For years I have wondered what to write about or teach. How does one approach a ministry with no church to back it…no ministerial qualifications…no financing…no programming skills…and Google as my only friend. So I have encoded other author’s books on this site to give them a voice and to provide them freely as a service to the people of God.
Hello, my name is Richard who is A. Volunteer. I work for a living Monday to Friday in sales and have clients who look me up on the internet before they do business with me. So this attempt at a ministry and the telling of Gods great mercy is tempered by what society can accept and the anonymity that I maintain for business.
We have a saying in A.A. – You cannot save your face and your butt at the same time. If someone chooses to save face, then their fundamental dishonesty puts their recovery in jeopardy. To recover, a person must be rigorously honest.
Yet Christians will go to nearly any length to protect their image of a wonderful victorious life. It is that dishonesty that robs them of the very victory they long for. 2 Cor 12 v 9 – Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Paul opened all his talks with an honest appraisal of his tribe, his education and his zeal to exterminate the early church. He did not minimize his life as God’s enemy. It was the confrontation with a Holy God that turned him around and made the greatest persecutor, the Gospels greatest proclaimer.
Our final victory will not be a doctrinal statement of beliefs, some creed or code…..It will be God living in the lives of men. Rev 12 v 10 for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, he who accuses them day and night before our God. They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death. Therefore rejoice O heavens and you who dwell in them!
The Faithfulness of God and the mercy He extends to those He makes sons and daughters will save us. History is HIS-STORY. He will write a testimony against the backdrop of our sin and failure just so a diamond is best displayed on black velvet.
He is never more God than when He does the impossible. Only He could have repaired the damage caused by my ungodly choices. He has given me beauty for ashes…for I was a master at burning things down.
My past choices that have had huge consequences and regrets:
- Blood and urine, violence and tears, deep shame and degradation marked the first 12 years of my life in a violent alcoholic home.
- The years on the streets of Africa as the disowned son of an alcoholic left many scars since one is predator or prey to pushers, pimps, prostitutes, paedophiles or police.
- The 15 years away from home at age 18 due to the loss of my South African citizenship and exile separated me from family until the 1994 change in government. By then all my male relatives were dead.
- Marrying a virtuous woman in the States, never even realizing her price was far above rubies, I ruined her life and broke her heart.
- I perceived the sickness and death of our child as punishment for the life I was leading.
- The death of both brothers before age 40 was due to suicide and A.I.D.S.
- The years of my late-stage cocaine addiction brought with it, promiscuity, guns, and violence.
- Incarceration and chaos destroyed my career (already limited by only a high school education.)
- The bitter divorce cost me both custody and even visitation with my daughters.
- The church my wife attended had disfellowshipped me long before God ever adopted me.
That is the history. You know that our fathers shape our views of God the Father. Against that backdrop, God brought me to Himself to lay claim to my life and to prove Himself the exact opposite of all I believed Him to be. He arranged the circumstances for His confrontation and with tender gentleness, He took away my weapons and the false beliefs I had relied on to keep me alive.
Looking back on that fateful day at age 40 with a new set of eyes, I realized God had been at work in my life long before that Yom Kippur Day 2000 when He crashed into my consciousness.
“Coincidence” is not a Kosher word. In a series of events, God confirmed His calling and for the first time, I understood that “all things had finally worked together for good”….to bring me to that point!
So I started to document some of the events too far-fetched to explain. I would encourage you to do the same. Get some paper and start documenting answered prayer – small events that God does for His children every day. David acknowledges that pain and grief will affect your views of God and cause us to question the circumstances. Ps 77 v 10-12 Then I said, “It is my grief that the right hand of the Lord has changed. “I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work and muse on your deeds.
There are dark days coming on us all…and it will shake your beliefs and have you questioning God. We will be shaken when our Messiah’s go to the cross instead of liberating Jerusalem. God will not reveal our future; He relies on us trusting His faithfulness, and His track record. Having a detailed record of Gods faithfulness and His testimony written in your life will be a source of encouragement and strength.
Now that I am not trying to save my face with proper Christianese, and politely detached theory, God can find some use for past experiences and the lessons learned. Theology has to have a practical application to our daily lives in world of LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, legalized pot and on-demand porn.
I will later share some narratives of the unexplained events as God was merciful to my praying mother in Africa. He kept His promise in Ps 68v5 – A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his Holy dwelling. I am the product of her prayers and her simple very literal faith in her God. I was not “lucky” to be alive…I had been protected by a mother’s prayers.
It has been 17 years now – our family shares a cell phone plan as we celebrate each other’s triumphs. My ex-wife and I share a business venture for the last 10 years. We had individually and separately been led to a common belief and understanding, and now a attend the same congregation. There she leads the dance worship. I spent years teaching the bible at the prison as a volunteer Chaplain.
It was the Feast of Tabernacles and my oldest daughter and I had flown to Israel after she graduated High School. At the Kibbutz Ein Gedi on the shores of the Dead Sea, we joined 4000 others from all over the world on the opening night of Sukkot. We sang and danced under the full moon rising over the Jordanian desert while the shofars echoed against Masada behind us. We came up on stage in groups, to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem in many languages.
Watching her worship with arms raised and her tears of joy in the moonlight …my heart was so full and all that had gone before was but a memory… when God dramatically steps in, He transforms everything.
We were there to enroll her in a Bible College in Jerusalem and she finished a 2-year course while also serving various outreach ministries in Israel. She is now a wife, mother, and a music teacher. Our youngest graduated from Berkley and is successfully pursuing her goals in the performing arts in Los Angeles. Both have their mother’s musical talent.
So we live our lives to the Glory of God with gratitude that acknowledges that YHVH is still today at work in the mess for His Glory…