All posts by markkharris55

About markkharris55

Mark K. Harris is an officer in United States Coast Guard who has enjoyed over 16 years of active duty naval engineering assignments. He is married to his beautiful wife Vanessa for 8 years; they have three children Joshua, Andrew and Hannah. They are actively involved with our church and other community based activities. Having had the opportunity to both learn and lead during his career on both Coast Guard Cutters and high level Naval Engineering units, Harris’ intention is to continue in the Coast Guard for or beyond twenty years. After that, we will reevaluate family, ministry and career priorities to determine all opportunities that might be available to us.

Just Do It!!

Gen 22:3

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Nike had a tremendous slogan some years back; “Just Do It!! Millions of people worldwide made it a part of their everyday vernacular. The reason I bring this up is that this was Abraham’s way of life. God would say something to Abraham, and he would immediately take action.

In this text, Abraham got up early and prepared for the trip to take his son with him up to the mountain which God told him. Why??

Because God said so!! Gen 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” This has got to be the most difficult task he has ever been given. How in the world could God ask him to do this? The thing God told Abraham to do was so difficult; I’m utterly amazed at how quick he was to take action. I struggle at times to do what God said immediately. Not because I don’t fear and respect Him. I struggle at times because, unlike Abraham, I tend to have these concerns:

1: Was that Indeed God speaking? Am I sure that was God? Would He ask me to do that?

2: Is what God asked too difficult for me? I don’t know God; I’m not sure I can handle that.

3: If I do this, what will other people think? Will the people follow me? What about those who don’t agree? Will it make me look silly? Holier than thou? Stupid? Any manner of other things.

4: What happens if I don’t do this? What will I lose by not doing what God told me to.

I’m not proud of those questions, but I have to be honest about it. Abraham’s swift obedience positioned him to become the Father of a great nation. So why did he not deal with these same questions, or did Abraham just surmise that all that mattered was what God said? We’ve got to get to that point. If God Said it, then we must do it. Abraham moved to do God’s will by believing:

1: God’s voice was not cluttered by any other voices that were given a place in his mind. We often have other voices in our heads that clutteand r, are louder than God’s still small voice. God will not compete with other voices, and His sheep know His voice.

2: God’s plans for us are to give us a future and hope. These plans are the very best situation for us. Our ways are not His ways. We have to trust that, and Abraham did.

3: Who cares what people think? We do; Abraham did not; the only person that matters is God. We have to comprehend that.

4: You will fail! Nothing that opposes God will prosper, and we must determine the Lord’s will, not our own. Proverbs 19: 27 says, “Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.” We go away from God’s Wisdom

He Holds My Hand 

Ps 73:21-24 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. 24 You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory.

It takes great courage to share your feelings with anyone, even your family at times. Recently, one courageous member of my family shared their concerns and anxieties. That night I could not help thinking about them sharing their thoughts and feelings of being under stress and I just felt for them. I wondered, “what would the Lord want them to know” about their situation and what He would want to share with them.  And it is this: “You are in My Hand and I will Hold Your Hand through everything.”  

In this text, a Psalm of Asaph (Asaph is said to either be the author or the transcriber of these psalms. He may not have said these psalms but transcribed the words of David.), and although we know nothing about him, what we do know is that he is being courageous and vulnerable. 

He is telling the reader that he was about to give up; give up on God, give up on His commands and give up on living devoted to God.  He was going to give it up because the way he saw that those who were wicked were seemingly prospering, while he was obviously struggling, going thru a hard time.  Nevertheless, (regardless, in spite off, or even though) I’m going to power through.  He remembered that God was holding his hand (Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand).  And if God’s holding his hands, then whatever he is going through God is going through with him.  

So why was Asaph (or David) saying Nevertheless?  What did he have to power through.  Ps 73:21Thus my heart was grieved, And I was vexed in my mind.

Look at that; he was grieving, and he was extremely mad. He was feeling some way about losing something and it was making him increasingly angry.  Does that sound familiar. It should because it happens often and we’re in the process of feeling like Asaph…Nevertheless; God is going through it with us, and He wants to comfort us as we go by holding our hands along the way.  

That is a lot to consider; but let’s consider also what Jesus said about God’s Hands: Jn 10:29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  Not only is God with us as we go through tough times, but He also holds our hands along the journey.  All while Holding us All in His Hand, not allowing anything or anyone to snatch us out of His Hand.  Only God can do both!

Finding Something Good

Pro 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

Yesterday we celebrated my wife and mother of our three children on a day when many other Mothers were being celebrated worldwide. However, throughout planning her weekend, I could not help but reflect on just how GOOD we had it. She is a wonderful wife and phenomenal mother. 

As you get older, hopefully, you get a little wiser along the way. I realize that one of the things that God appreciates the most from His children is that they allow Him opportunities to bless them. A part of those blessings come in the form of Wisdom, Grace, and Peace. When Solomon asked the Lord for Wisdom, He not only gave Solomon Wisdom, but He gave Him way more than he could have ever imagined. David asked God for guidance, but he also asked for continued mercy (Grace). God gave them both in abundance. Jesus prayed for and gave us His peace, a peace that passes all of our understanding. 

Why am I talking about this; two reasons I would say that due to recent growth emotionally I’ve come to appreciate people that I did not always appreciate correctly and being confident that God wants me to ask Him for more of what I need (and not to be timid in asking). This brings me to today’s subject. Something that I found which was good, really good!! My wife and I met over 21 years ago, and while I knew early on that, she was a “Good Thing,” however, it was honestly not until recently that I came to appreciate her totality. Much of that appreciation came from the revelation of myself and God’s love and guidance for me. This revelation opened my eyes to even more of my wife’s gifts, which I often fought but realized are truly beneficial to me. So, with what I’ve learned, let’s talk about this very familiar verse.

Find A WifeHe who finds a wife. Fella’s, there comes a point where we have to stop looking for a hookup, or a companion, or a booty call. We need more and God wants more for us. God said in Genesis, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Yes, when you are saved the Holy Spirt is always with you; however, God created us and knew that we do not do well independently. He is relational, and He created us to be relational. This being the first relationship He created, there is a particular importance to it. The man who desires a wife should Find one. Find in the dictionary means to recognize or discover; a discovery of something valuable.  This means that finding takes some effort, it takes great insight, and it takes knowing what you are looking for and being able to detect a counterfeit. Finding this blessing will take an eagle eye and some due diligence, but it will be worth it in the end.    

Find What’s Goodfinds a good thing. This is what I came to appreciate recently. Like vegetables, medicine, or even exercise, each is very good for you but may not always be pleasing, and it may taste nasty, leave a scar, or even make you sour the next few days. Therefore, you have to find the Good. There were several reasons I married my wife (if I recall, I had 18 listed), but just like me (each of us), I did not necessarily enjoy or appreciate some things. However, God knew the things that I needed to make me better. I spent a good bit of time being frustrated, asking her to change, or even resenting some things that I now see were exactly what I needed to help me grow, realize my shortfalls, and see the benefit for our entire family.  

Find Your FavorAnd obtains favor from the LORD. You must get, acquire, or secure (obtain) the Favor God has for you. Solomon, who should know about having wives, tells us that the one who finds a wife obtains favor from the LORD. The LORD used here is Yahweh, the One True God, Eternal and Self Existent One; this is Who your Favor is coming from. God’s Favor is abundant, and it is precious, but it also must be secured. This, I feel is the extra that we sometimes miss; God gives us Favor but this favor we must “protect against threats or make safe; even attach firmly so that it cannot be moved or lost.” This means that the Favor obtained from finding a wife will be attacked and will be stolen if not protected. The enemy hates marriage and will always attack it. We have to fight for it and not fight the one in it with you. 

We often battle and become tired in the fight, but it’s in our weariness that the spouses turn on each other rather than fight the enemy attacking their marriage together. The same Solomon who tells us about the favor tells us also how to secure it; Eccl 4:12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  We cannot fight each other; we must fight together (two can withstand him), and it’s only when we do that, that God fights with us. There is something to be said about the two becoming one; the two actually become 3, and that team is not quickly broken.  

Brothers, Find your Good Thing; Appreciate your Good Thing; then Fight with your Good Thing.

Our Father

Matt 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

If my kid’s only vision of God the Father is me, then they are doomed to never know Him as a loving, Grace filled, proud poppa.  They may see a fun loving guy who most of the time has a gnarl expression on his face and often saying “No” before the question is even finished; that spends a good bit of their conversations, criticizing and judging rather than exhorting them.  Man!!!  However, the crazy thing is I love them tremendously.  But if me as a father is a portrayal of God to them, why would they want to seek Him?  

Thankfully, Jesus teaches us what we need to know to be better fathers and that is to lead our kids to His Heavenly Father.  Here is what He teaches us from Matthew’s gospel:

  1.  My Father is Your Father:  therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven.  Jesus let us know that His father God, is also our father.  Think about this, Jesus was being persecuted because the religious sect felt He was blasphemous by calling God His Father.  And now when he is teaching us to pray, Jesus tells us to do the same.  therefore, pray: Our Father ; God is our father and if we can relate to Him as such, there is a certain level of intimacy that comes with talking to your father.  Jesus also teaches us not to look at man but to heaven.  therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, we are to look up and not to our earthly examples; because our earthly example are flawed.  When Jesus died on the cross, He made it possible for us to realized that the God of Heaven is indeed our Father.  The fact is, in my best effort, I could never be the example of God that is fitting, but if I can get them to Jesus, He will show them all they need to know.  
  2. My Father is Set ApartHallowed be Your name.  Jesus shows us that God is our father, then in the same breath let’s us know that He is Holy and Righteous. The word Hallowed, means to make holy, (i.e. ceremonially; to purify or to consecrate); it is basically expertly cleaning something or what we’ve come to know from COVID; quarantined from the filthy environment of our sin. So then, how amazing is it that the most Sanctified and Majestic Person ever known, also desires to love us as is concerned about everything that concerns us.  Jesus made it possible for us (as filthy as sanitary napkins) to be one with a Holy God.  God is without sin, filth or failure, He is set apart in Righteousness and was willing to sacrifice His Son so that Evan Fathers like me can be covered, righteousness and set apart with Him.  

Jesus gives us the tools, that will help our children to know God the Father for themselves.  Regardless of the Father’s had or the Father’s we are, God is the Father who covers us and steps in to fill in the gaps that have been left. 

Get Some Daddy Time

This blessed me on a day (His Birthday) when I was missing my Dad who passed away nearly 13 years ago. I was looking for something his when I came across this post from 2014. Also, it’s especially special when my oldest is getting ready for his Senior Prom and that little Princess (discussed below) is now about to complete 7th grade. Please enjoy “Get Some Daddy Time”

Ps 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

So this morning, as it is many Saturday mornings, my industrious wife was off to the grocery store early to beat the rush and get back in time to still enjoy the weekend.  So it is up to Daddy to take care of breakfast and spend some quality time with the children.  This time is usually spent with me in the kitchen cooking, and the kids downstairs watching their favorite cartoon or TV show.  Then we eat breakfast together, typically at max speed because the boys want to get back to playing games and or were hopeful that I will let them watch another show.  But today was a little different, no hot breakfast, just cold cereal, and toaster’s strudel.  This was quickly gobbled up by the kids and I had not even sat down to eat my mix of breakfast and leftovers from last night’s dinner.  My 4-year-old daughter was still sitting there and she said these words to me “Daddy can I keep you company while you eat your breakfast?” 

Ohhhhhhhh, my heart melted so fast, I could not get the words “Of Course!!!” out of my mouth quick enough.  There was such a smile of my face that I could not wait to sit and spend Daddy Time with my little Princess.  We had such a pleasant time, we talked about questions she needed answers to, things that were fun for her, some things that I did when I was small and our favorite things about playing in the snow yesterday and even sharing some of her fears.  It was then that Jesus spoke to me and said this is exactly what I feel when my children want to spend time with me.

The bible says “In Your presence is fullness of joy” and I have always enjoyed this verse because it reminded me that when I spend time in the Lord’s presence, I will be full of joy.  His joy not mine, this Joy the world could never take away from me, because it did not give it to me.  This joy is not based on my situation or circumstances but based on the Joy of Jesus, whose Joy is unspeakable.  Knowing this makes you look forward to spending time with God so that we can be replenished or be filled.  Today, Jesus revealed to me that it’s not just my joy that will be full, but that Jesus joys in His children desiring to spend time with Him.  He loves to hear from us, He smiles when we tell him what makes us happy, the things we like about being with Him and especially the cares we want to lay at His feet.  Nothing beats Daddy Time for you or Daddy.

Know that Jesus Joys in your presence with Him.  He loves to hear from you and loves to fill you with His unspeakable joy.   In Your presence is fullness of joy

X Degrees of Separation

OK, I heard this in the shower yesterday, so bear with me. You may know Kevin Bacon, a famous actor who starred in movies like Footloose, X-Men, and A Few Good Men. Still not ringing a bell? Maybe you’ve heard of the 6 Degrees of Separation or the Bacon Law; it is a parlor game where players challenge each other to arbitrarily choose an actor and then connect them to another actor via a film that both actors have appeared in together, within 6 steps. For example George Clooney was in Ocean’s Eleven with Matt Damon, Matt Damon was in The Departed with Jack Nicholson, and Jack Nicholson was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. Nicholson has a Bacon number of 1, Damon has a Bacon number of 2, and Clooney has a Bacon number of 3. Why is any of this relevant? It is not. But what it does shows us is that while they are all actors, they are separated, yet even with the separation, there is a way to connect all of them in just a few steps. 

Sin has separated us from God. Like many, if we were to add up all of our transgressions and failures, it would take 1000 steps to get back to God or numerous degrees of separation.  Col 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
However, while we don’t have 6 degrees of separation from our Heavenly Father, we have the Grace of God wiping out everything that tries to separate us. We have X degrees of separations, and that X = The Cross. All separation was nailed it to the cross with Jesus. Isa 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow.

Our sins have been covered by the blood of Our Savior and because of His sacrifice. 

We deserve extended separation from God, but like Paul, I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38-39)

And though my sins are scarlet; you made them white as snow. Jesus, I thank you for the Cross.”

He is Risen!!

Matt 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Thank You Lord!!!

Because Jesus is no longer in that grave; we’ve been redeemed!

I’m so grateful, because I’m a mess, yet because He’s Risen, i am the righteousness of God in Christ!!!

Celebrate the fact that He did what He said He would do.

It’s For Your Own Good 

Jer 24:4-7 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

There are 66 books in the Bible and of the 66 there are some that when you are reading cover to cover that you just don’t look forward to diving into. Now I hear you “Blasphemy” you say; and as i sit here in the airport, I feel bad for even saying it. But I’m just being honest.  Jeremiah is one of those books for me.  I love God and I love His Word (Jesus), but I really don’t enjoy this book.  

Now it holds some of the most famous promises in it (and I know that), like 1:5 God knew us before we even got here or 29:11 God’s plans for us.  If I were to dig deep enough as to why I feel this way, there are probably a few reasons. Maybe its because the book is so long, it feels like it will never end.  Or, maybe because it’s a highly emotional book, with a lot love, hate, anger and forgiveness; and I’m while im working on my emotional intelligence, it’s honestly a struggle.  Or maybe it’s because of the fierce anger expressed throughout the book followed by loving and encouraging words then anger again; its a reminder of the anger remembered as a child an the mentality to duck for cover (working on that too).  Two separate messages all together. 

With all that said, this scripture stands out to me in the midst of many declarations of judgement for the actions of the children of Israel and their repercussions of disobeying God, there is hope.  They are experiencing judgement for worshiping other idols and neglecting the law; and yet here are some words of comfort.  The Lord is letting some of those being exiled know that He has his eyes on them and He is actually using this situation to get them out of a bad situation and will be drawing them to Himself.  Let’s look:

  1. He Sees the Best in You:  “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah……For I will set My eyes on them for good.  Good Fruit; that is what God is looking for and what He seeks in all of us.  It is what He sees in you and I.  Now our current situation, may not look like it; it couldn’t possibly be what He sees; but God is trustworthy, you can believe what he says (Always has been and always will be).  Sometimes our situation is  being used to put a little “fire” under our behinds, to motivate us or to push us a little closer to Jesus.  Notice, He says that we are good fruit; He did not say we are acting like it or that we deserve to be good fruit.  We are not righteous because of what we’ve done, we become righteous when we accept Jesus Christ as savior.  Our righteousness is based on Jesus’ actions and not ours.  God, just like in Jeremiah’s day, is looking beyond the current situation and deeper than their current actions and seeing their fruit.  Be encouraged, He’s looking beyond your faults and shortcomings to see His fruit (in You).
  2. He Knows What’s Best For You:  whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans.  Often God will move you, change your current circumstances, get you out of a bad relationship, even though you may not agree.  Yet God’s ways are not our ways (Isa 55).  We cannot trust in our heart and our opinions, we have to trust in the Lord (Pro 3:5).  God has already created the end of our story, His screenplay is completed and He’s confident in how it will play out.  Trust Him to know what is best for you and your family.  Believe me God wants better for you even more than you do.
  3. He Will Restore and Strengthen Youand I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them upChange always produces growth, sometimes that growth hurts, causIng great pain and teaches lessons that we did not even realize that we needed to learn.  Change sometimes leads to loss; loss of relationship, money, reputation, etc.  When a boxer looses, it often leaves him/her flat on the mat; completely spent, disoriented and physically drained.  I’m sure that even those of us who are not boxers have felt this same type of pain when we encounter change.  
    Loss often leaves a void and it is a void that we thought we could fill; only to now comprehend, that this void can only be filled by God.  Which is why He promises to build us back up and bring us back to where we once were, but He also plants us there which means that we will have to continue growing but now in an environment where we can excel and thrive.  God will never leave us where we were, He’s always desired for us to be where He’s planned for us and not where we’re comfortable.  
  4. He Wants to Win Your HeartThen I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.  When God changes your heart it is through something that He has done on your behalf.  After all it is the goodness of God leads you to repentance (Rom 2:4). Whether it is a miracle that you’ve been praying for; The Holy Spirit opening your eyes to see His plans for you; maybe God has rescued you from a negative situation or He’s moved your heart to feel more of what He feels.  The text says that God will give them a heart to know Me.  The word “know” here is multifaceted so I will not go to deep into it.  Let’s just say that the heart God gives us will allow us to learn more about Jesus; perceive what He sees and feels; discriminate or distinguish between what is Jesus and what is not; to experience Jesus like never before; to acknowledge all that Jesus is doing in your life and so much more.  You will forever be God’s, because you now have a heart for Jesus and you will never know a greater love.  This new clarity will make you All In for God and don’t worry He will do it uniquely geared to you so don’t try to be like someone else, just let God dictate who you are becoming in Him and most of all Enjoy the journey.  . 

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A Proven Method

Jn 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The beauty of the book of John is that Jesus’ Lordship is being interpreted.  Jesus was indeed a King (Matthew), a Servant (Mark) and the Son of Man (Luke); but here in John’s Gospel, Jesus was portrayed as the Son of God. He’s The Word, He was with God at the very beginning and even though He could be seen throughout the Bible I many forms (Sacrificial Lamb, Angel of the Lord; Pilar of Fire, etc); it is the book of John that prepares us for Jesus’ coming in the flesh (the living epistle or living Word of God).  

God sent His word to the earth in the Old Testament, through Moses in the form of the Law (The Commandments) Jn 1:17 For the law was given through Moses.  Now His Word is coming in the form of Jesus Christ.  I want to focus on how how The Word entered the earth; Jn 1:17 … but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  Many Christians don’t follow Jesus’ lead; grace and truth.  Many lead with Truth, which often comes in the form of a “hammer”, a “Holier than I” attitude, or a judgmental presence.  Jesus is the Way and Truth (Jn 14:6), and He could easily come in judgment of everyone of us.  However, He leads with Grace first.  I like to think of grace being a pillow or fluffy mattress that the Lord allows us to fall on.  Regardless of how far we fall, God’s Grace gives us a soft landing spot. Rather than hammer us for not meeting God’s righteous standard, Jesus gives us Grace first, demonstrating His love for us.  After all, it is his goodness that leads to repentance (Rom 2:4…not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance).

We need to remember that God’s goodness is what opened our hearts to Jesus. It is a proven method that the Lord has demonstrated to perfection for centuries and if we want to win others to Christ, we need to learn how to lead with Grace.  If we desire to share Jesus, the least we can do is share Him the same way He does.

Flow in Your Gifting

Before we jump into this message you should take a look back at Anointed and Waiting, this message is from the Man After God’s Own Heart series; which looks at the life of David to learn the principles to help us live After God’s Own Heart.  Now back to the message.

(1 Sam 16:21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer). What should David’s expectations be after being told he would be the next King. When do I leave this shepherds field; what will I wear at the palace; how will I know what to do being so young; will my father come with me?? Many questions must have been flooding his mind. So, when he received the call that he was wanted at the palace. 1 Sam 16:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” He must have thought this is it; it’s beginning to happen when all of a sudden; he’s playing the harp for the current King.  

You see David was a gifted Psalmist and musician; he had honed his craft and was one of the very best in all Israel. God had given him an amazing gift and now he was going to be using it for the King. What gift has God given you that will allow you to serve the King?  Everyone has a gift specifically given by God; James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights….Find that thing or things God gave you that without being arrogant, you do just about as good as anyone. Be careful, your gift might have been perfected out of fear or hardship, so you may not see it (or appreciate it) as a gift.

One of the gifts God has given me is the ability to flow, fit-in, maneuver and thrive in any environment. Take in my surroundings, see what needs to be accomplished, work with different types of people and eventually use charisma to become dependent on or lead. I hear some of you say, that’s not a gift, you sound shady; and honestly, some have seen it that way. However, that ability has put me in rooms with leaders at work and in ministry and have given me opportunities to share God’s principles and love with people that did not know they needed it; lead men to know Jesus and fulfill a calling to disciple men on numerous occasions.

But do you know how that gift was perfected? Being an only child for quite some time; having to stay with different people, while my parents went to work; moving to and attending different schools than the other kids in my neighborhood; staying with different relatives for long periods of time in the summers; dealing with a lot of different (types) of people; all as a scared little boy trying not to be afraid.  However, being very keen to my surroundings and able to “gain acceptance” by others easily.  I became great at it though, because while I felt unsafe in those environments, I knew that if I had an ally, I would be able to survive.  So, I developed and fine-tuned this gift of winning over people and it became a gift that produced much fruit in my life and career.  However, later it would become a stumbling block to finding out who I was (my identity and purpose) and not who I could easily become or transform into (another message at another time). 

David could have very well perfected his praise out there alone in the fields with the sheep. Imagine the cold lonely nights with only his voice and a makeshift instrument; hearing all sorts of probably scary noises and his way of drawing comfort was singing/playing a song for God.  He did it to renew his strength or to find some refuge.  However, he perfected it, and that gift was being called upon by the King. If he did not have this awesome gift; David could have remained in the fields with nothing but sheep, without an opportunity to learn all that he did before becoming King.

The great Kobe Bryant once told a story in an interview about moving from Italy to Philadelphia. When he got there, he only spoke Italian. He found it difficult to communicate, understand and connect with the kids in this new town. Therefore, Kobe said I can connect with them through Basketball. So out of fear of not speaking the language he used basketball to show them what he could not tell them with his words.  Kobe focused, trained, and perfected his gift until that gift took him to a legendary status.  My question to you is what gift have you perfected because it helped you deal with a fear, something that hurt you or a setback in your life??  God can and desires to use it, will you let him?