Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It is a liberating feeling knowing you're free of something that haunted you for years. Sometimes we forget what Gal 2:20 says to us. We forget that we are dead to sin and alive in Him. I had an interesting conversation tonight. The best part is that it was brought about as result of the Holy Spirit speaking through me. It was weird, when I shared what was on my heart tonight, it didn't feel like much. I mean I just said what was on my mind, and shared what it was I had gone through in hopes that someone in that room might be moved in some way. Whether they be saved, or rededicated, if I touched one person, my kingdom work was done.
Needless to say, when it rains, it pours and God for some reason, chose to use this filthy wretch to do His bidding tonight. I had some people smiling at me, others high-fiving me, however, it was one person whose words were both confirming and also sprouted spiritual growth. I thought I strayed from the Lord, this guy was all over the place. We spoke for a while about being prodigals and how it is so crazy the way God works. We eventually drifted onto the topic of the devil, that roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). It is funny, you know he is bad, you know he knows what he is doing, yet we still give in at times, when all we need to do is resist him and he will flee from us (James 4:7)
He is so smart, not to say I enjoy complimenting him, however, I will give him credit, the guy knows what he is doing. He knows a person like me won't smoke pot, or do any type of drug, however, I will doubt, I will worry, and I will become anxious. He is so good at exposing our weakness, and it's these weaknesses we need to recognize and give to God if we are ever to grow. Part of the call to surrender is to give it all, both the life and the things in it. I can give my life to Jesus, however, if I don't give Him my lifestyle, my choices, my actions, my addictions, my emotions, my issues, then I'm like kid who wants his Dad to fix his broken toy, however, I don't want to give my Dad the toy, I would rather him fix it while I hold it. That last analogy came from my accountability partner....OWNED!
Satan makes quick work with our weaknesses. What we need to recognize is when we are weak, then, we are strong (1 Cor 1:27). We need to be ready both in and out of season (2 Tim 4:2). We need to always find comfort in the Lord, knowing full well He will not allow the righteous to fall (Psalm 55:22).
I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about blogging on my favorite book from the bible. Now, I have too. God placed this book on my heart and attached to it a heavy weight so that it might sink into the very depths of my heart and soul and penetrate the very being that I am. Once or twice a week, I'll blog on a verse from James. This book is amazing. Pastor Pedro calls it the Proverbs of the New Testament. The book is 5 small chapters, however, I doubt you can sit and read it in one sitting. Sure you'll get through the words, but the message is so heavy and convicting, that you'll spend more time praying and taking notes and less time reading. James is so cut and dry, to the point, no horse play.
Why not kick it off with one I already mentioned, James 4:7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This is a two part verse. See, sure we can resist the devil, however, we can't do it alone. Part of being able to resist the devil is recognizing that apart from God, we can do nothing. Without Him in our lives, all we are is fish in a barrel and the devil is standing above the barrel with a shotgun.
Once we have submitted ourselves to God, then that's where we can resist the devil. Pray against him, declare yourself free of sin. Dead to sin, alive to Christ. Justified in Christ. A new creation. He has no power over us. Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting. We are no longer slaves to sin, so why give in? Why allow this idiot of a devil, the great deceiver, such power? The only person who should have that kind of power to control us is God.
So submit fully to the Lord, then punch the devil in the face with the Sword. GET OWNED SATAN!
Extra fun: Romans 6:14-19, Psalm 55
Monday, February 22, 2010
It was quiet when he came. I was alone. That is the best time to strike. We have strength in numbers and he knew that. He patiently waited for me to get comfortable, then before I knew it I was in cell I had built. My silence and inability to cry out let him build my cell. Silence built the jail I sat in and Loneliness fortified it. I was trapped in my own thoughts.
What then? What was left? So I began to dig, trying in my own power to get out from under it. I continued digging, began creating another wall, this one made of my own effort. My effort, while fervent was insufficient and as a result, this insufficiency became my doom. I had nothing. I was stuck. It was where I remained for some time. It was familiar to me, because it wasn't the first time, but it definitely was the worst time. How could I have been so foolish? I grew up, knowing full well this would happen to me, knowing full well how to get out, and yet I just stood there, like a fool and built my own cell. I had had enough of it. I wanted out, but sometimes, those moments when we are so deep in trouble, are tools. Tools that humble us, and remind us just how feeble we are alone. But God....
I realized where it was I was, and what I had done. I realized that I alone couldn't break down the walls. But He could. I cried and yelled, screamed and punched. I Cried out desperately, but it wasn't until I admitted my faults and fell to my knees and whispered the words from my heart that He heard me. His hand appeared from the top of my mountain of failure. He grabbed me and pulled me up from the hole I had made. He made quick work of the walls I had built. I stood as He began to destroy every barrier and every wall I had built. He tore them all down. Together we ran, but I was weak. My body couldn't handle the run. I turned to Him and admitted my weakness. He showed me His strength as He picked me up and carried me on His back. He had saved me, and I owed my life to Him. I told Him I would stop at nothing to make sure what He wanted from me was done. I gave Him my life, signed over my rights to Him.
Have I looked back? Oh plenty of times. In fact I spend more time then I should worrying about my motives, meanings, and myself. In reality, my feelings ought to be disregarded, my self should be thrown out, and my motives should only be tested against what He has already told me. The worst is when I feel as if God doesn't speak to me or use me. It is dirty feeling, feeling as if you don't belong among those you call friends just because you don't feel God using you or speaking to you. You feel forgotten and in a sense, not fit to be a Christian.
Yesterday I was reminded that surrendering to God isn't a feeling, it is a sincere action. I'll forgo my thoughts, my doubts, my worries, and just focus on Him, even if it kills me. The sweetest part of the above feeling is when He speaks to you, then it means more. He knows me so well that He purposely lines things up in such a way that it caters to me and my way of thinking. I read this the other night on accident (I did one of those open the bible, God speak to me things).
21 "Remember these things, O Jacob,
for you are my servant, O Israel.
I have made you, you are my servant;
O Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you."
Still, it wasn't enough for me. Doubting Thomas needed to touch the holes. Let me just day, the last 24 hours have been amazing. It was confirmation day for me yesterday, and He would not stop. He knew that Doubting Thomas needed to touch, see and feel it. He hasn't stopped since yesterday, just this morning He laid down a spiritual bomb. Check it out on my facebook.
I am Doubting Thomas. I am the man in the jail cell. I am also happy to report that I am the man who, through His grace, broke free, and is about ready to get up and dance in His love.
I was housing all that doubt, and insecurity, and I'd been locked inside that house, all the while You held the key....Thanks
Friday, February 19, 2010
To start, I will apologize for giving it a week before posting. My mind has gone through a whole mess of thoughts and prayers this past week, but God has been moving swiftly in my life, removing the bad and chipping away at the years of barriers I put up to protect myself from Him (I worked so hard so desperately in an attempt to create space). Let me just say, when He wants your devotion, He'll get it from you. You will be so dissatisfied with life that you'll have no choice but to fall face first into Him. Now I see God moving through me and I see Him using me in ways I never even knew possible. He has put so much on my heart and I am just so willing to jump in and go. It's like nothing is going to stop me. Full speed ahead.
We studied something real cool last night at College Group. It was Matthew Chapter 8, but my mind has been stuck on verses 1-4. It is a simple little story of a leper being healed by Jesus, however, how this man approached the Lord is remarkable. I can only hope that I can show the same level of humility and faithfulness that this man showed. He, covered in leprosy, went to Jesus and worshipped Him, then proceeded to say Lord, if you are WILLING, heal me. Not Lord, Heal me now. If you are WILLING...can you imagine that? Having something so horrible, something you would think God would take from you, however, you are so humble and so in the reality that EVERYTHING is within His will that you are willing to accept a yes and a no from God, even if its means being diseased for your life.
We see the same thing with Paul when he asks God to remove the thorn in His side. Yes God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that by leaving that thorn, Paul would forever remain humble. Sometimes it is tough to accept, but God may leave something in our lives because He knows that in the long run, it will benefit us more spiritually. My old high school chaplain always painted this sweet picture of God. Consider us in a boat on this river we call life. Some parts of the river are rough, some calm. Sometimes there are so many different directions to turn, so many choices, and all we want is to make the choice that best suits us. Now imagine God sitting on a mountain that oversees the river. He sees every turn, every rough spot, every waterfall, every rock, everything. Why wouldn't we listen to Him. HE KNOWS BEST! He sees the picture we sometimes fail to see, more often than not if you ask me...
Remember when Jesus asked God in the garden the night he was arrested to "take this cup from me?" Imagine if God would have granted Jesus His prayer, you and I along with the rest of mankind would be in some major trouble. But God (there's the two words again) knew what He was doing.
This all reflects back on what James tells us, to be doers, not just hearers. It is like getting a PhD and not ever getting a job in that field. It is a waste, an existence not worth living for. But that is where God steps in and owns our hearts and just uses us in ways we didn't think possible. Let me just say, He answers prayer, blesses us with what He knows we needs, and if we allow Him, continues to work in us and use us for His ultimate purpose. I have to say I am way excited to see what He has for me. In a matter of 2 months He has given me an awesome new family, an awesome outlook on life, and what looks to be an awesome heart to serve...and serve him I will...
It is simple math really, He > me, or you could say I =/= worthy, or my favorite God - Me = the way it should be. The less of me I allow, the more room there is for Him, and let me just say, I want as little of me as possible, leaves for plenty of Him...math owns
In other news I totally splurged and the little kid in me bought the ultimate pack of nostalgia. I have in my possession a regular nintendo (NES) and over 30 games. I went crazy on eBay and decided to feed the inner child by buying back my childhood on eBay......God is owning my life and I have an NES....life can't get sweeter.
And before I even think about the trials to come, I'll keep this in mind...
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Stop for a second and think to yourself....."What is my trademark move?" Is there something in your life that comes to mind that defines you; Something that when others think of it, immediately associate you with? For me it is the accounting, the video games, the funny comments, the guy with something to say for everything (though not always good....gotta Bite my Tongue), just to name a few, I am sure (hope) people think other things of me, but what about the bad? What bad thing is your trademark move? Pride? Lust? The feeling of dejection you get whenever you pray and sometimes you focus more on what you are praying for and less on what God wants to give you?
Every fact that the disciples stated was right; but the inferences they drew from those facts were wrong. Anything that savours of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If depression and oppression visit me, I am to blame; God is not, nor is anyone else. Dejection springs from one of two sources—I have either satisfied a lust or I have not. Lust means—I must have it at once. Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Who gives the answer. What have I been trusting God would do? And to-day—the immediate present—is the third day, and He has not done it, therefore I imagine I am justified in being dejected and in blaming God. Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer. It is impossible to be well physically and to be dejected. Dejection is a sign of sickness, and the same thing is true spiritually. Dejection spiritually is wrong, and we are always to blame for it.
We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do), and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized. - "The Utmost for His Highest" Oswald Chamber.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
When I made up my mind
And my heart along with that
To live not for myself
But yet for God, somebody said
Do you know what you are getting yourself into
When I finally ironed out
All of my priorities
And asked God to remove the doubt
That makes me so unsure of these
Things I ask myself, I ask myself
Do you know what you are getting yourself into
I'm getting into you
Because you got to me,
in a way words can't describe
I'm getting into you
Because I've got to be
You're essential to survive
I'm going to love you with my life
When he looked at me and said
I kind of view you as a son
And for a second our eyes met
And I met that with a question
Do you know what you are getting yourself into
I've been a liar and I'll never amount to
The kind of person you deserve to worship you
You say you will not dwell on what I did but rather what I do you say
I love you and that's what you are getting yourself into
He said, I love you and that's what you are getting yourself into
It's the reality for everyone in Christ, but do we really know what we are getting into? I ask myself that when things get interesting. Whether it be school, work, or an activity, usually when it gets real tough, I'll ask myself "what did I get myself into?" Sad to say I have done it with God. The call isn't easy and sometimes I quickly forget what it is I got myself into.
Got into the one on one with Him for all my life; Got into the call to do all things in Him who strengthens me; Got into doing all things for His glory. Imagine doing everything for Him? Easy on paper, impossible in practice, being a human sucks...then again if I were anything else I wouldn't have a soul (not that I need one...such a good song).
I am doubting Thomas. I am the guy who would have asked Jesus to touch his holes. The one who goes some days asking myself if I really mean it or if I think I really mean it. I am also a wonderful image (and I hate to admit it) of the prodigal son. The one who leaves God, runs around in circles in the mud pits of this world, then comes back hoping to use the shower once more (what can I say? It's my Trademark Move).
This time though, I mean business. I hope to set up shop in God's house and get the wheels of my life spinning in the right direction. I know what I got myself into. I got into Him, cuz he got into me, and let me just say if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be where I am today. I grew up Christian. I have what my friend (and teacher of the Growing in Faith classes) Al calls a "vanilla testimony." The nice guy who grew up with Jesus and basically had a normal, nothing crazy life, and accepted Christ not because of drugs or despair, but because it seemed impossible not to.
It is only now that I am beginning to realize that while my testimony is "vanilla" it is vanilla because God made it that way. If God weren't with me all my days, I would probably be moose tracks...the ice cream with everything, and then some...
More to come later....back to work...but not without Relient K! *slaps on headphones*
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wow....am I really here? Something like that. So much has changed in the past year that for me to blog about it on a night where I should be studying for a mid-term would be a bad idea. So I'll make it quick for now...
God is amazing.....
Something about an amazing church (CCk)....
Something about an awesome group of people....
Then there is the blessing of having a job.....
Something about have purpose and meaning thanks to the first thing I mentioned....
Weight loss somewhere in there....
Oh and school.... *sigh*...
All in all, I am back and we are definitely changing things around here.....starting with you!
I hope that this blog in some way shape or form opens a door in your life, or creates some kind of joy in your heart, that your life might be in some way better or encouraged after reading it....
Until I find time to actually write....I leave this for you:
"Be still, For I am God..." - Psalm 46:10
"I can finally see that you're right there beside me.
I am not my own, for I have been made new.
Please don't let me go, I desperately need you.
I am not my own, for I have been made new.
Please don't let me go, I desperately need you."