September 2016 Newsletter - Ray McDowell Article
It’s only been a little over a month since we left for AZ, but already many times I’ve questioned, “What am I doing here?” and “Why did you choose me?” Surely there is someone better qualified for the task. I’m still too broken. I have too many issues. I just don’t know enough revelation yet to be used as a minister. These are the thoughts that have tried to discourage me from what I know that the Lord has called me to do. It has truly been one battle after another, folks. Even just getting here from California was a fight: a 5 hour drive ended up taking over twenty-four! Sixty miles into the trip and I was already stranded at a rest stop, my motorcycle spitting gas everywhere. I figured a quick trip to Wal-Mart for supplies and I’d be back on the road. Not quite! The Lord gave me several signs that there was someone I needed to speak to there and I went in expecting. Sure enough, He opened the door to sow a few seeds into the cashier. Oh yeah, they didn’t have the parts I needed and now I had to wait for the morning to go to another store. Praise God though! I know I was brought there to fulfill His will.
So I get back to the rest stop and pull up to my bike and there’s a guy parked alongside it with a U-Haul motorcycle trailer, getting ready to load up my Ducati that was only left unattended for a few minutes! At this point I just have to laugh at the enemy. Nothing like a full-on assault from the enemy’s forces to let you know that he recognizes you as a threat! This actually encouraged me to press on and overcome the next obstacles. The next day I had to rebuild my carburetor in the parking lot. Did I mention I’m not a mechanic? Anyway, the Lord is always victorious, we just have to trust Him as we trudge through the process.
The attacks kept coming, as did the victories. I was even broken down in the middle of the 120 degree desert but I couldn’t be bluffed as I knew at this point the Lord would get me the rest of the way. We arrived late the second night of the journey.
Our first day as Arizonians was also my first Sunday service to preach, and I discovered that the two best friends that I had growing up went into labor that day. Both were in labor for the next 24 hours. The Lord was showing me that this is a season of birthing, but the travailing was going to be long and hard. Well, that’s where we are. The Rev has been taking a ton of hits. I’m being pressed and stretched in new directions and guess what? I’m still in a process of being fixed myself. There’s been much dross coming to the top but I’m coming to know that means perfection is just that much closer. It was said to me that “The training wheels are off”, and yet now I’m starting to see something different.
Let me tell you guys something about myself: I have always been my very worst critic. Many times I’ve taken my “failures” and shortcomings very hard. I take the Word of God and ministry very seriously and the last thing I want to do is let my Dad down. This has even kept me from stepping out, fearing the mistakes that I would make because I “just don’t have enough yet”. Well, the Lord must know I do my best being thrown into the fire, because I don’t have a choice now. I have to step up and accept what He’s called me to do, because it needs to get done. I can either keep my eyes on my own lack or look to the needs of others and cast in my widow’s mite. I’m still making mistakes every day. There’s a lot that I just plain haven’t had the experience to deal with properly yet. All of this is being used by the Lord to heal me and teach me some things, though. There’s still that critical mindset that wants to come up and accuse me, but it’s being silenced. Even when I feel like I’ve failed and I want to give up on myself, the Lord hasn’t given up on me. Every mistake, although costly and painful, is being used to teach me, to mold me.
I’ve said all of this just to relay one thing to the Body: we all see our own defects much more clearly than others. We are all still struggling with weakness. Right now we are looking in to the promise land and we cannot let the size of the giants or our own lack of strength discourage us! He brought us out of Egypt and Yahoshua will surely be our strength to overcome and enter in to the Glory! Each one of us was chosen to receive His revelation, and, although we’re not perfect yet, the Lord is getting us there.
The world needs what He gave us and we must see what we have to give to others instead of what we do not possess yet. Let’s have a little mercy for ourselves as well as each other as the Lord continues His work. Speaking of which, I just want to give y’all an update on our AZ family. It is truly a remnant out here and it can be discouraging when the numbers dwindle, but I’m reminded of Gideon’s army. What we have here is a group of sincere believers who are hungry, pressing and fighting for this Word. I’m very thankful for them in receiving us so openly and supporting us in this transition. It’s an amazing feeling to have true family all over the place. I really want to thank all the rest of God’s Israel (YOU) for your continued support, and prayers especially. There is definitely a heightened level of spiritual battle going on over here and we need all the backup we can get. I’ve even been feeling physically attacked in my body every time I bring the Word, so I know the enemy is trying to stop it from getting out. I’m not scared, though! I know this battle is ours! Please pray for Pastor Mornay and his wife Angelah, as they’ve been taking the hits from the frontline over here themselves for quite some time and we want to all stand together in this fight. Shalom.