Who I am like…

November 11, 2013

Sometimes I look back at all the times I felt myself struggle with God. I put myself through a lot because I refused to give stuff away for Him to take care of. I was one of those who kept saying, “I’m trying, I’M TYING!” But still the next day I’d be anxious or worried, stressed and afraid, and I felt like this must be a part of walking with God, that this is just how it is. I kept praying to God saying, “Take this from me; do something with it!” Only to still feel the war going on inside of me. My friends, if you were or are in a place like this now… it is because you are refusing to give your circumstance over to God. For if you truly have let go and are trusting God, you would not feel anxious or stressed; tired and afraid. For these things were never God’s. Don’t keep saying, “But I’ve prayed and prayed and it still won’t go away.” You can pray all you want but if you never do the do God cannot do one thing.

God just revealed this to me tonight: struggling is a part of life because we are imperfect people. However, while we are allowed to be human, we must also choose to be holy through what Jesus did for us on the Cross. I am like Peter who challenged Jesus to allow him to walk out on the water. I say to God, ” I am ready to do anything for you.” And so He calls me to come out to Him. But then the waves of life come to distract me. I am the one who chooses to look away from God and see those waves and allow them to have their affect on me leading to fear, doubt, discontent, stress, anxiety… all these things I have experienced too many times to count. This is when I struggle to allow God to have all of me and to keep my eyes on His truth. And often, I would look at those waves for months, sometimes years, preventing God from working in my life in a positive way. I was being selfish.

But still, though I was for a long time sinking, somehow, God always found a way to reach out to me, to refocus my attention on Him instead of what is going on around me. Like right now, things are not going too well at work. There is some tension going on that I am very uncomfortable with, and I am praying for God to move in this someway. But He has yet to show. Like Peter, I have been tempted to look at the wrong happening before me and have given into that temptation to later feel the struggles impact. But God, as always, reaches out, and reminds me, “Look at Me! Not that them!”

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:27, 31

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Heart Deep Roots

April 15, 2013

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Have you ever been through a storm in your life where you realize that through it’s long period of “storming,” you find yourself learning a lot of lessons? I’m currently in that place. I use to see the storms in life as something you just gotta get through and then go on with life. However, I’m learning that God doesn’t see storms in that way: He means for me to take everything that storm has to throw at me. I’m seeing I’m not going to “just get through” as I once believed, but there is a lot to take in that God is making me endure. I can go against it with my own freewill, but the fact is God will be patient with me until I get it right even if it takes ten more years before my eyes finally open for the first time. God is a god who always gets His way. And since I’m His, as the Bible speaks of so often, He will never let me go. It’s impossible for Him to.

Through this storm in my life, God has given me as the world would say, “too much patience.” I think of the first line in 1 Corinthians 13:4 where it says, “Love is patient.” This is a characteristic of God that I’ve seen so many different moments in the storm. Once again God is showing me that He’s with me through it, but He is also in it. I’m not just walking, striving, crying, hurting, and then I climb the top of the mountain and then it’s all over. No, this isn’t God. What God is inside of the storm, is Him showing me who He is instead of giving me the “why” for it all. What God is showing me are things about myself that I do not like but needs changing. He is bringing this to my attention. He is taking His hand and pulling up roots in my heart and yes…it hurts bad! But I hear Him whispering,” I do this because I love you, and I don’t want these roots of sin and hurt to be killing your life anymore.” This is where the patience comes in. And because I am such a stubborn person without realizing it at times, His patience comes in handy. And here’s the thing: I remember a while ago I asked God at the beginning of the storm to take ahold of any root inside of me and anything that needs to be resolved or changed to be brought to my attention. God is only doing what I asked Him to do in the first place! How is it that every single time I fail to see that it is gonna hurt? And how many times have you done the same thing and ask yourself,” Why does this have to be this hard?”

When God reveals things inside of us that are not right, we often backfire because we don’t like seeing that we are this person. It’s one thing if it happens to another. We love we forgive we pray, and we hope for the best for that person. But when it comes to ourselves, man! We much rather forget about it and act like it never happened. We don’t like seeing ourselves dirty. And often times we will blame somebody else for the dirty when most of the time it’s our own fault we have become this way. And that adds on to more dirty.

I asked God just a few hours ago,” God, show me in this storm that You care. And even if You don’t show it to me now, thats okay. I know You’ll show me in Your own time.” Do not think that your pain is not important to God. We can compare ourselves to someone who maybe going through a harder time than we, but don’t push your pain aside because of that. You matter to God. Your pain matters to God. What we are to do is take our focus off our pain and instead focus on who God is and what He has done and promises to do. And I am so glad that in this moment God did show up for me when I glanced down at my Bible and read this verse from Psalm 8: 3-4,” When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” NASB.  He care’s so much that when I ask Him to assure me of His love, He is always up for game.

I’ve learned that the longer you linger with heart deep roots, the more wounded one becomes and will often not see what God is trying to tell us. And I’m telling you, it hurts terribly allowing God to put His hand deep down into you and pull at those roots. I can see myself now saying, “God stop it! It hurts! I’m tired of hurting all the time! Can’t you just make it go away?” His response is, “Yes. By doing this, I am making your pain go away.” Never forget that by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross as payment for our sins is also God sending new life into us to heal, to live, as He had planned us to live. And because Jesus died and rose again, we can have victory in our lives. Because of Jesus choosing to endure the cross, despising the shame ( Hebrews 12:2 ) , we too can endure ’til the end.

 

 

The Face Of Love

March 21, 2013

Yesterday I visited my grandma in the nursing home. I’m sad to say she is living her final days on this earth. She is 93 years old. I wasn’t close to my grandma. In fact the last time I saw her was about five or six years ago. She has for many years had a 96% blockage on both sides of her neck which causes her memory to slowly die away including her mental state.  It came to the point where she never wanted visitors, and when visitors did come she would tell them to leave her alone. It’s very upsetting for someone to get to this point, especially my grandma, because she has lived the 93 years of her life without Jesus Christ. And since her days are now numbered it concerns me more. You see she had a minor stroke earlier this week. What turned out to be minor became serious. It’s only a matter of days now.

Modern people today do not like religion being brought into the picture when it comes to life and death. The world may view Jesus as a religion, but no where in the Bible does it say He is. The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the face of love for a world who did not love Him back. A kind of love that to this very day still gets mocked and slapped in the face by every soul who lives. The face of love who physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually bore the sins of every person through His own blood. People call this religion. But tell me this: which other gods of many religions gave their life for the world? Is their god even still alive?

If we look deep down inside of us, there is a spirituality that is alive. Many of us toss it away and become unaware of it, but it’s there. When we are facing a hard time in our lives, something spiritual is happening. It’s called Hope. But we sometimes put our hope in things we can see and touch. Then it dies somewhere down the road and so we go looking for another thing we can see and touch. And we continue this cycle until when? We die? Is this the purpose of our lives? Then what is?

First, I want to say, that God chose each of us ( 1 Thes. 1:4 ). You know your journey. You know your stories and trials, but God knows them better. And He knew that there was no hope for us to survive on our own. Because of that, He sent His hope to us through Jesus Christ. We have tried to become good enough to be good enough for someone to like us, to get a job, to go to heaven one day, and so forth. But in Romans 3:10 is says,“…There is none righteous, not even one.”  The world has created the belief that the only bad thing a person can do is murder another. What other bad thing is there out there except maybe drugs? You tell me. But thats because it is by our standards. Nobody thinks about God’s standard, and His standard is a perfection nobody could ever try to become. God knows this, and so He made a way for us: through His Son Jesus Christ. ” For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17 NASB. What it means “through Him” was through death. “For the wages of sin is death…” Even Jesus, the perfect one to ever be, became the wage of our past sins, present and future sins. ” but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NASB. The gift is life. An eternal life. Our souls will live forever somewhere, but not on this earth. We do not see the importance of this because we are too busy living for ourselves. We live as if we are going to live forever. Or that we will live until we are 80 or 90 and believe that it’s so far away from now that we have all the time in the world. But how many people do you know who have not lived until old age, who died so young, some who didn’t even reach their 20’s? What makes us believe that we, ourselves, are the exception when the only one who holds the future is God Himself? You may not believe there is a God, but you have to admit, you do have faith to not believe. You see, you have something spiritual inside of you even if you don’t want it. Because faith is a God thing, not a flesh thing.

I’ve been praying for a miracle for my grandma. I hate putting it like this, but her mental state is so far gone that she is now a vegetable. She’s not living, just existing. And she has no idea what’s going on around her or inside of her. She’s knows nothing. But this is why God sends hope through His Son Jesus. Just His name alone makes the forces of darkness flee even in the most impossible situations and circumstances. We may not see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Thats when faith comes in. In our fleshly minds, there is no hope of salvation for somebody like my grandma. But it says in Luke 1:37,” For nothing will be impossible with God.” NASB.  He is God. And it is His will for “all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. As I looked at my grandma, not knowing who I was to her, kneeled down at her level and looked her in the eyes. I was about to leave, but I first said to her, “Goodbye grandma. Jesus loves you.” As I said those words, she looked right into my eyes. I wanted to say the name of Jesus to her, because I know the power and hope that is in His name. And I have no doubt that she heard every word I said to her.

John 14:6,”…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” NASB. I ask that you pray with me for my grandma, despite her condition, will have understanding and gain knowledge of her need for Jesus even at the end of her long life, and to finally let Him into her heart.

A Lesson From DJ Tanner

March 14, 2013

imagesDid you know that you can learn very important life lessons that are spiritual from a TV sitcom? No way! Well, I’m sure you can name some TV shows that it’s just not possible. However, I do know of one.

The other day I was watching an episode of Full House. Through out the episode, DJ Tanner was doing various activities with her two younger sisters as well as spending more quality time with them. Her boyfriend, Scott, was not so happy that they weren’t spending as much time together as they once were( It didn’t help that he left to go to San Francisco for a week). There’s a scene where Scott is waiting for DJ at the kitchen table when she and her two sisters walk in from playing at the park ( they must have been gone a long time ). Scott was some what upset, and because I don’t remember the actual words spoken between the TV couple, I do remember the remainder lines. From Scott: “You don’t hang out with me as much anymore.” DJ replied,” Because my life is not centered around you.” My eyes opened a little bit wider when she said that.

Later in the episode, DJ goes on to tell Scott, “Since we’ve been apart and haven’t been spending as much time together, I’ve been using this extra time to do other things. And I’m beginning to find out more of who I am apart from you. I’m not sure if I want to stop now.” At the end of the episode, DJ and Scott did break up. That part maybe a little sad, but DJ made a very good point about finding herself away from something that she had always had. She was discovering something new, and she had every right to go forward with that.

This relates to me of what’s been happening in my life recently. In my last blog, I mentioned that I left an amazing ministry and a great friend behind. I fought to keep both in my life, but God wanted me to move forward without those two things. As time has gone by, the grasp of my fingers have slowly been letting go of these two great things because I’m learning what life is without them.

God does give, and He does take away. I don’t always know why He sometimes takes what was once good away, but it is truly for our good. During the past two years of my life, all my time had been around this one ministry and this one friend. It was rare that I did anything outside of these two things. I guess it’s because it was all I had at the time, or so I thought. I didn’t think to look outside of the box. I was so devoted to this ministry ( as a Christian should be ), that it took me a long time to find a better job because I wanted nothing to get in the way of my work in ministry. I narrowed my life into this really small box and I became very content about remaining in such a small place. I was very satisfied. I had one friend too, who I spent a lot of time with. I didn’t spend much time with many other people. And the more I grow, the more I am very much against centering life around one person.

As things were not working out as I hoped to, God was breaking me away from these things and I fought very hard, until I finally gave up. It took time, but I have started to learn more, like DJ, who I am away from the old things I once had. Because of taking hold a new road of life, new desire’s have started to form inside of me. There are newer things that I want to try out, like cake decorating! Could you see me doing that? My parents think it odd because I have never been one who likes spending hours in the kitchen. But thats the cool part! It’s like I have a new drive to try out new things. I feel I have no limits because I have removed those limits. Having this new way of thinking and doing has given me a new joy a freedom about life!

Can you see how my situation before-hand was not very godly? My desire to do God’s will was there, but was I actually doing it? Was I living life for me, or was it for God? I didn’t know who I was without these things in my life. And to now be without them, I’m discovering what I can do and who I am AND I’m starting to like myself more. Plus, I’m seeing more of the face of God because His face has become more important.

I believe a large potion of us does not enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed because we are too satisfied. To be a God follower, it requires us not being comfortable. It requires a lot of moving because God has more than one plan for our lives. Thats why we have new chapters, open and closed doors, endings and beginnings. Many Christians are too afraid and scared of change and so they fight to stay put. Often times they win and they never know anything new and exciting outside of what they already know and miss out on amazing God opportunities. Change hurts, and we want to do everything in our power to avoid getting hurt. I know, cause I’ve been there many times. But who am I really living for? Am I living for myself, or for Jesus Christ? And if I’m living for Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Father, shouldn’t I trust that He has something better for me each time a new change comes? And since my life is not about me, then shouldn’t I be obedient to whatever the Father says? ” For whoever wishes to save his life will loose it; but whoever looses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25 NASB

 I am always learning, that true living comes when we yield to God’s way of living. And there is great joy and happiness in allowing the change to take place in this life. “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB