what is going on within us. He know that once we understand that we have been changed into more of a spiritual being instead of a natural being this knowledge will help us to see that we need assistance and help from a source greater than us ourselves. The eye opener in all of this is that we come to a realization that there is a greater need to be changed. The greater need is to be changed from the way we have patterned or governed our way of living. Since Christ is in our lives, our spirit man has been completely changed. But there is a need for a change within our soul. This change in our soul or mind will bring a gradual change to our outward being. This is a “in your face” revelation for some Christians. It is almost like a “Oh my gosh” moment because they thought themselves to “be perfect.” Yes the Bible tells us to be perfect as Jesus is perfect. But we have to understand that the shell that we walk in will never be perfect. It will always have the tendency to do whatever it desires if we feed it. The natural man wants to be in control at all times. The more we feed our spiritual man with the words from God we will grow in spiritual strength that comes from the Lord. The old man will die, thus causing the old ways of doing things to drop off of our lives. Now and then there will be signs of the old man trying to raise his head. There will be times where you may miss the mark. When these things happen do not feel bad or beat up on yourself. Take a step back and look at the whole situation and understand that you are growing out of the old person into a new spiritual man. In all of this you will see that you are not perfect but you are getting better. You will be able to see that you are not angry like you used to be because the peace of God is growing with you. You will see that even though your temper may want to flare up now and then still, you are able to be thankful that you do not curse like a sailor no more. You are able to see that the inner change from your spirit man is working on your soul or mind. You will see and understand that the things that you used to chase after have lost its appeal on you. You choose to seek after the things that will give you more joy within over the things that would make you feel good. There are some who gradually gain victory over habits like smoking, lying, being resentful, or finding ways to entertain a secret sin, but as you draw closer to God you will see that these habits or ways are dropping off of your life as you spend quality time with the Lord Jesus through prayer and meditation in His word. Yes you see that there is a need for change and you know that there are inner challenges. But you have learned to rely on the Lord to bring change to your life. You know that within your natural ability to be delivered, there will always be a need to seek after something or someone to fulfill that need. But you know that only Jesus can bring that change. In this process you will know that view of the person that you once were will be transformed into a new man. You will be able to say that as you grow closer to God, your response to people and the response to yourself has changed. You will no longer be the perfect Christian, but you will be a better person who relies on a perfect Christ.

Garment of Praise

In the world of fashion there are many styles of clothing wherein they are displayed on the runways of the most popular fashion shows throughout the world. Winter, spring, Summer & Fall designs are on display. Grant it, there is never a dull moment when it comes to someone who may be in search for that new dress or suit that they may need for that wedding event or prom. I am sure that despite of the hustle and bustle of your daily routine, most likely there is a strong possibility that you would have taken time to find that certain hat, coat or shirt that you saw advertised in that current clothing magazine, and you just had to get it for yourself. You wanted to have the latest new thing to look good in. As far as the types of material that is out there today, one may seek for the finest in quality. For some, it has to be 100% cotton or one hundred percent silk, depending on the type of suit or dress one may be seeking for. Some garments are also made only to fit certain seasons. What one may wear in the cool of the autumn fall season, may not in most cases be worn during the summer time. In some cases what may be worn at the beach may not be worn on the mountain top. Regardless of the style that a garment may be of, they come in many colors and sizes. In life we all wear an emotional garment that reveals to any on looker the status of our current mood that we may appear to be in at that moment. It is detected by the way we express ourselves verbally or by the way our facial expression reflects our inner being.

There are a variety of garments designed to be worn for specific functions. The clothing that you may see worn on a professional chef would defiantly be different from what you would see on a professional doctor or dentist. The football, baseball and basketball outfits are considered to be uniforms. They do not compare to what is worn by professional law enforcement agencies or armed forces. What you wear to work may not be casual dress, but you have garments that suit the purpose in why you wear them. Some garments are designed to protect you from the elements of the harsh conditions that nature may render on a person. The extreme heat, the chilling cold or the wet rain are elements that can be considered unpleasant and hazardous to a person’s health if they are not properly covered. It is only when we wear proper garments are we able to be comfortable and are able to bear what may be unpleasant during those moments when the weather conditions are not to our liking. The selected garments for whatever condition that we face are designed to protect and shield us from the unpredictable conditions.

The weather of life at times can be unpredictable. There is no radar designed to gauge the pressure that comes up unexpected. Even though we are aware of the pressures of life, as well as knowing that it is a common thing to have challenges, it is the burdens that these challenges bring that catches us off guard, thus causing our reaction to be overwhelmed with questions. When the questions are not answered then either frustration or worry slowly creeps in to stagger the emotions and thoughts. Once the human mind is disturbed by unanswered questions that seem to blind your thinking and disorients your focus, you may feel as if you are helpless and that you are not properly protected. It is as if some force loaded a ton on your shoulders. Some may say that they have a monkey on their back, a burden that they are trying to shake lose.

Have you ever felt like your mind was racing to find a solution to your problem, and it seemed like there was no way out? No relief in sight? No answer, no help? Sure you have. We all have. When these moments come, it is as if the weight of the whole world is on you, and that no one can relate to what you are going through. You are burdened down, your thinking is blurred. It is as if your thoughts are not zeroing on the right solutions. You need it, you need relief! But where is the garment that will protect you from the weather of life? It seems as if life is not fair. It does not play according to the rules. Your rules may be that everything supposed to go your way because you live a good life and that you never did wrong. You were an “A” student and that you have eighteen college degrees. Wonderful to all of your accomplishments, but life has its way of coming at you without your permission. Life does not recognize all of your trophies or degrees. The many events that may have been held in your honor, does not matter to what life may throw your way. Unless you have the proper protection, you will get dumped on. Even if you still have on the right protection, you will get rained on with the issues of life. Remember this, just in case you don’t know, a hurricane can hit everyone in the same city, regardless of the background of a person, regardless of their income level or education. Everyone can get wet, and everyone can have property damage. In your life, in our lives we need protection against the heaviness of life. We don’t have to be down and burden when an unexpected event comes our way. Every day is a good day. There may be moments in the day that you may find yourself in a stressful moment or perhaps in a kick the cat mood, but know that no matter how crazy the day may seem to you, just know that you can still enjoy the day. To a farmer a rainy day is spectacular depending on the force of it. To another person, a forceful rain can be heaven sent due to the fact that there may be a forest fire a mile from his home. For a person who may be the key to the survival of the family home, the lost of their employment can be a big blow to their self worth as well as their esteem. They feel as if they are helpless as well as vulnerable. This person as well as many others caring the pressure of life that causes their mind to wonder in so many directions. They have a silent cry within for help. “Calgon” is nowhere to be found to take them away from this pressure. Even in all of what life may throw at you, somehow with the proper protection you will make it through any trial or test. Can you imagine being in a den of lions or in a fiery furnace? What about being on a ship going through a hurricane and the ship breaks apart? What do you do? Ok, Ok you what present day stuff. Cool, what if you lived in Tornado Alley? This is located in the middle of the United States, ranging from the state of Texas all the way up to North Dakota. In this zone the possibility of a town being wiped out at any time should not be taken lightly. It can happen and it has happened. Does anyone remember hurricane Katrina? In recent years many people have lost very much of their life savings due to an unexpected storm. What about being a survivor of the 911 or a survivor from Haiti or Japan? What about the subway or train wreck that you survived? Do you remember the car accident? What about the divorce that you went through, especially when you felt as if the world as you knew it just ended and that there was no tomorrow? There is someone who is dealing with the living from pay check to pay check and they are a month or two behind a lot of bills. That person is under pressure. Oh, so you may be having trouble getting a handle on your personal issue that no one knows but you and it is plaguing your mind. May be you are dealing with a loss of some sort today. It could be material, it could be financial or it could be a spiritual loss. If the mind is bombarded with the thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and the feeling of giving up due to the fact that you cannot find the answer to your solutions perhaps it is time to take that garment that you have on off. That garment of heaviness has not served you at all. It has not given you the rest, hope and protection that you seek after. That overcoat of depression has only left you feeling cold and alone inside. The jacket of frustration has you shivering and you are in need of warmth fast. Put on the garment of Praise!

Praise is always in season! This is what you need to weather the season that you are in right now. Praise is the garment that will cover you in the heat of that trial, through the coldness of the lost, supporting you in the mist of the decaying of the thing that once was a blessing.

This is something that you have to do. It is a decision you have to do for yourself. No one can do this for you but you. Yes it is hard to praise when all that was once of value is lost. When your hopes and dreams have been taken from you, the present pain of that trauma dictates to you why praise? Why praise when what seemed to be dear or important to you is no longer there? Having no answers to life problems can drive, yank or pull a person into a state of hopelessness. A person can go into depression and stay there for days, weeks, even months. A place of hopelessness causes a person to contemplate suicide. Praise has a way of pulling the mind and spirit out of the inner pains of life. Even though the circumstances may remain the same, proper praise will give you clarity and direction. When you can, read the story of when David and the men with him, lost all that they had. The men, all of them cried. But David knew of the power of the garment of praise. That garment was the thing that pulled him up out of that feeling of helplessness. Praise caused him, to get his focus in the right direction, which was towards the one who was able to help him.

In 2 Chronicles 20th chapter, it tells of the events that came up against the people of Jerusalem. They were given instruction on how to defeat the enemy that had surrounded them. You can read the chapter for yourself to get familiar with what took place. But here are the three key verses, that played a vital role in the victory that they received.

17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

As you can see, the praises from the singers went before the army. It was not the might of David’s men or the army that Jehoshaphat led that brought them victory. It was praises that magnified the greatness of a Holy God.

Tell Your Story

There are moments in life where we have the opportunity to tell the story of how we may have caught the fly ball during the baseball game, or when we saw some famous celebrity or perhaps when we cooked our first meal out on a camping trip. Or maybe it was when you happened to see the birth of your son or daughter. No matter what the topic may be or even where the story was first formed, the moment that these things did occur in some way a lasting impression was formed within our hearts.

Even though we may experience similar events in life we all can say that these events all have a unique way of leaving some type of impression on our lives. As exciting as it can be, going to the beach be a fun filled day with family and friends. Some may see this day at the beach as a time to relax in the sun and listen to the sound of the ocean waves as they beat up against the shore along with the sounds of the birds that may fly along the water front. For a first beach visitor this first day at the beach can viewed as an eye opening due to the fact that this can be a new experience for them. Three sets of people can write three versions of a day at the same beach, thus allowing them to tell their story in their own unique way.

As you look over your life there are so many memories that are logged away in your memory. Some are of days wherein perhaps if you could, you would go back to re-live due to the fact that they brought joy to your life. Yes of course there are places in your past you may have said within yourself, “why”. But never-the-less those days had a way of fashioning you into the person that you are today whether you understand it or not. The lives that we have lived thus far had a way of showing us our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We have seen what has made us happy as well as what has made us sad. In all that has come our way we still can say that through all that we have come through we can still find courage to face another day. The wonder of it all is that in all of the various experiences that we all can testify to, some way we muster up words of strength to encourage someone else who may be coming along a familiar path of life similar to the one that we have traveled along in our personal life.

Your life story is a story of its own. It has your own DNA may I say. It has your stamp of life experiences that can speak to the life of someone who may be able to relate and understand all that you have gone through. Who can understand the pressures of life that a CEO of some major cooperation may be going through? Or who can sit along the President of your country and offer advice to them due to the fact that you both understand the responsibility at hand, thus causing you both to over look the pettiness of the political party that you may be part of, but honestly looking at the issues at hand as men/women who have a genuine concern to find solutions to bring lasting change to your country that you lead. Who can sit with you, the coach and either celebrate the season that you just gone through with your team and discuss the things that you need to do to keep your team motivated for another year. Mind you your season may have been a great one but with a losing record, or it may have been a winning year but with much sacrifice which may cause you to wonder of the year to come. Only coaches can sit and provide with each other along these lines due to the fact that they can relate to each other. No matter the sport I am sure all coaches have concerns and goals for their team. It seems natural for any coach to provide advice or just perhaps provide time to hear stories from another coach which can provide answers. The hospital is a place that has a wealth of stories within its walls. From the birth to a newborn baby to the first surgical operation that may be performed by the new intern. Believe it or not the man that is in charge of the maintenance department can tell you much of what his day may have consisted of while on duty. Just don’t forget to include the emergency room. That section of the hospital is never a dull moment. From the cafeteria to the administration office the hospital can be a place wherein you are able to get the story of one event from maybe 50 different points of views.

You life has brought you down a road where you see things that may have be important to you. What others may consider to be of no value, you deem it to be something of great price or something that is breath taking. Who would have thought that a person raised from poverty would be able to speak to nations, or write songs that inspire a generation? Who would have guessed that a person who was born with some handicapped condition was able to take that loss and use it to motivate millions? Take a look for yourself and go and search on the internet when you have the time. You will find that there are so many people, despite their condition, they are able to tell in their own way, of how they over so many odds and still live to tell their life story with joy. You have a story to tell.

My memory of the home where I first lived in was not a glamorous one. The place was a small apartment home where there was not much to consider as furniture for the home. There was a couch in the living room associated with a television box which did not work all the time. Mind you there was no cable when I grew up. The kitchen contained the sink, the refrigerator as well as the table and maybe two chairs. There was no decoration of any kind. The window curtains were either some old blankets or some dark shade or something, I do not remember. The bedrooms did have beds but we did not have much in the rooms. We did not have much. We had very little. My parents were poor. As hard as he tried, my father sought ways to provide for the family. There were some days where he did well. On the days when it was hard for him, you could tell that it really dug a whole within him due to the fact he carried a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Along with his wife, he had to feed seven children. I remember when he came home one day to celebrate because he either just received a raise on the job, or he received a job and he cashed his check, and came home and threw the money in the air to celebrate with the family of his accomplishment. Even though it was not much, it made him happy because he was able to provide for the family. Mind you I do remember that prior to this, there were days that I did recall that my father was not at his best at all times. The fact that employment was not always available, it would cause my father to go into depression, which caused him to drink. That would cause him to get drunk. There were a couple of times he would roll off the bed or couch onto the floor due to being drunk. My mother was helpless whenever he would get this way. She would have to wait till he sobered up. I have never seen them argue. My only memory of them discussing an issue was when they was wondering how they would sleep on the role out bed that was at a family members home.

There were days when I was able to go around the neighborhood and play. The area that I grew up in was a little rough but I did not know at what degree. Even though there was gangs in the area, it was not like it is today where you have to deal with drive by’s or gangs fighting because of certain colors a person may wear. We did enjoy the games and other fun activities that we did as kids back in the day. When you did not have much, creativity would kick in and allowed you to use what you had available. Even though we lived far from a railroad, I remember someone came up with the idea of tying some bikes and wagons together to make a train. It worked well. We did enjoy the ride around the neighborhood. On summer nights there was a place where lightning bugs would gather. Some of the older guys would get jars and collect them. It would be interesting to see an old glass jar glowing with insects. Even though we did some little crazy stuff, we had fun. Plus it was nothing that would cause us to regret doing later on. You I am sure remember those times as well. Old days, good times, challenging days, all with memories. There during those times, you may not have had the best of everything, but if you were able to make what you had at that time work for you, then you had something going for you!

My dad would walk to work in the mornings and I would remember sitting on the steps in front of the house in the evenings seeing him come back home. I am not sure if he had to walk out of the neighborhood to catch a bus or if he walked all the way to work and back home from work. But I am sure and I do know that he walked a lot. Later in life I understood where I was able to get that ability to walk far from. I did a lot of walking in my early twenties. I will talk more on that later.

The day that we separated as a family was not a happy time for us. There were things going on within the family that caused my parents to make a choice I believe was not an easy task for them to do. But in the long run, they were looking out for our best interest. They placed us in a Foster Care program that was organized by the city. To them, my parents they had the assurance that we would be in better care and provided for. More than what they could have done for us in their current state. Little did I know that I was sick until I went to the Foster Care program. I was in the clinic for close to weeks before I was able to live with the rest of the young boys that stayed in the dorm where I was lodged. There we received medication, clothes, meals as well as a warm bed to sleep in. Not long after that along with three of my siblings we were placed into a foster home. Little did I know it at the time but this was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I did not see it then but after so many years when I was able to look back and see how things was really working out for my good I realized that during those times as a little kid, I was clueless into how my life was being developed.

Living in the foster was something totally new for us. As a matter of fact everything was new. It was not like it was when we lived with our biological parents. The home was furnished, plus we had a basement, a backyard, a front yard along with pets. We were able to sit down as a family and eat meals together. The new home also introduced us to something that we never really had to deal with. We were introduced to the responsibility of having chores. We all had to wash or dry the dishes after every meal. It was not the sole responsibility of our foster mother. The assignments were divided out by the week. One week I would wash the dishes and the following week I would have to dry them as well. I had the task of stacking the old news paper and setting it out in the trash when the stack was big enough to tie into a nice size bundle. Also I inherited the task of taking the trash out. I remember that in my haste I kind of put myself out there to get the job because I thought it would be fun to go out and sling the trash into the trash truck when they would come by once a week to pick it up .But I did not realize that I would have to get up early in the mornings to do this. I did not consider the winter mornings when there was snow on the ground or the wet raining mornings. There were times when the trash over ran the barrels and this caused the trash to spill out if the lids did not fit. The worse times would be on windy days when the wind would blow the trash barrels over, and the trash would spill out onto the ground. Boy what a mess! One of the things that I had to deal with was the rodents that would find their way to the trash at night. Sometimes even cats would dig into the trash to find something to eat. If the cats didn’t drag the trash out of the cans, the rats would. That made what I thought would be a fun task, turn into a job that I soon regret doing. But I was stuck with it. I can still remember hearing the dogs barking whenever the trash truck would role slowly in the alley. If the trash was not set out at the outside of the gate at night, with the help of my brother sometimes we would have to get up before the trash truck left the area. Sometimes there were some close calls. But the tasks that I was assigned to was developing a work ethic within me as well as teaching me responsibility. My foster mother was very strict with us. We were allowed to do certain things that seemed to be reasonable. We were not allowed to mingle with the neighborhood kids. We did not go outside of our block when it came to playing in the neighborhood. There was a stretch of grass about a city block length directly across the street were we lived. That was the only place we were allowed to go. Our mother wanted to make sure that we did not go outside certain parameters. Yes we could play football, or kick ball. Sure we could play marbles in the yard or even skate up and down the side walk. It was kind of embarrassing when someone would fall due to the fact it was a task to learn how to skate with those hard skates back then. They were the kind that you would have to use the key to clamp the front guards unto the front of your shoes. Yea we did have fun on some days but it was not like the freedom to venture out in the neighborhood like times before when we used to live in our old neighborhood. That was what made thing’s so frustrating for us a kids growing up in the foster home. We were used to being free to move about in the community. But again, being in a new home with a new set of rules was something different for us. You may laugh at this but we had to go to bed very early at night. I remember when we were in elementary school we had to go to bed between 7:00 - 7:30 pm at night. When we reached junior high school the time went up by thirty minutes. To me it felt like we missed a lot when you would go to school and hear of a television show that other kids talked about and you was not privy to what they was talking about. If by chance we did see some of the show we would still have to go to bed, thus causing us to view a part of the show. For me, in order to try to fit in with the guys at school I would tell of the parts that I knew of the show that I did see. I did not want to appear as if I was not in the “know”. But that kind of action did more harm to me than good. In my thinking I wanted to be a part of the group of guys that I went to school with. These were my class mates wherein from elementary school to junior high school, a total of nine to ten years we grew up together in the education system in the community. In school you spent most of your life in a class room thus in this setting you automatically developed relationships. One of the saddest things in life is to grow up around a group of people but never was provided the correct social skills to relate with people. Living in a strict home with limited opportunities to intermingle with people hinders a person the privilege to develop healthy relational skills. May I say that this is my opinion? I say that because for me not having any relationships with the neighborhood kids limited my chances of learning how to participate in sports on a wider scale. Yes we did play some with each other at home, but when you are able to broaden your knowledge and play on a team within a sports club or YMCA this gives you the additional skills to grow and learn how to do certain things. I remember one day, our foster mother was putting oil in the car. There was a man standing in front of the house waiting for the bus. While he was waiting he was reading the newspaper. The statement that he made was “you need to let one of them boys, as big as they are do that.” To me it was funny to hear our mother say that the man was right. But at the same time she still held on to her way of raising us up. One of the things that did help us as we grew up was the fact we grew up close by a church that was very active. This did give us the privilege to intermingle with kids of our age. This setting was an acceptable setting for our foster mother who was a person that regularly went to church on Sundays. The good thing to her is that the church was three blocks away from the house. The good thing for us is that we did get the opportunity to leave the block. It was a relief to leave the area, the house for a few hours. That was a whole lot better than just going across the street to play. Even though we went to church, another place with rules and regulations, it gave us the chance to getaway and meet other people who was of the same age, and also who in some ways could relate to the strict rules that even their parents placed on them. Some of the other kids did not have to deal with what we had to deal with but just to have that kind of mixture of kids gave diversity in the types of people we were able to socially meet at church. Another place we were able to getaway to were trips to the library. This gave us the pleasure to walk outside of the area and see the area where we grew up in on a larger scale. It was nice to walk to the library. My brothers and I went to Boy Scout meetings on Saturdays. This was another outlet we had as well. Plus we had more chances of getting away to do a little more activities on the weekends when there was events for us to go to with the scouting troop that we were members of. There is nothing wrong with having order and a disciplined home. Of course every home should have guidelines. This helps anyone learn that there are perimeters wherein they should govern themselves. With rules, regulations and perimeters, there also should be reasonable reasons of why things are done with the ability to back it up with sound reasons other than “I said so.” I am sure parents who are stable within themselves are capable of explaining why certain things are done in the home as well why certain rules for the home are implemented. This will cause the receiver, the child, or children learn and develop understanding and reasonable thinking within themselves. It is true that parents are not accountable to their children. They should manage the children and home. But it can be done with wisdom and in a healthy manor. Yes parents guide the home. They also set the tone where the members of the home should be able to carry a healthy dialog as well. I remember that at home conversation at home with our foster mother was like going to the Wizard of Oz to get permission to go to Kansas. You were very careful how you approached her with what it was that you wanted to bring to her attention. Or else you received a negative “NO” without any reasonable explanation. Hearing the word “No” did damage to my psychological viewpoint of people in leadership to a certain degree. Being controlled is not what we were designed for. Yes we were designed to be developed into better people by following good examples, but not to be controlled.

My childhood was interesting within itself. There were some good days as well as some depressing day’s .There were times when I did find enjoyment with friends as well as associates. Being at home had its challenges but there were days where moments of joy made up for all of the days that seemed to be harsh or questionable. Music art and reading were the tools that helped me make it through my childhood. I enjoyed reading as well as taking a pencil and draw whatever that may seem to be challenging to me. I would spend most of my time in both of these forms of entertainment. My story in some ways may be similar to yours. We all have memories of our childhood as well as our school days. Some good and some not to good, but never-the-less they are only memories of what caused us to be who we are today. Tell your story. This will give opportunity for the hearer to get a view of some of the things that you have experienced in life. The benefit of this is that they will be able to gauge for themselves of the position that they are currently in, in their present life. This causes someone to look at life and realize that what they may have thought to have been bad for them really was a light thing compared to another person.

Sometimes by hearing your story, a person may gain strength from what you say and pass your story along to others. Your story when it is told in its right intent will not only encourage other, but it will challenge us to do better as well. Against all odds your story has been formed and established within you. The good times as well as the bad times where the ingredients that caused your story to be. As you tell of the victories and the defeats we will be able to see the endurance and the fortitude that was grafted within you. Wisdom will be displayed as one hears of the experiences that you walked, as well as how you overcame adversity. We need to hear from you, so tell your story of how you are Living in the Wilderness.

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