"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation." Psalm 51:12....."Restore me. I would have no way but Yours my Lord." lyrics from "Restore Me," by Jason Ingram...."The Blood, renewing, restoring, saving, and healing. Your Blood is more than enough." Lyric from "Your Blood," by Aaron and Amanda Crabb


Just over 27 years ago, my life lay shipwreck amidst the loss of what seemed to me to be "all things." My marriage had crumbled, my ministry was gone, and I had no idea of what would become of me, and worse, what I was going to do or where I would live. Or how I would live. Everything I had believed about the goodness and faithfulness of God was being put to the test, and I feared greatly that I would fail that test. I was embarking upon a journey that I would never have chosen or wanted. I did not see how life could ever be "good " again. Satan, the enemy of my soul was only too happy to suggest just that, each and every day. Sadly, there were some brethren within the Church that echoed it as well. There seemed no lack of voices that spoke that curse upon me.....His was never among them. In the midst of all that was "wrong" with my life, He sent these words through a man who was my first Pastor, and has remained a spiritual mentor throughout my life. He simply said to me in the midst of the darkness, "Gary, remember that His best wine is always yet to come." Though I could not see how that could be so, I determined to be believe that, and took those words as  coming from His heart, and so staggered on, which is the only way to describe my steps at the time.

Outwardly, I began a very transient life. Within the first four months of this time, I called 4 different places "home," though none of them were. One of the first places was a small cabin on the grounds of our denominational campground. Each day, as I walked to my car to drive to my job, I would pass the tabernacle in which I had been ordained, and each time, the enemy's voice would mock me, and remind me that all the promise of that day was lost. Forever. Darkness around me, seeming unbearable heaviness within me, I felt I was existing more than living. Yet somehow, with a strength that was His and not mine, I pushed on.

Space and time do not permit me to fit years of His work and faithfulness to me in the journey. Doors the devil promised, threatened would remain closed to me, opened up by the miraculous hand of the Father. Each phase of life that He walked me through brought a deeper work of healing, a deeper portion of wholeness. A larger work of restoration. My walk with and in Him was no longer one of staggering steps, but purposeful striding with Him in the process of restoration. Little more than three years to the day of my first living on the campground, I stood in our annual assembly, as a Pastor, sharing about the work He was doing in the church He had given me. It was pure joy to be standing in a place the devil said I'd never stand in again, doing what the devil said I'd never be doing again. The lyrics of Ingram's song were made true in my life. Though I knew not the way I would be going, I had determined I would not have any way but His...and He had restored me. The blood of Christ has renewed, restored, saved, and healed. And it continues to do so to this very day.

During that time, one of the books I read was titled simply "Laughter In Heaven." It was about the joy of the Lord. Before He restored anything else in my life, He began to restore that. Joy. Pure joy. Even in the darkness. You may find yourself in some part just where I was all those years ago. The promise He gave me, I pass on to you. The best wine is yet to come. There is laughter in heaven, and you will laugh again. His blood is more than enough. He is more than enough. Trust Him, and He will restore to you the joy of His salvation......And if you have never known the joy of His salvation, wouldn't this be the perfect time to discover it?

Pastor O

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   May 2019   
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