Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Seeing pictures of my granddaughter's prom last night stirred up memories from forty-eight years ago when I was in the sixth grade. Middleton Attendance Center was an all black school comprised of first thru twelfth graders - massive. Each year, every grade level voted for a princess with a twelfth grader as the reigning queen. I voted for my friend, Sherry, because she was clearly the most beautiful girl in all of elementary with locks that hung magnificently down her back, shiny white teeth, pleasant smile enhanced by dimples to live for - always dressed nicely. Did I say she was also one of the most brilliant?
To my surprise, Sherry voted for me and so did, apparently, most of our classmates because I won. SHOCK and AWE - for real! I had no expectations - was not even in the running. How could they make a terrible mistake like that? I was a keen student but in my opinion, not even pretty. Honestly, I was rather homely looking. My mother dressed me nicely, but bless her heart; she could not do hair - that didn't help. She was so horrible at it that I started doing it myself in fourth grade - at nine years of age. LOL! It still looked terrible but was an improvement and got better over time.
In a special school assembly, the winners were all escorted to the stage wearing our glamorous gowns, long white gloves - arms resting on the arms of our escort. For this special ocassion, my parents took me to the salon to get my hair done, but mama, unfortunately, allowed daddy to take me shopping for my shoes. I'm not sure what possessed her to do that. I could not believe my eyes. Daddy bought me penny loafers. Who does that? PENNY LOAFERS - to wear with my elegant teal gown that mama bought. The two of them were total opposites. The suits hanging in daddy's closet were from forty years prior - no fashion sense whatsoever. On the other hand, mama had a great fashion sense. Even though fashionista was not a word back then, she was definitely the epitome of it. Showing my displeasure to daddy would not have been to my benefit so silently, I suffered embarrassment and hoped that my formal dress would distract from my black loafers. That was going to be a little impossible ascending the stairs to the stage, which seemed to rise forever. With no other options, I had to smile and bear it.
Homecoming night, they chauffeured us to an illuminated football field. Since mama took me shopping for this one, I was pleased with my outfit.
To this day, it's mind-boggling that the classes voted for me. I remember seeing Sherry's face and the biggest smile radiating from it when the announcement came. I can't say it was a dream come true because I never dreamed of it. However, it was a rewarding experience and a pleasant memory in spite of the 'walk of shame' down the aisle in loafers.
In life, we will experience many 'walks of shame' with many regrets - wishing that we could rewind and start over. The good news is when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we can start fresh and new. He experienced the greatest 'walk of shame', 'The Via Dolorosa' - the painful way. His grief was the most painful and shameful of all as he struggled through on the street in Jerusalem - carrying his cross for his crucifixion. He was hung up for our hang ups.
Isaiah 54:4 Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
We may not always completely forget the embarrassing moments whether minor mishaps or major sinful regrets; we still have the covering of the Lord who casts our past away from us when we throw our lives at his feet. He suffered shame, so we don't have to.
Sherry and I reconnected the year my daughter passed in 2015. She found me and was very comforting - even more so when I learned that she met my daughter, KaShanta when she worked as a beauty consultant at the mall while attending college. I never knew that. Before passing, she started The KaShanta Sims Foundation
which will help cancer victims look and feel beautiful in spite of their diagnosis.
My classmate is just as beautiful today - inside and outside - always smiling - speaking an encouraging word. She is a fulfillment of the scripture. In my estimation, she so deserved to be the winner, but she preferred me over herself. I'm still humbled by the experience. I felt so undeserving of the gift that was so freely given to me.
What a wonderful world it would be if we all adopted the attitude of Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
That is exactly what Jesus did. He preferred our freedom over his agony so much so that he laid down his life so that we could pick ours up.
"Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is a choice. If we choose not to forgive, we are the ones in bondage." Bishop Ken Sims
I am reminded of what a child said when he prayed, "Forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets." I laughed so hard when I read that - knowing, of course, that the child thought adults were saying trash baskets when they said trespasses. But wasn't that appropriate?
Matthew 6:12 "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".
In essence, when we pray the above verse, we are telling the Lord to only forgive us when we forgive those who wronged us.
Some people have a lot more garbage to dispose of than others. Little or much, the Lord has made provision for us to free ourselves by utilizing His word.
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiving is not always an easy thing to do, but it is vitally important that we do so for our on health - both spiritually and physically. Jesus taught us how to do so before the cross, on the cross and even after the cross. No other person has ever suffered the things that Jesus endured on our behalf. On the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who crucified him for He perceived that they did not really understand what they were doing or who they were now indebted to. He humbled Himself and allowed His own creation to crucify Him. We often say that we want to be like Jesus and we mean well. Frequently, we find that it is easier said than done. Even so, the grace necessary to be victorious has already been provided. As previously stated, forgiveness begins with a choice. Mine! Yours! It is a mental ascent of our soul, but more importantly a matter of the heart - our spirit. When we make the confession, God accommodates us with the strength that only He can give.
Forgive! It's not a suggestion. It is a command.
In the twenty-first chapter of St. John, one of Jesus’ disciples whose name was Simon Peter, decided to go fishing. His fellow disciples said, “We will go with thee.” After toiling all night long, they caught nothing. Jesus called to them from the shore the next morning, “Have you any meat yet?” They answered, “No!” Jesus responded, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.”
They toiled all night and it profited nothing; but when Jesus showed up the next morning, everything changed. Psalm 30:5b ...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
There are many who are toiling today through a dark season. Doing the same old thing, the same old way – day in and day out. Nothing seems to be working. Jesus’ disciples were plagued by the same fate. Jesus told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When they did, they pulled in 153 fish. It was supernatural that the net did not break from the heavy load. What happened? They received a fresh word from God. Obedience to the fresh word resulted in a large fresh catch.
Is that you doing the same thing and expecting different results? If so, ask the LORD for a revelation. The moment it comes, act upon it. When Jesus gave his followers a fresh word, they immediately acted upon it. They received illumination that not only changed the way they fished, it changed their lives.
Listen for the instructions of Jesus in every endeavor so that you don’t spend your time casting effort to the wind. All of the elements they needed were in place. The water was there. The fish were in the water. They had nets. They had a boat. What they didn’t have was a divine word causing a paradigm shift. When God gives you a fresh word, know that the elements are already in place and be prepared to have your life changed also. The word to them wasn’t just about fish. It was about their commission. It was about catching souls for the Kingdom.
My question to you is: Have ye any fish yet?” If not, do as Jesus instructed, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.” The right side will always result in enormous blessings for the kingdom of God.
JOHN 21:6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
JOHN 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
JOHN 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
(Scriptures from KJV)
A prophetic word began to flow from Bishop Ken Sims (my husband) after a counseling session I had with a sister-in-the-Lord in March. I placed a microphone to his mouth to capture and share it with her, but I'm also impressed to share it with you. It came just two months after his two-week hospitalization. He was still very weak and was not expected to live:
"God said to stand
still and see the salvation of the Lord. Stand
still! This is not your fight. Stand
still and see the salvation of the Lord; and when you're stand
ing still, there's no need for your knees to buckle or knock together. Stop listening to what the enemy is saying and start taking the Word of God at face value. What the enemy says is nothing but a threat. You shouldn't even be at the point of wondering how is God going to work this out, or where are the finances coming from? This is His battle. This is not your battle, and you're not going to be able to figure this one out. He wants you to stand
still and see his salvation and that means total dependence on him; that means not trying to figure him out in your finite mind - how is all of this going to transpire and who is going to get what advantage over what situation. God rewards faithfulness and God is a just God.
What you need to do and continue to do is pray and watch the salvation of the Lord. Just stand and watch God do what he does best and what he does best is just being God.
Goliath and David are symbolical for you right now. You have to really, really just take a step back and see the whole threat that David was dealing with. See what it is all about and then you can adjust that in the spiritual. Step away from it and let God fight your battle.
This is not a situation where one day you are believing and one day you are not. It is important to keep your feet fixed. Keep yourself anchored in the promises of God and don't be like the person that you discuss and don't be vindictive. Watch your attitude. The best thing you can do right now is to pray for your enemies because they don't know what the nature of the threat is that they are bringing forth against you. They could get into a lot of trouble. Just let God take care of them and keep your focus on the Lord. Keep your eyes on Him in the whole scenario so that in the end, it will pan out the right way - the way it is supposed to go. You focus on becoming whole and dealing with your own life and just be very careful that your anger doesn't come through in a way that you're saying wrong things that could withdraw the hand of God's judgment away from your enemies. So guard your anger. Pray for them and you are going to see God work a miracle.
To every person that is involved in your whole situation: you don't need to be numbering troops. God is well able. Don't look at what you have and what you don't have. Don't let your knees buckle and don't shake in your boots.
We have the chief lawyer. The Lord anticipates what the enemy is going to do before he even does it. God is not going to allow you to fight by yourself - that's why he has placed Giants in the faith all around you. We have WON! We don't have anything to fear. Your enemy is restless and fearful. He doesn't know what your next move is. You hold the trump card."
STAND! Jesus is our trump card.