My Reason: Unpacked

Characters on the Road to the Cross, Pt 1 (Luk...
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When the Holy Spirit first visited me about my calling into the ministry I rejected it. My thinking was that I was not like the ministers that I knew. I was shy and not very vocal nor did I stand out. I was happy with just reading my bible and living a good life. I wanted to get my degree and get a well paying job. I wanted to make lots of money and be happy. I felt that I could do all that and just go to church. I just did not see myself as a minister because I was not like them. I would say that to myself all the time for years. I felt that I didn’t live a life that lend itself to be a good foundation for a minister. I had no “story” I had no testimony like other ministers. I live a “good” life and felt that I was a good kid who couldn’t relate to others as a minister should be able to. I felt that I didn’t act like a minister should or how they appeared to me. I was cool with working in the church and being apart of the things going on there. I was ok with all of that and I felt that it should be enough right? On top of all of this my father was a minister and a pastor of a small church and I saw everything. I thought to myself only a fool would want to do that. I was raised in church and around the church and amongst preachers all the time. I had started to do a lot of “talks” or other speaking tasks at church and began to feel the pressures of the church of there being a calling on my life. I denied it every time I hard it. I refused to subject myself to such a burden. And my reason was that I wasn’t like them and that I lived a good life and didn’t not have the experiences as other ministers did on their way to the “calling”. You know I never called myself righteous but that was exactly what I was doing. I was telling God that I was too good to be used by Him. All of this started with me around the age of 12 believe it or not and no I’m not comparing myself to anyone at all. The sense of the call got stronger at 16 and with every year it got stronger. To escape it, I found myself living a life that I thought would make God change His mind. I started to rebel in school and hang out with the bad boys. I wanted to distance myself for being called a church boy. I didn’t want to be known as a preacher’s kids but those that “knew me”, they knew better and did all that they could to keep me from destroying myself. But I just tried harder or found more “friends” who wouldn’t stand in my way of running. By the time I got to college I was more spiritual rather than a Christian but the appearance was the latter. In college my pride was at a all time high and God had a small place in my life. During that time He was a life jacket or the “break glass in case of emergency” Axe. I didn’t have a lot of trials but enough to make me read the bible in a pinch. And as soon as the storm pasted I was back to slacking. And then my plans crashed and the great job after college didn’t come. I was married and had a degree with nothing to show for it. I worked a hourly job at a very busy store (at the time) in the heart of town. Everyday I watched the people that I helped to graduate come in and tell me about their new jobs. Funny thing is that they all said thank you and then they would ask ; “why are you working here?” I knew that they didn’t mean anything bad by it but it cut me deep and my pride began to shatter. Two years into not having job in my field of study and still working at this job a man walked into the store. I don’t know this guy’s name but he talked to my boss who’s name is Thomas (funny). Thomas came running and brought this man to me as I’m coming down a ladder getting ready to mix some paint. Thomas said to me, “man you gotta talk to this guy!” I was like ok what’s so special but my first thought was maybe this guy can help me find a “real” job. The guy took one look at me and said; “You know what you have to do, when you stop running it will all make sense. After today you will look for me everyday but you won’t find me. You will ask Thomas for my name but he won’t remember. You will stand at the front door hoping for me to got back but I won’t.” My heart stopped and my eyes widen and my jaw dropped. The guy turned around and walked out of the door. Thomas came back and asked how did the talk go. I had nothing to say, I was speechless. Out of fear I asked Thomas the guys name and he couldn’t remember. Soon after that I was up on the ladder and broke out in tears and begged the LORD to forgive me of my sinful pride. For days I looked for that guy and going into the next year I got a job in the summer of ’99 along with a son. But I still struggled with the call as it scared me because I knew the cost. In Washington DC, I met two guys who funny enough had the same struggle as I did. We shared our convictions and struggles with stepping out on God’s calling on our lives. I grew a little bit and shed a lot of bad doctrine I was holding on to. We moved back home and again found it hard to find a job not only one in my field of study but just a good one in general. I still had a little of that damning pride in me and I soon had to work where ever I could. I did day labor work and then worked with my father’s construction company when available. I worked side by side with those who the world would avoid or not be caught dead with. The church would even avoid these men and women. I heard stories of falls from grace and stories of struggles. When they learned of my background, they would ask how did I end up here? Then one day when I had no money for food one of the guys suggested that we go to the shelter down the street from where we were working to eat. I got a lump in my throat and I was about to say “y’all go ahead” but the hunger pains hit. I walked into the shelter and saw all of the people there eating and the look in their eyes are still with me. As I headed to the table where the guys that I came with were sitting someone spotted me. It was a man that use to work for my father, he asked; “what are you doing here? why aren’t you working for your father?”. I gave some excuse and hurried to sit down. I soon got a job selling computers but having to lie to customers everyday weighed heavy on me. Then one day I said to myself after hundreds of interviews I decided I would send out one more resume. I got a job in my field and my family and I hided to Mississippi. Our family spent more time going through trials and tribulations, ups and downs. One day I met this pastor who boldly confronted me with my calling. He saw the struggle in my heart and asked me about it point blank. He asked me what was I afraid of and for the first time I had a real answer. Now being void of my pride and self reliance, I said: “God deserves some much more than I have, I don’t want to fail the LORD, I don’t want to do anything that is not His will”. He told me that all I have to do is make myself available to the LORD and He will do the rest. I took it in and this man of God begin to correct me and build me up. about two years in Mississippi we moved a few miles into Louisiana. When joined a church and during a revival during the summer I felt this undeniable move of the Spirit on me that I couldn’t not shake off. As I walked to the front I felt a huge burden leave me and I could breath. That night I made my calling known and started a journey that has not been easy but it has been rewarding.

I will cut the story here but its not the end of it. The LORD God is still working in me and I’m still learning and growing. One thing I will share is that, do not be mistaken about your life and if you need Jesus Christ or not. I thought I wasn’t a big enough sinner to be used. But the worse sinner, the sinner who is worse than the murderer or the fornicator is the sinner who thinks he is good enough (Romans 3:10). The worse sinner is the one who is filled with pride and self reliance. This is good weird but God’s work on Job was to remove his self reliance, his sense of being good and not deserving the treatment that he was receiving. If I boast now, I boast in Christ Jesus and not in anything that I have done. I have could to see that without Jesus Christ I was good as dead. The whole of the Gospel is utterly offensive to the prideful and to the religious person. Because the Gospel and that beautiful cross says that we are powerless to save ourselves. It says that our self righteousness is as filthy rags to the LORD. If you think that you are good the Gospel will never be good news to you and you will never understand why people praise God the way that they do. I still get choked up when I read Isaiah 6:1-8.

Isaiah’s Commission

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

I see what he saw and I fall on my face, I see repentance, regeneration, redepemtion, atonement, justification and humility in a man that would be considered “good”. Isaiah saw that compared to the LORD he is nothing and deserves death but God spared him. When you see that you are a sinner and yet God lets you live you will give it all to Him. So Isaiah said since you have kept me alive and then forgave my sins I will wilfully be your servant and do whatever it is that you need. “Here am I Send me!” So I will stand boldly and be a servant for the LORD, my glorious Adonai. I keep reading it and I see my testimony. Not saying that I’m on par with Isaiah but I thought I was. I see that the created Angels were not holy enough to stand in God’s presence or even to look at God. And here a man born a sinner is looking at the LORD as well as standing in God’s presence and God didn’t kill him! But the Lord forgave him of his sins. So now we have Jesus Christ, who lived a life we could not live and He died a death we could not die. So now we have Christ righteousness added to us and atonement for our sins so we can do what Isaiah did, approach the throne as a royal priesthood (1 Peter, 1 Peter 2:1-12).

1 Peter 2:9-10

9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

What brings this to a glorious head is that fact that none of us sought God! But He chose us before the foundation of the world. We are elected! He wonderful grace chose us will we were still in our sin! So if God elected us in our sin to be partakers of this wonderful Gospel, this beautiful life in Christ; why should we fear?

Ephesians 1:3-14
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 2:1-10
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God bless you & may the Holy Spirit lead you
Rev. W. R. Martin Jr.
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