Saturday, October 6, 2012

Getting up vs. rising up...

     Some of you know I was never truly a distance runner, but a couple years ago I was approached to train for and run a half-marathon to raise money for A21 and all proceeds we raised would go to fight human trafficking. After not only hearing of the atrocities involved with human trafficking and sex slaves throughout the world, but actually meeting girls who had been rescued from such a horrific life I was all in. Thus began months of difficult training. When I first began I went to the local high school to begin my training...it was humiliating. I honestly could not run a lap which in case you are unaware is a quarter-mile. Additionally, in case you are unaware a half-marathon is 13.1 miles! Clearly I had a lot of work ahead of me which would require diligence and patience. Fast forward a few months and I completed the half-marathon (albeit running ten miles and walking out the last three due to inadequate stretching of my IT band...lol) and we raised lots of money for A21 Campaign. It was awesome in many ways including I proved to myself through steadfast discipline and training what seemed impossible could become a reality.

     Upon completion of the race I would occasionally run shorter distances with friends whereas I had been bit by the running bug. However, I truly struggled to run alone. Then last Memorial day I was introduced to trail running by a friend out at Eagle Mountain Lake Park. It was just what I needed to have the motivation to run alone. Between the view of nature (i.e. - the lake, the deer, etc.) and having to keep a close eye on the ever changing topography it kept my mind occupied just enough to create an atmosphere of wholly enjoying my run! I was instantly hooked. I went out at least once a week, typically at sunrise, and ran the trails at the lake for the next four weeks. I felt so alive and week by week I would see my strength and endurance increasing. I had found my new favorite hobby.

     I then had to take a break for a couple weeks whereas I had youth camp and some other events which kept me from getting out to the lake to run. Then in the most unlikely way I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. I was unaware of the injury until five weeks later, the pain was significant enough that it grounded me from my new found passion of trail running. Up to that point I had failed to rest in ways which would allow my foot to properly heal. During this time I experienced a downward flow emotionally and physically I stopped going to the gym (in addition to not running) and honestly I was not eating in my typical healthy ways.

    During the next couple of months I would put on between ten and fifteen pounds of unhealthy weight and begin to feel tired and sluggish as a result of my now not so healthy eating habits. A couple weeks ago I realized it was time to make a change before I sunk any deeper. Two weeks ago today I went on my first run in almost three months. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not running much slower than my previous pace. Since that day I have run three other times with my pace increasing every run. Then this morning as I was greeted with a beautiful 52 degree temperature and a slight drizzle I decided to go back to the lake and once again attempt the magnificent trail running experience. When I completed my run, which was just shy of three miles, I realized I had run my fastest time in trail running yet. As I marveled as how this could be God spoke to me and asked, "Are you really surprised?" The following dialogue between God and I led to an amazing realization that when we are within His will He will surprise us! Now let us get to the meat of this post.

     So last year I stumbled and I posted a blog about it. My heart during this season had suffered from a stress fracture. Well, the time immediately following that was not easy and I struggled immensely in many ways. I got up and brushed myself off. The problem was I never eliminated that which contributed to my fall and that which was a primary distraction from my relationship with God. So just as I had with my foot I was not eliminating what was needed for my heart to heal. I also never started to run the race set before me; I was walking, limping, resting all along the way and continuing in life with the very thing that had caused the fracture. I had heard God speak to me more than once about the situation and how I needed to sever that which had worked its way in between He and I. I am still not sure why I kept allowing my emotions to convince me I was not clearly understanding Daddy and what He was telling me. I just know I allowed my soul to take leadership of my actions in this particular area of my life rather than my Spirit.

     Thankfully God is faithful and He continued to reveal things to me and to others which brought about circumstances which kept gradually squeezing this situation out of my life regardless of my death grip I had on it. Well, I can gladly say that over the last few weeks I has risen up and within the last few days I finally began running with all my might to wards the finish line! Some crazy occurrences over the last few weeks have also strengthened my faith exponentially and I have also had some incredibly, amazing individuals brought into my life in the last few weeks. God showed me this morning through my run and my pace that my Spiritual race is the same. Now that I am back within alignment with His will, He will not only put me back where I was, but thanks to His grace and mercy He has increased my strength and endurance as a result of my faith.

     I am reposting the video (this time with sound) for all to see and I hope it encourages you.




Friday, September 28, 2012

My big day in court...

     Why am I so stubborn?

     I approached the witness stand and began to tell my side of the story. The more I talk the more you would think I was the defendant rather than a witness. The trial went on for a lengthy time, so long in fact we eventually took recess for a lunch break. Upon return from lunch I got back on the witness stand where the attorney (whom I like to call the accuser) continued to barrage me with accusations. I continued to defend myself...how did this happen where I was converted from a witness to the defendant?

     It was a long and emotional day as one can imagine. Then to top things off at the end of the day the judge stated he was overruling everything I had said because he objected! WHAT! Are you kidding me?

     I am sure you can all relate with how frustrated I must have felt. Asking myself why I even had to spend an entire day at court. Feeling as though I had wasted an entire day of my life. Perhaps we all just need a shift of perspective...

     This big day in court is actually everyday of my life. The difference is how I spend each day. Will I spend my day defending myself from the accusations of the enemy or will I use my platform to stand and be a witness and a good representative of Jesus to those within my circle of influence.

     I once would have been the defendant, but Jesus (the mighty son of God) came to earth in human form and then sacrificed himself to pay the penalty of all my sin. As a result of this I am now made a witness. I should be bold and stand with confidence at the witness stand giving my testimony of how the blood of the Lamb of God rescued me from a miserable existence. With that comes a huge responsibility in that we must remain honest and transparent. We should not stand up there speaking at others about how they need to be and the behavior changes that need to be made in their lives. Instead we should humbly tell them of our own struggles and falls and especially our victories over areas of bondage in our lives, explaining to them that there is plenty of room at the foot of the cross for them as well. We also need to be confident and not even acknowledge the lies coming from the accuser and be sure to show others by example and teaching them the truth. God is the judge in the courtroom and he states "objection...overruled" to us when we try to defend ourselves from the lies of the enemy because He already paid the price.

     So tell me, are you going to remain in the place with a victim mentality as the defendant or are you going to submit and receive God's grace and mercy and step up to the witness stand and have a positive impact within your circle of influence?
















       

   

   

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I killed a man...

DISOBEDIENCE! I seem to be in a season of struggling with this.

Why!? Why!?

     I know the consequences hurt not only myself but, my Spiritual walk and the Spiritual walk of others as well There is no sin that does not effect other individuals...especially murder.

     Now before you grab your phone to call the police to report me...there is no need. The ultimate judge...the one whom I murdered already knows. All sin is a result of disobedience and disobedience is what killed our King. He said it h\Himself.

19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?" 

     Knowing this; one would think I would stop doing the very thing that caused my Lord's beard to be ripped out of His face. The shards of bone, clay, cacti settling deep within the flesh of His back only to be ripped out with brutal force. Need I go on? He suffered a brutal death and He did it all for the mistakes and errors I seem to continuously make.

     I realize this is a part of everyone's walk in this life. It still sucks when I make the same mistakes time and time again. Obedience should be simple.

     I will close this post with a request for prayer that I gain more strength, courage, and boldness to be obedient so I can hasten my time through this season of life. This season has caused my heart much pain and I yearn for it to end.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ephemeral purity...

     Are you an individual who goes to a Joyce Meyer conference, your church's annual men's or women's conference, or a retreat of some kind and get all fired up for Jesus? You walk out ready to be the light you are called to be in this world of darkness? How long does that zeal last?
     Carrying the light of life it an absolute honor! We should be proud about being given the opportunity to be a witness to others. I know there was a time in my life when I believed I needed to preach the gospel to everyone around me and live this perfect, righteous life! Well, that is exactly how we may just push others further away from being a follower of Christ. Others then see us only as judgmental hypocrites. When we behave in these ways we cannot expect to be commiserated by others when they see us mess up. We are commanded only to love others; when we do this in a Godly way then our actions alone do all the preaching anyone needs.
     What really matters...actually the only thing that matters is the condition of our hearts. We can externally play the part all day long. Going to church, serving the community, "loving" others...but, what is going on in your heart?
     Jesus told us that by simply by believing in Him, out of our hearts "...will flow rivers of living water...". Jesus said this so it is truth. If Jesus is the source then we know it brings forth pure, life giving water. However, have you thought about what happens when it goes through our hearts? For example, imagine a fountain you create in your back yard that flows down a hill to a pond. Although the water may be fresh and clean coming from the source, if there is trash and garbage in its path to the pond then the water will be contaminated when it reaches the pond. The result will be a dingy, stinky pool of filth that wold deter anyone from wanting to be around the pond much less partake of any fun involving the water within.
    So let me ask you this. What does the river of living waters look like to others once it has been filtered through your heart?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fugacious behavioral goodness...

     So I was having a conversation when I heard, "Well, I would not do that if my pastor was around.". Which I interpreted as they would do this action once they were outside the presence of their pastor. When they were in a place that their actions could not be seen.

     By no means have I perfected my thoughts, actions, behaviors, character, etc. But, it saddens to me to know they forgot about the omnipresence of our High Priest.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Walk it out...

    Recently I spent an entire month reading 1 John 1 through 3 John 1:15 every day. I also now put the books/chapters I am reading each month on my iPod and have them play on repeat while I sleep. In typical Jeremy fashion, I digress...

     Some of my favorite verses out of those three books are 1 John 1:5-7. Oftentimes I think we read through the bible just as you do the newspaper or a magazine article. The thing is all scripture is God breathed and is living! So what do these verses mean?

     I believe they are talking about our lives when no one else is looking. Or the way we live with our circle of friends when not in public view. If you live differently at these times you are walking in darkness; hiding from the light. This is why it is so important for us to be careful of who we spend majority of our time with. Am I saying we should only hang around other Christians all the time? Absolutely not. It is the great commission to go out and spread the gospel and love others. However, you do have to be conscience of the time spent and how it is affecting us. Are we affecting them or are they infecting us?

     If you have been walking in darkness the great news is confession and repentance is all you have to do to turn it all around and begin walking in the light.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The validity of honesty...

     The truth is so important in all aspects of our lives. This is even illustrated when Paul writes about the belt of truth. What many people do not know is it is believed that Paul was chained to a Roman soldier when writing the book of Ephesians. As God the Holy Spirit spoke to him, he has the parallels from the physical realm right in front of his face to bring the Spiritual words to life and make them applicable. For those of you who do not know; the belt was one of the most important pieces of a soldiers uniform. Not only was it used to fasten and secure the breastplate into place; it also allowed a place for the sheath to fasten so the sword could be stored and not be constantly carried. Even more importantly than the analogy used by Paul; Jesus Himself spoke of the power of truth


     Below are a couple quotes I came across in the last few days that also speak of truth. 


"We need to be honest with others about what's going on inside us." Joyce Meyer
"If the truth will set you free, lies will entangle you. Don't tell them. Don't run with people who do." -- Donald Miller


     If you get close to someone and you see them lie to their family, friends, and whomever else; then why are we surprised when we discover they have been lying to us? Lying is not only presenting a false impression by not telling the truth. Omission of important facts can also be lies. Oftentimes tactics used to manipulate others also play a part into lies. I do not think we realize the detriment involved with lying, or if we do we eventually forget. We need to find honest individuals of integrity to live life with. Lies, when discovered, then lead to unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, etc. There is so much negative that can be birthed from even the smallest lie.  Fortunately, I lying is not a sin a really struggle with...of course I have the ones I do! I pray "Lord, help me to forgive those who sin differently than me.". (That was a tweet from Pastor Larry Brown that has stuck with me since the day he sent it out to the twitterverse)


     Another aspect of telling lies is we can drag those around us into our own storm. For example, look at Jonah when he was running from God


     I would also like to add this...I think when we go into a stormy season it is typically our first reaction to think we are being attacked by the enemy. I wonder how many of those stormy seasons are simply God trying to get our attention!? I know just recently I had two major setbacks in my life, both in less than one weeks time. Up until last night I had believed it was the enemy trying to steal, kill, and destroy my purpose for the Kingdom when I now realize it was God trying to get my attention.


     Well, I hope you followed this post. I realize there were a couple of rabbit trails HAHA

Heterogeneous to homogeneous...

     So I was born into sin...so were you. We began life as heterogeneous beings, we were lost. Then Jesus came to this earth in the most vulnerable way possible...as a baby. Humbling to me...if you really think about that rather than just reading it as a story a book. The fear Mary must have had in telling her fiance, her parents, her friends when she was pregnant. It was even less accepted then, than it is today. The worry or doubt when she was going into labor and there were no rooms available. Those are only two instances of more than nine full months of Mary's young life. ...and who knows, maybe God gave her immeasurable peace through it all I just know Mary was human just like you and I. Regardless, the work Jesus did here on earth and more importantly on the cross, allows us to become homogeneous beings!
"We open the Spiritual womb of God when we give our hearts to Him and then we are born again." - Pastor Geoffrey Cohen
     This is the beginning of the progressive sanctification process. We are all messed up, but as we continue our journey in running to God we become less and less messed up as we go. Yet we will make mistakes along the way, some bigger than others. The great news is our God is...well...He is God. His grace and mercy are never ending. The sacrosanct love of our God is beyond what or physical minds can comprehend. For this I am grateful. We tend to humanize God but He is bigger than that.

     Look at Jonah...he really messed up by wholeheartedly running from God and His commandment. Jonah had a specific calling and he literally ran the opposite direction. Yet God did not remove the anointing on Jonah's life. Look in Jonah 3:1, the word of the Lord came to Jonah again. This time he obeyed the Lord God and look at Jonah 3:5-10. We see a revival in an entire city.

     Just know as a homogeneous being you can pick yourself up and get back in the game. This was but a major paraphrase of an amazing message I heard this evening; which you can hear in a couple of days once posted online here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wounded Warrior...

     So I had been believing lies of the enemy for several weeks...maybe months. I felt as though I had digressed Spiritually and was "starting over". LIES LIES I tell you. Do not believe this (as I did) regardless of what you have done. I am created in His image and I am still the same warrior for Christ I was when I was peaking in my Spiritual journey last year!

     If a soldier goes through all the training and becomes elite to the point of being Delta Force he is an intricately trained warrior. Now, when out in battle if he makes a mistake and gets injured he is no less the trained killer he was prior to the incident. He may have a limp, soreness, etc. However, he is still an elite soldier trained and knowledgeable in the ways of war.

     The same goes for us. Confess, repent, and get back into the battle. The longer we wallow in the error of our ways from the past the longer we give then enemy victory. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy our purpose for God. Satan wants nothing more than for us to lie injured and helpless. The truth of the matter is the victory was won on the cross and nothing the enemy can do can hold us down. I am back on my journey and it feels great. I am also digging in to become even further equipped. I feel better physically and Spiritually than I have since last September or October.

    So just know this. It is OK to be a wounded warrior and it does not make you any less valuable. In fact Jesus took more wounds than anyone to ever walk this earth and He is still fighting the battle. I do not know about you, but my mission in life is to grow to be more like Him every chance I get so I will press on into the battle.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Manhood 101...

     So last Thursday kicked off the Alpha Summit 2012 at Gateway Church. To me, personally, this is more than just an annual conference. I was raised in the church and was on fire as a youth. I went to Peru doing missions and was all about sharing the gospel message and introducing others to Christ our Lord. Then as much a cliché as it is; I went wayward as the prodigal son had centuries before me. However, it was on May 15, 2009 (during the first Alpha Summit conference) when Pastor Robert Morris spoke, that I surrendered my life to the Lord. I decided that evening to stop smoking, stop living out actions of sexual immorality, surrender my pride, and die to self. It was the most important evening of the last fifteen years of my life. I have grown much since then and fallen at times as well.

     In the last couple weeks I have picked myself up and brushed myself of and I am on the journey once again. Then came Alpha Summit. An anniversary or birthday even of the day I surrendered my life back to my creator (even though it was moved up to February I still count it). I have been crying out to God and in the last two to three weeks He has been bringing Godly men into my life...a band of brothers to walk with me. I previously had several guys I was open, honest, and fully transparent with and we were walking life out together. Then one was called by God to move to Colorado, another to go to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, others were simply a case of scheduling conflicts whereas we all have busy lives between work, ministry, etc. Regardless, I was wondering through life without that close knit support group I once had. I was not replacing these men of God with others as life and change occurred. This is yet another reason why I was so looking forward to this conference whereas I was in need of being filled up; I was tired of running on empty.

     Thursday night of the conference Tim Ross kicked things off and went straight in Psalm 101; which I will now forevermore call The Guide to Manhood 101. Just as Tim stated, these eight verses in Psalm 101 are very concise in how we can live lives of integrity and be mighty men of God. I would encourage you to read this chapter and study it in depth. Meditate on it yourself and see what God tells you about it all. There are many points in this chapter and I am sure they will mean different things to different men and different things at different seasons in our lives. A few points that stood out to me at this point in my life are as follows:


  • Continuously praise our God for who He is and His love for us. (Praise & Worship) 
  • Behave the same at home or when no one is looking as you do at church, work, etc. (Integrity)
  • Protect the windows to your soul and what enters. (Entertainment, conversations, etc.)
  • Eliminate unhealthy relationships whether emotionally, Spiritually, etc. (Guard your heart)
  • Surround yourself with other of integrity and greatness. (Birds of a feather)
     Those are just a few points that stood out to me. Again I encourage read, study, meditate on this chapter and see what God speaks to you. If you instill the points in this chapter to your life it will lead to good fruit in all areas. God's ways work. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gregarious errors...

     So yesterday after church I checked my phone to discover a text from a friend who was very near and asked to meet for coffee. I called and we worked out the details to meet at a nearby Starbucks. It was a great time of fellowship and I got to meet someone new as well! However, this time of fellowship was gregarious victory and not an error, so on to the point.

     As we were walking out there was a woman standing outside her vehicle with arms full of several coffee travelers and pastries. She said, "I could use a good deed about now!" I responded by running over to assist her by first getting the door, except it was locked. I took a coffee traveler from her so she could get to her keys. She proceeded to unlock her vehicle and I opened the door. At that moment a woman came out of Starbucks saying, "That is my car! That is my car!" I turned thinking it was a friend of the woman I was assisting and she just could not see her friend. But, again she said "That is my car!" growing a bit disgruntled. In that moment the woman I was assisting realized we were in fact at the wrong vehicle. We both apologized and walked over to the correct vehicle. I helped her get everything in and then she went on her way. I then went and said my goodbyes to my friend and my new friend.

     As I walked back to my car I was asking God what that whole occurrence was about. I am trying to be better about listening to God lately. I know every moment of every day God can speak to us through every circumstance if we only listen. I was praying in the Spirit and asking God, but I was getting nothing. I just let it go whereas I know God deposits a lot of what He wants us to absorb while we are sleeping. He will seal up things He has previously deposited in our hearts. That is why sometimes when we are speaking to someone and we begin ministering we say things and do not know where they came from! The Spirit sealed those things in our heart, oftentimes while we were sleeping. OK OK as a common occurrence in my posts I digress...

     Last night as I drove home God began to speak to me about the previous situation. He pointed out how throughout a Spiritual journeys in life there will come times when we stop to enjoy where we are and reap the benefits from a place of rest. God places people in our lives intentionally and it is our job to steward those relationships in Godly ways. However, we cannot jump ship from our journey and jump in theirs. We are all at different places in our journeys. Sometimes when we stop for rest we get into the vehicle of one the other individuals. In other words we hastily put all of our hearts into the relationship with that individual regardless of what level it is. The problem being they may have a different route, be traveling at a different speed, have more or less stops along the way, or any other difference in their journey that will greatly impact our own. I am not saying you cannot be in relationship with these individuals, just do not hop in their vehicle and leave yours behind. In time as you build upon the relationship with that person, you may merge onto the same freeway and your journeys be aligned.

     I recently jumped into the vehicle of someone God brought into my life. Hastily I might add. I then progressed to act in ways which were not Godly. As a result the relationship disintegrated, whereas disobedience always leads to consequences. More than the loss of a good friend I am more concerned with the poor witness I presented as a result of my actions (or lack thereof). I struggled tremendously with guilt of how I could have hurt the relationship this individual has with our heavenly father. I have since released it to God whereas He is the only one ultimately controlling it all. I pray daily for this individual in hopes they press into God and not allow my poor stewardship of our friendship to push them away from Him.

     The great news is as I have been running to Him the last few weeks. As a result He has covered me with His love. Whereas one person is pushing me out of their life, God has rekindled an old relationship with some individuals I have missed tremendously the last few months. He has also brought some new individuals into my life the last few weeks. He has also blessed me with not just one, but three Godly mentors. Godly mentors are something I have been lacking for a long time. The best part of it all is every one of these people speaks life into me and exhorts me. Anytime I leave from spending time with them, get off the phone, or even read a text I received from them I feel so encouraged.

     I am on foot right now walking back to where I got out of my vehicle, but the point is what God is showing me along the way. More importantly, I am heading in the right direction. Our God is so great that He never leaves our side, even when we do things outside His will. (Psalm 139:7-10) This was yet another valuable lesson I have learned. Due to the consequences I have suffered I hope to never repeat this error again. We should move beyond basics and progress to maturity. (Hebrews 6:1) I allowed my sociable personality to lead me rather than God and I then allowed my emotions to have more control than necessary. I am grateful for God's grace though.

     I do not know if any of this makes sense, but I feel better having written about it HAHA

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The apathetic cultivation of wisdom...

     I believe at times (well I know for me anyways) we gain wisdom from experience yet we fail to apply that wisdom to our lives. This results in us making the same mistakes or going down the same roads we have gone down time and time again. Even if it is a road we must frequent we should learn the road and be able to avoid the ditches or any other form of an accident. God speaks to me often through regular physical things on this earth. He created the world so does it not make sense that there are specific parallels with this physical realm and the Spiritual?

     Saturday evening I went with a friend to get food and when we got back to the house we realized the order was incorrect. I drove back to the establishment to right the wrong. During this drive I was having a conversation with Jesus when He began to speak to me about being a doer (James 1:23). Through my life I have experienced many things and learned tons of valuable lessons. However for decades I would repeatedly make the same mistakes. The difference now is I have more wisdom; heavenly wisdom. Wisdom from the Father. This wisdom comes from the Word and acts as a light (Psalm 119:105). So whereas I would stumble in the past I no longer have a reason stumble over the same obstructions that held me in bondage for so many years. I have a light and whereas I live in a world of darkness I no longer blindly walk through the darkness. I have been given a lamp and a gift so I too can be a light.

     As I was driving (and as you can see above) the light only extends so far in front of me. Now I have been down this road several times so there is some familiarity with it. In this case the familiarity symbolizes wisdom. So I apply that wisdom which allows me to more boldly drive this road and not be concerned or fearful of what lies ahead. If I were on a dark, country road for the first time I would be more cautious whereas I am unsure of where the hills and turns are. So we should be more cautious (but not fearful) when we are venturing into a new season. During this time we should use discernment and always keep an open line of communication with God so as to do His will. I like the symbolism God spoke to me as well of how the light only shines so far. Beyond the light is darkness which allows us to practice faith in that we have no idea what lies beyond. Now what would happen if we simply drove recklessly down these roads even though we have been down them before? Speeding around turns and over blind hills. That would be the opposite of applying our wisdom which is what I believe many of us do in life.

     So how are you applying wisdom to life and the paths you walk down? Are you tripping over the same stones as before or do you use the light and step over them? Are you consistently reading the Word which will strengthen your light?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The lover of my soul...

     So the last couple weeks had been difficult for me. I felt a lot of pain and heartache. But God is faithful! This weekend during worship at church God was speaking so clearly to me. Luckily I could hear Him over the sobbing LOL I am grateful for how loud it is whereas I was literally on my face crying out to God. In that moment I felt like David in some of the Psalms when he is so over it all he simply screams out for God. Then a surprising event occurred when the message from Pastor Jimmy Evans was on David. Aside from that subtle confirmation God reiterated some things He had been trying to get me to hear for a couple weeks. First, he reaffirmed His faithfulness. He was telling me to let go of things and trust in Him. He reminded me that I never walk alone and He is always with me. It was comforting. In that moment I could feel the hand of God reaching deep down into my soul and pulling the roots out. It was painful (as it always is) but I know the end result is freedom I have never known. Those areas are still sore and easily hurt just as with any fresh wound, but the healing process is something I am excited about.

     Another message the Lord has been repeating to me over the last two weeks is "I AM the lover of your soul." This amazes me! In the world it is not difficult to find an individual that loves your Spirit whereas our Spirits are beautiful things once Jesus Christ renews them! It is even an easy task to find someone in the world to love our body. But, to find someone that loves my soul...
You do not know what is in this soul. It is much cleaner than it was three years ago; even one year ago for that matter, but there is some disgusting things in this soul of mine. The fact that He loves my soul is so incredible to me. This same soul that in the past lead others astray, this same soul that continues to this day to hurt others (albeit unintentionally). He is the lover of my soul! He has communicated this to me through four or five different songs; some of them I have heard several times before and never even realized that statement was contained within the lyrics. It has been in messages being preached when I turned on the radio driving to work. I think He was truly wanting me to get the point...and I have.

     Then today I had three different friends (none of which know one another) reach out to me simply to give me encouraging words and see how I am doing. All of them acting out of obedience from the Lord putting me on their heart. Then even as I was leaving the gym today an acquaintance of mine came in and spoke even more life into to me.

     Well, that is all I have for you this time around. Hope I did not bore you, I just felt the need to share these things. God bless anyone reading this and may you feel the peace and love of our heavenly Father.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sanatory movements...

     The removal of weeds within my soul is a painful thing, but ever so worth the freedom it brings and the healing that follows. Progressive sanctification is such a beautiful thing. There are many different ways people reference this work of the Lord. The "peeling of layers like an onion" and "softening the heart and removing scar tissue" to name a couple; in this case I am using the analogy of removing weeds from our lives. Just as in the physical realm when you takeover a rental property that was not maintained you will not eliminate all weeds in one attempt without further damaging the lawn. My soul was full of overgrown weeds and other garbage because rather than stewarding my body, soul, and Spirit as a gift I treated them all more like a rental property for a number of years. In the same way God will not remove every weed in our life at once whereas we would likely not survive such an action from such a glorious being. He will remove some weeds from our souls and then allow time for healing and further growth in our relationship with Him.

      However, there are ways in which we can assist in the process. Have you ever been out in the yard and the weeds kept breaking at the root? What was your plan? I believe it would be safe for me to assume you planned to water your lawn once or twice daily. Then you can see if the moist soil will release the weed, root and all. 


     Spiritually there are ways we can keep the soil of our souls moist. Praise, worship, reading the Word, and prayer. These can all combine to create an atmosphere full of "Spiritual rain". 


     Then through relationships (work related, dating/marriage, family, etc.) things will occur which will evoke emotions and draw up insecurities from our past. At that time we should get away from everything and ask God what is causing these feelings/emotions. Be diligent in this time and wait for God to show you the root cause.  I have had God bring memories back to me that had long been forgotten and realize they have caused  decades of pain which I had (potentially) passed on to others out of my responses to situations. Just like the now famous quote "Free people free people, but hurt people hurt people". Once we acknowledge the root cause we can then ask God what lie we believed and ask Him for the truth. During this process He will wrap His loving hand around that weed and pull it out. Once it has been removed simply pray to God to fill that void with His Spirit and begin the healing process. Obviously this is a short overview of the process and it will differ for everyone whereas God loves you and knows you so well He will handle this process the best way for you. But, it is not complicated. At times, God will do an amazing work in the most calm, peaceful ways. There are a lot of resources out there for this; feel free to contact me if you are interested in some of my recommendations. 


     Below is a poem I enjoyed reading I found in a book which belonged to my grandmother who passed last year. I hope you enjoy it. 




Prayers Can't Be Answered Unless They Are Prayed

Life without purpose
          is barren indeed –
There can't be a harvest
          unless you plant a seed,
There can't be attainment
          unless there's a goal,
And man's but a robot
          unless there's a soul...
If we send no ships out
          no ships will come in,
And unless there's a contest
          nobody can win...
For games can't be won
          unless they are played,
And Prayers can't be answered
          unless they are prayed…
So whatever is wrong
          with your life today,
You'll find a solution
          if you kneel down and pray
Not just for pleasure         
          enjoyment and health,
Not just for honors
          and prestige and wealth...
But Pray for a Purpose
          to make life worth living,
And Pray for the Joy
          of unselfish giving,
For Great is your Gladness
          and Rich your Reward
When you make your Life's Purpose
          the choice of the Lord. 

                   - Helen Steiner Rice 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sayhear...

what I say is not what you hear
at times my words have brought you tears
it pains me deeply to know I caused
anything resulting in loss

what I say is not what you hear
tearing you down is what I fear
I only wish to build you up
positively filling your emotional cup

what I say is not what you hear
my intentions are exhortation and cheer
oftentimes it comes out all wrong
I wish I spoke as a beautiful song

what I say is not what you hear
I promise you I truly care
only God can translate my part
allowing you to see my heart

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Occluded heart and vaccilation...

     Last night at VII Pastor Stephen spoke on deceit. A powerful message...

     I would like to think of myself as a man of integrity and actually would pride myself on my integrity. However, as you can likely tell from my recent posts I have struggled with some sin over the last few months. I rationalized my blogging about my struggles as my "confession". The thing was I was being disobedient whereas I clearly heard God telling me to go to pastoral leadership to confess these things. I had avoided it by going to other leaders in the church. Well today I finally did it! I actually confessed it all to two pastors and last night to other leadership in the church and I have to tell you James 5:16 is in full effect. I am hundreds of pounds lighter. In fact just two hours before I began writing this someone at church came up and said, "you look great!". He then went on to tell me he could tell something was not right in my heart and I was struggling the last time he saw me. I realize I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but it was obviously quite apparent even to someone from a distance.
Anyway I went off on a rabbit trail there...this is not about me. This post is meant to hopefully speak to someone reading it.

     Holding in those things which block your heart is a form of deceit. God knows all we do so to not confess those things to others will cause several things to occur. A few of those were covered in last nights message. (Which should be available for viewing and/or listening in a few days via the website or iTunes)

  1. Deceit conceals the heart
  2. Deceit Chokes Spiritual Growth
  3. Deceit Corrupts Relationships
     I can assure you I was experiencing all of these every day. I woke up for several weeks and it lead to a constant vexation that was rapidly growing as a malignant cancerous growth. I had heart disease...and occluded heart...and it hurt. It was affecting every area of my life: work, relationships. ministry, church, sleep, etc. My Spiritual Growth too was being choked, I had a feeling I am sure we have all experienced. Feeling I was in a rut and could not claw my way out of no matter how much effort I put into it. I was only wearing myself down and growing weary. I also, sadly, experienced major corruption of relationships...especially with someone I care for deeply. I do not even know if the relationship is even reparable at this point and this person is an amazing friend (if that was not lost). I can only pray God heal any damage I have caused that individual. 

     Now I choose to end this post on a good note. After some ministry last night after VII and my time with pastoral staff today I have loosed myself from the bondage that has held me so tightly for weeks (maybe months). The restoration process is in full effect and I can move forward with confidence and focus on what I can do from day to day to submit and be a vessel to further the Kingdom. 

     My wish for anyone reading this is that you too will find a good Godly individual you can talk to about anything and not be judged. A friend whose hands are free of stones and their heart is full of love...true love as reflected below. This will keep the enemy from quenching your dreams and hindering you from your destiny!


1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;t6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ad infinitum...

      Many decisions we make have an eternal impact upon our lives and the lives of our children (our legacy) whether good or bad.





     Making a decision is a cognitive process which results in a choice.  Progression in life (maturity and growth) is directly correlated with our daily choices. Our choices also control our attitudes which impacts our behaviors. Our choices also impact those in our lives. I have just gone through a season of making poor choices. Falling victim to temptation in areas I had previously conquered. Self condemnation is an easy thing to fall victim of after these setbacks, as well as guilt of how we affected others as a result of our sin. I myself was falling into both pits when God, through friends of mine, reminded me of His loving grace.

     I have a wretched past full of addiction (both sexual and drugs) I would not even say I struggled with it. Because for years I was intentionally and habitually partaking in these activities on a daily basis. Thank the Lord for grace and mercy and His blood which can wipe that all clean in one moment. The most difficult part of it all is accepting the forgiveness and leaving the past behind us. The whole point of the cross is that when we approach the altar, confess, and pray we are to leave what we released to him at the altar. Do not walk away continuing to hold on to it. He came to earth in the most vulnerable scenario, as a child to allow us eternal freedom.

     Aside from my desire to please God my greatest motivation to make good choices is my son Andrew. Being that the choices I make have the eternal impact on my legacy I want to make the right choices and in doing so build a house of greatness to leave behind for him. Whereas I would love to leave behind nice things I am speaking more in the Spiritual realm. I want to build a house whose foundation is strong. Something he can be proud of. One that encourages him to be a great brother, son, husband, friend, employee, etc. Although I have failed in the past I have today, tomorrow, and the next day to make the correct choices. In doing so I hope and pray he does not make all the bad choices I have made in life. 

     Everyday is a new opportunity for correct choices. So I do not know what your thoughts on the subject are, but I would prefer to not repeat the same mistakes over and over again (although I have more times than I would like to mention).
     I digress...
The point is that every moment of every day and especially every new day you can awaken and make the choice to make better choices.   

 

     Now what choices will you make?

     Ad infinitum...



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Blogoversary

     What does that even mean? Well, it means that four years ago on this day I wrote my first blog posting ever. Going back and reading that last night was interesting to say the least.

     I referenced my time in middle school and high school as "...some of the best years of my life." and my move to California "...was the best move I had made...", and even my time in Virginia had its postives whereas I "...minimized smoking, drinking, and eating out.".

     Reading that was highly  encouraging. Realizing how far I have come. I was far from living a healthy lifestyle at that time period of my life physically, emotionally, psychologically, or Spiritually. At that time I was scared, confused, and alone. It was before I discovered Andrew, the greatest gift God has ever given me. A time when I knew little of how to be a good friend, son, brother, father, boyfriend, etc. (Which by the way is an area I still have a long way to go in)

     The funny thing about coming across my own blog post from four years ago is that here I thought I was in a "rough" season...and in a sense I am. However, reflecting back I realize just how far I have come in all areas my life since then. My response back then would have been to drink; I drank at least a bottle of Patron every weekend (usually more). I would smoke cigarettes to reduce my stress; HAHAHA how ironic being they load you with toxins which stress the body, I would go out and have sex; with someone I knew or go to a bar to find a stranger; I would do drugs; attempting to numb the pain. Regardless I now see the growth.

     Now I pray, praise, worship, read the Word, call friends to discuss my problems, go seek counsel from one wiser than myself, go to the gym, run...just to name a few. Of course I stumble here and there. I do not want to make myself sound all righteous. Just interesting to see where God has brought me over the last four years. It actually stirs my faith and gets me excited for what 2012 (and beyond) will bring.

     So sorry to disappoint I guess this post was more for me than anyone else on this four year Blogoversary of mine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hearsay...

what I hear is not what you say
my insecurities get in the way
past experiences created a lens
my interpretation makes no sense

what I hear is not what you say
due to my actions I now must pay
wishing I could turn back time
to when my presence brought sublime

what I hear is not what you say
from your mouth to my ears is a fray
seeking wisdom in His word
is the only cure I can afford

what I hear is not what you say
but with listening ears that all can change
God has changed me much you see
even more to come when I die to me

Monday, January 23, 2012

Awareness...

I humbly come before you Lord
as a piece of dirt
which you made into something beautiful
that which I aspire to become
sin places a wedge
your son
the cross
separation removed
sin...
again...
why oh God is it so hard
my failure causes damage
my cuts and bruises will heal
but first heal those I hurt before

Poetry?!?!

Anyone that knows me or even does not know me, but has followed my blog knows I am not a poet...However, it is beginning to flow and whether you think it is good or not matters not to me. Flow it will.

In fact I love the following quote from Michael Gungor in a recent blog post.

"Your art is worth making even if the industry [world] around you isn’t quite ready for it yet. Make it and let them catch up with you. Your art is sacred. Be honest. Be brave. And don’t let the markets or the industry [or the world] be the final filter on your art, let your heart do that."
So I may have one poem or it may continue for weeks, months, even years. Just know that in this season it is beginning to flow and I do not know where it comes from.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Heart ache...

heart and ache two words
should never be a pair
who can know why

Betrayal....

You know that moment you discover you have been lied to? Betrayed?
Hurts doesn't it?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Incarceration... (Part two) -- PARADIGM SHIFT




     If you read yesterdays post (Incarceration... (Part One)) then the photo above may look familiar to you only with a different perspective. A broader view of the events. Yesterday showed a young boy looking down as though he were possibly sad, scared, even disappointed. Honestly, it was how I had oftentimes felt the last few weeks until yesterday afternoon/evening. I felt trapped in a cage as though my Spiritual and emotional growth had been put on pause. Realistically I do not have "prison bars" around me; rather I have a hedge of protection.

     You see I took these photos a little over a year ago when I was out in California to visit my son Andrew.  I sat watching this father and his son for over a half hour. The young boy would shout out, "Daddy! Get more sticks daddy. Make it better!". Honestly I was in tears majority of the time wishing, hoping, dreaming it could have been me and my son. But I digress...

     How often do we pray for protection or favor? Crying out to God, "Daddy! Keep me safe and secure, make it bigger and stronger!". Then when God provides just that as our heavenly Father when it does not look like we though it would we begin to change our thoughts.We view the situation and focus on what we do not have or what we cannot do. Why is this? How do I so easily forget?

     Just as this photo exhibits a father carefully watching over his son after having built a fort upon his son's request; so does our great God do the same for us. So next time you begin to feel life is crashing down around you try to focus on the good. Step back and look at the big picture.









Recommended reading

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Incarceration... (Part one)



     Have you reached a point where you feel you have finally reached true freedom and healing from past hurts and heartache? You feel healthy to the point you can move forward in life carrying love, joy, strength, and courage...spreading it to all within your circle of influence. I was there. Then God moved me into a new season, brought new people into my life, and led to other relationships ending or becoming less prevalent. Through all this new insecurities are surfaced. The hurt...the pain leads me right back into responding in ways which are unloving. My feelings get hurt and I do not know exactly where it comes from. The worst part is the people witnessing my actions or being involved in them truly had absolutely nothing to do with these insecurities thus unjustly being affected by them. While awaiting the pain and time of this surgery removing the roots of my issues I feel as though I am incarcerated.

     Maybe, just maybe it is where I need to be right now...

     Either way I pray for deliverance ad the song below exhibits my prayer during this time. 


This is occasionally an acerbic journey...


     This life can be so difficult at times. You can be having an incredible day and then one phone call, event, occurrence, etc. can change it all. I try so hard at times to be better and I feel that over the last four months I continue to falter in so many areas. Up until the last week or two I have felt I was regressing in my Spiritual journey. When all in all I believe the truth is I was trying to head in a direction ahead of God's timing. I believe it is a "future through street". Is it frustrating, difficult, even painful? Absolutely. 

     If you are one of the two or three people that actually read my blog; please be praying for me to have the strength to glorify Him in all I do and say. I am scratching and clawing to get back to the Spiritual heights I have reached over the last couple years. And honestly I am probably being hard on myself. Maybe I simply need to forgive myself for sin in my life.

     Pray for the relationships in my life that God give me peace, patience, wisdom, and strength to be the Godly man I need to be to exhort and encourage everyone within my circle of influence as it broadens in 2012. 

     Pray that as insecurities are being dug up and God is getting to the roots that I truly surrender them to Him so they can be addressed and removed from my life. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New beginnings...



     After awakening on January 1st, 2012 I was on my way home when I realized how beautiful the sunrise was both physically and Spiritually. Physically, it was fresh, clean...new. The day prior was a balmy 75 degrees and then a cold front blew in overnight and it was closer to 40 degrees that morning. The wind from the front cleared out all the smog, pollen, and other junk. It left for an absolutely clear and gorgeous blue sky for the first morning of this new year. Now on to what God spoke to me during this time...

     The photo shows the power of the sun...the light. It also shows the clarity of the sky. The picture message I got from God was that with this new beginning I should be walking towards the light (His son) constantly pursuing to be closer and more intimate with Him. The fresh air and clarity was Him showing me in the physical realm how everything truly is new in the Spiritual realm (Lamentations 3:22-23). He also spoke to me explaining how we should honestly treat every moment as we do a new calendar year. When we fall short and sin we must be quick to acknowledge that sin, confess the sin, and then repent. In that moment we can truly experience His grace and mercy. We do not have to wait until a new year, a new season in our lives, or even a new morning. Right then and right there He will forgive us our sins and, if we receive it, give us the freedom He intended when He sent His son to die on the cross for us.

     However, I do not want to be one the Christians that causes an individual to believe it is simplified to the point of relaxing. Something else God pointed out to me was path between where I was standing and the horizon where the sun had risen from. Notice it is far from a clear path. I was reminded of what Jesus said in John 16:33. We can pray until we are blue in the face asking for peace (and I assure you I do), but we must remember that there will be trials and tribulation. With that being said we will find peace when we focus first on God, regardless of our circumstances.

     So as we move into the year 2012 let us all try to remember that God's grace and mercy never expires and in fact is constant. So we do not have to wait until 2013, next month, or even the morning to experience the sweet love of Jesus. God's grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, etc. is constant in ways we cannot imagine. So do not spend hours, days, weeks, or more beating yourself up and allowing condemnation from the enemy. Lay it down at the foot of the cross and keep moving towards the sun!