"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't EVEN try to steal my Joy again!

As I continue this journey, I am feeling the joy of my salvation once again. The presence of God is stronger in my life now because I have learned how to forgive those who have hurt and wronged me. If you are struggling with a distant feeling from God (as I have over the past several months), I'll be honest and say it has not been the easiest path to get back to this point. However, once I began to take control of myself , and not letting others dictate how I feel or act, then I began to feel like Jimmy again, and with that, I could begin to feel God's leading again.
This summer has been a great retreat for me; spending time at another place of worship, playing the piano again, hearing the Word spoken in a different way, meeting and spending time with good brothers and sisters in Christ. My spirit became renewed and now that my interim music work is over, I can return to my church with a fresh mind and heart. It has also given me the ability to hear God speaking about what He wants me to do. To use my gift of music again for the past eight weeks has been wonderful and I know I will need to begin using it again, somewhere. Just as preachers need to use their gift of preaching, musicians need to use their gift of music.
For the first time in a long time, I look forward to waiting on God to speak and not getting signals crossed by human emotions. There has been way to much talk centered around me these past few weeks and the resultant guilt which lent itself to 'stealing my joy.' I am now at a point where I have been at my lowest and it was a dark and lonely place where I will not let myself go again. The struggle to get back to Jesus was harder than anything I've done before and I will not allow anyone....anyone to steal my joy again.
To my fellow travelers, I tell you to keep strong in the Lord, keep your eyes on Him, let Him keep you in His arms and hold you tight. It's the most secure place imaginable.
And for today, my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Moving Forward

I learned a new song at choir last night. It came out about a year ago from "Free Church", but I don't know if it has been around before or not. As soon as I heard the words, I realized how strongly it was speaking to me. It was if God put that song in that place at that time just for my ears and heart. The chorus says, "I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead, I'm here to declare to you, My past is over in You. All things are made new, Surrender my life to Christ, I'm moving, moving, moving forward."
My friend and brother in Christ, Kirk Talley, sings a song about "You can get past your past, you can walk away from painful memories.....Let Jesus get you past your past and then you can go on."
As I continue my journey back to a closer walk with God and to being the man of God that I am expected to be, I have to keep my eyes focused on Him and on not returning to the past. The past was a hell presence on earth for me...the future will be brighter and better than ever before. I believe that and I trust God to make it so, if I keep my trust and faith in Him.
My nature is one of wanting to get it all over with right now. In other words, I am definitely not the best when it comes to waiting on God. My impatience takes over before long and I try to "help" God make the changes I need. That's when I get in a mess. Don't you make the same mistakes I have. Wait on Him...He promises to take care of us (me, you) and He will do it.....in His time. Grrrr, I hate these learning and chastising periods. Hate 'em with a passion, but that's what I have to face.
I met with a Christian counselor today in trying to work out some issues going on in my head and heart. For that hour, the burdens were lifted because, for once, I could talk to someone who was listening to me and was concerned for me with no other agendas. That has been a rare occurence in my life.So, second lesson is that it is okay to seek help if things get overwhelming. Of course, I seem to have spent much of my adult life in some type of therapy or another, but this was the first Christian therapist and it made a huge difference in just the first few minutes.
Anyway, it isn't the easiest thing for me to be so transparent, but I have to get my journey and struggles out of myself. (The really bad stuff is only on paper, but don't come sneaking around my house...you won't find it!) Plus, as I said in my last post, maybe someone else is struggling and they might realize they aren't alone.
My verse for today? "Therefore, cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7). He cares with no qualifications, no hesitation....it's hard for me to grasp it at the moment, but the glimmer is there.
And for today, this has been the journey and the gospel according to Jimmy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A New Beginning

I've learned that sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics, even when you don't think you need to. Such is the case with me at this point. I figure a lot of people read this blog and (hopefully) gain something from it because of my own life situations that they can identify with. So, as I start on a new beginning, as I start over again, follow along with me and see if my mistakes can be avoided in your Walk.
The title of this blog, "Being God's" means what? It came from the fact that I would always sign emails and letters with "Be God's". I figured it wasn't quite as churchy sounding as "In His Name," "In His Love," and similar things, plus it was a reminder to whomever I was writing to "Be God's." It's kinda like my closing which began, oh, probably twenty years ago when I would say at the end of a class, or a talk or a column....."and this has been the gospel according to Jimmy."
Anyway, the Being God's blog is to indicate that I belong to God. No doubt in my mind, I do. However, over recent months, I have been through many struggles and dark days which allowed Satan and his demons to enter my heart and mind little by little until a fairly wide gap had come between me and God. The God to which I belong. The God I love and want to serve. During this time, I have hurt people, written things on this blog that were harmful (now removed), and continued the struggle to be in control of my own life, not allowing God to get back to his spot on the throne in my life.
The fork in the road has now come. I have spent several sleepless nights, yes, literally sleepless, in trying to force myself to reject my current spiral and turn back to the Light of God. It was difficult because I am a stubborn person, plus I was ashamed of how far I had fallen. However, thanks be to God for faithful friends and their prayers and words of support, concern, and encouragement. Thanks for a Pastor who met with me and encouraged me where I needed it, kicked me in the appropriate way where I needed it, and showed me he was a friend, a shepherd and was standing in the gap for me.
That night, the tears flowed most of the night one of sleeplessness. I realized the next day that God had cleansed me of some baggage through the tears. The next morning, I felt the glimmer of Jimmy again. The Jimmy who shares "Being God's" with the cyber-world, writes columns in newspapers and magazines, and has a witness through this vehicle.
I have deliberately taken this first step back and I hope if you reading this and are struggling will follow me along the way. I have begun asking forgiveness from those I have harmed, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I also have a hard time apologizing and asking for forgiveness, but I know this is a scriptural thing I need to do. As these people of God accepted my apologies without hesitation or judgement, the tears of cleansing and healing began again.
Folks, it's so much easier to let God take care of things. When I was doing it by myself, I screwed it up royally. I mean, really messed it up. Follow me as I share with you of my travel back to the One who made me His, so that once again I can truthfully say, I am Being God's.
Each time, I'll share a verse that I'm claiming along my path. Maybe they'll be of encouragement to you. Today.....
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fires of oppression, you will not be burned up. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (NLT)
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. Be God's!