My Journey to More...
God Chasing Me until I Found Him
My Journey into the Mind of Christ is a testimony of Gods grace and His continuing work in my life. Its not a story about how I chased God until I found Him; its how God pursued me until I was out of personal options, and ran to Him for rescue and refuge. I refer to it as chasing the more. That is more status, more excitement, more comfort, more security. The "rest of the story" is how God chased me until He finally penned me in, and made it clear that His way was the only way to lasting peace, success, and eternal reward.
The Early Years
My Life Verse: "...Blessed be the Lord God... As for me, being in The Way, the Lord led me..."Gen. 24:27
I was born in Miami, FL. in 1940 to unsaved parents, Dad an agnostic, Mom a Christian Scientist. My dad, Ray, was an Air Force pilot, and after the war, worked in a clothing store. My mom, Sue, worked for the Navy. Not long after the war, while Dad was at work, a man named Clifton Fowler came into the store to buy a suit. In the process, he boldly presented the gospel of salvation to Dad using Eph. 2: 8-9, which ultimately became Dad's favorite passage in the Bible. At first my dad refused to accept Jesus as his Savior, but Clifton persisted and came in several more times, always giving a witness for Christ. Eventually Dad made the decision to receive Jesus as his Savior. Shortly after this he shared his experience with Mom. She refused to accept Jesus at first, but soon also trusted Christ as her Savior at a Presbyterian church they had been visiting. The simple gospel of Jesus' love gift to us was to change all our lives forever, and it all began with a nobody named Clifton Fowler who was obedient to Jesus' primary call on his life.
I'm told that I trusted Jesus as my Savior at the age of five through the witness of my mom and dad and John 3:16. While I don't remember the exchange at all, I've never doubted God's promise of eternal life. Whatever they explained to me was so simple, indelible, and permanent that it stuck.
My parents influence not only affected my destiny, but significantly shaped my psyche, decision-making, and life choices both for good and bad. I never realized the importance of family closeness and godly parentage, both for my children, and me until I was well into adulthood.
You must love the Lord your God
with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.
These words must be kept in your mind.
You must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road,
as you lie down, and as you get up
(Deut. 6: 5-7 NET)
I wasn't close to Dad growing up. He was a born salesman, gifted with a magnetic personality, a driven, self-made, self-directed, self-motivated, stubborn-to-a-fault visionary. Also a strict disciplinarian, he often displayed anger and sometimes a violent temper. Dad was good-looking, a talented man's man, and a born leader. Through his dedication to the clear gospel of salvation, over the years he became a spiritual icon to tens of thousands of people.
Growing up, I was often the focus of his wrath. In addition, I was also a critical observer of conditions that led to his moral failure. He was not a family man or much of a hands-on father, but he taught me well in word, and in The Word. I respected him and loved him still do but I lived with a constant dread and fear that lays somewhat dormant in my heart to this day.
In spite of his gifted strengths and common weaknesses, he became one of the greatest free grace preachers of his day, and arguably one of the greattes soul winners that ever lived. He taught me to love the Word and the gospel, and helped me develop a back-bone for Jesus Christ. For that, I honor him.
For the Sake of the Ministry
Mother was the quintessential definition of a godly, Proverbs 31 woman. She was Dad's greatest asset, and cheerleader. She served him hand and foot faithfully throughout their married life. If any of us kids dared to ever verbalize any doubt or dislike of his actions, or express any negative opinions of him, she would always back him up without reserve. Her credo and explanation for this unquestioned devotedness was for the sake of the ministry.
Sue Stanford, a gifted servant of others, a great woman's Bible teacher, was tremendously respected and adored by the thousands of women to whom she gave her life. She wasn't much of a hands-on mother, but I always felt loved. At least as loved as one of the thousands of others she loved and nurtured. Throughout her life, she assisted in developing in me a heart for God and a genuine love for Jesus and others.
God used these two critical relationships to establish a desire and drive in me to serve and love God, but also instilled in me an inordi¬nate fear of God as my stern Father. I always felt I couldn't turn away from God completely or He would beat me unmercifully. I lived a life that feared Him and would never fully reject His will or ways, but on the other hand, I never fully gave my heart to seek Him or know Him more intimately (Psalm. 119:2). Until early adulthood, I was a half-hearted, semi-rebellious, moderately disobedient, lukewarm, get-away-with-what-I-could believer.
I dedicated and re-dedicated my life to Jesus many times, but only in terms I understood from my parents. I became quite efficient at fooling people into thinking I was a genuine follower of Jesus. I was satisfied that if I did as well as anyone else in keeping the Four Fundamental Talks,
1. talking to God in prayer
2. letting Him talk to me through the Bible
3. talking with other believers for fellowship
4. talking to others about their salvation
and behaved reasonably well defined as doing the right thing in front of others and not affecting their relationship with God I would please God just enough to escape any harsh punishment. My major motivations for serving the Lord were obligation, fear, and for the sake of the ministry.
My Personal Life
In school, I was an average to poor student, introverted, mischievous, and quietly rebellious. In my teens I hung out mostly with believers, but sought out popular ones so I could be in the more spiritually accepted group. Because of my penchant for getting in trouble, after the eighth grade my parents sent me away to a private Christian boarding school in central Florida, where I was educated and disciplined for three years, coming home only in the summer months. In spite of the heavy discipline and structure, I liked the school because there were pretty girls, I was separated from Dad, and it seemed like ten months of camp. I learned a lot, but I was only good enough to please the administration and teachers and to keep myself from getting kicked out.
Since my girlfriend graduated at the end of my junior year, I decided to come back to Miami for my senior year with Dads blessing because I convinced him I was a changed person, more mature and disciplined. At that time my parents led a thriving, fulltime ministry to teenagers which Dad coined Christian Youth Ranch. I blended in well with the 400-600 hundred ranch kids who came out weekly study the Bible. I learned to stay busy for Jesus most of the time, doing more and more of the Four Talks, teaching a Sunday school class, and co-directing a Youth Ranch for Jr. High kids.
At the same time, seeking some self-esteem and recognition, I immersed myself in varsity basketball at Miami High School, and became fairly popular with the girls, including the girl next door. My credo for acceptance and success was to look good to Mom and Dad, get others to notice and accept me, do at least average work in school, involve myself in the Four Talks especially witness on a regular basis and not get caught doing something carnal, all for the sake of the ministry. I pretty much mastered that art.
I graduated from Miami High in 1958, and then went to Bible College for one year so Dad would pay my way to Florida State University. I was an acceptable Christian doing most of the right things publicly, but couldn't wait to get away again and go to FSU for some freedom and excitement. I partied hard, but still attempted to keep God in my life so He wouldn't tear me in pieces per Mom's warning to me in one of her letters quoting from Ps. 50:22, Beware ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none left to deliver. That scared me to death.
I was seeking significance and excitement; instead I found loneliness and emptiness. Looking back, I can see God was closing in on me. He wasn't going to let me do my own miserable thing in spite of myself. He wanted so much more for me than I ever wanted for myself.
After FSU, I went home, got the girl next door pregnant, had a shot-gun wedding, was hired by the Dade County Sheriff's Department as a cop, and shortly after had a baby boy. I wanted excitement and indepen¬dence, but got more than I bargained for. After six years of that excite¬ment, God spoke to me on a softball diamond through a megaphone when I seriously injured my ankle which causes me pain to this day. I call it my thorn in the flesh. It was throhug that ankle injury that God gnawed away at my heart about serving Him fulltime.
The Paradigm Begins to Shift
Shortly after this injury in 1966, I re-re-dedicated my life to Christ and God orchestrated getting me hired by Dad as registrar and professor at the rapidly growing Florida Bible College which he founded in 1962. For the next 25 years, God put me in His classroom for intense relation¬ship training. F.B.C. was only the beginning of that training.
Christian Vocational Career
I began my work at F.B.C. as a fulltime registrar, basketball coach, yearbook editor and novice professor who averaged 15 teaching-hours weekly. Often I was just one day ahead of my students. On top of that, I was a not-so-very-hands-on and way-too-busy husband and dad. So busy I was only sleeping an average of four to five hours per night, seven days a week. It was during my F.B.C. journey that God taught me His Word and implanted in me a desire to teach and disciple others. During these years, I matured in knowledge, endurance, unconditional love, and a disciplined life. While I wouldn't trade one day of those F.B.C. experiences, those fruitful years were the most trying years of my life, at least I thought so then.
It was at F.B.C. that God shaped and used me to bear moreand much more fruit (John 15:1,5). After years of toil, trial, testing, and hardship, I deduced that this is what dedication to Jesus and following Him was all about burning out instead of rusting out.
It was also at F.B.C. that I developed a get-me-out-of-here, Rapture mindset. I thought those Bible verses about fullness of joy, peace, and the abundant life were all about working hard for Jesus and getting rewards in heaven for my busyness, diligence, and soul winning. I hardly knew anything about growing an intimate relationship with God apart from burning out for Him. My time on earth was centered on toil, work, stress and then waiting for Jesus to relieve me of my earthly burdens by taking me to heaven. I sang with gusto a popular chorus, It will be worth it all, when I see Jesus.
The last 14 years at F.B.C., I lived in paradise, Hollywood, Florida, right on the ocean. I loved it. In 1974, the F.B.C. student body was close to 2000 kids and was the largest independent Bible College in the nation.
I was now Dean of the college and Florida Bible Church had about 2000 members. Thousands were saved and trained during those years, yet behind all the fruitful scenes onstage, hidden in my life's backstage, was Dad, the president, involved in a multi-year affair and a marriage crisis. I had three rebellious children and my own troubled marriage. I spent endless hours weeping and crying out to the Lord for help. In 1975 I thought I had hit bottom, things could not be worse. God knew differently. He was pursuing me and had more of Him waiting for me.
In the winter that year, I found myself a 35 year old dean at F.B.C., an administrative novice, serving at the pleasure of my do-it-all dad, who was at the apex of his evangelical career. It was at that zenith my idolized, president-for-life dad, was confronted with irrefutable proof of several affairs. He confessed his infidelity, admitted he'd been unfaithful to his wife for years, and publically announced he was divorcing my mom to marry another woman. After resigning all positions at Florida Bible College, he was gone within two weeks. My world came crashing down on my head.
The board of trustees, shocked beyond measure and not knowing what else to do, elected me as President of F.B.C., and the elders of Florida Bible Church elected me as the pastor of Florida Bible Church. I had two weeks notice to adjust to something I never asked for, was ill-prepared to do, and never desired. I lost 30 pounds in two weeks and was an emotional, physical, and spiritual wreck. Not exactly good material to lead a large Bible college and church.
Most of the major newspapers in the free world printed the complete and ugly story about my dad. The day after he left, I had to break the bad news to the church members and in a three hour meeting the following day, to the complete student body. I had come to the end of my emotional and spiritual resources, but God knew otherwise. He had more of Him for me.
An Unexpected Path
As the new president and pastor, I attempted to replace the irreplaceable, and make changes for the better. This tragedy set my feet on a new path and I began the next leg of my journey into the mind of Christ. The ride lasted seven years. Years of huge changes. Changes in position and prestige, a great looking business card, excitement, many wide open doors of opportunity to present Christ, and much, much fruit. However, my soul was still full of unrest, constant stress, and debilitating fears.
Doing the best I could, and taking all of it one halting step at a time, I figured this was the abundant life He had promised me from the beginning. I beseeched God to remove all worldly obstacles from my life. Instead, the spiritual speed-bumps, detours, and roadblocks increased. What I did find however, was that all of this was just another part of my journey into His mind. I continually looked for more from Him, thinking He wanted more from me, never fully understanding that He simply wanted more of me, much more.
After seven years of this roller-coaster ride three of those years dealing with an increasingly troubled marriage of my own which included several out-of-control kids in 1981 I found myself spiritually depleted and I announced my voluntary resignation from Florida Bible College and Church to their respective boards. To say the least, it was a traumatic time for me and the ministry of F.B.C.
All I knew was preaching, teaching, and ministering to kids. I was 41, too old to be a cop again, and unable to minister because of conditions at home and my own emptiness. I resigned without any idea about what to do or where to work. I knew I had to move on, but the questions of where and how loomed in my psyche.
In 1981, while groveling at the bottom of life, I got a call from a former student at F.B.C. who asked me if I was interested in going to work for him in the equipment leasing business as a grunt, commission-only equipment leasing agent. I knew absolutely nothing about leasing and/or financing, but out of desperation I accepted his kind offer. I was devastated and humbled, feeling I had gone from the top of life to the bottom, the absolute bottom. I was dead wrong. God had not released me from His more of Him classroom yet.
After learning the leasing business and living on a small draw for about a year, I closed some significant deals. Over the five years I was in this business I enjoyed greater monetary success than I'd ever experienced in my life, making over $100,000 a year. I had found financial security, was making lots of money, and thought maybe, just maybe, this is the more I've been searching for. Nevertheless, in spite of my financial success, my private world was crumbling.
I finally saw the actual bottom in 1985-86. All within an 18 month span, through foolish living and poor investment decisions, I lost all the money I had in the world, my employer went out of business, three of my sons were having trouble with the law, and my wife of 25 years left me for another man. I had lost my trappings of success and respectability. Gone was good credit including all my credit cards, my job, my cars, my bank and saving's accounts.
To finish it off my house was up for foreclosure, I was alone, and I lost my health through stress. After losing 40 pounds in a month, I ended up in a hospital, malnourished, sick with a bacterial infection and destitute. The doctor did what he could do for me medically and sent me home. With two weeks left in my house, I cried out to God for help. I was past grief and remember feeling numb to everything in life. Ever faithful, in His grace He heard me and came to my side. You could never have convinced me, however, that this was His path to more.
Here I Grow Again
One day soon after, an old friend who lived in Atlanta, GA, called me. He asked what I was doing and inquired about my job situation. He offered me a job working with him in equipment leasing which I accepted. With the help of a local pastor and several gifts, I had enough to rent a U-Haul and move my meager belongings to Atlanta. When I arrived there in 1987, I was 47 years old, bankrupt, all alone, disoriented, and physically weak. I was starting life all over again from the bottom.
That business failed within one year, but the Lord introduced me to a Christian-owned company that was headquartered in Ohio. I was hired as their Atlanta agent to sell medical equipment on a fee for service basis. What in the world is that, I mused; Who cares! I've got a car, a paycheck, and a small office of my own. I also had another totally unfamiliar product to learn and sell, along with one more new company. At the time, it never occurred to me that this was God's path to more of Him.
Once again I said, Praise You Father, You've taken care of me one more time. It was about this time I coined the phrase, Oh well, here I grow again.
I moved along what seemed like a predetermined track, with no answers about my life. I was learning to trust God for the unknown. I was getting used to this faith-walk stuff. Without realizing it, I grew closer to Him because I had to lean on Him all the time. Out of desperation, I found myself talking with, not just to, God during the day. I was listening, hearing Him speak to my spirit, and journaling my conversations with Him. The conversations between us became more frequent and intense. During this season, strange as it may seem, God was more real and closer to me than ever before.
Just as gold is purified through separation of the dross, and diamonds are made beautiful through careful and precise cutting, so His children are perfected (matured)through great trials.
One particular day in 1989, I found myself in my 9 x 5 cubbyhole office doing some computer work, and without warning a feeling of loneliness flooded my soul and brought me to my knees. I stopped what I was doing, and started to talk with my Father about this latest feeling. The words went something like this, Daddy, it's been years since my wife left me, and I'm not sure I was meant to be alone. If this is what you want it's okay with me, but I need your direction, comfort and strength. Daddy, I feel like I want to date someone, but I don't have a clue about how to find her. I've never had to do this before. So, if you want me to date, you will have to find the right one and make the introduction. That will have to be Your job. After that conversation, knowing it was in His hands and there was nothing else I could do anyway, I went back to dialing-for-dollars.
Several weeks later I found myself in my cubbyhole, making calls so I could get back out on the road and sell something, when the phone rang. The voice said, Hi, this is Kay Rowe from Southern Bell Yellow Pages. Sensing another nagging solicitor, I interrupted Kay and said, No thanks!!
Without hesitation, Kay responded, Oh, I'm so sorry I was about to offer you one free year of advertising in the Yellow Pages, but no, you don't want any part of that.
I laughed out loud and said, Kay, that's quite a line. Do you tell that to everyone who turns you down?
No, she replied, I'd be fired if I did that I told her why I didn't need the Yellow Pages, explaining that the home office was in Hudson, Ohio, and I was on the road most of the time. That led to a conversation about her previous home in Ohio and my former home in Miami. After a pleasant exchange for a few minutes, with a huge lump in my throat, I hesitantly said Kay, I don't know you from Adam's housecat, and believe me, I've never done this before and probably will never do it again, but Kay, would you like to have lunch someday? Just to talk?
She told me she couldn't talk right then but suggested I call back at noon and she would talk about it on her lunch break. I called back and I asked her to lunch, not knowing anything about her looks, her background, her age, her color, her anything. She accepted. I drove to her workplace, and pulled up to the curb to pick her up for lunch. At first sight I was thrilled. I remember thinking, She's a knock-out! It didn't take long to discover she was beautiful both inside and outside. Eight years younger but oh well. Off we went to lunch.
I dated Kay for close to three years, and we got married on July 11, 1992. We have dated regularly for the past 18 fantastic years. God made the introduction, He brought us together as one, and ever since she has been the greatest thing in my life besides my salvation and a deepening relationship with Jesus. Best of all, she is a genuine Proverbs 31 woman, my best friend, partner, and the love of my life. Perhaps this was my more?
The Winding Road to More
While Kay and I were dating, guess what yep, in spite of being the top sales guy, I was let go (nice word for fired) from the fee-for-service company for being too nice a guy and not being enough of an SOB, so they did away with my position in the company and I was on my own once again. Again, I cried out to God for help. Only God knew that He almost had me where He wanted me almost.
Shortly after being fired, God provided a job for me with an insurance software company making $7 per hour entering data into a com¬puter. Wow! After only one year, guess what? This company also fell on hard times and was on the verge of going out of business. I cried out to God for help, muttering Here I grow again.
Two weeks before they were to close their doors for good, I happened to contact a prospect that I had been calling, a wonderful believer-owned insurance company called The Covenant Group. They ended up liking the software product I was selling so much that one month later, they just happened (no providence here, huh?) to purchase the company I was currently working for. I came along with the purchase. A job again. I was ecstatic.
However, within several months of the purchase and move, The Covenant Group discovered that the owner had been deceptive, and his insurance product was worthless. The new owner decided to fire the former owner, shelve the old product, and try to retool it for future use. Guess what? I was the only salesperson for that product which left me with no product to sell. Expendable, wouldn't you say? Once again, I cried out to God for help.
That day in 1993, at 53 years old and past my prime for most companies, I got a call from the ownership asking me to meet with the four owners in the Conference Room. I held my breath all the way to what I expected to be the Execution Room and went in with expectations of being let go one more time. I can remember however, having little or no fear as I sat down with the four owners of T.C.G. I reminded myself, God is in control and I've been here, done thismore than once.
After an explanation of the current situation with the former owner and the insurance software product, they told me that they liked me, and asked if I would be interested in working for the TPA. I answered enthusiastically (I think I screamed), Yes, I sure would. Then I asked perhaps the dumbest question of my life, What's a TPA?
In spite of their initial shock and dismay, understanding I had no knowledge of insurance, the group and Jim Ballew, President of Covenant Administrators (the TPA), took a giant leap of faith, and hired me to sell for the Third Party Administrator (the TPA). At Covenant Administrators my Journey to More and into the Mind of Christ took on greater speed.
Since I knew nothing about insurance except that I had some, the President of C.A., Jim Ballew, instructed me to read some books and company materials, learn some of the third party administrator language, call some people on a prospect list, and make appointments for him and me to present C.A. services to those prospects. I learned just enough to sell an appointment and dug up some calls we could go on together. It just so happened that most of these calls were several hours out of town. To his chagrin, it was during those many long rides and months of company calls, that Jim and I became friends, and then over months, good friends. Almost every conversation centered on the Bible and Jesus, but he reminds me often that his ears were bleeding. At C.A. I felt loved, protected, and that God had given me a temporary home for my working life. So maybe this is the more I've been seeking love, acceptance, protection, and security!?
Not only did the Lord bless my feeble selling efforts during my nine years at Covenant, but He also orchestrated a growing friendship with the owner, Jim. Along the way, we started meeting every week for fellowship and to talk more about Jesus and Kingdom stuff. We both loved our weekly times of sharing.
Building Deeper Connections
Then, a day came when Jim and I started talking about something that neither of us had ever experienced. The dreaded A word, an accountability relationship. We talked about what that meant to us and the potential problem issues that might come up with that kind of relationship between the boss and his employee. We both accepted the risks and have been meeting together weekly for breakfast to this day.
Biblical and personal accountability are something Jim and I avoided like the plague. Casual and even a good friendship, okay. But accountability? Never! That's for guys who like to sit around a table and confess their sexual and physical exploits to one another, expose their hidden weaknesses, and ask for someone to get in their face when they see or even feel like the other one is walking in disobedience to God. No way did we want that.
Guess what? That's just what we've ended up doing. Were not per¬fect at it, but perhaps after another 50 years or so, we will both be experts. Really though, I believe we'll both admit this kind of accountability has been critical to our walk with Christ and our search for more, and is one of the better decisions of our lives.
One example of what can result from this kind of relationship was the birth of TGC, Inc. During these times of mutual sharing with Jim, God built a small fire in my soul which became a flaming passion for more of God's conscious presence in my life.
Two things brought me to that hour. First, one Wednesday Jim brought a book to my attention called The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This book and concept was a direct hit on a huge empty spot in my soul. The book addressed my desire for more of God, and the longing in me for a constant and conscious relationship with Him. It gave new meaning to God's command to pray without ceasing. I suddenly realized God wanted to spend huge amounts of time with me and wanted me to talk with Him about everything. I realized that I had been spending far more time talking to my wife, my best friend, Jim, and even casual acquaintances, than I did God. I figured that God only wanted me to talk with Him about important and spiritual stuff, not everything. I couldn't have been more mistaken.
I began to realize how loved and adored I am by my God, Creator, Father, Daddy, and now, my best Friend. This concept of unconditional acceptance and love was not only new, but very exciting to me. I began to devour every book I could find on this topic. Some of the very best I've found are:
If you wish to embark on this journey into the mind of Christ, and discover for yourself a relationship that you never dreamed possible, these books can be gusts of wind in your sails. I can't recommend them enough.
As a result of that day with Jim, God birthed a passion in me to know Him more intimately than anyone else in the world. Not just more about Him, but Him personally. It was easy to realize that kind of relationship wouldn't come primarily through reading the Bible, or books about the Bible, but could only come through direct communication and relationship with Him. Thus began the journey of practicing His presence. I had finally found the path to more!
The Two Greatest Commandments
During these times of practicing His presence, God impressed Matthew 22:37-39 on my spirit. I felt Jesus tell me these Two Greatest Commandments were a capsule of all His commands in the whole Bible. I was spiritually weaned on the Four Talks the Two Commandments. Because I had resisted the idea of His commands, I had to talk these feelings over with my Abba Daddy for a long time. In fact, the whole concept of focusing on commands went against every fundamentalist bone in my body. It was at this time I was reminded of some sage advice Chuck Swindoll gave me in the early 1980s, Lee, don't ride any hobby-horses except Jesus.
I talked with God about this issue for months. He finally opened my eyes to see that these Two Greatest Commandments were representative of the complete Christian life, and yes, even included what I knew as the Four Talks. God simply wanted first place in my life; He didn't want to be the center of everything, He wanted to be my life. Secondly, He expected me to love others. For me, His Two Greatest Commandments gave the Four Talks new meaning, strength, power and longevity.
His First Commandment to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind, is where I get the motivation, power and endurance to love and serve others. They are by-products of life consciously lived in His presence, in His friendship, in His strength. Without an intimate and continuing accountability relationship with our best friend, Jesus, we fall flat on our faces, lose effectiveness, and in the end, our rewards. Falling flat on my face has many facets: less effectiveness, loss of platform and opportunity, lukewarmness, becoming one-dimensional, etc. Without Him as our strength and focus, we are worth-less.
God showed me that the Second Commandment, to love others as myself, basically encompasses two things soul winning and discipleship. If our neighbor is not a believer, then in loving him correctly, we will tell him about Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection for his salvation (Mark 16:15; Matt. 4:19). If our neighbor is a believer, we are commanded to disciple him to maturity in his relationship with Christ (Matt. 28:20; 2 Tim. 2:2).
Fastidiously obeying the Second Commandment without the strength and power found in the First Greatest Commandment, we will experience the weaknesses found in the flesh. We will try, work, do, never give up or quit, burn out instead of rust out, but somewhere along the way most will crash and fall. I'm not saying we have to complete the journey into the mind of Christ that journey won't be complete until were bodily in Jesus' presence before we witness or disciple others, but if we want finishing power, His strength, approval, and reward, we will place our relationship with Him first in priority and time. The second won't intuitively lead to the first, but the first will intuitively lead to the second. It's His Way.
Thus, after a gestation period of about 50 years, living in or on the edge of the desert, dying of thirst, near the bottom of life, in a desperate search for more, in 2003, Two Greatest Commandments, Inc. (TGC) was birthed. Now, that's some baby!
Help, Daddy! Take over. This is Your mission and Your call. This is Your life. God, live Your life through me has been my constant and consistent prayer. didn't even know what I wanted. I just knew that there must be more than this. I continue to hear God say, Love me above all others, stay close to Me, trust Me in faith. Live how I lived, do what I did, say what I said, focus on what I focused, and I will give you more than you ever dreamed (Eph. 3:20-21).
Living this every-moment-of-every-day journey with Him is like returning from being on the road a long time, and coming home again. Its a slice of Heaven before I get there in my body. It's like traveling with your very favorite person 24/7. I've found more and home.
Someday Jesus will call my name;
From day to day I hope I won't stay the same.
I want to get so close to Him that it's no big change;
on that day that Jesus calls my name.
The awe-inspiring words of one of my favorite songs reflect my heart and soul's desire for a continuing journey into the mind and likeness of Jesus. The words of this song can be traced back to the 8th Century, but were translated from the Gaelic into English prose in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne. It has become one of the most stirring and beautiful hymns in existence.
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heavens Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Dallan Forgaill (translated from the Irish by Mary E. Byrne)
• Solomon considers those that don't forgive, "fools", and calls the forgiver, "blessed". Prov. 12:16; Mt. 5:11
• Lord, I give thanks for Your grace, patience, greatness, goodness, and Your love, and I now pause to draw near to enjoy Your Presence.
• The way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. Rom.12:3 The Message
• On our 2013 journey, filled with a myriad of uncertainties, we're in desperate need of more off ramps that dead-end at the Feet of Jesus!