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 sense...here'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 business....you'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...