Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What if...

Orbital indifference
chaos rampant
delusional stoppage
accusational cynicism 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Verbal extrapolation...

 


     As many of you who know me can attest, an area where I could use some growth is the use of my words. Sure many of you may be thinking of how encouraging I am because those are the exact words I hear from many of you. But, there are those times where I still respond improperly, especially at work. The workplace may be where I struggle the most with this in dealing with such diverse personalities. Another area (where I am improving), but have likely done drastic damage in the past is with my family and others with which I have close relationships. Again I am aware and incredibly grateful to God for the immense growth I have experienced in this area over the last two to three years. With that being said it remains an area of focus where I choose to surrender to His will so He can further renew those broken areas of my life.

     I truly want to allow Him to do the work whereas I have tried in the past to correct these character flaws myself. In doing so I open the door for the enemy to come in and take me the other direction like the swing of a pendulum...withdrawal, silence, or empty words. I like the quote from the book 'Boundaries' "...an internal no nullifies an external yes." Just as God is more concerned with our hearts than outward compliance He also designed us to live that out in other relationships. Silence or empty words can do as much damage as harsh unloving words. This can leave the other individual feeling empty inside; especially in marriage. (I know I am not married and never have been, but the aforementioned is Biblical)

     I mean we are created in His image and if He spoke everything there is into existence do you not believe in the power of our words?

James 3:5 - 12

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Forgiveness…redemption…

     So today I had planned to go after work to the gym and then to church to volunteer with Mor which is our high school ministry. I have been highly involved in our Jr. High Ministry Amped for over a year and whereas I love all of our current students I do miss many that have moved on. I thought it would be good to "move on" with them and another great way to serve my King! Then last night an amazing woman God has placed in my life made the simple statement, "You do so much already, are you really going to commit to something else?"

     Throughout this day those words would occasionally visit me. So I decided to simply pray about it. I felt lead to simply go home and rest. Rest in the sense of relaxing in ways I find relaxing, not necessarily just taking a nap. The kind of rest God has been speaking to me about all of 2011. If you now me well you know I am kind of always going, going, going. Well, the words of wisdom I received last night sunk in my thick skull and I decided to have an evening of rest. In doing so I decided to go on a run whereas I have not run in well over a month now. I am cannot understand why, but it is something I have grown to enjoy. So run I did...I started out of my neighborhood and began to run along business 287 out side my neighborhood. Things were going well...listening to my iPod and enjoying the cooler weather. I felt amazingly good after such a long absence of this activity in my life. 

     As I turned around and was heading back home I was joyful...grateful for my job, my girlfriend...my life as it goes. I have so much to be grateful for. Then it happened...the young punks that find others misery humorous. A truck goes by with three young adults inside and one of them throws out a half full beer can. Bear in mind this is an actual highway in a rural area. So they were traveling at minimum 50 mph. I had no time to react, before I could process anything I felt the impact of the can on my face. Its mass caving in to form the shape of my brow. A surreal moment of disbelief. 

     Once I had ascertained what had occurred I turned around, but the truck was far too distant to view the license plate number. Anger welled up inside my soul! Thoughts of being there again tomorrow to serve justice flowed through my mind. Many other thoughts came to mind as I was allowing my anger (my emotions) to lead my response. Then I realized I had better make sure I was OK. I felt around and no blood was seemingly present. I did my best to pull out my phone in a failed attempt to use it as a vanity mirror. I then decided to take a photograph of myself to view the damage. Not near as sever as circumstances could have allowed. Thankfully I serve a great, great God that is my protector. 

     It was in that moment I realized what had occurred. God truly had protected me from further damage. It was also in that moment I realized I had to forgive and move on. Pray for their souls. I am still in awe of how no more damage was done, but I can only give the credit to our God; whether he placed a protective angel there in that moment or just designed me with a hard head (spare the jokes...lol) I am grateful. 

     It was also through the ensuing conversation with God I realized through forgiveness it opens the door to further redemption which He provided for us on the cross. I truly believe I further experienced the redeeming power of the cross this evening. Through forgiveness I further experienced the same redemption we have all been given. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Postprandial somnolence...

     This was a post I had intended to write on Thanksgiving; whereas it ties in well with the relaxed, tiresome state we often feel after our Thanksgiving meal. Something we often experience in the physical after eating a meal, but I believe we also have to be careful to not fall into this state in our Spiritual lives as well.

     For example, 2011 is a year where I have been blessed to have been fed more Spiritually than any other time in my life. I attribute some of this to my desire to grow closer to our sweet Lord, but another contributing factor is the people I have been blessed to have in my life that have challenged me to grow even more. Additionally, my home church is adamant about equipping others to be properly armed to go into battle for the souls of those within our circle of influence. 

     By pressing in and allowing God to use me I have had a bigger impact on the world than I could have ever imagined. The stories I hear others tell me of how God impacted their lives through me is truly humbling. None of this could be done on my own because honestly I am as much a screw up as the next guy. But God has done an amazing work in me that allows me to hear Him clearly and through obedience and surrender to His will I have had a the honor of furthering His kingdom. 

     With all that being said I want to finish this year off with a bang and forcefully move forward into 2012. October and November were months where I faltered at times (more so than the prior nine months), but it has been a learning experience that I choose to use to draw me closer to God. I refuse to let postprandial somnolence set in from from my massive Spiritual meal I have enjoyed up to this point. If nothing else this post was written for accountability. So for those of you in my life I give you permission to do just that...hold me accountable. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In a days time...

The arising sun shines so bright,
Creating many smiles of great delight.
Hours go by and the day wears on,
All the casted shadows, they grow long.
Darkness then envelops the sky,
The adjustment inevitable within my eyes.

A lot occurs within that time,
Most of those actions worth but a dime.
I pray to God my actions each day,
Impact the eternal in a Godly way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I have fallen and I can get up...

     So I realize I have not posted in here in several months. Other than some poetry a few weeks back. I assure you it has not been out of a lack of desire. Writing is so therapeutic and and I enjoy sharing whereas I know God may choose to use my writing to impact someones soul in a positive manner. I also realize when I was posting more often I was in a rough season showing true transparency on here. Well, you will be happy to know a renewed season of hope and joy followed those posts.

     Now onto present day life. Over the better portion of the year 2011 I have felt fantastic. My ministry to youth has exploded in so many ways and the best part is it has been effortless on my part. By making proper choices and being obedient God has done all the work. I am also physically healthier than I have likely ever been in my life which is incredible considering my past of sexual immorality, drugs, and alcohol. I find the link between our Spirits, minds, and bodies much greater than our western culture style of thinking would like to allow. As I have grown Spiritually in my relationship with our God my emotions and physical wellness has benefited exponentially.

     Anyway, I digress. This brings me to the present day season I am in. One of struggle, but due to the last year of my life my faith is so much stronger that I refuse to allow myself to go back down the dark paths of my past. I stumbled and I stumbled hard, but fortunately God brought some amazing people into my life over the last few weeks. He has and is speaking to me through these individuals without them even being aware until I share with them.

     At this point I am ready to get back in the race and run with all I have. When I stumbled I took myself out and I have been licking my wounds and seeking comfort in areas other than those of the Lord. The good news is I know how much of a screw-up everyone in the Bible was (with exception of Jesus) and they were all used in mighty ways. All it took was surrender. Once surrendered to His will then run with all your might.

     Below is a video I saw this morning that nearly brought me to tears and the timing of me seeing this could not have been more perfect. I hope it speaks to you as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seared heart...

Events in life will take their toll,
All the while impacting your soul.

Depending on your strength within,
The result can lead you straight to sin.

Surrender is the ultimate key,
to what you ask? Do not ask me.

The choice is yours within free will,
The thought process can make you ill.

I await the time I look back and see,
How all this only strengthened me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Growing Pains...

No I am not writing about the TV series with Kirk Cameron. Nor am I talking about physical pains caused from skeletal or muscular growth periods in childhood. Rather I am talking about Spiritual, emotional, relational, psychological, etc. Yeah pretty much everything else other than the two aforementioned non issues I am currently dealing with.

     In my previous post I wrote of this tough season I am experiencing. A season where our mighty God has led me into the wilderness. A season where I am on the potter's wheel being worked over by the sovereign hands of God. A season where both my Spirit and soul are being stretched. A season where my faith is being tested and as a result is growing exponentially as I learn to further surrender myself to His will.

     One thing we need to remember too is Jesus (as God in the flesh here in earth) endured the same struggles we do so He truly does understand. I like this that I read from Max Lucado:

Because of His Gift
"that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" - Philippians 3:10
     Trace the path of the Saviour, the God who swapped heavenly royalty for earthly poverty. His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet---and usually the hard earth. He was dependent on hands out for his income. He sometimes so hungry He would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it meant to have no home. He was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch Him. Some called Him a lunatic. His family tried to confine to their house. His friends weren't always faithful to him. 
      He was accused of a crime He never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. A judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.
     They killed Him.
     So the next time you feel  you are all alone or as though you are having to endure something unique to yourself think about all He endured. Just accept that the growing pains your experiencing lead to renewed and invigorated growth!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stripped down...

Toughest season ever...

It feels as though I am losing everything...

I believe that is the point, God is stripping me down to bare minimum until I press even more into Him....

The confusing thing is I am chasing after God, pressing in, seeking more of Him....

This is just one of those seasons of stretching, testing of my faith...

It hurts. I pray it ends soon.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Would you tell me if I had broccoli in my teeth?

     While I was at lunch after church on Sunday I overheard a conversation a family sitting near me was having. It was a husband, wife, and three daughters. It looked as though they varied in age from about four to nine years old. The middle daughter had a put a bow or ribbon in her hair when I heard the father tell her "That does not look good honey."

     I was not deliberately listening in on the conversation I was just admiring what appeared to be great unity among this family when I saw and overheard what was being said. At that point I decided to play some 'Words with Friends' to allow the family their privacy and pass the time.

     I was rummaging through the dictionary in my head to decide upon the next word I would use in an attempt to conquer my opponent when I could not help but hear the daughter then begin to whine whereas her feelings had been hurt. That was when I heard the true compassion and heart of a mother come out with these words. "Would you tell me if I had broccoli in my teeth?". She then went into an explanation to ensure that her daughter knew the truth that the "look" of that particular bow, in that particular place, with that particular outfit, etc was what did not look good. It was not as though the girl herself did not look good. From the look on her face and the sound in her voice I felt that she was struggling with believing that as truth.

     Is God telling you that something does not look good in your life? Do not allow the accuser to set lies within your heart that you do not look good or that you are not good. Know that He is looking out for your best interests and only wants to help you. It may not seem like it in the moment and you may not understand, but that is the truth.

  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intentional, incidental, or accidental...

Damage
     This photo is of my car. This is damage that I noticed yesterday while on break at work. It is not even all shown in the photo and I am not sure if you can see the significance of the damage in this photo, but due to the location it had to have been some serious impact to cause the dents that it did. 

     Let us move on to the point of this blog whereas if we ask, God will speak to us at ALL times in every event of every minute of every day. What God spoke to me through this was that regardless of how good a steward we are to what He has given to us, others can (and oftentimes will) damage (or cause wounds to) those things or to us. It could be intentional, incidental, or accidental. It could even be from our friends.

     The great news about all this is that the wounds, hurt, damage inflicted by others only have as much control as we allow them to. Am I saying it is easy to just let it all go? Absolutely not, in fact I am struggling with a few things right now in my own personal life. But you have a choice to carry it with you or work to give it up to God and move forward. If you are walking in obedience, the best way out is always through. Do not stop and stand still, do not try to go around, and especially do not turn back to go back where you came from. 

     In the end my car still runs, still gets me from point 'A' to point 'B', still protects me from the elements of the weather, etc. In fact that damage to my vehicle sent me right back to God which resulted in this word I am now sharing with you. It just goes to show that He can turn all things for good! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where did they go?

Times of trial when diligence is tested are times when true friends surface and the fakes are exposed. It can be some of the most painful events during those trials whereas the one(s) you felt would be there through anything may just be the first to abandon you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An addiction I desire to have...

     About a year ago I was in communication with someone who has known me for several years. I think they are still to this day trying to figure out what has happened to me. I have been overtly open and honest that by surrendering my life to God I am a new creature and that His love is growing inside me. One of their responses was "I have heard church is just another addiction." I can not argue that. I am addicted to the love I feel from God. I am addicted to church. However...

CHURCH IS NOT A BUILDING!

     Church is community, it is what occurs outside the walls of the building much more than what occurs within them. As a result of that community and the grace and mercy of our great God, I am literally a new creature. So if you view it as an addiction then hook up the IV! I have traded in other addictions. A glass pipe for the Bible, a joint for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a bottle of Patron for worshiping our sweet Lord, a life of promiscuity for real unadulterated relationship with people that love me for ME! 

     If an addiction causes me to love others more, results in my making wiser decisions, has an outcome of true integrity, and true joy through all circumstances then give me MORE!

     To elaborate on the joy part I can tell you this. Whereas I would be lying if I said I have not struggled I am joyful. As I type this I do not know when I will get to see my son again, I do not know where I will be living in six weeks whereas my lease is up, I do not know how I will get the maintenance done on my vehicle that is now past due, I do not know how I will pay my upcoming bills, I do not know where I stand in a very important relationship, and I do not know what my job situation truly is whereas my current job does not appease my stringent budget. I could go on, but I will spare you LOL. But, you know what? I am still joyful! 

     I am however beaten down. The weight of all this and the world itself has been beating against me for weeks now. I worn down. "Limping" as a sister in Christ mentioned while praying for me earlier this evening. Which spoke to me, in fact minutes prior to that statement and prayer I had read my friend Nancy's blog in which she discussed crutches, among other things. [Go ahead go check it out] 

     That was when I realized my life with Christ can fill another cliché (other than "just another addiction"). It is also a crutch. That's right I said it. And you know what I want two of them and I am going to lean in and put ALL my weight on them. God can handle it, I assure you. Fortunately, through God's perfect timing I also got a scholarship to go on a retreat this weekend with some great men of God. I know not what is in store for me, but I know it is good. First of all I need the time away. A good friend of mine is driving so I can save my fuel for work and reduce more wear and tear on my vehicle that needs some tender loving care right now LOL

     Well, folks that is all I have for tonight. Just felt the need to get that off my chest. Feel free to comment or contact me if you want or need to chat more. Also if you think about it please pray for me and my current circumstances. I will not tell you what or how to pray, if you feel led to pray for me then be led by the Holy Spirit as to how and what you should pray. Thank you for reading and I pray blessings over every that reads this blog. Now go out and be the light and salt to the world God desires you to be!

 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I want to be the stronger brother...

     Wait what? Do you think I am indecisive now? Just yesterday I wanted to be the weaker brother. Well, I want to be both.

     I too can be a mentor and pour into the lives of others. Our precious Lord fills us up so that He can then pour us out. Whereas I may have a very long way to go in my spiritual journey; I am still further along than others and it is my responsibility as a disciple to help others. The best part is, if you are living your life and dying to self daily then you do not even have to try.

     By simply being me (the me I have become through progressive sanctification)  I have been acknowledged, notified, and shown (in some interesting ways) how I have had a positive impact on the lives of many individuals.

     In fact, I had a few letters of character reference written by friends for the court hearing I just had in CA and a few of those letters drove me to tears. Tears of joy for the work God is doing through me in the lives of others. It is incredible to see how others view yourself when you are truly living under the authority of God and serving Him and others.

     Even the video I did at my church caused an influx of phone calls, Facebook messages, text messages, emails, and physical conversations in person about how I touched peoples lives. That was not my intention at all in doing that video. To me it was simply an opportunity to thank all those out there that were so giving to help individuals in need like myself.

    I could go on and on, but I believe you get the point.

     All of us should at some times be the weaker brother (or sister) to receive and then take that to be the stronger brother (or sister) and give back to others what has been poured into us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I want to be the weaker brother...

     No the title of this post is not a typo. Yes you read it correctly. I want to be the weaker brother!

     This all came to me when I heard a sermon from Jeff Wickwire on the radio when driving to work the other day. The title of his message was 'The Weaker Brother'. He was not necessarily using it in the context that I am, but they parallel one another.

     Basically, if I am the weaker brother then that means I am around a stronger one. A man more wise, more spiritually mature, and whatever else God feels I need to submit to the authority of in my time here on earth. Sounds a lit like a mentor does it not? I have felt for over a year that the Lord wanted me to have a good mentor. He even gave me a name, obviously I was not exactly obedient in that area of life whereas I still do not have an official mentor. I do have people that speak into my life, but not a mentor per se.

     That is why I am excited about this weekend! God worked out all the details that I get to go on a retreat this weekend that is specifically for younger men to go and hear from older, wiser, successful men. By successful I mean in marriage, life, business, being a father, a brother, a friend, and yes even a mentor. I know not what to expect other than for God to move on and in my life. So if you are praying and have a spare moment pray for a divine appointment with my mentor this weekend and that I kill off my flesh in an effort to get more from Him!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Agreements coexisting with arbitration...

     Countless individuals have been asking how the court hearing went in California for legal custody/visitation of Andrew. I was hoping and praying for the best so that I can begin growing a deeper relationship with Andrew and although I wanted more; I believe that our God did the best for the present time. Rather than get all wordy and drawn out I will succinctly put the results below in bullet points.

Partial Stipulation
  • With notice greater than 48 hours I will be allowed reasonable visitation with Andrew and we will have a mental health professional involved as a third party for their input that will allow for fair progression in visitation. (i.e. - more time and eventually having him come here for split holidays, part of the summer, and any other that is agreed upon at that time)
  • I have an allotted time with a 30 minute window to call and speak to Andrew once a week. I can call more often than once a week, but that does not guarantee that I will get to speak to him. 
Arbitrary Orders
  • I will be provided with a copy of Andrew's birth certificate and my request was granted to be added to his birth certificate. 
  • I will be notified of Andrew's Social Security Number and provided with a copy of his Social Security card. 
  • It was also granted that my name will be added to the school and medical records of Andrew so that I may be advised and aware of his education and health. 
     All in all that is all great news whereas prior to the hearing I had nothing within my control. It will still be difficult to get out there as often as I would like, but we got the ball rolling and now can only gain momentum. Thank you all who have stood in the gap with prayer support. Just know that you have helped one young man have the opportunity to know his father better. Now I pray for provision so I can begin contributing more financially to his life and to be able to get out there more often to visit. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Freedom from the past...

     God's forgiveness is absolute; we are the ones that struggle with forgiveness (both giving and receiving). Until you truly believe this in your heart you can not experience true freedom from your past. It is much easier to believe this in your mind than to allow that belief to travel eighteen inches to the heart.

     What I am about to share with you, many of you know about my past...most of you do not. This part of my life goes back to early 2004. This was a time when I was working for a publication company during the week and working in a friends bar on the weekends. At this time I was living a life of total immorality. I was drunk every weekend (fringe benefit of being a bartender), I was living in promiscuity, smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day, and the occasional joint would top things off. I was a poor steward of relationships in my life (both family and friends), I was a poor steward of money, and outside of the gym I was a poor steward of my own body. Needless to say I was on a path to sure destruction if things did not change.

     I know, most of you are saying you already knew that about me...well here goes the dropping of the bomb. On one particular night while working at the bar someone came in that evening I had not seen in several years. Someone I had been attracted to. To make a long story short after closing down the bar and getting out around three o'clock in the morning I made my way over to her place. This led to the miracle and blessing that is my son Andrew. Well, when his mother came to me to tell me she was pregnant I did not believe here whereas due to my promiscuity this was the fifth time in my life I had been told this same thing and yet I had no children. As hazy as this part of my life is I do remember this moment, I also remember losing patience with the situation and advising his mother that she should just go get rid of the baby. Yes abortion.

     You still with me here?

     Am I proud of this moment? Of course not. Is it completely out of character for me...I would like to think so, but you can see I was living life in a destructive manner and I am sure I caused lots of people pain in during those years whether intentional or not. Especially the mother of Andrew. I can only try to imagine the pain my reactions and words could have caused her. I know this...I am EVER so grateful that our almighty God works all things for His glory. I am ever so grateful that she chose NOT to go through with it.

      Over time Andrew's mother and I lost contact so I assumed it was just another bluff. Honestly I was curious and did try to find her through the internet on a couple occasions and I even called the phone number I had for her with no luck. Then on July 16, 2008 I received a message via MySpace from an individual whose moniker I did not recognize. I assumed the message was spam and almost deleted it. Luckily I did not and after a couple days I realized who it was! This began that journey on which I am still traveling called fatherhood. It has not been ideal, but I am doing the best with what I have and I am confident that in the end things will be great!

     Now to the forgiveness part. I struggled immensely with guilt, shame, fear, etc. I was only four months into moving back into relationship with God at this time. At that time I was still unaware of true forgiveness and freedom. Luckily He has spoken to me and drew me into Him throughout all of this. I can now live in freedom and I am focused on doing the best I can to be the best father possible with what I have been given in this season of my life. I hope and pray that the day the truth is revealed to Andrew he can find it in him to not allow all of this to hinder his life and growth into the man God intends for Him to be. God obviously has big plans for him considering all of this.

     I hope that if you have something that has held you in bondage of guilt or shame or anything else for that matter that you know that God's forgiveness is absolute. Others may not forgive you, but if you sincerely apologize from the heart, confess your sin towards them, and ask for their forgiveness that is all you can do. You must choose to receive God's forgiveness and healing and the freedom He has promised us and move forward in your life. Use your past mistakes to help you grow as an individual not to stunt that growth.

     Prayer Request

Now I am about to head into a new season of fatherhood here. Last year I had a court hearing for the child support side of things. Last week I had a mediation hearing for legal shared custody/visitation. Both of which were somewhat frustrating due to the fact that I have not been present and so I am simply a voice coming out of a speaker box. I have a hearing this coming Monday to have the courts legally establish guidelines and parameters for the shared custody/visitation. Whereas Andrew is now six years old it is very important that I have your prayer support so that God's will be done through all of this and allow for me the best opportunity to be the father God desires me to be. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stop the ride I want off!

I have to be honest. Even with the posts I have written this year in trying to encourage you all in so many ways I wanted off the ride of life this morning. No I do not mean suicide; I just wanted to get off and stand static on solid ground, going no where. Life can be rough, it can be a scary ride.

The reality is that getting off the ride would help nothing. If anything it would prolong (or completely eliminate) any growth, learning, momentum, moving forward, etc. Eventually I would have to get back on the ride and I would be right where I was when I got off. We have a choice to react or to respond and the choices we make are directly correlated to how our relationship with God will develop. It is important for us to keep our faith through seasons of struggling.
"Our faith is in direct proportion to the absence of fear in our lives. Where fears begins, faith ends. Where there is faith there is no fear." -Marvin Yakos
In the past I would allow fear to gain control and attempt to run from these problems. By run I mean I would medicate with drugs, alcohol, or sexual immorality in an attempt to feel better and forget about these trials. None of that got me anywhere. Did I feel better? I thought so, but I can look back now and see how I was constantly increasing the pain and suffering.

It was so minuscule in doing so little at a time that I was unaware of it. For example, if you go out every morning and look at the tire on your vehicle you will not notice a difference (barring some major event like a nail in the tire, ramming it into a curb, etc.). Yet if you look at the tire (or even take a picture) then go back after a year or 15,000 miles of use you will see a significant difference. That is the same way I was eating away at my life by "medicating" myself. It was not noticeable in daily living, but after several years of doing so and looking back I wondered how I got where I was.

That is really all I have for this evening. Feel free to think about this and you may want to read the following scripture and study it with a study Bible and/or a commentary. It is DEEP!

2 Peter 1:3 - 11

"Actions in heaven begin when someone who prays on earth. " - Max Lucado

"If all you ever do is tear down and you don't build up everyone ends up homeless." - Matt Chandler

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Goodnight cruel world...

The title of this post was a "status update" I posted last night on Facebook prior to going to bed. Due to a couple of comments, text messages, and emails that were sent in response to that status update I realized that it was phrased in a way which was easily misconstrued and perceived incorrectly by some. The Lord really spoke to me through this reiterating something He has been speaking to me over the last few weeks.

PERCEPTION. 

Have you ever noticed how many ways in which our perception is skewed? For example, look at your reflection in the water. Needless to say you would not be winning any beauty pageants if that were how you truly looked and if the world perceived you in this way every time you walked out into public. Another example using water would be when you stick an object partially in the water and keeping the rest of it out...what do you see? It looks as though the object is broken. Keeping with the previous theme of reflections how about when you look at your reflection in a window? You see yourself, yet you can see beyond yourself into the window and what is on the other side. To continue on the topic of seeing through things (or the lack thereof) how about when you are trying to see through an incredibly dense fog? I am talking about a fog with the density that your vision is decreased to that of two feet in front of you. Would you agree that it does not change what is in front of you yet you can not see anything beyond that two feet? Those (static) objects are still there just not visible.

Now those are only four examples out of millions that I am sure could be collected with input from everyone. So if our perception of things can be that skewed in the physical realm in which we live our daily lives and are surrounded by tangible objects then how much more is our perception skewed in that of the spiritual realm (or things unseen)?

I think this is very important for us to meditate on (if you are not a spiritual person them marinate in it). Seriously...whether you stop reading at this moment to do so or it is something you focus on for the next few hours, days, weeks, etc. I think it is very important that we allow ourselves to become more aware of this aspect of life and the fact that we can not grasp the concept fully and how it can be the root of confusion. We can however do our part to grow in this area so we (even if minimally) have a better understanding and a more clear perspective.

Regardless of your current circumstances just know that there is more going on than what we see and experience in the physical realm. If you woke up this morning then you have plenty to be grateful for whereas you are breathing. You have the choice to spend today acting as though you are a victim or living in the freedom of knowing you are a victor!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stolen vehicle, accident on the freeway, and no food...

I think most of us know the saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." Well, I allowed myself to be fooled numerous times over the last couple decades. Primarily this occurred in allowing my emotions to control me in circumstances. I was one who would "blow up", become irate, and express anger in very unhealthy ways. Do not believe me? Just ask ex-girlfriends, family members, friends, or other random victims of my behavioral patterns from my past. I assure you it was bad. In fact I love this quote from Marvin Yakos:
"Anger repressed becomes rage when it escapes, or if never allowed to vent, extreme depression."
With that being said I want to make it clear that anger in and of itself is not a "bad" emotion. The ways in which we control (or by allowing it to control us) anger is when it can become unhealthy. You may ask where I am going with all of this. Well...

Let me give some examples from the last few days showing immense growth on my part as a result of God doing an amazing work in my life since I have truly surrendered my heart to Him. Last Friday I went to go to work and my car had been stolen!

...or so I thought. Long story short it had been towed by my apartment complex and I am now in the midst of a battle to try to get reimbursed the funds which my mother so graciously loaned me to get it out. The person in charge here on the premises in which I live was not helpful at all and in fact very rude and unprofessional. However, I was able to remain calm and diplomatic regardless of her personal attacks and complete disrespect.

This morning my alarm did not go off and I woke up "late". Anyone that knows me, knows that late for me is still early. LOL I like to be everywhere early so I had no worries I still had plenty of time to get to work on time so there was no need to panic or rush. However, when I got on the freeway there was an accident less than three miles from my starting point on the freeway which had all lanes closed down and everyone going to the right shoulder. The result was that it took twice as long to travel that short distance than it typically took me to get to work! (I am not finished yet). I finally realized the need to call my boss whereas this is only my third week at a new job and I was already late the previous Friday due to the aforementioned fiasco. I would also like to mention that I was never late during my tenure at my previous employer which spanned over two years. I finally got to work, thankfully only about 20 minutes late. It was then that I realized I had left my cooler which had my breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner inside it.

My point to all this is that through both these mornings I chose  to continue to rejoice and praise God for the breath I breathe and the freedom I have both physically in this great nation and emotionally as a result of the work done on the cross. I would like to clarify that I do not write all of this to boast, but rather to share in the great joy I now have inside me.

I have never done this before, but if you are reading this and you would like to know more about my transformation, where I have come from, and where God is taking me feel free to contact me and I would love to talk. Now it may take some scheduling, but we can make it work. Anyway I leave you all with hope...hope that through all your trials and tribulations there is hope. I pray blessings over all who read this and I am grateful to have the few moments of your time you give. Thank you.

P.S. - An individual through all of the situation with my car advised me I need to get "rowdy" to get the money reimbursed for the towing of my vehicle. By this he provided uninvited examples of raising my voice while using profanity and threats. I think we all know (even if deep down inside) that this unhealthy response is no good for anyone and even if it got results ultimately is wrong.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I tried so hard...

So just over two years ago when I began attending my current church I would go in, mingle, worship, listen to the message, take notes, etc. Then I would leave and go about living just as the world lives. Then the conviction began, notice I said conviction and NOT condemnation.

At that point I began trying harder to stop doing the things that I knew were sinful behavior and and damaging myself and putting a wedge between myself and God. I kept failing so I tried harder! I might go a few days, then maybe weeks; but all in all I would still fail miserably. So I tried even HARDER! It was so frustrating. Whereas the distance between those times would increase it was so tiring to work so hard to "be good". Then one day...

Finally one day I surrendered. I gave over control. Not to say it was all instantaneous and I had no more failure, but it became less tiresome. I gave my heart to God. 

You see it is all an issue of the heart, nothing external. Some will disagree with me but is not about wearing slacks to church, or not wearing a hat in the presence of the Lord. Do not get me wrong we must show reverence to the Lord, but it is a condition of the heart. If you try to add anything or take anything away from the cross you corrupt the very essence of the gospel message.


If we give Him our heart then He will begin the work on our souls and our bodies. It will take time which is where God teaches us patience through waiting. "Waiting is an exercise of faith that demonstrates the condition of our hearts. Waiting on God is an act of faith."1 By resting in Him it becomes almost effortless. I would be lying if I said it is always easy and there is never any concern. We do after all live in a fallen world and we (even ourselves) are amongst nothing but sinners. However, if you never truly surrender your heart then you will never experience the joy and peace that I now do in life.

Care to join me?




Notes
1. Steve Farrar, God Built, (David Cook, 2008), 139
Additional Scripture References
Ephesians 2:8-9
2 Peter 1:3-11

Who I have become...

The title of this post is such a common phrase used in our society. Yet I believe that it is used out of context
most of the time. We (myself included) make that statement as though we have transformed into this new person and progressed beyond whatever bondage, oppression, and sin was previously in our lives. It implies that we ourselves have done something positive in our own effort to get past all the junk from our past and be a better person.

This is all wrong!

It should not be "who I have become" but rather "becoming who I am".

Although it is a process that we must go through it is more about us experiencing healing in our lives (physical, emotional, mental, etc.) that leads to the progressive sanctification of becoming who God intended us to be all along. The person He had in mind when he so carefully designed us down to every minute detail. It is truly about total surrender and submission to His will. 

We live in a fallen world. We make mistakes. Circumstances can wear on us. The weight of this fallen world can seem to hold us down. We become someone we are not designed to be. 

Now which will you proclaim from this day forward? 
"Look who I have become." (Pride)
or
"Look I am becoming who I am!" (Submission)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are you prepared for a harmonious future?

Have you truly let the past go? 

It is highly important that you be honest with yourself. If you are dragging dead weight from your past it will greatly hinder you from reaching what is ahead of you for this new year and the rest of your life. 

If you have issues with other people that are unresolved you need to take care of those immediately. I said immediately! Do not write yourself a note and consider doing it when you have time. Drop what you are doing (which at this time is reading my blog! HAHA I gotcha) and call or go see that individual and make things right. The scripture tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger in Ephesians 4:26. How many times has the sun set while you were still angry or had some unresolved issues with someone? 

Now if you say you passed that portion of the survey then let us move on to YOU! Have you forgiven yourself for your errors of the past? I mean have you really let it all go so that you can be who God designed you to be and use the gifts He has given you to impact those around you for the Kingdom!? You need to reconcile with God, because He reconciled with you 2010 years ago on a cross. What He did on that day was put all the issues (past, present, and future) behind you and He expects you to come to Him so you can face the future together. God's mercy and grace are new every morning as a result of  Jesus dying on the cross. Every morning when we awaken God declares us righteous, justified, and forgiven. It is as though we never sinned. Do you receive that?

.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Don't give up, be INTENTIONAL!

Do you have a Jericho in your life?

     Of course you do, we all do. The key to defeating your Jericho is to complete all seven laps! What would have happened if Joshua and the Israelites had not completed all seven laps around their Jericho? They would have not only failed to defeat the city, but would have been the laughing stock of the world at that time. I mean who would march around a city led by the band trying to defeat their enemy? However, since they chose to be obedient to the commands of God they have a story of victory that is known worldwide and has endured for centuries.

     With this new year upon us I challenge and encourage you to be diligent and intentional with all that you do. If you walk away with anything from any post I have ever written please let the following two points sink in.

  • Through radical obedience and patient endurance our actions show our faith and God will work miracles in our life. 
  • Be intentional about all you do. Intentional thoughts, intentional actions, even when you are speaking to another individual be intentional about speaking to their heart. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Anthropomorphic beings...

How many of you want to be representatives with human attributes and characteristics; or to be anthropomorphic? I would guess most of you would be content with that. Now let me ask you this...how many of you want to be representatives with Christlike attributes and characteristics? Whether you are a Christian or not, I believe most people still view Jesus as having been a good person and someone we could all aspire to be. 

The great news here is that once we come into agreement with the gospel and give over our lives to Him we are made new and can move beyond an anthropomorphic life. It is clearly stated in Galatians 5:24.

With that being said I do not want to sit here and tell you that once you accept Jesus as your personal Saviour that all your sinful thoughts just vanish like dust int he wind. Now in some cases that has happened, but more often than not you will continue to struggle. You may win the battle repeatedly for days, weeks, or months. However, temptation will be there. In fact the longer you lived in sin the longer it will take to reprogram your thoughts and actions. (Again there are exceptions to this, but I want to encourage those that struggle to not give up). 


For example, if you lived a life in the porn industry (or even as a stripper) for any extended period of time then not only did you allow toxic thoughts to enter your mind you committed physical actions that were toxic as well. The enemy will use those against you. 


Now we can use this time as we enter into a new year start fresh. Now I know that our God is eternal and so our calendar year is minuscule to Him, but it can still be a time when decide to surrender to Him and let all the past go. God does not want us looking back, we need to continually be moving forward. Throughout most aspects of life, things that are not growing are dying. So are you growing?