As we finish this series on being strengthened by God . . . . just a quick review of where this series has taken us:

FIRST – We have to connect to God.

SECOND – Know that there will be barriers to following His direction for us and

THIRD – It Will Take Determination . . . Strong Faith . . . Single Mindedness

Just because you flicked the Devil off your shoulder once doesn’t mean he won’t be back.  As we covered before.  The enemy will be relentless in keeping you from growing closer to God!  It’s that simple!  So it will take determination on your part . . . a single minded determination to stay the course that God sets for you!  When I was preparing this posting  . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . the enemy was everywhere!

A great example of this kind of single-minded faith is a guy named Mauricio.  Mauricio was the son of an itinerate farmer.  He and his family moved from farm to farm with the farming activities throughout the year.  Consequently, Mauricio never attended the same school more that 2 or 3 months at a time.  He was always the new kid and the brunt of jokes and bullies.

But, Mauricio had a dream.  He was going to work hard (he was certainly no stranger to hard work) and save his money and buy some ranch land.  With more work and more savings, he would buy some horses and be a horse rancher and trainer.  Mauricio had had this dream for as long as he could remember . . . it was going to happen.

One day in school, Mauricio’s teacher gave the class a writing assignment; write two paragraphs about what you want to be when you grow us.  “You have 30 minutes to complete this and turn it back in to me at my desk.” She told them.

Mauricio couldn’t believe it!  This is great!  Not only do I know what I want to be, I have the vision in my mind.  All I have to do is put that vision on paper!  He thought.  He started writing and the words just flowed from his # 2 pencil. If Mauricio had any difficulty with this assignment, it was keeping it to two paragraphs . . . very long paragraphs and  . . . containing his passion for his dream!  He was the first to turn his completed assignment in.

Later in the day, the teacher had graded all the papers and handed them back to the class.  As she walked down his aisle, Mauricio thought he saw something on the next paper in her hand.  And as the teacher handed it to him, he could see the large bold red “F” with a circle around it!  As he looked at the paper he also saw a note below the large red “F”  See me after class! it read.

From that time until the end of class Mauricio couldn’t keep from thinking about the “F”.  Maybe she doesn’t like me . . . why an “F” and not a “D” . . . I actually thought it should have been an “A” or “B” . . . I think it was pretty good grammatically . . . after all, I did complete the assignment . . . maybe my paragraphs were too long.  It clouded his thinking until the end of class when he could finally talk to his teacher about it.

“I’m sure your are wondering why I asked to see you after class.”  Mauricio’s teacher asked him after he approached her desk.  She continued, “and why I gave you an “F” on that assignment”.  “Well Mauricio, I’ll tell you.  You see you are only the son of an itinerate farmer and while I am sure that your father is a fine man he is after all, an itinerate farmer.  And Mauricio, you cannot ever amount to any more than what your father is!”  To write about owning a horse ranch and being a horse rancher and trainer makes for a nice story.  But you remember I asked you to write about what YOU want to be when you grow up.  This paper you handed in is pure fiction . . . a pipe-dream . . . there is no reality about it at all!”

“I will make you a deal Mauricio.” She said, “If you will go home and re-write this paper and base in on something in our realm of reality and turn it in again tomorrow, I will invest my time in grading it again.  Is that fair?”  Mauricio agreed, took his paper back from her and dejectedly started his long walk home.

Once he was home Mauricio worked and worked on that paper.  After several hours and many crunched-up papers from his writing tablet later he was finally done.  He went to be in a much more peaceful state.

Awakened by the excitement of his new perspective, he showered, got dressed and headed off to school early that morning stuffing a pop tart in his mouth as he walked.

He got to school well before the starting bell was to ring and his teacher was at her desk getting ready for her day.  She heard Mauricio step into the room and looked up from her desk and said “Good morning Mauricio!  Did you think about our little conversation yesterday?”  Yes, Ma’am he answered and he pulled his paper out of his back pack and handed it to her.  Just has Mauricio had experienced the day before, she could see the same big red “F” with the red circle around it on the paper before it even reached her hand.  She took it reluctantly and said in a very curt tone “why this is the same paper that you turned in yesterday.  I thought you were going to re-write it.  Does this mean you don’t care about your grade?!”

Maurico sat pensively and said, “you know, I thought about re-writing it but this is my dream and I made a decision last night.” And what would that be Mauricio” she asked him.  His volume increased a bit under his determination and he replied, “That you can keep that “F” and I . . . I’m gong to keep my dream!” and turned and said down at his desk.

That, is the kind of single-minded faith I am talking about!  The enemy is going to employ every kind of deterrent he can to discourage you from following the direction God has given you for your life.  It might be a direction for the next short segment or it may be a life-long dream and passion like that of Mauricio’s.  But we all have to have the tenacity to FLICK the guy in the little red suit and horns off of our shoulder and continue to look to God and follow His direction and don’t give up!

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!

Amen and Amen!

Thank you for reading and following!

Blessings!

Pat

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