Thursday, December 30, 2010


It is crazy to see what one year will do to you. In a year so many things have transpired in my life and God has taken a life that was once useless and breathed life into it. What is so interesting about this walk, and it is something we all know, yet tend to forget, is that it is never over. We never stop growing, we never stop leaping, we never stop feeling pain, we never stop wrestling, we never stop being pruned, it is a lifelong journey, a race.

I've heard people say it in the past, "I'm glad this thing is a race and not a sprint," and often thought I knew what they meant. I'll never know it to its truest form, however, I will say I agree. I am so glad this thing is a race, I'm so glad God is never finished, I'm so glad I still have work to do. I think a lot of us (myself included) make a common mistake of looking back and allowing past successes to sustain us. It's to say, "Well, I am better than I was last year," and then it happens, we become ok with it, almost as if it satisfies our core to be content with our progress and act as if that's it.

If this year has shown me anything, it is this: God's not finished. The only thing God has finished is the work of the cross, as far as you are concerned, you're not finished until He says you are, until He calls you home.

1 Thess 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;

Abound more and more. We aren't finished.

1 Thess 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;

Increase more and more. We still aren't finished.

What's interesting about verse 10 is verse 9. Paul is acknowledging that the church at Thessalonica did indeed have love and plenty of it, however, there was still room for growth and there always will be.

We in our own power will never be able to keep up and our efforts alone won't suffice for what God has called us to.

"No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus." - Chambers

Learn to love more, learn to live more, learn to hope more, learn to read more, learn to laugh more, learn to smile more, learn to trust more, learn to pray more, learn to accept trials more, learn to listen more, learn to think more, learn to believe more.

A lot of us can read that and allow that alone to keep us from continuing, we get discouraged, but that shouldn't happen. Remember that it is God's desire to mature you and mold you into the vessel of honor He desires to have, so praying and desiring more maturity is praying and desiring His will.

1 Thess 4:3a For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

Let 2011 be a year where we set ourselves even farther apart from this world and come closer to knowing God.

Love you guys.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sharing is Caring...

It is often when someone is comforted or shown love by God through His word, that it in turn compells him to want to share it with others. Just wanted to share a few verses the Lord has given me these last few days that have really aided me in moments when I wasn't at my best or when I was loaded with anxiety...God is definitely all about His people :)

Psalm 20:1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; 3 May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah 4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. 5 We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight,O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 18:19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

Numbers 3:12 “Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, 13 because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the LORD.” (we are his royal priesthood)

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Isaiah 43:18 “ Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

Leviticus 26:3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. (Perfect love knows no because - Tozer)

2 Chron 19:5 Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 and said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. 7 Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”

2 Chron 20:16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God has been way to good to me. He speaks, I doubt Him and myself, and He still goes, even when we are faithless (2 Tim 2:13)....I love Him

I pray you are all blessed in some way by these couple of verses...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love =/= Self

The only way to love is to give your self – Phil Wickham (Coming Alive, Heaven and Earth)

So many of us tend to throw the word around to describe pretty much everything. I can love anything from a hot dog to a car to a person. I obviously don't love a hot dog nearly as much as I do a person (I would hope so, else you might have an eating problem), but the word used is the same and I think that in today's society we have lost sight of what it means to really love.

For me, most my life love was that funny feeling you got when someone said something that made your insides “tingle” as they say. “Actions speak louder than words” was the common phrase (and still is the common phrase) repeated by many who look to action to fill in what love us. Want my honest opinion? Now I am no expert on love, but from what I have read it is both.

Words and actions have to line up, but it is only the beginning. Words are important because as Jesus states in Matthew 15, it is what comes out of your mouth that defiles you, because from the overflow over your heart, the mouth will speak. Given the wicked state of our hearts on their own (Jer 17:9), it is no wonder that in order to love the way we are called to, our first step is to do so with the everlasting love in us through Christ.

Actions are important because we act out on how we feel. Even more so, Christ calls us to be doers of the word and not just hearers (James 1:22). Faith without works is dead and the same applies for love. I can profess love all day and night, but it isn’t until the love is manifested into action that we truly know.

Here is the kicker to all of this, even with both things shining bright, there still can be no love. What drives us is key to whether or not it is love. This last thing isn’t the easiest to develop, in fact this is the hardest part about love. This is the part that so many marriages and relationships have failed to truly grasp, and as a result this is why so many have failed. Self. Self is the biggest weight love must bear, and in order to have true love, one must die to self. True love comes in letting go. Letting go of your self.

When Christ spoke of love in the bible, it was in reference to a specific kind of love. A love found in few places. Agape, an unconditional love. When Christ tells us to love our enemies, He is telling us to agape our enemies, agape those who hate us, agape those people that bother us. In order to do that though, we must die to self. We must place our every quirk, every preference, every prejudice, every self-fulfilling desire on the shelf and pursue the well being of another. It is what Christ did for us (Phil 2:6-8) and it is this kind of love that we are called to have for everyone, it is the greatest kind.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.

The word life here in the greek is a word that means just that, life. To us, our lives are the most important thing to us, but to take that and place it to the side for the sake of someone else, that is true love. Love therefore, is a choice. We choose to, in every situation, to love despite how we feel. We choose to want the best for another person, despite what that may mean for us. I am not condoning self-mutilation, nor am I advocating for torture of ones self. What I am saying is to mutilate your desire to lash out, destroy your desire to answer hatefully, get rid of those things in you that might cause you to taint the love Christ calls us to have.

It is no easy thing, this whole thing of love. But I will say this much, with time and great care, it can blossom into the most beautiful of trees, and the fruit from it be sweet to the lips of any person who picks from your branches. The important part of all this is to be sure we are rooted with the True Vine. This is the only place this love can come from. Once you have that Vine, take heart, He’ll begin the work in you.

“The world is not impressed by our stopping something. What does impress them is seeing us do something they cannot do. That is love. That is why John says that the third mark of a genuine Christian is that he begins to love—not those who love them but beginning to love those who are unlovable…to return evil for good” – Ray Stedman

For me, learning love has been difficult. It has pushed me to admit my faults, it has forced me to question my motives, it has caused me to really jab at my heart in an effort to determine where it truly stands. The crazy part about the whole process is that what drives me to do it is love, because if I didn’t love, then I wouldn’t care.

Choosing to love is doing so everyday, even the days you don’t feel like much of a Christian, those days you don’t feel so lovely, those days you feel empty, those days you doubt your self, those days you fear won’t end, those days you lack courage, those days you feel weighted, choose to love on those days. It is hard work, but God tells us the end result is beautiful.

Lord, enlarge our hearts for Your love. Teach us how we ought to love. Show us those people in our lives that need more of it and show us those people in our lives that deserve a better kind of love. Father, perfect the quality of our love Lord and increase its quantity that we may be broken bread, fresh out of the oven of your consuming fire. Show us how to love one another. Be with us we pray, in Your name, Amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1 Year

People often don't think time passes by so fast, however, it does. Like James reminds us, "life is but a vapor" and David who said "mans days are numbered." Life passes and it goes fast. A year ago today...lets just say things looked different. It was about a year ago today I sat down with my best friend and brother, Tito. It was a year ago today that God used Him to start a process that is still going on today. It was a year ago today that God began coming from all angles. I remember just sitting back and not liking where I was.

Granted, back when we spoke, not to much changed in me at first, although, that Thanksgiving, I did pray and we had just lost my grandfather, so I had that on my mind. I remember crying in the car thinking about his life and how poorly I had treated him. I can still remember the song and where it was I sat while I wept bitterly for a life lost.

I can still remember being at my old friends house for the yearly Christmas party. This one was different for me though. Getting past all the food and gifts, I can see a guy who was at a point in his life that while he had the job, he had the friends, and soon would have the stuff to go with it, something was off. Something needed fixing. I can still remember wanting to pray (for whatever reason) before eating and some people looking at me as if I had conjured up some foreign concept, all he while, thinking to myself "We all went to a Christian school, why is this foreign?" It was God, He was working, and while I wasn't aware then, I am now.

I still can't help but think how perfect it had been set up. The place I worked was right across the street from Tito. It was the only way possible him and I could have lunch on any day during work. We worked across from each other. It was after that point I began hanging with him more. It was that point I began going back to church.

God had been working in me before then through other avenues, but at this point, He was not only working, He was tugging.

Christmas was different too, so was New Years. Things were changing, and I didn't know it then, but so many people were praying for my return. Faithful few who hand't given up on me. I am thankful they didn't. In fact I am glad they didn't. The people I have in my life now are a result of what God began in me a year ago, a work I walked away from, a work He was willing to continue because of His unending love. While I was busy seeing the failed result, God was busy looking at the end result once He was finished and because He is so in love with me (as He is with every living and breathing person) that rusted old project that had collected dust in the back, like Noah, He remembered. Not that He ever forgot me, but that He had to let it rust, He had to let it dust, He had to let it bust. When all that had passed, He did what He does best...redeem and restore.

In a nut shell, here is my story:

Matt 7:21-23 - Isaiah 44:21-22 - Titus 3:3-7 - James 1:22 - Isaiah 41:8-10 - Joel 2:25 - Neh 9:17,30 - Numbers 14:8

God is good....I love all of you. Thank you for putting up with my blog this year. I pray I finish strong, I pray WE all as one body, one church, finish strong, and I pray next year rock!

(A little early for the whole new year talk, but given what started a year ago today...felt right)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The End of the Earth...

It's been some time since I last posted, sorry about that. In any case, today I started the book of Acts after spending the last few months in the gospels. What a ride to say the least. What God has shown me about Himself, myself and those in my life has been amazing. It is fitting then that when finishing the gospels you transition directly into the book of Acts, which shows us what we should do we what the gospels has given us....spread the word.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.

This is as far as I got in my reading, however, this verse did make me wonder how far it is I have gotten in my ministry. Jesus made this statement on the Mount of Olives, (also where He made his statements regarding the end times in Matt 24-25). The Mount of Olives is located in Jerusalem, which is part of Judea. Jerusalem is about 35 miles south of Samaria and can be reached on a map by drawing a straight line. So it isn't very far. Additionally, and my favorite part of this whole verse, Jesus also instructed them to reach the end of the earth, or as the NASB puts it the "remotest parts of the earth."

What I found so interesting about the places Jesus names is that they coincide with places in our own lives. Typically when we read passages, we first look at context, then we breakdown audience and intention, then we dive deeper and do with the bible what James tells us to do with it, we apply it or become "doers of the word"(Js 1:22). Jerusalem to the disciples was where it had all started for them. This is where Christ ascended into heaven, it marked the beginning of the church age, the church that Jesus Himself had promised to build back in Matthew 16:18. It was upon this rock or this "petra" that Christ would build His church. It wasn't referring to Peter which in the greek is "Petros" or little rock, it was referring to his confession or to the truth behind his confession, the "petra" or bedrock of his confession. And it was upon this foundation that the disciples worked in the name of His church.

The word church throughout the entire new testament is the greek word "ekklesia" which means "a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly." It is never a reference to a building. We are citizens of Christ, called to gather together in all places, preaching the gospel: Christ crucified. Interestingly enough, Jesus begins with Jerusalem, which for me is like home. Our first place is home. Like 1 Tim 3:5 reminds us, if a man doesn't have rule over his own house, how can you expect him to have it over the church of God? So automatically, it is to those closest to us that we ought to preach the gospel.

The next place is an interesting one, Samaria. I say it is interesting because while it is only 35 miles from Jerusalem, there is something else that separates it that is more than just distance. In those days, the jews and samarians had a strained relationship (Luke 9:52-54, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 17:11-19, John 8:48). However, we know that throughout Jesus' ministry, He rebuked His disciples for their hostility to the Samaritans (Luke 9:55-56), healed a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:16), honored a Samaritan for his neighborliness (Luke 10:30-37), praised a Samaritan for his gratitude (Luke 17:11-18), asked a drink of a Samaritan woman (John 4:7), and preached to the Samaritans (John 4:40-42).

How that translates toward us? We aren't just called to love those closest to us, but also to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us. We are called to love without partiality (James 2:1-5). Those people in your life who aren't so far away from you, however, are separated not just by distance, but by attitude and preference, Christ calls us to preach the gospel to them as well. This might mean you putting your pride on the shelf and dealing with comments, attitudes, opinions and all the like, however, unless you can say to yourself, that person is saved, then you must consider them headed to hell and as a result called to in some way reach out to them. Don't pull the "well I don't like them so therefore I don't want to deal with them for eternity," remember, "judge not, lest you be judged" which is to say, don't ever condemn someone to hell simply on appearance or preference, because if that were the case, then the same should have been done to you.

Lastly, we are called to go to the remotest parts of the earth. For me, these places are those that are well outside our comfort zones. Many times people equate this verse to mean the mission field in some foreign land, however, these days in the country we live in, that could mean the classroom, the office, or that homeless man on the corner. We need to begin praying that God show us what those places are to us. Cliche as it may sound, while you might think it impossible to reach that person or that place, remember that you can "do all things through Christ who strengthens you."

When Jesus was on the earth, His ministry was focused on the blind, the lame, the deaf, the widowed, the sick, the dead and the tax collectors just to name a few. Interesting thing about all of these groups was their place in society: rock bottom. All of them were viewed as the useless or the hated of society and as result were given little attention, Jesus however, was all about them and in the same way, we should be too. Let's start looking for these people in our lives, those people who seem so far away and yet, can be brought so near with just the words of the gospel.

All of this too say something God has been speaking to me for a few weeks now, start seeing people as who they really are: someone created in the image of God. Start looking to those remote parts of your life, start stepping out of your comfort zone, start loving those unlovable people in your life, start witnessing to those you call your own. You'll soon find the more you do it, the smaller the "distance" between you and these places. What once felt like a remote almost impossible place to reach, will soon be your Jerusalem.

It is a challenge; Acts 1:8 says to us that if we truly understood the gospel and all it means to mankind, we should then love our family by telling them and living it, love our enemies and present it to them through deed or word, love those unlovable people that rub us the wrong way by telling them as well, and lastly reach out to those people who seem unreachable or not worth it.

Start seeing people for who they are, and love them, the same way you love yourself....more on that later...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Conform or Reform?

You're a short little guy, generally despised by most you come across because of your line of work. Your history precedes you in that it has often times left a bitter taste in the mouth of those who come in contact with you. Rarely do people want to speak with you and when someone does, they are quick to assume the worst and cast you down as the short little thief your reputation makes you out to be. Desperate to change you seek to speak to the one man you have been told can change your world and cause you to be restored to what men ought be like. Desperate for His attention amidst a growing crowd, you frantically climb a tree in hopes of just catching a glimpse of the Man you seek to hear from. Being counted as the last person on the planet you think He would speak to, you sit, while among a crowd, alone, on the branch of a sycamore tree.

The story should sound familiar to most. It is the story of Zacchaeus found in Luke 19:1-10. Below is the section of scripture, take a moment to read it:

1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

The passage is quick to mention the status of Zacchaeus in society and with good reason. Luke, the author of this book and also the book of Acts, is very good with details. And it's important that he mention that this man was a "chief tax collector, and he was rich" to point out the state of this man's image in society. To anyone on the street, this man was despised. No one liked the tax collectors in those days and this fact is plainly seen once we reach verse 7 where we see some asking themselves, "Why on earth would Jesus go talk to that guy?" When I read verse 7, it reminds me a lot of myself and so many of us who often times are guilty of placing labels on others without first considering the heart. The bible is clear that the heart's position is one of the most important things to God (Prov 15:11, Psalm 51:16-17, 1 Sam 16:7). In a sense, the story is somewhat similar to David's when this young shepherd boy would eventually become king. Even Samuel, a man of God, was quick to want to write off David as the chosen king simply by his stature and place in his household. In the same way, the people in this crowd do the same.

Now my question to you is this: Why didn't Jesus say to Zaccchaeus, "Hey you! Sinner boy! Get down from that tree and drop to your knees and worship before I backhand you into the book of John." Why wasn't Jesus quick to write this man off? I think all of us, myself included can gain some serious wisdom from this. See when Jesus spoke with Zacchaeus, He had every right to condemn him and send him running in broken fear, however, his approach was different. Rather than do what the rest of the world would do, Jesus went the opposite direction of the world and did what He knew was what would please the Father. Romans 12:1-2 tells us not to be conformed to the things of this world, and in that it includes the way this world tends to treat the least respected and the less fortunate. It has been said that can tell how a society acts by way of how it treats the least among them.

These days if there is a group that is frowned upon by most, it is the youth of this world. What some of us fail to see in these troubling days is how under attack they are. The enemy is no fool. What better way to destroy a nation, to destroy a civilization by destroying those who will eventually take over. He is no fool and in his plan he will spare none. In today's school system ideas like evolution, safe-sex, and ideas of relative truth are pumped into the soft, malleable minds of youth and rather than act out in response to this, many of us often write them off and label them hopeless. What we need to remember is something I have been learning from Ezekiel 37 where God asks Ezekiel if the dry bones can live, his response to God, "Oh Lord only you know." We must have the same attitude when we approach the least likely among them. Rather than see them as arguers, grumblers and rebellious, we should see them as whosoevers (John 3:16), we ought see them as who they really are, people created in the image of God.

A lot of people these days harp on things like Christian hard rock music, or christian rap, claiming that such music is a christians way of compromising and going the way of the world. Some tend to throw out the word "seeker friendly" to describe such efforts. While I agree that there is a line that must be drawn between this world and the church, it is equally important that we as christians begin gripping the statement Paul makes in 1 Cor 9:19-23. To the jew he became jew, to the greek, greek. What does that mean? Does it mean that in order to reach a drunk, I need to become a drunk, no. However, it does mean that if I am to reach a drunk, first I mustn't write them off due to their drunkenness, but instead figure out by which avenue I can reach them in order to inject the gospel. In the same way, how else am I going to reach those pockets of society who are so deep into a thing, without first stepping into that world, with caution of course, to determine what it is keeps them in their state and also determine, through Christ, how I can get them out of it.

A lot of us tend to pass judgement on people without first considering the heart, and to me, if the heart is pure in the sight of God, then the work that results from it will show. From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Like Jesus, we must meet people where they are at, establish common ground, because if not, we are elitists who are looking to increase in number. Instead, we ought to take the Christ approach and humble ourselves. Be willing to dine with the least of these in order that their house might come to salvation. Notice Jesus didn't become a tax collector, He didn't take part in the act of tax collecting, instead, He lived out the what He was preaching and let that speak for itself while he ate with Zaccheaus. He let His light shine on His behalf.

I know I don't do that. In fact in many cases my mind tends to count someone or something beyond the grip of God, however, His hand isn't short that He can't save (Isaiah 59:1). We get so caught up in endless arguments of how things should and shouldn't be and we'll

We ought do the same. Let us stop passing judgement and start figuring out how it is we might do more to be Christ-like and live out in our lives the very gospel we sometimes tend to use as a baseball bat instead of as the heart-piercing sword it was meant to be. Keep in mind though, that in all of this, it takes some serious spiritual maturity and discernment to figure out where you should and shouldn't be. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. We can't simply justify doing something just by claiming it in Jesus name, we need to spend some time seeking the Lord in prayer and study to at least get an idea of the direction we should go in. Once you have that, then, like Nehemiah, ride the waves of your convictions, building whatever wall you must build, knowing God is behind you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jesus = God

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, it wasn't just a man dying on the cross, it was God the Son, God in the flesh Himself, dying on the cross and paying the price for you and I. As the bible puts it, He became sin, not that He sinned, but that He became the very thing that has made us blemished and dirty. He became the thing that causes you to feel shame, He didn't become dirty, He became dirt itself and He did that so that we would have a way into the presence of the Father. He was our harbinger, our forerunner (Heb 6:20) who allows us access to the Father behind the veil. The only thing left is for us to tear the veils of our hearts so that we would see Him this way.

Based on the above statement, it becomes clear there is something crucial to our view of Christ if we are ever to see Him the way He truly is. Jesus is God. If Jesus were not God, then the death on the cross loses magnitude. If Jesus was just a mere man created by God then His death loses weight, but if Jesus is God and Jesus became sin, and Jesus was separated from His Father, a person whom He was one with for eternity, then the separation itself becomes huge and the sacrifice becomes so much more than some lunatic dying on a cross for something He conjured up in His sleep. I say this because this is how many people see Christ. It is important we come to grips with this reality, because Christianity is the only faith which humiliates its very Creator to the point of becoming a man and being subjected to what was considered the most humiliating death to date.

Understand something about crucifixion, the bible is clear on just how humiliating and horrible it is: Deut 21:22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God." The word accursed here in the hebrew means to despised, held in contempt, vile. So consider then that the Son of Man became this before God when He was crucified. Now if Jesus is God, imagine how much more this means. Jesus is in fact God, and while many might say that the bible says otherwise, it is clear they haven't read scripture.

While I'm not a scholar nor anything outside of a mere man, I am going to do my best to show you guys some scripture to affirm to you He is God. Am I going to attempt to explain to you how it works, no. I don't understand it, I just know it exists and while I may not understand it, I must accept it.

To start, the concept of the trinity isn't something foreign and while the following example isn't an end all to the argument, it does put into the perspective the idea of a trinity in our everyday lives. All of us have love. It is built into everyone and whatever it's type, love is itself a tri-union, how so? Well consider this, in order to have love, you need three things: A Lover, Someone to Love, and the Spirit of Love itself. If I take away any of the three things, love does not exist. The three are themselves separate from one another, however, the three together make one of the most beautiful things a human could ever experience. Love is itself a tri-union. If I remove the spirit of love, I just have two people. If I take away the lover, then all I have is love and a person to love, but no love from another. You can also look at the number 1. When we talk trinity, we aren't saying 1+1+1 = 3, what we are saying is 1x1x1 = 1 or 1 to the third power. While again this doesn't solve the issue our brains will never comprehend, it does put into the light the idea that it isn't something foreign. Keep in mind though that the trinity is not a contradictory concept. Many times people believe that we claim that there are both 3 Gods and 1 God, that isn't what we are saying. When I speak of God as 3 in 1, I mean that God is 3 persons who are of one nature or essence, no contradiction in that at all, like I said, kinda like the idea of love.

Now lets look at a few biblical examples of Jesus being God and then tackle some of the contradictions people bring up. I encourage anyone who reads this to bring up contradictions or issues I don't talk about. Due to my limit of time as well as yours, I am going to do my best to keep to the point, however, sorry if this one rolls for a while, I really love this topic, after all He is my Savior and I want Him to be seen for who He truly is, God.

In Zech 12:10, we have God speaking to His people. We know it is God because in verse one it was the word of the LORD that came to Zechariah. The word LORD here is Yehovah, which is the singular reference to the one true God. So this is a singular reference. Skipping down to verse 10, lets see what God is saying: 10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn." How does one pierce God? The word pierce here is the Hebrew word which means to thrust through. Its use is found elsewhere to describe David wishing to thrust his sword through Saul, also used to describe an army of soldiers wounded by the Chaldeans in battle and so on. Clearly, the word used here is a physical wounding, but how do we physically wound God who is spirit unless of course He becomes flesh?

To run with this, let's now look at John 1:1, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Jumping down to verse 14, we then see the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Now flesh is definitely something that can be pierced, whereas there is no way to physically pierce spirit. Bringing this together, we turn to John 19:37 and here we see that the piercing of Jesus' side by the centurion was what John said was done in fulfillment of scripture and we then see the quote of Zech 12:10. It is obvious then that clearly Jesus is being referenced to as God, but do we have anything else to support it? Well in Colossians we see Paul tell us that Jesus or as Paul calls Him, "The Son of His Love" (Col 1:13), then goes on to call Him "The image of the invisible God" in verse 15. The word image here is the Greek word "eikon" which means "likeness, image, figure". In the verse, the Greek word is used to account for the divine nature and absolute moral excellence of Christ.

Acts 20:28 has something else I believe we can add, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." The question then becomes how is it then that God shed His blood, more specifically, His OWN blood. More and more it becomes clear that there is something more to Jesus than Him just being a man. I mean, just look at the people who He came across and how they reacted to His claims. On several occasions, they picked up stones to stone Him, something that was only done for severe sins, of which included the sin of blasphemy. The problem here, is that if Jesus were to have sinned, then the whole sacrifice is lost and the bible is worthless. This not being the case, it becomes clear that what He was saying, while blasphemy to the untrained ear, was in fact, certainty to the man who knew the old testament for what it truly represented.

In Hebrews, a book that deserves its own year long study, we get a better idea of the significance behind Christ's sacrifice, His priesthood, His promise, His rest, His sanctuary, and His divinity, just to name a few. Specifically I want to home in on Heb 9:16 "For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator." In today's world, if I made a last will and testament, your portion of the inheritance would only be yours after my death. Verse 17 goes to explain this very fact, "For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives." The testament in reference here is that of the new covenant, the covenant that promises us the the remission of our sins, the promise of permanent rest in heaven, the promise of communion with God on a personal level. As it stands, that was a promise made by God to all man, Jeremiah 31:31-34. Now, if it is necessary then for the testator to die, then that would mean God must die, but how could He? This is where we bring in Jesus, God in the flesh, who is our Mediator, the ONLY Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5).

Phil 2:6 Tells us that Jesus was in the form of God. The word form here in the Greek is the word "Morphe" which refers to how something strikes the vision of a person or the outward appearance of a thing. Many will claim that the language here suggests Jesus was in the form of God, but not God, however, it is clear from the original text, the word is in reference to outward appearance and not inward nature. Jesus again is the image of the invisible God, He is God in the flesh. Jesus is the "brightness of His glory" and the "express image of his person" (Heb 1:3). It is hard to grasp, seeing as in the same verse, it goes on to say that He sits at the right hand of the Father, however, they are equal, they are the same. Jesus was present in the beginning and before then. In Genesis 1:1, the word for God is the hebrew word eloyhim, which is God in the plural, it again is used in Gen 1:26 when God says "Let US make man in OUR image." Either God is skitso, or He isn't the only one present. We know from continuing in Colossians 1:17 tells us that He (the Son of His Love) was before all things and in Him all things were created. Couple that verse with Heb 3:4 "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God" and you have one solid proof for His deity.

"Chris that is real nice, however, where does Jesus openly refer to Himself as God, because connecting the dots is fun and all, but show me where the guy said it." A lot of people claim that Jesus never explicitly says that He ever claims to be God, however, the pharisees seem to think otherwise. It is clear when reading John 5 and John 8:59 that the pharisees weren't exactly pleased with the statements Jesus was making. In on case they say He "makes Himself out to be God" or that He "makes Himself equal with God". Additionally, they all drew up stones to stone Him. According to the law, stoning was for specific sins, of which Christ was not committing. The only logical thing that they were accusing Him of, was the very thing which He ended up going to court and ultimately being crucified for, blasphemy. To them Christ was speaking blasphemy because of His claims of being God.

What a lot of us don't pick up on when reading the bible is Christ's reference to the Father in heaven. Notice that nowhere in the gospels does He say "our father" (obviously with the exception to the Lord's prayer, but even then, the statement is made as if it were being prayed by those who were asking Him how they ought pray, i.e. the disciples and His followers). This is significant in that He always makes a clear distinction between His relationship with God and ours. He always referred to God as "My Father" and to everyone else He would say "your Father". It becomes obvious once we read John 10:30 what is meant by the distinction. "I and the Father are one" The word one there is one nature or essence. So in effect, Christ, when He says "My Father" is saying, God is My Father by nature, He is your Father by adoption. The line is clearly drawn.

It makes sense then when we read John 5 and see what Jesus is really saying. The passage isn't saying that Jesus and God are unrelated, what it is saying is that Jesus cannot act outside of whatever the Father has, and that whatever it is He does, He does because it is the Father who does it. He isn't saying He is powerless without God, He is saying that Him and God are in such perfect unison that their actions are the same.

Ok Chris, those are nice, however, why did He pray to God? Why didn't He know the day or the hour? What's up with His being "begotten" and what gives with the whole idea of Him being a created being.

For the sake of time, I'll have to save that for another blog, but at least now we got something on the table to work with. More to come. But understand something about all this, while yes it is nice to know in my head, it is increasingly important that all that be transfered to my heart. Knowing all of this is one thing, but now to place this into action. If Jesus is really who He says He is, then their is one giant problem with every other belief out there, and the problem is the lack of redemption, the lack of salvation, and the ultimate lack of meaning or purpose. It is these problems that should drive us as Christians to want to share this with others and this can only take place once Jesus has become reality in our lives. See Jesus for who He really is, because after all, when He looks at you, He sees who it is you are in Him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Here and there...

I think I have started about 6 different blogs in the past week, however, haven't been able to complete any of them. Either for lack of time or for lack of words I haven't been quite as active as I would like to be in writing. Seasons, as they say, come and go, and God tends to use each one to further our growth. What is interesting about seasons is that as we are going through them, we aren't quite sure the purpose for them, and often we easily lose heart in the midst of them. We quickly forget that Christ "conquered the world" for us on the cross.

I know for me I tend to over complicate the message of the bible. Surrounded by so many isms and schisms and everything in between, we quickly leave the simplicity of the gospel and often times fall into the trap of over complicating what Christ has made simple for us. If there is a character these days I can relate to more and more, it is Timothy. There is something Paul says to Timothy in the beginning of his first letter to him that caught my eye as I studied it.

1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

It is that simple. Christ came to save sinners. Paul later in his letter describes to Timothy the mystery behind this salvation. It is the perfect sum of the entire bible, all in one verse, (coincidently, I found it funny how the verse is 3:16, just like John 3:16...I'm not trying to get into the numerology of the bible, however, it is pretty cool).

1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

It is the message of the bible summed up beautifully. And it is this message we ought preach. Whether it be through our deeds or our words, our lives must reflect the very thing we hold fast to. As a person who spends hours upon hours studying apologetics and looking into scriptures that cause problems amongst believers and unbelievers alike, I can easily lose sight of God and see Him as nothing more than something to be studied, which is a problem. "There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist!" (CS Lewis).

What we have to remember as Christians, is before we even set foot in the battlefield, we need to check ourselves. The reason for which we are embarking on the journey needs to be determined before we head out, because if our intent is all wrong, it doesn't matter what content we bring with us, the end result won't be everything it could be. We need to keep the main thing, the main thing, Christ.

I have often said it to some but the purpose isn't about being right, it is about shedding light. At the end of the day, I don't want to win the battle of whits, to lose the war of souls. Our purpose in the great commission isn't to upset people with fancy words and well thought out arguments. It is to present the gospel to them by humbling ourselves and becoming what we must in order to speak to their hearts. To the Jew, be the Jew, to the Greek, be the Greek, to the wise, be wise, to the weak, be weak. Like Paul, become all things to all men so that some might be saved (1 Cor 9). This doesn't mean take on the things of this world, but it does mean don't think yourself better than anyone else (Phil 2:1-4, Gal 6:1-6) and certainly don't think someone is ever beyond the reach of God (Eze 37:3, Isaiah 59:1).

So what then? With all that being said, what is the first step. Well to start, understand that all of us are called to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). "If I take 100 men, 1 of them will read the bible, the other 99 will read the Christian" D.L. Moody. As ambassadors our lives need to be in line with that of Christ, and seeing as Christ didn't see His equality with God as something to be selfishly held on to (Phil 2:6), we too shouldn't see our salvation and God given grace as something to simply be gripped for the sake of gripping. We ought open our hands and share with others that spring of living water Jesus speaks of in John 4.

Don't tell me you don't have the gift of evangelism. While it is true some of us excel more at a thing than others, this doesn't excuse anyone from the clear command God gave us all in Matt 28 through His Son. I don't want to hear the Moses type excuses, or the Jeremiah type excuses, and I certainly don't want any of us feeling like Timothy. (these things all are things I am guilty of and am still guilty of). God called all of us to be lighthouses on hills, salt on the earth, reflectors of His love. I am not saying you have to go out on Saturday nights and street evangelize, but I am saying that God tends to place people in our lives that need to see His love, and because we are present, we are the perfect candidates to do this, even more so when we don't think we can, because then it causes us in our weakness to rely on His strength, something He loves.

What good are parking lot lights in one parking lot? What good is a flashlight under a box? What good is unused knowledge? What good is an unread book? The pages of your life are being written, now it is time to let people read them. It is time we stop being spiritual fatties and begin exercising our salvation. Workout it out what Christ has worked in as Paul tells us in Phil 2:12.

Just remember: "Intent first, then content" (J.M. Njoroge)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Love and Hell

"Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others... but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God "sending us" to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE hell unless it is nipped in the bud. "
— C.S. Lewis

The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. - C.S. Lewis

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way” - C.S. Lewis

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness…We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it. What I know about love and believe about love and giving ones heart began in this. - C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 27, 2010

Romans 12:1

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (NKJV)

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." (NIV)

I posted it in NIV because I loved how it put a certain part of the verse, "in view of God's mercy," now couple that with the NKJV which has mercy as "mercies" and quickly we see that the word mercy is plural. Additionally, the word mercy here in the greek is plural in the present tense, which is to say then that in view of God's current mercies. Current mercies? All of us have within ourselves a story. This story, typically called our testimony, is essentially the story of how it is you came to know Christ. Some have the more elaborate story of addictions and destruction, others have the more subtle testimony, the "vanilla" testimony as I like to call it. Whatever the case, every single one of us in Christ have a story that is ultimately His. It's a story of God's grace, a story that ultimately glorifies Him, or as Paul put it, "15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Tim 1:15-16)

Our stories are all beautiful in their own way, because each as I said is but another example of God's grace. Some of us Peter, others Thomas (me), Paul, James, Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Elijah, Solomon, David, each a testimony, each different, however, one central theme, His love, mercy and grace. So it's clear our pasts are stories, but what about our present? I already said that the word mercies in Romans 12:1 is one used in present tense, so then what does that mean to us? It means that our stories aren't finished. It means His mercies are renewed every morning (Lam 3:22-23). And it is in view of this fact that we ought be living sacrifices.

What mercies in the present are new? Well to start, you did wake up this morning (Psalm 3:5). As you read this post, you are breathing, you haven't died, and you most likely have a bible within arm's distance of you, a liberty few people in other countries could claim right now. What about your current sin. The bible is clear that none are good no not one, but what about post salvation, the answer is simple:

1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.

However, while it is clear that even post salvation we will sin, there does come with that, a promise.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

We have forgiveness in Christ. God WILL pardon the one who needs pardoning and "He WILL have mercy on him." Why do I say this? Because I wan't to emphasize something that we often times forget. Our stories are never over, our testimonies are never finished. Sure we have our testimony on how we came to Christ, however, more importantly, we have our daily lives as testimonies. Our lives are packed full of His mercies. We may not always notice it, but we sin . Sometimes our sins are giant in our eyes, other times, they are subtle and don't always show themselves without further searching and surgery. Whatever the sin, whatever the case, your story isn't over. We will all stumble, we will all fall, all of us are at some point going to face trials we wish we could hide from. The Christian isn't a person who is now sinless because of Christ, however, through sanctification and spiritual growth, we will sin less.

Let's face it, we all screw up at some point or another. All of us give ourselves over to something that causes us to then feel shame, why? We are human and as humans we tend to hurt ourselves more than we know, but in comes in the beauty of Christ. Sure there are scars that often times run deeper than we wish, but His grace, His love, His mercies, they are all greater than even the deepest wound. Our stories, often times written in wounds, blood, sweat, and tears, are His, written in His blood, because of our self-inflicted wounds and while that doesn't sound like something you may want to hear, I, like Paul, hope it does in some way offend you, not because I wan't you to leave hear condemned, but because I hope it breaks you, because that what it should do, it should break you, to the point where you fall face first on the ground in complete surrender to God. In this surrender, you'll thirst, you'll hunger, you'll mourn, you'll be broken and He'll feed you, comfort you, replenish you and ultimately piece you back together the way He wants you to be pieced.

I thank God every day that He forgets my sins. The cool part about that word forget is that it isn't what we think it is. When the bible says God forgets our sins, it isn't that God forgot about it in the way we think of forget, it is that God does not hold it against us, He disregards it's existence. He knows it's there, but the price for it has been paid, the blood has been spilled, the veil has been torn, and you're reborn. Live like it. Be a living sacrifice for Him. At work, in school, at home, in your relationships, in your encounters, in your churches, your worship, your every day mundane activities that you would otherwise look over, live for Him. Place your life in the altar and live life on your knees. Often times we make our greatest blunders come when we get off our knees and try to stand on our own.

You are free in Christ. James tells us to live our lives according the the perfect law of liberty (James 2:12). This isn't a feel good post, it's a call. 1 Tim 1:11 makes it clear the gospel was trusted to Paul, and in the same way to us, don't take that lightly. Your story is being written right now, you're breathing, what story are you telling those around you with each breath?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lunatic, Liar, or Lord...?

No one else in history has ever made any of the claims the man Christ Jesus made. Saying He was God, was like God, the express image of God, and that in Him alone was salvation, Jesus Christ made some statements that no other man in the history of mankind has ever made. The question then becomes, is He crazy, or is He really God? Was what He was saying something with scriptural foundation, or was the man insane? It is important for us to understand because many times in our walk we will be faced with the question of who is Jesus Christ, and with good reason, it isn't everyday someone makes the claims He made.

For some time I have been putting together a slew of information regarding the divinity and supremacy of Jesus Christ, and while many of us know it to be true, it is always good to go the extra mile and really become students of the word. By no means am I going to try and explain how the trinity works, because no one, not even the smartest of scholars could ever decipher the doctrine of the trinity and divinity of Christ, however, I will do my best to show that Jesus is indeed God, and that they truly are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. It'll be fun, but before we do, I want to give you a couple of key verse many try and use to disprove the divinity of Jesus.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

Then how is it Christ, who is supposed to be God, was tempted in the desert by the devil? (Matthew 4:1)

John 14:28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

So wait, if Jesus is God, then how can Jesus possible be God?

Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

Did Jesus just call say He isn't good? Only God is good, and if He is supposed to be God, then why didn't He include Himself in this statement?

John 3:16, How is it He can be God if He is the only begotten of God? Did God create Him, after all He was born from Mary, and since He is born like you and I, He must be created.

Why did Jesus pray to God if He is God? Is He praying Himself?
How is it Jesus' sacrifice so sufficient?
Why Jesus? Why not someone else?
Jesus is called firstborn, begotten, and born of Mary, how can He be God?

These are just a few of the contentions, however, I hope that in my next post, God gives me the wisdom to help shed light on this and then some so that we are better equipped to speak to others on the topic, not to mention help solidify even more the foundation of our faith.

Just remember, questions aren't a bad thing, just don't build a faith on your questions, keep your mind open, and never forget to doubt the doubt.

"Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong; it may be a sign that he is thinking." — Oswald Chambers

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Talking to yourself

The title is funny, however, you'll understand what I mean in a second. Last night I was laying down trying to go to sleep, however, I couldn't. I had some trouble falling asleep, so I started surfing the web on my iPad. I somehow ended up on my blog and began reading some of my old posts. It was at that point, that the Lord began using me to minister to me. It was crazy. I have copy pasted the blog I read that really struck me, and the funny part about this blog is that when I originally wrote it, it was all God. I remember having this really cool idea of a thing to write about, just not having the material to write it. I remember the following morning receiving a devo with a title exactly like the one I had in mind. It was at that point I knew I had to write it, how well or how poorly it came out didn't matter, I just knew I had to write it.

To top it off, this blog did more for me in the long run than I can even begin typing, and now looking back, it was as if God knew I would be right where I am now and He knew that I would need that word in due season. I guess Prov 15:22-23 is right, there is joy in the answer of a man's mouth and a word spoken in due season is good....just didn't expect it to be me talking to me. Most of my life I have always been my own worst enemy, but last night, God used me to be exactly who He knew I needed me to be for me....if that makes any's the blog....

Forward Motion Part 1

March 16, 2010

"Big God, small problems, See God for who He is, and you will see your problems for what they are." Greg Laurie

To begin, let me say this. I originally thought of writing this in my own manner. I had this whole thing planned out in my own mind. I read Hebrews 1 last Thursday night. The whole chapter talks about how great and how amazing Jesus Christ is. How God puts Christ's name above all names. Before setting out to write the blog, I said to God: " I am no pastor, no theologian, nothing special. Just a guy who observes and responds to the best of his ability (and I suck let me say that). I will not write this blog without Your guidance." Needless to say, three days later, I had a devo with a subtitle, God in a box. Confirmation in the face. So here goes God.

Ever noticed something about God. God is an almighty being. An omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who loves His creation and has paid an ultimate price for our sake, yet He is limited. Limited? Now before you grab your stones, hear me out. Sometimes we as Christians, myself soooooo included, put Him in a box. What do I mean, well we have read a thousand times over that He is great, Christ died on the cross, He rose again on the third day, salvation, grace, mercy, you know all these things. Yet we lose sight of this. We in essence are a box. We limit God in our humanity, rather than unlimit Him in our humility.

We so quickly forget His promises to us. John 14:12-14 says, "12Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Read this again, and take note of something in specific. Yes we can do great works in His name, but look at the word in verse 12, GREATER. Jesus is flat out saying to us, not only will you do the works I do, but even greater ones. Really us? Humans? Greater works than Christ? You're kidding me right? And it is this thinking that gets us in trouble. This type of thinking not only hinders our spiritual growth, but additionally, gives victory to Satan.

We, in our own minds, limit our spiritual growth, and the more we give into ourselves and our flesh, rather than submit fully to Christ, the more idle we become, the less efficient we become. We lose our saltiness and our light goes dim.

The more we remove our limits from the picture, the more beautiful our picture will become. Like an artist, God needs as much canvas space as possible, and the more of we limit His canvas, the less canvas He has to work with. He'll still paint an amazing picture, but it won't be what it could have been had we have just submitted to Him the whole canvas, in faith, and kept nothing for us to doodle on with doubt.

Why limit God? Seriously? What can mortal man do to me? Why do we so easily forget this is the God of Abraham, the God who delivered Israel from Egypt with the division of the Red Sea, the God who shot fire from heaven and devoured an alter drenched in water, the God who walked on water, the God who protected three men in a fiery fernace, the God who broke Peter free from jail, the God who broke death.

Isaiah 43: 1a-2 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you."

God will not be mocked. You do not go unnoticed, you are not and will not ever be abandoned. All who call out to Him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. What is causing you to box up God? Satan will use anything and everything to keep you from moving forward. Is it the past? Self-condemnation? What doubt could you possibly have? What can mortal man do to you? If God is for you, then who on earth, heaven, and hell could stand against you?

Seriously, the God of the Universe, will not be mocked, He didn't just blow you out of His nose, call you to where you are and then just watch you swim. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. You were called, you were chosen to be someone for Him. You are a soldier of God, a man/woman of the Highest, to be a steward, a servant, and a friend to all in need. He will give you exactly what you need through His word and His spirit. All of us are gifted in some way. The more you give into what the devil tells you, the more you lose your ability to use that gift you have been given.

Don't take this as a feel good post about being super blessed, because it isn't. This is a call to the person who has for years been in spiritual submission to the wrong thing. 2 Peter 2:19 (NLT) They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. What is controlling you? The God of the universe who governs all things and gives to those who ask? Or are you a box, influenced by Satan, to limit your God given power...Your God given Freedom...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I haven't done this in a while, but I like this song, and it's played at least 10 times today, so I felt like posting the lyrics....and the song. Nothing but fun in this one :-) Relient K rules :D

I hope to be there by the morning
And see this pining all transforming
Into the arms of the Georgia sun
I'd love to feel the heat the sunrise
Brushing rays across my windshield as if one dries
The streams from off my face

Yet I know you'll be there cause you'll know I'll want you to be there
And we'll say hello as you're smiling in love
And we'll sigh so relieved I believe because we will both know by tonight we'll feel normal again
But until then
Until then
Until then

Our backs supported by a hammock
We sum up perfection like a handbook
And God knows it all too well
We'll take a walk to find a gift shop
Who would've thought the book that you bought
Would never come off the shelf

I spent my life wondering
Wondering when I'd find you
I searched for all these years and now you're right here
I need you to know that
Everything makes sense when you're with me

Walk out into the sultry evening
Cotton breathing when the sea winds
Brush the hair down around your neck
You hold my hand like it's the first time
And all the feelings that our hearts find
Will be just what we expect

Proverbs 14:4

Proverbs 14:4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

So you have come to a fork in the road. You stare forward and see two roads, both seem right, and in fact, both can be right, however, there is the easy road, and the hard road. You have traveled the easy road plenty of times so your accustomed to it. Then of course there is the other road. At the end of it, you can't quite make out the full picture, however, you know for certain that the result will be huge! In fact, this road is an untraveled, uncharted road. One you have never really taken before, and now you are left to decide, which way to go? For me, what comes to mind is what Paul says in Phil 3:12-15, to press on. Sure you might get stained on the hard road, sure you might get pushed around, you might get stretched, you might get cut, you may even be bruised, however, we must press on.

It is an uncertain, however, our comfort zones aren't meant to be our final destination in this thing they call life. We can't sit idle forever, God didn't call us to sit idle in idle chatter, He didn't call us to fall asleep in place and just sit and wait for Him to return, no. Matt 25 makes it clear that to do that would classify you as a "wicked and lazy servant." There is great gain in getting down and dirty with life and looking it straight in the face and saying "greater is He that is in me," because while certainly your barn might be clean without oxen, your life will be just as empty as that barn.

Sure you'll have the clean life, the easy life, but is that what God called us to live? There is much increase in the strength of an ox, there is much increase when one works towards the things of the Lord, when one is guided by God to do a thing or go to a place or become a part of something, to turn around and say, "Yeah but," is to sell your oxen and clear your barn. It is God that ultimately provides the increase in our lives. God isn't always in the business of hitting us upside the head. While most days I feel as though God just wants to punch me on a regular basis, I sometimes forget that God is pack filled with love and He is in the business of blessing His people. I, a lover of the book of James, forget that "every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights."

God wants to show Himself might in all of our lives, why? So that we can have a story to tell, so that when people look on at whatever it is happened, you can only explain it with one word, "God." So that when you look back you can say that it wasn't by my strength, it wasn't by my doing, it wasn't by my efforts, it was God, and God alone can have full credit. I'm beginning to accept that God really does work in our favor and will show Himself mighty in all of our situations, "He who is faithful will also do it." I'm dying to get in the mud already, I'm dying to work side by side with the Lord in the season He is bringing me into, I pray you have the same heart. Whatever it is God is leading you to, whatever new thing it is He is bringing to you, cast all your anxieties at His feet and place full reliance on Him. I love my God, and there is nothing I can say about where I am right now, except my two favorite words, "But God..."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In the Clouds...

I love cloud watching. Call me what you want, I enjoy a nice breezy Saturday afternoon laying int he grass watching the clouds. I remember as a kid laying in the grass and just looking up. Often times I was in awe. I couldn't understand how they were all up there, and how was it the sky was blue, why was it the moon was out in the afternoon? All these questions and at the end of the day all I could do was look up at the clouds and watch. They were amazing to watch. I loved every second of it. One minute you had a horse riding through the valley chased by a bear and the next minute a dragon or a whale, or some other crazy image your mind could conjure up. The coolest part was when someone else was with you and they too saw the same thing. Then you knew for sure you weren't crazy. The clouds were an awesome thing to observe, they had no explanation, they just were.

Sure my science teacher ruined clouds when she went off and explained they were caused by the weather cycle and accumulation of vapor and blah blah blah, however, she could never explain to me why it was they looked like buffalos, dragons, and eagles. So why all this talk of clouds, well because no matter where you are, a cloud can always be seen, and every time you look, you can't help but wonder how or why. You can't help but stand in awe at them. When the children of Israel were led out of Egypt and they journeyed some time in the wilderness, it was a cloud by day and fire by night. Following the clouds, those form changing sometimes vague looking clouds, they in faith continued after what they were told was the Lord leading them. Sure someone else might call them crazy for doing such a thing, however, they had the word of the Lord with them, and with that word came a promise. A promise of protection, provision, and ultimately His providence.

Life has its twists and turns, some days you don't feel like doing much of anything, other days, you're "ready freddy" as Pastor Jose often says. So what do you do on those days you feel down? What do you do on those days you feel weary, the days when you feel like you're in the wilderness and you don't understand why? Those days where you find yourself smack in the center of a God-ordained desert? You look to the clouds. You look up, you look straight at the awe-inspiring creation of the Lord, you follow Him. Sure you're not 100% on why it is you're doing what you're doing, but the Lord did tell you that in time, you would indeed receive the promise, all you have to do is remain faithful and obedient. It's no easy thing to do, especially when the world looks on and tells you you're crazy, however, when God is leading, you know that it won't be long before you cross the Red Sea and enter into the land which He has promised you. When you get there, don't be so foolish.

When the children of Israel got to the edge of the promised land, there they stood, ready to enter, the Lord promising them the land, the Lord leading them the whole way through the desert, cloud by day, fire by night, manna and quail in between, and what did they do? They squirmed. They came up with a list "Reasons why we can't enjoy the promise of God." So there are giants in the land, so there are enemies, so you might get a little roughed up, don't worry, rest assured that "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6b).

God is a God of order, not confusion, and while sometimes we don't quiet get why He has us doing a thing, or why it is we think His timing is off and we need more time, He tends to think otherwise. His ways aren't our ways, nor are His thoughts ours. Rest assured in the love of Christ and forget everything else. It is in Him and His promises alone that you'll make it out alive. When He says a thing, He is sure to see it through, He doesn't just do things to then drop you, that isn't His way....

Psalm 111:5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.

And remember, He is faithful, and that faithfulness, stretches to the clouds Psalm 36:5

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are You Sure?

I suck at accepting stuff. In fact I suck so much that often times, I'll sit and fight it forever. I'll make every excuse under the sun to justify my denial of a thing. Why? I'm not sure. For me, when someone buys me a gift, it is hard for me to accept it. It is almost as if in some way I don't think myself worthy of the gift. I'll think of a time when I did something that merited nothing short of punishment. My mind will soon venture off from being blessed, to straight condemnation. Why is that? I know I am not alone on this one. I know plenty of us at some point in time or another have denied ourselves or attempt to deny ourselves something someone has given us. Why is it so hard to say thank you? What is so difficult about saying your welcome?

What's funny is that this feeling is itself an issue of pride, additionally, it is also an issue of self-pity, and the two hinge off of each other. To pity yourself is to think yourself in need of sympathy, and in that "need" unbeknown to you, you are sitting in the center of a pool of your own pride. Don't get me wrong, I am all for being broken, however, who is breaking you? Are you breaking yourself, or is God. When God does a work, when God breaks a person, the end result should always yield the fruit of restoration, redemption, recovery, remission, reconciliation. When we break ourselves, often the feelings are regret, regression, restrain, remorse. The second set yields nothing but condemnation, and in this, you hold yourself down. The bible is quick to remind us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation in Christ, and it is so true. Any feeling of condemnation you might feel as a child of God is not His. God is the only one who can condemn, however, that condemnation comes only one we have died and are without Christ. For the child of God, the word isn't condemnation, it is conviction, it is chastening, two things, that when done by God, show His love to us, and ultimately yield a more complete work in Christ.

So what is it then about us? Why is it so difficult for us to accept the work of the Lord? We are human, so is that the best answer we can offer? I don't know, but I know this, Moses felt the same way when God Himself appeared in a flame and told Him what to do. To take it a step further, God told Moses word for word what would happen, He showed Moses what power he would have and even gave him a glimpse of it when He commanded him to turn his staff to a snake and when He asked him to strike himself with leprosy, and then heal himself. So what stopped our brotha Mo? Doubt, worry, fear, self-condemnation. I am sure at some point, Moses went back to that time he killed an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew. I am sure his mind went back to that moment when the response from the Hebrew was anything but gratitude. I'm sure Moses went back to a moment in time when he had failed. If it wasn't that, then we know for certain Moses went and picked out his current disqualifications. Moses was quick to point out to God that he was a man of stuttering lips.

What I love most is what God says in response to him. "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?" Exodus 4:11. Often times, and for me more often than not, I am not qualified to do a work for the Lord. I am not qualified, nor am I deserving to take on a task in His name, nor am I worthy or deserving of a blessing He might have for me. I am in no way prepared to take on something. I never have been, however, I will be, and I will be not because I'll do it, but because the Lord will do it. He will lead me with a cloud by day and fire by night. He will ordain my steps for me, and lead me into the work He has prepared for me beforehand (Eph 2:10). It sounds simple, however, why is it we forget this? Why is it we beat ourselves to death asking and asking and asking? If God has revealed something to us, then we need not look anywhere else, we don't need a confirmation from another source, we have the Lord. If God is clearly on your team for a matter, then what worry is there, if God is for me, who can be against me? No feeling, no fear, no person, no situation, no trial will ever be able to out do or out think our God.

His love is a perfect, never changing, undying love. A love I wish I had words to describe, however, human speech does little justice to describe the ineffable love of God. I hate when people say that God is being mean to them, or that "God isn't listening to me" God is always listening to you. God's ears have been listening to you since before you even existed. God had your hairs numbered, He had your steps laid out, He knew when you would say yes, He knew when you would turn the corner, and He knew when you would jump on the straight and narrow path. God knew all of that, He has prepared for you a work ahead of you, that you don't even know about. If God is building your house, then you are not in any way laboring in vain. Your job as He builds is to serve Him and honor Him in speech, in deed, in work, in truth. Serve Him your finest cup of coffee while He builds for you and fear not. There is nothing wrong with finding a good thing. When that thing is of God, you will find favor in His eyes. Stop beating yourself up about why you don't deserve it or are unqualified and start asking God to show you what to do next. Stop playing the Abraham before you end up having an Ishmael in your life and start rising up as a man (or woman) and play the role He has called you to play.

God is a loving God, slow to anger, abounding mercy, and rich in grace. He led you out of darkness into marvelous light and will continue to do so. If He gave it to you, give it back to Him. Offer up yourself and whatever blessing it is He has given you and watch Him use it and you in unison to do His will. It's hard to hear a no from God, but even harder is to accept a yes. Sometimes, it really is time to see the doctor, and as nervous as you might feel to hear what he has to say, if you're healthy....why are you concerned?

Edit: I have never done this before, however, this blog has been on my mind all day. Talking with the Lord and really reaching into my heart, I found this. Often times it is so difficult to accept a good thing from God, or from anyone for that matter, because we are being considerate. How so? Well, consider this, when someone buys you something, you may feel bad they bought it, why? Because you don't want them to spend the money on something like that, you would rather they use it for themselves. In the same way, we sometimes try to push a thing out of our lives because we don't want to spend less time with God. We think that by avoiding all the good, we free ourselves of distractions and then can spend every waking moment with the Lord, when in reality, we forget one thing. When the Lord blesses you, your heart, if it is in the right place, should be to take that very thing and share it. Don't horde your blessings, don't keep them to yourself, give them back to God by pouring them onto others. Use it for His glory, because after all, it was He who got you there in the first place, it is He that will see you through it, and it is He that will show Himself mighty through you...I love my God....and I pray that whatever it is you are going through at this very moment, that you surrender it to God, and I don't just mean say that to Him, I mean pull out your spiritual knife and put it on the altar and really show Him you mean'll soon find Him smiling...let's not forget that when God makes a promise, He keeps it...

Isaiah 41:8-10...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Heart of the Problem...

Chores, chores, and then some more chores to go with that. My parents were big on chores. I remember spending summers at home when there was no camp or school and just do nothing. That was of course until my parents decided it would be a great idea to use the free manual labor God had given them and make me clean the house. Chores were never something I enjoyed, I mean lets be honest, if you're reading this right now and you enjoy chores, get some fresh air.....please. I would do whatever I could to get out of chores. My favorite thing to do (and I thought this was brilliant) was to save things like HW or even the bible, and do them only when I knew it was time to do a chore. Essentially I was avoiding obedience by being obedient. Makes sense right? Not so much. In fact this is a huge problem with us today. Often times we as Christians tend to get out of having to do things, or justify doing a thing that we know is honoring to God and covering it up with some righteousness.

My favorite example of this is found in Matthew 15:1-8. Here we have the pharisees asking Jesus why it is His disciples don't wash there hands. They claim that in forgetting to, the disciples are defiling themselves inwardly by way of there outward lack of cleanliness. Jesus, being the monster that He is pulled a 180 on them and ended up showing them where true defilement comes from, after all, what good is a cup whose handle is clean, however, whose insides are filled with dirt, the water that pours from it will be anything but pure. This is exactly what Jesus is showing the pharisees.

He goes on to reveal to them the vapid nature that is their tithing. See in those days it was custom to give a portion of your earnings to your parents, by doing so you were honoring them, however, the pharisees would in a sense bypass this by taking what was rightfully their father's and give it to the church. Sounds pretty good right? Giving more to God, I mean who is going to tell you not to? Well, where's your heart?

A few things have to be said about the heart in order to really understand why it is Christ cares so much about it. To begin, we have to always remember that "man looks on the outward, but God sees the heart" (1 Sam 16:7). God is interested in what goes on inside of us, because it is what goes on inside of us that ultimately determines where we are. Often times we confuse our spiritual position's determination by looking to the outward rather than the inward. Just because I am standing in a garage, by no means am I a car. In the same way, just because I'm tithing, just because I'm in a sanctuary, just because I lead a small group, just because I'm in a ministry, these things by no mean determine where I am in my walk with the Lord, or if I even have a walk.

It's scary when you stop and think about it, after all Christ does say earlier in Matthew that "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven". (7:21). Why is that? Because many times people confuse the outward with the inward. What we must always remember is that in order for our outward to be sincere, our inward must first be cleansed. It is here that I bring up one of my favorite verses regarding the heart, Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

The position of our hearts are extremely important to God. From them comes pretty much everything. If our hearts are in the wrong place, then we pretty much have nothing. It's for this reason I live my life in a daily routine of self-examination. Sure I am more anxious than the next person and often times I worry over the dumbest things, however, I want to make sure that in every area of my life, I am making sure that the place in which I am in is one that God has placed me in and it is a place where I want Him to enlarge my heart (Psalm 119:32) and fill it only with what He has for me, because I know that by doing so, what will flow from it will be the living water, that overflowing stream of living water that so many of us forget to plant ourselves by, however, once firmly rooted there, our lives, our hearts, our very being begins to overflow with the very same water.

From the overflow of your heart, your mouth will speak. Don't ever think that you can hide something from God in your heart. Prov 15:11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men. God sees right into hell, how much more then can He perceive our hearts? Love Him with all you have and leave no place in your heart uncharted. It is those uncharted areas of our hearts that if left alone, can manifest and grow into the very thing that will keep us from the Lord's river. Have Him "search your heart and know your anxieties" It is a scary thing to reveal your heart to the Lord and get honest with Him, because it may mean having to admit the thing you don't want to, however, don't worry, He has a knack for flipping those things upside down and working them for His glory. Just be faithful and do your part. Live your life with knife in hand, always ready to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, well talk more on that one next...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Psalm 94:17

Alone I am nothing, in me a heart so black,
Desolate in my own strength, life I lack.
Left for dead, my nature deceives me,
No firm foundation, left down on one knee.

If it weren't for grace, my soul would be damned,
It if weren't for mercy, to hell I'd be slammed,
If not for Your love, my heart would be stone,
If not for your Spirit, I would be alone.

In silence I'm strengthened, in stillness made new,
Your mercy surrounds me, Your love is so true,
In my weakness and silence I'm made whole
In my darkest of hours, I give You control.

Though I stumble and fall and hit face to wall,
Your love consumes me and forgives without stall,
I've failed You before, I've fallen face first,
Yet Your love is poured out even when I'm at my worst.

When my foot slipped, You caught my heel,
You vanquished my enemy, no joy he could steal,
For my Father above, and my Savior within,
All work in my favor, forgiving my sin.

My soul is renewed, my strength made whole,
My Lord, My God, poured out His bloody bowl,
Unless the Lord had helped me,
In the silence of death, my soul would be...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Isaiah 1:18

What is it about man that You care so much?
Why is it You take time to come within touch?
To seek a man so prone to wander,
To seek a man so prone to squander.

To a man whose nature is bent for death,
To a man whose flesh destroys every breath.
My hands are dirty, my heart is stone,
My fingers bloody, my breaths all blown.

You came and lifted me from my cave,
And showed me how I ought behave,
You lifted my spirits and renewed my bones,
You poured onto me Your own Son's groans.

He cried out my name up on that cross,
He traded His glory and beauty for earth's lowest dross,
His blood flow profuse, His love deeper still,
To die in my place on that dark lonely hill.

This man is so dirty, his countenance weak,
Sometimes I'm so shamed, I can't even speak,
Yet You grab hold of my face and kiss all my tears,
And renewed in my life all the lost broken years.

The locusts were many, the wandering so long,
Yet running You came, and in Your arms I belong.
Don't ever let me leave, please don't ever let go,
My heart was once scarlet, but now white as snow...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Malachi 1:1

It hurts doesn't it? To see someone sick and know that you yourself are well. Often when I visit someone who has a terminal illness I always find myself burdened. I hate seeing them the way they are and in some way I wish there were something I in my own power could do to make them feel better. To this day I still hate seeing people I hold dear even sick with a cold. I'll be the first to cook a soup, serve a lunch, or put myself in a position to get sick for the sake of keeping them company. This isn't to toot my own horn because I know that I am not alone in this. All of us at some point or another have felt the burden of watching a loved one slowly pass due to illness. We wish we ourselves could take on the disease ourselves even for a second so that in that moment, that person, that loved one might experience the freedom from that and smile.

It doesn't stop at being sick though, there are times in my conversations with someone I just want more than anything in the world for them to understand a concept or see something the way it is meant to be seen. To see their faces light up with joy as if it's Christmas morning and they just received that thing they wanted more than anything in the world, to me their is no greater joy. But it's a burden before this happens. A burden that often times leads you to tears when no one's looking. You want so badly for them to understand, you want so badly for them to believe, and yet, they just won't and the more time you spend with them, the more time you get to know where their hearts are, the more your heart crumbles.

I think this is what Malachi was dealing with in Malachi 1:1. I know there are other places in the bible in which a prophet describes his message as a burden, however, at least for me, I think the people that Malachi was speaking to is by far the hardest of crowds to preach to. Malachi was speaking with men who were priests, however, had defiled the entire order of the priesthood by forsaking first fruits and turning what was worship into ritual and rules.

A tough crowd to talk to if you ask me. To speak to men and women who had grown up around things of the Lord their entire lives and yet like Timothy tells us, denied the power of the truth. It hurts to see this, it hurts even more when you sit down with someone who tells you they are seeking truth but in reality end up so firmly rooted in their own truth that the conversation goes quickly from witnessing to just plain arguing. It's at that point you lose a person.

I don't know about you, but I cry out for these people. People that have the truth staring them in the eye and rather than hear it out and give it the time of day, they shutter at the thought of it and quickly recluse back to whatever it is they held dear prior to hearing it. People are comfort junkies and no one likes something that challenges the very thing that gives comfort. Christianity is definitely loaded with comforts, after all the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Comforter, however, Christianity isn't about being comfortable. It is about stepping out and doing the thing Christ has called you to do despite what the world tells you.

Some take that as seeing the bible way too literally, however, it is pretty black and white. When Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler in Mark 10, He quickly showed how man's focus is shifted onto the wrong thing. In the story, the rich young ruler was concerned with what he could do to get into heaven, rather than the true way to get into heaven. Jesus responds to him and asks him why it is he is asking who is good, after all only God is good. Jesus isn't saying He Himself isn't good, we know that because in Matt 19:16-21 He makes it clear His purpose in saying that God alone is good (and seeing as He IS God, well you get the idea). The point is, Jesus is telling this guy his focus is all wrong. In reality, the way into heaven is to make yourself the least of these, to become last, to be a servant of others, to take up all you have and sell it.

So what is Jesus saying? By those standards we're all doomed. Exactly. In our efforts alone we can't get into heaven. People today think it's imperative to do good works to get you where you want to go, that being heaven. People miss the point. You lie once, you're a liar. You cheat once, you're a cheater. There are none good, no not one. There isn't a just man who does good and is without sin (Ecc 7:20).

So then how does it all work? Well humility is big, in fact we know from Matt 5:3 that we must first be broken to truly enter into the kingdom. Broken by our need to sin and by our desperate need for a Savior found only Christ Jesus. People don't like that. People don't want to hear that they have to surrender themselves over to someone else, especially an invisible man they can't see, but then again, aren't they already doing that? This is where often times it hurts to hear a person speak against Christ, and it isn't because they are wrong and we have to be right, no, it is because when you see a person's eyes covered by the scales of deception, your heart crumbles for them. It is almost as if you wish you could tear the scales off with your own hands and say "Look! You can see now! You have your sight! Go! See the world in the beauty that is God!" It doesn't work that way. The choice is their's not yours, and ultimately all you can do is present them the truth.

What does that mean for us then? Should we stop from speaking? Should we not go out and preach. No. For starters it isn't our word to be determining who to tell and who not to tell. It isn't our word to decide whether or not it was effective. We are simply instructed to learn it, live it, and preach it. To not be satisfied with just leading a normal "good" life. To step outside the boundaries of our comforts and our concerns and live life pressing hard after Him. Forgetting what is behind us and panting toward God as a deer pants toward water, we should be in a constant state of seeking. We should everyday seek His face and in all things consider Him. What often helps me is when I consider Him, I see Him on the cross. I see Him being nailed for my stupidity, I see Him sign His name in royal blood over mine. Often times the thought brings me to my knees, but then again, it would do us all well to live our lives on our knees.

The burden is heavy, but the Lord's yoke is light. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of Christ and may we be a people who thirst to know Him more every day. May we seek long and hard after Him with our whole being and forsake our filthy pleasures. Sometimes it is difficult to do, but trust in the Lord, He who has begun a good work is faithful to complete it. He is definitely not the author of confusion and when He speaks a thing, it is and will be. You just seek after Him with every beat of your heart and forget what the enemy or your flesh tells you. They are both wrong.

May it kill us to find joy outside Him. What we often times forget and He has lately been faithful to show me is that putting Him first brings Matt 6:33 into fruition, and it isn't this promise that should cause us to put Him first, it is our undying thirst for Him, not His blessing, just Him.

Psalm 84: 1 How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.