YOU CAN’T CHANGE ME: Unraveling the Lie
PART 5 GOD OF THE LIVING
JESUS CHANGED EVERYTHING:
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Narrator: Luke spent the next two years committed to learning about being a willing vessel and disciple, along with developing and using spiritual gifts and talents. He learned about being humble, communing with God, listening and being prayerful at all times. He learned the importance of faith; and believing and trusting God to Transform and guide you.
He was surrounded by a new family, many of who were mature Believers, whom he was willingly accountable to and who were trained in addiction recovery, counseling, and discipleship. He was accountable for how he spent his free time and accountable for spending time in training, counseling, Bible study and worship. He had become a soldier in training and his teachers wanted him to be fully equipped daily to conquer the world, wearing God’s Armor and bearing the Fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.
As he heard the testimonies of other Believers, soon he became encouraged and led to share his own testimony, also; a testimony in which Merle, Bee and many of his new family had played a huge part.
He had a support system and team to see that he had what he needed; that he stayed in school; and worked part-time to earn his keep. He was actively involved in life and ministry. He felt needed and wanted and he knew that people cared about what happened to him and loved him.
Was he happy? He was discovering what true happiness really was, but, he knew not to look for it in a needle, pills, alcohol or any other types of drugs. He knew he definitely wouldn’t find it there. He never actually did. The drugs just made him forget how unhappy he was.
Through God and His Son, he was learning to love himself and discovering who he was meant to be. He understood now that through no fault of his own, he was unequipped as a child to handle all that was going on around him. He was unequipped, but never unprotected, for God and His angels were always there.
Still, he had questions and…well, something else that lingered and left him unsettled and uneasy. He knew that in time, God would reveal it to him and he had to be patient.
Luke was committed to exploring his new self and improving his relationship with his Father in Heaven. However, everything still felt pretty new to Luke, even when he would spend time in prayer and meditation. He always wondered if he was doing it right. He’d ask Merle about it sometimes and Merle would answer, “Does it feel right to you?”
When Luke was with others in fellowship, especially when observing them at home, learning about their relationship with Jesus and God, he felt like he was a part of something extraordinary. Perhaps, he thought, this was what he was always missing. It meant something to be part of the Body of Christ, living, contributing and sharing your gifts in a community of God’s Saints. He knew this only worked because they always put Christ as the Head and committed to following Him, drawing others to Him and increasing the Kingdom of God.
Being with other Believers and meeting new people to support one another through trials and tribulations, helped him learn to rest more and abide in Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit, following the Mind of Christ. He wondered if this is what it meant to become a disciple, following Jesus, obeying your Father; spreading the Good News of the Kingdom, so that others may also repent and be reborn.
For the first time in his life, he felt at peace, safe and living a life with true purpose and meaning. It was a much needed feeling and although he had many responsibilities and obligations to meet, this is the first time his body felt at ease and able to rest and relax. He had spent his life holding feelings, emotions and heartache tightly inside, with no way of releasing them, outside of taking drugs.
Although it was difficult, it was a joy to go to school. Luke studied hard for his first sermon. It would count as one third of his final grade and he wanted it to be good. There was a panel of three professors who graded you and one of them was Professor Heinrich Schmidt. He had done well in Dr. Schmidt’s class and he felt confident in receiving good marks from him. Luke shut himself off from people, the world, and the multitude of problems around him in order to concentrate. When, he delivered his sermon, he felt confident with his facts.
However, the next week, when Luke checked the university website and found that grades were finally posted, he discovered that he had received a ‘C’ on his sermon presentation. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He spent most of the day and half of the night wondering what he had done wrong. The class had ended and the semester was over, but, he decided he had to find out. Knowing that the professors would probably be around for a few more days, he decided to go on campus to try and talk to Dr. Schmidt in the morning.
The next morning, Luke ran into Professor Schmidt on campus, coming out of the coffee shop. He thought, now was as good a time as any, and walked over to say hello.
Professor Schmidt: Hello Luke! You love learning so much you can’t stay away from the university?
[He laughed and was as jolly as ever, early in the morning. Luke nervously laughed, then stuttered and stumbled on his words]
Luke: I-I-I wanted to-to talk to someone..I mean…I wanted to talk to you…
Professor Schmidt: Oh? (Professor Schmidt chuckled) And to what do I owe this honor and pleasure?
Luke: It-It’s about my presentation, I mean my sermon.
Professor Schmidt: Oooh, I see…
[Professor Schmidt lowered his head as if deeply in thought, then, looked up at Luke as he did when he was ready to start his lectures.]
Professor Schmidt: You had plenty of facts and scripture, Luke. We could tell that you’re a good student and study hard. But, how will these facts and scriptures change lives? How have they changed your life? Who were you listening to Luke? What was your heart telling you?
Learn to draw from the world and people around you. A minister shows the love and compassion he has for God’s people. He is God’s shepherd watching over His flock. Listen to what God is telling you about them. Ask God what He wants you to do for them.
What can you personally tell people about God and Jesus to lead them to follow Jesus and serve God? Were you leading, Luke?
Who were you trying to reach, Luke? Were you trying to reach people or impress people? How does God want to use you and others to bring about changed lives and make disciples? How do all of these things figure into the Kingdom of God?
You are a bright and gifted young man, Luke, and to whom much is given, much is expected! Do not be disheartened, Luke. God is using you and growing you. See me in my office and we will talk. I have a meeting this morning. Can you come to my office at two o’clock?
[Luke never imagined he had done so poorly in the professor’s eyes. He was speechless and dumbfounded, but he managed to clear his throat and speak.]
Luke: I work from ten until two o’clock today, but…
Professor Schmidt: Fine. I will wait for you. We will meet regularly on break to talk and help you find your voice–the voice God has given you to use.
Narrator: Luke rushed to the university after work and found Professor Schmidt’s door ajar. He knocked lightly and peeked inside. Seeing the professor kneeling and praying, he started to turn away, when the professor spoke quietly.
Professor Schmidt: Come in Luke and join me in prayer, please.
Narrator: Luke felt a little uncomfortable praying with his professor, but, he obediently knelt a comfortable distance away from him in front of an overstuffed chair. Folding his hands and bowing his head, he began to try and pray, not knowing what to expect next. Minutes began to seem like hours. Finally, Professor Schmidt rose, went to his desk and hurriedly wrote on a memo pad. He folded the note and handed it to Luke.
Professor Schmidt: Can you meet me in the university chapel tomorrow at the same time?
Professor Schmidt: I will see you tomorrow, then. God bless you, my boy.
[Feeling confused, Luke muttered.]
Luke: God bless you, too.
Narrator: The professor hurriedly packed his briefcase. Then, briefcase in hand, he swung his arm and whisked it out the door, making huge strides for his short legs and small stature, leaving Luke, once again, standing speechless and dumbfounded.
Timidly unfolding the note, Luke tried hard to read what the professor scribbled on the paper: Psalm 37:4,5 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Luke arrived at the university chapel the next day and found the professor in the same position as the day before, kneeling and praying. He didn’t want to disturb him, but he felt that he should let him know that he was there. He walked close beside him and before he could clear his throat, the professor pointed to the spot beside him, motioning for him to join him in prayer.
Obediently, Luke folded his hands and knelt beside the professor. Again, minutes felt like hours. His mind was racing too fast to concentrate on prayer and he felt uncomfortable kneeling beside his professor. Finally, as before, the professor rose and stood next to him. This time, he pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, placed it upon Luke’s hands and departed.
Luke read the note: Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. See you tomorrow. Same place. Message me if you cannot come.
Luke plopped himself on a pew, feeling even more perplexed and hopeless than before. What did the professor REALLY think of him and was he really going to help him?
Reluctantly, Luke headed to the university chapel after work, the next day. He didn’t know if he had the patience to endure the silence. It would be hard to go in and not say a word to the professor and just let him continue treating him this way–ignoring him.
Taking a deep breath, he opened the chapel door and looked at the altar. His eyes settled on a small, chunky, balding figure huddled in the center. There he was, silently in prayer. Luke rolled his eyes and headed to the altar. He stopped short of the professor and defiantly went to sit on a pew to wait until the professor was done.
Somehow…somehow, this little man knew he was there. But, how could he know? This somewhat irritated Luke.
Professor Schmidt: Hello. Aren’t you going to join me today, Luke?
Luke: (hesitating) …I thought. Well, I thought.
Professor Schmidt: You thought what, Luke?
Luke: I thought you were going to help me. You know, really help me.
Professor Schmidt: You thought I would answer all of your questions and solve your problem so that you would get all A’s, Luke?
[Professor Schmidt stands and begins teaching in his usual dramatic and animated style.]
Life is full of questions that people need answers to in order to find their purpose.
These questions will always help you in your relationship with people and as God’s servant.
How did you used to live? Why?
How do you want to live? Why?
Why did God create us?
What does God expect from man?
Why does God love us?
Why do you love God?
Why do you love Jesus?
Questions require us to search for answers within our own heart and the hearts of others. This is what we are reaching for, Luke, the hearts of men and the heart of God and Christ. We are trying to help change the hearts of men to reflect the heart of God and Christ.
We can say that we have learned many things, but, to truly learn, we must be committed to CHANGE. We must develop a personal relationship with that which we have been instructed in to integrate it into our lives. You are a good student, but, how do you take your knowledge and integrate it into the lives around you to bring about CHANGE? You must create a relationship between them and the knowledge that reaches their heart, which in turn influences their mind.
Luke, when you present yourself before men and God, it is for the purpose of a relationship. It is all about relationships, Luke. Jesus did what He saw His Father do. He pursued a relationship with man. What Jesus set out to do with His Disciples, this is the work before us, also. And if we commit this work unto God, for HIS glorification; not for a grade or to impress others, but for the purpose of loving and caring for His precious sheep, then, God orders our steps and directs our thoughts. We must see with God’s eyes into the HEARTS of men, LOVE them and bring them to God.
When you commit your works unto the Lord, Luke, He will equip you and prepare you for the task. He will give you the words to say and the help that you need for completion, growth and expansion; for battle and victory; strength for standing and patience for enduring and being still.
Luke, I AM NOTHING WITHOUT GOD! I CAN DO NOTHING WITHOUT GOD! Do you think I am somebody because I am a professor and doctor of theology? I could do NOTHING if it were not the will of God! But, WITH GOD, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! And because I know this, I know that I must go to my Father for what I need. I must ASK! You have not because you do not continue to ask! And have you searched your heart for your motives? Why are you asking? Is it for selfish reasons or is it for the service of the Lord and His Kingdom?
Rely upon the Word of God within you, Luke; that which God has built and established within you to hold you up and bring you out of darkness. IT IS THERE or you would not be HERE to live out your purpose! You must be COMMITTED TO DISCIPLESHIP, Luke! TRUST and OBEY! HUMBLE YOURSELF AND FERVENTLY PRAY! ASK HIM LUKE! ASK HIM FOR WHAT YOU WANT AND NEED!
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
I AM helping you, Luke. What you asked for can only be given by GOD! Therefore, I am taking you to the SOURCE of our help.
It is not that I have no faith in you, Luke. God has shown me that you have no faith in YOURSELF or the POWER OF GOD that LIVES within you! It is THERE Luke! We are here praying because I REMEMBER! I know what God has done for ME and I know He will do the same for YOU! This is the faith and hope we must have for our Brother! Pray for their increased FAITH! Pray for their FRUITFULNESS! Pray for God to USE THEM, DELIVER THEM and PROTECT THEM! I am asking God, that you may receive that which you desire as His servant, as should YOU!
Do you REMEMBER, Luke? Do you remember where He brought you from? He didn’t bring you this far just to leave you. He has a plan for you that requires your FAITH and TRUST in His Power and in His Word–His Son–The Truth, The Way and The Life!
You are being tested…not by ME or the university, but by GOD! That is why you must look to the hills from whence cometh your HELP!–not just in a textbook, but to the all-knowing FATHER, JEHOVAH GOD!
(Professor Schmidt shakes his head and gives a big sigh, then folds his hands and kneels, again.)
I am finished. Now, humble yourself and let us get back to praying.
Narrator: Luke feeling very much HUMBLED, finally “gets it” and with new understanding, he humbly moves beside Professor Schmidt to pray. In the following days and years, the two of them have lengthy and deep conversations about everything Luke can think of, for example, early Christianity, horse-racing, astronomy, politics, Broadway plays, poverty, Creation, Spiritual Warfare, angels and demons. The topics never ended and Professor Schmidt seemed to have endless knowledge and diverse interests. He tested Luke rigorously on his views and opinions and how they related to God’s plan and how he could help others to become enlightened and empowered. Luke felt his relationship getting closer, not just with Professor Schmidt, but with God. The proof was there–GOD CARES! He had sent such wonderful people into his life to help him. Luke did whatever he could to show God how grateful he was and it showed, even in his sermons.
Professor Schmidt continued as Luke’s mentor for the next two and a half years. Then, at the end of his junior year, Professor Schmidt asked Luke something he hadn’t really given a lot of thought to–his future.
As an addict, you basically lived day-to-day. Since, he’d been at the shelter and become part of the staff, working and going to school, he was still taking it one day at a time, sometimes unable to believe how much his life had changed. When Professor Schmidt asked him about grad school and getting his master’s degree, he was too shocked to give him a definite answer. He couldn’t believe he only had one more year to graduate and get a bachelor’s degree.
Professor Schmidt: I will be needing a new grad student for my teaching assistant and I hoped you would enter the master’s program.
Luke: Uh, I hadn’t thought that far ahead, professor.
SELF REFLECTION: A Look in the Mirror
Once again, when we look at Jesus’ parables, He is challenging us to examine where our heart lies. Closely examining your heart, answer the questions below.
DISCUSS your answers with a mature Believer who can guide you in your spiritual relationship with Jesus and our Father, and/or have group discussions to learn from those who have different experiences and perspectives.
QUESTIONS: Write down your questions and discuss them with a mature Believer or submit them to this blog.
- Professor Schmidt tells Luke that he remembers what God did for him and believes he will do the same for Luke. Do you believe that God will do the same for others as he has done for you? Is it your desire that He do so, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or status?
- Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and Your Heavenly Father?
- Do you think it is too late for you to start a new life? It is not too late. Humble yourself and pray. God cares about you and your life. He’s waiting to hear from you.
- Professor Schmidt took it upon himself not only to be Luke’s teacher, but to mentor him and show him how to disciple others. Luke could not see this in the beginning because one thing stood in the way of him growing and being used by God–his pride. Is your pride standing in the way of your relationship with God and your growth? How?
- Luke wanted to impress the professors with his sermon. He thought he deserved an A for his intelligence and hard work. We cannot always see that our pride is in the way. Professor Schmidt had to show Luke his pride by making Luke feel ignored and insecure. Do you think Luke would have understood if the professor simply told him his problem and how it affected his sermon?
- When Professor Schmidt critiqued Luke’s sermon, he could tell that Luke was shocked in disbelief. He knew he could be more effective in Luke’s life by having a relationship with him instead of being critical or judgemental. We often bypass this option because of our own pride, trying to prove we are right, or wanting to belittle or punish others. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, shouldn’t we take the time to understand them, listen to them and try to steer them in the right direction?
- Luke wanted to give back to the community, because of his gratitude to God. As a grateful Believer, is there someone you can mentor?
- Many people often cast doubt upon others because of what they have done and because of what they have been through. Yet, they may still say that nothing is impossible with God. Professor Schmidt overlooked Luke’s faults and past and exercised his faith in God’s promises. God has promised to grant our desires and requests within His will, if we ask. The professor wanted to EMPOWER Luke to ASK God for what he needed. He gave him scriptures that would make him think about what he needed to do. Was Luke’s mind open to thinking for himself or was he looking for someone else to give him the answer?
- Has anyone ever doubted you could have something, do something, or become something, discouraging you from trying because of your situation or past? Remember, God has the final word. Is it that YOU have not because you ask not of your Heavenly Father?
- As Believers, God uses us to EMPOWER, SUPPORT and ENCOURAGE others. Our presence in the lives of others can make all the difference. Luke knew that others had made a difference in his life. Our FAITH is not only for ourselves, but it is power to LIFT and ELEVATE others. The way we treat others can change the way they feel about themselves and God. Can you think of times when you have encouraged someone and it has made a difference in their life?
- As a Disciple, are you COMMITTED to changing lives and making disciples?
- Do you believe in the POWER of prayer?
Matthew 7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.