BY: DAVE GARNER
MAY 14, 2007
Over a period of time, I have become a little obese around my midsection. Not too long ago I began to make some judgments about myself and I really had to face the fact, we had to make some serious changes. I had got to where I had problems standing on my feet for long periods of time, like for instance, standing over the stove performing a particular task, without my back feeling like it was being pulled apart. I could not lay in bed for over a seven hour period; for if I did, I had such a lower back ache that it took at least two hours each morning to get over it. I even had a hard time bending over and tying my shoes. If I even looked at Wal-Mart a sharp pain hit my side and hip. My breathing had become so loud that people could hear me wheezing across the room. I would set down to do some studying and before I could get through two paragraphs I was fighting sleepiness. Not to long ago we took a ministry trip out west and I had to pull over and ask my wife to drive so I could get some place where I could rest and stretch out to get the cramps out of my hip, side and arm. I got to where I had to have a cushion to set on every where I went because the pain of setting on a hard surface for more then ten minutes was too unbearable. This was just the physical side.
I will not tell you too much about the emotional side of it, as that is more personal then I want to share at this time, but suffice to say we were decaying in that area too. Spiritually speaking I was being challenged in my faith like I had never been before and had gotten to the place that I was questioning whether I had the right to call myself a Christian, much less a minister of the Gospel. We needed to physically, emotionally, and spiritually evaluate our condition. We had gotten to a place that we were desperate and we realized that we had no choice, before we did anything else, but to get serious and humble ourselves and get before our heavenly Father to get our house in order.
The Lord has awesomely, as only He can, put us in a place where we can devote the needed time of getting our house in order. Thank the Lord that He put us into an apartment where we have no outward obligations or distractions. We even have a small exercise room nearby at our disposal. We have turned our hearts over to fasting, prayer, seeking, and focusing on our spiritual communion with our heavenly Father. We are tired of going through the motions of staying busy for God just for the sake of keeping the ministry intact, while we were not being fulfilled on the inside. I have seen so many people within the church body suffering from spiritual burn out or suffering from physical ailments, that it really caused me to step back and take a good look at myself.
Sheila and I realized that we had to submit ourselves to a time of discipline to the Holy Spirit and take whatever steps that were necessary to restore our spirit to the alertness, unity, enhancement of our spiritual receptiveness, and to strengthen our faith to be the spiritual watchmen on the wall we have been called to be. We want to be a testimony of His grace working in our lives and we are seeking to become more effective ministers, as only He is able to make us.
I found myself falling short and in need of a spiritual refreshing that I know only He can give. To the world the church body is also in need of spiritual refreshing and needs to focus upon restoring itself from being the theological residence of the spiritual elite, to being the dwelling place of those who are able to effectively minister to those seeking refuge from the elements of the world. The church should be a place that provides warmth and comfort for the lost, hungry, blind, hurting, unloved, rejected, fearful, lonely, and ignorant. As ministers we should be living testimonies of God’s power through unselfish love and witnesses of His overcoming strength in active works of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit working through us.
We feel that the church is losing its cohesiveness and thus sight of its true purpose. We, as Christians, are supposed to be known by our testimony, by the fruit being produced in our lives, not by our head knowledge and devotion to doing. We are not witnesses of the life of Christ by how much we know, or how many people we have following us, the positions we hold, or even by how much we are doing for God.. It is not how much we are performing for Him, but by how much we or allowing Him to perform in us that we are known as one of His. We are only a witness of His grace by how much we reveal of His abiding presence in our lives; expressed through the ministry of love, compassion and forgiveness we extend toward one another performed in outward acts and devotion to His body. His love is expressed through us only in the measure of faith we possess in our hearts toward Him.
MEDITATIONS [Dave Garner] 5-14-07 1