Power and Control

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Recently I was asked what it is about my life that has changed. I must admit that over the course of the past year or two I have changed. I am 43 years old and have never had so much joy in all of my life as I do now. So as a cradle Christian, how can so much change this late in the game?

It is all in how you exercise free will. Free will is a gift given to us by God at birth. No matter how long or short a life on earth is, we all have free will. Believers and non-believers have the same amount. But how do we use it?

I was in full control. If you asked me, I would freely tell you that I wasn’t. I would happily tell you that God had total control of my life. Upon doing some deep personal examination, it just wasn’t the case. Food, money, relationships and even my Ministry were all under my control and I just couldn’t see it. Sure, I have had some success during that time in life, but it is minuscule compared to now.

So what happens when you actually give control of EVRYTHING to God (not just tell yourself he does). Food no longer gave me comfort. Money no longer drove me and my mood. My marriage, which was already amazing and blessed, shot to a new level. I wake up each and every day and cannot wait to see what God has in store. I no longer rely on myself for my joy. We get in amazing ruts in life when everything depends on ourselves. With God, every day, every hour, becomes new and refreshed. I was busy, but now, I have an even fuller schedule because I do things for Him rather than myself, and I couldn’t be more excited to tackle each packed full day.

So where can you begin to have this kind of life? It starts with letting go. Admit to your Heavenly Father that you no longer want control. Realize that you, dear sinner, can’t make it on your own. Know that God wants nothing more than for you to rely on him for your joy, comfort and peace. Faith is verb. It is the action of giving in and letting go.

I find now that 10 minutes less sleep equals 10 more minutes of morning prayer. Start each and every day by giving up control and starting with your creator. If you had a watch that was broken, who better to fix it than the guy that made it?

WARNING- making this decision does not necessarily mean that everyone you come in contact with will know it. It takes time. Watch how those around you daily start to see the change. They will eventually see it and want to jump on board. This isn’t something that can be seen like a new ball cap. This is supernatural! Share it with them, but don’t stumble just because their initial excitement doesn’t match yours.

Thank you for reading, liking and sharing…

Be blessed,

Deacon Jason Bowden

THE RIDE

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Ever feel like your spiritual life is a roller coaster ride. If it seems like it is constantly going up and down and side to side, you are not alone. Often times life will drag you down after a period of emotional highs.

Take a walk with me. I want you to remember the first time you went to an amusement park. Maybe it was the second or third time, but this time was different. You rode your first roller coaster. If you have never experienced it, just imagine what it would be like.

You stand in line (sometimes what may seem like, or actually was, hours). This was the time before you became a Christian. You stood there, barely moving and not going anywhere. What a waste of time. Everyone in line (the non-believers) just standing there waiting for something good to happen.

Then you finally got to your destination. You made it to the front. This may be the first time you went to Church or you made the leap into a life with Jesus Christ. Butterflies in your stomach, knees knocking, you follow instructions and sit in the car. Oh the first time your butt met a church pew or a chair in a Church. Don’t know what to expect but you feel that EVERYONE is staring directly at you.

Then the old heavily weighted safety arm traps you in. Yes, I know, that is how some of you may have felt the first time in Church.

The cars start to move and you are on your way. There are smells and noises that only this experience brings. Maybe it was unfamiliar music, singing, or bible versus you have never heard. This was the clanging of the cars or the track of the coaster as it moved. side to side you go, not knowing what is coming at you next.

Every roller coaster has to have that one giant climb. You have experienced them before in life. Maybe your wedding, a birth of a child, or a family reunion. Those are the moments that fill you with laughter and memories. It is that way also with our spiritual life. I have experienced many occasions when I have felt like I was on the rise and there was no way of backing down. Just like on a roller coaster, you are not stopping the ride and rolling backwards.

Now as we are imagining all of this, take a moment and look around. See the people down below? The ones walking on the ground. They look so tiny! Know where they are headed or what their destination might be? Of course not. To you, while on this upward climb, they seem lost and just well…wandering.

As our roller coaster cars are on the upward climb, there are people in front of us, higher than we are, and some behind us, lower than we are. They are on the same ride, taking the same path upward, but still at different stages of the ride.

This is the ride we all take as Christians. Some people are on the ride with us. These are fellow Christians. Some are in the cars ahead of us and are experiencing a higher point on the climb upward. Some are in the cars behind us and will get to the point we are at.

Where are the non-believers? Remember the people on the ground? They appear to us as just aimlessly wandering around. Maybe they have ridden the same ride as us before and don’t want anything to do with it again. They jumped off at some point before the joy set in. Or, quite possibly, they have never experienced this ride we call the Christian faith. How will they ever know how fun it is if we don’t share our joy in it?

As Christians we must remember that Christ did not call us to a life of ease. He never once promised that accepting him would make our life unchallenged and easy. Sometimes, even as Christians, we must endure the twist and turns, ups and downs, and sometimes even feeling upside down. You will experience people who are more in tune with their spiritual life than you, even if you pass by them upside down in your faith. Don’t fret and always remember that God designed the track. He controls which direction you go next, if you let him have control. Don’t look down on those you love if they are on a different level than you. Just sit in the car next to them and when they can’t hold on for the ups and downs, just make sure they know you are there. Maybe next time you are on the way down and scared, God will use them to hold on to you and keep you from falling off the ride.

If you want some scripture to reference, please read psalm 91

In His Name,

Deacon Jason