February 24 2015

Impossible Love

love-538434_1280Have you ever had your world turned upside down for love? Have you ever loved someone so much that it inspired you to become a better person? Has there ever been someone so special in your life that you were willing to give up everything for them, because they were just worth it? I have. Let me tell you about it.

He is the most beautiful man I have ever met. He is compassionate, loving, gracious, kind, and so forgiving. As a matter of fact, no matter how awful I am (and I can be pretty awful) he always forgives me. He always makes time for me, always listens to me and always shows me how much he cares about me. He wants to know how my day went and he wants to hear my problems. I guess you could say he is pretty perfect. And I adore him with all my heart and soul, with every fiber of my being, every breath in my body.

His name is Jesus. He is my God, my King, my Savior, Lover of My Soul, Holy and Righteous, The Almighty, Counselor, Friend, Father, Redeemer, Rock. He is my everything, and I owe my very life to Him. Before I met Jesus, I never knew how wonderful love could be. I never knew how amazing life could be! I spent most of my free time trying endlessly to search for happiness. Filling the void with TV and people and games and whatever else sounded good in the moment. Nothing ever had any purpose though. I was always left feeling empty.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

But Jesus knew this about me. And he knew that he had the answer that would be the exact cure for my suffering soul. Jesus had been pursuing me for years. Well, all of my life actually. Somewhere inside me I think I knew…but it was easier to run from him. I didn’t really know who he was and what he would want from me. And I was so scared. Scared to be hurt again, like I had been so many times before by people. But Jesus never gave up on me. Not once. Even when I regularly used His name as a swear word.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39love

Yet he forgave me for even that. How can that be? How is that even possible? For love. He did it all for love. I can barely grasp the fact that God loves me, let alone the fact that He loves me enough to passionately pursue me. To die for me. Many times I have struggled with the fact that Jesus would die for me. Little old me. I am nothing special. But to Jesus I am. I am precious and beautiful to him. Always.

So when I met Jesus, I knew, He was worth everything to me. He was worth turning my life upside down for. He was worth giving up anything and everything for. But then things got complicated. Jesus asked me to start to become set apart for him. He did not want me to look like everyone else around me. It wasn’t just that he asked me to give up things of the world. Or to learn to love all his children. Or to become more modest. He wanted me to be brave and bold. To speak out in His name and to learn to use amazing gifts that he gave me for the good of His children.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Gifts that set me apart from the average person you talk to on any given day. Not because I am special, or unique. No, because he has these gifts for each person who would take them. Gifts to prophesy, to heal, to pray for others, to see spirits, to give a word of wisdom, or a word of knowledge, lead, serve, speak in tongues or interpret tongues. But what do you do when you have some of these gifts and live in a world that doesn’t believe that they are real anymore? How do you move forward learning about your spiritual gifts when there is no one around you to even teach you what they are, or what gifts you might have?

Are you going to be willing to be so set apart that you step out in faith and use your spiritual gifts? Are you going to be bold when you hear God tell you to heal others or to give a word of knowledge to someone or to begin to speak in tongues? These are wonderful gifts that God wants us to use to help each other. But it can be scary. It is so easy to suppress the calling to do God’s work when it is something difficult. I am certain that many of you have heard a calling from Him. A soft whisper that was leading you towards more. To use your spiritual gift, to step out onto the water and walk with Jesus. To go up to the mountain and witness the transfiguration.

What would that do to your life? How would that change you? Are you willing to listen to God’s call, his sweet and soft whisper? Have you ever loved someone so much, so very much, that you just ached to the very core of your soul?

Then maybe it is time to take Jesus’ hand and take that next step he is asking you to take. You will be afraid. You will not know what to do. You will at times feel that it is far too much for you, and you may even feel that it is just plain crazy. But you need to remember one thing. Nothing is impossible with God.

But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Category: My Salvation, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on Impossible Love
February 10 2015

The Light of Life

Does your life seem to be in chaos? Is your energy drained, leaving you with nothing left to give? Are you always angry or frustrated and feel like your spinning in too many directions at once? Then let me ask you this: when is the last time you sat still in the presence of your Savior?

thirstAs the deer pants for streams of water, 

so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food

day and night,

while people say to me all day long,

“Where is your God?” 

Psalm 42:1-3

It is so easy to get caught up in the many distractions of life. And it is even easier to think that we are the ones in control. Life presents us with so many options and decisions to make. There are problems to be solved and decisions to be made. We sit on the throne of our lives, temporarily forgetting about the awesome power of the divine that we have, and rule over everything in our own power. Next thing we know, we are exhausted and overwhelmed trying so hard to control our own lives.

But we were not saved to keep living life the same way we did when we were pagans. We are called to live a life that has been given over to a higher power. We are to give ourselves over and let Jesus be our ultimate authority over everything in our lives. For those of us that love Him, why is it so hard to seem  to find time to pray and be in the presence of the Lord? What is it in life that could become so much more important than Jesus, our healer, our Savior, our counselor and friend?

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

Jesus is beckoning to each one of us, every day, to come and be still with Him, to get to know Him and let Him heal us. Our Father is waiting for us to truly turn over our lives to Him and let Him guide us into what is good and right and true in our life. The Father is not some far away God that sits up in heaven looking down upon us – He is asking and alive and here right now! He loves you with all of His heart and soul and mind, and He wants to show you that amazing and wonderful love.

What would life look like if we truly submitted ourselves to Jesus authority? I mean every day, not just when it is convenient and when we feel like it. Is there even such a thing? Is it even possible to reach a place of true submission to God, or is that just something that sounds like what Christians are supposed to do? It is possible, it is real, and it is for you. But first we must lay down ourselves to be able to seek God with all of our hearts. Until we can see that our hearts are turned away from God and are firmly directed on ourselves still, we cannot come to a place where we can move forward into submission to God.

And why would we want to? Look at all we would potentially have to give up! Great TV shows, and movies, music, video games, Facebook, drinking, gambling, porn, and many other pagan things that are a portal into deeper sin. There is so much pleasure in these things! Worldly pleasure feels so good, so satisfying. There is nothing like zoning out and watching your favorite show on TV. You get engaged in the characters and the drama and forget all about the problems in your own life. It is so relaxing and fun. What harm could it have? It is perfectly innocent!

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 1 Peter 4:7

That is exactly the way I thought as a pagan. I was of the world and in the world. I loved all things of the world and held fast to all my ideologies of paganism, new ageism, mysticism and much more. But once I gave my life to the Lord, the one true living God, those are the exact things that He asked me to change. Did I really want to subject myself to things that were truly sinful? Shows that were full of death, sex, magic, hate, gossip, cheating, lying, stealing, and on and on. And really, what TV show isn’t like that?

But it wasn’t just TV that the Lord began to convict me of. It was everything worldly that I held so dearly to. And I do mean dear – the characters in the TV shows I watch were very important to me. I cared for them. I cried with them and felt joy with them. Is this healthy? Is this a real relationship, or just another way we are mindlessly forsaking our one true Love? We were created to have a relationship with the Almighty. But relationship are difficult. Try adding in the whole Supreme Deity who is a spirit thing and see how much more difficult it is to have a relationship. It is not easy when the One whom you want to pledge your life to is not someone who you can physically see.

So we reach out for the things that seem tangible to us. Things that seem real and give us immediate gratification. But you have to ask yourself, where is that actually getting you? If you are not working on a relationship with Jesus Christ, did you ever have on in the first place? Do not be fooled into thinking that because you look Christian on the outside, you are a saved person. Going to church, listening to Christian music, and spending time with other Christians is not what living a fruitful life looks like. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking you are good with God because you grew up going to church, and your parents grew up going to church, and you help out at church and run church groups.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:18-20

What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? Jesus is alive and working in your life right now. You have access to Him at anytime you wish. Of course you can pray and read the Bible. Those are both great ways to come to know God, who He is and what He has to say to you. But there is another way to experience Jesus in a very real and tangible way. It is something that I do not see talked about very often among Christians, but when I do you can see that those people who have experienced Jesus have found great joy in it. 

As you sit quietly during a time where you would normally pray, I urge you to use this time to not bring prayers before the Lord. instead start first by inviting Jesus presence in with you right then. Begin by praising Him in any way that comes to your mind. At first it may seem strange or awkward, but try to let go of your inhibitions and think of how wonderful, marvelous, amazing, holy, awesome, God is. And speak those praises. Let Him know how you love Him. He is worthy of all your praises, worthy of all your love. Think of all the times He has saved you, blessed you, cared for you. Pour your love out to Him.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
 One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
 They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Psalm 145:3-7

Believe that He is there, listening, accepting your praise and worship, and so joyful of it. Even if you cannot see Him with your eyes. You can keep your eyes open, but I invite you to close your eyes, and imagine what the face of Jesus would look like. Imagine you are sitting right there with Jesus. Remember to let all other thoughts fall away from you, except your praise and adoration. Don’t let this be a time to ask for prayers to be answered, but to focus on Jesus. He wants to reveal Himself to you in knew and wonderful ways! Imagine what would you do if Jesus was literally right there with you? Would you sit close to Him, or far? Would you feel strange or excited? Would you want to touch Him, hug Him? Would you be afraid or ashamed? Any feeling you have is perfectly normal.

Everyone’s experience will be different. Some people may experience the presence of God right away, to sense Him or even see Him. Others may need to take time to hone and practice this gift that God wants to give to you. His marvelous presence is awaiting you whenever you will stop and go to Him. He wants to comfort your fears, give you peace and fill you with joy. You are not alone in this life. You do not have to carry the burden of all the decisions and pains of life on your own. Jesus is here, now, and He wants to share in it all with you. You can have a relationship with Him, right here, right now. You do not have to wait until you go to heaven.

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 34:14life

If you have ever been in church and been overwhelmed by the Spirit, know that is not something that has to be relegated to church. It is not something that is just a random or rare occurrence. If you have heard stories or read articles of people who have seen Jesus, or had amazing supernatural things happen in their life, it is not something that is just a story, or something that only happens to other people. It is there for you too. All you have to do is have faith, and believe. Our whole relationship with God is by faith.

If you are on the fence in a relationship with Jesus Christ, I urge you now to consider what this means for you. Do you want to know Jesus and give over your life to Him? He is waiting for you, and He adores you more than His own life. You do not have to walk alone, you do not have to fear. You have a victorious life in Christ awaiting you. Do not hesitate, because you do not know when it might be too late to make the decision.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Mathew 7:21-23

 

 

Category: My Salvation, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on The Light of Life