Over the past few months I’ve been struggling.
I stopped blogging.
I almost got in a fight.
My blog domains expired.
I’ve been treating my wife badly.
I quit Stone Catchers again.
I quit my cardio class.
I’m not a millionaire yet.
I’m frustrated and I have low tolerance towards my peers.
I’m resentful, judgmental, selfish, and narcissistic.
I’ve been disrespectful towards some.
My head hasn’t been right.
Things just aren’t going my way.
What’s really going on?
I know better!
I should be enjoying one blessing after another. I mean after all, I’ve incorporated some biblical principles into my life. I don’t gamble or hustle at the card table anymore. I submit to authority. I don’t use drugs or alcohol. And I treat most people with respect.
I took all my issues to prayer and meditation. And within hours after praying, a random guy named Zachary invited me to an upcoming church service. He knew I would decline. I never go to church. I hate church. The last time I went was years ago, and I said to myself, “Now I remember why I hate church. This is my last time!”
I hate the hypocrisy and self-righteousness that floods the pews. And it’s not just in prison churches, but in churches everywhere! I feel like religion is like handcuffs. I feel like it blinds people from reality. I feel like church-goers are delusional, and in a lot of ways, bound!
I consider myself spiritual but not religious. I love the practical teachings of Jesus, but hate church. How can this be?
That’s why Zachery was shocked when I accepted his invitation to go to church. I must admit, I was a little surprised too.
I prayed, “Please Jesus, change my heart and mind. Make me new and transform my entire thought process.” I prayed this prayer over and over for the next five days that lead up to Monday…the day of church.
At that service, I received a powerful message along with a lot of answers to the exact questions that I’ve been asking in prayer. The entire service revolved around the book of Deuteronomy chapters 28, 29, & 30.
This is my testimony, my reality, my life…this is what I received from that one church service:
Deuteronomy 28:1-2, tells me that if I fully obey God and carefully follow ALL His commands, then ALL His blessings will come upon me.
That got me thinking…I wasn’t obeying ALL His commands. Only some. Therefore, I left the door open for plenty of suffering. If my life is to receive ALL His blessings, then I must obey ALL His commands. Oh my! How is this possible? ALL??? Does that mean, GONIG TO CHURCH!? Regularly?
Deuteronomy 28:15, tells me that if I don’t obey and carefully follow ALL His commands then I will be cursed and those cursing’s will overtake me.
These particular scriptures spoke directly to my heart. I would have to be a complete fool to ignore them. I already see and feel the curses taking root.
Verses 28 & 29, tell me that my disobedience will cause me madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. And that I will be unsuccessful in everything I do.
I’ve been there. Done that! And it appears I was headed in that direction again. Scary! So scary it drove me to church, a place I hate! The message continued:
28:30 tells me that I’ll lose my wife.
28:34 tells me that the sights I see will drive me mad.
28:38 tells me that I will work hard towards my goals, but harvest very little.
28:41 tells me that if I have children, they will end up in prison.
28:66 tells me that I will live in constant suspense, filled with dread, never sure of my life.
Does any of this apply to you? If so, it’s because you don’t follow ALL His commands. Things started to make perfect sense to me. I immediately knew why I was struggling.
Then the message went from CURSES FOR DISOBEDIENCE to BLESSINGS FOR OBEDIENCE.
28:9-11, tells me that if I walk with God and obey ALL His commands, then He will grant me abundant prosperity, just as He promised in Proverbs 2:1-8.
Deuteronomy 28:13, tells me that if I pay attention to ALL His commands and carefully follow them, then I’ll always be at the top, never at the bottom.
These are the type of blessings I desire in my life. I now understand what I must do. But how can I truly obey ALL of Gods commands? That seems impossible! The answer can be found in: Deuteronomy 30:11,14-16.
It says, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach….No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you….”
This comforts me and gives me great confidence that I CAN obey ALL his commands. Re-committing to the Lord has had an immediate impact on my life. Right now I am on fire for the Lord. I pray this fire doesn’t burn out.
Some of the changes I’ve made, in the spirit of obeying ALL His commands, are:
I’ve begun going to church regularly.
I read His word daily. I apply it.
I treat others with more respect and love.
I’m more tolerant and forgiving of my peers.
I watch gospel TV and listen to gospel radio.
I’m constantly praying and staying connected to the word of God.
The teachings of Jesus are teaching me to embrace religion, and to love the church. Not as I see it, but as Jesus sees it. (As I Understand It)
I end with this prayer that is inspired from Psalm 119:105-112…
Dear Jesus my Lord and Savior,
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath to carefully follow ALL your commands.
I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much as a result of my disobedience.
Preserves my life, O Lord, according to your word.
Please accept the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me ALL the commands You want me to obey.
Please forgive me for constantly taking my life in my hands.
Help me to never forget your law.
Protect me from evil as I keep your precepts in my mind body and soul.
I pray that Your statutes will forever remain my heritage as they bring prosperity to my life. My heart is sincerely set on keeping your decrees for the rest of my life.
In the name of Jesus, AMEN!
Steven D. Jennings – www.stevendalejennings.wordpress.com
Suzie M. Jennings – www.suziemariejennings.wordpress.com
Stone City Blog – www.stonecityblog.wordpress.com
Real Love Letters – www.realloveletters.wordpress.com