Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Soul Laid Bare

On Saturday, I had four deep conversations with four of my best friends. I voiced my concerns, my fears, my shortcomings, admitted my wrongdoings, which led to my ultimate acknowledgment that I had drifted from God and for the past year-and-a-half, I had been living without the direction of God in my life. At the end of the night, I was emotionally drained and I had laid my soul bare before my friends and God.

It took four emotionally taxing conversations with my friends, the last two of which reduced me to a monstrous, crying heap (saying I'm an ugly crier is a HUGE understatement) to completely empty my soul. The beautiful thing about it, though, is that when I had completely emptied myself of all this baggage I had been carrying around and was at my lowest and most vulnerable point, I began to fill the Spirit fill me once again. When I had become empty and had released my soul of everything that ultimately was not God, the Spirit filled me up and replaced all of the junk I had been carrying. After that, my eyes were opened and I began fully comprehending some truths in my life that I had not the courage to admit to myself. With the Spirit's guidance, my eyes were made clear and I could begin to see the path God has laid out for me and recognize certain things in my life that had been hampering my spiritual growth.

That had been my life recently: a year-and-a-half of actions and decisions that didn't glorify God. I had occasional moments where He and I would reconnect and there was some growing being done in arbitrary spurts, but what kind of relationship is that? I was falling deeper and deeper into the barrel until at some point I hit the bottom and you know what, that's where I had been for a long while. Some people think that once you hit the bottom, you start your climb back to the top immediately, but I did some running around the bottom of the barrel looking for my way back to the top in utter spiritual darkness. But that is the beauty of being reduced to nothing, scraping the bottom, looking for a way back up: when you realize you have hit the bottom, you are at your most responsive to God because you recognize you need Him more than ever. Once that has hit you, His love and direction fills you and the beauty of being at the lowest point is realizing all you have to go is up. For the second time in my life, my soul had been laid bare, and I am rediscovering God's purpose, plan, and direction in my life.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"There's a difference in knowing about God and knowing God." - Dave Sevurn

I promise if you get to really know Him, it'll change your life in ways you never thought possible.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For You

There is a reason for everything 
And for every thing a season. 
A season is only temporary, 
And only temporarily are we allotted time. 
Time waits for no man and man is limited in his understanding. 
But Your understanding transcends all, 
And all exists for Your Glory. 
Glory and honor and praise are Yours for all You have done. 
Done are the forces that try to claim Your children, 
For You are good, faithful, and true. 
For You are the Beginning and the End, 
The author of the Universe, 
And nothing can, nor will anything ever match your power, grace, or love 

   - For You

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pass It On

Hey, everyone! I know it's been awhile since I've updated my blog and that's due to school, working, and my lack of ample time management abilities. Anyway, my plan now is to update whenever I get the urge instead of every Saturday. That way, I can keep the blog fresh and interesting and fun for me and fun for my readers.

I kept telling myself that I would get back to my blog and update it, but that never happened and it just became a project I was extremely passionate about that went on to become neglected. However, I received a huge blessing and a lot of encouragement recently that not only re-inspired me to start actively blogging again, it inspired this post as well.

Blessings from God are amazing. They come just when you least expect them and they feel amazing when you receive them. There are many, many people out there in the world who could use a blessing and some serious love. There's so much sadness and wickedness in the world that a blessing and a little love will go a very long way, and here's what I want to leave all of you with: when you receive a blessing, pass it on in any way you can. Just think of all the good that could come out of passing on a blessing! I've always believed that blessings were never meant for one person, but that they were meant to be shared. I've never been fond of New Years' resolutions, but I'm resolving to share the blessings that I am given and to bless others whenever possible. Hopefully, through this, I hope this blesses all of you in some way.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Have you considered...?

Has anyone ever thought about the reason why we were created with limits, with things that hinder us? That maybe it's so that no matter how brilliant the world thinks we are or how brilliant we think we are, that in the end we're forced to take a step back and remember we can't do it all and that we must lean on Him who can do it all?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Being God's Gift to a Woman, Not Women

As the title of this post suggests, this is for the guys (but I invite the women to read, too!). I'm calling out all of the little boys right now!

Growing up, and especially throughout high school, a lot of what I heard in the hallways and classroom from the guys was who they were sleeping with, what girl they were going to sleep with next, who they wanted to sleep with, which girls looked hot, etc., etc. As men, we're sexually driven creatures. Women, you walk a certain way, talk to us a certain way, even look at us a certain way and you can get us going.

But, guys, we can't be ruled by our sexual desires. In Matthew 5:28 during Christ's Sermon on the Mount, he says, "But I tell you, that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (New International Version). The verse is pretty self-explanatory; if you lust after a woman (that isn't your wife), have impure thoughts about her, then you've already sinned. I've heard all too often from guys that they just want to sleep with every girl that they can jump into bed with. Okay, but what are you getting out of it? Pleasure? Sure. But are you getting anything worthwhile, anything valuable from just sleeping around?

Let's look at this way: if you were a father with a daughter, I can say with certainty you wouldn't want some guy looking at her, fantasizing about her, or talking about her the way I'm sure we've heard some guys talk about women. Now let's consider this: you, me, every person on this planet is a child of God, personally created by Him. Even is she offers her body to you, be a man and remember that she is a child of God who deserves to be loved as such and not used as our personal plaything.

Look, bottom line: thinking of women as our sex toys, sleeping around with them...it's not God-honoring and if it doesn't honor God, we're not to do it. For those of us that God has intended to become husbands, God has created someone specific for you. So be that woman's dream; put your energy into pleasing that one woman, loving her as we are called to do.

It's time to man up. Just do it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sharing the Gospel With Our Friends

So if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you're a Christian. If you're not, that's fine, too, because I'm glad you made your way to my blog and I pray that you're able to get something out of it.

Today I want to talk about sharing the Gospel with our friends...our non-believing friends. In Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus gives us the Great Commission, which is essentially His command for us to, "Go...and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..." (New American Standard Bible). Pretty straight forward, right? We're to go out into the world proclaiming the Word of God and the teachings of Christ, "making disciples of all nations." Cool. But what about when it comes to our friends?

Let me give you a little background about me: I grew up in the church and thought I was a Christian simply because I went to church and I believed that Christ is the Son of God, but in no way did my life reflect that I believed it. In middle school I wasn't the nicest person in the world...by no stretch of the imagination. One girl (who I'm really good friend with now) told me she wore boots everyday to school just so she could kick me really hard because I was that mean. In high school, I smoothed out a good bit, but I still had my moments. When I went off to college in 2010, I got saved in November of that year. It was a huge turning point in my life; my life turned around considerably. Now why am I telling you all this? I hadn't seen my friends back home in a while and I think they could tell that I was different when we met up to catch up and have lunch. The point is, I was scared to share my new faith with them. Sure if they had asked me about it, I would've been more than thrilled to share what God had been doing in my life, but I was scared of what they would say or not want to be my friend anymore because I was sharing my faith with them.

In my opinion, it's much easier to share the Gospel with someone who you'll probably never see again. If you're like me and you have non-Christian friends, you may feel the way I do when it comes to sharing God's Word with them. In my case, I'm afraid what they'll think of me trying to lead them to salvation when they knew me as the guy that caused all kinds of trouble back in the day. We're afraid of being judged, of being ridiculed, of losing our friends. But I have a few things that I would like to share that may give us all the confidence we need to go boldly forward:

  1. In verse 18 of Matthew it says, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “ All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (New American Standard Bible). This verse does two things; first, it sets up Christ's command for us to go and spread the Word of God by proclaiming that Christ has all authority and that we are to do this for Him because He has all power. Secondly, this reaffirms that Christ has all power, that he is omnipotent. Nothing can stand against Christ because He has all power!
  2. If we look at the second part of verse 19, we see this, "... and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (New American Standard Bible). This is Christ's promise that wherever we go, He will be there with us, empowering us to carry out the task that He has set before us. Nothing can stop us with that kind of assurance from our Lord! Like it says in Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who is against us?" (New American Standard Bible).
  3. This last point is pretty simple. Pray. Yes, pray. By praying before we make an attempt to share the Gospel, we can seek God and ask for Him to empower us and that He make speak through us. Another great thing to remember is to ask God to put us at peace and ease our minds about engaging our friends when it comes to sharing the Gospel, for God gives us a peace, "...which surpasses all understanding..." (Philippians 4:7 English Standard Version).
So hopefully with these three things you will be able to more comfortable and easily share the Word with your friends. I have no doubt that you care about the state of their soul and you want to share the Word with them...it's just a matter of being confident and trusting in God. I hope that with these tips you will be able to do just that. 

Until next week, everyone, God bless!