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?