Mr. C's Blog

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 

One of the most stressful things that I ever watched on television was Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon gorge a few years ago on a tightrope. Wallenda ventured out on this rope not knowing all that he might face in terms of weather conditions, nerves, or other unforeseen things. He risked his entire life believing that he could accomplish this task.

His approach to this task as it unfolded spoke volumes to me. I quickly learned that Nik is a devout follower of Jesus Christ. Nik took this journey into the unknown all the while trusting God one step at a time. During the journey, Nik constantly demonstrated his trust in God by quoting scripture along the way.

Psalm 119:105 paints the same exact picture of how we are to live our lives. The image is of one who is navigating the dangerous path of life with the help of God’s Word. The verse tells us that we are given the light of God’s Word to be able to take the next step. We are given enough light once we take the next step to take an additional step and so on. 

Indeed, life is big daily adventure into the unknown. Not often does God give us the plan for the next twenty years. Instead, He wants us to embrace the unknown with the truth of Psalm 119:105.

I will tell you that embracing the future does not mean that all fear is erased, and you never worry. Leading this school has presented me with challenges especially in the early years. I had a lot of doubts leading in those early years and I have regularly faced a lot of fears over the years. I will never forget a passage of Scripture that I read one morning that changed my perspective. That verse was Matthew 19:26:

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I realized at that moment that I could no longer lead with fear and doubt about what I could or could not accomplish. The verse reminded me that we serve an extraordinary God who can do anything. I had to trust God and lead others to do the same believing that God had a plan for my life and for our school. 

The secret to trusting God one step at a time will require that you spend a lot of time on your knees in prayer. Here at school, we spent countless hours working hard and dreaming of what could be. Our leadership team knew more than anything that we had to face the future trusting God with each small step. That is no different for us as individuals.

Even as I have gotten older, I have sought to keep the same practice of trusting God with each step as I embrace the unknown of the future. God will direct you in whatever you are facing and He delights to do impossible things in our lives!

“Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: 'Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?' ” Esther 4:13-14

We live in some difficult days. I hear people often say that these are the worst times in history when it comes to moral issues. These times can be bad as we see the moral decay of society. However, I am not sure if I agree that these are the worst moral times the world has ever seen.

As you read God’s word, you can see some tough times in society. One of those times was in the days of Esther. The Jewish people faced the prospect of annihilation because of an evil man named Haman. Haman plotted this evil plan against the Jews. At the time, Esther, herself a Jew, was the queen to the man Haman was trying to convince of his plot against the Jews.

Mordecai challenged Esther to stand against the plot and she did so in a courageous manner and the plot was negated. I love how Mordecai challenged her. He said: “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?”

I believe we all could relate our lives back to this question. God has placed us strategically at this stage of history to stand and make a difference for Him. God knew what Esther would face in her day and He knew before we were born what we would face in this world.

Not only in Esther’s times were things difficult. Paul faced similar circumstances in Acts 17.  It was a time where many anti-God worldviews were prevalent. Paul did not shrink or hide from this responsibility. Instead, the Bible in Acts 17 says that Paul reasoned with them, defended his faith, and shared the truth of the Gospel with them. That chapter tells that some laughed at him, but many wanted to know more. Paul was made “for such a time as this”

As a child of God, I want to embrace what God has called me to do for “such a time as this.” I do not believe that indifference is an option that God would be happy with. God has ordained that we step up and impact others for the cause of Christ. This culture can be difficult but with God nothing is impossible.

I pray that we as a school and individuals would seek to serve others, love others, help others, and share the life changing Gospel with others in this difficult culture realizing that God has called us to “such a time as this!”

“Then he said to his servant, ‘Go and look out toward the sea.’ The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, ‘I didn’t see anything.’ Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally, the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.’ Then Elijah shouted, ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’ And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm”. 1 Kings 18:43-45

Elijah and his people had not seen rain for 3 and a half years. Drought had destroyed their land. In 1 Kings 18:1, God had promised:

“Later on, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!’”

However, nothing happened for a while. Elijah could have given up and been mad, but he was neither. Instead, Elijah kept sending his servant to check for any sign of an impending rain storm. The servant kept coming back declaring that he saw no evidence of an approaching storm. Finally, the servant saw a small cloud on the horizon that soon turned into a big rainstorm. 

I do not know about you, but there have been many times in my life where I experienced this type of situation. Times where I have been in a difficult situation or you may call it a dry spell. I knew all the promises of God for my life, but they were not evident or being fulfilled.

As a Christian, I know in my heart that God can be trusted. However, I think we can get doubtful during the times when we do not see immediate fulfillment of a promise. Of all the things I struggle with I know that patience is the greatest. I can get impatient waiting on something to come to pass. In these times, it is easy to let discouragement and frustration rule our hearts.

We need a better way to live our lives. We need a truth that will help us trust God to do what He says He will do and be patient. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:20:

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 

I pray that we each would live knowing as this verse declares that “all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ.” I pray that our “yes” in trusting God to do what He says He will do will bring glory to God while we wait!

What a mighty God we serve!

 

“Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.” -Proverbs 15:16

Michael Jackson was one of the most famous entertainers to ever walk the face of this world. He seemingly for years had everything that this world had to offer or that is what it looked like from a distance. We learned as the years passed of many things that he struggled with in life. After his death, it was clear he had an inner turmoil that robbed him of sleep and ultimately cost him his life.  

It has been said that money or things do not buy happiness. Proverbs 15:16 tells us exactly that above. That verse tells us that we are better off to have very little and live life with the fear of God than to have all this world offers and not have peace.

I believe that there is so many people today who are struggling with an inner turmoil. We are told to chase the American dream. We are told that success is found in money, fame, and achievement. We are told that we are the masters of our own destiny. The part that we are not told is that these pursuits will never satisfy us. Even with great treasure, there is often great discontent.

Romans 3:18 declares that our chief sin as people is that often we "have no fear of God at all”. In other words, we are not relying on God. We are not walking or thinking about God. We are too focused on ourselves and the things of this world when we have no fear of God.

Proverbs 15:16 is calling us to live a different way. I do not know about you, but I do not like to live with continual inner turmoil. I find that kind of life to be exhausting. I have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses. I have no desire to have a lot of things and be miserable.

I want to live in a way that gains the peace of God. I want to experience His hand on my life. I want to daily trust Him and rely on Him. I want to be concerned daily with what He thinks of me and not others. I want to obey Him in all I do. This is how I would describe the fear of the Lord.

I have experienced that when I live this way with a fear of the Lord, there is great peace and joy. Proverbs 9:10 says, that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom tells us that we are better to have very little in terms of material possessions and have the peace of God than to live with plenty and be miserable.

I am convinced that when we gain this wisdom then we can experience what Paul experienced in Philippians 4:11.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” 

From this wisdom, Paul learned to be content with “whatever I have.” I pray that this truth will become a reality for all of us. Less can sometimes be better!

“Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.” -Psalm 119:35 

My kids bought me a Fit Bit watch a couple of years ago for Christmas. I love this watch! It keeps track of the steps I take daily, it buzzes me and reminds me to get up and walk, tracks my sleep, my calories, and the stairs I climb. I am now enamored with the idea of getting at least 10,000 steps a day as recommended by the American Heart Association.

I can honestly say that the Fit Bit has affected my walk like nothing I can remember. I am motivated to walk to achieve the goal of hitting those 10,000 plus steps in a day for my health. Fitness is such a big focus in our world. It is scientifically true that after a workout or physical activity our endorphins kick in and make us happier. Some may believe it is the key to happiness.

I believe it is good to exercise but I believe that the real key to happiness and freedom in life is something much different.  What if we were that motivated to walk closely in our relationship with Christ every day? Psalm 119:35 tells us that this kind of walk is “where happiness is found.”

I love the old hymn “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”. Look at a few of the words below:

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"

 I have found this to be so true. As the Psalmist says, when we walk in obedience with the Lord there is a joy and a sweetness to life even in difficult times. I also love what Psalm 119:45 says about the freedom that is available when we walk with Christ.

“I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”  

When we commit to a walk with Christ, He provides us with freedom from worry, fear, and so much more. Jesus said, “if you know the truth, the truth will set you free.” Knowing Him who is truth is the key to freedom in life.

These two verses in Psalms provide us with the secrets to real happiness and freedom. I pray that these will be a blessing to you today!

 

“In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.” 2 Chronicles 31:21

I am an avid sports fan and I love to see a team play hard regardless of talent level. I get frustrated when I watch a team that is not giving an all-out effort in a contest. Similarly, I believe that God expects us to give our best in our daily walk with Him. God desires that we be committed to Him and make Him the top priority relationship of our lives. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 31:21 that Hezekiah “sought God with all his heart and as a result he was very successful.” God has used that verse in my life as a powerful example of what faithfulness should look like.

There are two key phrases in that verse that speak tremendous life lessons to me. First, it says “in all that he did.” In other words, there was a consistent approach to obedience in Hezekiah’s life. I think sometimes we are tempted to think that there are areas of life that do not require us to be as devoted as others. In those areas, we may not always give our best.

Unfortunately for Christians, people are watching us closely to see if we live up to whom we say we are. When we are not giving our all in serving God and obeying Him, we present a poor testimony to those around us. I am afraid this happens all too often for Christians. It is no wonder then that many who are without Christ bemoan the fact that there are too many hypocrites in church. We need to give our all to serving and obeying God.

Second, “Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly.” Hezekiah had an undivided heart towards God. God was indeed the priority relationship of his life. What about us? Is there a consistent approach in our lives towards obedience to God and His Word? Are we seeking Him wholeheartedly? Is there anything in our lives that is crowding out God from being the top priority of our lives? Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher of times past, once said: “That God does not give great harvests to idle men.”

I do not know about you, but I do not want to live my Christian life in a mediocre fashion. I desire to see fruit in my Christian life. I would never want anyone to look at me and say that I am no different than any other Christian who does not live up to the faith. I know that I am not perfect and that I have not arrived, but my desire is to “know Him and to make Him known.”

We started this year with a theme of “All In” and I want us to close the year out with that same idea. There is no greater joy than to serve God with all our heart, soul, and mind and then pass that onto our children. I want to be “All In” when it comes to my relationship with God. I want my life to be one in which God can give a great harvest to.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

During my work career, I have always wanted to know exactly what I was responsible for doing and who my boss was and their expectations. I like to know upfront who is responsible for what. Unfortunately, many times people confuse those roles. Conflict and stress are inevitable when someone tries to do things that are not their responsibility. The same thing can happen to us in our spiritual lives. We begin to get the idea that we are responsible for doing great things for the Kingdom on our own. John 15:5 makes it clear that this was never God’s plan for us.

In that verse, Jesus tells us that that He is the Vine and we are the branches. It is interesting that He uses this analogy of a plant or tree. The vine is part of the tree that provides the nutrients and ingredients necessary to produce fruit. The branches simply bear the fruit.

What Jesus is telling us here is that He alone produces the fruit in our lives. As much as we try, we cannot produce fruit like love, joy, and peace in our lives that will last apart from Him. What then are we responsible for? We are responsible for staying in close relationship to Him.

With John 15:5 in mind, our responsibility is to abide in Jesus. What exactly does that mean? The idea of the vine here is that we must be connected to Him to receive the things necessary for us to produce fruit in our lives. Not only must we maintain the connection, we are also dependent on the vine for our direction, our hope, and our path forward. Also, we must continue to abide in Him for us to stay fruitful for the Kingdom.

All of this is reminding us who is responsible for what. We are not responsible for producing fruit. We are responsible for abiding in Jesus. This means that we are to no longer pursue our agenda for our lives but instead commit the control of our lives to Him. To do this, we must daily cultivate our relationship with Him through prayer and study of His Word.

I love how Frances Chan described this idea when he said: “There are periods that we forget that in the pursuit of fruit, that if we just abide in Him, then fruitfulness is a guarantee.”  May we all find comfort in knowing that Jesus will do in our lives what only He can do if we remain in Him. Because “apart from Him we can do nothing.”

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 

Sometimes we Southerners use expressions that people outside the South do not understand. One of those phrases we use sometimes is the phrase “I am fixing to.” Translated it means that we are getting ready or prepared to do something.

In this crazy world we live in, I want to do all I can to be ready spiritually for all the issues of life that will come my way. I am convinced that if we are not ready spiritually we will miss out on the peace we all so desperately seek for our lives. I want to be focused and fixated on Him daily.

Isaiah 26:3 above gives us an incredible prescription for finding peace for our lives. In this passage, Isaiah tells us that God will keep “in perfect peace” all those who trust in Him and who are focused or fixated on Him.

As I thought about this idea of placing our trust in God, that is what we as Christians did when we received Christ as Savior and Lord. At that time, He secured our eternal destiny. This is the first step of gaining peace with God as the verse above says. We are secure in Him for eternity. Hebrews 9:12 describes this: “With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

We are secure in Him and that should bring us peace. The second part of gaining that peace is in being fixated or focused on Him.  I researched the definition of fixed. Webster defines it as “securely placed or fastened.” Once we are saved and in relationship with God, we are to daily place our hope and trust in Him for all the issues of life. He is our anchor that will hold our lives calm and steady regardless of whatever the storms of life may bring us.

 Hebrews 6:18-19 confirms this when it declares: “Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19 

He is the only hope that can truly bring us peace. The primary thing we should be “fixing to do”, as the Southern expression says, is to allow our thoughts, our lives, and our hopes to be fixed on God!

“Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7

Growing up, I heard my mom say many times “you do not understand what is going on now, but someday you will.” That statement never made sense to me as a child. I wanted to know now why something was happening. Even today, I think we all struggle with why certain things happen to us or people we know. Life does not make sense many times, whether it be in trying to find a career path or trying to understand why a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In John 13:7, Jesus tells us that even though “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” What a great truth and reminder! In Isaiah 55:8, God reminds us “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”

These verses teach us that God is at work in our lives many times behind the scenes and in a way that is far superior to anything we could think of. I am living proof that God’s plan is a lot better than mine. When I was fresh out of college, I really believed that my career path would solely be about finding the right business career.

It was not long that I was miserable in those business jobs. I began to pray and ask God, “Why do you have me here?” Answers did not come right away, and it appeared I was trapped in something I hated. When I look back on those times, I see now that it was as if God was telling me to hang on and learn all I could where He had me and that someday soon He would reveal to me His plan.

That was exactly what He did. He used the business experience in my life to help prepare me for the role to lead Metrolina. I did not have to wait to long for the Lord to give me that “someday.” He planted me in a role that I went back to school for and used those earlier tools in business to make a difference in ministry. I did not know then, but all these years later I gained an understanding of what God was up to.

What about you? Maybe you are in a place today that you don’t why something is happening in your life. I would remind you that God has His best planned for you if you will trust Him. Especially if you will trust Him to deliver you in His own unique way. I want to leave you with some verses that I pray will give you hope that someday you will understand.

“The Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you.” Deuteronomy 23:14

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” Psalm 34:19 

“Then call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15

 “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”  1 Peter 3:10-11

Everyone remembers the key phrase from the Declaration of Independence which says:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We are blessed to be Americans and live in this great country. I especially love the statement the “pursuit of happiness.” We are free to pursue happiness. In fact, I believe most if not all people long for happiness and to enjoy life.

1 Peter 3:10-11 gives us incredible insight into what enjoying life may look like. That passage tells us if we want to enjoy life and many happy days then we must do a few things. First, we must learn to control our tongue. How do we do that?

I believe that we must stay close to God through the reading of His Word and spending time with Him in prayer. I am convinced that if we make Him the focus of our lives we will be different. His Word will change our focus, or speech, and our conduct. How do I know His Word will change our speech? Look at Hebrews 4:12 and Isaiah 55:11 below.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” 

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” 

Spending time in His Word will keep us from speaking evil and will instead enable us to uplift others with our speech.  1 Peter 3:10-11 also reminds us that we should seek peace with others and “work to maintain it.” Romans 12:18 also instructs us to: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” 

From this passage, we are taught that to enjoy lie and see many happy days then we are to control our tongue and seek peace with others. As I think about this truth, I see the wisdom in what God could truly do for my life by submitting to this. Most of the problems I encounter are when I do not control my tongue and seek to live in peace. More importantly, this reminds me that finding real joy and happiness begins with me committing my life to God and following His Word. God will honor that kind of lifestyle. 1 Peter 3:12 confirms this when it declares: “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.”

Rev. Rick Calloway
MCA Head of School

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