“One day I asked the Lord how could he ever use a big mess-up like me and he told me, ‘I use flawed people to reach flawed people.’” — The Mad Preacher

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by Rod Davis

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Jesus (Luke 4:18-19)

Once again you stepped outside                                                                                                              your fortress safe and strong                                                                                                                  and took a chance on loving again                                                                                                          risking more heartache and wrong.

You tried your best to touch someone                                                                                                            to show them you care.                                                                                                                               You gave your all, expressing love                                                                                                                   and laid your spirit bare.

You opened wide your arms of trust                                                                                                        exposing a heart oft abused                                                                                                                          by those who knew little in life                                                                                                              but using and being used.

Hurt, once again you retreat inside                                                                                                               your fortress safe and strong                                                                                                                     and reinforce the battlements                                                                                                                and hide with drawbridge drawn.

Construction seems to never end

as stone is laid on stone.

The walls mount high hiding your pain,

huge walls that you build alone.

But what you use to build your nest

of high and hulking walls

are stones not made of wood or clay,

nor made of rock at all.

The fabric of each bulking stone

you carefully set in place

is made of broken promises,

of tears that stained your face.

The enormous sense of loss you felt,

the investing of yourself,

the kind and honest love you gave

until there was little left

was sadly unheeded and cast aside,

leaving you drained and burned.

You gave your best, your greatest gift,

only to see it spurned.

So, stones of hurt and bitterness

are mounted side by side.

Your fortress seems unscaleable,

as deep inside you hide.

You think, “I’m safe from harm in here

behind my castle walls.

I’ve made sure they can’t be climbed

for I built them wide and tall.”

But, my friend, what you don’t see,

what’s cleverly hidden from view;

These walls were made by someone else.

Your fortress not built by you

No, you were not the architect.

It wasn’t your design,

but simply part of a deadly scheme

conspired in another’s mind.

A twisted and demented soul

devised an evil ploy

to do what he has always done

to rob, to kill and destroy.

These lofty walls don’t make a fort

or refuse where you hide.

Their purpose not to keep pain out

but keep you locked inside.

You’re not alone in this prison veiled

for others are fastened away

behind gray walls of bitterness

where many of them will stay

Locked in by thoughts of hopelessness,

with a warden brutal and cruel

who holds no mercy in his heart

for all those under his rule.

This dungeon cell where they abide

is dark and sad and cold.

Though it may seem safe inside

no freedom does it hold.

But Jesus came to storm those walls,

to set the captive free[1],

to give you life with all its best

blessed with love and liberty[2].

And though at times it hurts to love,

for loving off times brings pain.

We have God’s promise ever sure,

“No labor of love is in vain.” [3]

Only by loving are we most like God[4],

which should be our deepest desire.

It may mean risks, exposing our heart,

but measureless the gain that is ours.

Love, like a muscle, strengthens with use

“No pain, No gain.” We are told.

For only when we empty ourselves

is there room for the treasures love holds.

Choosing to trust still bids risks

when you’ve made the commitment to love,

but the untold gain of loving like God

is forever established above.

For love in motion gives substance to faith;

thus, “faith without works is dead.”[5]

To know why this “love never fails”

our love and our faith must be wed.

As two become one on their wedding night,

and their union produces new life.

So, love in action consummates faith;

bearing fruit like a husband and wife.[6]

Faith expressing itself through love

is the only thing that counts.[7]

For love with legs completes our faith,

and its power floods in like a fount.

There’s no need to build ugly walls.

Let’s pull all the strongholds down,

demolishing fear and every pretense

that tries to usurp the crown[8]

that belongs only to our awesome God

and the truth of victory He’s won.

We endeavor to place every thought

in obedience to His Son.[9]

Are they walls of a fort or a prison strong?

Do you see they are one in the same?

If a refuge you need there’s one to be found

the strong tower of His great name.[10]

So, don’t be afraid to reach out again.

Continue to sow and be sure

God’s promise’s true. Love’s harvest is yours.

You’ll reap if you choose to endure.[11]

As you freely give, you’ll freely receive,

when with love you respond to God’s call.

Love’s sweet pleasures you’ll reap with great joy,

as you bid glad farewell to The Walls.

[1] John 8:3 (NIV on all references)

[2] John 10:10

[3] 1Corinthians 15:58

[4] Ephesians 5:1

[5] James 2:20

[6] Ephesians 5:9

[7] Galatians 5:6

[8] Hebrews 2:9

[9] 2Corinthians 10:5

[10] Psalms 106:8

[11] Galatians 6:9

“O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” (Ezekiel 37:3)
“There’s a place in our walk with the Lord where we must make a decision to submit to the sovereign hand of God even when we don’t have any real answers.                                                                                                                                                                                             What does God see when He looks at our circumstances?
He doesn’t see ruin. He sees revival.
He doesn’t see pestilence. He sees potential.
He doesn’t see death. He sees destiny.
He doesn’t see our falls. He sees our get-ups.” — The Mad Preacher

Misfits in the Bible

This is from the new book that I’m writing:

When I think that God can’t use a screw-up like me I remember this:

Adam and Eve would not admit personal blame for their sin. Adam accused Eve and Eve accused the Serpent. (Genesis 3:12)

Eve, the first woman, was easily deceived and couldn’t control her appetite. (Genesis 3:6)

Noah, the last righteous man on earth at the time, was found drunk and sleeping in the nude. (Genesis 9:20-21)

Abraham, the forefather of the faithful, out of fear let other men have their way with his wife on two different occasions. (Genesis 12 and 20)

Sarah, the most gorgeous woman by popular opinion, told her husband to sleep with another woman and then hated her when he did it. (Genesis 16)

Lot offered his two young daughters to a gang of rapists. (Genesis 19)

Job, the epitome of faith, had to deal with a nagging wife. (Job 2:9)

Isaac, who was nearly killed by his father, talked his wife into concealing their marriage. (Genesis 26)

Rebekah was a manipulative wife. (Genesis 27)

Jacob, who wrestled with God, was a big liar. (Genesis 25, 27, 30)

Rachel was a thief who stole her father’s property before running off with her husband. (Genesis 31:19)

Reuben, the pride and firstborn of his dad, Jacob, had an affair with his father’s mistress. (Genesis 35:21)

Moses was the first man to break the Ten Commandments. In rage he threw the tablets down breaking them into little pieces. (Exodus 2, 32:19; Numbers 20:11)

Aaron, the first High Priest who witnessed the power of God through the 10 plagues that devastated Egypt, made an idol for God’s chosen people to worship while Moses was away. (Exodus 32)

Miriam, the songwriter and Moses’ sister, was hungry for power and plotted with Aaron against Moses. (Numbers 12)

Samson, the strongest man who ever lived was literally blinded by love. He became entangled with an adulterous woman whom he allowed to emasculate him. He ended up a blinded prisoner of his enemies and eventually ended his own life. (Judges 16)

Saul, the first king of Israel, lost his marbles. He was apparently psychotic and had manic bursts of anger. He attempted repeatedly murder. He had bouts with deep depression and paranoia. He died in the mist of defeat by falling on his own sward. (1Samuel 16, 18, 19, 31)

David, the great king and psalmist, committed adultery with one of his closest friend’s wife and then had him murdered to cover it up. (2 Samuel 11)

Solomon, the wisest man in the world, had sex with 1,000’s of women. (1 Kings 11) He was also one of the wealthiest men in the world. Yet in later life he concluded that “Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1)

Hosea struggled with the pain of having an unfaithful wife who prostituted herself. This prophet, even as they spoke for God, struggled with impurity, depression, unfaithful spouses, broken families and overwhelming feelings of inadequacies. (Hosea Chapters 1) [i]

Finally, the great Apostle Paul faced a brutal struggle temptation. He said, “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t.” (Romans 7:18) [ii]

So the next you feel like you’re not good enough for God’s use think about these great men and women of God. Despite all their failings God still used them to shake the foundations of the world and he will the same with you.

[i] Inspired by an article from Sermon Central written by Ron Forseth (https://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/ron-forseth-20+-messed-up-bible-heroes-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them-1613#  Copyright © 2003-2017 | Outreach, Inc.) On 8-28-17. I did some rewriting and added some of my own insights.

[ii] The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved.

Jumping the Gun – The Hard Copy

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

NOTE: This is the hard copy of my YouTube video of the same name.

Jump_the_Gun

Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come;  for you any time is right.” (John 7:6 NIV)

The 13th chapter of 1 Samuel tells about an incident that happened early in the reign of King Saul. The Israelites had declared war on their old enemies the Philistines. It all started when Jonathan, Saul’s son, attacked a Philistine outpost. This daring raid resulted in two things happening. First, it infuriated the Philistines. They rose up against Israel in force with thousands of chariots, charioteers and “soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” (vs.5) Saul’s combined forces consisted of only 3,000 petrified men.

The second thing that happened was that Saul’s army began to melt away. Saul’s men were not exactly happy campers. As word

spread of the massive army that was approaching them, Israel began to wig-out. They began to run and hide. They hid in “caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns.” (vs.6) They were so terrified that verse 7 says, “Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.” They deserted the very land that was promised to them by God! And what about Saul’s special troops who were gathered with him? How did they react to the threat? They “were quaking with fear.” (vs.7) and soon they too “began to scatter.” (vs.8)

Now, what was King Saul’s reaction to all if this panic? He did something that on the surface looked a good thing to do. He made a sacrifice to the Lord. That was commendable wouldn’t you say? It seemed like the thing to do at the time considering all that was happening. Right? So, he did a good thing… the right thing. Or was it?

Samuel, under the direction of the Lord, told Saul to wait seven days for him. He would then join him and together they would sacrifice and seek the Lord’s direction concerning this national crisis. But Saul gave in to the pressure and the fear that surrounded him and jumped the gun. As Samuel arrived on the appointed day the stench of burning flesh greeted him. “What have you done?” he demanded. (vs.11) Look at Saul’s answer, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So, I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (vs.11-12)

All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.        (Proverbs 16:2 NIV)

God is much more interested in why we do something than he is in what we do.

Have you ever missed God’s timing because you “felt compelled”? Perhaps you even did what appeared to be a “good” thing, but was it good? What was your motivation? Why did you do it? Did you act in faith by responding to God’s leading and his timing? Or did you give in to pressure or even give into impatience?

In Saul’s case he was substituting ritual for faith and obedience. He allowed the pressure of his situation to force his hand rather than choosing to wait for God’s timing. It’s possible for a good thing to be the wrong thing. Making a sacrifice to the Lord was a good thing, but in Saul’s case it was the wrong thing because the timing was off and his motivation was amiss. Doing a good thing our way rather than God’s way is always sin.

Once, Jesus’ brothers tried to force his hand by offering him political advice. They said, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” (John 7:3-4) Jesus’ answer was simple. To paraphrase: “It’s not time yet.” He said. “Anytime is alright with you, but as for me, I go by God’s watch.”

But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. (Hosea 12:6 NIV)

 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25 NIV)

It saddens me to think of the times that I miss God simply because my timing was off. I missed out on God’s best for my life because of my impatience or giving into pressure. Then, I’ve had to go back to square one. I did that too many times! Don’t act so innocent. If the truth were known, I bet you have done the same. I only hope that over the years I’ve learned my lesson. To be honest though in the long run only time will tell. Thankfully, however, God remembers that I am dust (Psalms 103:14) and His mercies are new every morning. Boy, am I glad for that!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:21-26)

I don’t know why

I get so crazy as the day goes on

The minutes slipping by

Feel like wasted time

I get confused, so much to do

Don’t know which way to turn

I run so far ahead

That I can’t catch my breath

Time to stop and close my eyes

And I give up on myself again

Help will come, but only when

It’s in your time

And I hold on for a better day

How long I’ll wait I cannot say

But time will tell

I know time will tell*

* Time Will Tell by Out Of The Grey from their album, Out Of The Grey ℗© 1991 Sparrow Records,  Songwriters: EDWARD MARSHALL, NORMAN MARGULIES © EMI Music Publishing, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP For non-commercial use only.