Jump On Board

My name is Branden Sewell; follow me as I follow Christ.

You Don’t Have To Understand

September 29, 2013 
@Secret Place, Madagascar

In Oswald Chambers daily devotional the entry for September 29th is about “The Awareness of the Call”.  Oswald Chambers passed away before he ever published these writings; however, his wife compiled them into this wonderful devotional “My Utmost For His Highest.”

Chambers writes, “The call of God has nothing to do with salvation and sanctification.  You are not called to preach the gospel because you are sanctified; the call to preach the gospel is infinitely different.  Paul describes it as a compulsion that was placed upon him.”

As I read these words I began to think about my own life and how God sovereignly called me by His grace.  God chose to use me before I ever agreed upon it, or decided to let Him use me.  Others, such as my mom and dad, tell me they could see the hand of God on my life at a young age. I was not even saved (born again) until I was fourteen.

Before I got saved I felt something pulling me away from every wicked thing I was doing.  I was not sure what it was but not only did it pull on me, it was changing my heart, my mind, and completely setting me apart.  All I knew at the time was that I was different.

After being saved and giving my life to Jesus Christ, men of God began to prophesy about my life. This is when I started to realize that maybe God was wanting to use me.  Still unsure of the call of God on my life, I would continue to search for my purpose through my teenage years.  This time period was like a wrestling match between me and God.

I went on to create my own plans for my life, but God began to sovereignly intervene and interrupt those plans.  I knew about God.  I thought I knew Him personally, but my own foolishness had me far away from His plans and purposes.  I was completely unaware.  God was drawing me into His perfect plan. That is the beauty of God’s plan.  When we are completely unaware He is drawing us to Himself.  I resisted unknowingly, but God knew that my resistance what part of His greater plan.

Today I find myself in the center of God’s will for my life.  I am unmistakably right where he wants me to be. As I look back I know that it is only by His sovereign plan that I am where I am today.  

My encouragement to you this morning is to let go.  Stop trying to figure it all out.  Pursue God and love people.  Everything else will fall into place as you focus on what truly matters.  When we allow ourselves to get distracted by the trivial things of life, then we lose direction.  Living then becomes more about achieving some form of success, or pleasing ourselves and others instead of pleasing God.

I will leave you with a scripture to encourage you to stay focused.  Remember to “keep the main thing, the main thing.”

"12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG)

Run with focus,

Branden Sewell
Missionary 
Baltimore, MD

I Do Not Have, But What I Have I Give You

Acts 3:1-11 (MSG)

1-5 One day at three o’clock in the afternoon, Peter and John were on their way into the Temple for prayer meeting. At the same time there was a man crippled from birth being carried up. Every day he was set down at the Temple gate, the one named Beautiful, to beg from those going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the Temple, he asked for a handout. Peter, with John at his side, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Look here.” He looked up, expecting to get something from them.

6-8 Peter said, “I don’t have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” He grabbed him by the right hand and pulled him up. In an instant his feet and ankles became firm. He jumped to his feet and walked.

8-10 The man went into the Temple with them, walking back and forth, dancing and praising God. Everybody there saw him walking around and praising God. They recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Temple’s Gate Beautiful and rubbed their eyes, astonished, scarcely believing what they were seeing.

11 The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic. All the people ran up to where they were at Solomon’s Porch to see it for themselves.

When you have nothing to give, give everything.

For the past two years I have been riding the bus (MTA) in Baltimore, Maryland.  As I go from stop to stop, street to street I get overwhelmed.  Floods of people get on the bus and then get off just as fast.  For these moments I see floods of pain.  Floods of desperation.  Broken, lost people in need of healing, in need of a Savior.

From my seat I look out the window of the bus.  We arrive at a stop light.  There are men and women, homeless, begging for change.  Begging for change.  Change.  They are desperate for change.  Searching for something to fill the void that is in their life.  Begging for money because for them that is the answer.  But money really is not the answer they are searching for.  Money is not the solution.  Jesus is the solution.

I get off the bus and I walk past these men and women.  As I pass I think to myself—I have nothing to give.  I ask myself what I can give them to make a difference in their life.  God started to deal with me on this topic by the Holy Spirit.

The Lord led me to this portion of scripture in Acts 3.  Peter and John clearly had nothing to give; however, they had everything to give.  We are mistaken if we think that we have nothing to give.  We have everything.  We have Jesus Christ.  Our anchor of hope.  Our redeemer.  Our savior.  Our source and our shelter.  The healer of our souls.

Peter and John gave this beggar what he truly needed, Jesus Christ.  When we pass by others feeling the Holy Spirit lead us to give, but have no money in our pockets, we should give them what we have in Jesus Christ.  We can offer them something that never fades.  We can offer them something that will be the solution to every problem in their lives.  Now our role is to take advantage of these opportunities when they present themselves every day.

When Peter and John arrived at the temple for prayer they could have told the beggar, “Sorry we have no money see you later”, but they didn’t.  They stopped and prayed for him.  They gave more than he was asking for.  They gave him Jesus.

Today, tomorrow, next week, and next month there are going to be opportunities that arise.  Opportunities to pray for someone and offer them Jesus Christ.  What will you do?  Will you just pass them by, or will you remember what Peter and John did—stop and pray.  I encourage you to take a leap of faith.  Leap out in faith believing someone may get the miracle they have been desperate for.  When you have nothing give someone everything, Jesus Christ the Son of the living God.

With love in Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Battles Win Wars

"If you win the battle in your mind, then you will win the war for your soul."

"Come Follow Me": Do NOT follow the calling; however, follow the One who calls.

"As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  "Come follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him." (Matt 4:18-20 NIV)

Have you ever been so focused on your calling that you lost sight of the One who called you?  Often times we can get so consumed with the thing that God has called us to that we lose focus.  We get distracted by the secondary things.  No longer do we focus on Jesus; however, we are distracted by the calling.

Jesus made it clear that our focus should be himself.  He said, “come follow me,” that was his primary statement.  What he would make us into was secondary.  If we lose sight of Jesus and focus on our calling, then we are entering into a dangerous place.

When we begin to focus on our calling then we will start to move further and further away from the very thing that God has called us to.  This happens because suddenly we find ourselves trying to achieve our purpose, our calling on our own.  Our failure comes when we focus on ourselves.  We begin to work in our own strength instead of the strength of Christ.  No longer are we trusting God, or passionately pursuing Him.  Now we are pursuing our calling.

Now, it is not wrong to desire the call of God on your life; however, our call calling can become our idol if we are not careful keep Jesus first.  In that place our idol causes us to function in our own strength and we are crushed.  The calling that was supposed to bring life is now choking that life right out of you.

If you find yourself in this place, then take a step back.  Remember, Jesus said, “come follow me” whatever you become is just the result of your passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ.  Get focused again.  Remember your first Love.  Do not worry what others will say about you.  Your personal relationship with Jesus Christ is more important than anything else.  Out of your personal relationship with Jesus Christ will flow all things pertaining to the specific calling on your life.

Take heart.  Be encouraged.  God wants to use you.  But God wants your heart more than he wants what you can do for Him.  He knows that if he has your heart then everything else will fall into place.  Let God become your primary focus.  Follow Jesus Christ and everything else will follow as well.

With love in Jesus Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

4 Things To Do When You Do NOT Know What To Do!

Everything is changing.  Everything is moving.  My mind can not keep up.  I’m always thinking.  Trying to analyze and make sense of everything.  I’m exhausted from trying to understand everything.  I want to please God above all things.  But how?  What do I need to do right now?  Is this where He wants me?  Am I in the right place doing the right thing, or do I need to move?  What if I make the wrong decision?  If I make the wrong choice will God not love me? I am hurt.  I feel unloved.  It is just too hard.  I’m unhappy.  Is this all that God has for me. I feel like the weight of the world is sitting right on my heart and it is heavier than ever.  I just do not know what to do.

This is what my mind gets like sometimes.  Honestly my instinct is to run as soon as this happens; to get as far away as possible.  My fears kick in and I just lay down everything, throw in the towel and run away.  I seclude myself and enter into a place of solitude.  That is a very dangerous place to be.

God has shown me in this season of my life how to be still, to wait on the Lord, and be at perfect peace.  When everything around you seems chaotic you just want to give up, give in, and surrender; however, God wants you to STOP, PRAY, and HEAR Him.  ”Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.”

It can be dangerous to move spontaneously.  That is probably the easiest thing to do; however, it is not wise.  When everything seems to NOT make sense, you do not understand what is going on around you, and you just want to give up—WAIT!  Keep your feet planted.  Seek God.  He will give you the wisdom and understanding of what to do.  He will lead and guide you.

Take heart and do not lose sight of the promises that God has for your life.  Remain in God’s steadfast love.  In the moments when your heart is troubled and you do not know what to do, then ask yourself these few questions:

1.) Am I reading the word daily?

2.) Am I praying daily?

3.) Am I praising and worshipping God daily?

4.) Am I keeping the main thing the main thing?

These few questions will help you to know what the problem is.  Chances are—if you do not have peace, then you are probably not doing a these few things.  Or maybe you just have a deficit in one area.

In my own life I have found that when I do not have peace it is not because of the circumstances around me; however, it is because I have abandoned these disciplines in my life.  When you are in Jesus Christ, then your peace is not defined by circumstances.  Your joy is not determined by your circumstances, but by the Life that is inside of you.  Jesus is our source of joy and peace.  He is our life sustainer.  Our joy redeemer.  Our one and only source of hope in troubled times.  He is our all in all.

If you are troubled in your life.  If you are facing giants in your life and you just feel like running away.  Do this one thing: STOP!  Start reading your word again, start praying again, and give God your heart in praise and worship.  God wants your heart.  Keep the main thing the main thing; Jesus Christ.  God will give you strength to keep your feet planted in the day of battle, to remain courageous, steadfast, and take down the giants that are in the way of the promises that God has for your life.  Take heart and do not give up because God still has great plans for you.  He is not finished with you yet.

With love in Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Becoming a Man: The Secret of the Secret Place

September 19, 2013 @Time Unknown
Secret Place, Madagascar

The Lord has given me a deeper revelation of the power of prayers of faith in the secret place that bring for miraculous provision.  The Holy Spirit has revealed this great mystery in 2 Kings 4.

Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”

So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”

Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”

So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vesselsto her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.”

And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.” (2 Kings 4:4-7)

Elijah was a powerful man of God that knew how to pray.  His prayer life was transferred to his spiritual son Elisha.  Elisha was an anointed prayer warrior who accessed the throne of heaven and the power therein.

Elija passed on the following principles of prayer in the secret place that produce miracles: hear God, pray, act in faith, and remain persistent. In order to put into action the principle above there must be an understanding of Matthew 6:6. 

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a]” (Matthew 6:6 NKJV)

This is the secret of the secret place of prayer that produces miraculous provision.  Jesus said to go into a secret place and pray. When we pray in secret to God, then He rewards us openly.  It is our prayer, our personal relationship with God, that brings forth provision in our lives.  

Elisha applied these principles in 2 Kings 4 when he instructed the widow with oil to pray behind closed doors.  He understood the power of prayers in the secret place.  Behind closed doors was the access point to the power of heaven for provision. The access point to Jehovah Jireh (The Lord whom provides.)

Elisha instructed the woman to ask her neighbors for jars.  He did not just tell her to ask for one; however, we must realize that he said, “Do NOT ask for just a few.”  

Now we know from Hebrews 11:1 that—“Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for and the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN.”  The amount of jars that the woman collected would determine the amount of faith that she had.  Faith for the Lord to fill those jars with oil she had.  Greater faith equates to greater blessings that the Lord can entrust to the saint.

In this story there had to be a certain level of faith.  How many jars she collected would determine the blessing.  God is faithful.  He would have filled up whatever jars that she had the faith to collect.  When we can not see the provision of God in the natural we must have faith that it is coming supernaturally.  Everything we do in preparation for the provision is faith.  The woman only had a little bit of oil, but she had to trust that God could cause it to multiply.

When we act in faith we are not waiting for a blessing to come our way; however, we act in faith first and trust for the blessing to come.  Our faith will determine the increase of our blessing.  Faith must move us to action.  How many jars do we have faith for?  Do we believe God will provide when we step out in faith?  

Faith comes by hearing.  Hearing comes by the word of God.  In order for the saint to have faith he, or she must go into the secret place of prayer and hear from heaven.  Personal relationship with God is absolutely necessary in the life of a believer.  Our relationship with Him is what causes us to hear his voice.  He then tells us who we are as sons and daughters.  Once we understand we are sons and daughters, then we can be confident of what is ours as an inheritance.  Our relationship with God is the supernatural means by which we see the blessings of God flow into the natural.

The level of your faith will determine what you ask for in the secret place of prayer bringing miracle provision.  The level of your faith will be determined by your personal relationship with Jehovah Jireh in the secret place of intimacy.

With love in Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

 

Disciples are Doers

equipdisciples:

The test of our wisdom is not how much we know, but how much they obey. Knowledge is information, wisdom is the application of knowledge. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to teach the world to know his commands, but to obey them. 

Great read by my good friend Jordan Hall.

Becoming a Man: Realizing It’s Not About Me

September 15, 2013 @Time Unknown
Rock City Church, Madagascar

As I sit here during the morning announcements at Rock City Church, Madagascar; I begin to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me.  If I desire to be successful in my purpose and calling but it is only for what I get out of it, then I am worse off than what I would have been if I never accomplished my purpose and calling.

However, I should desire to be successful because there are people waiting for me to arise and answer my call.  To have been given such gifts: preaching the gospel, understanding of Gods word, and wisdom from God pertaining to life and holiness, and to hold that back would be selfish.  

To give up because it is hard would be self-gratifying.  I might have saved myself from present pain and even go to heaven; however, I would be responsible for these souls that I failed to reach.  In giving up I would do those souls a disservice.  I must be successful NOT for myself but for those waiting for me.  For my future wife and children.  For the lost, the hurt, the broken ones that need to hear Jesus loves them and cares for them.

I conclude by saying I am thankful for the Lord’s grace and patience with me.  The Lord has allowed me to grow, mature, and learn.  I know God has called me.  He is giving me the strength to do His will.  I will continue to move forward.  I won’t go back!

Blessings,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Becoming a Man: The Secret Place

image

September 14, 2013 @Time Unknown
Secret Place, Madagascar

Often times it is actually hard to start a journal entry because I do not know what to say.  There are so many events taking place.  Each experience is almost indescribable—there are not sufficient words to describe each experience and all that I feel.  However, today’s experience was one of the best so far.

I woke up this morning not knowing what my day had in store for me.  It was my day off.  When I woke up I just started my daily routine of eating breakfast and spending time in prayer and reading the word.  

Around the time I started eating breakfast I was told I would climb a mountain today.  Not only climb it though—once we got to the top we would pray and fast.  To be honest when they first told me I thought they were just joking with me.  However, soon enough we were headed out and getting packed into the car.

We had an amazing journey ahead of us.  It started with a drive from the west side of Antananarivo to the east side where the mountain awaited us.  This journey was a blessing from God because God knew that I wanted to climb a mountain while I was in Madagascar.  It is these experiences that reveal God’s amazing love and grace in my life.

When we arrived at the foot of the mountain the youth group from Rock City Church Madagascar joined us.  We all began to climb the mountain.  Hiking up the side until we found a place to rest for the day and pray and fast together.  We were searching for a secret place.

After hours of driving and hiking we had finally arrived at our secret place.  Altogether we began to pray, praise, and worship God on that mountain.  While sitting there I could feel the wind begin to blow as we continued in prayer.  I could feel God’s presence.  We were bringing down heaven and God’s glory was being revealed.

On top of that mountain there was such peace and serenity.  We were lost in the presence of God.  Every worry, care seemed to disappear in the midst of God’s glory.  He was exalted and every unnecessary thing in life became so small.  Suddenly being in the presence of Jesus was all that mattered.

These are the moments that I will talk about, share for the rest of my life.  I will write about these experiences in books.  My life has been transformed by this journey.  I am completely overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace in my life.

Today, I sat and looked over the valley.  The mountain range filled the horizon and the sun was slowly slipping away.  God’s glory was on display. A glorious canvas depicting the beauty and splendor of our Creator.  I was overwhelmed.  I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.  It was only an opportunity presented by God’s sovereign hand, undeserved grace, and unconditional love.  

That is the beauty of God’s grace.  It is absolutely undeserved.  He trades beauty for ashes.  Life for death.  That is where freedom and liberty in Christ is experienced.  We can not do anything to earn these beautiful moments where God decides to reveal his glory; however, it is by God’s grace and love alone.  Jesus made the way for us to experience these beautiful moments in life where God shows us His glory in all of creation.  I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to see.  May my eyes behold the glory of the Lord all the days of my life.

It is in the secret place that we meet with the Father and he tells us who we are in Jesus Christ, as sons and daughters.  In that place our identity is revealed and we understand that we are cherished and loved.  We are heirs to the promises of God.  God wants to lavishes us with his love in the secret place of his presence.  All we have to do is step in!

Blessings,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Becoming a Man: Surrender

September 13, 2013 @Time Unknown
Secret Place, Madagascar

"After Surrender Then What?"  That is the title of my devotional this morning.  I am reading, "My Utmost For His Highest," by Oswald Chambers.  The topics of the devotionals are written on the exact things I am struggling with at that time.

This devotional entry is specifically significant because it addresses the surrender I have made to God.  I have decided to surrender surfing.  These following excerpts are changing me on the inside:

"And once this is done (surrender), the remainder of your life will exhibit nothing but evidence of this surrender, and you never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for you.  Whatever your circumstances may Jesus be totally sufficient."

I don’t have to be concerned about surfing, or my future in ministry.  When He is sufficient then none of those worldly concerns will matter.

True surrender is a matter of being “United together [with Jesus] in the likeness of His death” until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to him.”

The evidence of my true surrender will be when Jesus appeals to me more than surfing, my future ministry, and even my future wife.  I choose to surrender whatever is necessary to do the will of God in my life.  May He be honored and glorified in my life.

I am almost halfway through with my journey to Madagascar as a missionary.  I have done so much writing that all my pens are running out of ink.  God has also been writing a beautiful story on my heart.

In my surrender God has shown me His amazing love and grace.  

Today I experienced the tiresome; yet, fulfilling task of washing the floors of the church at Rock City Church of Madagascar.  Many servants of God travel the world to preach and speak in conferences, but today I felt I was doing the greater work—serving.

As I was cleaning I began to feel such a sense of honor to God.  I felt honored as well.  Not everyone in the world can say that they have traveled over seas and served with pastors.  While working I was with another man who is being trained to be a pastor.  He will be sent out to start another church in another province of Madagascar.

In these moments I realize how good God is and how amazing his love and grace truly is.  Often times it feels surreal being here.  Surreal becauseGod’s grace is the only thing that makes such opportunities possible.  I stand in awe of God.  I am beyond thankful for this life God has given me.  May I be a good steward of the marvelous blessings God has bestowed upon me.  May I bring honor and glory to God.

With love in Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Becoming a Man: Surfing Waves of Glory

Surfing at RCC’s in Satellite Beach, FL at age 16.

September 11, 2013 @Time Unknown
Secret Place, Madagascar

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again; when I first came to Madagascar I had no idea what time it was.  In the middle of the night, or early morning God would wake me to pray.  I just got up and prayed with no hesitation.

As I spoke up about not knowing what time it was—Pastor Rova got me a clock for my bedroom.  Now when I would wake up I would see the time and just roll back over to sleep because it was too early.  This only lasted a short time though.

After growing frustrated with myself because of not waking up and praying I decided to take the battery out of the clock.  I would rather not know what time it was than miss out on what God had for me. Waking up early to pray became exciting because God was showing me so much during my time of praying and reading the word.

Out of my obedience to the Holy Spirit and waking up, I found myself reading, “Cover Me in the Day of Battle.”  I finished the book with a lot of prayer accompanied with my reading.  It is not so important that I finished the book; however, that I received something from it.

For the past couple days God has been speaking to me.  Speaking to me about my spiritual father’s heart.  This revelation is worth the monetary cost of this trip, as well as the spiritual costs.  I’m desperate for God to continue to work on this area of my heart.

My natural father’s heart is also being revealed to me in greater ways than before.  God is bringing reconciliation, redemption, and divine healing.  It is a new day.  It is a great day!

As I set my pen down.  Closed my journal.  And rolled over to go back to sleep the Holy Spirit began to speak to me.  So I rolled back over picked up my pen and journal and began to write:

This trip to Madagascar is a prophetic act in my life.  I’m in the desert place.  The secret place.  In this place I have seen the Father’s heart and my spiritual fathers heart.

Jesus was empowered in the secret place.  In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed and God gave him the strength to do His will.  When we go into the secret place we also see the Father’s heart and receive the strength to do His will.  For Jesus, his Father’s will was for him to go to the cross to die for a world of sinners—born and unborn.  

That is why I am in Madagascar.  This is the Father’s plan and purpose.  But why 3 months (90 days)?  Three represents death, burial, and resurrection.  I have been like Jonah.  Right now I am in the belly of a whale.  However, God showed me that I am going to be spit out.

God spoke to me and that I was going to die on this trip.  At first I thought it was literal, but it was not.  It was a spiritual death.  A death to self—a death to independence.  Now there will be a birth that takes place.  Many tried to stop me from coming to Madagascar, but God’s plans and purposes would not be hindered.

My whole life I have desired to surf and be at the beach.  May that desire fade away, as I desire to only do God’s will.  

In November I will find myself spit onto a beach.  The beach of Baltimore, Maryland.  There are not waves in the natural; however, there are waves in the spiritual.  Waves of glory.  I’m jumping in to go for the ride of a lifetime.

Every surfer is on the ultimate search.  The search for the perfect wave.  I have found that wave.  

God has given me further revelation.  Sweet revelation.

I was searching for identity—not waves.  Thinking I would find my identity in surfing—I continued to search.  Never satisfied.  Always having a desire for more.  My real desire was to be identified as a son.

For many years I allowed the label of being a surfer rule my life.  It was something to identify with.  I always said I was a surfer.  God was calling me—by his grace—to be a surfer of his waves of glory.

Jesus called the disciples.  They were fishermen.  God was calling them—by his grace— to be fishers of men.  Their identity was not found in who they were as fishermen; however, who they are in Christ.

This does not reject the fact that they know how to fish and may have a passion for it; however, this only signifies that we are not identified by what we do in this world.  We are defined by Jesus Christ.  Jesus should define how the world sees us, NOT how we choose to make the world see us.

If the disciples desired to fish more than they desired to do the will of God, then they would have found themselves shipwrecked cleaning fish instead of cleaning men and advancing the kingdom of God.

May I desire to see my flesh shipwrecked as my spiritual life flourishes instead of vice versa.  May all glory be to God for such sweet revelation from heaven.

When I return to Baltimore I am going to be seeking to ride waves.  I will ride with all my passion.  Maybe I am not the best yet, but I will give it all my heart.  There may even be times I fall of and get pummeled by the waves.  There may be times when I get stung by jelly fish and pain and hurt surround my being.  I may even get terrible belly rashes, but I will not let that stop me.  It is a lifelong journey.  When i fall I will get back up.

It is time to surf.  

Fear promotes punishment, but perfect love cast out all fear.  When you understand that you are loved then you will realize that correction is not punishment intended for your destruction; however, it is done in love intended for your success.

With love in Jesus Christ,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Becoming a Man: Covered in the Day of Battle

September 10, 2013
Secret Place, Madagascar

I am in a time of seeking the Father’s heart.  I want to learn how to be a better son.  Today I was speaking with Pastor Haja—I told him I wanted to read, “Cover Me in the Day of Battle”, by Bishop Bart Pierce.  Pastor Haja had a copy so he let me borrow his to read.

Pastor Haja instructed me to read the book and pray also.  He told me to take my time, “do not read it just to finish it”, he said.  I took heed to his instruction and began to read and pray.

I read the first chapter, set it down, and began to meditate on what I had read.  In my time of prayer I began to ask God to let what I read take root inside of me.  For God to show me changes that I needed to make to be a better son.

Within no time I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “First in the natural then in the spiritual.”  I know God was telling me I must learn to be a better son to my natural father before becoming a better son to my spiritual father.  

Reading this book is going to help break some things in my life.  My prayer is that God would keep me humble in the process of learning how to become a better son.

—-

The father and son relationship is one of the most significant relationships known to a man.  We can see the importance of this relationship through scripture.  All through out the bible we see that Jesus was always before the Father in prayer.  

JESUS COULD DO NOTHING APART FROM THE FATHER:

19-20 So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.

20-23 “But you haven’t seen the half of it yet, for in the same way that the Father raises the dead and creates life, so does the Son. The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out. The Father handed all authority to judge over to the Son so that the Son will be honored equally with the Father. Anyone who dishonors the Son, dishonors the Father, for it was the Father’s decision to put the Son in the place of honor.

24 “It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living. (John 5:19-24 MSG)

The Father was the source of Jesus mission here on earth.  That Father and Son relationship was source of redemption for a world of sinners.  Love between a Father and a Son.  God was the covering for Jesus while he was here on earth.  Apart from his covering Jesus could do nothing.  As spiritual sons we must learn to submit to our covering and be under authority just as Jesus was.  Taking that positions aligns us to walk in the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit.  What this generation needs is fathers that are raising up sons.

Grace and peace,

Branden Sewell
Missionary
Baltimore, MD

Comparison

Comparison is the curse of your happiness. Be content with you!