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EXCERPT from my book, ''Born Without A Prayer, Dying With Grace''

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

CHAPTER 35: Whomsoever He Calls, He Equips Any one who has studied American political history, more specifically that of the 60's, can recall that the only reason J. Edgar Hoover had such a stronghold over elected officials, civil servants, and diplomats alike, was due to his secret surveillance of them. It produced a plethora of their inner most secrets. Those same secrets in turn gave him a decent amount of power over each one of them. But as for myself, I never desired to obtain power over any of my brothers when they revealed their secrets, or their sins in confidence with me. However, often times while preaching, or praising and worshipping, I would look out into the sea of faces of our congregation, and feel so spiritually drained. Its been said that, ''You're only as sick as your secrets!" And the fact of knowing so many of my brothers painful secrets, combined with my own struggles and personal demons that I was dealing with caused me to fervently pray without ceasing most nights. So instead of allowing their secrets to make me sick, I constantly shared their secrets with the Lord, asking Him not to allow their demons to become my own. And in the name of His Son to please exorcise those demons, versus allowing them to exercise within me. Many of my own idiosyncrasies, and failures of being a good father, and grandfather, along with a litany list of failures that I had already asked, and been forgiven for were reappearing in my life. They were seeking to cause havoc in my spiritual walk. I found myself depressed, and full of despair, and being weighed down with the same sandbags of hopelessness, that I assisted my brothers with eradicating from their very own lives. Yet something deep within whispered, ''Cling to the Cross a little tighter, and don't you dare let go!" It reminded me of Gods Word, and how Jesus asks us to bear, and carry our Cross daily. To die daily to ones self, and cry out for His Fathers forgiveness. And thus being granted it, He'll provide us the strength to put one foot in front of the other as we attempt to stay on the path to seek righteousness for His namesake. But sometimes its easier said, than done until those trying times comes upon you. I'll be the first to admit that somedays that Cross was so light on my shoulders that it appeared as if I'm floating on cloud nine, with a clear, and sound mind. However, there was those dark and cloudy days when the storms of this world appeared and they attempted to impair my vision. And during those times it got so hard to see clearly with eyes full of tears, and a heart that was perplexed with despair, and suffering. In the midst of those trying times is when my Cross became as heavy as the entire world sitting on my shoulders, and it felt as if its forcing me to the ground. My knees continued to be bruised, as I attempted to regain my balance to march on. Severely parched, I found myself thirsting for His salvation. Full of disgust I whispered Jesus' name, praying that it would float on the wings of angels and reach the heavens and find its destination, His ears? It is in those darkest hours that the Holy Spirit convicted me. Then I vividly heard His voice reminding me that He himself said, ''In this world you will have tribulations!" Feeling unworthy to lift my head up to Him because of the shame, and guilt of feeling weak I silently cried, until those cries turned into muffled sobbing. Questioning myself if He heard me? If He seen my tears? Wondering if my anxiousness had caused me to miserably fail Him? I knew His Word told me that He will never forsake me, so why did I feel as if I didn't deserve His Loving Kindness? I'm embarrassed to admit that I was so close to throwing in the towel, and giving up. But He already knew this, which caused me to become more confounded. I asked myself how was it feasibly possible that He could continue to see everything that His Father destined me to be when I could barely stand to look at my own reflection in the mirror? But in the shadow of that darkness Jesus' Light reigned. Encouraging me, inspiring me, setting my soul on fire to the bones. Once again reassuring me that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. Guaranteeing me that all of His promises were those of His Father's, and that God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent! As my back strengthened He whispers to me, ''Do not to fear, and to be of good courage." Replacing my doubt with Faith, my fear with Love, my despair with Hope. Then I clearly seen how in every affliction that He was still molding, and shaping me for His Glory. If I would only continue to believe, then I will undoubtedly see the unseen. That I would undeniably see the Glory of the Lord. This is the Power of the Son of Man, Jesus! That's when I truly realized the importance of Him yearning for us to cling to the Cross with both hands. Because one is never good enough, nor will it ever be strong enough. Maybe that's why He asks us to cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts, because the hands are the instruments that execute the intentions of our hearts? So If we find ourselves clinging, or holding onto anything else other than the Cross, then that just might mean that our hearts won't be right in the sight of the Lord? If our hearts are not right in His sight, then our prayers might fall on deaf ears? Everyone wants the blessings that only He can provide but how many of us are not making ourselves BLESSABLE able to be BLESSED? As for myself I will try my best to continue to bear my Cross daily with both hands, and a clean heart, and remember that the battle is not mines, but the battle is the Lords. Remembering that He placed victory in my hands when Jesus conquered death. If by His stripes we are healed, then it is by the Power of His Blood that we overcame. Thus each one of us is sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.

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