My name is Ceci Sheets and today I have the pleasure of spending some time with you. Some have asked what I do for DSM. I manage the day-to-day operations for the ministry, getting to work with our awesome staff, and help Dutch with the daily Give Him 15s.
I’m not a teacher. My gifts are more on a practical level. Give me numbers, spreadsheets, charts, and challenging grammar. But as we know, it takes all of our gifts to get the job done. We have different parts to play and thank God, we are not all the same. So instead of a teaching, today I’m going to be sharing with you from my heart.
Dutch and I met at Bible college (Christ For the Nations Institute) in Dallas Texas. He was from small town Ohio and I was from even smaller town Mississippi. He grew up in a ministry family during his younger years. I grew up on a working farm where your value in life was basically dictated by how hard you could work. When I brought Dutch home to meet my family, Daddy needed some questions answered, so he took Dutch to the barn. Not being prepared for this unscheduled meeting, we had to find Dutch some old work clothes and he curled his size 10 toes into Daddy’s size 9 boots. Off to the barn they went. I impatiently waited for them to return to the house, wondering just what Daddy had in mind.
A few hours later I watched as both of them came walking through the pasture right before supper time. They were smiling - both of them - so I knew Dutch had passed Daddy’s test. However, as they neared, I had an idea of what test Daddy had given Dutch, as I could smell him before he got close to the house. From about 20 feet away, I hosed him down, watching brown water run between the gravel rocks on the ground. Dutch was still smiling and Daddy was too, and that’s all that mattered to me. It was important that we had Mom and Dad’s approval, no matter what tests were given, and Dutch had just passed the I can work hard to win her hand test. Here’s the story...
My Daddy was the oldest of 11 children, mom one of 5. Their parents had taught them to work hard - it was just the way life was. On our farm, Daddy raised cows, chickens, and beagle dogs. On this particular day, he had saved the job of vaccinating 40 baby calves for Dutch’s visit. If you’ve never had the pleasure of walking through a barn while this process was taking place, I’ll paint a little word picture for you. Daddy had syringes filled with whatever vaccination the calves needed at their young age, ready and waiting to be used. He also applied another process or two (which we won’t go in to). However, Daddy stood on the outside of the barn fence while Dutch got inside the small pen with the young calves. His job was to single them out, one at a time, and drive him into the “shoot” so Daddy could lean over the rail and administer the vaccination process. Then the calf would be allowed to exit the barn, running to mama and telling her what had just happened. But baby calves get a little excited when they are scared and...well, you can now imagine what the brown water was that I hosed off Dutch. Times 40. However, he felt my dad’s testing process was well worth the reward.
Sometimes we have to be reminded that the reward is worth the consequences. Whatever means the most to us in life is worth fighting for - whether it’s a habit you’re trying to break, an addiction you’re overcoming, making healthy choices for your daily life, a spiritual fight for a family member, or perhaps - peace of mind. Many times we have to be reminded that choices have consequences - both positive and negative. Even though we might become weary, the fight is worth it. Good consequences bring the reward, negative consequences bring negative compensation. Let’s take a look the book of James and see what it says, reading from The Passion Translation:
“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
“And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with His generous grace. Just make sure you ask empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. For the ambivalent person believes one minute and doubts the next. Being undecided makes you become like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next. When you are half-hearted and wavering, it leaves you unstable. Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you’re in that condition?
“So don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. Always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!” (James 1:2-8, 22 TPT)
So today, I offer you a challenge - whatever you are fighting for, lay it at His feet and remember, He is on your team. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent or give in as day-to-day life presses in around you. Remind yourself that life can be better, as we make Jesus our partner in the situation. Lean on Him and His Word, and allow Holy Spirit to bring the reward.
“For He alone is my safe place. His wraparound presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me? God’s glory is all around me! His wraparound presence is all I need, for the Lord is my Savior, my hero, and my life-giving strength.” (Psalm 62:6-7 TPT)
Pray with me:
Jesus, we thank you for life’s lessons. We can learn a lot through books, but wisdom only comes through experience. Today we are grateful that we do not have to go through life alone, but Holy Spirit is with us, offering us help and comfort.
I pray for my friends today, Lord. Together we bring our situations to you and lay them at your feet. Whether they are small or large to others, they are big to us and we need Your help. Holy Spirit, come and brood over the loved ones who have walked away from You - send those who will share Your love with them. That one who needs a financial miracle, we agree that You will make a way. And we pray for those who need a miracle in their health. Jesus, we ask that You touch each one - allow Your healing virtue to flow into them, driving out all disease and weakness.
Holy Spirit, today, we offer ourselves to You once again, clean and fresh.
And Lord, we would be remiss if we didn’t lift our nation to You. We ask for Your mercy. Cause the light of Your truth to shine and uncover what is hidden in darkness. You hold our times and seasons in Your hands. We ask that this be America’s time for awakening.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
We declare that today, anew and afresh, we place our hope and trust in You.
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