The Key Master

To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: 'He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things: 'I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn't deny my name.' Revelation 3:7 WEB

I grew up as an outcast, the lowest of the low, the least of the least. After mom left, my older brother Randy quit school to take care of my other brother, Ken, and me while Dad worked. Randy was ten years old, Ken was four, I was one. The department of social services then stepped in and tried take us away from Dad to adopt us out.

Dad would do anything to keep his three sons, anything. He needed a wife, and quick. He had recently begun dating a woman and soon they were married. This woman had married at thirteen and had thirteen children, three did not make it which left her an even ten, five boys and five girls. Her first husband had died in an asylum. When she and Dad married, it was thirteen children again, of which I was the youngest, and an unwanted stepchild at that.

It was a freakish nightmare that would take a book to contain, but here are a couple of highlights. After Dad left for work, she would put my brother Ken and me out in the yard, bring her children and grandchildren in the house, lock the door, and fix them breakfast. The cereal boxes were kept locked in a cabinet with a padlock. The telephone had a padlock on it. I was the definition of white trailer trash with no more status than the hogs that we raised.

One day my brother Randy took Ken and me to a revival at a Baptist church and at the end, they gave an altar call. Many people went forward, and I went with them. I was only about six years old, but I wanted to know this loving God they talked about, and if there was a rapture, I certainly wanted to be a part of it. For the first time in my life, there was hope.

Something in me cried out for help, and said: 'Take me to heaven now!' But the people at the altar turned me away and told me that I was too young to be saved. I was crushed. I still remember that night, going home and thinking that I could not be saved.

I may have been too young in their eyes, but God followed me home that night. I began to pray every night from that day forward in my life. After a few summers passed, a preacher drove up in our yard one Sunday afternoon and talked with my Dad. He owned a farm about forty minutes away and wanted to take me on as a helper. I could live with him and his wife and they would bring me home on the weekends. Surprisingly, Dad said yes.

So when school got out that summer, I spent the weeks living with a preacher and working in the tobacco fields. It was hard work, getting up by 5AM and were still checking barns at 11PM. His wife was the best cook, and I had my own room. I got to go to church and see a glimpse of a real family. Though I was still an outsider or servant, it was a big step up for me.

It was years later in my life before I really got serious about God, and even now I work to make stubborn areas of my life submit to His will. But out of thirteen children, God set me apart that year and began wooing me. When I finally came to the Lord, it was with open arms and wholeheartedly. I still wrestle with baggage, and He still faithfully corrects my course as it is needed.

Here are some things that I have learned along the way:

* You do not need anyone's approval or acceptance on this earth. God is able to raise you up outside of their circle. Seek a relationship with Him and the doors that you need will open. He is the Key Master, and He will open doors for you that no man can shut.

* No one can stop your destiny, except you. As long as you will continue to follow God and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will overcome.

* Never give up. This life is not over until you are dead and in the grave. When you fall, get back up and take another step. When you stop getting up, then your journey stalls.

* It is always you that walks away from Him, and never once will it be Him walking away from you. God will never leave you, nor forsake you, nor imprison you against your will. You are free to leave His house just as the prodigal son left His father's house, if it is your will to do so.

* God is never mad at you. You can perform the most grievous of sins and break all ten commandments, but when you turn back to Him, He will welcome you back with wide open arms.

* God is always right in what He says and does. There were so many times when I wanted something to happen a certain way, and it did not. Most of the time, the way that it did happen was better. When it did not happen, it was for my own good and it may have led me away from Him.

* God never says: 'I told you so.' He will wash you as white as snow, just as if it never happened and never bring your past up again. He will remove your sins. It is satan that constantly brings up your past, not God.

* It is never too late to get started, but the sooner the better. Just like a wise investment plan, the earlier that you begin, the more fruit that it can bear. Invest your time, money, talents and resources in the kingdom of God and it will have a long term return that can hardly be measured.

This is our time. We were brought into this world for such a time as this. Let us make our lives count for Jesus. No fear, no turning back, no breaking down. We will hold it together and press forward, following Him one day at a time. Though hell breaks loose around us, we will stay the course and see this through to the end.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want more of You in my life today. More of You Lord is the cry of my heart. Fill the empty places inside of me with Your glorious presence. Let me feel what You feel, and see what You see, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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