A friend, Kevin Shelton (Director of Our Master’s Camp rehab center), was speaking in the little burg of Burket at the United Methodist Church. We decided to drop into the service and listen Saturday night as we would be not able to catch him at his Sunday meeting at CBC in Leesburg. I have always enjoyed listening to the Word that Kevin brings. He is a passionate, fiery preacher who desperately wants to share the message that God has given him. Every time I have sat under his preaching I have come away blessed and challenged. It’s what I expected Saturday night. What I didn’t expect was what the Spirit had in store for me.
What I thought was for me, wasn’t…kind of.
Kevin was speaking out of 1 Samuel 30. I’ll let you read it on your own. Kevin was speaking about how, as David & his men experienced the loss of families & possessions, they wept and eventually his men turned on him desiring to kill him. Kevin related in passing that sometimes it’s those we had cared about the most, those from whom we wouldn’t expect the attack, that bring us the greatest hurt. And I’ll be honest…I thought that this word was for me. I was like, “Yes, Lord. This is a confirmation of what we’ve gone through in this past year. This is exactly how we feel: whether people understand or not, they have hurt us, they’ve said things and done things that have hurt us tremendously. These are people we’ve ministered alongside of, ministered to, poured life & resources into and now…this.” I was in tears sitting in the pew at the UMC.
I’m so glad Kevin kept reading & preaching.
Kevin drew our attention to verse 6 of chapter 30. The last sentence in the verse says:
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Kevin went on to share that there were going to be times in our lives that there wasn’t going to be anyone else around that would be able to encourage us, and that we were going to have to “encourage ourselves in our God”. Oh! This is the word I needed!! The Spirit very clearly showed me that I had, for too long, been looking to others for encouragement and approval. So much of my life had been reliant on what others have thought of me. This is something burned into my being from as far back as I can recall. Only now am I making progress on this realization! Glory! It is never too late to grow in the grace & knowledge of Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit gently took me to a place of admonishment, and then, as I realized where I had been wrong, generously covered me with grace in bringing me to a right place.
But wait! There’s more!
The Spirit really moved in my heart throughout the service. He significantly dealt with me as I stated above, but he also encouraged me in many other ways. Another important realization came as Kevin was sharing a story from the Gospels. As he reminded us how the demons cower at the name of Jesus, I was encouraged with this truth: A substantial time of personal growth occurs when I realize that all the condemnation, the accusations, and the failures that Satan throws up in my face daily, they weaken in control over me at the name of Jesus! Jesus has conquered all and given me all victory when it comes to my past, present and any future struggles! As one of my favorite songs reminds me, Jesus “breaks every chain“. May I never forget the stammer in the voices of the demons when I call upon the name of Jesus! I caught this comment in passing, “You’ll be amazed at what the devil gives up when God moves in”.
Another quick exhortation came when Kevin said, “Churches often become pep rallies where nobody plays the game”. Wow. God, keep your Church from becoming that!
God, thank you so much for never giving up on me! Keep me passionate about growing and becoming more like Jesus. Keep me overwhelmed with the grace you lavish on me in Jesus Christ. Help me hear clearly what your Spirit is communicating to me. Keep me sensitive to his voice and direction.