for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O Lord,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the Lord. Psalm 26 (NLT)
It was a hot night and I wound up taking some blankets and sleeping on the front gallery of our flat. As the sun rose early in the morning I kept hearing the number 26 in my dreams. When I was fully awake I knew in my spirit God wanted me to read Psalm 26. In the New King James version verse 1 says; "Vindicate me, O Lord." I immediately asked God why I would need to be vindicated. He was silent and yet it was clear He was telling me something through that Psalm. There was a time of testing coming up.
At that time in my life things were going well for my wife and I, or so it seemed. We had just welcomed our son Gabriel Adam into our family. I was elected to the deacon board at our church and was in charge of music outreach and singing in hospitals and prisons, in charge of the homebuilders (a group for married couples) and on the committee for the new school our church had started. On top of that there was choir practice and leading worship once a month as well various singing engagements at other churches and going to school a few nights a week. Life was good and I felt blessed. Busy, but still blessed.
A few things happened that started events changing in my life. The first was my grandmother who had been a steady force in my life passed away at 90 years old. She had a great impact upon in my coming back to the Lord when I was 25. Her prayers kept the enemy at bay and I didn’t realize just how much so until she was gone. The second was that our senior pastor resigned. He was my mentor and a father figure to me. I had a peace at his going and knew it was from the Lord. But there was a huge storm coming and that peace I felt was the calm before that storm. A committee had to be formed to search for a new pastor and it needed to be headed by a deacon and because I was the only one available, that task fell to me. This thing scared me to death but there was no way out of it. Just after our pastor resigned I had a dream and in that dream I was attacked and accused by people in the church I believed to be my friends. I also saw in that dream some people in the church were very heavily into witchcraft and voodoo. I put it off to being just a dream, but had this ominous feeling that just wouldn’t leave. The last thing to happen was that my wife began to slip into a post natal depression. Because of business and the fact that I had to handle the looking for a new pastor kept me from seeing what she was going through until it was too late.
I will not go into many of the aspects of what went on during that time in which we were in search a new pastor as I have made peace with and forgiven everyone involved. During that time I had never before felt such pressure. I found out who my real friends were at this time. All my good intentions were misconstrued. I became very disillusioned with the whole process. I loved the church and I had such a great desire to see it move ahead and the majority on the boards really believed God had chosen a young man for the job, but it was blocked by the district superintendent. I’ll admit that I made some mistakes as well. I was inexperienced in many areas and was given some bad advice which led to those mistakes. In the end a man that should not have been chosen was brought in. We were told that unless we elected him we would be without a pastor for a very long time. I began to see that money played a very big part in church politics and this man was brought in for that very reason. To raise money because our giving was down. After he was elected with a small majority by the congregation, I was pulled aside by two elders and accused of having my own agenda and wanting to take over the church. It was like a knife went right into my side. It was then that I remembered Psalm 26. This was only the beginning of the storm. What was coming would turn out to be a hurricane.