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My Son is My Brother

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I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And prayed. I’ve been praying for you for some time now. In more ways than I could ever share in just this note. You’ve had a handful of other Godly men praying for you for over a month now. An army of believers has prayed for you…and today I write this and etch into history the account of how those prayers have been answered.

A SINGLE PRAYER CHANGES EVERYTHING…

It was just over a month ago that we were sitting in church listening to the message when out of the corner of my eye I saw you clasp your hands, close your eyes and subtly move your lips as if whispering. Fifteen seconds later, you opened your eyes smiled like only you smile and whispered in your mom’s ear. As she smiled and whispered something back, motioning my direction, you leaned over and whispered,

“Guess what I just did?”
“What?”
“I ‘axeded’ Jesus into my heart.”
Heart knowledge…you first received it that day over a month ago.

FROM HEART TO HEAD…

As I mentioned earlier, I’d been praying for your faith to grow to the point of understanding and acceptance of the free gift of salvation through Christ for long before this moment. Now, as your heart became filled with the Spirit of God, it became time to begin praying for the understanding of what that means for your life and how to apply it. Over the course of a month of more in depth conversations…lots of questions. You’re so analytical and inquisitive. Finding ways to explain it in ways you can understand was a fun challenge. And then it finally sunk in.

FROM HEAD BACK TO HEART…

I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And prayed. God’s timing then to arrive at church this morning and have you tell me you were ready. Who am I to stop the Spirit from moving a person to action? đŸ™‚

A NEW BROTHER…

I read Romans 8 in my quiet time this morning. And I read it again this afternoon. In a whole new light. The light of the joy found in having a new brother in Christ. And I share a part of it here now as my prayer over your new walk of faith (with emphasis and underlining added by me for effect.)

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bod(y) by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:1-17 (NLT, NIV)

SECURE FOR ETERNITY…

God answers prayers son. You are evidence of that truth. You are, now, not only my son, but now also my brother! My brother in Christ. My fellow co-heir to God’s glory! We have a date with eternity, you and I, that can never be snatched from us.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:35-39

I’m going to “carry my cross” (Luke 9:23) and embrace my responsibility to live my life raising you as my son, and I’ll see you in heaven brother!

Love,

Dad, and fellow co-heir

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Awoken by a Whisper

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Have you ever been sleeping so soundly that it seems a loud noise like the slamming of a door wouldn’t have awoken you, yet been awakened from that deep sleep anyway…with only a whisper? A whisper so soft you might not hear it while you’re awake? A whisper so gentle and quiet that the noise of your daily, fast-paced, non-stop, hectic life would drown it out? Yet in the deepest, most restful slumber you’ve had in months…maybe even years…this soft, peaceful whisper courses through your innermost being and startles you into complete consciousness…so alert to your surroundings, you feel like you were never asleep? I have.

I’m a naturally deep sleeper…such a deep sleeper in fact that as a teenager, the house next door to ours literally exploded from a gas leak inside, and while sleeping only 50 feet away, I slept through it…only awakened by my dad as he ran through the room yelling for mom to call 911 because the neighbor’s house had exploded and was now on fire. Even as I stumbled from bed, I was groggy and not alert for quite awhile…which is how I usually am in the mornings. I’m not fully awake and alert for an hour or more most mornings…certainly not before the coffee hits my lips.

Yet, it was just that…a whisper…that jolted me awake this morning. I remember my dream beforehand very vividly, which for me is not normal either. It was an evil, perverted, twisted and not-God-honoring dream at all. I’m not going to be sharing any more than that, except to say this…addiction sucks. My addiction invades even my dreams, leaving me little hope for a reprieve, except for when I am drawing near to God through prayer and the Word…and even then it’s often still there in the back of my thoughts. Yet in the midst of my dream, in a place where God’s holiness would never reside, it was just that…a soft whisper that coursed through my veins…literally gave me chill bumps from head to toe…and jolted me out of slumber into complete and total alertness. It literally felt like someone was standing right next to me, watching me sleep, as they leaned into my ear and whispered one word. My name. I get chill bumps even reliving it now to share it here.

Over my morning coffee, before reading His Word, my prayer was this…Lord, please take these desires from me. I cannot fight this addiction alone. I no longer desire for this to so greatly invade my thoughts. I do not long for this anymore, Lord. To win this battle for my mind, heart and soul, I acknowledge that You must take this from me. Please. Please Lord. Please take this from me.

In my readings after that prayer, I find this:

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding: furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up success for the upright; he is a shield to those who live with integrity so that He may guard the paths of justice and protect the ways of His loyal followers. Then you will understand righteousness, justice and integrity – every good path. For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart. Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, rescuing you from the way of evil – from the one who says perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in ways of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversion, whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious.” – Proverbs 2:1-15

“She [wisdom and understanding] is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her.” – Proverbs 3:15

“Maintain your competence and discretion. My son, don’t lose sight of them. They will be life for you and adornment for your neck. Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.” – Proverbs 3:21-26

A whisper. God is in the whisper. Nothing more than a soft, gentle whisper is all He needs to jolt reality into us. To bring us up from the depths of evil and despair. To heal us. To turn us toward Him. He awoke me from my slumber this morning with nothing more than His whispering my name…as if He was standing right beside me. Indeed He was…and is.

When the noise of daily life drowns out the whisper that calls us to draw near to Him, He grabs our attention by any means necessary to turn us toward Him. It can be as much as a slap in the face with a 2×4, or as little as a soft, gentle whisper in our ears while we sleep. Either way, it’s done so that we will “Be still, and know that [He is] God.” – Psalm 46:10

Love,

Dad

Lord, I believe this morning Your whisper is what coursed through every fiber of my being and startled me awake. I do not claim to know with certainty what the true purpose of that whisper is, and I am choosing right now to believe You are calling me to a life of integrity. If you have another purpose for it, please reveal it to me in Your will. I implore you, gracious Father, I cannot live that life of discretion and integrity without You. Without You removing these wicked desires from me. Without You residing within me. I will do my part and draw near to You through the reading of Your Word and through prayer. And I cling to the promise that you will fill me with Your wisdom, knowledge, discernment and understanding. Thank you for continually offering grace and forgiveness to me, though I do not deserve either. Though I fail you miserably over and over again, you have never failed me…and for that I know nothing else to say, except thank you.

Amen