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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

GETTING RID OF THE OLD

Getting rid of the old (for real this time) 

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GETTING RID OF THE OLD

BLOG POST #28

A few weeks back, I was helping Chuck outside with some yard work, well he was actually doing the yard work and I just decided to sweep the back porch. See, we have this massive tree in our backyard and as we were in the middle of fall, the leaves covered our backyard and due to the wind, they blew on our back deck. I took a broom and began to sweep them from one side to the other. While this seemed like a super simple task, it got complicated. It was a windy day, so after a few minutes of sweeping leaves to one section of the deck, the wind would blow and the leaves again would be all over the entire deck. That clean looking surface now looked like I didn’t even touch it - it was full of leaves all over again. And I had to start all over again, right from the beginning. 

My heart quickly responded and God brought an analogy to my mind - this is like us in our life and sometimes we don’t really take care of those things on the inside the proper way, and when the wind comes and the hard times come, we revert back to looking the way we used to. 

Now thinking about it, the proper thing to do would have been to sweep small individual piles, and then picked up those piles and placed them in a bag to properly dispose of them. I didn’t do things the way I was supposed to, and because of that, the surface was again covered in leaves. 

Ephesians 4:22-32 says…

22 So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to - the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.23 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.25 No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26 If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27 Don't give the Devil a chance. 28 If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. 29 Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30 And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32 Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

I think sometimes we think we tend to sweep those things that we know are not Christ-like in us under the rug. Or better yet, we sweep them to a corner of our “deck”. But when the wind blows, and situations come up that test us or try our character - that cleaned off surface is now covered again in that “thing” that we thought we dealt with. 

We must take time to address all of those things in our life that are not Christ-like that we struggle with. Do you struggle with lying? Be honest with yourself and admit that it is a struggle, don’t just brush it in a corner thinking you’ve done away with it. Find an accountability partner who you can be open and honest with and share your struggles - that way you have someone that can pray for and with you and can help you in those times when you are either struggling or have allowed that thing to creep back in and need someone who can be brutally honest with you. 

Invite the Holy Spirit into your life to help you to change those ways - He is the only one who can do that. But there is a piece that you are responsible for as well - you are presented with choices everyday, and you’ve got to make the right choices. Assess your friends circle, the music you listen to, the shows you watch - what you allow yourself to take in, you will eventually begin to pour out those things. 

I’ll leave you with what Paul wrote to us in Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

So get rid of the old (for real) and fix your thoughts on Him!

TOTAL ECLIPSE

Have you created a total eclipse of your heart?   

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BLOG POST #13

I'm sure many of you know what the big story is of today. With so much happening in recent news, this phenomenon is still the ONE thing we are all excited about. And for good reason. Today, for the first time since 1918, the United States will be experiencing a total eclipse from coast to coast! Now, I hope before you ran outside to look at the eclipse, you put on some of those glasses! Well, if you are reading this, you must have since you haven't burned your eyes out! As many of you know and have even come to learn recently, this solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth come in complete alignment and the sun is completely blocked and we experience total darkness during the middle of what should be the brightest time of day. Today really got me thinking, in all of the awesomeness of the eclipse and experiencing something that my grandparents never got to experience, there is something much greater than this that the Holy Spirit just reminded me of. It's something that can be compared to the eclipse of the sun, but it's the eclipse of the heart...

See, we as followers of Jesus, we are full of light, just as the sun. Where there was once darkness in our life, the light of Christ has come in and driven out the darkness. And it is our responsibility to keep that light shining bright. How do we do that? We are to be careful what we are allowing into our hearts, right? We don't watch the same shows on tv, we don't listen to the same music, we must be careful of what we are putting in there. But every so often, is we are not careful and are not diligent, we can experience a total eclipse of our hearts. This is where we've allowed certain things to come into our life and block out the sun. Now, remember this part, this sun doesn't leave, it's there. Just like Christ, he doesn't leave us, nor forsake us, but just like in a total eclipse, the sun gets blocked out, we can allow sin to block the Son out. The challenge for myself today, and the challenge I give you guys is to take a look at your life and the condition of your heart. Have you created a total eclipse of your heart? Have you blocked out the sun? Is it a partial eclipse? Have you slowly been allowing little things to take root in your heart. Are you compromising in any areas of your life? Let's pray and then take the steps to allow the Son to shine brightly in our lives. Let's enjoy the actual solar eclipse and not allow an eclipse to take place in our hearts!


"It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.”

2 Corinthians4:6 MSG