Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

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Relinquishing Control
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul.
Psalm 94:19 (NKJV)

The New International Version of the Bible translates the above verse this way: “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

The Psalmist feels a lot like we feel while standing in a context where it appears that evil is all around and in control. He is praying to God because he can’t control what’s happening around him and he is wondering when God is going to assert His strength and power.

By the end of the verse, however, the Psalmist stops trying to shape events and control environments. Instead, he relinquishes this need to control things and simply finds a comfortable place in God.

When we realize that trying to control everything only reveals how much we can’t control everything, then we can remember we have a covenant with God. This covenant comes with the relationship we have with Him. We accept His salvation only to discover the multitude of fringe benefits that are opened up to us: eternal security, divine protection, daily provision, the ability to ask and receive, battles fought for us, and the list goes on.

One of those benefits is the assurance that God is in control.

So when you feel like you have lost control of your circumstances and situation, go with it—and rest in the covenant you have with God. You will know that you have found that place when you experience the comfort and consolation that the Psalmist describes.

The Generosity of God

A Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’   
Luke 10:33-35 (NIV)

One of the things that hits me in the story of the Good Samaritan is not just the Samaritan’s compassion, but his overflowing generosity. He finds a man on the road stripped of his clothes, beaten, battered, and left for dead—and immediately he goes over to him. He gives this injured man his wine and oil, his bandages, his donkey, his money, his concern, his time, his care, and his pledge.

He makes a serious investment by promising the innkeeper that repayment of any additional debt will be covered by himself. He doesn’t even put a limit on the credit account. He tells the innkeeper, “Keep the tab open.”

The Samaritan makes this man’s wellbeing his primary concern, and spares no expense in bringing him back to a place of wholeness.

That’s what God does for you and me every day. He keeps the tab open. But He doesn’t have to pay the bill later. He’s covered the expenses in total with His Son’s blood, from which we make daily withdrawals so that our sins can be washed away.

Talk about a reason to rejoice! Talk about a reason to shout! Talk about a reason for authentic worship! Every day, you spend the whole day making withdrawals on God’s account, because God put the entirety of His creditworthiness on the line for you.

What a generous God He is!



Is It Sunny in Your Soul?

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

Times of suffering have meaning, purpose, and significance. They produce good things in us.

The Bible says that it was for the joy set before Christ that He endured the cross. What joy? The redemption of humanity, the defeat of sin, the opening of the doors of eternity, and the reconciliation of humanity back to God.

Those things could not have happened without His suffering.

We as Believers can withstand the weight of suffering because we can look forward to the Lord completing His will at work in us. We can endure the burden of hardship with disciplined patience because our very salvation gives us this capacity. But we can also teach the culture that we can wait with noticeable joy. Another word I would use to describe this outlook is “sunny.”

What are you doing to surrender to the work of the Spirit in you, making sure that while you are under the weight of suffering, it’s still sunny in your soul? We can’t determine the weather outside, but we can surely submit to the shaping of the weather inside our lives. We don’t have to walk through our storm of life with an inner thunderstorm at the same time. If we have to endure all that comes along with this season of pain, we can remain under it with the bright sunshine of our experience in and through Jesus Christ.

Someone once said that endurance is patience concentrated. Today, I am telling you that endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.

Can you agree with me that today is going to be a great day, because we will make it our choice to endure the weight of difficulty while leaning on the strength our faith gives us?


Make Others Count

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)


What injury is your neighbor carrying?

What worry is your neighbor holding?

What needs does your neighbor have?

What fear is your neighbor battling?

What inspiration could help and uplift your neighbor?

What encouragement does your neighbor crave?

God wants us to make other people a central focus of our lives. He blesses us with what we need as we are seeking to be a blessing to those around us. If you give yourself to the betterment of somebody else’s life, God makes sure there’s always somebody who’s around to be a blessing to you.

Some of the important questions that can be asked in your spirit are these: What are the needs of the people around me? Can my lens be shaped to observe them? Can my efforts be pointed to address them?

God invites us to live lives of selfless engagements. By that I mean the ability to practice compassion. To make sacrifices. To slow your life down and put others first. To let what grows inside of you breathe by outside exercise. To make intentional withdrawals from your life. To create space for God to act, through you, in the lives of other people. To make others count.



Study God, Not Self

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

Anthropology (the study of humankind) does not determine theology (the study of God).

In other words, you don’t interpret you in order to interpret God. That’s the problem in our current culture. People are studying themselves and hoping as a byproduct that they’ll come to an understanding of God.

In order to understand you, you must first understand God.

That’s why in Genesis, it doesn’t say “In the beginning, man…” but rather “In the beginning, God...” God created man in His own image, after His own likeness, and breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul.

You can’t become aware of who you are, the complexities that make up your personality, and the calling that God has bestowed upon your life until you understand God. That’s why He allows difficult experiences and takes you to unpleasant places sometimes in your life. He lets life drag you through certain calamities because He’s trying to stir up the gift that He has placed inside of you.

If you understand God, then you can understand yourself. You’ll realize that no weapon formed against you will prosper. You can’t be mad that those weapons are formed; you just have to thank God that you’re stronger in Him than anything this world brings against you. He’s working it all together for your good because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.