“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1:3-7
November 2015 marks three years since God met me in what I can only say was a supernatural visitation. Prior to that month there were years that passed in which I had fallen into the depths of a depression in which I felt there was no way out, and life had no meaning. To the outside world I’m sure everything may have seemed “perfect”, however reality for me was continual inner turmoil and despair.
Through a variety of circumstances, situations, and reading materials God began to gently slice through the layers of hurt and despair. It wasn’t an over night cure but a daily process that began in the early summer of 2012. However, it took several more months before I was ready to hear what He had to say. My heart needed to be prepared, healed and more than anything ready to receive His words.
One November day, as depression seemed to grip my soul to the point of breaking I found myself asking God, “What do You want? What do I have to do, for You to love me?” And that’s when He opened my ears and allowed me to hear Him say; “Bert, you don’t have to do anything to earn my love. I love you just as you are.”
His words broke my heart and tears streamed down my face as I wept uncontrollably for hours. In fact, I wept daily for weeks as He continued to heal my broken heart and shattered spirit. Some of the wounds were self inflicted, while others were careless wounds some had ignorantly inflicted upon my young and naive heart.
During that time, the Father began to also speak of His love for all mankind and He placed that love within me. The perspective in which I viewed others changed almost over night. No longer do I see colors, religions, political parties but rather people in need of salvation and in need of love. If ever there was a mountain top experience within modern day society, I’d have to say I have experienced it.
However, as beautiful as the mountain top is, and regardless of how peaceful, we must all return to the valley. Our loving Heavenly Father doesn’t send us back to punish us, but rather so we can take the love and passion He places within us back into the hurting world around us. Our mountain top experiences are meant to prepare us for the ministry He has placed within us and desires to work through each of His children.
His ministry can take the shape of many forms. It could be full time vocational ministry. Or it could be serving the needs of the homeless. Sometimes it can take the form of a grown child who is called upon to aid a parent who’s been diagnosed with cancer. His ministry of love that is meant for all in this dying world knows no bounds and there are no degrees of importance because every ministry of His is important.
It’s been three years since the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob opened my ears. Since that time He has taught and revealed things to me that I never thought I’d be able to understand or experience. The most recent lesson He’s revealed is just because some of us are not called to full time vocational ministry, doesn’t mean we are not to be called ministers of His.
As children who are born again through the blood of Jesus the Messiah we are all called to be ministers of the Most High God. Our ministry should always begin within the confines of our own homes. I believe we have forgotten this or we overlook it, or perhaps we think too highly of ourselves when we embrace the words of Jesus when He said in Mark 6:4 that; “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” Now how many of us truly believe we are prophets? Time to snap back to reality. It’s time to begin our ministry within our families.
The family unit is under attack, actually it’s been under attack for a while now, however the effects of decades of erosion are finally being seen through out society. As I watched various interviews on TV this weekend I listened in amazement as 18 time gold medallist Michael Phelps admitted in an interview with Joe Buck that up until recently, 2015, that he had dealt with life long deep depression as a result of having an absentee dad. We look around wondering why kids act the way they do and yet we fail to look in the mirror and take responsibility for the way we’re raising them.
So, where’s all this coming from? It’s coming from the grown child who has received news their elderly parent must continue their fight against cancer. It’s coming from a heart that has been taught to be thankful through the good times as well as within the hard times. It’s coming from someone who recently received the full revelation that this earth is not our home. That when our time is done, we will either step out of this body and either into the judgment of Almighty God or into His loving presence. It all comes from a man, who made many poor decisions, and yet time after time God chose to reveal His grace and mercy to him, just so this man could share a little Christmas perspective with all of you.
Jesus the Messiah was born to teach us the ways of God, to reveal to us that He is the Son of God, as well as the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. He was born to be both the high priest as well as the suffering servant. He is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of all who ask Him. Only through asking for forgiveness and yielding to His Lordship can anyone receive eternal life and life fulfilled.
I know this to be fact because I have felt the depths of despair. The meaning of a fulfilled life can only be experienced by a life submitted to Jesus the Messiah. This is my Christmas perspective that I pray fills some with joy, some with hope, and others with anger and jealousy. Why anger and jealousy? Because I want those who feel that way to look deep within their souls and wonder just what it is that causes them to feel that way. Why do they feel that way? The harder they look, the sooner they’ll find, there is a loving Father who desires to tell them just how much they mean to Him, and the price that was paid for their lives, and it all began with the birth of His Only Son.