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THE HEART

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Four

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THE HEART

BLOG POST #50

Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?”

“The heart has reasons that reason knows not of.” - Blaise Pascal


My heart or my inner life, is among the things in life that I don’t understand. I have asked myself: “Why presume that understanding leads to understanding?” More often than not, I have found the more I know, the more I realize I do not know. Another one of my thoughts: “If I have spent all my life with myself and still haven’t figured me out - how do I figure everything else out?”

Consider the following scriptures:

  • Proverbs 25:2 - “It is God's privilege to conceal things and the king's privilege to discover them”
  • Proverbs 20:24 “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 - “…God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.”
  • Ecclesiastes 8:17 “then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.”
  • Romans 11:33 “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and untraceable His ways!”

HE WANTS YOU BACK

Committed in love to you...

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HE WANTS YOU BACK

BLOG POST #49

God has a way of speaking that at times can be ever so soft, and you almost have to ask, God is that you? And other times, He is loud and clear and if you didn’t hear Him the first time, He will say it again and again until you get it.

Just this past Wednesday, God spoke a word to us during worship, telling us to come back. He didn’t care what we have done, how bad it was, He knows the details and He doesn’t care, He just wants us back. We’ve stopped praying like we used to, worshiping like we used to, coming to church like we used to, and yet, He just wants us back. 

My quiet time took me to Jeremiah chapter 3 today and this theme resonated strong. The children of Israel have turned their backs on God and are chasing false gods and worshiping whatever thing it is they can find and yet they look to God and say “where are you, God of our youth? Will you always be angry?”. God had withheld the rain, so their crops were not flourishing as they once were and the Israelites couldn’t see nor understand why God was so angry. But God, the entire time just wanted them back, He told the prophet Jeremiah to deliver the message to them, to turn back to Him because he wants to pour out his rain, his blessings, but Israel needed to turn from worshiping these false Gods, acknowledge the error of their ways, and turn to Him. 

You know what’s amazing, that even though this chapter clearly is speaking about the children of Israel, it applies to us today. There are so many things we choose over God, over spending time with Him, over just spending a few moments in his presence. Social media, friends, TV, Netflix series, sports, we find any and everything to do and don’t even realize that we’ve turned from Him. And you know what’s amazing - is that Israel in that time didn’t know how long God would be angry with them or if they would ever be blessed, but we see the whole story - we don’t have to live in a state of unknown. We know what His word says - we know what is true and how the story really goes.

In the message version of this chapter in verse 12, what stuck out to me is this, God says “I’M COMMITTED IN LOVE TO YOU”. There’s nothing that He wants more than YOU AND I! Those things that you’ve let come between you and God, forget them, just turn back. God isn’t going to sit there and remind you of the bad you’ve done - he wants to celebrate your return to him. In verse 16 it says “And this is what will happen: You will increase and prosper in the land. The time will come - God’s Decree! - when no one will say any longer, “Oh, for the good old days! Remember the Ark of the Covenant?” It won’t even occur to anyone to say it - ‘the good old days.’ The so-called good old days of the Ark are gone for good. “Jerusalem will be the new Ark - ‘God’s Throne’.” Do you get what that means? It’s not going to be about what God did before you turned from him, it’s going to be amazing to see how He pours into your life NOW.

Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking - wow, I used to have such a great relationship with God, or I was so good at one point, look at where I am now. There’s no way I can get back to that, or that you have to grovel your way back to God. NO - He said it in His word - acknowledge your ways and where you’ve allowed other things to get in the way of Him, and He will restore the relationship and it will even better than it once was.

If you are feeling distant from God today, like you’ve turned your back to Him and have filled the void with things, just know, He wants you back. Take a moment and just give your life back to Him - He’s so committed in love to you

LIFE DEFINED?

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Three...

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LIFE DEFINED?

BLOG POST #48

 John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 14: 6  “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life…”

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die

In John chapter 1, Jesus is introduced as the Word of God with life in Himself. In John chapter 14, Jesus tell his disciples that He is the life. In John chapter 11, Jesus tells Martha before resurrecting her brother Lazarus that He is the life and the resurrection. In these verses we see that Jesus does not simply provide life independent of Himself, He is life.

Food for thought: The limitations of our modern definitions of ‘life’ is discussed in the Scientific American article discussing “Innovation in Biology”:

“Biologists long ago became convinced that it is not useful to define life. The trouble with any such definition is that one can always construct a model that satisfies the definition, yet clearly is not alive. And of course we do not ever measure life. We can measure many of its manifestations accurately; and we combine those with others that we observe, but perhaps cannot measure, to make up our concept of what it means to be alive. The life itself is neither observed nor measured. It is a summary of and judgment upon our measurements and observations. What biologist do about life is to recognize it.” Scientific American, September 1958, p. 113

I am in the middle of reading ‘Disciplines Of The Spirit’ by Howard Thurman. In the book, the author talks about life this way:

“.. to say that this is a living universe is to say that life itself is alive and that this aliveness expresses itself always in seeking - yes, in goal-seeking. Here the expression is not metaphysically or even morally teleological but connotes, rather, the fact that in the effort of any particular from of life to sustain itself, it does so with reference to ends, at its own level. To state this in another way one may say that life seeks to fulfill itself, that is, to “live itself out.”” Disciplines of The Spirit, Howard Thurman, p. 15.

Last Thought: Taste and see that Jesus is awesome ( meaning: inspiring awe).

 

 

IMAGINE

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Two...

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IMAGINE

BLOG POST #47

Isaiah 55: 8  "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Food for thought:

"Let man contemplate Nature entire in her full and lofty majesty; let him put far from his sight the lowly objects that surround him; let him regard that blazing light, placed like an eternal lamp to illuminate the world; let the earth appear to him but a point within the vast circuit which that star describes; and let him marvel that this immense circumference is itself but a speck from the viewpoint of the stars that move in the firmament. And if our vision is stopped there, let imagination pass beyond... All this visible world is but an imperceptible element in the great bosom of nature. No thought can go so far... It is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere. This is the most perceivable feature of the almightiness of God, so that our imagination loses itself in this thought.” - Blaise Pascal

 

 

 

 

WONDERFUL COUNSELOR

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part One...

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WONDERFUL COUNSELOR

BLOG POST #46

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor..”

Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

ThoughtIn the Bible we find that God encourages us to ask Him for wisdom and to seek His counsel and His will when making decisions. Why? When Isaiah prophesied the birth of Christ he said the Son of God would be a Wonderful Counselor. What does that mean?

Definitions

  • Wonderful: Capable of eliciting wonder;
  • Wonder: rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience
  • Counselor: a person who gives advice
  • Wonderful Counselor = A person who gives advice capable of eliciting rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Conclusion: It’s good to have access to and make use of a wonderful counselor.

 

 

 

STAY ON THE WHEEL

Experience true joy...

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STAY ON THE WHEEL

BLOG POST# 45

Did you know that the human Brain processes about 50,000 thoughts per day? This means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute. The steady flow of thinking is a thick filter between our thoughts and feelings, our head and heart. That means that whatever those four go through, it will be positive and negative.

The bible tells us that no matter how many thoughts our brain processes, we should stand upon Galatians 4:8-9—Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

There are too many of us living a life of chaos. We have thoughts of suicide and hatred. Our hearts are filled with deceit, anger, and hurt. We have feelings of depression, and sorrow. But if we could just get a hold of this passage of Scripture and truly believe in what God is telling us through it. That no matter what is happening in your life, You will choose to mediated on the good and not the bad. The up and not the down. The positive and not the negative. The win and not the defeat. Then, and only then, the God of peace will reign in our hearts. And we can experience true joy.

 

THE SECOND WIND

Be what you are supposed to be... an Overcomer...

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THE SECOND WIND

BLOG POST #44

The story of Roger Bannister is a great story of perseverance. A young man who was a mid-distance runner was the first to ever break the 4 minute mile. It was a task that everyone said couldn’t be done. “Your heart would explode”, “there is no way anyone could run a mile that fast without giving out”, said the voices of many. How tough must it have been for someone like him to do something great, but is being told all types of negative comments of how it’s not possible?

Well the day finally came for him to run that mile under 4 minutes and he ran it in 3:59. A quote from Bannister tells it like this, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” He was able to overcome. And as he overcame he believed, and persevered in the face of his great task.

A great book in the bible is Revelations. Revelation 2:7 reminds us that, To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. God describes an overcomer as the believer who perseveres in obedience and is victorious in the face of trials. What about you? Is there some extreme obstacle in your path, or a trial you are going through? What will you do when the effort you put in gets painful? The love you share and don’t receive it back, the colleges you apply to and don’t get accepted in, the hard-work you put into your sport only to ride the bench or get cut off the team. What will you do?

If you read a little bit further Revelation 2:17 also puts it like this, “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on that stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it"

That if you just hold on God has blessings and promises you are sure to receive. Roger Bannister didn’t just wake up one day and run the mile under 4 minutes, he endured the pain, the struggle, the negative talk, thoughts, and people and become the first to ever do it. God wants to do something special in your life, but you have to understand that you are called to overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus’ death and resurrection allows us to be overcomers, so be what you are supposed to be, an Overcomer.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING GOD?

  Romans 8:28...

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WHAT ARE YOU DOING GOD?

BLOG POST #43

What if I were to tell you that your circumstances don’t define you, would you believe it? I believe that God is always up to something good, especially in the midst of bad situations and circumstances. Just because you were abandoned doesn’t mean you will be forever. The fact that you were or are fatherless, poor, hurt, cheated, lied too, dragged down, addicted, or even ill doesn’t mean God isn’t working on your behalf. Many times we like to think that God is doing something only when life is going great, but it’s actually in those tough times that He is working something out. Remember the story of Joseph? Joseph was just a teen when God came to him in a dream telling him that his family was going to bow to him, and he went to tell that dream in excitement. Only to find that his brothers hated him for it, and attempted to kill him, but sold him like he was a piece of meat. Then God raises him up and he is promoted, and then he get’s lied on by Potiphar’s wife and put into prison. Then he is called out of prison and became the governor of all Egypt. God turned the circumstances Joseph was facing and worked it out for his good. Romans 8:28 reminds us, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Now I gave you a snip bit of the story of Joseph, but I encourage you to read it for your-self starting at Genesis 37. The next time you are in a situation, are you have a circumstance that don’t look the way you want them too, or you believe there is no hope, that there is no way out. Ask God what is He doing, and ask Him with the mindset that He is up to something

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE

Paradigm Shift

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THIS IS YOUR CHANCE

BLOG POST #42

My Senior Pastor who is like a father to me always told me that in the midst of any storm to always seek God while you are in it. That God is always to get you through it, not to get you out of it. Those were some of the most powerful words he has every said to me, along with many other powerful conversations.

Too often, when we get into trouble, or worry arrives, we don’t seek opportunity. As I have just stated that was taught to me, opportunity is everywhere. It has everything to do with how you perceive your situations. The great book (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) explains it a lot deeper when it refers to the paradigm shift. That no matter what a situation may look like, it has everything to do with how you look at it.

To back up these statements, Ephesians 5:15-18 tells us; "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life."

Paul who is the writer of this amazing bible verse is reminding us not to let any opportunity pass you by. The funny thing is, he was the example of someone who took every opportunity no matter the situation he was in. In this very letter he is in prison writing to the church of Ephesus. He could have been depressed, scared, tired, careless, and defeated, but instead he chose to continue to be used by God. He wrote the majority of his letters from behind bars, and now when anyone mentions his name we recognize him as one of the greatest apostles to ever live.

KEEPING YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE IN CHECK

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KEEPING YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE IN CHECK

BLOG POST #41

Is it His Will?

Feeling great about yourself is one of those feelings everyone wants to experience on a day to day basis. We go from feeling good about ourselves, to feeling good about what we do, to feeling good about what we know. Feeling good about what you know can be a dangerous place to be, because... do you really know?

The Bible warns us of what we know or what we think we know. James 5:13-15, Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—its here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “if the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

Everything we do we must ask of God, and understand that if it is His Will then it will happen. Trusting in ourselves is fool’s gold, but trusting in the Lord is authentic.

 

A WALK TO REMEMBER

 Power Lines

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A WALK TO REMEMBER

BLOG POST #40

Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…”

Power lines transfer energy from it’s place of generation to it’s place of consumption. The life of Christ was a power line that provided salvation from heaven to a world that needed to be saved. Those who were willing were also allowed access to heaven and are power lines themselves as the are plugged into Christ who is in Heaven.

How is the power transferred to the consumer you might ask? Great question guys!

It’s in our walk. Just like Christ’s walk from Nazareth to heaven transformed the world in three years, the years we spend walking and interacting with the world provides the world with a point of contact where Heaven can be transferred into this world. As the Holy Spirit flows through willing hearts in others, the kingdom of heaven is expanded, a soul is saved, a life is transformed, and another part of the world is redeemed. 

Considering the possible legacy impact of a believer, each believer’s walk has the potential to be a walk to remember.

WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

Invest in God...

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WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

BLOG POST #39

What a blessing it is to possess some things of value. How exciting it is once you get something that is of great worth. I remember getting my first new car. For years I have been driving used cars, which were old, needed a lot of work, and would break down within a year or two. By the time I became a junior in college, God finally blessed me with my first new car. It was the color I want, the type of car I want, and it was completely paid for with cash. Man, did I value that car. But who wouldn’t? It got me from A to B in style. It was black, and the make and model I wanted. And to top it off, the year of the car was the same as the year I was living in (2010). Then, in two weeks, someone side swiped it and took off my side view mirror. Scratched the door in the grocery store parking lot. Dented the rear bumper. The breaks went bad immediately. With all this happening to the thing I treasured, and valued highly, I was deeply saddened by what was happening to it. Jesus said in Luke 12:34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” So I have a few questions for you, is your treasure the kind that fades or rusts? Can it be in an accident? Can it be easily stolen? Because my treasure was in my car, which could easily be stolen, in an accident, and even breakdown. When we look at the big picture, treasure goes far beyond earthly possessions and money. It refers to where and how we spend our time, energy, resources and affections. If we invest to attain power, popularity, the nice car, then we will end up loving and serving ourselves above all. But if we invest in the things that matter to God, if the things we get fascinate us far less than giving to the poor and lost, spending time in prayer, reading our bibles, sharing Christ’s love and encouragement to build up others, the God will be the highest value in our lives and we will care about the things He cares about. We will store up treasure in heaven where “no thief comes near and not rust destroys.” (Luke 12:33)

DIRECTION

Busy vs. Productive

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DIRECTION

BLOG POST #38

Matthew 6:33 "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

We can pursue a lot of different things in life but the achievement of a thing to the detriment of one's soul enslaves the soul for the sake of the thing. God would not have us slaves but rather sons and daughters. From our relationship with God flows the manifestation of God in us and our sphere of influence which would include those things that are necessary for our God given mission.

We follow God and the things follow us because the Lord promises in Jeremiah 1:12 ".... I am watching over my word to perform it." God does the work. When the disciples asked what should we do to do the works of God Jesus responded: John 6:29 AMP “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”

It is wise to understand the difference of being busy verses being productive as illustrated in the following story:

Luke 10: 38-42 "As Jesus and the disciples......came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.......the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.

To avoid wasting time and energy on the wrong things one needs the means to stay on track, direction is a means to staying on track, and the only faithful [never abandon you or let you down] direction comes from God comes as revealed in his Word (Jesus).

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD

The Formula For Success

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MEDITATING ON THE WORD

BLOG POST #37

Psalms 1:2-3 "his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law he [habitually] meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."

Ever go ten for ten on something. Or a hundred for a hundred. Imagine hitting one thousand three-point shots in a row from all over the court and with all types of defense. That would be a great personal experience and impressive to watch.

The Word of God is like that. The Word of God never misses. The Word of God makes His always successful nature available to all of us via the download of God's nature that occurs when a born again believer meditates and acts on the Word of God.

A 20th Century man of faith by called Smith Wigglesworth believed that Christians should maintain these 4 Principles:

1) Read the Word of God

2) Consume the Word of God Until It consumes you

3) Believe the Word of God

4) Act on the Word

Consider the following, in Isaiah 55:8-11 God says through His prophet:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

Think like God, Become like God, Act like God, and see God like results.

THE IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE

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THE IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE

BLOG POST #36

 

Perspective

Numbers 13:33 - "We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

"The way we see the problem, is the problem" - Stephen R. Covey

In Numbers 13 - Israel had been brought out of Egypt and had sent scouts into the land that God promised Abraham. When the scouts got back, 10 out of the 12 thought it would be impossible to take the land. They thought themselves too small, they measured themselves then the task ahead and said it was impossible.

The other 2 scouts were Joshua and Caleb and what they reported is recorded in Numbers 14:5-9 "Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Joshua and Caleb saw it from a different perspective. They did not deny that the giants were huge but instead place a greater emphasis on God's ability and not their own. Of that generation of Israelites, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who possessed their share of the promised land.

Application: Let's say I am driving somewhere and I type the destination into the GPS and it says that my destination is 150 miles away by car. Now I can ask Siri for the distance to my destination and her response might be "75 miles as the crow flies." Now is it 150 miles or 75? The answer is: both are right depending on how I choose to get to my destination. The crow can take a direct path to the destination because of it's ability to travel above the typical obstructions a car would have to drive around. If I found a way to fly I would shorten the distance to my destination by 75 miles. My point is, what is impossible on one level is possible on another.

God operates at the highest level. When God walked the Earth he said this in Matthew 19:26 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." So if you find yourself facing something that is impossible, shift gears and see if God can handle it.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

Great leaders play to their strengths... 

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PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

BLOG POST #35


Have you ever took the time to figure out what you are really good at? Developing the understanding of what you can really do, and how well you do it. Whether that strength is in sports, academics, speaking, politics, etc.… You owe it to yourself to utilize the strengths you have in those fields. Great leaders play to their strengths. They don’t spend vast amounts of time attempting to be a jack of all trades. Instead, they deepen their ability to do what they do best, until they do it as well as anyone. Solomon certainly lived by this principle. God made him the wisest and richest king of his day. According to 1 Kings 10: 1-9, other monarchs heard of his wisdom and wealth and eagerly wanted to hear from him. From all over the known world, powerful rulers from distant lands made the long trip to Israel to catch a glimpse of this young Phenom. Solomon provided rich counsel and gifts to others, and quickly became known for his insightful mind and depth of knowledge. How did Solomon gain such fame? He focused on what he did best. He gained wisdom by asking God for it. He could have asked God for anything, but instead he asked for wisdom. He understood his gift, and became all that God called him to be. When you play to your strengths you operate the way God intended for you to operate. The strengths you have are the gifts that were given from God above. God has given each of us a strength in something, and we must focus on that which we do best. Challenge yourself to give 100% in this incremental way. Give 70 percent of your time to your areas of strength, give 25 percent of your time to the areas you want to improve, give 5 percent of your time to the areas of your weakness.

THE VINE, THE BRANCH, AND THE GARDNER

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THE VINE, THE BRANCH, AND THE GARDNER

BLOG POST #34

Grand Designs

 

John 15:1-2 & 5 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful....... I am the vine, you are the branches."

 

We all live and are a part of God's garden. He finished his designs long before we got here. We are walking out what he laid out. I say this to bring the mind of the reader to God's grand design and our role in it.

We all have dreams, goals, and ambitions. In a hundred years, our accomplishments and all the sensations that came with them will mean a lot less to us and most likely mean little to others. Think of Henry Ford, what good is the Model T to him now? What about Steve Jobs, is he looking forward to the next iPhone?

God's agenda is beyond us. That is to say, his plan leads up to and beyond our lives. We take part in his work as He works through us. Things in life can seem unfair. But life is not about us. We aren't built to enjoy life on this earth once we leave. Jesus was and is able to, not us. Our lives have ramifications that echo into eternity for us, those we come in contact with, and those we may never know. That is too great a responsibility for any person to handle. It's a good thing we are not required to. We have a Vine that provides everything we need to be fruitful and a Gardener dedicated to the task.

Food for thought: What if this life was meant to give temporary satisfaction by design? What if existential crises are God's way of getting us to spend time on what really matters? What if love, sacrifice, family, service, and friends are the tools God uses to teach us his language? What if part of God's agenda was to make us more like Him and to make the Earth more like heaven? What if it takes God to do the only things that matter and the only things that last?

"Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it which strikes me most I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ” - Napoleon Bonaparte

Genesis 22:2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."

As I write this I find myself waiting. Waiting on a promise. I want to give up but my doubts have not been able to kill my hope. Beyond the senses into what might be considered nonsense, I find myself waiting with expecting something good. I've taken steps in this new direction but I can't see my way clear yet. At times it gets frustrating; but try as I might, I can't shake the hope. I can sense something coming. Deep down. If feels big. Thought I don't know what's coming I'm excited. The excitement drowns frustration and carries me to joy.

Ever get excited and not know why? Find yourself smiling, laughing, talking about things that haven't happened yet. That you can't shake even when you can't see, taste, smell, or hear it. But you feel it where it matters.

Zechariah 9:12 "Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."

Despite all the reasons I have come up with to give up on this hope, I can't. Well crafted arguments give way when a text comes in at just the right time, a certain song plays unexpectedly, or any one of the many ways God reminds us that he is in this situation. That this is his doing. There is a degree of discomfort. I've come to realize those feelings to be the signs of something dying in me that needs to go.

John 15:1-2 & 5 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful....... I am the vine, you are the branches."

BRAND NEW

 But still holding on to the old...

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BRAND NEW

BLOG POST #33

In our Christian walk we’ll come to know that there is a new life of God’s abundance that awaits us. Hearing scriptures that talk about the old life is gone, now a new life starts "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. But while this new life is great, I’m sure you can agree with me that at times you don’t feel new. In fact there are time that our past actions haunts us. There have been times where I looked at my brothers and sister in Christ and I would think that they have this life together. Subsequently I would question myself “what is wrong with me?”

All that I mentioned above describes an inner battle we all go through. It may not be the exact same questions but there are part of us that feel as though we can never meet the standards that God placed. It’s true in our own strength we will never meet that standard. As we’ve entered this world we’ve come into it with sin (not meeting God’s standard of righteousness) within us and around us. Adding to that we have an enemy that doesn't want us to know God’s truth, that we have been set free from sin by Christ. Romans 6 gives us a picture of sin and how choosing it can lead to death (not an instant death but a spiritual death of being separated from God).

How can we ever meet God standard? I don’t know if you can agree with me but there have been times when I’ve done actions that I knew in my heart was wrong but I did it anyway. I know God (or someone who has authority over me) desires that I make better choices but what’s in my heart at times seems so much stronger. It’s similar to someone telling you not to do something but then that’s all you could think of doing. Paul continues to illustrate this inner battle in Romans 7 he ends that our victory over this battle is through Jesus Christ.

Knowing we are victorious and experiencing victory are two different things. In Romans 8 we are led into the path of victory over sin. It’s by choosing life by the Spirit of God, and denying sin. We can be at rest because God has forgiven us for all of shortcomings. We don’t have to let falling short lead us to shame and guilt. We can acknowledge our shortcomings to God by confessing it, then choosing not to do those things anymore, and receiving his forgiveness. Just remember that “what you don’t feed eventually will die.” When you start choosing honoring God it be easier to identify the things that dishonors Him.

The key to feeling new is to renew your mind  "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2. Our thoughts, feelings, and habits are controlled by our old life. What a person thinks, that they will become. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7. It’s better when you surround yourself with people on the same mission. Though there may be times that it’s really hard know that you’re not alone. Between God, Jesus's authority, the Spirit of truth, and our family of believers all around the world... we’re covered.

 

ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS

Are we hearing God?

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ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS

BLOG POST #32

Have you ever felt like you pray and pray to God, but you don’t really hear Him? I know I have had seasons like that, especially recently. I spend time in devotions in the morning, I pray throughout the day, but nothing. A question that pops in my head a lot is, “Does God not hear me?”. The answer is YES. In 1 John 5:14 is says “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear us.” Our questions should not be does God hear me, but rather are we hearing God?

So, in this time of fasting, I really wanted to see why I was not hearing the voice of God. One major thing that I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart was that I am too distracted. The stress at work that I allowed myself to carry into when I got home, the worries I allowed to fill my mind, the stress of having too many things to get done, watching TV and constantly scrolling through Facebook, these were all distractions.

Luke 8:7 says “And the seed that fell in the weeds, well, these are the ones who hear but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it.” We are the seed, and we know the word of God and we follow Him. But we allow the weeds of life (all the worries, distractions, and pleasures) to grow around us until we are choked out by them. We don’t have to grow weeds they grow on their own. But we do have to maintain them and make sure we are tending to our spiritual garden. God wants us to take the time to eliminate distractions from our life so when He is speaking to us, our mind isn’t so busy on everything else and we can listen.

 

WAIT ON THE LORD

What to do when you don’t feel Christ anymore?

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WAIT ON THE LORD

BLOG POST #31

What do you do when your mind is there, but your heart isn’t? What do you do when you know what sin is. You know what’s right, you know what’s wrong. You know what you should be doing, rather than what you’re actually doing. So you come to the point where you don’t feel remorse over the sin you’ve committed even though you know its sin. It’s as if a line has been severed, a disconnection has been made from your head to your heart. Your brain knows there is a God, who loves and cares for you. Your brain knows he’s set certain guidelines in your life for a reason, because he wants you to have the best life possible. Your brain knows stepping out of those guidelines is a sin, a rebellion against he who loves you most. All the while your heart seems not to care. So I ask again, what do you do when you don’t care, when you don’t feel Christ anymore? Answer; Is you “WAIT ON THE LORD”.

Throughout the bible there is this phrase “Wait on the Lord”. Waiting on the Lord isn’t necessarily pleasant at all. In fact in Psalm 42 one of the most gut wrenching psalms of the bible the author is literally in a fight with himself.

He shouts in verse 5 “why are you so downcast my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him.”

So his mind knows; DON’T make a God of that, BOW down before God, SERVE God, WALK with God. Yet is soul is downcast, as if his heart isn’t buying into it at all. So how do you wait on the Lord if this is you? You position yourself under the waterfall of grace, as you walk in obedience. One day at a time, one step at a time. You ask for God to break your heart, ask God to restore the joy of your salvation to you. Ask God to make him your treasure. Be honest with God as to where you are, even if it means admitting you’re in dark days and in dark times. Then you wait. So why do you wait?

Isaiah 40:31 New King James Version (NKJV)

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.