Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Flexing a little Patience Muscle

These past several months have really tested my patience in ways I never new, at depths I didn't think were possible, for an amount of time that our constitution deems "cruel and unusual." Thankfully, today I stand before you speaking with more confidence and purpose than I had 5 months ago. It was not a change that I made, rather it was the life that God has chosen for me. I read a little bit of Genesis again today, mainly the part with Noah. Now there is a man with patience! Read Gen. 8: 6-16.
"6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 "Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives"

I am sure that we have all heard this, read this or at least know a little bit about this story. But think a little harder about it. If you were Noah and that bird came back with an olive leaf, how tempted would you be to jump the gun, get out of that stinky, stuffy boat and stretch out those sea legs of yours!! Hello sun!!! Seriously, I would have been ready to run a marathon! The patience that this man, Noah, had was unbelievable. He didn't think twice about staying. No where does is say anything about him ever asking if it was time to leave! He just sat, PATIENTLY, until God spoke to him the words, "Come out...."

Now think about this.....
Give your life to God. Let Him control the different aspects of your life that you cling to so dearly. Live in the Word that is spoken to you through Him. Some things in your life will test your patience, but believe me, God will give you what you need. If it His will, it will be done! So, get out of His way and let our Lord, our Savior, reign down on us with the glory and power of His love. Just remember that he will answer our of our needs according to His perfect plan.

Philippians 4:19
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

Believe in Him. Let Him live in you. Walk in His word and in His way. Love through Christ the way He loves you! I pray that God blesses you wherever you are today. Wherever you are in your life. Whether you are with God or if you have turned your back on Him because of whatever reason. I pray that you see the light that has been lit for you. Not today when you looked, but before you were born, in that moment where you became a thought. When God picked up the dust and breathed life into it. From that moment, your light has shined. This light has no wick, it cannot burn out. No one can blow it out. It burns forever with fury, with purpose, with passion. It burns with beauty of perfection. Now go, shine your light where there is darkness. Let it shine, let it shine!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rant in an old year!

So, it's nearly been a month since my last posting which would make you think that this posting is going to be something out of this world, eh? Sorry, I may disappoint you. So see, in the past month God has been doing a lot in me and for me. I am struggling to move forward in some areas and have grown exponentially in others. It's tough to say what all God is doing and why He is doing it the way he is, but I feel blessed that He is even working in me!

Alright, in the past month I have also 'The Shack.' What a book!! I read in roughly 3 days! I couldn't put it down! It has taught me so much! I will not spoil the book for you if you have not read it, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it! One of the biggest parts of the book that a lot of people have trouble with is tragedy. It is a very tough question, why/how can such a loving God allow for such saddening acts to happen!? It's not fair! Well, do not question God! His love for us is beyond our belief, our imagination, our reasoning, our comprehension! He sent His son to live and to die for us! If God would not have sent Jesus to die for our sins, we would all be doomed, because not one of us is worthy of His love. But you know what, even before God sent Jesus for us, He loved us. He loved you and me before Adam was the dust that he came from! We must take God's love and live in it, be thankful for it, and share it! (PS- I will be spoiling the Shack for anyone who hasn't read it in the near future because I want to talk about it that bad so hurry up and read it!!!)

Okay, so we are quickly approaching the most amazing holiday ever! The birth of Christ! I am saddened by what this holiday has become. I watched the beginning of The Grinch last night and Dr. Suess nailed it! People aspire to be the one who spent more than anyone else! Why?! When this holiday comes around and people think, what can I get so-n-so that will stand out to everyone. People want to be in the spotlight. Of course this is not true of everyone. I am even guilty of doing this from time to time. I try my hardest not to fall under the spell of selfishness. Why did this first become a holiday? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is actually a Birthday party! The birth of not only a person, or I should I say 'The Person,' but it is also the birth of our everlasting life! This holiday is a celebration of life, of forgiveness, of joy, of hope, of LOVE, and so much more! It is so easy at this time of year to forget what Christmas means. I look around and listen to what's happening and become sad. I think about the craziness of what is at the center of this holiday. What frustrates me the most is how people treat each other this time of the year. I'm not talking about the amazing giving that so many people do(especially in MN) to those in need, but rather the selfishness on the road, unforgiving of a rude shopper, the anger towards someone that doesn't know what kind of day you've had.

There may only be a few more days left in December and even fewer until the Celebration of Jesus, but I hope that you can forgive that person that didn't see you as they merged on the road. I hope you can forgive that person who took "your" parking spot in the PUBLIC parking lot. I hope you will give the little time you have out of your busy day to help someone with a stalled car, flat tire, more groceries than hands, too many kids with no time to relax. I pray that you can look for a way to put a smile on a brother or sister of Christ. Not because you feel obligated in this season of giving, but because you want to share the love that God has given you. This season is too short. We don't celebrate God's love for us enough. So, go out and celebrate with someone else and share God's love!

Have a wonderful Christmas! Be safe, joyful, love and be loved!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I want to live for Christ in EVERYTHING!!!!!

Genesis 25
I have had a lot of questions lately about how to live for God. Well, I think I've got it now, or at least I am looking in the right direction now. You see, I always asked, how can I live for God in everything, including the small things. How do I go to work and live for God? How can I sit on the couch and watch TV and be living my life for God? It's easy to look at the big things in life and to pick the way God wants us to live, but what happens when we want to live for God in everything? You see, He is waiting for us at every moment. He is waiting for us to seek Him at every moment. He wants to grant us all of our wishes. And so we are to pray to him. We are to ask him to be there for every moment. When we are going to work, ask God to be there with you and ask Him to give some one a smile from God.If we ask God to be in everything in our lives, then we are living in Christ at all times. We are meant to ask God to be in everything from a good nights rest, our meals, out friends, to our children, our jobs, homes, churches, etc. He wants to grant us all that we need, but we must be willing to ask Him to be in everything, from our heart.

Even when we ask God to be in the decisions we make, he may not reply right away. Sometimes, it takes time. This time is on purpose by God. We may not be asking with all of our heart, or we may need to know more about something first, or possibly even to appreciate all that God does for us. What ever reason for God to hold back, we must be patient. There are a lot of unanswered prayers that I have, but this reading today was an answer to one. God is giving me knowledge and teaching me how to live in His glory. It has been tough for me to live for Him in everything because I didn't know how. I was getting very frustrated because all I wanted to do was walk in His word, but I didn't know how. Now I have a new insight. We must pray that God is with us at all times. And don't be general about it. Get specific. Go deep and thank Him for everything. Ask Him to join you as you drive to work. Ask Him to help you fill your car up with gas. Ask Him to be there as you fix your hair. Whatever it is you are doing today, ask the person who cares for you more than you will ever know to join you, God, our Father.

I pray to all of you now that you find the patience to wait for God's answer that you are begging for. I pray for God to join you, hand in hand, as you wake up tomorrow and forever more. I pray that God watches over you and protects you, because you are my friend, my brother or sister in Christ. I pray to you all, no matter how tough your day, your week, or even your year has been, that you are able to smile, because you have a friend that loves you through Christ's love!

Thanks for reading today! God bless!

Monday, November 17, 2008

From Father to Son

One day, I was up in Brainerd visiting my parents and went for a ride with my dad. I had a big conversation ahead of me that I needed to talk to him with. I was nervous, but not scared. You see, I felt neglected over the years. I felt as though I did not get the love that I deserved. With each day that I went on with this thought, I built the wall higher and higher, wider and wider. I saw him as an amazing man, but I didn't see him as a loving man. As we went for a ride, I brought it up, but not to make him feel bad or even just aware, but because I was ready to forgive him. So, I did. After I forgave him, I realized that I needed to ask for forgiveness because of what I had done. I had separated us with anger. I had made it impossible for him to be close to me. So, I asked for forgiveness. You know what he said!? He said that I never need to ask for forgiveness because he loves me unconditionally and he will always want the best for me. I had just told him how much of a jerk I had been to him, that I had disconnected us and he says, "don't worry about it." As if I had accidentally spilt a little water on the counter top!?! I couldn't believe it! Last night, I was thinking about this and how God was using this in my life....

Think about this for a second. From the very first day that we are born, we are predetermined to live a sinful life! We don't have an option in that. Because when we are born, we are given the choice to live with God or without. And you know what else!? From before we are even born, God is in pursuit of us. He wants us to seek him. He waits for us to turn to Him. From before we are a thought, before we are born and forevermore, God loves us unconditionally. He loves us always no matter what decisions we make. He loves us, and wishes for us to turn towards Him, whether we believe in Him or not. He is a patient God. Thank goodness! Because for some of us, it takes a long time. Sometimes until our last breath. It doesn't matter though, because just like a father's love for an angry son, God loves us and waits for us no matter what.
Isaiah 54: 10
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

So, when you are thinking about how long it's been since you've felt to God, just remember, He is waiting and is always waiting! He loves us no matter what, whether we are on the straightest path ever, or nowhere near the path, His love shines over you and He awaits your return with open arms and more love than you will ever know to experience!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So the last will be first, and the first will be last

Matthew 20: 1-16
I like this parable a lot. It is a tough one for many to relate to life here on Earth but when it comes to God's salvation, it's easy to think of. So, the vineyard owner hired people to work his vineyard for a denarius. He started early in the morning, and about every hour on the hour, he went to town and hired more people until the eleventh hour. When it was time to pay the men, he started with the most recently hired. Even though he started work many hours after the first set of workers, the owner still paid them a denarius. The first hired, last paid, were upset because they thought they deserved more because they worked harder. The vineyard owner ended the parable by saying, "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?"

In the eyes of God, the man who first proclaims the Lord as his God by voice and heart is just as worthy to be saved as the man who lived a full worldly life and on the last day of his life on Earth proclaims the Lord as his God by voice and by heart. Once you receive Jesus as our savior you are an equal in God's eye. You are saved and deserve the same kingdom as everyone who receives the Holy Spirit. I am young, just barely holding on to 24, and hope to live a very long life praising God and doing His will, sharing His glory and doing all that He asks of me. I shall not be envious of the man who enjoyed all of the worldly things for an entire lifetime only to find God on his deathbed, proclaiming the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being saved and worthy of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. And when you live in the Word and with the Spirit, I will not be envious but rather thankful that another brother/sister in Christ has been saved.

Alright, that is my attempt at giving my two cents as if we were in a Bible study. Now, let me just type out loud. With today's law it is near impossible for this situation to truly happen. That's okay since it was meant to explain a hypothetical situation. But what if this truly happen. What if I am at working getting paid the same amount as the person next to me. They come in and do the bare minimum just so they won't get fired because they are doing their job. I come in and I want to do my best. So, I do all that I can to not only get my job done, but to also help everyone else around me. I do all my tasks efficiently with a smile. See what I am saying here? After 3 months of this activity, we have our review. Myself and the other worker both get the same raise because when we were hired it was said that after 3 months, if we did our job we would get $X more/hour. My initial reaction would be anger because I in my eyes, I worked so much harder to do what they asked of me. Wow, as I write this, I realize how hard this would actually be to swallow.

I think we should all swallow hard, thank God for taking us for who we are. Our goal should not be to compare ourselves to those around us, but rather to seek God's glory. Not what can I do more than so-and-so, but rather, what would God want me to do? Pray that the Lord will shine out His will on your path and put on blinders so that you do not have the envious urge to see what others are doing.

11-12-08: Matthew: 19

Matthew 19: 1-12
Alright, this chapter starts out with divorce, a chapter that I think everyone in the world should read over and over these days with a society that sees it as something that is so acceptable. Jesus explains marriage as a joining into "one flesh." He goes on to say, "So they are no longer two but one. Therefor what God has joined together, let man not separate." When you marry another through God, you are joined as one. You are no longer two different people. God will join you two so you are able to do God's will as one entity. If you divorce, then it was because of man, because you have left God behind and did your own will. Jesus says, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." If you live your life for God and give him your faith, and if it is God's will, you will be joined with one of the opposite sex in marriage, becoming "one flesh." It is only through God that a marriage will work. It is only through our Lord that we truly become one. Some asked, would it not be better if they did not marry? In 1 Cor: 7-9 Jesus explains it, "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is food for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

Matthew 19: 16-30
This passage talks about our way to heaven. The rich young man walks up to Jesus and bluntly, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. The young man replies saying he has followed the commandments. Jesus then asks the man to give all his possessions away and give up everything to follow Jesus. The young man walked away sad because he acquired much wealth. The young man was thinking that he could go to Jesus and use his wealth in a righteous act in order to preserve his spot in the Kingdom of Heaven. Because the young man was thinking for himself, wanting to live his wealthy life and just pay off his way to the Kingdom, he was not actually doing good. For God explains that all good begins with Him. Therefor, in order to do good, you must start with God. After this is explained, Peter asks Jesus in Matthew 19: 27 "...We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" They were given eternal life, 12 thrones to judge the 12 areas of Isreal. Everyone who leaves there mother, father, brother, sister in order to follow Jesus is granted a hundred times as much and eternal life.

So, quite simply put, in order to receive eternal life, we must give up everything in this world in order to follow Jesus. It does not mean you have to become a wanderer, even though for some, it does. Rather, most of us will need to get rid all distraction from God. In my case, I am giving up friends, I gave up drinking, I am giving up a lifestyle. I wish I could say that I was there, but I am not. I am still learning where I am not giving myself to God and need to correct these areas. I lived 24 years gaining worldly thoughts and possessions. Now, I will spend the rest of my life giving up these possessions, lifestyles, habits, etc.

Just a reminder, I am new to writing what I am learning and would love insight, help, anything you can add.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11-11-08: Matthew 18

I am reading the whole Bible right now, I am doing it in steps. Each day I read one chapter from the OT starting with Genesis, one chapter in the NT starting with Matthew, one chapter in Psalms, one chapter in Proverbs. Some days I read more than one of each of these. Well today, I looked at Matthew 18.
Jesus asks us to be humble like children. Children are so innocent. If you just sit with them for ten minutes, they will tell you of everything they see in and/or on you, good and bad(mostly the latter). There is no humility in them. They are not trying to impress anyone. They just want to be loved, to be noticed by their Father. If we cause an innocent child to sin, then it becomes our sin.

Matthew 18: 8-9
God does not see us as a waste once we sin. He asks us to get rid of the part of us that caused us to sin. To cut off our feet if it is our feet that caused us to sin is meant quite less literal. If us walking into a situation, or place, that causes us to sin, then we must not go there. We must avoid those places of temptation that lead us to sin when we are not strong enough and we must pray for the strength to avoid the sin and to look towards our Father. Next, the Lord tells us, "if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away." Again, you do not literally gouge out your eye and toss it away. Your eyes bring you sin, lust for instance; if you see a pretty woman and continue to undress her and think of impure thoughts about her then you must not look. Easier said than done, I know. Especially these days with a society so focused on impure sex. If you can tell there is someone of the opposite sex coming, you must turn away and focus on something else. Pray that God will keep your focus on Him and not the worldly things around us.

Jesus uses the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18: 10-14 to illustrate His love for everyone, even the sinners. We are all God's children, or sheep in this illustration. Unfortunately, there are times where we wander away from His flock. We will go away and become lost. Jesus, our Shepherd, will come looking for us. He will always search until we are found. If, and when, He finds us, He is extremely happy. It is said that, "he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off." He is talking about that one sheep that was lost but now found.

Matthew 18: 20
"For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them."

Matthew 18: 21-35
In order for us to be forgiven, we must forgive others as out Father forgives us. There is not a limit to the number of times in which we are suppose to forgive, instead, we should forgive every time our brother/sister/neighbor asks us for forgiveness. If we ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven by the Lord, our God, but if forgiveness is asked of us and we do not forgive, then it is said that we will be "tortured until he should pay back all he owed." This is what we can expect unless we "forgive your brother from your heart." So, the forgiveness that we ask for really means nothing unless we are willing to forgive those who sin against us from our heart. We can't just say the Lord's Prayer and expect that those words grant us worthiness of the forgiveness from our Father! We must say the words and mean them from the bottom of our heart!

Thanks for listening today! God bless everyone!