“To Know Him and to Make Him Known” The Calling-of God on Your Life
By Dr. Bob Christensen
Dedicated to Boadin Jay Johnson
The Calling ISBN Copyright © 2011 by Covenant Marriages Ministry
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form, without the express written permission of Covenant Marriages Ministry, 13120 W. 60th Avenue, Arvada, Colorado 80004
All scripture references are from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise designated.
Cover by Bob Christensen
“To Know Him and to Make Him Known” The Calling-of God on Your Life
By Dr. Bob Christensen
Dedicated to Boadin Jay Johnson
Table of Contents
In the Beginning .................................................................11
You Will be Called to Take Action ...................................17
You Will Need to Speak With Authority ..........................21
You Must Love Your Enemies ............................................27
Loyalty, A Most Important Quality ...................................30
Mephibosheth, The Son of Jonathan ............................33
Remain true to Your Calling ..............................................35
Choosing to Serve ..............................................................40
Naomi, Ruth and Boaz ..................................................43
Every tree is Known by Its Fruits .......................................46
Unbridled Anger is a Sin ....................................................49
Cain and Abel ...............................................................49
Mentor and Heal those Around You ..................................53
Counting the Costs ............................................................58
You Will Be Persecuted ......................................................60
How Should We Act When persecution Comes? ..............63
Let My People Go ..............................................................76
Peter and Andrew ..........................................................81
The Samaritan Woman .................................................97
David’s mighty men ...........................................................99
Even Your Friends Will Depart ........................................102
Now, You Be the Light of the World ..............................106
Give me a B ......................................................................108
Other Books by the Christensens ....................................109
Dedicated to Boadin Jay Johnson and his parents.
First, I would like to dedicate this short book to a very special great grandson of ours. His name is Boadin Jay Johnson. Even though “Bodie” is only a few months old I know, and so does his mother and father, that he was born with a special calling for his life. Sometimes we set limitations on our future, but as Eleanor Powell so aptly stated, “What we are is God’s gift to us, and what we become is our gift to God.” I think that correctly defines where we all are on our walk with God through this interesting adventure, called life. Lynne and I and all of our family salute not only Boadin, but his dear parents, Paul and Chrissy Johnson. All of us as parents, grands or greats need to be lifting up our young ones in the belief that God will help them fulfill their noble callings.
In this short book, I want to enlarge the premise that we as people are not only called by God to know Him but to have an intimate relationship with Him and then to be given specific tasks, by God, for the betterment of this world, generally, but more specifically for bringing others, voluntarily, into his kingdom. The principle seems simple enough, but then free-will enters in and things go a bit hay wire.
I recently heard a talented Pastor talking about the passage, “Without a vision ,my people perish.”. As he developed his message, I felt there were several points which went along with what I had already written in this book, so I decided to incorporate those few thoughts into this chapter, which is now being re-written for the
He started his talk by focusing on Luke 19:12 which states, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” The Pastor went on to develop that sentence in the following way, which I not only concur with, but totally agree with.
The passage he stated actually describes the Gospel of Jesus. In the first, he described that a “certain” meant that it was a very special person and in this case referred to the Son of God. It was no ordinary person but a “certain” person.
The word “nobleman” adds even greater emphasis to the fact this certain person, a nobleman, was from a kingdom and actually was the reigning king or leader of that kingdom. Then he described the fact that the word, “went” actually describes Jesus’ arrival, his virgin birth, but then his journey in the land, eventually his ministry, then his scourging, followed by his crucifixion, then his death, followed by his burial and finally by his resurrection and ascension into heaven. The “far country” was our earth and then to receive for himself a kingdom. That refers to the fact that each one of us individually has to accept Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins, individually and completely in faith, for us to be a part of his kingdom here on earth, and better yet for eternity.
The passage goes on to say that he will ”return”. That is describing the second coming of Jesus to welcome all of his born again believers into the eternal kingdom with
him and to rule over that kingdom here on earth over the next 1000 years in the New Jerusalem.
Wow, what a short passage to relate so much. In another verse in that same chapter, he tells his immediate followers “to occupy until he comes”. He was of course relating to the time after the crucifixion and resurrection when he returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. But then that passage goes on to say that the citizens hated him and stated they would not have this man rule over them.
That sounds a good deal like when people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior; they find others who find fault with them and the mission they may be on and those unsaved individuals want no part of Jesus being their Lord nor Savior. Just as that passage in Luke so aptly states, the citizens hated him and stated they would not have this man rule over them. Sometimes we see this even in family members who merrily go through their lives consistently denying the attempts of our lord to bring them into the kingdom of God. Even Jesus related that the prophet could accomplish little in his own hometown. Lynne and I have seen ample evidence of this fact in our own family members, but does that discourage us? No, there is a higher calling which allows us to walk out this life in His love and to bring many others into His kingdom.
It is in this short book that I want to discuss the fact that as Jesus has spoken, We must be born again, but then that there is a holy or divine calling on each one of us in his kingdom here on earth. It is about this calling,
and your life, of which I am devoting this effort and this book. If we do not educate our young people in the admonition of the Lord and all of his excellent teaching, then there is little hope for this world.
I spent much of my life teaching younger, and even older, medical specialists in medical schools or in hospitals or other special meetings, certain truths I had learned over the years, about certain surgical procedures. That was much of the call God had on my life. Was I trained early on about God’s words as found in the bible? No, unfortunately, but when I came to know more about what God wanted, and was born again, then I was able to be even more effective in the very call on my life.
Sometimes it may take half a lifetime before we finally learn His call on our lives and maybe to actually be bornagain, but I truly believe He would have us learn that, much earlier. You may wonder, is there just one call on your life? No, He can take you down several paths in which much will be accomplished for His kingdom purposes.
As we look at some of the lives of some of God’s notable people, we will see and learn much about what He might be accomplishing in our lives. So, today, I changed my profession from that of a maxillofacial surgeon to that of a Christian author of books. Is one more important than the other? No. Whatever the Lord leads us into is where we most likely will be effective and very likely best used for His kingdom purposes.
So today, I am writing this book especially for Boadin
and for all of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I want these words to also minister to all of the young, and older people, of this world who may be searching for exactly what the Lord’s calling is for their lives It can be an exciting time not only asking your God, and mine, exactly what He would have each one of you do, but then to be led by His calling and purpose for your lives. You may say, well I am limited, for whatever reason, and feel I can’t be used by God for some special purpose. Wrong. It may well be because you have suffered some loss or limitation that God is able to use you and your talents in a way that no other person can fulfill as well.
Or, you may say, because of my past life and sin, God won’t use me for His purpose. Wrong again. As you read about some of God’s very special people found in the bible and related in condensed form in this book, that you will realize that an individual’s past, sinful life has no limitation on how God may use that person in the life which He has called that person to live. Just say “Yes, Lord”, and come and join the rest of us sinners who have given up our past lives to serve Jesus.
As you read about those lives, lived long ago, you will gain insight into exactly how God may be calling and using you for His purposes. Now, that is only the very beginning. Several points come into play and we will elaborate on them, somewhat, in this book.
To start with you must develop an actual VISION for what God has called you to do. Remember, at the start of this chapter I mentioned the passage, “Without a vision
my people perish.” But after vision you must develop a PASSION for that vision. Then that won’t be enough if you don’t develop DISCIPLINE which helps you fulfill that vision. And last, but certainly not the least, you must be willing to take RISKS.
As we go through the next few chapter we will touch on those four cardinal points, because it is by them that you are able to fulfill The Calling-of God on Your Life.
If you consider the following points it will be very helpful;
Risk without discipline is recklessness,
Discipline without passion is legalism,
Passion without vision is hype,
Vision without Jesus is unfulfilling and unrewarding.
In The Beginning
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That kind of says it all. If we were to continue reading the Gospel according to John, we would quickly see “that all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”.
Since the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the manifest presence of God, why are we spending so much of our time wondering what is truth? In the nearly 86 years of my living I have seen such diversion of what is or might be true. As one U.S. Marine, recently, so aptly put it, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps it was illegal to join if you were a known homosexual. Then it became OK if you didn’t tell anyone, and now it is against the law to prevent anyone from telling a fellow Marine that he/she is a homosexual. In just a short way, that tells us how foolish it is to rely on the wisdom of man.
We have energetically taken God out of our schools and our dialect and the very truth which our Founding Fathers relied on in establishing this Nation, known as the United States of America. God and His word are now being relegated to a status of irrelevance. How foolish can a so called learned nation of people be?
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus talks about your being the salt of the earth. Let’s read several of those verses which really go to pushing God out of our daily
existence. The world would say you can’t mix God into your daily life. But let’s see what God says:
Mt 5:13 -16, “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house (or could we say Nation?).
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
This is exactly where our Founding Fathers were in basing the U.S. Constitution on the infallible Word of God as found in the Bible. We were established as a Judeo-Christian Nation founded on the truths which God, by His Holy Spirit, had recorded so profoundly in His Holy Bible. God knew very well that unless He established and recorded His truth, man’s wisdom would lead humans all over the place and the wisdom would be exactly what we are seeing today, i.e. it is permissible to murder unborn children, no different than earlier pagan people had done with their human offerings to a pagan god.
Today, if Christians are unwilling to stand up for the truth of our God, then what can we expect? Men and women who profess to be led by God and have publically
proclaimed their belief and allegiance to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, are compelled to stand up for what is right and to actually come against the evils being fostered by the godless in our Nation and our World.
To not take these sometimes difficult stands, allows such atrocious laws and happenings, such as pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage to become the law of the land. Where is the salt that is to be exhibited by the Christian? It has become useless and has been trodden under foot by ungodly men and an ungodly Nation.
Where are the protections which we as a people, living in a certain generation of time, are supposed to bring forth for the generations who follow? Seasoning brings forth the best flavor in the foods where it is placed, yet we as a godless Nation preserve none of the valuable truths of earlier generations which were given by divine inspiration based on God’s truth. Does this mean the salt has lost its flavor? Oh Yes, I would definitely say it has. We as a Nation have allowed the name of Jesus to be mocked and removed from any teaching in our schools and in any public demonstration. Yet, Jesus himself made it very clear He and the Father were one. Throughout scripture we see that Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit make up one triune God. We are not given the option of thinking that Jesus was not of God and one with God. He was sent by the Father to redeem sinful man and to allow man to enter into the kingdom of God and be with Him in heaven.
When we look back to the very early writings in the
Bible we see the harm that half-truths bring forth. Look at Gen.12:11-13. Even though the lie in which Abram insisted his wife, Sarai should tell to the Pharaoh of Egypt, that she was his sister, not his wife, would seem to be a small point, it took away from the protection which Abram should have relied on from God. After all, God had called Abraham forth to develop a new nation and people dedicated to God. Abram should have fully recognized that very point as God had certainly manifested His presence to Abram.
Jesus, in one of his statements asks the question, “When I return, will I find faith”? That goes to the heart of where we are as a society and Nation at this very time. Are we really willing to trust God and his mercy for protecting us as a person? as a people? and as a Nation? If that is really true, then in all instances shouldn’t we not only acknowledge God as our Provider, Protector and Lord, but just as importantly, take every thought to being fully obedient to His Word? Are we doing that? Not likely. We are taking God out of our lives and just trusting in ourselves as though we were gods. True Christians know we are not gods. Some cults, such as Mormonism may portray themselves as gods, but that is not what our Judeo-Christian God told us to do. He said, have no other gods before me. We as born again Christians know we have only one God and we are not Him. In God’s first commandment as given to Moses, we are told we are to love our God and have no other gods before Him.
In Decker and Hunts’ excellent book titled, “The God Makers”, the authors discuss in great detail the anti
Christian philosophy of how a Mormon can become a god and how he may pray his long dead relatives into heaven. This book is a must read to anyone who wishes to know the difference between biblically based Christianity and today’s Mormon teaching and beliefs. Again, the knowledge of the difference between the wisdom of man and the wisdom of God is imperative.
Remember the lie told by Satan in the very beginning to Eve? When in Genesis 3:3 he tells Eve, “you shall surely not die.” He was enticing her with a lie that “they would be as gods, knowing good and evil.” When Adam followed suit and partook of the fruit, their lives in God’s garden paradise was to be short lived. It would then take God sacrificing animal’s blood to make skins which could be worn over the nakedness Adam and Eve found themselves in, so that God might even commune with them. It truly took the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus to place mankind in a spot where he could be totally free to enter again into God’s kingdom and fellowship.
So, here we are in the 21st Century and wondering if we can trust God to not only provide for us, mentor us with His Word, provide for us, protect us and be all that only God can be. But, no, we are counting on man’s wisdom and man’s institutions to not only teach us, to care for us from cradle to grave, but to also protect us. What a stretch.
There are certainly many truths proclaimed in the bible which should lead and minister to each individual, today, as we live our lives in ways which will not only proclaim God to the following generations, but to allow
our Nation and our world to advance in a predictable, orderly and godly manner.
You will be called to Take Action
In almost every book of the bible we learn of people God has called forth to accomplish very specific tasks. If we look way back in Genesis, we can certainly remember Adam and Eve. But let’s pass over them and go to Noah. Was there something special in God’s eyes about Noah? Yes. God said he had seen the righteousness of Noah, in his generation. You see the earth which God had created to be a perfect paradise for man to live and develop and commune with God had become a cesspool. God had gotten where he did not want to even look upon the earth, because man was so evil. Is that same thing happening in our world today? If so, can God count on you to be his chosen person to make a change in the world around you?
In Genesis 6:5 the Word states:”And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast and every creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Can you imagine God saying that about you? Or me? No way, and yet that should be our goal in this present
time in which we find ourselves as born again Christians, God does see the blood of Jesus covering us and making us righteous? Yes, but not because of anything we have done.
It doesn’t take some genius or some biblical prophet to realize that this very Century in which we are living we see wars, famines, people neglecting other less fortunate, babies being murdered at alarming rates, homosexuality, people living in adultery, murders, rapes, stealing and Lord knows what else. The sin is all around us and yet we just put our heads in the sand. I often wonder if we see some young woman being raped or murdered, where we might help, would we turn and run, or would we be willing to get involved even if it cost us our life? It would take some courage to step forward and to really help. You see, it won’t occur in that instance, it will have taken decades of doing the correct thing, to be able to muster that kind of courage at that very moment.
The Word said in Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” It goes on to say “that Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Here is an example of a man or woman that you can be. His generations were perverted and evil, yet somehow Noah rose above that corruption and undoubtedly had the courage to speak against the ungodliness of his time.
Are we willing to stand up against the ungodliness of our time? This is exactly what God has called you and me to do. To rise up and be counted. Look at what happened in Noah’s case. The call God was placing on
Noah’s shoulders was not just some short term idea or project. It was a project which would require some 120 years. What is our commitment level? An instance, a week or maybe a month? Let’s say to the Lord about our marriages, do you really mean a lifetime, Lord?
In Noah’s time, God let Noah know exactly what he wanted him to do. It would be no easy task and would take tremendous perseverance on Noah’s part. If we are going to see our Nation and World get put in right standing with God, it will take the total dedication of individuals, just like Noah, to dedicate their entire lives, fortunes and reputations to serving our living God. Frequently some young person may ask me, “Will I know God’s calling on my life?” Oh yes, I tell them. God can be very persistent, yet loving.
Look what it cost Noah. He surely didn’t have any leisure time and if he did he was probably too exhausted to enjoy those hours. If Noah hadn’t done exactly what God wanted him to do, and exactly how God wanted him to do it, there would have been no humanity remaining. He had one shot at doing what God had asked him to do. This wasn’t punishment to Noah, after all, God declared that Noah had been righteous his whole life. The animals would have perished, the people would have disappeared. Then what? Only the Lord knows, but it was serious enough for God to select the one righteous man living on earth to get him to do what only God could orchestrate.
I suspect Noah did zero complaining about what God had asked him to do. He may not have fully realized all
of the significance of the calling, but that didn’t stop him, he just spent an entire lifetime, 120 years, following God’s instructions perfectly. What a different world this would be if we had 6 billion plus people doing just what God wanted them to do. WOW!
When you think about Noah and his calling and his life, he truly was the second father of the human race. If Adam was the number one father, then surely Noah was the second father of the human race. He was a man of extreme fortitude, patience and obedience. He was the grandson of Methuselah, the oldest living human person recorded in the bible.
In Genesis 6:22 is the verse which describes Noah most fully, “Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”
Don’t we wish we could say that about our lives? But, thankfully, by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we now have the righteousness of Jesus’ blood covering our every failing and sin. That should encourage us to take on every challenge and be most willing to follow every command of our Father in heaven.
You Will Need to Speak With Authority
When God called the next to youngest son of Jesse, he knew exactly what he was doing and who he was calling. It was no mistake with God. God was not calling the most favored, which might well have been Eliab, the eldest son of Jesse. God told Samuel to gather the sons of Jesse, and that he, God would select the next king from one of the sons. God said, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
You see, in making the correct selection, God will expect that person, who may appear as nothing to others, to rise to the occasion and to be able to speak with the authority as God’s selected individual. How many times have we looked at some person and felt there would be no special calling on that person’s life? Maybe it has been our lives and we might even hear the call of God, but then reject it because somehow we knew we weren’t worthy or able to accomplish what God might have called us to do? Have you not heard that “God equips those he calls?” Ever since I have been a born again Christian I have heard that statement and all the way along I have been challenged to believe it.
No matter whether the call has to do with raising a large family, teaching a college class, running a manufacturing company with 50 employees, or preaching some message to the world. Whatever, rarely do we feel capable in the natural, but in the spiritual, given time, we can frequently rise to the occasion. The last line of a familiar and beautiful song says it best, “I am strong, when I am on your shoulders, you raise me up to be
more that I can be.” I don’t know how it can be said better than those few words express?
God instructed Samuel that he chose the next to youngest and least experienced of Jesse’s sons, David, who was out attending the sheep, to be his selection for the next King of Israel. God said to Samuel, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
What has God called you for? Has he called and anointed you to be his special person for some very special role or duty? If you knew, would you follow him? In that 16th chapter of 1 Samuel, the word tells us that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. Doesn’t that just give you goose bumps? King Saul found the Spirit of the Lord departed from him that day forward. And as the Lord was there to help equip the young son tending the sheep, he led Saul to bring him into his household to play music on the harp. He also became his armor bearer. You can readily see that God was equipping David in the art of warfare, but also in the art of music and praise.
A battle was beginning to rage between the armies of Israel and the armies of the Philistines. The enemy camp had a giant of a warrior who was shouting out threats against the Army of Israel. He shouted to them, “Choose you a man for you and let him come down to me.” He continued to challenge them in a battle, but Israel was greatly afraid. The oldest of Jesse’s sons were in that army and entered into the fight. David has left Saul’s home to go feed his father’s sheep.
The battle had gone on for forty days when Jesse asked David to take some corn and bread to the three eldest sons who were engaged, with Israel, in battle with the Philistines.
David had arrived to bring food to his brothers and others when Goliath made his appearance and threatened the army of God. The men of Israel fled into caves and were afraid. David asked what would be done to the man that would take on and kill the Philistine, at which time David’s older brother Eliab got mad at David saying, “Why did you come here? I know thy pride.” Wouldn’t you have wished that that brother would have thanked David for bringing food and even for being willing to see if there might be something he, David, could do? No way, when you are attempting to serve the Lord, there will be dissention, even in the troops of God. David was surely being put through the fire. He would have to remember the times when God had him kill the lion and the bear. Those were no normal fetes. God had to have been with that young teenage sheepherder, son of Jesse, to have allowed those victories to have happened. Now, here he is with an enemy so fierce that the armies of Israel quivered in their boots or sandals at the sight of this giant.
David told King Saul, “that the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear and he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine”. Saul said “Go and the Lord be with you”.
Even then Saul armed David with his armor, but in the long run David was much more comfortable equipping
himself with the very armaments he had used and tried before. He attacked the giant with only a sling and five stones, just in case he needed to kill a few of the Philistine’s kinfolk.
What a lesson for all of us. The most important thing to remember is that David was first called and anointed to be king and then called to go forth and stand against such an enemy. Would we be willing to be so bold?
How did David prevail? He first had to know who he was and who he belonged to. He was part of the chosen peoples of God. But then added to that, he was selected by God for a very special life, not always an easy life, but a special calling. Because of that knowledge he knew he was in covenant with the Creator of the universe and there would be nothing too hard for his God. He totally trusted God. He knew the history of the covenant God had made with Abraham. He had been consecrated to God in his youth and received the token of the covenant which was circumcision. What was the first thing he said to Goliath as he ran toward him?
The Philistine scorned this ruddy faced youth and said, “Come to me and I will give thy flesh to the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the fields.” But now comes David who says, “Thou comes to me with a sword and a spear, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied.” David had said earlier, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” David knew that the Philistines were not in covenant with their God and thus the battle would be won by Israel. He told the Philistine that on this day
“this whole assembly would know the Lord saves not by the sword and the spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands”.
It’s very interesting to me that immediately after David slew the Philistine, Saul again inquired who’s son was the young warrior? Abner tells Saul he is Jesse’s son, the Bethlehemite. It wasn’t the span of another chapter in 1 Samuel 19 that King Saul was wanting to kill David. Why, because he got jealous of the kinsmen praising David for his slaying 10,000 Philistines compared to Saul’s 1000.
But God brought Saul’s son Jonathan alongside of David to make a covenant with David and to exchange all of his armor and clothes. It was a covenant in the strictest sense. Either one would defend the other to the death. In all of the battle of that day, God had a plan of escape for his anointed, and he does for you this very day. No matter what the problem, if you are in covenant with the Father through the blood of Jesus, you can count on the fact the Lord will make some way for you to escape from the enemy. In David’s case, Saul promised David he would be his son-in-law by marrying Merab, the eldest daughter, but when the time came, Saul gave her to another, so eventually David marries Michal. Saul continues to seek David and kill him but at one point Michal lowers David out of a window so he can escape, while she places a dummy in his bed so the king’s men can’t see David is missing.
David had a tremendous heart for God and was described by God, “As a man after God’s own heart.” If we listed
some of his accomplishments they would certainly be listed as a shepherd, a poet, a warrior and giant killer, a king, and certainly one of the greatest men of the Old Testament, not to mention in the lineage of Jesus.
Yet David had plenty of faults, just like you and me. So in that list would be liar, murderer, adulterer, betrayer and Lord knows what else. So, as you can easily see by any standard, David was mighty great but also a sinner. But the important thing is that he chose to serve his Lord and to be a witness for us to follow.
And as an example for this chapter, David spoke with authority to Goliath and then to the children of Israel as their king. He was fulfilling his calling by God.
You must Love Your Enemies
Jesus in Matthew 5:43 teaches us about loving your enemies. That is not a natural instinct for most people. We want to do bad things to our enemies. After all they have done bad things to us. In Matthew 5:43-48 we see the following which Jesus spoke:
43 You have heard that it has been said; Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate your enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love them that love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans do the same?
47 And if you salute your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the publicans do so?
48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your father who is in heaven is perfect.
As we ponder those scriptures it makes us think of times when we were very negligent in that very area. This is probably one of the most difficult things to overcome as a follower of Jesus and one who has been called to minister in some fashion to a hurting world. I at times
think of how David had to love and forgive King Saul, who was so vexed with anger that he could only throw javelins at David and instruct his army to kill David. Here, David as a young man had not only saved Saul and all of Israel from the Philistine giant, but continued to do him no harm all the way through Saul’s life. Most of us would have found David’s patience in this ongoing battle with Saul, something we could not have performed. David had multiple opportunities to kill Saul, but always refused. He knew that Saul had been God’s anointed, plus the fact he was the father of Jonathan who David had made covenant with. You cannot attack those who you are in covenant with. That principle is one which I teach on very frequently in regards to our marriage covenants. I explain that those in-laws as parents of your spouse are also covenanted to you, and you should not attack them as if they were the enemy. When Jonathan made covenant with David, he set up a whole family of people in covenant. Not only that, but David was also an Israelite and enjoyed the covenant God had made with his people from the time of Abraham. David was called by God to go after the Amelekites who had just raided his camp at Ziklag when he and his small army were off fighting another battle. David and his army were in serious distress over what had happened to their wives and children. David sought God and the Lord directed him to go after the enemy and he would destroy the enemy but lose nothing themselves. When God calls you to battle he can show you how to be victorious, too.
In David’s case he not only destroyed the enemy but he recovered all of the loot of the enemy and then brought it back to Ziklag and distributed it to all of the children
of Israel. That was part of the covenant he was bound to by God’s joining them all together.
Later when the Philistines fought against the Israelites Jonathan and Saul and two more sons of Saul were killed in battle. When David learned of Saul and Jonathan’s death he grieved and would not let any Israelite speak lowly of Saul or Jonathan. After all, they were all covenanted together by God. That is exactly where we must be in our marriages. Do not speak against your covenant spouse, or against the kinsmen. God will hold you accountable.
Saul spent too much time chasing and attempting to harm David, the very one who had helped preserve his kingdom from the time of Goliath and the very one Jonathan was protecting over the timespan. Saul had become so bitter when the anointing fell away from his kingdom and when Samuel had let him know that David had been selected to be king. For everything, there is a time and a season.
Loyalty, a Most Important Quality
Loyalty is a characteristic of perfect love and certainly is a quality which can require a great cost. A person who stands on his/her marriage covenant through thick and thin shows a selfless quality, always defending the other person, never speaking against that person, no matter how terrible at times the circumstances may be.
A great story of a life lived well and showing tremendous loyalty is the life of Jonathan. In 1 Samuel 19:1 we see Saul telling his son Jonathan and all of Saul’s servants that they should kill David. What had David done but kill the giant Philistine, then later he killed tens of thousands of the enemies of Israel? The women chanted to that effect after the wars were won, but accredited Saul with only killing one thousand, thus Saul’s heart was darkened and he was jealous of the young David. This action of Saul put Jonathan in a terrible spot to where he had to help preserve David’s life as he knew David had been called to be the next king, but at the same time show some loyalty to his father, King Saul. That type of dilemma takes wisdom and certainly takes a degree of loyalty seldom found in much of today’s society. We can’t even be loyal to the unborn.
Now, let’s take a minute to read a few passages out of 1 Samuel 19:2 (paraphrased) Jonathan told David, that my father seeks to kill you, now go hide. Then Jonathan says I will go and talk with my father and I will tell you what he says. Then Jonathan spoke kindly about David to Saul, and went on to say let not the King sin against David because David has not sinned against you.
Jonathan went on to tell the King that David had performed well against the enemies of the King’s kingdom. If you kill David you will be sinning against innocent blood. Saul let Jonathan know he would not slay David. So Jonathan explained all of his discussion with his father to David.
Jonathan brought David to Saul again. Then a new war with the Philistines broke out and David went out and slew a great number of the enemy and the enemy fled. Even after all of that, King Saul still sought to slay David. David’s wife Michal (a daughter of the King) had to alert David that the King’s men were going to attempt to kill him this very evening and she helped him escape through a window in a basket.
In both of these situations, the son and the daughter of King Saul had to have the courage to protect their friend and her spouse from an evil King wanting to destroy God’s anointed. If we are put in the same spot, would we protect God’s anointed? Would we be loyal to those we are in covenant with? What about our spouses whom we are so ready to defame in the divorce courts and to defame to our friends? Isn’t that an opportunity of seeking God’s best and to defend even a person we may have felt has done us wrong? I believe so. That‘s why Jesus asked the question about suing our Christian brother? I suspect if we think about it much, that we will find we take way too many liberties in this area. God certainly instructed us to not be the judge, and yet I know I too frequently make some statement which well might be judgmental in this very area. It is certainly one thing to call some thought or action evil, but then we are
not supposed to harshly judge the person so involved, but really to pray for that person’s enlightenment or being saved.
1 Samuel 20: 16 after some lengthy discussions between Jonathan and David, Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David saying basically that should Jonathan turn on David then let David’s enemies turn on Jonathan.
Jonathan truly learned it was only God’s truths which could command his loyalty. He well knew that David was anointed by God to succeed his father as king of Israel, and it was David who diserved his loyalty. Because of his relationship with God, he was able to be the person of God which was expected of him even in this very complicated situation. In being a loyal person, committed to God’s direction for your life, requires not just living for yourself or just for your best interests, but to seek the good of others. All of those around us or who we deal with should have some knowledge of who has your greatest loyalty. In the beginning of this book I placed the statement which adorned the front wall in my medical device company. It said. “To know Him and to make Him known.” That truly was the goal of the company and it is truly the goal of my life.
Remember the Bible wisely tells us that the “truth will set us free.” So, as hard as that may be to live out, that should definitely be a characteristic which defines our lives. When someone asks the question, after you are gone, well what kind of a person was he? You would hope that someone might say he was not only a loving individual, but also a very loyal brother/sister, and
follower of Jesus.
Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan
There is an interesting story about the power of covenant in our families. It is the story of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan who was the son of King Saul. The story is told in 1Samuel 9:3 where King David, after the death of King Saul and Jonathan, asks the question are there no relatives of King Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? The answer came back that there was a son of Jonathan who was lame. Then the king sent for him from Lo-debar.
Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face and did reverence. David said unto him, “Fear not: for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan, your father’s sake, and I will restore to you all of the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat bread at my table, continually.”
The story of the power of the covenant made between Jonathan and David gets even more interesting as there was a servant in the house of Jonathan who had survived the battles. David instructed he and his 15 sons and twenty servants to till the land and bring fruit and food into Mephibosheth’s home for he and Mephibosheth’s son Micha. And that he, Mephibosheth, and his son would always eat at King David’s table and be like a son to him. This is truly the power of the blood covenants which we make, especially in our marriages, but also in our being born again believers. The story is told that a nurse type was caring for Mephibosheth at the time of
David becoming King and they were somehow in fear of David and as they fled, the child was dropped and injured both feet so he could not walk properly. They were somehow fearful of David’s retaliation against King Saul’s family. They did not know the power of the covenant made between David and Jonathan.
As I was writing this chapter for this short book, it reminded me of the young baby Boadin, who we are in covenant through all of our family ties. It makes it even more important that we not only dedicate this book to Boadin, but together we are all standing for the special calling on his life in the name of Jesus and the special call our Lord has on his life.
Remaining True to Your Calling
Perseverance might be another word used to describe this quality. There are times in our lives when this character trait might be very easy to maintain, but then other times when pressures come against a person and then a choice to abandon God’s calling might be very powerful.
Certainly, the enemy would always seek to see us deterred from doing what God would ask us to do. How about Eve in the Garden of Eden? “Yeah, has God said?” Well, yes, my friend, God has said. I often think back to the time when God totally, unequivocally got my attention when He sent a bullet of light through my brain which had tagged on to it these words, “I want you in full time ministry.” That was on Father’s Day 1987. Now, I must admit I had several questions about exactly what the Lord was asking me to do? I have also learned, that at times, the Lord will allow you to accomplish the call at some future time, perhaps not instantly. That certainly is where the born again Christian needs the calling and instruction of the Holy Spirit.
In the case of the calling which my wife, Lynne, and I would need to follow, I discerned that since I was in an active oral and maxillofacial surgery practice in Northern California, an immediate closing of the practice was not necessarily what the Lord was asking me to do. I just knew that I would get further instructions from the Holy Spirit and then we would do whatever He asked and in whatever timing. The instruction which was vividly given was certainly for an appointed time,
but I felt sure I would finally know when that moment had arrived. It was just a year after that instruction was given when I told Lynne; it was now time to begin to close down the surgical practice which I was enjoying. But then what? We knew we were to begin Covenant Marriages Ministry in a new location and as a fulltime endeavor, but how would we sustain ourselves and our two sons? Was there supposed to be tent making, too? As we closed down our surgery practice in Northern California, we received a phone call from a couple who we knew well in the ministry to marriages and who lived in the Denver area.
To make a long story short, we came to Denver and met with the Mike and Marilyn Phillips and within a month we were starting our relocation from the Ukiah, California area to the Lakewood Colorado area where we founded Covenant Marriages Ministry alongside of TMJ Implants, Inc. a medical device company. Wow, what a calling and direction that has been. It has required a perseverance to get the medical devices through the FDA approval process, which to say the least was flawed if not outright criminal in its deliverance. About all I can say is that God was always faithful and it did require an unusual amount of devotion, integrity and a massive amount of perseverance. When someone says they have been called to do whatever, all I can say is that it may take all of your energy and life to fulfill what God has called you to do. Jesus reminded us to always count the cost.
Often times the call on our lives will seem very mundane. We are always called to serve others. In my years as a
surgeon it was always a position where I knew I had the ability and the desire to help and serve many people. It wasn’t always just by performing some surgery, but in helping that person or family in whatever way I could. One of the interesting ways in which I was able to really help mankind was in developing some new surgical technique or some new implant which might well benefit thousands and possibly millions of our fellow citizens of the world. There was always some major cost to me, personally, but also to my family. We never measured the need for the sacrifice by what it might cost us, personally. If it helped others, and we could do it, we did it.
There is an interesting life lived at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion and that was the life of a man named Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr, but that is not necessarily the most important part of his life. He was an administrator and well-liked by the first disciples. Before a saint can give his life for the Gospel, he must first live his life for the Gospel.
That is what Stephen did when he was selected by the early disciples to be a deacon in the church. He was selected with about 7 others to be the first mentioned deacons. Their first job was to serve food to the disciples and distribute food supplies to the needy. To serve Christ we are to serve others. That is the call on my life and on your life. Will it all be in the same way? No, not at all. You may be called to be President of the United States, or a wife and mother to a number of
children, any one of them may be called to be a Priest, a school teacher, a nurse or whatever. We just offer our lives to accomplish whatever God needs us to be at that time. We may get started in the smallest sphere of influence and be grown into a large sphere. Whatever God calls us to be deserves the very best of our efforts. God chooses those who show obedience to the calling and their integrity and sensitivity to God.
In Stephen’s case one of his great attributes was his ability to speak to large crowds with clarity and eloquence. When he was confronted in the Temple by some of the antagonists against the Christian faith, and later when he was required to defend what Jesus had taught, he was doing it with such logic that the people rising against him eventually stoned him to death, even when he cried out to God to forgive them because they know not what they are doing. It was in his faithfulness to the call which God had placed on his life which had the added effect of moving Saul, better known as Paul, to eventually follow Jesus. He was definitely influenced by the courage and faith of Stephen. There is little question about Stephen remaining true to his calling, and what a cost, but what a victory. Could we ever do that well? Possibly not, but we won’t know until your life and mine are finally over and we have gone to be with Jesus.
Let’s take a moment to look at Paul’s life. What an example he was of a person who had sinned and who when called by God, became totally obedient. He then preached the uncompromising truth of God’s word,
frequently at his own peril, thrown in prison, beaten, withstood immeasurable pain as he evangelized for the risen Christ, almost always in peril. What an example of living the life of Jesus and what an example he is to us today. Because as you are called to serve Jesus, you too will be mocked, lied about and suffer all sorts of humiliation and hurt, just because you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. But in all of Paul’s hurting life, he was able to write so much of the New Testament, saw miracles happen and brought God’s word to millions of subsequent Christians. He truly was and is a shining light on a hill. Oh, that we could mimic St Paul.
Choosing to Serve
This is truly the marking of a Christian, Not only to serve but the Christian’s heart should be one of humility and gratitude to God for giving that person the opportunity and for having whatever gifts or resources are necessary for that moment. There are so many instances in the Bible where God had just the right person groomed and available to improve a certain situation for a person or a whole nation.
Let me tell you of a couple of minor occasions where the Lord used my talents to help some special person at some special moment. In one instance while I was out at Denver International Airport to pick up a doctor for a special conference we were putting on. It had to have been before 9-11 because my son Matt and I had travelled out to the C concourse, which at that time was little used by aircraft arriving or departing. It was midafternoon and the concourse was nearly empty, with the exception of 2 middle aged African American women with 4 very young children who were walking slowly through the concourse perhaps about 40 feet from us. All of a sudden, Matt said, Dad, I think that young boy is choking. I looked over and sure enough he was. One of the ladies was attempting to reach down his throat, but that obviously was not working and the boy was getting no air into his lungs.
My training as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon had trained me well in general anesthesia where keeping an airway was always of the greatest importance and over the years I had performed several elective tracheotomies
under operating room conditions. As I ran over to the lady, I was removing my coat. I quickly explained to the mother of the choking boy that I was a surgeon and to let me have her 4 year old son, which she did immediately. I picked the boy up in a horizontal, face down direction, holding my left hand under his face down chest and my right hand was on his back at the mid chest level. With a controlled compression of my two hands it allowed the chest to be compressed and immediately out of his mouth pops a jaw breaker. He was now able to inhale and we began to see his normal lip and facial color return. All I could think at that moment was, “Thank you Lord”. When everyone had gotten their breath and composure, I asked the mother if they were all Christians. Her answer was, yes. I told her that I know God has a special purpose for this young son and to guard him well. She gratefully said she would. I was so grateful that God had let me almost be an angel for a moment, because of the training and experiences I had over many years. It was just one of those moments when you were so glad you were present and able to serve.
There was another recent situation that was similar and one in which I was also glad I could be present to help. I was driving on a city street here in Arvada, when all of a sudden I see an elderly woman sitting in the street, on the side opposite of the one I was driving on. She was holding her face with her hand, and it was obvious that she was bleeding rather profusely from her face. I just stopped the car right where I was and got out and ran over to her. She was a frail appearing lady of about my age, 85 years, who was confused, hurting, bleeding and possibly somewhat disoriented. I let her know I
was a surgeon and was there to help her. I felt she was relieved. A quick inspection showed me not only was she injured with a deep wound below her left eye, which was bleeding profusely, but her left hand, dorsal side, had a tennis ball sized skin and subcutaneous flap peeled back, but still anchored by a pedicle. All I had was a clean handkerchief to apply pressure over the suborbital wound with hand pressure. My free hand I used to place the skin flap back into position and asked her to place her right hand on top of it so it would also stop bleeding. All the time I was supporting her sitting position, until I could get another passerby to help me lay her down in the street. I was contemplating ahead as to when my handkerchief would become useless because of it’s being saturated with her blood, that perhaps I would have to take off my red sweater vest and then take off my undershirt to use to tamponade the bleeding. I thought for a moment, what a sight that would be. Some nearly 86 year old Tarzan stripped half naked, leaning over some similar aged woman, attempting to minister to her needs. What a picture that would have been. The Cops might have arrested me for indecent exposure.
She was apparently all dressed up with her pretty red hat and coat and was likely walking toward a bus stop when she fell off of the curb causing the fall and her glasses to do much of the harm. Other people walked by, but I was only able to get one man to help and I suggested he call the 911 emergency number, which he did and in about 20 minutes we had the ambulance and two EMTs present to take over. I had informed the female EMT that I was a surgeon and what I had assessed of her injuries and her immediate need. They were thankful. I
had been kneeling on the pavement so long I had to ask the woman EMT if she would mind helping me get up from my kneeling position. She gladly obliged. I really felt at about that moment that they could have placed me also in the ambulance as all of a sudden I was greatly fatigued. It happened at about 2:00PM and I hadn’t eaten all day and was on my way to Chipotle’s which was only 75 feet from where I had been kneeling assisting a little un-named lady. I felt sure that both she and I were glad I was there to be helpful, but our paths will likely never cross unless somehow they do in heaven.
When I left I just took my red, soaked handkerchief and my blood covered hands and went into the UPS store to send a couple of books to someone. I think they first thought I had murdered someone, but remembering the ambulance and the cars being backed up, they had to laugh as I told them what had happened. They knew me quite well in that particular store and probably weren’t too surprised as a surgeon and a minister of the Gospel that I had stopped to help. In any case, one can readily see that God has us all placed in areas where we may be needed and where we can be of help. I just always say “Thank you”, to the Lord for giving me the opportunity of assisting some fellow traveler who might need something I could furnish.
Naomi, Ruth and Boaz
The bible is replete with stories of people serving others or wishing to serve others at the beckoning of God. One of the most interesting and touching stories of serving another is the story of Naomi and Ruth found in the
book of Ruth. It tells a story of such loyalty and love that all of us can gain much from it. In the story it tells of a time when judges ruled in Israel and a famine hit the land. A certain man from Bethlehem, named Elimelech was married to Naomi and they had two children. He decided the family should travel eastward to Moab in hopes of getting through the famine in Judah. Sometime later, Elimelech died leaving Naomi and her two sons living in Moab. Both sons finally married. In about ten years the two husbands of the daughters died. Now, Naomi, rather old tells her daughters-in-laws that they should stay in Moab, their country. Ruth, the daughterin-law was married to Mahlon. Ruth, who came to know the God of Israel through Naomi, did not want to stay in her native land. She had learned to love and serve God, so she said to Naomi, “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
The story goes on from there showing how God watched over Ruth for her steadfast obedience to him. She was allowed to reap corn in the fields of the rich kinsman of Naomi’s deceased husband. His name was Boaz and he finally married Ruth. They were both loyal and devoted to their God. God had a plan all along and he was watching out for those who chose to serve others rather than worry about their own wealth or comfort. Ruth was as great an example of that desire to serve as much as any person, short of Jesus, in the Bible, and she
was born a Moabitess, not in the chosen tribes of Israel. Ruth and Boaz would never have known that their child together would be in the lineage of David and Jesus. Both Boaz and Ruth met the challenges of the moment and fulfilled God’s very purposes for their lives. What great stories which can’t help but make us realize that even when things in our lives may not look like they are going the right way, just place your life and trust in the loving hands of Jesus and ask Him to watch over and guide and keep you.
Sometimes the right choice for our lives may not always be the easiest choice. But God will give clarity if we ask. In Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” I don’t know how any instruction from God could be much clearer. I find that in these terrible times of uncertainty, that if I can get into his word and begin to let it pour over me, that in time I gain peace and even a clearer understanding of what path we are to take. I must say it is hard, when everything around you may have fallen away, much like it did for Naomi, but somehow, through it all, God had a marvelous plan. In Naomi’s case God brought in someone who would not appear to be the answer, but she was God’s answer as he later could bring Boaz back into the picture.
Every Tree is Known by its Fruit
If somehow God has called you to be an apple tree or a pear tree, all people will be looking for the exact type of fruit you will bear. Is that not so? In the book of Luke, we find Jesus making the statement, “For a good tree brings forth not corrupt fruit; neither a corrupt tree brings forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks.”
How often do we see some individual, in some position of authority, in which the fruit is not what you might have hoped for? Or perhaps the individual has surrounded himself with such an unsavory group of people that you would wonder how any good fruit would ever be brought forth. I think as we seek to follow Jesus, we need to always be mindful of what our actions might look like to some other person who we would like to see godly qualities in our life, in hopes that person would also seek to follow Jesus in his life. Remember the initials WWJD in which people might place that on their car window or wherever? It stands for, What Would Jesus Do? The idea is great, but if that person is driving like a fool then it isn’t going to have the right effect.
I suspect in all of our lives there are times when we behaved poorly and we wish we might have behaved differently. That certainly happens more than we
would wish in our marriages. Sometimes because of some unusual pressure of the moment we might snap back some unkind words toward our mate, only to wish we might have taken those very words back later. As a minister in a marriage ministry, I frequently caution individuals or a couple to be very careful what words depart from their mouths. Once those words have been spoken it is impossible to scoop them up and throw them out. All of us have been guilty of this very point and how destructive it is. Sometimes there is a very fine line between trying to be corrective of someone’s actions and then saying things which are hurtful and unkind. I wish I could say I always knew just how to make some correct statement and still not be hurtful. I really don’t. It seems that when the words get that problematic, we are better to not say them, but often in the heat of some discussion, those words just appear. Asking for forgiveness is always an action to be considered, and undertaken when indicated.
I keep thinking that age and maturity will always keep one from making some foolish statement, but I find that is not always true. Certainly, maturity is helpful, but doesn’t always totally change the picture.
I think the point to make in this subject is the fact that whatever one does for the sake of his/her walk with the Lord we need to make it consistent. Our character develops by repeating what we do, and those things which we do and that are repeatable help to form our character traits, for the good or for the bad. The choice is ours to make. Also we are to seek good mentoring by people who are linked to us through our belief in God. I
can’t help but think of some of our national figures who have spent their lives being surrounded by questionable or unsavory people. Should we find comfort in anything they might do or suggest?
Unbridled Anger is a Sin
The world is falling away from the very nature of God and is succumbing to one of the devil’s main tools and that is anger. Let’s take a moment to look back at Genesis chapter 4 where Adam and Eve had their first child, Cain. It is in the life of Cain that we see the first episode of unbridled human anger leading all the way to the murder of his own brother, Abel. What a tragic story, but how repeatable it has become in our present age.
Cain and Abel
Let’s take a moment to review the issue of Cain and Abel. Sibling rivalry is a given and certainly must have been the situation between Cain and Abel. The act of murder is fortunately rare in these instances, but certainly not unheard of. In their early lives they must well have known about their parents having been put out of the Garden of Eden by God and the fact that because of their sin, God had sacrificed animals to make coats of skins to clothe them both. In this case it was the blood of animals which had to be shed so that those skins would be available and their sin covered.
Cain and Abel had to have known of that action by God, to allow Adam and Eve to have been covered so that God could even deal with them and put them out of His garden. In time as Cain and Abel were growing up, Cain became a tiller of the ground while Abel became a keeper of the sheep. The time came when they both were to make an offering to God, Cain brought an
offering of the ground and Abel brought an offering of fat from the firstlings of his flock. The word tells us that the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering, but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect.
The word says that Cain was wroth and his countenance fell. Then the Lord in essence asked Cain why his countenance fell? It says that Cain talked to Abel and when they were alone in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel and murdered him. Why? In Hebrews 11:4 we get a glimpse of the reason. “By faith Abel offered God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous. God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks” What can we learn from this story? Cain’s anger was controlled by a short fuse. His attitude had probably been wrong all along. He was undoubtedly jealous of his younger brother and the attention he might have been getting. Attitude is so important and apparently Cain did little to control his dislike for his brother. It may have been hidden but when God rejected his offering, compared to Abel’s, that was enough for him to act out in rage. The energy used up by anger should be energy used up by good deeds. God said to Cain after he offered his grain offering, “If thou does well, shall thou not be accepted? And if thou do not well, sin lies at the door.” Those words spoken by God became very appropriate. Cain made the wrong choice and then suffered the consequences and his poor choice added to his making more bad choices in denying to God that he even knew where Abel was or what happened to him. But God said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood cries from the ground.” And Cain went out from the Lord to be exiled
in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
There are times when anger can be a legitimate reaction, but there are other times when it must be bridled. We see young children begin to act out in anger toward a brother or sister and we begin to make the corrections necessary so that the anger is not allowed to get out of hand.
Sometimes we are given the opportunity of seeing some very mature adult do something awful in the way of acting angry toward a spouse or a neighbor or whomever. In those instances it takes much more of a reaction to put the brakes on the situation. If allowed to go on, the results could easily be as disastrous as those seen between Cain and Abel.
We may look at the Cain and Abel story and think how that could possibly have happened. How could two brothers get so involved in a dispute to have this happen? But remember, Cain was wroth with God. Any born again Christian who hasn’t felt the anger of some demon acting out anger through some unsaved person has possibly not been taking God’s word out to the world. It takes very little evangelizing to see the ugly head of the devil rise up in some unsaved individual. Now, let’s take this a little further. You are amazed at a brother killing a brother. Yes, but what about a mother or father killing a helpless, infant, confined for some nine months in the mother’s womb? He or she has no escape, no place to run, and we are freely allowing this to happen in the most grotesque of ways. A scissors is pushed into the baby’s neck. Through the skin, then
subcutaneous tissues, then through the neck muscles, vessels, lymphatic’s, spinal sheath, and then most painfully into the spinal nerve structure in which the baby’s body is convulsing and the baby is screaming out to God for help. The infant is saying, where is the mother who loves me? Where is the father that will always be there to protect me? Where is the nation that is creating laws to safeguard my life? You see, I am a surgeon who well remembers the pain in just poking my spinal nerves with a needle when I was not anesthetized. It was horrible. Now, that was child’s play compared to the ruthless murder which some abortionist is being allowed to do in a society that is just plain godless. It makes me sick thinking about that scenario. You see, I used to give general anesthetics to women who needed a D & C for a spontaneous miscarriage or incomplete abortion. Those ladies were asleep. That procedure was medically justified, but horrible when looked at through human eyes in that whatever was left in the woman’s uterus was scooped out and allowed to drop, unceremoniously, into an old bucket attached to the operating table. Lord knows where that bucket was emptied? But these 53,000,000 American babies killed by some reprobate abortionist had no chance of any pain control as they are being slaughtered ruthlessly. Shame on us. I cannot imagine any god-fearing person, or for that fact matter any god-fearing nation, that would allow this to happen to any other individual, and certainly not to a helpless infant.
But, isn’t this a type of unbridled anger, millions of times worse than Cain?
Mentor and Heal those around You
The great commission tells us to be witnesses unto Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, all Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world. That is a command from Jesus himself and is unequivocal in the message. Earlier he had commanded his disciples to go out into the cities, take nothing with them and evangelize, heal the sick and mend the broken hearted. Some may say, well he didn’t say that to me. Oh, yes he did. That was, and is, a broad command to all of his born again believers. Many of us may not like to do just what he said. It was very hard for the original disciples to get out of their Jerusalem. It took the prodding of St Paul, after his Damascus road experience and time reflecting on what Jesus had told him, to get the other disciples to move their efforts out of their Jerusalem. So it isn’t too hard to see how difficult it may be for the average Christian to start evangelizing in his own territory or family and begin to accept the call of the Lord to begin to evangelize to an ever enlarging audience. Now I am not saying that we all may not have other callings for a period or to a select area of people. I suspect we have all been called to minister to and heal many others. Sometimes the sphere of ministry is very small, a single person but at other times it can become very large.
Two friends of mine were in business in the rafting of rivers around the world. God began to minister to them about including some groups of just Christians on their trips. Later it was Christian ministers or Christian ministries. As they began to do what the Lord had pushed them to do, they became very good students
of Christian doctrine. After a number of years of being faithful in little things the Lord began to call them into full time ministry, but they weren’t really sure. How many of us have balked at the calling of our Lord? I know we have at times been slow, always wanting to be sure. Finally, we get where if we believe the Lord is calling us to do something, then, Lord just tell us when, where and what.
Back to my river rat friends. The wife got the message much earlier than the husband, who kept saying, you want me to do what? They both were called into the anointing of being Pastors, but her anointing became very specific and strong in physical healings. Well, a few years went by and my dear friends, the reluctant river rats finally saw the Light and agreed with a number of us pastoral onlookers to give up the ghost and do what the Lord would have them do. It was an interesting transition which occurred over several years, but when it was finally accomplished, my river rat friends became two great evangelists and helpers for the Lord’s kingdom. They started a church in California and then they travel the world bringing the Good News to the world. What the world and the kingdom of God would have lost, if they had not picked up their cross and followed Jesus. For a number of years I was privileged to be on their Church Board and they were on Covenant Marriages Ministry’s Board. I was privileged to be asked to lay hand on them for their ordination a number of years ago, along with Evangelist Jerry Savelle at another Pastor’s church in the Southern California area. After the ordination ceremony we all traveled down to Anaheim for the Ken Copeland Convention which was starting the next day. As we were
arriving at the scene rather late in the evening a young man in a wheel chair rolled up to me and asked if I could give him some money for breakfast. I, at first, talked to him about Jesus and finally got him to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Then, I was about to pray over him for the Lord to heal him, when I was nudged by the Holy Spirit to ask the just ordained wife to do the honors. She did and he was healed by Jesus. I was so blessed to see God so perfectly present us with a young, unsaved, crippled man to whom we could minister to this first evening of my friend’s ordination into the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an evening they both will remember forever. I can hardly imagine the joy in heaven at that very moment.
By any chance, have you, my reader, either not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Or His call on your life? In either case there is no time like the present. The bible tells us in Romans 10:9 “That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart, man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. In verse 13 the bible says, “for whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” If you will ask the Lord to forgive you of all of your sins, and then make that small confession of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you shall be saved. Welcome into God’s kingdom.
Sometimes in today’s religious community, and probably in the community of people generally, there is a perception that only certain well educated or perfect people get called by the Lord. Probably nothing can be
further from the truth as to whom the Lord actually calls into some ministry or church leadership.
Let’s just take a moment to look back to the twelve disciples. They were tax collectors, fishermen, political activists. There were common men and leaders, poor, the rich, educated and uneducated. Jesus doesn’t necessarily look at people as we do. He looks at the inner man. Who is willing to sell out all of this world and its riches to just serve the Lord? I can tell you that when the Lord called me into His work, I didn’t feel very useful or significant for what He would want. That isn’t what God is asking. Are you willing to serve me? He will determine the location that He feels He can accomplish a great deal through you, for the betterment of His kingdom. I suspect it is our feeling of how insignificant we might be to accomplish His purpose, is also just how He can determine our future.
In those early days when Jesus was selecting His team, he sent them initially to the Jews, not the Samaritans or the Gentiles. His chosen people were the Jews and those were the ones he wanted the disciples to initially minister to. Isn’t that kind of like His call on your life, and mine? Begin in areas where there might be a friend or an acquaintance or two. In starting in ministry, he usually has us start small. Much like any other calling, i.e. teaching, medicine, nursing, bricklaying, law, whatever. When I started in dentistry and then surgery, God didn’t call me in initially to do some of the surgeries I was later to accomplish which might take a few hours to a dozen hours or more. Cases where we might be replacing the entire mandible and TMJs and part of the skull base.
Those operations came later after I was fully immersed in the call on my life. The same is true in ministry. At some point you may be called to undertake exorcism for some demon possessed individual, but not very likely before you are ready and prepared by God.
If God calls you into some specific ministry and you are to be a leader in that ministry, just know that attacks will come.
Counting the Costs
Counting the cost of course is important in any human endeavor from occupation, schooling, marriage, family size and certainly in ministry. Each of these areas which I mentioned have peculiar items which will fit in the cost of that endeavor. If you are going to be a school teacher there will be several things which will need to be considered. Certainly one of those might be the fact that the school year may only be 9 months, or that homework and program development will require extra hours of work. Certainly, too, in the disciplining of students you will be disliked by student and parent alike. These are all costs to accomplishing God’s call on your life.
Maybe you will decide to be a bricklayer or a carpenter or a farmer. Each one of those occupations have specific costs involved. How long a lifespan can you as a medium sized bricklayer expect? That is hard labor and hard on one’s back structures. Same is true for farming, but perhaps a bit different. Long hours are very important for farmers and what about vacations? The carpenter has to be sure he won’t cut off a hand or some fingers, or have a nail or a wood splinter come up and take out one of his eyes. He, too, will have to guard his back from carrying heavy items or being in very difficult postural positions. All of these things are costs of whatever work or profession anyone of us might go in. I know in my life as a surgeon spending much time bending over operating tables sometimes for hours at a time, had a deleterious effect on my lumbar spine. After having some 5 lumbar discs removed, and then going to Oregon to cattle ranch
and to move tons of hay each year, my back was really being traumatized to where I had to get away from that type of employment.
If in ministry one isn’t careful, there can be several areas of pitfall or hazards to be watched out for. One can get so wrapped up in ministry and helping others that one forgets about his/her own family members. Another serious pit is when some person of the opposite sex gets receiving counsel from the one in ministry and draws that person into his/her net. Not good and unfortunately, too frequent.
In whatever we are called by God to do, we can be sure there will be costs. In our lives as we lifted up the name of Jesus wherever we could, we certainly saw lots of benefit and healings and marriage restorations, but behind the scene the devil was always attempting to stop us, or discourage us or belittle us. But as these end times get closer to the end, the real Christian believers will be forced to stand with more courage and boldness. It won’t just be a well yes, I am a Christian, but here is the stand I must take on this issue or this attack.
Just this month I read of three Christians ministering in Turkey, who were confronted by three Muslim men and when the Christian men refused to swear allegiance to Islam, they were tortured with knives and murdered.
The cost of being a Christian is rising, and we individually and collectively must be ready to defend, even to death, our faith and devotion to Jesus.
You Will Be Persecuted
It’s kind of hard to imagine a person who is a born again Christian, with the love of Jesus in his heart, being disliked by anyone, and yet I can tell you people who you wouldn’t think would persecute you, may have developed an amazing dislike for you because of your Christian stand. If we think back about Joseph and how he was chosen by his father and given the coat of many colors, his own brothers stripped him of his clothes, then threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. How much worse can it get? They didn’t kill him, but they talked about it. What had he done? Nothing, but God had chosen him to be the deliverer of the Israelites from famine and eventually out of Egypt.
What about David? Again, he was selected and called by God to be the future King of Israel. He had to fight his way through Goliath and then the Philistine army. Those were no simple fetes. If that wasn’t enough, he was hated by King Saul, for what? Basically, because he was chosen by God to succeed King Saul to the throne.
And then there was Jonathan. His friendship with David cost him greatly. He had to be secret even around his own father, King Saul, because of the covenant Jonathan had made with David. It was God’s call on Jonathan’s life to befriend and protect David. That was no little assignment, and yet he was also called to support best he could his own father, the King of the Israelites. That was a major calling of God and complete loyalty was demanded by God. In the end, he and his father were killed in battle with the Philistines, but Jonathan’s legacy
is way superior to King Saul’s. It is an allegiance to God which puts all other relationships in perspective.
Even Noah, who had been given an impossible task, by God, was undoubtedly mocked by the townspeople for some 120 years, and even likely by his own family members. In Noah’s case obedience was a very long term commitment, but WOW were the benefits worth it? You bet they were. At one point Noah got drunk in front of his sons and embarrassed himself. But was that the end? Not at all, God was faithful to the call he placed on him.
Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was called by God, not because she had performed some great tasks, but because she was faithful to accept God’s call on her own life, at a great personal cost of being persecuted, and could have been stoned, for being pregnant without being fully married. That call would have challenged any young woman and certainly the man she might be engaged to. Her husband to be, Joseph, was willing to put her away secretly, but God saw to it she was safe.
Silas, a first century Christian who traveled with Paul and Timothy, got a good glimpse of the persecution which would occur because of converting to Christianity. Remember the story of he and Paul being thrown into a Philippian prison after being severely beaten, and how they began to sing praises to Jesus? It was then an earthquake occurred at midnight and all of the prisoners went free. He certainly gave up security to be able to travel with Paul and serve the Lord. In the life of both Paul and Silas we see that God never guarantees that his
followers won’t suffer.
Cornelius is an interesting story about a Roman officer who sought after God. God had Peter enter Cornelius’s home and he and his family were all converted to Christianity. This showed Peter that God wanted his Gospel preached to all, not just the Jews. Cornelius was a man who sought after God, who revered God, a man who prayed and a man who helped to meet other’s needs. God let him know he should call for Peter because Peter could give him more information about serving and knowing God.
John the Baptist was a God appointed messenger to announce the coming ministry of the Lord. He knew he had a specific ministry to accomplish as he announced the coming of the Lord. He was obedient to that call and relentlessly preached repentance. He was a man who drew people to him as he preached the truth. Many came to repentance and were baptized, but others were turned to resentment and resistance. He always pointed toward the coming Savior. His life was lived totally lifting up Jesus, but he died speaking God’s truth showing that the god-filled life does not necessarily guarantee safety and an easy life.
How Should We Act When Persecution Comes?
In Matthew 10:16 Jesus gives us his wisdom as to how we should act. He was speaking to his disciples when he stated,
:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues:
:18 And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak.
:20 For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.
:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
:22 And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved.
:23 but when they persecute you in this city, flee you unto another: for verily I say unto you, you shall not
have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Even though Jesus spoke this to his disciples at the time of his earthly ministry, you can be sure it has been wisdom from above for every generation of Christian. I have spoken a good deal about some persecution which I had to endure, which from day one, I felt was spiritual. Let me give you just a glimpse of a few points in a battle which has gone on for some 50 years, and still is present. I felt from the very beginning it was a spiritual battle as nothing about it seemed normal or reasonable or made common sense.
As most of you know, I was trained as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon going back through the 1940s and early 1950s. I had entered my own private practice in Pasadena, California in 1952, just after I had come out of military service during the Korean War as a Navy Surgeon, stationed with the Marines.
It was in 1960 that I came up with a new surgical technique to reconstruct the human temporomandibular joint. It had not been accomplished before using the implant which the Lord had me develop and Patent. This small implant would in essence plate the bottom of the skull, in the upper joint area, and would correct an early or late degenerative joint problem, thus controlling pain and function. Boy, you would think that would make the medical profession thrilled and the patients greatly relieved. Well, I think those patients who needed this surgery were thrilled, but the surgeons were more than skeptical at times and outright condemning.
Back in June 1961, I was prepared to perform a surgery on a Catholic Sister named Lucille, as the first Partial TMJ reconstructive surgery here in the U.S. She had been fully apprised of this surgery, as well as her Mother Superior of her Catholic Order. In those days there was no FDA approval of a medical device. We had, as scientists and surgeons, to use our experience and best judgment in accomplishing some newer type of surgical procedure. This was not out of the ordinary, but I had also gone over my innovation earlier with a competent orthopedic surgeon and a general surgeon, both of whom agreed with the wisdom of what I was proposing and going to accomplish. Actually, I had started this review of my proposed surgical technique some 7 months earlier.
I had not mentioned this new technique to any others, who would not be involved in the procedure, until a day or two before the patient was going into the hospital for her surgery, which would be on a Tuesday morning in St Luke Hospital in Altadena, California. It was on the Friday night before the surgery on Tuesday, that I made a terrible mistake. I informed a friend of mine, who was an excellent general dentist and whose office was only about three blocks from mine, about what I was planning to do that following Tuesday. Unfortunately, he informed some of the professionals over at the USC Dental School, during an evening party, of what Dr. Christensen was contemplating. I had instinctively known that when you are contemplating some new procedure, that it is wise not to verbalize it much because it can come back to haunt you. Don’t share your pearls before swine, the bible says. Well, somebody that Dr.
Contino told, took it upon himself to call the Hospital Administrator that following Monday and ask the Sister Superior who administrates St Luke Hospital, if the hospital allowed “experimental” surgery to be performed in that hospital? Well, if you don’t think that created a stir.
I had already admitted Sister Lucille into the hospital that Monday noon for surgery at 7:30 AM the following day. Now, the Sister Superior called me and said she had received such a call and that she could not let me go ahead with that “experimental” surgery. There was no changing her mind. But then out of my mouth came the words, Well, Sister, I would like to argue my case before the Executive Medical Board. Is that possible and when do they meet? She said they meet this evening. Great! Can you get me before them? She did and I met until about 10:30 PM that Monday evening showing those doctors exactly what I was up to. An interesting point. Sister St. John came out of that meeting and told me she had never seen such persecution. She had been a Navy nurse before entering the convent. I suspect she was very sympathetic to the treatment of me as a former Navy surgeon. Plus the fact she had seen me operate many difficult surgeries in St. Luke Hospital. They were impressed and I was allowed to accomplish Sister Lucille’s TMJ hemiarthroplasty that Tuesday morning at St Luke Hospital. That was the first such surgery in the whole world. It has since become the main surgical technique for some 90% of patients who require TMJ surgery. It is done weekly at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. But look how the devil attempted to stop it.
Since that moment in time, there still have been so many attempts to stop this technique from being accomplished, because the devil knew that much of the profitability coming from the use and sale of these implants would be used to further God’s kingdom. There was no way he (the devil) could allow this to happen. He would work through great numbers of people to see that this did not happen.
I performed that same surgery over the next 15 years in 17 different teaching hospitals in Southern California. I was written up in newspapers, magazines, had secular TV programs featuring this surgery occurring and yet the enemy attacked me in every way possible. I taught it as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the UC Irvine College of Medicine to the 4-5th year head and neck surgery residents, and yet the devil did all he could to defame me, the technique and everything I tried to accomplish.
Some 27 years later in 1988 when we founded TMJ Implants, Inc. to manufacture and sell these implants to surgeons and hospitals around the world, the enemy was always right in my face, but when I became a born again Christian, I came against the devil and all of his cohorts in every battle, and though some were nearly impossible, never once have I seen God let me down. Sometimes the ending looks terrible, but then when time goes by one sees exactly what the Lord was doing to give us victory and prosperity. Not always quite in the manner in which we might have expected, but always with a peace and a knowing that God was with us on the whole journey.
When the FDA compelled us to have their approval to sell our devices the battle raged in ways that seemed impossible to ever win. There were times when Congressmen and women had to get involved to help defend us, or when the Wall Street Journal did an Op Ed page article about our protracted battle with the mammoth FDA, or when we would end up in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. It always looked like we lost, but God brought us and the product through the desert experience.
If we look at Moses and Egypt’s Pharaoh, we see some similarity in the apparent spiritual battles. Moses always seemed to be drawn into some conflict. Whether it be in defending a Hebrew slave against an Egyptian or in leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, he seemed to always be in the thick of the battle.
Perhaps that is part of leadership, it always requires reaction. There is always some action which requires a reaction and the important thing is to allow that reaction to be as God demands. In the story of the Exodus, God beckoned Moses to take a strong stand against the Pharaoh. There was no backing down, because that would not have accomplished God’s will for Moses. It was in always pushing the envelope, as the saying goes. God was not there attempting to change who Moses was, but to mold and make his characteristics exactly what God would want, for His purposes. Moses had to get right in the Pharaoh’s face.
In the very beginning God chose Moses to be born in the lineage of Jacob and out of the house of Levi. This
was a time of severe bondage and cruelty. The Pharoah had the children of Israel in bondage and he commanded the midwives, when they were helping in the delivery of the Hebrew women, that they should kill every male baby. Moses mother had the courage to save her son and to hide him for three months and then to hide him in the bulrushes. What a courageous act by a female slave, but her obedience to God allowed God to finally use Moses to free God’s people from Egypt (bondage)
You see, God knew the end from the beginning. He would have this young Hebrew baby found and raised right in the Pharaoh’s house. He, Moses, would well understand the manners of the enemy, but would never forget his godly heritage and calling. God made sure the calling of God was permanently imbedded in Moses brain. He showed him the burning bush. Did Moses fully understand the significance of that episode? Probably not, but he knew it was God getting his attention and that was for a specific purpose. Like most of those God calls for some special task, he often uses the frail people who others might never consider if the truth were known.
God had a, magnificent calling on Moses’ life. That would be for delivering God’s very special people out of bondage in Egypt. What if that had been you? Would you have accepted the challenge? Have you asked God to not only use you, but Lord, how do you want me to use the talents that you have given me?
In the beginning it was undoubtedly difficult to realize that God was going to use the talents which he had
allowed developed in Moses. Moses had to flee from the Pharaoh’s house after he had killed the Egyptian. How could almighty God use such a flawed person? Here he had been schooled, mentored, tutored and taught all of the things pertaining to the rule of Egypt, and now through a senseless act, he was having to flee from the comfort and wealth of Pharaoh’s house and family.
But, you see, God had a plan of deliverance for the young Moses and even gave him water to drink in the desert lands of Midian. The patriarch of that residence was a sheepherder who befriended the young Moses and even supplied him a wife, Zipporah. It was in tending the sheep at the back side of the mountain that an angel of the Lord appeared unto him out of a burning bush. It was there that God called him by name, and Moses’s words should ring around our world, “Here am I.” God was gracious to explain to Moses exactly who He was that was calling him. Take off your shoes, you are standing on holy ground.
God had seen the bondage and hurt of His people. He had predicted their departure into a foreign land, but now, He had heard their cry. He was calling forth a deliverer. To deliver them into a land flowing with milk and honey.
He told Moses, Come now therefore and I will send you unto Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out Egypt. Boy, that was short and sweet. No fanfare, just be obedient and do it. How would we have acted? I suspect most of us would have balked. But Moses said to God, who am I that I should
bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? Moses even complained he couldn’t even speak well. It didn’t matter to God.
God let him know that He would be with him and when Moses asks the question, Who shall I say sent me? God answers with the words, I Am What I Am. Tell them I Am sent you.
God tells Moses to gather the elders of Israel and tell them the Lord God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appeared to me. Let them know God has seen their affliction and is going to bring them into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perrizites, Hivites, and the Jebusites. Wow isn’t that just wonderful. All of this land flowing with milk and honey, but wait a minute, aren’t those people all enemy and giants?
But, Moses, you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and let him know, that the lord God of the Hebrews has met with you and now let him know he is to let you go, for three days to worship your God.
God says He knows the king of Egypt will not let you go but God says I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do; and after that he will let you go. I will give you favor in the sight of the Egyptians and when you go, you shall not go empty. You shall spoil the Egyptians. Wow, what a calling put on a mortal man. But what a promise of almighty God.
Moses was Egyptian educated. The greatest Jewish leader. Who was called by God to set the Exodus
in motion. He was a prophet, the giver of the Ten Commandments, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing instead the suffering of his people. He chooses to be used mightily by God
In that calling on Moses, he was to do exactly as the Lord was commanding him to do. Are we willing to lay our lives down for Jesus? And for His call on our lives, no matter how inconsequential or mightily important? It makes little difference to God, but one’s saying, “Here I am Lord.”
In these years of leading the nation’s surgeons in this kind of surgical technique, God has allowed me to go through many very difficult and at times hurtful experiences so that I might see just how God was bringing me through each battle and not get prideful and think any part of the success was my doing, but to truly recognize each part of the battle was won by my doing what God would have me do. Now, let me describe some more difficult moments in which the Lord gave me victory.
At one point Aetna Insurance Company refused to recognize and pay for this surgical technique and the implants which I had innovated, even though it was 45 years after I innovated them, at God’s direction. It was hurting many needful patients, as well as our TMJ Implant Company, financially. Talk about a David and Goliath, but I knew Aetna was wrong. I could either sit idly by or I could engage in battle. I decided like David in his battle with Goliath, to run toward the enemy and join him in battle. In the natural it felt awful and looked worse. Any bystanders had to be laughing. I’m sure the
attorneys for Aetna had to be laughing. We finally won that battle.
I wish I could say that this was the last of the battles we have had to face over this surgical technique and implants which the Lord some 50 years ago wanted me to innovate. No, then some years after winning the battle with the FDA about our device approvals, they championed another battle about how I was reporting any event which might have occurred in any patient who had one of our implants, implanted. It was a bogus issue, but they chose to attack us by fining TMJ Implants, Inc. some $640,000. It was a fine, called a Civil Money Penalty, which had never been levied against any company, for that reason, before.
We were a small company of some 12 people, and yet they chose to attack us so massively. This had to do whether I had any expertise to determine if a device of ours might have caused some serious, permanent injury or death. As the world’s expert in not only the innovation of these devices, but in the use of such devices in the surgical world, you would have thought the FDA might have given me some slack. No way. The devil overplays his hand and cares less. Are there times when you are called to stand up against an enemy, even a government entity? The answer is yes. Has the ending of this battle and victory been seen by me. No, not yet.
In 2010, when the Nation’s recession began it came very hard against the medical device company the Lord had me found some 22 years earlier. The company had done very well through most of those years, growing a good
rate each year, until the FDA decided to attack us in the device approval realm. That was in 1999 when the FDA made the decision to make our company put our TMJ devices through what is called a Pre-Market Approval Process, which is used when a brand new, complicated and risky device is brought to market.
Our implants for the temporomandibular joint were neither new nor risky. The Lord had given me the idea for these implants some 40 years earlier than when the FDA was calling for this awful PMA approval process, and the earliest devices had remained functioning those 35-40 years. This was a travesty to be forced through an approval process that no other comparable orthopedic joint implant, which like ours, was a pre-amendment device, and which should have required no scrutiny. These early devices were known as grandfathered devices since they were developed and in commercial distribution some 16 years before Congress even enacted the Medical Device Act of 1976 and that arm of the FDA.
There was so much politics in the approval process and the devil was having a hayday attacking the TMJ devices we produced. It was an attack which in the end almost cost us our company and cost us several million dollars to get through. I had to lead us through that perilous time and although we made it and received the final FDA approvals for our devices, the toll on me, my wife and the entire company was telling.
Then when the FDA CMP attack was levied against TMJ Implants, Inc. that became a protracted battle which
eventually ended up in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and cost us even more revenue, and unfortunately, the whole legal system which we had to use to defend our position was again so corrupt that all we did was lose more money attempting to get away from a $640,000 fine.
When the recession of 2010 came it brought with it a loss of sales, at a time when we were in a precarious position financially, thus causing the company and even me, personally, to go through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The medical device company was dissolved and the assets were purchased by another medical device company owned by a Mormon family. That was the start of another interesting chapter.
Let My People Go
As we went through the horrors of the chapter 7 bankruptcy for the company, and knowing the assets would be picked up by the new company, I was doing all I knew to do to keep the implants available for the hurting public who would need these excellent devices. My second objective was to keep every employee hired and receiving not only their medical insurance benefits, but also their monthly salary. Many of these people had been with me from 10 to 22 years and I had always taken excellent care of them for the work they had performed, but also for the loyalty to me which they had shown.
As I was having to loosen the reigns of the medical device company, the new company went behind my back and began to gain the loyalty of the workers by offering a paycheck during the time the company would be involved in the liquidation process. This was a tactic which I felt was incorrect as it was preventing me from meeting with any prospective buyers of the company in the bankruptcy. Unfortunately, although I was suspecting some spiritual sensitivity to what was happening, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I felt uneasy. The trustee, when he learned of the underhanded efforts of the new buyers, put a stop to it, but my former staff who I had spiritually and monetarily covered for so many years got dragged into the deception of the enemy.
It would be a period of another two months or so, before I received the word about a book about Mormonism which would open my eyes to the deception and attack
of the enemy. Ed Decker and David Hunt had written an excellent book titled “The God Makers” which in great detail began to lay out the deception found in the Mormon religion which is really an occult religion. It is not too different than Free Masonry, which has undoubtedly deceived a large number of followers who will think of it as being a true God honoring Christian religion, which it is not.
As I have now traveled some 6 months down the road with the new owners I have seen deception and lying that I have never experienced before in the business world. When Lynne and I started TMJ Implants, Inc. we did so with no money and started it alongside of a Christian marriage ministry called Covenant Marriages Ministry in the basement of our home in Lakewood, Colorado. This was not only started at the direction of our Lord, but this, also, was a real walk of faith which took me from having an oral and maxillofacial surgery practice in the Ukiah area of Northern California all the way to Colorado. We started almost penniless and followed God’s direction to Bob to start a for profit medical device company alongside of the ministry. Over the next dozen years both entities grew very well. The company got to a high point of generating some $4.5M and the ministry was using about $.5M annually as a gift from our medical device company. It was an interesting idea from God and which we dedicated back to God from day one. We had the banner, “To Know Him and to Make Him Known” scrolled across the large entrance room to TMJ Implants, Inc. for all to see. We had daily prayer for many years with everyone attending who wanted to be there. Later that got down
to daily prayer with just a few people in attendance, but always the peace of God resided in that facility and company. There was no competitive spirit felt amongst those working together to keep these very fine implants available for those patients whose lives and painfree jaw function required them. We were all proud of our collective achievements in this field. We were recognized as the leader in temporomandibular joint reconstructive surgery innovation and had been for just shy of 50 years when Dr. Christensen was first given the creativity of this implant by the Lord.
Now, back to the takeover of the company through the bankruptcy. I found that I as the former CEO/President I was not being offered a position in the new company, which would have seemed most natural. I would only be offered a position as medical consultant in the parent holding company and as time would progress, I found I would be allowed no relationship or contact with any of my former staff. This would and did make this transition extremely difficult for me personally.
I have been absolutely amazed at the lack of compassion or respect of these new owners for this 85 year old surgeon and company president, who not only had developed this technology and implants, but had also brought forth the fledgling company through the FDA approval process. Not only were they preventing me from entering the new facility in the same building, but they were blocking my ability to converse with any of the hundreds of surgeons that I had known for many years. This was the most unusual of circumstances.
As I searched Decker and Hunt’s book, The God Maker, I learned that this type of deception was common and their outright disdain for the born-again Christian was legend. For we who are born-again believers it is hard to understand this degree of dislike or anger for God’s people. The spirit they were exhibiting is much more related to Lucifer than anything I had experienced before. Truly, what they wish to portray as a genuine Christian religion is truly more recognized as a Lucifer related cult. What deception they cover behind those smooth, friendly, quiet appearances. They wish to appear so gentle and smooth, but behind that false appearance are people who are masters of control, lying and deception. Ask any former Mormon who may have been married in the church and when he or she finally got set free by being born again as Jesus told, the Roman soldier, then all hell breaks loose. Those families are torn apart. The children are taken away from the born again Christian and the families are separated. That is not God’s plan.
I think at this moment we might bring up the story told about Cornelius in Acts 10. This story speaks well to the fact that God calls people to do certain things. Cornelius, was a Roman centurion from Caesarea. The bible tells us he was a devout man, and one that feared God, but so did his house. In God’s plan, the husband is to be the spiritual leader and he is to meet the needs of his wife as they both submit to God. What if Cornelius hadn’t been that kind of man? Then his household would not have feared God likely, either. It says he gave much
alms to the people and he prayed to God always.
As Christianity was in its infancy, in a land whose people had been chosen by God to be His chosen people, the early Christians would not only have to be sure they were being led by God, but it required courage. For the Roman centurion to seek out a messianic Jew would be remarkable in those days and yet God came to him in a very special way. The Bible tells us in a vision, an angel of the Lord came to him and called him by name. Cornelius’s answer was exactly what we need to do. He answered, “What is it Lord.” The Lord’s answer was also very interesting. He said, “Thy prayers and alms are come up for a memorial before God.” Isn’t that just something? We always want to know if God hears our prayers, if He knows who we are and does He really care? This ought to answer all of those questions for each one of us, saved and unsaved, and the angel told Cornelius exactly what he should do and that when he would meet Peter, “Peter would tell him what he ought to do.”
Here was a story about a non-Jew becoming a Christian. Not only Cornelius, but all of his household, which in those days meant even his servants.
Talk about evangelism, and yet today in our society and in our Christian churches, we are seeing people not willing to be counted and to bring the message of Jesus to family members, friends, co-workers etc. I am not saying I am not guilty of some of the same. We just prefer political correctness or satus quo over the truth of God’s word.
Now, back to Cornelius. Here he was as a soldier for Rome, yet living in Israel, he had to be very careful as to what he did. The conquering nation’s army is never liked by those who have been conquered and under control. Undoubtedly, the God of Israel had softened Cornelius’s heart because he was seen as a devout man, a man of prayer and a man who gave alms to the poor. What a remarkable story for even today nearly 2000 years later, it has tremendous importance and value.
Peter and Andrew
Peter, too, had to be obedient to God’s call on his life. In Mark 1:17 Jesus’s first words to Simon Peter were, “Come you after me and I will make you fishers of men.” What a calling, but in a more simplified form, that is what He is saying to you and to me. You see, as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee he spotted Simon and Andrew, who were brothers, and they were casting their nets into the sea. They were already fishers of fish, but now they were being invited to become fishers of men. And what did they do next? The bible tells us, “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.”
What effect would this have on a poor fisherman after he said, OK Lord? Did that mean he would never make a mistake? No. It meant he was willing to lay his life down for the call made by Jesus. Jesus surely knew neither Peter nor Andrew were perfect, they were just men who said, “alright, we will”. It’s not unlike the calling on your life and on mine. Jesus is telling us all, that I have enough love to place in your heart for all of humanity, to not only change you into something that will work
for my kingdom, but as a side benefit, you will be with me and the Father, in Heaven for an eternity. You also will help change the world around you.
As we see, Peter became the spokesman for those early disciples. Did he always do well? No, like us he failed in several areas. He was known for speaking brashly and occasionally without thinking. He even denied Jesus three times during Jesus’s trial before the crucifixion. Did Jesus give up on Peter? No, he knew Peter wanted to follow him, but he also knew his fraility, his humanity. The Lord knows ours, too, and He loves us and calls us to be His friends and His followers. Peter continued to follow Jesus all the way until his own death on the cross. What were Jesus’s last words to Peter? In John 21:22 Jesus said to Peter, “Follow thou me.”
In Paul’s life we see evidence of a man who received a calling in a most unusual manner, totally orchestrated by God almighty. Even in the time span before he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was a zealot for persecuting the earliest of Christians. When Jesus called out to him on the Damascus road, he turned his total activity to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a life lived.
Paul was a very well trained religious leader, having been trained under Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee who was well versed in the Bible and was sure that the Christians were teaching a false doctrine which would hurt the Jews and their faith in Judaism. That was the reason he hated the
Christians. He wasn’t just doing that persecuting for no reason. He felt the Christian faith was against God. Some of our so-called Christian religions of today are really anti-Christian cults. It doesn’t necessarily mean they know the truth, but they truly do not know Jesus. They are not born again as Jesus said would need to happen.
The true believer’s life should be changed just as was Paul’s on the road to Damascus. You see, God had a special purpose for Paul. He knew he would carry the Gospel to the Gentiles over the entire Roman Empire. Paul was not afraid of hardship or persecution or being disliked by whomever. Once the Spirit of God had entered his heart, there was no stopping him. Shipwrecks, being bitten by poisonous snakes, beatings, being placed in prison, nothing would keep him from fulfilling the calling which Jesus placed in his heart.
He learned that forgiveness of sin and eternal life are a gift of God’s grace to humanity, and is to be received by faith. There is no way one can earn it. God will use our past and present so we can serve Him with our future. Most people are so concerned about this life, they are unwilling to give all of that up to serve Jesus and gain eternal life. What a simple exchange, yet so hard to make. From tentmaker to missionary is the change God asked Paul to make. It took some real revelation from God, but then he chose it gladly.
If we look at other lives where conversion to Christianity
occurred, we see people of many persuasion, but may not have seemed like they had any gifts, but God used them mightily. Philip might easily and correctly be called the earliest evangelist to the Gentiles of Samaria. He was a server of the food to the Apostles and was appointed as a deacon to that early church. From that he became a spectacular evangelist to the point where Peter and John were sent to check on the ministry Philip was engaged in. The effect on the Samaritans was great. Many were being converted.
To Peter and other early disciples, the Samaritans were the last place they would want to preach the Gospel. They were forbidden from even speaking with the Samaritans. Remember Jesus at the well? The Samaritans were hated because they were the half breed populace which were developed from the time of the Assyrians conquering of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. The purebred Jews hated the Samaritans and so did the Samaritans hate the purebred Jews, even though they were somehow related through the mingling of the two races. The Jews traveling between the Northern Kingdom to Jerusalem would at times travel the extra distance to go around Samaria. Jesus didn’t do that and his disciples going with him were shocked to see him talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. She, too, was shocked, but as he told his disciples, he did not come to exclude people but to bring them into his kingdom. In the long run, his compassion on that very woman who had previously had five husbands, brought many of her town folks to a place where Jesus could minister to them.
Let’s take a look at one of Jesus’s top three disciples. That would be James, the brother of John. Likely the older brother of John. The story is told that James was the first of Jesus’s disciples to die for his faith. He, like John, was the son of Zebedee, also a fisherman. The calling of these two brothers came immediately after Jesus’ calling of Peter. Undoubtedly, these were not learned individuals who had received advanced schooling in the Jewish faith. They were just willing individuals, called by the Master himself. It is somewhat apparent that in the days before Jesus’ crucifixion that James and John may have seen God’s kingdom as an earthly kingdom which was here to overthrow the Roman occupation of Israel.
After the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, James then knew that following Jesus would not only be costly, but would be worth dying for, and thus he did. Jesus had conquered death and opened the door to eternal life. As we take up the challenge, individually, to follow Jesus and then to accept his call on our lives, He eventually gives us the courage to believe that we too can follow Him. Only lives lived totally for Him and His purposes can ever hope to conquer that fear of death in all of us.
The story of Nicodemus is very interesting. Like many people today, Nicodemus was not too willing to be exposed to ridicule by being associated with Jesus,
openly. He was a stealth seeker, like many today. Just not too close, but then all of a sudden, he was beckoned by God to meet the real Jesus. He, like Paul, was a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews. For many of us, our positions may hamper our bowing our knees and accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives. But then, there comes a time when the call of God on our lives outweighs the enemy’s voice. Nicodemus finally confessed to Jesus that, “We know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.” That is a pretty good confession and a good starting point. That is when Jesus made the statement that “Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus let him know that if you believe in Him, the Son of man, you shall not perish but have everlasting life. He went on to say, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
In the case of Jesus and Nicodemus we see Jesus reaching out to one who many Christians of that day would feel this person could not be saved. The scripture doesn’t tell us a lot about Nicodemus, except that he was changed that evening and he continued to change to where at the crucifixion of Jesus, Nicodemus joined Joseph of Arimathaea in asking for the body of Jesus to bury. Now, for his position, that took courage and certainly was at God’s calling. Would we have had that courage?
Sometimes we can accept the call on our lives and do very well for a long period, but somehow miss the fact
that God’s calling is to bring forth the blessings of God for others. An example of that might be Hezekiah, the 15th King of the southern kingdom of Judah. He was the son of Ahaz and at age 25 years he was called and began to reign as king. He reigned nearly 30 years in Jerusalem. The bible tells us in 2 Kings 18, “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave unto the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.”
It tells us the Lord was with him and he prospered mightily. He rebelled against the King of Assyria and refused to serve him. Sometimes in our lives it is also necessary to not follow some other leader where it would not be in the direction God would be directing us. Hezekiah started off very well telling the people they needed to get their eyes off the graven images of wealth, and glistening things, but to serve and follow the Lord. That part was good, but then he failed to look to the future and to work to preserve the future and thus Judah was captured by the Assyrians, after King Hezekiah had foolishly shown his wealth to the messengers from Babylon.
There are so many times when we might be persuaded to present pearls before swine in our own lives. There are times when a born again Christian may expose all of his/her life and godly wisdom before the ungodly. I often realized for the Christian who was hoping and praying to see God reconcile her broken marriage, that you do not want to join in prayer with some faithless
believer or non-believer. You need to find those who know and experience God’s healing power in their lives.
Like in Hezekiah’s life, all of the sweeping reforms which he instigated were of little value in the future lives of the people of Judah who were placed in subjugation in Babylon. The same can be true in our lives, too, if we are standing for the healing of our marriages, but fail to continue boldly in speaking god-filled words over our spouse and over our families. Our victory could be short lived. Being in God’s word and standing in faith, then doing as the Lord is directing us, is the best guarantee of a continually victorious life. Although King Hezekiah was very obedient to God from the beginning of his reign, he disobeyed what God would be telling him about displaying all which God may have shown you before, to those who are definitely the unsaved.
A lesson for all of us to learn from this story of Hezekiah is that former obedience to God, does not insure us against later disobedience. The bible is full of people who let their guard down and didn’t always do just as the Lord may have instructed them. It is in our total and complete dependence on God that we see amazing results. Those results might not always present as we might have hoped, such as for John the Baptist, nor for Paul when he was in prison, but God was able to use those lives to let everyone else see that even in all of those circumstances, many other lives could be touched.
The life you live for God, like Paul and John the Baptist, may affect many lives around you and eventually may touch hundreds, thousands or even more lives for
Jesus. We always hear of the praying grandmother whose grandson or granddaughter rose to some great height for God all because that earlier generation took seriously the call to pray for those generations who follow. In most instances, the praying person may never get to even meet that later individual, but her prayers were heard by God.
There is another Old Testament leader whose life gives us certain lessons to be learned. He was the leader who led the first exiles to Babylon to return to Judah in 539 BC. His name was Zerubbabel and his story is told in Ezra 2. The Jews had been exiled in Babylon many years, but when the Persian ruler Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Judah. Some had become comfortable with the land they were living in, but there were some 60,000 who had not forgotten their homeland in Judah. Zerubbabel was called by God to lead the largest group back to the Promised Land. He was a descendant of David and like David he had certain leadership skills.
After they had secured their own living quarters they began to build the altar so they could collectively worship their God. Then, next, they tackled the Temple foundation and again a ceremony offered to God. A couple of things happened. The older Jews remembered the earlier Temple of Solomon and complained about the diminished size of the new Temple and then secondly, the enemy infiltrated their work using politics to discourage them from continuing their work and thus there were some 16 years of no activity which ensued.
It is impossible to learn what Zerubbabel was doing through those years, but suspect he was mighty discouraged. God sends the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to be mentors and encouragers to Zerubbabel and the work was completed in four years. Sometimes we are like that in that we can start a project and then for some reason, get distracted or discouraged and never finish. What Zerubbabel couldn’t seem to master, he finally learned that when God was involved again, it got done in a short period of time. That certainly is a lesson we need to receive and follow. First thing we must do is to worship God first in all that we do. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”.
Sometimes, like Zerubbabel, we just need the encouragement of a godly person. I know from having to start a minsistry and a medical device company, it is one thing to have an idea and another thing to get the motivation to tackle that project and then even if you get it started it can take a lot of encouragement to finish the project.
The story of Rahab is a story of extreme courage and should be a tremendous encouragement to all who are following Jesus in their daily lives. Rahab, the Bible tells us in Joshua 2 was a harlot living in a home built in the walls of Jericho. Talk about courage. Here she is in the midst of the enemy fortified camp when two of Joshua’s spies ended up in her home. They were sent to spy out the land just as Moses had been commanded some years before. Now, with Moses dead and again the Lord
commanding that Joshua go over the Jordan, you and all these people, unto the land which I do give unto them, even to the children of Israel.
God again tells Joshua that wherever the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I did to Moses. God told him to be strong and of good courage, and then God repeats the promise which He had made to their fathers. We’ll talk more about Joshua later, but now let’s realize the calling on Rahab’s life. Joshua, being the one called by God to be the leader, makes a smart move to again spy out the land. Just as you must do, if when given a specific job to do which encompasses an attack on the enemy camp, it is smart to discern the cost and then prepare to go against the enemy forces anyway God commands.
So the spies have entered the enemy stronghold of Jericho, a walled city. The king learned of the two spies, and the fact they were staying in Rahab’s house and sent soldiers to capture them. Then, Rahab, secretly hid those two spies, but told the soldiers she knew not where they had gone. She had to lie and said the two men (spies) had gone out the gate of the walled city just at dark, before the gate was closed. She went on to say, pursue after them quickly and you shall overtake them. Not true, as she had taken the two men to the roof and hid them under the stalks of flax. She then let the spies know that they came to spy out the land, and that the Lord has given you the land and that fact has created terror upon the people and that the people faint because of you.
God had revealed to her and many how God had delivered and protected the Israelites in all of their journeys. It is a bit like David and Goliath. The people or person called by God has to be willing to stand against the enemy. Too many times we faint doing what God has asked us to do. Or some relative, friend or acquaintance attempts to dissuade us from being bold in our God ordered stand. Your fulfilling God’s purpose for your life will very likely cause concern, consternation and outright rejection by some or all of those around you.
In Joshua 2:11 is a very important statement by Rahab, the harlot of Jericho. “As soon as we heard these things our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in the earth beneath.”
If that doesn’t tell you a lot. Here you have been called by your God, as a born-again Christian, to preach the Gospel here and abroad, and you somehow run into resistance. Too many times we will shy away and not tackle what God has told us to do. We might be embarrassed or ridiculed or be made to look odd. What about Rahab?
She was willing to make a very bold move to save the two spies, but she asked God’s favor when the Israelites came to conquer the land. She did not just ask that for herself, but for her entire family. That too, is a point to remember. The blessings which you will hope and believe will overtake you, should be extended to others, too. The spies let her know that if she would not reveal
their mission, that when they came back again to conquer Jericho, she and her family would be saved. The spies promised their lives for hers if she did not utter words about their being there. Part of her calling was to lower them out by a cord, through a window and down the face of the wall. She then gave them instructions as to where to hide and for how long, and then she instructed the spies they could return to their people. They let her know that they would do as they had promised her and then they told her to place a scarlet thread in the window so her house would be seen and spared. That reminds me of the Lord’s commandment to Moses about placing the blood of the sacrificed lambs on their doors, so that when the angel of death came to kill the first born of the Egyptians, that the children of Israel would be spared.
Rahab was called by God for a very specific task, which was complicated, required accuracy, took much courage, and which she fulfilled admirably. Many of us might think because of a checkered or imperfect past life, we could never be called by God. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe there is a calling on all of our lives, but certainly some never partake of the opportunity of being born-again and consequently live a life at a level way below what God may have wished for them, and if they never seek the blessings which Jesus offers, they would miss eternal life with God. Rahab was one of only two women mentioned in Paul’s Hebrew chapter 11, the faith chapter. In that chapter it tells us that she perished not with those who believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
Her life’s calling, and her acceptance of that call, would appear, at least from the bible’s point of view, to have been confined to a short span of time. But, how important that calling was to God’s chosen people of Israel. Jericho was conquered in a spectacular manner and aided by her help.
When we think of David we think of shepherd, musician, poet, giant killer, warrior, king, ancestor of Jesus and a man loved by God. Certainly he was called by God to be all of those things, but on the darker side he was a betrayer, liar, and murderer. Wow, and he could be used by God?
The interesting thing is that as the bible lifts up David’s great attributes, it doesn’t try to hide his failures. We may usually attempt to hide all of our failures, but who from? God knows our failures and our times of great courage and godliness. Jesus did say our righteousness was as filthy rags. That doesn’t make us feel very good, but when we know we have been totally accepted into the kingdom of God, as joint heirs with Jesus, that should make the picture much brighter. It is His, Jesus’, righteousness which now covers us and which God sees in us. You see, David finally understood how much God loved him and David then began to lay his life down for God. When he sinned, he asked for forgiveness and then repented…turned away from that sin. That is exactly what God is commanding us to do. You truly can enjoy the benefit of forgiveness, even when you suffer the consequence of your sin. It is in knowing the love of
the Father for we His children. He sent His only Son to die on the cross for us while we were yet sinners. That is truly impossible to truly grasp with our finite minds. As Paul said, if after we have been forgiven at such a great price, should we go on sinning? He instructed us that there was no more sacrifice which could be offered for our sinful nature. In David’s case, he may have sinned greatly, but when he repented he did not continue to repeat that same sin. He did learn from his mistakes, because he recognized the suffering he would endure for that rebellion.
David, because of his love for God and desire to follow God, was known as Israel’s greatest king, but he was also listed in Hebrews 11 hall of faith, was an ancestor of Jesus and was known as a man after God’s own heart. What a legacy for a man who chose to follow God’s calling on his life.
But you may be saying, after all he was powerful and important. Perhaps, but not when he started and was called by God. He was a shepherd boy, called by God to be king. Then he committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered her husband and did not deal decisively with the disobedience of his children. He later dealt with his sin, asked forgiveness and took whatever consequences for that sin which he had to endure, in a godly fashion. When God calls us to spread His word or do some other ministry for Him, are we willing to be corrected by Him?
Joseph (the son of Jacob)
Here is a real story of calling, courage, patience,
perseverance, character, faith and love. He was the eleventh of twelve sons of Jacob and was most favored by his father. This of course brought him hatred from his ten older brothers. The father made him a special coat of many colors and I suppose that just made him a bigger target. It kind of reminds me of wearing the coat of righteousness of Jesus Christ. One does become a bigger target.
In Joseph’s case, the brothers then conspired to put Joseph away. They put him in a pit, thought to kill him, sold him into slavery and eventually he was accused of committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife. He was punished for doing the right thing. All of that would have been more than enough to get most of us into a funk. But, with the grace of God, Joseph was able to keep his countenance and eventually he won the hearts of all he met. He spent little time going over the setbacks, but instead, asked himself, what now? It was apparent, because of the calling on his life that those who met him also realized God was with him. What was the outcome? He rose in stature with the Pharaoh of Egypt and eventually became the 2nd most powerful man in that land. What was the benefit God was wanting to come through Joseph’s life? He wanted Joseph to be able to save God’s chosen people from famine in their own land and to give them much wealth even in the enemy’s land.
The story of Joseph has always had an important significance in my life as I have had to go through many trials and setbacks. It is those times when we need to focus all of our energies in serving the Lord and looking
carefully for the direction He is wanting to lead us. It means getting our eyes off of the circumstances which may be especially dismal to see. What is He calling you to do?
The Samaritan Woman
As Jesus was traveling through the land of Samaria with his disciples, he was weary and stopped at Jacob’s well to rest while his disciples went on to fetch some meat. Jesus asked a Samaritan lady to give him some water out of the well. She replied that how come he would be talking to her knowing that the Jews were not supposed to speak with the Samaritans? Jesus was not moved by that division of people. So they were half breeds. To Jesus they were all children which God had brought into the world by His creative power and would certainly be welcomed into His kingdom if they would proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He offered her Living Water. She wanted to know what was that Living Water? After all, Jesus, you don’t even have a cup or pail in which to draw water from this well.
Jesus began to instruct her as to what was this Living Water. You will never thirst again and this water shall spring up unto everlasting life. He then confirms His diety when he asks her about her husband. She answers truthfully, that she has no husband. He lets her know that He knows she has had five husbands and the one she is living with now is not her husband. He wasn’t condemning her, just informing her that he knew everything about her. Can you imagine that being you or me? Wow! But then she abrubtly left her water pots
and now performed the call God put on her life. She went and told the townspeople, all Samaritans, “That he told me all that ever I did.” She now realized he was the Messiah, the living Christ, and they came and asked him to stay with them and he did for two days. Many in Samaria became Christians because she was there to beckon them to Jesus.
Sometimes when we are given just a single job to perform for Jesus, we may feel it is too inconsequential. Can you imagine how many Samaritans have converted to Christianity because of that one Samaritan woman at the well? It is certainly more than most any of us could ever even hope to bring to Jesus in a century.
Timothy, a follower of Paul and a missionary and pastor. His life might be interesting at this time when someone feels too young or too timid to be called and used by God. At the time of Timothy’s life he had a couple of things working against him. From the point of the early Jewish disciples, Timothy might have been looked on as not quite fitting the mold. His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were devout Jews who converted to Christianity. His grandfather, married to Lois was of Greek nationality which bothered some of the early disciples until Paul encouraged Timothy to accept circumcision as an adult which allowed the disciples to feel better about his commitment to things of God.
Despite his youthfulness and his timidity, Timothy became a solid companion and follower of Paul. Paul
wrote two letters to Timothy who was left pastoring a young church in Ephesus, encouraging him to be faithful to Christ’s doctrine. He admonished him to squelch any false doctrine which was developing at that time. Timothy was faithful and was called by Paul as his spiritual son. Paul trusted him enough to have Timothy teach the standards of church leadership from bishop to deacon. He was a trusted servant and remained obedient to the call God had made on his life. Paul said to another, “For I have no man, likeminded as Timothy, who will naturally care for your state. But you know the proof of him (Timothy), that as a son with the father, he has served with me in this Gospel.” You can’t get a much better recommendation than that from any saint, especially St. Paul.
David’s mighty men
Learning to be a good leader and to follow God’s calling for our lives can be seen in the time that God led David to organize a small Army of about 400 men. This story is told in 1 Samuel 22. It shows the brilliance of God’s calling on a young man named David, who, from nothing called together the distressed, indebt, discontented and fugitives in order to establish an army of mighty men. This happened at the time David was literally being hunted by King Saul. Sometimes we feel because we have had a setback or things are not going perfectly our way, that there is no hope. But that is wrong. With Jesus, there is always hope, even in dire circumstances.
They became like an all pro football team that could beat every opponent. One of the prerequisites is the passion
and leadership skills of the coach. When God calls an individual to accomplish some particular tasks or to lead a group of people, for whatever reason, that degree of passion and obedience to details is required. No halfway approach or effort will accomplish the perfection which Jesus requires of us as we follow God’s plan for our lives. Jesus never was a slacker in accomplishing what the Father wanted him to do. There was a great price to pay and all the way along that path there were those whose said either it couldn’t be accomplished or were there to speak against him.
Those that follow get motivated to their own greatness by the qualities of the leader. Since our calling is by God, the words of the following song are a reminder of how we too can be overcomers.
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up, to be more than I can be.”
David inspired his men to achieve, and to achieve beyond their normal potential and to achieve to a higher level. It is in being a God called leader, that we can see others walking with us and for them to be able to achieve greater heights and climb higher mountains. When we fully realize our calling and that it is a calling orchestrated by God, we then can reach for higher goals and climb those higher mountains. David’s mighty
army conquered larger armies and were consistently victorious. The followers are more contented and loyal to godly leaders. Even small numbers of people can accomplish great fetes.
Even Your Friends Will Depart
In Luke 8:10-18 we see Jesus explaining the parables which He had just spoken. He describes them as follows:
:10 Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
:11 Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God.
:12 Those by the wayside are those that hear; then comes the devil, and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
:13 They on the rock are they which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for awhile believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
:14 And that which fell among the thorns are they, which when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
:16 No man when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but sets it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
:18 Take heed therefore, how you hear: for whosoever has, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have.
Oftentimes we wonder why everyone around us might not see that what God has called us to do, is just that, a godly calling. In some ways the fact that others around us, including family members, might turn from being associated with us is found in those very words which Jesus spoke.
In Mark 6 Jesus began speaking in the synagogue and some of those hearing him began to marvel. Then asked where has this man gotten such wisdom? And even the mighty works wrought at his hands.
They realized this was Mary’s son, a carpenter and related to James, Joses and others and they were offended. Jesus said to them. A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country and among his own kin and in his own house. He marveled because of their own unbelief.
He then sent out his twelve disciples and told them to take nothing with them, no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse.
He went on to say whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when you depart, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. He went on to
say, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
The word says that the disciples went out and preached that men should repent and they cast out devils and healed the sick. It just tells us that we at times will be rejected by others, and sometimes most by those closest to us, but still the calling on all of our lives is to preach the Good News and to expect miracles to happen.
As I look back over so great a group of people called by God to be his witnesses to a lost world, it makes me proud to see a new generation, like my great grandson Boadin, who I feel sure will rise to the occasion and be obedient to whatever call God may place on their lives.
I can easily affirm that there will be attacks on your life and witness as you pick up your cross and choose to serve the Lord. I recently wrote a book titled, The Breaking Point in which I described several ways in which the enemy used people to interrupt the calling on my life and the message which I was commissioned to bring forth. There were many occasions where the battle raged and in which I was given an opportunity to make a bold stand for Jesus and the calling on my life. Was there always support from others? No, many times the person called by God will have to stand alone, but always with God standing beside you.
Certainly, we find in the life of Jesus the perfect example of having to bring forth His message of deliverance and eternal life and then the rejection of being mocked, scourged, spit upon, beaten, and crucified. But then, on
the third day, total vindication as He is risen from the dead.
Just as did Jesus, while present with us in the flesh, he chose his disciples by ones who could and would be changed by his love, that is exactly what God is doing today. He wants those who are willing to be changed by the love of God and are willing to make Jesus their Savior and their Lord. When that born again experience occurs, our lives should be so much different that eventually others will be drawn to accept that same born again experience.
When that happens to a life, there will be no more longing for the riches and fame of this world, but a longing to serve the risen Christ and our brothers and sisters residing anywhere in this world. Then the attacks of the enemy against us, from whatever source, will seem miniscule compared to the wonderful benefits of residing in the kingdom of God, and being used by Him to bring others into that kingdom.
Now, You Be the Light of the World It was in Matthew 5:14 that Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” In verse 16 he goes on to say, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” So much of the time we either think our lives are not counting for much or we are just not convinced that anything we might do or say will have any effect on the world around us. And yet, that does not line up with the word which He speaks to us. Let’s take a new direction. Let’s believe that every word spoken by our Father in His bible is true and that somehow in our living our lives purposely dedicating each day to following Jesus, that something great is going to happen. Those last few words were the ones which Oral Roberts spoke out very frequently. “Something good is going to happen. “ Because of his living his life believing those very words, Oral Roberts saw many miracles happen in his life. It wasn’t that he didn’t have attacks and even handicaps in his life. He was sickly very early in his life, but through it all, he was an overcomer. The same could be said of Reverend Billy Graham. He just stepped out to do what God told him to do each day. What a world of difference his life made to a Nation and to a World. He most likely brought hundreds of thousands of individuals into God’s kingdom. Can you imagine the effect those saved individuals made in the lives of so many more. You see, it becomes exponential. Your life touches another and that life touches three others and before you know it a whole country gets saved.
I suspect most of us will never know the effect we have had on other lives around us. We may feel we had no effect on any other person, but as Christians, if that were so, how sad. We are to be the light of the world. The salt to flavor the lives around us. But, many times we only let our lives be trampled under foot, as Jesus remarked about the useless or unsavory salt. We, each one, have a choice to make. Do we want to fulfill the call of God on our lives? To be used for His kingdom purposes? Or are we just willing to keep our mouths shut and just get along? Not rocking any boats? When I became a Christian and realized how long I had lived not necessarily fulfilling God’s purpose for my life I made a decision to follow Jesus, and to do whatever He asked me to do. Has it all been smooth and easy? No, not at all. There have been more attacks than I want to even remember, but you know what? I know my Jesus lives. I know I have the opportunity of telling many people about Jesus and what He is calling us all to do. Because of that knowledge, I can feel a great deal of peace even when things seem to be rather hectic and the attacks are mounting. You, too, can feel that peace by just letting go of so many things in this world and seeking Jesus and His call on your life. So as the saying goes, Let “Go and Let God”. May our Lord bless you and use your life, mightily, for His purposes.
In His love, Bob Christensen
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