chriswcaudill

Some of His greatest Gifts

       You know those times when you think you don’t have anything to say, and then you hear the soft voice? Maybe you don’t have those times. In the stillness of the night, when you purposely push into the quietness, because you know that’s where you’ll hear the voice of God. And sometimes, it’s a song He’s singing. The Bible does declare He sings over us. 

Tonight, He was singing over me, and it just happened to be a reminder. “If not for this, you wouldn’t have never sought me. If not for such a deemed tragedy you would have never known you needed to be free.”  My inside Spirit man heard this, while my ears heard Garth Brooks singing a song about Unanswered Prayers.

  I’m not going to go into the backstory. I’m not going to give the history here. I’m just going to tell you, my Mother was a sick woman. Disease grabbed her body early in my life, and on a few occasions it had left her for death. 

     I’M GOING TO SAY SOMETHING HERE YOU MAY NOT AGREE WITH. SOMETIMES GOD ALLOWS HIS SAINTS TO SUFFER, BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHERS HE IS TRYING TO REACH, AND THE ONLY WAY THEY’LL COME TO HIM, IS IN THE FAITH EXHIBITED BY THE ONE SUFFERING.

   I can honestly tell you, the main reason I follow Christ now, is because my mom showed me how to follow Christ into her death. The way she carried herself, when she couldn’t literally carry anything. The way she still witnessed to her bitter son, the way she still wanted to hear her songs about heaven. The way when she closed her eyes in death, peace flowed from her hand to mine.

  Maybe you’ve got it all together. Maybe you’ve never had a prayer for someone go unanswered.  What if my prayers for healing for her, had been answered? When you can’t acknowledge God in His ultimate act of just Being, you seldom come to Him with genuine gratitude after He’s answered a selfish prayer.

  I’m thankful God woke me with a song. He is faithful.  Last night I had determined I had nothing else to say about Mom. This morning He reminded me that He took her home, selfishly. Maybe you don’t think God can be selfish. 

   If we are made in His image. If we are His adopted rightful heirs through Christ Jesus. If He literally walked this Earth and died for us. Why are we so simple to think God doesn’t long for our presence in His throne room. Sometimes God doesn’t answer your prayers, mine, simply because His love requires the presence of the one you love so dear. Maybe the song He’s singing over you now is a sweet song of comfort. Reminding you, He loved you so much, that He’s not going to spare someone anymore to live in pain, to make you feel better, when God himself can comfort the one you’ve been praying for by literally holding them in His awaiting arms.

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Walking Away a Winner

   How reluctant are you to walk away from that which you know is weighing you down? Physically, mentally, something that you just can’t turn the tide on. Even worse, someone. How you walk away, will determine if you ever walk back.

   There’s a country song that says ‘One step forward and two steps back, nobody gets to far like that.’ But, what if that is the only way to gain ground? To release something, or someone? Letting go, may be the only chance for them to see that someone once held them. That someone once pursued them, that someone once poured life into them. 

   Everything matures in its due season. Relationships are not any different. That first glance of the cutest girl in the neighborhood. That first date, that first love lost. To everything a season is due, and within each season, various chores are needed to produce the harvest, or to relinquish the loss. 

  The story of Lazarus has been weighing on my heart tonight. I assumed earlier that it was because I was a little disgruntled, as Christ appeared to be when he groaned unto himself. I then assumed I was anxious to see the resurrection of Lazarus, but I then realized that wasn’t it either. The reason Lazarus popped in my head tonight, because it’s time for me to wait it out.

  It’s time for me to turn the other direction and wait for the stench to form. For the decay to settle. For the loss to be fortified. And, unlike Lazarus, my story may have to end with the death. Not all death needs resurrected. Unfortunately, yet necessary, there are things we must walk away from to see if the Lord directs us back that way. Lessons aren’t always learned while sitting in the front row. Lessons are often learned after the demonstration, after the lecture. When you find yourself alone and you open the book once more, when you read through the notes again. When you pray for direction, whatever that direction is.

   Did I ramble on? Are you confused? Or are you reluctant to release what you feel God once told you to hold onto. Remember, once you plant the seed, you can’t wait to watch it grow. You aren’t always privy to the transformation. You often aren’t even aware it ever came to a season of harvest. Truthfully, we aren’t the ones that bring the harvest to the storehouse. Some times, it’s the planting, that is all we are allowed to do, that is all that is required of us.

   Cast your seed tonight. Pray, if you feel the Holy Spirit urging you to walk away, do so. If you feel the Holy Spirit telling you to work towards the harvest, be diligent to do so. Don’t be ashamed if your work is done. Don’t feel like you failed. You were faithful to begin the work, it’s more than likely not yours to finish.

  Walk away a winner, whether you feel like you won or not, remember the fight was never yours anyway. Often we choose to call something a battle that was nothing more than another step in learning faithfulness. His faithfulness, He will lead you away at times, to direct your path on how, or if to return.

 

Exclusion Road

So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.

Luke 24:15

My wife and I often find ourselves watching Little House on the Prairie on week nights. The other night, it was an episode where Charles had to travel a great distance to find work to support the family. The distance mentioned was 100 miles, on foot.

The furthest I’ve ever walked on foot might be 6 or 7 miles. yet, the furthest spiritual miles I’ve ever walked, seems to be still ongoing.

Have you ever felt the sting of not being in the ‘in’ crowd? You know, I’ll just be honest, the ‘click’. It seems everywhere has them, your workplace, schools, and sadly your churches. There’s something that happens when a group of people form a bond that is so close, and unfortunately it’s not Unity. It’s exclusion.

Exclusion has been an enemy of the church since the formation of the church. We build our little strongholds of people, our ‘go-tos’. Which means truthfully we have people that are NOT our ‘go-tos’. I have a few friends that refer to it as ‘our four and no more.’ Unity happens when everyone is considered, truthfully not always when they are included.

This is a rough subject to talk about. It’s dangerous to speak truth that only you see. Exclusion leaves you vunerable. Along the road to Emmaus, two men were on their way out of town and they were speaking of the great saddness of the events amongst themselves..when Christ showed up.

Do you ever feel like you are on your way out of town? Like you just left that place of grief for the last time? Like you just witnessed your last dirty deed, like you’ve had enough…like no one cares if you even walk out of town. It was a seven mile walk, with the weight of defeat on their shoulders. Then Christ showed up.

There’s a reason why you continue on roads away from your promise.

The feeling of defeat will carry you further than you believe possible. It will carry you from the people who may hold a key to your victory, or even Withhold a key to your victory because they’ve excluded you. Your feelings of inadequacy are a tactic used by the enemy to keep you walking away from your promise.

No one can place a value on a child of God. No one can tell you your worth to a body you won’t stick with because you’ve been excluded for what you feel is the last time. Sometimes we suffer exclusion because our Inclusion means the status quo has to change. You may be the best change to ever happen to a group of excluders.

Are you ready to be poured out? To be shaken for Christ? It doesn’t happen walking away from your assignment. Your assignment was not given to you by someone who has excluded you. Remember, that’s a deceit from the enemy. If you have a purpose, a title, a group of peers you have charge over, you’ve been included and your mind is keeping you on the road out of town because it just don’t feel like you want it to feel. It doesn’t look like you thought it would. It looks like death, and you can’t see death as a victory until you’ve walked the road with Christ. He’s going to come up beside you. He’s going to reveal Himself to you. He’s going to comfort you through exclusion..even if the exclusion is not truthfully existent.

Note:

I don’t edit my blogs, meaning I don’t go back and try to have them make great sense to you the reader. What I figure might be a mistake somewhere is probably purposeful. I started out writing something that seemed like it could help someone with an issue where they’ve been wronged, and it turned into an issue where the Lord intervened and said “This is on you.” So it turned out a little different than I planned..and I don’t apologize. I tell you what I’ve said since I started writing these things, this is probably more for me than you..and if that’s the case, you’ve seen another growth spurt in my walk. Man, I’m going to be 10 feet tall when this is done.😁

As always thanks for reading and any comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

Blown Away

and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3 NIV

  It takes strength to Don a garment of praise. It takes will to fight through despair. It takes refining in the fire to shape the work that God is creating. And, ultimately, it leaves ashes of what once was.

  To realize that ashes are a remnant of something that once was, takes insight. Ashes are a reminder that something had to burn off, that something literally had to take another shape, form, to be changed. It wasn’t just a chemical change, it was a spiritual change, and death to oneself that has occurred to obtain the ashes of what once were.

  There’s a country song I like. It speaks of a photograph that a man enjoys, and how this photograph speaks ideas into his head of moving on, starting afresh. Within the song is the man’s wife and how the same photograph brings despair and loathing. The songs ends with the photo in the fire among the ashes, thus meaning the man gave the dream up. 

          Sometimes we live our lives like that photograph. We stare at it, we contemplate what could be, what we could do, and in the end, like the photograph we find ourselves in the fire with ashes, yet we have not totally burned off yet..and the dream, the refining, doesn’t complete without a whole change, we must become the ashes.

  God doesn’t want you to give up your dreams. He doesn’t want to chastise you for having them. He simply wants to be the center of them. The God of all creation gave you a beautiful gift of choice, and at times, a damaging gift of choice. Will we choose to be consumed with the fire, go become the ashes that are blown away in the breeze. Or, do we choose to lay atop the ashes and refuse to be consumed? You will never be crowned in beauty until you have exchanged your ashes. 

   Maybe today you are still finding yourself wanting your  own will. Your own desire. Your heart needs to be sacrificed. Your heart needs to be literally exchanged for ashes. God ultimately desires good for you, that is one of the hardest things to comprehend. We all want to follow human instinct that we know what’s best, that the fruit will not kill us. It will, spirituality desiring self, will leave you without God.

  Maybe your altar is bare. Maybe you’ve sacrificed everything on it except yourself. Maybe, I have. One of the most critical things to learn about me, is that I’m still in search. Maybe I don’t sound spiritually solid to you at times..and I’m fine with that, because it continues to allow me to grow. I’m not writing these to judge you, not to even help you. I write these to tell you it’s a process..and sometimes you have to be ok with the fact that this process may never be completed in this lifetime. Yet, that’s why we are given an Eternity…is your Eternity to be made beautiful out of ashes, or to remain unconsumed on the altar of sacrifice?

I still have a future


I still have a future

Whether it’s sunny or wet

I still have a tomorrow

I’ll see it by the Grace of God yet
I still have a future

Whether there will be tests or not

I still have a tomorrow

It will be a victory for which will be fought
I still have a future

Whether it is in Heaven or on Earth

I still have a tomorrow

Thank you Lord for this everlasting rebirth

Table for 2

It was a nice table. Held its own for over 50 years. Ike and Carly would sit together each morning drinking their coffee. Ike, straight black, Carly a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of milk.

 She sat alone now, staring at his empty seat. His empty coffee mug. Her empty coffee mug. The coffee pot died not long after Ike passed. She didn’t see a need to drink coffee alone any longer. ALONE..such a horrible word.

   She focused her eyes on the table and found the long scratch where the knife dug in. Ike was buttering his toast when the heart attack hit. He nearly stabbed the knife into the table when he fell over. That was 3 weeks ago.

  Carly ran her fingers over the mark and wondered if it was worth smoothing out. Maybe she knew someone who could fix it. Maybe, she didn’t want to.

  “I’m missing you like crazy you old man.” She had told herself she wasn’t going to talk as if he was there, but loneliness interrupts plans. “I hardly sleep anymore. Last night I tossed and turned.” She rubbed her right temple with her hand and exhaled…”I don’t want to do this.”

   She nearly jumped a foot when the doorbell chimed. She regained her composure and shuffled to the door. Looking through the peephole, she saw it was the little girl from next door. She couldn’t be more than 8, Carly opened the door.

  “Mom said I could bring you these cookies. We had left overs this year from the sales. Not too many people buy them nowadays I guess.” She walked in and sat at the table, in Ike’s seat. Can I have a couple with some milk please.

  Carly looked at the box, then the girl. “I guess if your mother thinks it’s ok.”

  “She’s fine with it.” The little girl stared at Carly. “With milk, you have milk?”

  “I think so.” She closed the door and moved to the refrigerator and found the milk. She poured 2 small glasses and sat down in her seat. Opened the cookies and realized they were the oatmeal peanut butter ones, Ike’s favorite. “Oh, honey, Mr. Wills loved these.”

  “I know. He told me a few weeks ago. I meant to come over sooner with them. I never got to tell him.”

  “What’s that dear?”

  “Well, when Pastor Wills prayed with me and mom last time…I said yes to Jesus….say, um, can I come over after school a couple days a week? Maybe you could help me read the Bible..Pastor Wills said you could after He was gone.”

  Carly smiled. Her eyes brimmed with tears and she patted the hand of the little girl. “He said that? You’re welcome here anytime we’ll sit right here and I can help you..”

  The girl finished her cookies and gave Carly a huge hug. “I’ll be right back, got to get my Bible. Pastor Wills gave it to me awhile ago..he said you’d help me find Jesus…just like you helped him all those years ago…at this same table.” 

Mid Night

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;

Luke 11:5 NKJV

Who comes to you at midnight? Do you have friends that show up in the middle of your night, and when they do, is about what they need?

   There was a time when the sun went down, people went down also. Midnight was actually in the middle of the night. When I was a younger man, midnight was bedtime, or even before bedtime. Now, now I’m in my forties and midnight is approaching the middle of the night again for me. 

  Do you love scary movies? Horror movies? Suspense, thrills, and chills all seem to occur more frequently in the middle of the night. Death and terror are present more in these movies in the dark. Fear is best fed by the absence of light. 

  You’ll also notice, most of the time when you’re in the middle of your night, you are alone. Have you concluded yet that I’m not just talking about an actual time? I’m talking about your nights, your darkest struggles, your scariest moments. Moments that you can only face at times with a loving creator by your side.

  A friend of mine said something to me, friendship is consecrated more by commitment, rather than conversation. (I didn’t put that in quotes, because frankly he didn’t say it like that.)  If you’re caught up in the lack of communication you receive from someone, then you may be relying on that person’s presence too much. You may be caught up in an act rather than a commitment. Sometimes the best encouragement we can give one another, is the opportunity to understand that silence does not equal absence. 

  If silence equalled absence, truthfully we’d all be atheists. Getting through some of your darkest nights will take some of your strongest qualities. Your perseverance, your persistence, your knowledge of self, your distinct ability to not allow quietness to overtake you. 

  Your midnight is guaranteed an eventual dawn. My mother lived the last 10 years of her life blind. She taught herself how to use the tv remote, the microwave, even the stove. I remember one night I watched in fear as she fixed popcorn over a gas burner on the stove. The popcorn turned out perfect. She adapted to her surroundings. Later in life, when she lived in the nursing home. I would visit and try to be as quiet as possible when I would enter here room to visit her. I didn’t want to startle her, but I did want a moment to see her in her surroundings. A moment just to see how she coped with it all. Mostly she was just lying there with her eyes open, listening to the TV. Often times she was encompassed in silence, and silence Never broke her. Yet, Lonliness did.

   If you are consumed with the silence coming from all those who said they would be there for you, you aren’t trusting that they are there. I admit, being the first to break the ice in a relationship is difficult, and it can get old..but sometimes it needs done..and vice versa, sometimes the relationship needs rest and at times even separation.

    If you are in a midnight situation cling to Jesus. Trust He prayed the Father to send you the comforter. Pray you know the difference between silence and absence. Pray you continue to seek Him, midnight is the middle of your night once again..but His mercies are going to be renewed soon, Dawn is promised!

When We Are Willing

  I’ve noticed something about most people, our demeanor changes when a child is present. Perhaps I mean more like a toddler or an infant. We all tend to glance at the child, we look at them in a sense of awe. We perhaps see our own children in them, or the child we will someday have. Mainly, we look for the innocence in the eyes of children

  Have you ever noticed, a toddler rarely has to pick up for themselves what they drop? For instance, in service this morning there was a cute girl, maybe a year old…and everytime she dropped something, someone would retrieve the item for her…and  her expression when they handed it to her was one of amazement. One of, this stranger just helped me. Maybe that’s not what it was, but that’s what it looked like. A look of surprise that someone cared enough to hand her back her sealed container of cheerios..or her book, or her pacifier. Come to think of it, she tested many people to see if they were willing to help…and  not once did they fail.

   How helpless do we seem to God in our first moments of life..our Spiritual life? How frail and weak we must appear, yet He is always willing to step in and help. Pick up our spirits..retrieve  our will to better find His. In our earliest stages, He is so present we often are surprised by His compassion.

  I noticed this little girl today, in innocence, in perhaps fragility, I noticed her vulnerability to her surroundings..how she was ready to cry out for the fallen item if it was not retrieved, if it was not directly placed in her hands. Proximity made a difference to her..as does the proximity of God does to us in our times of need.

  Can I just skip to it all? At some point, you’re going to have to pick up the pieces of whatever you’ve allowed to be broken around you. Some time down the road, you’re going to question why it’s not all being handed to you..why, maybe like that little girl that kept staring at me..’Why doesn’t he get my stuff for me?’ Mostly it was because I was two rows back and the young ladies in front of me were happy to get her things…but even I felt compelled at times to help retrieve her items…because of her frailty and her innocence to her surroundings..at some point, you aren’t going to be so innocent and frail before God. You are going to be equipped and capable..and in those moments..you’re going to be tested..not by God..but by life in general..and your items will seem out of reach.

  I didn’t paint this well..yet I felt I needed to release this observance tonight so I could free myself from it..and perhaps learn whatever lesson I was supposed to. Being over observant to my surroundings has felt like a curse at times, but I’ve also learned to take it for what it is. It’s my gift of discernment that the Holy Spirit works through me. That’s not basting, that’s being obedient to His call on my life at given moments. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t escape some feelings, some observances, it’s probably a lesson you are being taught by God..choose wisely how you react to it..He may not always hand you back the shattered prices, but He is always there to see if you’ve left some important ones behind..and perhaps to see if you picked some up, that just don’t fit in your life anymore.

Nothing

  When I was a child we would drive to this little convenient store called Lender’s. There was only one reason we would go there, ice cream. Mom would get a carton of strawberry and also one of chocolate almond. To this day, some 35 years later..Nothing compares to that chocolate almond ice cream. It’s strange how I can still taste the creaminess of it, or the hint of an almost sliver as it would lodge in my throat and the only way to loosen it, was more ice cream of course. We made this trip weekly. Crazy what some of your childhood memories will end up being when you reflect as an adult.

  Have you ever actually thought about the process of comparison? People make a living comparing products to one another. Some people, sadly said, make a death doing the same thing.

   Do you know how we come to the conclusion that nothing compares to one thing or the other? We keep trying to recreate the feeling or taste, or whatever it is. We keep trying to relive whatever we feel we need to find to experience that feeling again. We keep comparing.

   Look at shoes, comfort is a necessity when it comes to shoes for me. When I look to purchase a new pair of shoes, I want them to feel as comfortable as the ones I’m replacing…yet, the only reason the ones I’m replacing feel so good is because I’ve made them my own. My foot has stretched them out, my weight has molded the pad, my comfort only exists because of actions I’ve taken on these shoes, just by using them.

   But God.  I lived for nearly 20 years trying to compare the God I know now, to the God I knew when I was growing up in the Church. I say this because the God I knew growing up was fearful, respected, reverenced..Today, He’s all this and so much more. There’s really no comparison to the God I serve today to the God of 1985…He gets sweeter and sweeter as the days go by.

    Many believers will tell you their testimony usually involves trying to fill a void. We want the experience of God, without the knowledge there of. The knowledge of Choice. I find it strange that one of our biggest fights in the world that we choose to champion is abortion..We, Christians, will fight tooth and nail, argue if you will our position on the subject when the reality is we’ve Chose life or death before too. Interjection..I loathe abortion, and am in no way condoning it. 

    So, what have you compared God to lately? If not recently then at one time? Alcohol, drugs, sexual pleasure? Maybe not so much compared as it is replaced. Have you found Nothing compares? 

   His embrace, His love, His ownership over your heart. His undying love, that will continuously seek you, yet loves you enough to let you wander.

   I really don’t want to continue much further here…because hopefully you need to stop and think..your happiness can Not compare to God, it can only improve with Him. You can’t compare emotions and feelings to God any longer. We must choose to allow God to create us into His image even further.

   I’m a trinity believer…Jesus was at the point of creation…He is here now further at this point in your continual creation..you are not done being molded. Stop comparing all things to God…when Nothing compares.


From the Inside Out

nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17:21 NKJV

   Do you forget sometimes, as I do, that your first impression is usually your most lasting impression? Do you realize that people choose what they remember? I’m not talking about those in illness that can not control their memory, or those in an elderly age that have just forgot…I’m talking about people, we choose to remembr what is important to us.

   Your smile, your lack thereof. Your aura of loneliness..your lack of ‘want to’..These are quick first impression to come to…in a world that screams don’t judge. Judging is usually the first thing we do when we meet someone. 

   Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven was within us. Us, the children of God. What I choose to show others about how I perceive God, or how I love Jesus…that is the first glimpse of God’s Kingdom some people will ever see.

   I tend to be critical of many things in life…like when I see a professed believer share a video with vulgarity or when I see a believer choose to post pictures of themselves in a compromising position. It’s not that I beleive we should all have the convictions, or that I even see wrong doing in some things…but to a non-believer, their first glimpse of your self professed Kingdom of God…just looked a little cloudy.

   I may sound critical, maybe even sound like hypocrite because I’ve been a little shady before…at times..yet I am learning daily to be mindful that God has taken residence in my heart…and He desires a much larger living quarters than I have often given Him.

   It’s a difficult walk at times. It’s a frightening walk at times. I know many people will tell you to not fear…and many will even quote scripture that love cast out fear..this is true…yet we are still carnal people. We still possess humanity with us. We are frail and often seeking…and so often we forget to seek within what God has placed in Us…We are His Kingdom.

   We are the first impression of Jesus to a lost world. What do they see when they see you? Forget physical appearance..what attributes of God do you present? Are you loving, do you reach out? Are you available? Are you trustworthy? Are you true to your word…do you KNOW God’s word? Could you help someone find scripture to help them…would you explain what they are having trouble comprehending? Are you an active agent for His Kingdom? Do you want to be?

   Be mindful today that you are being watched. You are in a great audience of observers…someone wants to believe that what you proclaim is True. Someone is looking at you and getting a glimpse of His kingdom…and I pray it’s and beautiful sight…and I pray this for myself tonight..