Ripple Effects 

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We tend to get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results from our prayers and actions.  Our society does not encourage patience, as it is geared towards instant gratification, getting rich quick, fast food, and convenience.  However, the Kingdom of God does not operate that way and we need to align ourselves with the kingdom mentality.  A song from one of my favorite worship leaders has these lyrics, which illustrate some of how His kingdom varies from that of the world:

“I’m in love with a king who became a slave
I’m in love with a God who is humble
You gotta go down if you wanna go up

And You’ve gotta go lower if you wanna go higher and higher

Well you’ve gotta hide and do it in secret if you wanna be seen by God

Cause it’s the inside outside upside down kingdom

Where you lose to gain and you die to live”

 (Misty Edwards – “Servant of All”)

 

While there are times we see instantaneous results from our prayers and ministry to others, that doesn’t seem to be common.  Sometimes, we don’t get the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the fruits of our labors.  Other times, we lay foundations and/or plant seeds, but someone else gets the credit for the finished product.  There are periods where we may not see any positive results from our efforts.  During these times, we must hold on to hope, believe good will come of what we’re doing, and continue in kingdom business.

 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10 NKJV)

 

As I tend to struggle with discouragement, from time to time, it was amazing and a tremendous encouragement to see God move quickly recently!  Near the end of June, I was given the opportunity to share a message with the young adult fellowship I attend (yes, I realize I don’t fit the definition of a “young” adult, but I feel called to be there and haven’t been shown the door yet).  While teaching on forgiveness and how we must forgive everyone, for everything they’ve done to harm us, regardless of how significant and damaging their actions were, I noticed someone shaking their head in disapproval.  A few days later, Holy Spirit nudged me to send her a message.  In the message, I told her how I realize how difficult it is to forgive people when they’ve done significant harm to us and/or our loved ones, but it is necessary and I’d be praying for her.

A few weeks later, I felt led to share a great blog post from Travis Kolder on Facebook.  Within four days of that, a powerful message on being vulnerable was shared to the young adult group.  The speaker shared very difficult experiences from his life, which had a tremendous impact on those listening.  After he shared, we broke into small groups and discussed our difficulties with being vulnerable with God and others.  We then prayed for each other.  As our group session closed up, our pastor encouraged us to join in with praying for two ladies, who were being ministered to powerfully.  Through this ministry by the Lord and a woman from the church, these two forgave men who had hurt them very badly – men they were having a difficult time forgiving, with good reason.

One of the women, was the one I sent the message to about forgiveness – God be praised!  Shortly after this, the man who shared the message that night, told me the blog post I shared gave him the inspiration to be vulnerable and share those dark things from his youth.  I didn’t have a clue, that a few instances of obedience to Holy Spirit, were going to have such a profound impact.  I was so grateful and honored to be used in this instance.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can choose to be rude or unkind to others.  As I was formulating this blog post, I thought of how I had recently given a man a death stare and look of disapproval, after he drove 3-4 feet into my lane, about 5 inches in front of my car.  I don’t know this man, nor anything about him.  For all I know, he could have been a recovering alcohol or drug addict and my reaction towards him may have caused him to take his first drink or opioid in months.  Hopefully, this wasn’t the case.

Life can be extremely challenging, particularly in the days we are now living.  Doing good and living out our faith can be extremely difficult, especially when we don’t see results.  Nonetheless, I encourage you to press on and continue to be a world changer, as you never know when what you do, say, or pray can greatly alter the trajectory of someone’s life.

May the testimony I shared strengthen your faith and embolden you to continue to fight the good fight and love well.  May discouragement be abolished and you realize the great impact you have on those around you.  Father, grant those reading these words to sense your indwelling presence and develop a heightened sense of your guidance.  Reveal to them the great plans you have for them and how seemingly small actions can have a profound ripple effect.  In the might name of Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen.

 

 

 

Pressing on During Difficult Times

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Last week was difficult, to say the least, as I found out Ric Lumbard, who is one of my all-time favorite church leaders, had suffered a heart attack.  This was added to an already heavy heart, as I had recently heard that a dear sister in the faith was struggling mightily with depression.  Also, just a couple hours before news of the heart attack reached me, someone from my young adult group at church requested prayer for someone in her life, who had just attempted suicide, while having two children below the age of six.

To compound matters, I was extremely sleep deprived, prior to hearing these things.   Additionally, I had been somewhat stressed out recently because of work being relatively slow the past month and a half (I’m self-employed, so work being slow yields my not earning much money).   For a moment or two (probably more), I began to feel extremely overwhelmed and thinking the weight of these things may crush me.  The few days following consisted of my sleeping in late and taking long naps in the afternoon.  Outside of spending considerable time in prayer and making it to the gym once, those days weren’t very productive, at all.  Thankfully, I motivated myself just enough to make it down to Denver for CYA (Citypoint Young Adults, which is a church fellowship of which I am a part) on Friday night, as the worship, message, and time with church friends was encouraging, edifying, and fun.

On Sunday morning, I made it to fellowship with other believers, by the narrowest of margins.  After not sleeping the best, I nearly elected to have church at Mount St. Mattress, but decided I would be best served my worshipping the King of Kings with my church family.  I’m extremely glad I went, as the Spirit of the Lord moved incredibly during worship and the sermon was helpful.  To top things off, I met a few new people and had lunch with an incredible man of God, who ministered to me significantly.  To top things off, the Mexican food was very satisfying : )

Sometimes, making one or two good decisions can make a HUGE difference in overcoming challenging times.  At other times, it may take more than that.  Ultimately, we need to keep pressing on and we’ll eventually get through the valley.

 

Here are a few things I’ve learned about navigating difficult times you may find helpful:

  1. Focus your attention on where you are spiritually positioned.  “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV).  While we need to tend to things on earth, maintaining our heavenly gaze helps us to keep things in proper perspective.  In addition, when we look to the creator of all things and remember how incredibly powerful He is and that He is aware of all our needs, our problems don’t seem quite as daunting.
  2. Pray.  This piggybacks off of #1 and is equally important.  We can’t expect to receive help from above if we don’t ask.  Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7 NKJV). I trust Jesus knows what He’s talking about. Also, as found in The Epistle of James, “You do not have because you do not ask [it of God].” (4:2b Amplified).
  3. Reach out to friends and family, as they care about you and in addition to listening and bearing your burden with you, they may also provide helpful advice and/or bits of wisdom.  We aren’t designed to go through life alone and we need others at times.  There is zero shame in not being able to do everything on your own.
  4. Exercise, do your best to get adequate rest, and try to maintain a healthy diet.

 

An Ode to Saint Ric

I try not to put people on pedestals, but Ric spent a significant amount of time on mine (I’ve since removed my pedestals).  He is brilliant, eloquent, extremely wise, and one of the best teachers and leaders I’ve ever come across.  His knowledge of The Bible and spiritual matters, along with knowledge in just about every other subject, is remarkable.  Even more than these things, his commitment to prayer is phenomenal.  To top that all off, he has been on the front lines in the fight against human trafficking and done an incredible amount to restore victims of trafficking back to health.  I could go on and on about him, but to sum Ric up in a few words, he is a man after God’s heart.  Please keep Ric in your prayers, as he has not yet regained consciousness.

Click here if you’d like to support the Lumbard family financially, as medical expenses, food, lodging, and travel are very costly.

Dullea’d Commencement

This has been a long time coming – that is, my writing.  I’ve felt compelled to write for quite a while, but have found it extremely difficult to get the ball rolling again. In the fall of 2010, I began writing my autobiography, which focuses on my miraculous survival, from a remarkable suicide attempt, but put this on hold during the fall of 2012.  There have been several attempts to restart the book, but they haven’t gone far.

Blogging has been a consideration for some time, but with the book being my priority, it has fallen by the wayside (I generally try to avoid supplementary activities, if the primary are not being actively carried out).  However, through recent conversations with my cousin’s mother-in-law, Teresa, and my brother in the faith, Travis, I’ve decided blogging would be beneficial for my getting in the habit of writing regularly and also provide me with an opportunity to minister to others through an additional avenue.

In speaking with Travis today, we discussed how the fear of writer’s block can prevent us from getting started and/or cause us to quit once we’ve begun.  He told me one way to overcome this is to write as if I were having a conversation with someone, rather than attempting to create a literary piece.  In doing this, the words will flow and I’ll be less likely to get hung up on structure and eloquence.  This doesn’t mean one should just spit out what comes to their mind and not write in a grammatically pleasing manner.

Another thing he suggested was not editing my work as I go along, but getting my thoughts out and then going back after and revising what I’ve written.  I really like this notion, as I had a horrible tendency of becoming nearly paralyzed in my writing, as I would attempt to perfect each sentence before moving on to the next one.  This caused a lot of frustration and also prevented me from allowing my thoughts to flow freely.  I’m hoping this will lead to writing in a less deliberate manner.

I had a horrible time deciding on an address for my blog.  My first choice was “livingmiracle”, but then I found out it would cost me $1,000 to purchase livingmiracle.com from the one currently possessing ownership.  I considered using “stephenleo7”, which I use for email, my Twitter handle, and most usernames, but I didn’t find it to be descriptive enough.  I ended up settling on “survivalofthestephen”, as it provides a glimpse into one of the primary themes of the writing I intend to do and also provides a fun play on “survival of the fittest”.  I enjoy using the occasional pun, oxymoron, or slight modification of sayings to entertain myself and on a good portion of occasions, others (hopefully, more often than not, others are entertained by my antics and general tomfoolery).

Speaking of wording things creatively, I suppose I should explain the title for this post.  For those of you who don’t know me, my last name is “Dullea”, which is pronounced  D uh – lai .  However, myself and some others like to pretend it is “delay” and make jokes surrounding it (OK – mostly me).  One joke I use frequently, when I don’t provide something to people, as quickly as they or I would like, is “Sorry for the Dullea, but I was born with it”.  Since my creating a blog has taken so long for me to actually do, there has been quite a Dullea.

I hope reading my maiden post has been at least somewhat enlightening and provided you with at least a moderate chuckle.