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.