Walking hand in hand with Christ

"Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called...." Ephesians 4:1

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the church circus

It's been forever since I've wrote anything! These past few weeks have been so crazy hectic. The LORD has done such a work in and through me. I worked full time at KindCare Learning Center and am now resting and relaxing until the big move in 2 weeks! Ah, I am so excited. As I have been learning more about the truth of the Word and yearning to grow deeper, the Lord has opened my eyes to some things I just need to share. I know many people feel this way, and I know many other people think it's no big deal. My challenge to you is that you would truly sit and pray about these things..that the Lord would open your eyes as well.

I have been doing some studying of the Word and reading different books, and I came across a book called "Radical" by David Platt. It's a pretty awesome book and I encourage you to check it out. I feel like, as the years go on, the churches in America have moved away from holiness, simplicity of the Gospel and truth... and they have turned their churches into circuses. What do I mean? I see churches using plays and stage shows, some churches make you feel as if you're walking into a night club, other churches have Pastors who are either women, or men who try to act "cool" to attract the younger generation, yet in their "coolness" they are being blasphemous, downright crude, and they twist the words of Jesus to make it something appealing rather than truth.

I think that the REAL cool thing to do, would just preach the good news to us blatant and how it is in the Word, don't you? You're way cooler if you actually preach the truth rather than water it down or change words into others to make the younger generation cool. I know of a few churches who spend their time trying to get bigger congregations rather than spending time praying and using the Word as their tool to attract true believers. I am sick and tired of watching the churches in America turn into freak shows and circuses just to attract people.

If you aren't simply preaching the gospel then you're not attracting true believers, you're attracting people who most likely only go to your church so they can 'feel good' and be warm and fuzzy inside. Now, don't get me wrong. The TRUTH of the Gospel and of Jesus can often times make you comforted, peaceful and joyful..yes. But, there is another part of the Gospel that talks about sin, hell, wrath and repentance. Have you heard of it? I fear that many people who go to these 'feel good' churches never hear much about sin and hell because their pastors don't want them to have to hear the ugly truth. Well, sometimes the truth IS ugly. Yet, we need to know about how we were created IN sin. We are ugly, wretched humans. Let me just say, the true gospel message is taught when you also learn of the wrath of God, the reality of sin, and the truth of our ugliness and how we need to repent. Pastor's who refuse to teach on such things just aren't teaching their flocks the truth. I'm sorry but it's the truth.

You see churches around America where Pastor's only talk about how to get rich, how to feel happy, how to make sure you are successful. Where in the Bible does it say you need to be rich, happy, and successful in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Actually, the Word talks a lot about how as true followers of Jesus Christ we will be hated, mocked, and sometimes poor for Christ. Is this a loss? Rather..I find it a gain. I don't care if you take away my possessions, my money, my friends & family, or my success... just give me Jesus. Who could want anything else? Honestly.. Jesus is all you need. So enough talk of this 'successful Christian life' junk. Does God bless those believers who obey the commands and are true to Christ and His gospel? Sure, He does..but the Christian life isn't all about roses and daisies, sorry to say. We will have persecutions, trials and perils. These things make us stronger in Christ. These obstacles make us trust in Him more. What would our walks with Christ be without such? I would find it boring. I would find it rather pointless.

I am saddened to see the path the churches in America are going. I must say: there are several to many churches with Pastor's preaching the TRUTH of the Gospel and sticking to the holiness and severity of Christ, but unfortunately... you can't find many. Bigger churches are NOT always better. Just from experience, I've come to find the smaller churches are usually the ones who are the most loving, they are the ones who walk with Christ the most, and most of them have a congregation willing to serve and put their lives on the line for Jesus every day. Now, I'm not knocking mega-churches or big churches in general. You may be able to find good in them... I just haven't found one unfortunately.

I'm sad to see the church being turned into a place that appeals to youth. I'm sad to see the church in America looking like dance clubs instead of old fashion steeples and pews. I'm saddened to see that most Christians in Asia are being killed every day for their faith and walk with Jesus. They need to meet underground and in private because of the risk of losing their life...yet as Americans, we have the blessing of meeting freely but we have abused the simplicity and holiness of the true Word of God.

In Galatians Paul warns us about teachers such as these. In the Word it says:

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:6-10

We are not here to attract people to the Gospel in any other way than to simply speak the truth of it. The job of the church is not to water down the Word, or become "cooler" by adding their own words to it, or taking words out, or changing things. Who are we seriously pleasing? People? Or God?

I fear what judgment day will be to many churches and Pastor's once we see Jesus face to face. Aside from that, I truly wonder how the Lord handles this now.

Praying that we as true believers would find churches who truly preach on the holiness and severity of Christ. We are not in this world to be cool or to gain popularity. We are here to further the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He is for all mankind.


Imagine this, ladies. You go walking one day by yourself to pray or think about things. Suddenly, someone appears to you, but he seems rather...different. It isn't your usual person saying 'hi' as you walk past each other on the street. This man seems....different...holy or something. He tells you that you were chosen by God to have His only Son. You can't muster up any other words but... "Are you sure? No, this can't be. I haven't been with anyone. Plus, what will my family think? What about my friends? It's 2010. People talk. They'll think I'm promiscuous. I refuse. No no no." The guy continues to explain, "Don't worry. Everything will be fine... it's going to work out." Then leaves. Next thing you know, weeks later, your baby bump starts forming and people stare. Your friends turn their backs on you. They sit there asking who you even are anymore. Your family is disgusted and refuse to have any part in a relationship with you anymore. You're lonely. You have no one to talk to and you can't simply understand why God has chosen you to bear His child. You don't understand why you, out of all the other people in the world, He chose for such a divine purpose.

Oh yeah...none of this is a dream either. It's REAL LIFE. Can you seriously imagine that? It's what Mary had to go through as the angel of the Lord came and spoke to her. She nearly questioned it all... "How can this be? I have not been with any man." But did Mary refuse? Did she say she wouldn't do it? Of course not. Her exact words were: "Let it be done to me, according to Your word." Wow... can you imagine what that must have been like for a 15 year old girl, living in the time period she lived in? In those times, when a young girl was pregnant out of wedlock... the punishment was death. They were summonsed to get stoned. Man, take one look around you today and it's normal for women and young girls to get pregnant out of wedlock. It's simply horrible, and SINFUL.

Yet, Mary knew that God was bigger and greater than anything she had to face here on earth. Joseph also was upset with it all. He wasn't sure whether she had been unfaithful, and he even contemplated stoning his wife. Yet, in a dream, God spoke to him. When he woke up, he knew that it was exactly what God wanted for their life: to carry the Savior who would save all mankind.

Women, can you possibly imagine this? Can you fathom this? Mary was only 15. She was chosen to conceive a child EVEN THOUGH she had not been with a man. Her husband had to deal with it all. Her Son who she was to conceive (Jesus) was going to eventually die on the cross for all of mankind. I can't even wrap my head around it all. The Lord's plans for my life thus far have been adventurous, scary, exciting, and often times frightful. But..for me to carry a baby without being with a man, then to come and find out my baby was going to die for the sins of the world. Wow...it's something I simply cannot understand, or fathom. It's amazing.

As I watch "The Nativity" every Christmas, I just want to cry through the entire movie. What a sweet and precious woman Mary was, even in her young age. The most High and Holy God chose her out of all the women in the world, to carry His Son and to bring Him into the world. Mary and Joseph knew that their Son was for all mankind. They knew the divine purpose and plan God had laid on their lives from the get go. Mary willingly allowed her Heavenly Father to do whatever He wanted. What obedience, faithfulness and devotion she portrayed for Her King.

As I ponder that...I'm in awe. I know that the devotion and faithfulness Mary showed to her King is the same devotion and faithfulness I need to show to my Heavenly Father as well. Oh, how I yearn to be more like Mary.

Once Jesus was born, people from all over came to see this beautiful, miraculous Child. All Mary could say was, "He is for all mankind." It's simply mind boggling.

Jesus Christ... He was the One born into this world...God in the image of flesh... to die for ME, for you, for the sins of the whole world. It's something that is just too incredible to think upon.

Every Christmas, I remind myself to true reason for the holiday...and that's Jesus. As I have begun getting into the habit of watching "The Nativity" every Christmas...it really gives me a deeper and more meaningful thought on what the Christmas season is truly all about.

My heart lately has been so empty..but SO full of Jesus. It's all I've needed, and all I've wanted. My prayer constantly is that, I wouldn't be filled with love, peace, joy, friends, family, riches, material possessions, or anything else...but the ONLY thing I would be filled with would be Jesus.

He is truly all I want. He is all I need. Everything else in this world is simply...nothing on my list. Jesus is enough, and I am more than willing to say that out loud. I am madly in love with Him.

He chose to go to the cross...just as Mary chose to bare God's Son for me... Jesus went to the cross at Calvary and died in MY place. That should have been me up there. How can I not willingly and lovingly give Him my entire life? There is no greater joy, no greater reward, and no greater fulfillment than walking hand in hand with Jesus.

Nothing can be better.

So, as Christmas comes at us quickly, I pray that our hearts would be empty, but so full of just Jesus. He is the reason we celebrate, and He is all we need. Praying that our hearts would be Christ centered and 'others' centered, and that our fulfillment would be in Christ alone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

rejoicing.



Tonight, I am rejoicing with joy inexpressible. I can't comprehend it, I can't fully explain it, I can't even physically show enough of it all. My God is extremely sovereign, victorious, faithful and merciful. Tonight was one of those intimate moments with Jesus, just rejoicing, crying and thanking Him unconditionally for what He has done for me.

I have had a discouraged attitude, an attitude of self seeking desire, wondering why I was so selfish, not always willing to serve like I should. I kept praying prayers such as: "Lord, please, change my heart. I want, I yearn to be a servant..more than ever before. Why am I so selfish sometimes? Why is my flesh always in the way?" I became to understand tonight the reasons why. First off...I wasn't even fully sure I had been baptized with the Holy Spirit, so that's a whole different story. After I had formally prayed that prayer... the Lord began to reveal my eyes as to what my problem has been. I just love when He reveals my sin. It isn't always nice, or pretty to see...and most of the time I'm convicted beyond belief.

Yet, it was so precious as to what He showed me. For so long I had been so "SELF" focused, and not "others" focused. Sure I love people and my loved ones, I pray for them, but am I honestly the precious servant that the Lord wants me to be? To the fullest? I'm being honest when I say no.

For so long I have thought, 'how do I feel? how do I look? how do I come across to others?' me me me, I, I, I, blablablablabla ANNOYING!!!!!

Seriously, it's sickening. My sweet precious friend and her husband have been brought into my life for such a unique reason. The Lord used her to draw me back into His precious will. He led her to encourage me to surrender and give my life fully over to Him. Now, 2 years later, we are the best of friends. Her husband spoke at church tonight and made a good point: "If you sit and look at yourself in the mirror constantly, you're going to get sick of it!" HAHA so true! And for so long, that's been ME. Looking at myself in the mirror constantly, looking at 'self self self', wondering what do I need to make me feel better? What should I go do to make me happy? Wow..can you say sickening? Because let's get serious, I'm sick of myself.

So, as the Lord opened my eyes tonight I felt extremely convicted. I mean, this life isn't my own. I don't belong to this world and my citizenship is in heaven. So, who cares what I look like to others? Or what others think? The only thing I want to accomplish in this world until I go home to be with Jesus is that people have nothing awful or great to say about me other than: "She talked about Jesus a lot, it was kinda weird. All she did was say how much she loved Him and how much her life was dedicated to serving Him. Whatever." THAT is all I want people to remember me for. Do you think people know me like that now? Sad to say I'm sure not everyone does. Maybe most do.

Yet, that is the purpose of my life you guys. It SHOULD be the purpose of yours too. Not about how many relationships you can have, how beautiful you look, how tan you are, how skinny you are, how much money you make. I know I go over this quite a lot...but the Lord really allowed it to hit home with me tonight. If I would, for like...2 minutes get over mySELF and start thinking upon others, through the help of His Holy Spirit I can soooo be the servant and lover that I yearn to be..for Him and for others.

I don't want the words, 'me', 'I', or 'self' in my vocabulary anymore. I don't want to even THINK them. Oh, my prayer is that my heart and mind would constantly be praying and saying, 'what can I do for OTHERS today?' or, 'who needs encouragement today?' and honestly, I don't care if I get recognition, in fact, I wouldn't do ANY of these things if people were to thank me. I don't need thank you's, blessings, or smiles...all I need is the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord thinks that I am precious and honorable in His sight. That's all that matters.

So, as He revealed to me my sin, and how 'self' focused I had become, I began to cry out to the Lord that He would truly change my heart...major time. I want to wake up in the morning thinking upon Him of course..but thinking upon OTHERS. This life isn't about me. I was blessed and moved at what the Lord showed me through my daily devotional. Here's what tonight said:

"The dust will return to the earth as it was. The body is sown in corruption. It is sown in dishonor. It is sown in weakness. It is sown a natural body. The first man was of the earth, made of dust. Dust you are, and to dust you shall return. One dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and secure. Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, never having eaten with pleasure. They lie down alike in the dust, and worms cover them. My flesh. . .will rest in hope. After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see GOD. The Lord Jesus Christ. . .will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

[Eccles. 12:7; 1 Cor 15:42-44; 1 Cor 15:47; Gen 3:19; Job 21:23, 25-26; Ps. 16:9; Job 19:26; Phil 3:20-21; Ps 39:4; Ps 90:12]


So you see, you guys, the Lord has opened my eyes after months of wondering, questioning, being discouraged...but it's all because I was so worried about me and what I needed, what I wanted. When did I have time to think upon others? Or ask the Lord to fill me with His Spirit for strength? I love how when you read the Word, it's like He reveals new things each time you read the same passage over and over again. Is He incredible or what?

My God is sovereign. That's all I can really say. So, as I got finished with my precious time with Him, I began to fold some laundry..yea great stuff. Yet, I couldn't help but to SMILE and then, tears came falling down my face. I knew, that through all the oppression, the discouragement, the thoughts of loneliness, despair, curiosity, wonder... the Lord had been with me the entire time. He was waiting for HIS precious timing to reveal His complete purpose for it all. Honestly, it was at the most perfect time, too. I haven't had such a sweet overwhelming sense of joy and love for my God since last year. I feel this way every day, but it's once in a while that He truly does something to break down the walls of discouragement and reveal His precious plans to you. It may take time...but the waiting process is the best, because through it, He shows you His love, His patience and His goodness.

What could be better? I can't help but to tell satan what a low life he is. Yeah, satan, you can try to tempt me, trip me, oppress me, but I have a GOD who is Greater, Mightier, Higher than you'll ever be. You won't win, ever.

My GOD is awesome, powerful, sovereign, faithful, merciful. What can be better? It's one of those moments where I can honestly sit back and say that no matter what comes my way...what trials fall on me, what tribulations knock on my door...my GOD is victorious, and when you pray the prayer that He would help you overcome your obstacle...wait in silence, at His feet because deliverance will come. He never fails you.



"In Christ alone, my hope is found
He is my Light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firmed through the fiercest drought and storm


What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are still when strivings cease
My Comforter my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.


There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again


And as He stands in victory
Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ


No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny


No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns, or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

just give me Jesus.

Lately, the Lord has put a few things on my heart to really draw me nearer to Him. For a few months now He has shown me what it's truly like to live. It isn't all about the cultural beauty, material possessions, friends, popularity, ect. He has shown me that the purpose of living, is living a life of simplicity, of holiness and of purity. This is the life I yearn to live and why? Simply, because my Jesus has given all He had (His life) for my ransom. What else could I possibly live for?

I have seen Him bring me out of the pit of broken hearts, promiscuity, bitterness, unforgiveness, brokenness, loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness. I mean...the list goes on and on and on. I can honestly say that my life with Jesus has been nothing less than joyful, peaceful, and worth living. The life I lived before...useless, empty and depressing. So, why would I not choose to live sold out for Him? Why would I not choose to live simply, and in holiness?

I fall short almost every day and I'm sick of myself. Yet, I know that the Lord is faithful. He knows I am but dust. He has shown me, that a life away from the cultural norms is a life of joy. Sure, it's a life of barely anything aside from Him...but who cares? I love it. I have learned that in whatever state I'm in, I am to be content and REJOICING with joy inexpressible. I believe He is also preparing me for what is to come...because at Bible College, there are no TV's, barely any music, and not a lot of internet ;) So I am soooo thankful and blessed He has taken these few months to prepare me mentally and spiritually. What an awesome, powerful God I serve.

So, as He has been teaching me to live a life of simplicity, I can honestly say it's a life worth living. Just this past Sunday my mom spoke at our annual Christmas Dessert at church. The theme was "Glory to God in the Highest" and it was EVERYTHING I needed to hear, and everything the Lord had been teaching me in this season of my life! She spoke on living simply, saying 'goodbye' to all the unnecessary distractions this world has to offer. She spoke on living in holiness and how the Lord is to be our cornerstone, our rock and our focus in this life. At the end of her message, my mom shared a video by Anne Graham Lotz. Daugher of Billy Graham who is a famous evangelical speaker across the world, she is probably one of the most impacting speakers of her time.

What a precious virtuous woman of God she is. This video made me cry. It made me think of the prodigal, the lost, the searching, the broken, the helpless. It made me think of who I used to be apart from Christ. It made me realize the gratitude and thankfulness I need to portray to my wonderful Savior for all He has done for me.

No matter where you are in life, who you are, what you've been through or where you plan on going...God is real, powerful, sovereign, and He's pursuing you, I just know it. To repent of your sin and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ...now that is a life worth living. Please, watch this. And truly let it sink into your heart. I know the Lord has something for you through this.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

wait.


I have found that in my own sin and ignorance I have been trying to alter the plans God has for me. I have tried to rush them, change them, bargain with Him about them. As I think upon all that the Lord has already done for me, why in the world would I want to change anything else He has in store? Everything He's done so far has been extremely perfect in His will and timing.

The distractions of this life are so huge. They can tear at you until you cave into the sins you once used to be involved in. I have come back to a place of knowing that simplicity of just Jesus is the purest, holiest, most precious form of living. I obviously own a computer, a cell phone, a television, movies, music, ect ect ect. Those things are wonderful until they suck the time, energy and life out of you and cause you to have nothing left for the Lord. Sad life, isn't it?

I have found that I, too, have become to obsessed with the cultures of the world. Nothing morally wrong or debased, just things that draw me away from the Lord. Once that happens, you can find yourself unsatisfied, discontent, wondering how your life could be different. Isn't satan so lame?

He knows our weaknesses, the things that can draw us away from God. So he tries to use them so that we would stumble and fall. God is much more victorious, but we have to be willing to surrender and sacrifice all these things onto His lap and say 'Ok, Lord..no more. YOU are in control.'

You'd think by the millionth time of these things happening we would learn. But we don't. I wonder why that is. I'm sure the Lord weeps for His children quite often. I'm sure He grieves over the fact that our sin often times becomes more powerful than our desire to be holy. I, too, have been at fault for this.

The desire and passions of this life (should be) that our aim would be to walk in holiness, purity and righteousness. Our aim should be to seek the things which are above, where Christ is and not things of the earth. Nothing in this world/life can possibly satisfy like Jesus. Who is like Him? No one.

So, as I came across my aggravation, dissatisfaction, discontentment, annoyances, and the list goes on....I have come to find that it's my problem because I've let my own pride, selfishness and sin get into the way of what the Lord truly wants to do. Whether it be the plans for now or for the future. It is His command that we surrender it ALL unto Him. It is His command that as children of God we are to let go and let GOD do the work.

We try to rush the plans? They end up disastrously. We try to change the plans and we end up in brokenness. We try to go about them our own way and we end up in sin.

I want to share a poem with you that truly pierced my heart. Praying that you, too, will WAIT upon the Lord for every single thing in your life. Big or small, it's nothing He doesn't want to lead and direct. Trust Him.



I said, "Let me walk in the field";
God said, "No, walk in the town";

I said, "There are no flowers there";

He said, "No flowers, but a crown."



I said, "But the sky is black,

There is nothing but noise and din";
But He wept as He sent me back,
"There is more,"
He said, "there is sin."



I said, "But the air is thick,
And smog is veiling the sun";
He answered, "Yet souls are sick,

And your work is yet undone."



I said, "I will miss the light,

And friends will miss me, they say";

He answered me,
"Choose tonight,
If I am to miss you, or they."


I pleaded for time to be given;
He said, "Is it hard to decide?

It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."


I cast one look at the field,
Then set my face to the town;

He said, "My child, do you yield?

Will you leave the flowers for the crown?"



Then into His hand went mine,
And into my heart came He;

And I walk in light Divine,

The path I had feared to see.



- George McDonald -

Saturday, December 4, 2010

come away.


One of the sweetest things we can do as believers is come away to a deserted place and worship Jesus. It's when we spend quality time with Him, praising Him, adoring Him, thanking Him for all He has done in our lives. The Lord has truly shown me that prayer and a precious quiet time with Him every single day is what is most delighted in His sight.

I fall so short at this. Especially with all the distractions in this life, as I have had family staying with us for quite a while...it's easy to wake up in the morning and in your mind think of the list of ridiculous amounts of things you have to do that day..then your thoughts and desire to spend time with the Lord vanish. What happened? The Lord delights in YOU. He so desires that you come away and praise Him.

The Bible says that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. How often do we honestly pray? And I'm not saying laying down in bed thanking Him for your day, which is fine...but how often do we set aside time to truly pray? More than just 5 minutes?

As the Lord had been pressing this issue upon my heart lately, He gave me Psalm 84:5, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage."

In the dictionary, the word pilgrimage means: "A journey, a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion."

Wow. Just think about that. The Lord loves when our hearts are set on devoting our time unto Him. We are called every single day to be pursuing pilgrimage. We are called to come away to a secret and precious place and devote our all unto Him... daily!

Boy...do I fall short of this sometimes. It should be our hearts cry...our hearts desire that we WANT to come away and spend time with Him. My hearts prayer is that I don't just 'want' to pray, but I would need to pray in order to survive before my day continues. Prayer is such an important part of our Christian lives. As we continue in our relationships with the Lord, it's how we communicate, how we hear from Him, it's how mountains can be moved. Prayer is a POWERFUL thing. No wonder people go around saying, 'my prayers are never answered'.

Maybe it's because you don't spend enough time thanking the Lord for His goodness, and devoting yourself to a prayer life with Him. This has been a rude awakening to me too.

I've gone over this before, but it's such a burden upon my heart for me and for everyone else who is walking with the Lord. We are commanded to come away to a deserted place each and every day, to spend time with our Savior. He is so worthy and deserving. Our time that we have been given is not so that we can waste it on idle things, on things of the world...but our time is to be spent worshiping the Lord, glorifying Him and furthering His kingdom. With these, He shall be satisfied.

How often do you come away and spend time with Him? When was the last time you just stopped everything and communicated with Him in a precious way? It isn't just what we should want or need, it's what He commands of us.

"One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple." Psalm 27:4

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the reason for it all.


As another year of Thanksgiving has come, I know that we all sit and ponder what we are truly thankful for. I don't think that enough hours in the day could sincerely explain all that I'm thankful for. The Lord has done so much for me...it's all too much to even say. As I was reading my Daily Light and thinking about all the things He has done for me, I couldn't help but to think about the cross. It's power, it's strength. The cross is the entire reason my life is even possible. It is what has allowed me to plow on in hope, in the faith, and in the love of Christ. The cross is the reason for everything in my life. It's true!

Because Jesus CHOSE to willingly die on the cross for me, I have become victorious over sin. Not because of me, but because of Him. Due to His death on the cross, I am able to overcome the chains of bondage that I used to sit in. Have you ever truly thought about that? The bondage of sin? When I think about the chains of bondage, I mostly think about someone whose arms and legs are locked into stocks or chains, that are nailed or cemented to the ground. You can't move at all. Whether you try to break your arms and legs free by yourself you know that you'll fail. What can help you break out of that? Well, something huge and supernatural. Obviously the one main thing is the key that unlocks those chains to set you free. That's Jesus. He is the key..the only hope and answer to unlock us or free us from our bondage.

I can't begin to tell you the heavy weight of yuck I used to feel while in bondage to sin. It was as if I was never joyful. Clouds of darkness always loomed about. It was like my heart was constantly taking a beating and every thought in my mind was either evil, dark, or sinful. Ugh! I don't know about you, but I am SO THANKFUL the Lord decided to set me free from those chains! It's all the power of the cross. Jesus took those sins and nailed them to the cross at Calvary. What precious truth. What a beautiful picture of my life. It's all because of the cross.

What is there in the past life that I could want now? Nothing! Jesus has done and given me more than enough. I am so blessed and so thankful for it all. Everything that I need I have right here. It's incredible. I would never want to rewind the time back two years ago, or five years ago to relive it. Those times I don't even want to remember.

While reading my Daily Light tonight the Lord gave me this verse:
"When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now haing been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life." Romans 6:20-22

It totally struck something in my heart. It's so true! I was an ENEMY of righteousness. Can you believe it? What a sorrowful life that was. I can't live without the righteousness and holiness of the Lord anymore! Also, what did I have back then that I could want, now that I'm ashamed of it all? Pshhhhh nothing! There's a reason I am ashamed of it all! haha! The Lord has done that in my heart. His death on the cross has allowed me to HATE the things the world loves. It has allowed me to look back upon my sinfulness in the past, my relationship with the world, and be ashamed. I was destined for hell. I was on my way to death for the rest of my life. Due to the love of Jesus, His choice to go to the cross, I am FREE FROM BONDAGE!

I just love those words :) Free from bondage. It's like I want to climb a huge mountain and then just scream on the top of my lungs for all the world to hear, "JESUS SAVED ME! I AM FREE FROM BONDAGE!" It's so dang precious! It's so sweet! I can't get over it. Instead of hell, where I should have gone, Jesus wanted something better for me. Eternal life in heaven was what He had in mind.

Boy, am I thankful. Why can't people see that? The Lord wants something so much better for them than what they have going for themselves. Yet they go on about their daily routines, the affairs of the world, not thinking or caring about any of it. Sometimes, I too do that. It's so sad.

My earnest prayer is that the Lord would pour the love and forgiveness He displayed on the cross, into my own life. I so pray that I would love others unconditionally and forgive them. Yea sounds so cliche and stupid. But it's easier said than done, especially for those in our lives who are hard to love. Yet, that's the power of Christ. It's the power of the cross.

With the cross, with Jesus..everything and anything is possible. I have seen freedom from alcohol, sexual immorality, unforgiveness, bitterness, hurt, hate, dependency...the list goes on and on. And those are all attributes of my LIFE! Well, the former life.

What joy I have knowing that my former life is GONE. In the past, never around. It's completely over. This new life, this precious beautiful life because of the blood of Jesus has allowed me to be set free. It has allowed me to have a reserved place in heaven. Ah! Sometimes I just get too excited thinking about it.

To think, that the God of this universe would pursue me all the days of my life..loving me, reaching out to me, forgiving me..even when I was in open rebellion and sin.

I challenge you to look at your life daily to see what/who you're living for. Who or what are you living for? The Bible reiterates over and over again, "Keep yourself from idols". Idols aren't just carved images. They're people, thoughts, emotions, places, material items, addictions. They can be just about anything we put in front of God. I truly challenge you to look at how you live your life hour by hour.

Each day is a gift. I wake up blessed that the Lord has chosen to allow me another day on this earth. He hasn't allowed it to be good so that I can have fun. He's allowed it because it's another opportunity to glorify Him in every area of my day. Many times I take this for granted. I go about my day and then when it's time for bed I'll think, 'man, where did it go? did I even use it, AT ALL, to glorify God?' It's humbling.

My prayer is that I especially, and you, would wake each morning with Him. I pray that we would SERIOUSLY consider our hours, our minutes, that they would be devoted and dedicated to our Jesus. If you think about that and say 'really? i have a life too' then are you even truly walking in the truth? Is God truly on your side? As followers and slaves of Jesus, we ought to be yearning for Him every minute of every hour of every day. We ought to be seeking holiness for our lives, and wanting to glorify Him in our daily lives. I will be so blessed and thankful if He chooses for me to wake up again tomorrow. I just know that it's because He wants me to be the faithful steward to bring His good news to those around me.

I hear this said from a friend of mine very recently: It isn't God's business to make you happy, it's His business to make you holy.

Friends, it's time we stop seeking the Lord when we want something or when we need something. We need to be seeking the Lord, on our faces, daily in adoration, praise, thanksgiving. He is not our doorman or bellhop, He is the Almighty GOD, the Ruler of the world. He has the power to take our lives away or to build them up to something glorious for Him. What would you rather have?

On this Thanksgiving, I am praising Him more and more for His love and forgiveness in my life. It astounds me. My only hurt, my only sadness is that I have not used my hours and days to the best that I could. My hurt is that He will come back for His church and say "Child, you could have done so much more."

My earnest prayer is that my hours and minutes would be devoted, dedicated and well spent praising Him, honoring Him and glorifying Him. He is so deserving.

May your heart be steadfast on Him as well. Let us not forget the true reason we are here on this earth. The cross has given us reason to live, reason to go on, reason to be set free from the death and sin of the world. Why would we want to live for anyone or anything else? Jesus' death on the cross is the reason for all that we are.

May we be most thankful for HIM. It is to Christ we owe it all, folks. We are nothing. He is everything.