Down but not Out

Jesse Birkey's picture

There have been many times God has shown me the path he’s laid out for one person or another.  Mostly, it’s for the person standing in front of me after God says, “Hey, go talk to the person over there.” 

Sometimes I think visions can feel familiar.  That’s not to say visions from God are on a loop.  I think each one is unique. If not in content than in circumstance and application (I would guess it’s possible to receive the same exact vision for two different people).

But I think one reason some visions may feel similar is because they share a common theme.  And this brings me back to the paths or roads he’s shown me for different people.  Typically they are winding and dark beyond that next step he asks all of us to take.  Though the ground stretching before us is safe, it’s clear in the visions that we veer off at our own peril. 

Now this isn’t to say that the plan God has for us isn’t filled with joy, hope, love, and every good thing that comes from the father.  Jesus came to bring us abundant life here on earth.  So I don’t view the uncertainty and danger surrounding the road as a statement, In this life all you will experience is trouble.  Rather, it’s a plan designed to bring us an amazing, fulfilling life in the midst of the war-zone we’re all in.

But I will concede the path or road before us can be difficult.  In some cases, very difficult.  Jesus told us that life on the road will be hard at times.  Though we experience abundant life when we walk with Jesus, the trials and hardships can still touch us.  Sometimes they grab us and try to pull us into the ditch.  The winding and mostly dark nature of the path suggests that we must allow God to lead us step by step so that we can continue to grow and experience the life meant for us.

But as I consider all of this, one thing becomes clear:  We’re going to mess up.  We are all growing, all of us becoming the image of Jesus at various speeds and in various circumstances.  There will be opportunities for ministry missed, old sin repeated, and new sin experienced. 

I’ll share two examples from my own journey.

The man was a drug addict.  Two hands dug into his hair trying to rip him in opposite directions.  One towards freedom and the other towards the comfort of what he’d come to believe he was. 

“I wish I could stop bro,” he dug grime from his fingernails.  “I really do.  But it’s like, ah man, I dunno.” 

I left a sentence in my report half-finished when I noticed him looking up at me from the stretcher.  His eyes urged me to understand.  “It’s just beautiful man.  That high…it’s the only thing that makes me feel right.”

In one hand he held a pen ready to sign the divorce paperwork.  Drugs, we’re finished!  The other was ready to crumple that paperwork spurred on by memories of all the good times they’d had together.  A lover and death in one. 

It was the high, the escape, the feeling he couldn’t separate from.  What did he have to replace it?  Show him what I feel like, the Lord spoke to my heart.  Let him experience that high.

But the man was gone.  Out of the rescue and into the hospital.  I’d missed it.  

Another day and I’m in the gym.  I noticed a young woman wearing a knee brace and limping on that side.  I’ve prayed with and ministered to a lot of people in that gym and today was another opportunity. 

“Hey what’s the matter with your knee?”  The words just came out.  I hadn’t even taken a moment to ask God how to proceed.  Her response was a wary glance but told me that it was some kind of soccer accident.

“Well I’ve seen God so some amazing things through prayer,” I said. 

Another wary glance.  “Okay,” she muttered before turning and almost sprinting out the door.  I remained the floor feeling not just a little embarrassed and not just a little creepy. 

I knew God wanted to do something for her but I’d blown it.  I’d become a little too confident, which smothered the need for God to lead me step by step through each unique situation. 

Maybe your issue isn’t a missed opportunity to minister.  Maybe it’s a repeated sin or destructive behavior.  Maybe it’s something different.  But hear this:  Whatever failure we’ve experienced doesn’t disqualify us from future opportunities.  It’s doesn’t have to keep us down.  Not even for a second.

God has planned for our failures.  They don’t surprise him.  He has grace for them.  Now that’s not to say he doesn’t care when we fail.  I believe he cares very much.  Sin hurts his heart and I think he can be sad or disappointed when we miss opportunities to pour his love into another.  But I don’t think he holds an expectation of perfection.  I think he just wants us to grow and learn and move closer to his heart in intimacy. 

We can be down but the only one who keeps us down is us and the only one who thinks we’re out is us.  So, the next time you stumble on the path God has marked out regain your footing, dust off your clothes, and apply first aid.  Then revel in the love of God that has qualified you for the next opportunity. 

Blessings,

Jesse and Kara Birkey 

  

   

  

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?


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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of CDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of DVDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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Dialogue with God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 296 Pages

This top seller for 30 years from Bridge Logos provides a narrative, right-brain presentation of the principles of how to hear God's voice. Especially enjoyable for personal use, it makes a great gift for introducing a loved one to the voice of God. This book teaches the four keys to hearing God's voice in readable style, and also devotes two entire chapters to moving samples of people's journaling (i.e. their two-way dialogue with God).

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Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books, 10 CDs, 10 DVDs now at a $30+ savings

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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by Mark and Patti Virkler | 317 Pages

We recommend that you order the newest revision of this book titled 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. It includes 95% of the content of How to Hear God's Voice but is reorganized so it fits perfectly with the 10 DVDs on this subject by Mark Virkler. In addition, it gets you started using the four keys earlier in the book and gives you more journaling samples and exercises. Since we have removed the large margins, it is a smaller and less expensive book.

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LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Notebook

LEARN 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler

This 49-page Life Enrichment And Review Notebook (previously called a "Seminar Guide") is designed to go along with the CD/ DVD series and/or PowerPoint presentation. If receiving training in a group, we highly recommend that EVERY member of the group have their own copy. It offers you the following four benefits:

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Prayers That Heal the Heart

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Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

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by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

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