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"If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead" 
CS Lewis

 The Journey 
Sunday, October 12 2008

Waiting on Cindy to finish for the day, I sit quietly now.  What a beautiful sunny day.  Flags are flying and people coming and going into the court house annex.  Sometimes I want to keep my mind real busy.   The tide of financial hysteria has found its way into my life.  I don’t have a lot but with the largest day single loss on Wall Street yesterday even I am a little nervous.  One young man looks to be seventeen just passed me.  He’s overweight with a scruffy beard and a real mean or maybe no nonsense look on his face.  I use to be much more serious as a youth.  Kids were placed under constant restraint by the elders of our house.  Seen and not heard, around but not noticed.  Well I’m a little more lighthearted now.  I have decided to love with the love described in the Corinthian letter of Paul.  That seems on my mind these days.  Love is kind it says. 

Doesn’t it just make your day when someone goes out of their way to be courteous or kind?  I remember being in line at the little General Store in our town.  I wasn’t feeling good and the task was quite a labor because of high blood pressure and high sugar count.  Because I was extremely overweight I rarely could stand more than 5minutes before I began to tremble and sweat profusely. 

So, I quickly gathered what I needed and made my way to the single check out line.  As I rounded the corner to my dismay I saw two people already in line.  The young black lady in front of me had a buggy full of all kinds of stuff.  I walked up behind her resolved to wait.  I didn’t think I was weaving or breathing hard when suddenly the young lady turned to me and offered for me to go before her.  Politely I told her, “No, that’s ok.  I’ll wait my turn”.  She looked at me and said, “I insist” took her basket and promptly moved behind me. 

The gesture almost overwhelmed me.  I checked myself before I began to cry and softly asked the Lord, “How can I bless her Lord?”  The Lord immediately responded, “You know how to do that, just open yourself to my Spirit.”  I immediately began to pray in English and unknown tongues under my breath and listen to the inner voice.  I walked out to my red Dodge pickup and continued to pray.  I rolled down my window to speak to the young lady.  As she came out of the store I motioned with my hand for her to come close.  She looked surprised but then came to the passenger’s window.  I said, “Young lady since I was in line I prayed for you and I believe the Lord told me to tell you, ‘You are suppose to go back to college and much of it will be accomplished by online schooling.  You are not to worry about your child the Lord is going to help you with that too because He has ordained to bless you to finish your college.” As I finished her eyes had become wide as saucers.  She stepped back from my truck in amazement exclaimed, “My pastor told me that Sunday morning”.  I thought, “Thank you Jesus – you have proven yourself to be so real to this child of yours”.  

Two years went by and I didn’t see Shannon again.  I thought about the incident from time to time and always with some joy at her response.  Then this morning Cindy and I had pulled up at Sonic to get a drink at the drive through.  When I pulled up to the window to my surprise there was Shannon.  She smiled at me and went about her work.  Of course I was thrilled to see her.  No one was behind me in line so I decided to ask, “Say do you remember me?”  She laughed and said, “I will never forget that day.”  I continued, “Did you ever go back to school?”  She grinned and said, “I sure did and I am about to graduate from college with a double degree.” 

We exchanged names and numbers and she promised to contact me with graduation information.  I pulled away from the window crying with thankfulness to the Lord for a day of little kindness that had changed someone’s life.  What does it take to do good, to prefer someone ahead of you?  What does it take to step out of your need and your life to consider someone else’s need?  Perhaps, just a little thoughtfulness, a prayer to bless, or an act to obey the inner unction of the Spirit.  Sometimes you have to make yourself vulnerable to help others.  Remember, one act could change a persons life forever.

Posted by: Cleve Sharp AT 02:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 12 2008

   Fearlessness 101

Suddenly my 3year old grandson burst into my office breathing hard, with a look of terror on his face. "Pawpaw, sumpings not right." Shane had been in our master bedroom watching cartoons while lying on our bed. He went on while flailing his hands in the air, "I'm telling you sumpings not right in there." I asked, "Did you see something?" "No Pawpaw." He tried to explain with a puzzled look on his face. "Did you hear something?" Yeah, yeah" as he pointed to the bedroom. "It was going, chick, chick, chick, chick." I said, "Let's go see what it is".

We hurried to the bedroom where the TV continued to play. Shane didn't seem afraid now. Pointing to our closet doors Shane said, "Its right over there". I turned the TV off. "Where?" "Right over here", as he walked toward the mirrored doors. Then he said, "Come on, talk to me now" "Come on", as he took both his hand and pushed the 4 panel glass doors that were already shut. I said, "I don't hear anything". "Jus a minute Pawpaw" as Shane got more aggressive with the doors. "Come on! Chick, Chick, Chick to me now", he taunted the doors. Then violently he slapped them with both hands. "Son, you can't do that! Those glass doors will break!" He turned toward me frustrated and said, "Well Pawpaw it was right over there". As he walked toward me, suddenly something went off behind him "Chick, chick, chick..chick, chick, chick" He said, "See I told you, as he wheeled around with a look of glee". He looked toward the doors then he located the source of the sound. Running toward the corner he pointed at an old calculator that had gotten turned on somehow, he said, "That's it Pawpaw".  The old calculator just sat there going, "Chick, chick, chick" trying to advance its paper. We turned it off and the mystery was solved.

I laughed thinking how absolutely fearless Shane had become when I was with him. How he had even taunted the mirrored doors to try to scare him again in my presence. I've heard the question asked, "What would you do if you new you could not fail?" I think most of us are bound by our fears. Yet the "Most High" reminded His servants 62 times in the scripture "Fear Not". The apostle John told us that perfect love casts out all fear. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Paul said, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love". The great proof of "Kingdom disciples" is their love. When you let the rule of Christ take you over you no longer get to pick and choose who you love and how you love. I think knowing the Father is with you, on your side, and is committed to back your hand is the lesson Shane showed me on that day. We have a covenant with our Father that He is faithful to. He is willing to back it up. When we passionately love the Father and love people. There is a since of fearless confidence that we take on. Put your trust in Him. You cannot fail believing His promises and loving people.

Posted by: Cleve Sharp AT 01:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 12 2008

  Butterfly Courage

The balcony is just above the top of the little grove of live oaks at my left. The lake is about ¾ mile in front of me nestled against the early fall colors of the hill country. The temperature is about a perfect 65 degrees. I settled gingerly in my chair and began to enjoy my coffee. Unexpectedly I saw a butterfly not down among the bushes and flowers but apparently it had come over our 3 story unit and was high above the live oaks. I laughed to myself and said, "you silly old butterfly why in the world would you be up here. The flowers and stuff you love are far below. How do you aspire to go above the place of other butterflies?" I sat their thinking how strange to see this when another and another and another butterfly came over top and continued in a southwesterly direction. At this point the butterflies have my total attention. As I watched them they would labor to ascend and then rest riding the updraft of the gentle breeze of the morning. One after another I watched 30, 40, 50 butterflies continued to move along far above the trees.

Some got close and I recognized their bright orange markings. They were the beautiful Monarchs. Because of their beauty I had loved these especially since my childhood. Then I remembered the story of how the Monarch butterflies migrate to the south in the fall of the year. The Monarch is one of the few insects capable of transatlantic flight according to Wikipedia. Somehow, on this morning of my life God had stationed me squarely in the flyway of these marvelous little butterflies. Some folks might say, "What's the big deal" but this spoke volumes to me concerning my own journey.

My life has never been like those of others. I have always marched to the drumbeat of the purposes of my heavenly Father. I have been judged for trying to soar to high. I have been rebuked for trying to bring the Church to a place that seems unreal and beyond what's practical. I've been accused of dreaming of a glorious Church. I have believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I have never been satisfied with the status quo. And now these little butterflies are prophesying to me, "Come on son. I know I've got you out here and it seems that you are beyond your ability or you grace. However, remember "It's not by might nor by power but by my Spirit. Labor a little but rest a lot in the thermal updrafts of my Spirit. Don't give up .. in due season you will arrive and the things I have placed in your heart will be a reality. Then you'll know it was all worth it. I love you Jesus
!

Posted by: Cleve Sharp AT 01:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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