An Early Walk in Jacksonville Beach

I went to the beach this morning; I needed to hear from God! It was so early that it was still dark. The sound of the sea; I was not able to see; walking and hoping that there were no holes in the sand; It was a little scary I must admit! Just like some of the challenges we face! But I knew that the sun was coming out; that it was a matter of time. And then; little by little, even as I was not able to see the sun, I started seeing light… just like faith I heard the Lord say: “We can’t see God, but He is there every step of the way.” I have problems, many problems; challenges that I can’t resolve and a pain that does not go away, but the Light is coming for sure, the Light is coming… The Sun finally came out; it was so beautiful. The sound of the sea was not scary anymore; I was now able to see. I don’t know how, but some way, somehow, everything is already well. I am healthy, I am alive, I am blessed, my hope still dances in my heart and I am ready for another day.

Yo Devil, One More Round!

I remember watching the movie “Rocky V” as Rocky spend a great deal of time training the young hungry boxer by the name of, Tommy. Somehow, someway, they ended up fighting in the heart of the streets of Philadelphia. It was an old fashion street fight. For the most part, it was not going well for the older Rocky, but as hopes dropped, Rocky started remembering his glory days of the past; the great battles he won against greater fighters and the words of his trainer and mentor Mickey. Suddenly, as his opponent was arrogantly walking away; as everyone concluded that the show was over, Rocky, in his peculiar voice yelled, “Yo Tommy, one more round!”  They went on to play the music and with a renewed strength, the old Rocky got all his vigor back and as people shouted for the old champ, Rocky ridiculed the odds of his years and gave Tommy an old fashion butt whipping!

            Maybe today is one of those days that you absolutely feel like giving up. The struggle has been brutal. You are getting it from the north, the south, the east and from the west. You even have some friendly fire in the mix of all. The point that I am trying to make is that many of us need to get that same attitude when it comes down to the attacks of the devil. We need to start remembering our own testimonies and the many times the Lord has brought us out victorious from those bloody battles.

            Do you remember; after that car accident you were suppose to be dead? Remember that disease that was supposed to kill you? Remember that you were not supposed to walk again? Remember how your child was supposed to be long gone, but now he is serving the Lord after your many prayers and tears? Remember, when nobody expected you to get that promotion? Remember how the Lord told you to turn left, when you really wanted to turn right and your life was spare by one second? I am sure you have something to remember right now! Get up and yell, “Yo devil, one more round!”

            If your marriage is in trouble and you feel like it’s over, yell, “Yo devil, one more round!” If your children are acting crazy and engaging in evil and painful things, yell, “Yo devil, one more round!” If the doctor is giving you a bad report; if everybody is talking about you; if your wife left you; if your friends betrayed you; if you find yourself tired and depress, yell, “Yo devil, one more round!” John 4:4 gives you the perfect left jab when it says, “…greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Then you can come back with a quick right cross when Isaiah 54:17 tells us that, “No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper…” The attacks of the evil one will never be successful! Even in your pain, you are winning. Even if you lose, you are gaining. Even if you are down, you are up. Even if you are wounded, you are healed. Even if you die… you will be in glory with Jesus!

            Yes, you may feel old and slow; you may have gained some extra pounds; your reflexes may not be as sharp; your stamina may not seem to be the same, and you may not kick as high as you use to. Yet, within you there is always that one more round that gives God all the glory; that totally disqualifies you from getting any credit. That one more round that makes it obvious that it was neither by your might nor by your power that you became victorious. It becomes a strong reminder that within you, there is the strength of the Holy Spirit. The Force behind the creation, the Force behind the miracles of Moses, the Force behind Samson’s power, the Force behind the songs of liberation of David, the Force behind the wisdom of Salomon, the Force behind the courage of the mighty prophets, the Force of every man and every woman that ever trusted God and the Force that keeps you standing today!

            Oh yes, because it is not in our own strength that we fight, but in the strength that is within us; fear not my brother, fear not my sister… yell, “Yo devil! One more round!” Get up from that side walk; get up from your misery, stand up and fight like a warrior, don’t be afraid, for the Lord of lords and the King of kings is with you… yell “Yo devil, one more round!

            Stay faithful in your ministry; keep singing, keep praising, keep praying, keep loving, keep preaching, keep teaching, keep worshipping, keep writing, keep telling people about Jesus, keep pressing on… Yes! That’s what I’m talking about! Stand up in defiance against evil. Yes, stand in your best fighting stance and yell, “Yo devil, one more round! For it is written that at the sound of the last trumpet you and I will be the ones with our hands lifted-up as a symbol of victory and as a sign of worship and reverence to our Father; for we are a generation of over-comers; a mighty army against our foes and the favorites of our Father who gives us the boldness to yell, “Yo devil! One more round!

When the Mountains Seem So High and the Valleys Seem So Low!

The desert melts our souls with the troubles of the heat of the day. At night, the coldness of our tormented minds consumes us. Have you ever been there? So many worries, so many thoughts! It is the place where nobody knows; the place of no pretends, the place of no distractions and the place where your reality can’t be ignored. The night seems so long! “Help me Lord?” It is all our lips can utter. Have you ever been there? It is a place where your titles, your personality, your network and intelligent can’t help you. It is a place that marks the total end of you! The problems are so dark and far from the light of a possible solution. The hope of a happy ending seems so distant. Have you ever been there? In the night I hear a thunderous whisper that breaks the silent of the early mornings: “How did I get here Lord? Why Lord? Where are you? Speak to me!” When depression breaks in your home like a burglar in the night to stare and mock everything that you stand for when in the fellowship of your friends. Sleep can’t come soon enough! Have you ever been there?

Then we remember that somewhere we saw a passage of scripture that says: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As tears escape from your eyes, you remember that old sermon from your pastor that did not make much sense to you at the time, but they are the very words that cause hope to stop his departure. At the time you could not wait for the Church service to be over with, so that you could go watch the Jaguars game, but now, they are the very words that caused strength to return. As your tears refreshed your soul, the illogical trust of faith and the irrational power of the peace of your heavenly Daddy watch over you as your eyes close for the night. Have you ever been there?

I don’t know what you’re facing today? I don’t know and will never pretend to understand the magnitude of your pain, but know that somehow some way, the Lord is with you; even when the mountains seem so high and the valleys seem so low!