it is part of your story…

The constant theme all winter as we’ve talked about the storms of life is that they become an integral part of our story.  We can’t see the reason why these things happen in the middle of the storms but later, after time passes, we can see how God was moving and what He has done with these storms to 1) shape us and 2) reach others for Him through them.

Yes, God will use your storm to reach others.  I’ll get to that at the end.

First, Erwin McManus said three things in the story of his prostate cancer …

If you’re not honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone else.  When we close ourselves off from our inner pain and struggles, we inevitably close ourselves off to everyone in our lives as well.

I’m convinced that many people have lost their faith in God because they have confused source with process.  Yes, God is the source of all peace, and that source is available to all of us freely.  The process, though, requires struggle and resilience and does not come without a cost.

I stepped into my pain.  I walked through my pain.  You see, one thing I was certain of was that on the other side of my pain, there awaited my freedom.  So many of us experience pain as the boundary of our limitations.  When we experience pain, that’s when we choose to stop.   The way of peace is not without pain.  The way of peace comes only by walking through the pain.

We started this season off with the story of Katherine Wolf – the young mom who had a massive brain stem stroke six months after the birth of her first child.

She said – “I kept wondering if God had made a mistake.  Should I have died?  God clearly said to me more than once, Katherine, you are not a mistake.  I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.  I know better than you.  I’m God, you’re not.  Remember that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in your mother’s womb, and that is when the AVM formed in your brain.  There is a purpose in all of this.  Just wait.  You’ll see.  There is no replacing you!  James could never have a Mom like you.  Think about what this will mean for his life.  Mommy’s stroke will always be a part of his story.  That is a gift to him.  It will inform his life.  Trust me.  I am working EVERYTHING out for your good.

Don’t doubt the truth just because you’re in the darkness now.  What’s true in the light is true in the dark.  I know you can’t fight this.  That doesn’t matter.  All you must do is be still and let Me fight for you.  I will complete the good work I began when I gave you new life.

My nature is to redeem and restore and strengthen.  This terrible season will come to an end.  You will suffer for a little while and then I will carry you out of this.  You will see my goodness in the land of the living.  Lean into this hope.  Most people will never go through this kind of hell on earth.   I have chosen you.  Live a life worthy of this special calling you have received.”

Think about that – little James’ Mom’s brain stem stroke will be an integral part of his life story.  Imagine how that little boy will be shaped by this.  Imagine what he can do with this story to reach others with the Gospel.  And remember this last word God gave her, “you will suffer for a little while” …

These light momentary afflictions are producing for you an eternal weight of glory

Remember – there is a purpose in everything we go through.  There is outcome on the other side.  We all have a role to play.  Life is not fair.  Some of us are born with gifts others don’t possess.  Some of us are born with disabilities that others will never have.  Life will take its turns against me in ways that you may never have to endure.

It is not for me to question “Why?”.  It is for me to ask, “What now LORD?”  Not why but what.

And then there is the song, “I Raise a Hallelujah”.  It’s become the anthem, the battle cry of Manschool this winter/spring.  It’s our song.  It so fits exactly with everything we’ve been working through.  Here is the back story to that song …

At the end of this video, Jaxon’ mom said, “This is part of our story now.  It’s part of Jaxon’s story – that the world will know that miracles happen.”

 

McManus, Katherine Wolf, Jaxon … the storm is now a part of my story.

 

The Pastor at Bethel said this, “This Gospel is not haphazard.  It’s not a guessing game.  It’s the absolute nature of God revealed in His goodness and kindness.  What is necessary is that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power.  There is no other option.  We are called to this.  It is our responsibility.  It is our privilege.”

The Pastor said this so very well — “it is necessary that His people rise to the occasion to face the impossibilities of life”.  Read that = we have a choice to make.  Will I shrink back into defeat or will I choose to step UP into the battle?  And then, “with the confidence of God’s character, His nature and His power”.  The storms will come.  We must first decide how or if we’ll even fight and second, we will choose not to blame God or think He has abandoned us rather, we will shift the narrative into believing Who He says He is!

Last point … this story of Jaxon is a miracle.  They don’t all turn out that way.  Whether Jaxon made it or not, a song was born out of this horrific storm.  A song that is being sung all over the world today.  A song that has had millions of downloads.  A song that has become the battle cry for so many.  A song that has come at just the right moment for so many – right before the marriage ended, right before she walked out, right before a life was taken, right before a decision was reached to give up.  People have heard this song and done an about face and said, “No, I will fight.  I will praise YOU in the middle of this storm” and the enemy has fled.

all from the suffering of an innocent child.  PRAISE GOD.

signs…

here are the slides from this morning > Which Kingdom 8 – agreements

My questions for you to ponder are in orange below…

Craig McConnell shared the story of seeing a young lab on the beach running, reckless, without abandon, chasing birds down the beach, wanting to play.  Whatever God intended a lab to be, he was it, he was living, he was free.  The signs say, “No dogs on the beach”.  The great thing about a lab is they can’t read the signs.  His romp on the beach was criminal, innocent, pure – he was being exactly who God intended him to be – no restraints.

He was being “exactly who God intended him to be… no restraints, free, living, playing”.  Do you see that?  Can you?  WAKE UP!  Are you being the “lab” God designed you to be?  Are you alive?  Playful?  Living with abundance?  Unconcerned what others think, ignorant of the signs that tell you the things you “can’t” do?

There are a lot of signs around us – “You can’t do this”, “You’ll never be that”, “Who… you?”  The wounds you have suffered and the messages they bring and then the vows you make are the signs – “You can’t do that.  You can’t be that.”

The wounds become the script for your life and become your identity.

What has been spoken over you in your life?  What did your father or brother or mother or coach or boss tell you about you?  What have you been told you can never become?  Likewise, what negatives have been spoken over you as in “You will always be a screw-up or failure or …”?

Craig’s stepfather called him a seagull.  Saying, “all you’re good for is sitting, squawking and shitting”.  As a result, over time, I had become a seagull.  Nothing to offer, nothing to say, absolutely nothing to give.  I’d preach/teach and always say to myself afterwards, “ugghh, that sucked”.  Shame and contempt would come that I’m never going to be a man that makes a difference or says anything that changes or encourages another person.”   That was my script.

To some degree, you’ve been told who you are through the wounds – father, mother, coach, brother, boss, wife – the signs are there. You’ve been told what you can or cannot be.  That’s clear.

Like Craig, what are the phrases that constantly come up in your mind to describe yourself?  As in … “I’ll never be a _________” – or – “I will always fail” – or – “No one will ever come through for me” – or – “I don’t matter”.

But what most of us don’t know is what God thinks about us.  We’ve been told what others think and its dominated and even governed our lives but what does God think about you?

Ephesians – before the creation of the world, God had you in mind.

Psalm 139 – You created my inmost being. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from you when I was woven together.

God tells us that He uniquely created and crafted each one of us. Each with our own different blend of talents, personalities, bends, talents, interests. God had something in mind when He created you in some unique and personal way.

Revelation 2:19 – “For those who overcome there will be a day where we’ll be given a white stone with a new name on it – known only to us and God”

A name that describes who God intended you to be. Descriptive and true.  Capturing the very essence and core of who you are as a person.  He had something in mind when He created you.

GK Chesterton – “all of us suffer from the same dilemma, we’ve forgotten who we are”.

It seems easy to remember and what seems to be the most governing thing in our lives is what others have said we are.  Most of us have forgotten who God says we are.  What He’s made us.  Who He’s called us to be.

Do you remember who you are?  Or have you forgotten?  Have you ever known who you are?  Have you ever asked Him?

Comfort & Brokenness – Hugh Freeze

Today, we heard from Coach Hugh Freeze (former Head Coach at Ole Miss) as he shared his story of his fall and the grace he has experienced in his brokenness.  Like a lot of us, Coach Freeze went to comfort and complacency.  He had “it all” and took a lot of things for granted.  Worldly comforts provided him no true reward but he let his guard down with devastating consequences.  Through God’s grace, he is being restored and he took this opportunity to stand up in front of the family of faith and ask for forgiveness.

Even more powerful is the follow on later in the video from his wife, Jill Freeze, about how this season has impacted her and her walk with Christ.  When this was revealed to her, she immediately went to her pain, her offended self and quickly, God steered her to “Jill, do you want to stay in the pain or go to the healing” and she made a shift.  And, the more she went to God, the more it became about her sin, not Hugh’s.  God had things He wanted to deal with in her through this pain which is usually the way it is in these broken times – God is usually up to something far more vast than we could have every imagined.

Coach Freeze says in here –

What I found in 2017, when my world fell apart, is that the faith I stand on in Jesus Christ as my Savior is a solid rock, a solid foundation.  His love never changes.

There will come a point in life when you’ll need something bigger than self.

Integrity is not about “doing what is right”.  It is when something is not done right, then owning it.  It is being accountable for it.  It is seeing it for what it truly is – my failure, my sin, my pride, my shortcomings.  That integrity leads to confession and brokenness.

As you go along, and things go well, some false pride comes in, false security.  Comfort.  The lie I bought into was, “I can white-knuckle my way through it” and “I can be isolated”.  It’s a lie.  Don’t do it alone.  That will take you down a road you don’t want to go.  Confess it.  Own it.  Be willing to be broken.

and later he says –

The Devil wants you to stay where you are in defeat and as a “failure”.  But failures are not final.  You can move forward by the grace of God.   You can have the mental toughness to get up every day and surrender again.

I cannot change what other people think or say about me.  But, I can make up my mind.  My mind is set.  My eyes are clear.  My heart is full.  My feet are pointed forward and I look forward with thanksgiving for what God has given me.

You can finish well.  You may have stumbled or failed but you can get up and finish.

Pride wants to keep you from that broken spot.  Isolation from community does that too.  It’s a sign of pride to say, “I can’t talk about that”.  A lot of us were raised in churches where it was never really OK to say, “I’ve got a problem with this and I need some help.” And then guilt and shame set in and the only true way to freedom from that is brokenness.  

I’ve struggled with why this private matter between Jill and I, that I thought I was dealing with in the right way, had to go out into the public eye.  And the answer was so I could experience true brokenness and then use it for the Glory of God.

Brokenness is agreeing with God daily that anything that is outside the boundaries of me following Him, breaks His heart.  That brokenness leads you to obedience.

Amen!  Some of you reading this need to come clean.  There are things in your heart you are hiding.  There is a judgmental spirit, an offended self, resentments you’re carrying, unforgiveness that is eating you up or secrets you never want exposed.  Those are breeding grounds for destruction via the enemy.  He thrives in these dark places.  It’s time to come clean and confess.  For some of you, it may be you need to sit down with your spouse and open up.  Maybe you’re not ready for that step and so, it may be you need your closest friends to hear what you’re struggling with.  Certainly, it needs to go to the Father.  Stop and confess.  Open your heart and be willing to be totally broken.  Give it to the Father.  Leave it at the foot of the Cross where all mercy, grace and forgiveness were laid out for you.

Incredible freedom lies on the other side of brokenness.

Here is the actual video from our session this morning …

and here is the version from Liberty University.  Fast forward to about 15 minutes in through the end of his talk and Jill Freeze starts talking at 41:50 in…

The Summer Challenge of Community…

Today we concluded our Spring series of Manschool with the last segment of the movie “A Story Worth Living”.  You can buy a copy of the movie here … https://store.ransomedheart.com/collections/video/products/a-story-worth-living?variant=22869610118

It is bitter sweet to end our sessions and break but we do so by design.  One, it is for rest and refreshment but more importantly, it is to challenge you to fight for community. Manschool makes it easy in that we meet each week but now that we’re taking a break for the summer, if you want community, you’re going to have to fight for it.  We’ll be posting more about this but many of our small groups are already making plans to continue to meet over the summer.  This is a challenge – will you pursue community? Will you find 2-3 men and push into each other’s stories, going deep into each other’s lives?  Tell your story – all the gory details – and then let the next man tell his.  Don’t hold back.  Don’t hide.  Get it all out on the table and let other men speak into your story.  If you do this, you will see some amazing things happen.

The only question is … will you do it?  Will you?

Here are the notes from today…

Darkness tries to assault us.  “Can we do this?”  “Can we get off this mountain?”  The feeling is, “No.  We can’t do this.  We won’t make it through this”.  That sustained assault against your story is real.  Fear is the thief of joy.

The turning point in every good story is the rescue.

This is the hope of the larger story – that your story can turn out differently.  In this age, the belief is that all of life is an accident and when it ends, it’ll be an accident that takes it out.  You don’t want your life to be an accident.

Whatever our story has been, whatever darkness we have known, we’re all looking for redemption.  To get to that place where the old shame has no power – that it is no longer a prison but rather we see it as the doorway for your heart to be revived.

Because there is this larger story at work, there is hope, there is healing and there is redemption.

God can rescue your story.  “I am no longer fishing alone” — “My brother’s words spoken against me, they no longer have any power over me”.

When living in the larger story, you live in a sense of anticipation.  “How will this story end?”  A really good celebration remembers the losses and the hardships but it also savors the victory.  As story is only as good as its ending.

We are made for restoration and every good ending has something of evil being addressed and vanquished and something of those being divided being brought back together again.  (think Gladiator)

This complexity of justice and mercy and goodness really is the core of the sweet desire every one of us has when all things are put well and good again.

At the restoration of all things, there will be nothing in between us, no misunderstandings, no envy.  We will know and we will be known.  And it will be good.  Everything we’ve lost will be returned.  There will be no goodbyes.  You’ll never lose anything or anyone ever again.  There is no heartache, no opposition, no hatred.  Nothing evil or confusing or negative will ever come at you.  All that will come towards you will be good.

This life here is partial at best.  Good things always come to an end.  Though the age has become cynical, deep in our hearts, we all long for the happily ever after.

Are you living with a sense of anticipation?

What are you looking forward to?

How do you want your story to end?

And then this final challenge from AW Tozer that goes right at this Summer Challenge – what kind of soil as a man will you be?

There are two kinds of ground: Fallow ground and ground that has been broken up by the plow.

The fallow ground is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow. Safe and undisturbed, it sprawls lazily in the sunshine, the picture of sleepy contentment. But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility: Never does it see the miracle of growth … nor see the wonders of bursting seed. … Fruit it can never know because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.

In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken, but … the seed shoots up its miracle of life. All over the field the hand of God is at work in the … ever renewed service of creation. … Nature’s wonders follow the plow.

There are two kinds of lives also: The fallow and the plowed. . . .

The man of fallow life is contented with himself and the fruit he once bore. He does not want to be disturbed. … The spirit of adventure is dead within him. … To be has taken the place of to become. He has fenced himself in, and by the same act, he has fenced out God and the miracle.

The plowed life has, in repentance, thrown open the protecting fences and sent the plow of confession into the soul. … Such a life has put away defense, and has forsaken the safety of death to the peril of life. Discontent, yearning, contrition, courageous obedience to the will of God: these have bruised and broken the soil till it is ready again for the seed. … Fruit follows the plow … as God “rains down righteousness.”

The story of your life …

Everyone is looking for a story worth living.  The human heart is made for an epic story.

When you give up looking for that story, you give up living.  It’s all about story.  It doesn’t always go as planned but that’s true to life.

Adventure is chasing a dream.  Adventure is taking on something you’ve never done before.

Most good stories start like this – ordinary people getting swept up into something extraordinary.  Story isn’t something you so much write – story is something that finds you.

The number one thing most people do to cover their shame is to turn to their own self-contempt or contempt toward others.  Contempt becomes a shield, a cover for your life.  That pressure to perform yet on the other side, “I’m going to make sure nobody else sees”.  I hate whatever shows that weakness in me and so I’m going to work really hard to hide it.  Hatred, contempt, violence against ourselves pushes us to perform, to succeed, then when we don’t, that kind of violence – “I’m such a shit” – emerges.

There’s always a story. 

Every life is a long, complicated story.  Over the story of your life, your heart has learned many things – some good, a whole lot that is not so good.

Whatever story it is, I can guarantee you there is beauty.  Beauty – in and of itself – speaks to there being a larger story.  If life is a random event, created by the big bang, then how do you explain beauty and all it encompasses?  How do you explain what beauty does to you?

 

How can I possibly forgive?

How many times should I forgive?  Seven?  Jesus replied “Seventy times seven”.  Forgiveness is a continual thing.  It’s not about keeping count, it is a way of living in the grace of God.

Parable of the ungrateful servant –  Matthew 18:23-25.  Man owed 10,000 talents.  That was 10x the GDP of the region.  An unpayable debt.  “Be patient with me” he pleaded to the master “And I will repay”.  The debt was completely forgiven and he was let go.  Immediately he went out and found a man that owed him a day’s wage.  He grabbed the man and choked him demanding full repayment.  “Be patient with me”.  He refused and had him thrown in jail.  The master heard about this and asked him, “Shouldn’t you have mercy on him just as I have had on you?”

David and Bathsheba –  2 Samuel 12.  He took Bathsheba and ordered, in effect, the murder of her husband.  His heart was so hardened, he couldn’t see his own sin.  God raised up Nathan to confront him.  Nathan tells David the story of two men – one of them rich with a large number of sheep and cattle.  The other had just one small ewe lamb.  It lived and grew up with his children, drank from his cup and slept in his arms.  It was a like a daughter to him.  The rich man had a guest coming for dinner and couldn’t bring himself to kill one of his own sheep and he took the poor man’s lamb for the meal.  David heard this story and was infuriated saying “this man deserves to die”.  Nathan saying essentially, “David, you are this man in the story.  You have everything and anything you could want but it wasn’t enough.  You took Bathsheba – all that Uriah had – and you had Uriah killed.”

How many of us live our lives like that ungrateful servant? 

How many of us are like David?  God has given us so much and yet we just take more.

How many of us need a Nathan?

Let’s go back and read Galatians 5 but this time from the Message …

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.  I could go on.   (please don’t!)

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know.  If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

The first part is more than a man who fears God should be able to hear.  I personally was convicted hearing that list in this paraphrase.  Whoa.  All of us are guilty.  All fall short.

Most of us have also been the victim of this.  We’ve suffered loneliness at the hands of others.  Cutthroat competition might have cost us our job.  A parent with a brutal temper might have harmed us as children.  We’ve come from divided homes, fractured lives.  We’ve lived with family members with uncontrolled addictions.  For many of us these things have come down on us from above – a coach, a parent, a boss, a spouse.  For some of us, a perhaps an even deeper pain, it’s come from below us, from our own children.

It costs us.  It grieves us.  It brings great, great pain.  Either from our own doing or things done to us, we’ve all picked up some scars along the way.  More on that in a minute.

How do you forgive?  How possibly can you forgive?

First, realize that I’m the ungrateful servant when I have received the Father’s grace and blessings but I refuse to forgive those who have sinned against me. I owed a debt that could not be paid and He sent Jesus to the Cross.  Jesus forgave me of an unpayable debt.

Second, know that there is a consequence of unforgiveness – There is a vital connection between receiving God’s grace and forgiving others.  If I’m unwilling to forgive, it says something about my ability to receive God’s grace.  Refusing to forgive = a life of collecting debts.  We refuse to live free.  We run around collecting debts thinking it will fill the void in our life.

When I refuse to forgive, I am the one who suffers the consequences of unforgiveness.

The most powerful person in your life is the person you refuse to forgive.  They may be dead but they still control you, your thoughts and your emotions.  When you think of them, you’re bound up in unforgiveness, bitterness or hatred.  This person is controlling you.

Want a humorous look at this?  —> 

That person you refuse to forgive?  They live right there, rent free, in between your eyes and Satan is having a field day with you.  Much of my brokenness is from the sins of others against me.  If I am unwilling to forgive, it’s going to cost me greatly.  I will be tormented by the thoughts and pain of what was done to me.  Healing/Wholeness starts with forgiveness.  It is a means of living grace.

Let me give you one more powerful way you can forgive.  You can share your story

“When we share the scars of our story, our wounds transform into weapons of light”.

more on that in another post…

It is your story. Who are you listening to?

Think about this.  Craig McConnell spent 40 years of his life struggling with the notion that he had nothing to offer, nothing to say.  He felt he’d never make a difference or could say anything that would encourage anyone.  Wow.  That’s a powerful condemnation over his life.  He was listening to the wrong voice.  Once he went to the Father and truly opened up his heart to what the God of the universe had to say about him, his story changed.  His identity changed.  He was no longer the seagull.  And just look at the next 30 years of his life.  Look at the impact he had.  Look at the thousands of lives he changed and the tens of thousands of men he “fathered” in his ministry.

This is from Louie Giglio speaking at revival week of Elevation Church.  Fast forward to about 17 minutes into this for the content of what we saw today at Manschool…

You have a good Shepherd.  The scripture says He makes me, restores me, leads me, comforts me, protects me, anoints me and then it says “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”.  He is goodness.  He is love.  He follows me and leads me.  And at the end, I move into the house of the Lord forever.  It’s a very good deal.

“He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies”.  So catch that, the enemy is all around (the battle is raging against you) and God prepares a table for you in the midst of your enemy.

I’m surrounded by my enemies.  In spite of that, Jesus comes and says, “I’ve prepared a table for you with two chairs. One for me and one for you.”  Why is that good news?  Because you are living in the middle of a battle between good and evil.  The enemies are real and it is tough.  Regardless, in that chaos and turmoil, a table has been prepared for you.

1 Peter 5 says “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”  He’s always around.  He’s looking for a crack or a crevice.  Some opening he can find to get to you.  It can be your character, a real life experience, a door you open (like pornography), it can be an opinion of a friend.  It can be a justification or rationalization for an affair.  He’s always prowling, looking for a crack he can get in to wreak a little havoc in your life.  “Just give me an opening.  Give me a seat and let me talk to you…”

It’s not really about you – it’s about your Father.  He despises God and will come after God’s children as payback.  As a parent, I know when my daughters are hurt or make a poor decision – yes, they are hurt but it hurts me more.  Because I see all the potential and all the promise and all that I’ve prayed for in their life.  Same is true with Satan – he’s after God and he’s coming after us to try to hurt God.

It’s one thing for Satan to be prowling around but if you don’t watch it, he’ll just pull up a chair at your table and start a conversation. Lashing out at someone.  Getting even.  Striking back.  Taking something that doesn’t belong to you.  “You deserve this”.  “She won’t make you happy and you should be happy”.  Greed.  Envy.  Strife.  Bitterness.  Unforgiveness.

You and me, we just let a killer sit down at our table.  

How do you know if he’s at your table?  Generally speaking, he comes at you 3 ways…

“You’re never going to make it through this.”  If you have ever heard, “You’re not going to make it, this will never change, don’t get your hopes up, you’re not going to survive it”, if you hear that, you’ve given the devil a seat at your table.

“You aren’t good enough. Never been good enough.  You’re not strong enough or smart enough.  You are not worthy.  You’re insignificant”.  If you’ve heard today, “You’re not good enough”, the enemy is sitting at your table.

“Everyone is against you”.  If you’re hearing, “No one at school likes you” or “Everyone is out to get you” or “Coach is out to get you” … then the enemy is sitting at your table.

You battle this by sitting down at your table with your Shepherd and thanking Him for giving you all that you need mentally, spiritually and physically in the middle of this fight going on all around you.  And you say to your enemy, “You don’t have a seat at my table.  You are a liar.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The only way you can lose your peace is to let the Devil sit down at your table, eat your food and to start talking to you.  The Lord prepared the table and you get to decide who sits at your table.  Your choice.

I’ve got my enemies.  But, I’ve got my Shepherd and He’s a good Shepherd.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”   Verse 11 – “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.”

That is why if you’re hearing, “You’re not good enough. You ain’t gonna make it” – that’s not coming from the Shepherd.  And … even if everyone is truly against you, look who is sitting at your table with you.

Whose voice are you listening to?