Heart God

April 30, 2013

There have been many times where I would wake up, begin a new day, and struggle with being happy, joyful, faithful, and living a surrendered life. As soon as I would open my eyes thoughts of hurtful times, painful events, loss of love, or other distracting things that effected me spiritually would cause my days to be “wasted.” I knew what the Word of God said about “rejoicing always,” and “trust in the Lord,” and ” be on alert!” To be honest, I didn’t quite get the part of my actually doing those things. Because I realized how too often I would live my life for Jesus with my mind. Yes, to follow God, rely on Him, trust Him, be obedient, joyful; all these things are choices we must make with our own free will. But I’ve learned that when I do this with my mind, it doesn’t work out so well. In fact, I fail pretty hard pretty fast. I would be happy one minute and suddenly sad the next. Maybe it was because something small appeared in my life that reminded me of something painful that happened in the past. So then I’d feel sad and it take hours before I’d finally fess up and decide it was all a waste of time. Up and down. There is no way God had called me to live like this. And it gets tiring. Spiritually exhausting. So what the heck was I doing wrong?

I have learned in the past year just how stubborn and hard headed I really am. Yet I have also learned just how patient God is and has been and always will be. This has been a time for God to allow me to examine this one character trait about Him, and how I am a traffic jam without Him there. I am sure many can relate when from the very beginning of a spiritual journey you get the basics of being a God follower.You are taught the basics for many years but you still don’t get them or apply them because you don’t seem to see just how much you need to.You may not even realize that you’re not “getting it.” You’re blinded, and I believe we all have area’s where we are blinded in. Each person has a different spiritual blind spot that may take them many years before they can finally see. Many heart ache’s may happen. Friendship’s end. Disasters occur. Your heart and soul can only handle so much, yet we seek and seek God and read His Word and we still don’t get it: what the heck am I doing wrong? I’m reading the Bible. I’m going to church. I’m seeking to know God’s face and its not all an act: its because I want to know God and I want to know what He is doing in this time. I found myself trying to trust, believe, hold on to God with the wrong part of myself. I was trying to live and breath my life for Jesus with my mind, but I wasn’t living for Him with my heart.

God is a heart God. It is the most delicate thing God has given each of us, and He holds it to the highest regard. Our hearts are so so sacred. I don’t believe a person can realize just how sacred their heart is until they go through a storm, and then see that God speaks and responds to our hearts and not our minds. Our minds are a reflection of the things that are living in the heart. It starts in the heart, then to the mind, then often into words or actions and those things can be either good or bad. I believe how we gain spiritual blind spots in our spiritual lives is when we fail to acknowledge that our hearts need tending to, not our minds. That part comes later. With my mind, I have to force myself to be on good behavior. With my heart, it comes like second nature and I don’t have to think about it once. See the difference? Our hearts spring the flow of life ( Proverbs 4:23 NASB ). It is in our hearts we discover God. We discover how much we are in need of Him and His power to rule and protect our lives. With my mind, I’m practically telling God that I have the strength to live my day in harmony and He can sit back and watch from the sidelines. Only I always fail to keep myself in perfect harmony because I am human. I CAN’T be happy and joyful and at peace despite the circumstances without the power of Jesus Christ. I can’t be content in every circumstance without Jesus  speaking truth and love to my heart. I cannot be saved and called a child of the King without opening my heart up to Him, allowing Jesus to see my sins and asking Him to clean them away and be the Lord of my life. Even after we become Christians we can still loose sight of how God works. God does everything in my life through my heart.

I’ve realized it has been hard at times to completely open my heart to God. Sometimes hurtful circumstances can cause us to turn away. All we want to do is cry. We can do that, however, with our heart we can choose to trust Jesus. Allow Him to enter that deep section of our hearts we may have opened to others, but have closed the door for good. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” NKJV. I can read this verse with my mind, and it will go nowhere. I would live my day as if I never read it. Sure I’ll remember it and often repeat it in my head, but still be defeated during the day if I do not read this verse with my heart and allow God’s Word to change my heart. His promises cannot change my life if they do not first change my heart. The same goes with His loving words, faithful words, lovingkindness.

This is pretty basic isn’t it? I should have gotten this a long time ago. Yet, how many of us struggle with this very thing? It’s not that God has never spoken or acted to where our hearts responded, and then we have this amazing God moment that completely changed our lives and spiritual journey. Thats what church camp, youth groups and adult leader retreats are for right? But God longs to give us moments such as these daily. We must first acknowledge where God speaks. He speaks into our hearts. And we must listen with our hearts.

Heart Deep Roots

April 15, 2013

336426_3735717026361_317180205_o

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

The Job Factor

March 9, 2013

This blog might start out a little sad, but it does get better! I’ve discovered that when a person gives their life to Christ, that is the beginning of many lessons and stories to come!  Not all stories start out positive, but when God is the author He always turns it around for good!

Grieving. We link this word in with the lost of a loved one. We don’t only grieve over death, but also over things and changes we don’t understand. Recently, I left a ministry I was very passionate about. There were a lot of spiritual strongholds that occurred in my life and the only way to deal with those strongholds head on was for me to step down. My grieving began, as I left behind the passions, love, and people who I cared deeply about. This was not the only grieving I had to experience. Through leaving this ministry, I also lost a friend. Not to death, but friendship. My true mourning entered my heart as I had to also leave this friend behind and out of my life. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. During my mourning, I had a hard time thinking of other things besides my hurt from leaving the ministry and hurt from a friend. Countless times I cried it all out to God.

Before this time, a few other doors closed in my life as well. I started to feel like I was becoming more alone and being by myself than I wanted to. So many people had walked out of my life, and I felt I had nobody. I didn’t understand where God was going with all this. The past months and the future weeks that lay ahead have tested my endurance. I prayed for healing for my heart, only to find God didn’t give it to me instantly. He takes His time. And His time is not my time because His is perfect.

When in mourning, Satan doesn’t help matters. He likes to smudge in my face the hurt and remind me of my pain. I realize that even though I may not know why this storm occurred or why it began, it was God drawing me to be alone for a reason: to place Him first in all things.

Through the closed doors, God has drawn me to seek His face, peace, comfort, joy, heart, love, contentment, and complete surrender to His love for me period. He purposely allowed these doors to close forcing me to run to Him to show me how people will leave me but He never will, as it says in Hebrews 13:5 NASB, “…I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”. While the words and thoughts of people change daily, the words and thoughts God has toward me do not.

I would ask God this, “Why would You bring me something good, only to take it away from me?” I don’t know why hurtful things happen sometimes, but I do know that God allowed this to happen so that I would place my relationship with Him above all others. I had no choice but to throw myself at Him through this storm because it came to where He was all I had left. By doing this, it allowed Him to change me to look more like Him and to take myself out of the picture frame and put Him in my place in this crazy adventure called life. John 3:30

Recently, God led me to read the book of Job. And what He had to show me through Job’s amazing story gave me passion and a new drive. Job 27:3-5 NASB says,” For as long as life is in me, And the breath of God is in my nostrils, My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit. Far be it from me that I should declare you right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.” Through all Job had been through up until this time ( loosing livestock, home, children, and having discouraging friends and a discouraging wife, boils, disease, etc ) Job would not curse God and turn away even though God never gave Job a reason as to why he was suffering. Job, (a real human who felt hurt, pain, loneness, depression, discouragement and desperation) still kept running and crying to God. In time God blessed Job ever so greatly and he lived a long happy life with a new family, servants, and friends. You know when we are suffering through a trial we often want to blame and put hurt on someone else because we are hurting too. We don’t want to be the only one in pain. Through this current storm in my life you don’t know how much I have wanted to complain to someone about how, “So and so hurt me like this, she makes me feel like that. He needs to fess up and and apologize and blah blah blah.” Yes, I wanted to find the stick in someone else’s eye instead of removing the stick in my own eye. My flesh wanted to place hurt on others through words and actions, but the Spirit inside of me did otherwise. Instead, I took it to Jesus. He listened and allowed me to vent. And then He spoke to me love when I became ready. As I gave in more to that love, I was choosing the Spirit above my flesh. The whole time God understood my pain. He feels it along with me. That was all I needed the whole time from somebody. That somebody was Jesus Christ.

Within time, much healing has come. I still have some roads to walk as I continue to heal. I hope that in the storm you might be facing: your answer to “why” is Jesus. Sometimes God takes away everything to show us that He is the only one will remain standing…because He is all we need.