Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bam Ram

Well as I have said, I'm not a writer. It's been sooo long since my only blog post that I'm sure the few people reading this thought I would never post again... Well, here I am once again, posting a post for the Glory of His Kingdom.

Now what do I write? What calls me back to post a blog after months of inactivity?

I have a little story to share with y'all (oh snap, West Virginia is taking me over) but first let me give a brief background. I have been working as a Nurse Assistant at a hospital. I took on the job because I felt that God wanted me to serve Him in a place of darkness. Now, I have been used multiple times in moments when people needed prayer and I have been honored each and every time, but nothing had prepared me for what I experienced this past Monday (10/7/13).

It was about 12:30 and I had just finished taking vital signs. Just as I walked out of the patients room, I heard faint.... noise? I don't even know how to describe it. I was curious and I started walking down the hall in pursuit of this noise. As I got closer, it started to just sound like an outright screaming noise... It was too deep to be a child throwing a temper tantrum... What the heck WAS this noise????

I turn the corner and I looked at the source of the noise: a grown man seemingly in his early 30's on his knees with his face and his fists pressed against the wall. My first reaction was sympathy and compassion... I felt the need to pray with this man. Then I looked at about 6 or 7 others standing about 6 feet away from him all huddled together softly whimpering together trying bring each other comfort. My next thought was to lead all these people in a prayer. I felt a sense of urgency...!

As quickly as my fire ignited, the waters of defeat extinguished it as I saw that my manager was standing there speaking to them. That's when fear sank in and the question of "What if she fires me for approaching them as a Christian?" We live in a society where, in most job applications, you say you will not impose religious beliefs or notions upon anyone you serve in the workplace. Once I thought about it, I literally did a 180 turnaround and walked the other way.

Defeatingly and with shame, I walked back down the hall. I still heard the man bitterly weeping over whatever situation I did not know about. As I walked away, I thought "That wasn't the right decision... I don't know what was, but that was NOT it.." I felt God's conviction so much that I hadn't walked but 10 steps before I decided I was going to go back. I felt that just because I wasn't allowed to publicly pray for these strangers, I could at least show compassion and love.

I quickly walked into the dry storage closet and grabbed a box of tissues. I quickly walked back to the family silently praying to myself "God, please let me find a way to reach out to these people. Father give me the words to minister your loving kindness. Please help me-" and as I turned the corner, I was blessed with one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen. This family, my manager, and even the weeping man had all gathered around a PATIENT! I don't know if he heard the crying, or if he was just going for a walk (as many patients end up doing out of boredom from being in bed), but here was this elderly man wearing a hospital gown, probably suffering from an illness himself, and he was boldly leading this family in prayer.

 His prayer had just begun and everyone's eyes were closed and head bowed. I looked at my manager who was also partaking in this and I just felt a sense of comfort. I placed my hands on shoulders of the old man and my manager, bowed my head, and closed my eyes in union with them. I felt people staring at us as they walked by, but I did not care. I wanted them to see what the Holy Spirit can do for this family. I wanted them to see the warmth that God provides, even in the darkest hours... The man prayed a wonderful and comforting prayer that even eased the tears of this man who had been wailing. It was beautiful, my friends.

Now... With that overly detailed and long story, I'm going to wrap this up with an important lesson I took away from it. This whole situation reminded me of Abraham's obedience to sacrifice Isaac. It was something he dreaded, but he knew that God's Will had to be carried out. So in a moment of fear, he chose to do what was right (no matter how wrong his humanity told him it was). We all know how that story ended: 1) GOD provided a ram caught in a tree as a substitute sacrifice... and 2) God's glory was exemplified through the obedience of Abraham.

In my obedience, God rewarded me with a situation that did not compromise my job yet also provided for what was very much needed. I am now closer to my manager as a result of my returning, not because we get along better now that we understand we are believers, but because I am honored to serve under a Godly woman.

Quick note: I don't want to give myself a big head... I don't always listen to God when He convicts me of something. I am human just like anyone else... but, in the event that I did, I was so blessed by listening to Him that it brought me back to type my second blog post.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The REAL 300

I don't mean to scare away the ladies who may be reading, but I'm going to kick this off by talking about one of the manliest of manliest movies I've ever seen: 300. Seriously, this movie will put hair on your chest. If you haven't seen this movie, it's about the battle that took place in 480 BC between Sparta and Persia. King Xerxes of Persia led an army of about 100,000 soldiers to the shores of Sparta. Vastly outnumbered, King Leonidas of Sparta takes 300 of his best men and shocks the entire Persian army when they hold off the Persians for 10 days, allowing Sparta to mobilize their entire army in time to defend themselves from the tyrant Xerxes.

"Cool story bro, but what's the point?"

Well, this isn't the first time in history this had ever happened... Picture this:

It's 900 years before the battle between Sparta and Persia. The Sun has set for a few hours now and a calm darkness covers the land while the stars paint the black sky. In the Jezreel Valley of Israel, the Midianite army (an enemy of the Israelites) can barley be seen in the shadows of the night (and what a sight they are!). The amount of soldiers residing in this land are more numerous than one could count... their camels alone are as numerous as the sand on the shore! A force to be reckoned with, they comfortably and confidently slumber in the night. That's when it happens: the stillness of the night is interrupted by the sound of countless jars shattering on the ground. Immediately following is the deafening sound of trumpets blowing in all directions! Alarmed, all the soldiers awaken, rush for their arms, quickly suit for battle, and rush out of their tent. What is seen is more terrifying than the sounds of war... the darkness of night is now lit with the fire of torches coming from all directions! Never had they seen such a terrifying amount of enemy soldiers! In a panic, they start attacking anything that seems as a threat... The bodies on the ground are so great that people begin to trip over them, landing in pools of blood. As they try to get up, some are slaughtered... others let their innate self-preservation override the will to fight and begin to retreat... Where? ANYWHERE!!!


What is really happening here? If we flip the switch and turn the lights on, we'll see that what the Midianites thought was an overwhelming army is really only 300 soldiers. They weren't wielding shields and swords, but trumpets and torches... Where is the slaughter coming from? If we zoom into the heart of the battle, we discover that the men killing the Midianites is none other than Midianites themselves... The death came from their own sword! Your move, Midian...

All this can be read in the amazing book of Judges in the 7th chapter. Now, without the pretext of this battle, one would wonder "Why the heck would these people attack with such a small army? I mean... sure they won, but what are the odds of that happening again?" My answer to that question is, to the common man, it was not only foolish, but it was suicide... at least Sparta used Shields and Swords!!! For something like this to work it would take... wait for it....

~an act of GOD~

Ah, there it is... Yes, and an act of God it was indeed. Originally, Gideon, the leader of these men came with an army of 100,000 men... But God pretty much said "Where's the challenge in that?! Tell the men who want to go home to leave...". With that, their once grand army of 100,000 had been reduced to a mere 10,000. Though small in number when compared to the Midianites, with proper leadership and much strategy, one could maybe still have a victory... But God was like "Naaaah, that's still too many... Take them to the river and send back the ones who kneel to drink." That thinned the army to only 300. If I were Gideon, I would probably think "okay, God... What are you trying to do here...?"

Okay, once again you're probably thinking 'Cool story, bro... but what's your point?'

God thinned the army out so much that He wanted to make sure that the Israelites could in no way, shape, or form say that they won because they were stronger or smarter. God purposefully made the odds impossible to prove that HE was the reason for their victory.

Please, read these verses...

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (NIV)
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."

God LOVES impossible odds... That guy who never spoke in class or hunches quietly in his office is the PERFECT candidate for God to send out before a crowd and announce an alter call, to which hundreds eagerly partake in... That lady who couldn't even make it past pre-algebra in High School is the PERFECT candidate for God to call to be an overseas Engineer in Saudi Arabia to bring the Gospel to a Muslim Nation... That Atheist who struggled with drug, alcohol, and sex addiction is the PERFECT candidate for God to call to be an overseas missionary, preaching the gospel under a tree with hundreds of people sitting on the ground eagerly listening to the story of this God-Man who came down, lived, suffered, died, and was resurrected for them.

As I have stated in my description, I am no writer... I don't consider myself "qualified" to write an influential piece. I was called out by Christ to take a step out of my comfort zone and serve Him here. I wish I could say that I acted right away and obeyed God, but I have been refusing to blog for a good year. God relentlessly pursued me though. He put these words in my heart: "You're right, Noel. You aren't the strongest writer.... and THAT is why I want you to take this step of faith and LET me qualify you." If my words ever touch the heart of one person, it was not me, but the Spirit in me... I give the glory to my Heavenly Father... I will truly try to make this blog my act of worship to God.

Now, I challenge you, Mr./Mrs./Miss Reader... I challenge you to think about your weaknesses... you've probably already thought of a few things while reading this. That is probably the Lord stirring something up inside of you, pushing for your compliance. Don't ignore that fluttery feeling in your stomach... Remember, God loves an underdog. Let him use you.

Thank you for reading :)