Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

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Sacred Attentiveness

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)

God is doing things with respect to your life that you can only respond to in faith.

He is doing things outside of your intellectual embrace, outside of your capacity to see it or to emotionalize it. God is doing things in secret and the only response that is appropriate as an offering to Him when you can't figure it out is to have faith. 

Some things can't be revealed to us early. Some things can't be revealed to us completely. And the reason is because the offering God expects at times is to trust in Him even when we are working with an incomplete map.

Sometimes, God's plans transcend our expectations. The question is, will you endure for Him when He is pushing you beyond the border of your strength?

You have to accept that God is working at times, not within, but outside of our intelligent anticipations. And this calls for sacred attentiveness—learning to pay attention to more than you see and more than you feel.

There have been times when your sight has betrayed you. And there have been times when your emotionality made decisions based on errant data. That’s why we must learn to cultivate sacred attentiveness—because sight and feelings aren’t enough. We must walk in faith as well.





No More Violence

With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
Matthew 26:51-52 (NIV)

The scene is intense. Jesus has just been betrayed by the kiss of Judas. Peter, always ready for action, pulls out his sword and clumsily cuts off the ear of Malchus.

Jesus calmly picks up Malchus’s ear from the ground and reattaches it to his head. It’s a miracle, to be sure, but don’t let the wonder of His works make you miss the power of His words.

Jesus says to Peter, while intending it for the soldiers and also intending it for us, “No more violence.”

Too many injuries result from it. Trauma builds strongholds on its back. Lives are forever scarred by it. Enemy camps become all the more entrenched because of it. Truth is suppressed and ignored because of it.

When violence is perpetrated, real messages are missed. Reconciliation is all but strained out. Elections become marred because of it. Innocence is violated. Community becomes threatened. Trust is broken.

Historically, families have had to painfully move family members away because of violence. Parents have buried far too many children. Jails have profited from violence perpetrated and judges behind the bench have stewarded violence of their own in the excessive sentences that they hand out. And let’s accept that the church is not immune from it either.

Jesus’s message doesn’t need parsing. We don’t need special interpretation. It doesn’t need to be better translated from the Greek, the Hebrew, the Aramaic, or the Latin. His message is clear and undeniable. Jesus says to each of us, “Stop it. Put your blade back in its sheath. No more violence.”


Keep Your Torch Lit

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was strangely unique. The winner of this race was not the runner who finished first. The person declared the winner was the runner who finished with his torch still lit.

The flame of our torches is our faith, our trust, our hope, and our confidence in Jesus Christ. We want to run our race in this life crossing the finish line less concerned about whether we cross first or cross strong, and more concerned with keeping our torches lit—our conviction still anchored in Jesus.

In our race of life, we are sure to encounter resistance, difficulty, opposition, emotional drain, fatigue, and weakness. These realities will tire you. They will deplete you. They will challenge you. They will demand a lot of you. This is to be expected. If you are attempting to do anything in life, Satan is going to try to block you. If you’re trying to become something strong in life, the enemy is going to try to stand in your way.

If you have dreams and aspirations and goals and desires…
If you want to walk by ordered steps…
If you want to live out of the power of an anointing…
If you want to prove through your life that you’ve been chosen and predestined…
If you love Jesus and you want to walk by faith and not by sight…
If you put your hand to the plow and are determined to move forward…

…you are going to do so at times against a very strong headwind.

Before those moments of opposition arise, you must decide that even if you can’t make it fast and you can’t make it strong, you can make it with your torch still lit, because you’re not going to quit.


The Gift That Faith Gives

She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Mark 5:27-29 (NIV)

Twelve years is a long time to suffer from anything, let alone uncontrollable loss of blood. But the woman in Mark 5 endured those twelve years, draining her bank account on doctors and living distanced from everyone because of her perpetually unclean status. But then Jesus appeared on the scene, and she found the healing that she had hoped for.

This account demonstrates the discipline of faith—a faith that kept exercising hope in God’s ability to change human conditions and restore human lives. It’s the discipline of faith to believe God, not just to the breaking point, but to believe God beyond the breaking point. Faith takes us not just to a threshold, but enables us to believe God on the other side of a threshold. Faith causes you to never give up, to believe that no matter how far, how long, or how hard we have to hang in there, we’ll go down believing He can create change.

This discipline of faith gives us a gift: an indefatigable drive to be relentless. Tireless faith gives you the gift to stay energetic, even with a draining and debilitating illness, a burden, or a heavy weight in life. Faith gifts us with a mindset of hope.

Every one of us experiences things that wear us out. But when we have faith, someone might ask us “Why are you still here? Why are you still smiling? Why are you still optimistic? Why do you still pray? Why do you keep forgiving? Why do you keep laughing? Why do you keep giving your best?”

Your answer can be, “Because every day, faith pulls up to my doorstep and drops off relentless energy so that what I can’t do on my own, the Holy Spirit empowers me to do.”

If it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, we’d have given up a long time ago, but thank God for an indefatigable Spirit, who gives us the gift of continuing on with hope.

The woman in this passage had been drained of everything in her life, including blood, bank, belonging, and the only thing that had not been completely drained was her faith, so that is what Jesus used to perform His miracle of healing.

Faith will give you the gift of relentless hope.

When Jesus Says, “Let Me Drive.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

The faith that makes us drive ourselves to Jesus has to become a faith that matures enough to let Jesus do the driving.

Jesus responds to the faith we drive to Him, but we mature from the faith that we surrender to being driven by Him.

Here’s the thing that’s hard to accept: your faith can’t grow if all you want to do is drive.

In your life, there will be areas of challenge, where you encounter frustration because Jesus is trying to work in your life, but it requires you to surrender the wheel to Him first. Faith is not just the spirituality that guides your drive toward His kingdom. Faith is a trust that surrenders to Him driving you.

And where does Jesus drive you?

  • From attraction to surrender.
  • From curiosity to obedience.
  • From desire to dependence.
  • From wanting your conditions to change to wanting to simply live out the call of God upon your life.
  • From asking for what you want to seeking what is in His will.
  • From asking God not only to protect and bless your steps but to order your steps.
  • From God being your logistics manager to being your strategy consultant.

Jesus says to us, “While your urgency drove you to this point, I need to drive the greater purpose that is surrounding your life.”

Will you give Him the driver’s seat today?