April 22, 2012 Comments Off on Who’s Your Keeper?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 4:6-7
One of the most important decision you will make for the rest of your life is who you decide to marry. However, for so many of us we really don’t have a lot to go on besides “oh, he/she’s attractive and fun”.
So, I have put together 3 checklist items for you to see if your on-track with what I believe is the right direction. Ask yourself, who are you allowing to be the keeper of your heart, mind, and happiness?
- Are you more concerned with the you in you or the you in us? I think one of the biggest and fastest mistakes in a relationship is to lose sight of who you are as a person- your values, your relationship with God, and your morals. Keeping in touch with the you in you (who you are as a person) will keep you on track with where God wants you to be. The moment we begin to act and make decisions based on our emotions, we run the risk of creating serious mistakes that will not only affect the relationship, but our life as a whole. Keeping up with who you are is so critical and ensures for a long-lasting relationship. God created the person you want to be with, you cannot change the way they act. Stop wasting time trying to fix their tendencies that you don’t like about them and either learn to compromise or move on. Do not dig yourself in the never ending hole of trying to mold them, focus on YOU first because the MOST important relationship that you will ever have is between you and Jesus Christ.
- Where am I looking for in my worth, my self esteem, and feelings about myself? I think the common tendency is that the longer we date someone or the more we care about them, the more we give away our rights to our feelings. We begin to only seek their approval rather than Gods. I think this is especially important for non-married couples because it is so easy to fall prey to seeking attention through a comment and feeling lesser about ourself if our significant other forgets to comment about our new dress or our latest hair style. The moment we become obsessed with what others think about us, is the moment that we forget who created us. The bible tells us that we are uniquely and wonderfully made in His image, we are made in the image of God; therefore, we are special because He says so, not because he says so….
- Does my view on Sex involve emotional and physical sensations or symbolism? After reading Genesis, we find out that sex and marriage were things that God made for Adam and Eve- which would then be obviously carried on to our generation. However, for the longest time when I thought about sex I always considered it to be something that was pleasurable to our bodies and that was it. But after reading Genesis, we find that God created marriage as a symbol between a man and a woman to show their relationship together, to live together, and to help each other out. The bible clearly states that men are responsible to be respectful, honorable, and serving their wives. Sex isn’t just an emotion, a movie rating, or something to do in your bed- sex was created by God for us. God created the institution of marriage, and designed sex to be the ultimate creator of intimacy. Just go read Song of Solomon! You will find out that romance is referred to as intoxicating, Sex is only meant for a husband and wife, which is clearly found in many many verses throughout the bible. On a practical level, I think that commitment is especially important to keep because the emotional intimacy is all too powerful to share with just any stranger. God wants to protect us, not deprive us of what we want. There is a time and place for everything.
April 22, 2012 Comments Off on Wrong Well
John 4:1-26 (Woman at the well)
We believe that we have to hide our sin to be a christian, we believe that we have to hide our deficiencies – that we have to be perfect to be a christian. But we have to allow ourselves to expose our flaws and sins to Jesus to be healed.
There are so many of us that go to the wrong wells that we go to draw our source of happiness and life.We go to all the wrong wells to satisfy our thirst. 3 wells that we go to that are wrong:
- Well, I am not worthy. We ask God why He would even want someone want us, a sinner. We feel that we are unworthy of Gods love and that we can’t be of any use to His plan. However, when God lays out commands for our life we are supposed to follow. But sometimes we feel like God is asking too much of us and we will always fall short. But I don’t have it and God doesn’t need it- holiness is not what God wants from me, it’s what He wants for me. It’s why Jesus died. God doesn’t command me to live life His way to deprive me of what is good, He commands me to live a certain way to get something that is so much better. If we knew how much Jesus wanted to bless us, we wouldn’t be focused on how much we are missing out on when all of our friends are having sex and drinking. We do not know that plan that God has for our life. Do not ever think that anyone has ever done something great for God that hasn’t sacrificed an even greater cost for the cause of Jesus on this earth. God’s commands aren’t about what we wants from me, but for me. If you knew who God was, you wouldn’t have to fall into sin to be satisfied. We tell God what He can and cannot do in our lives, even though Jesus is Lord.
- Well, it’s too hard. We feel like we really want to change and live our life for God, but we think our situation is too hard to live the way God has called us to live. It’s time to stop going to the same source of your happiness. The source of true satisfaction is what Jesus wants to do inside of us. We think that if we get the right relationship, the right GPA, the right salary, but we will never be satisfied because it’s the wrong well. We feel like the pain is too much, like we can’t go on because our life is so devastating but we are neglecting to realize the reality of what was nailed to a cross two thousand and twelve years ago. We do not need what the world tries to tell us what we need to do, what we need to sacrifice because we have a spring of living water inside of us- we have a God that loves us more than anyone ever could. Even if we aren’t feeling loved from the person we love, we have a father in heaven that loves us. God calls us out of our sin, He doesn’t overlook it and pretend it’s not there. We have to let go and leave the other wells of our happiness for the spring of living water that Jesus offers us! We think that the next relationship is going to satisfy us, the next hookup, the next girlfriend and boyfriend will do for us will make us happy. But it will never satisfy our soul that we have so longed to satisfy for years of pain we have gone through. It’s not going to work.
- Well, not now. We want to live our college life, we want to live the wild life and we will get our act together later. Jesus doesn’t ask for a raincheck, the time is now. We are placed on the earth for a very specific reason- every day we have to live for God. God wants to clean us up where we are at, to show us off and use us because He loves us and made us. Jesus wants to change us not because He is ashamed of us, but because He wants to use us and show what He can do through the least of these.
We are all human beings and fall short of the glory of God. But the moment when we put our foot down and realize that Jesus is our source of happiness, love, and joy- we find a whole new level of our relationship with God.
April 16, 2012 Comments Off on Box Builder, Box Cutter
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26
A box is a box, no matter any way you look at it or build it- it will always be a box. One of the most practical uses for boxes is being able to label them to notify you what’s inside for a later time. We write “house goods” and only put house goods in the box, but anything else has to go in a separate place and we won’t allow it in that particular box.
This is the exact manner that we so often times approach God, we put God’s ability to move and use our life in a box. We label our life (or box) and tell God this is what you can use me for today- that is it, nothing else. I am only capable of taking on this task or speaking to these certain people and that is it. We build a box.
Another way we use our box against God is we tell Him our capabilities. We tell God that we aren’t good enough to speak, to sing, to be a witness, to do the right thing- we tell God we are worthless and have nothing to offer. We build another box.
So I have a question to ask: are you a box builder or a box cutter?
I have already laid out the characteristics of the box builder, the one that tries to tell God their capabilities and limits. But the box cutter is someone special.
The box cutter is someone that admits his limits, but acknowledges that with God all things are possible. The box cutter makes a conscious decision every day to trust God, no matter the cirucmstances. The box cutter approaches God on their face asking God to use them in any way and to remove any boxes in any areas of their life. Fully stepping out of their box, cutting their way out.
So who are you going to be today? Are you going to continue to box yourself in your life and rely on your human abilities? Or are you going to step out boldly, in faith knowing whom you serve? The only name under heaven with the power to save, the only one that took a beating so that you could live in freedom and let the past go.
April 10, 2012 Comments Off on Unchangeable Easter
“He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” -1 Corinthians 15:4
Easter was this past weekend, but I wanted to touch on an aspect of Easter that I believe gets left out. An important significance of 1 Corinthians 15:4 that isn’t mentioned a lot.
To me, Easter is about an unchangeable situation that everyone deemed was unchangeable. It couldn’t be reversed by the standard of the times, the Romans did everything they could to prevent anything from going in and out of the tomb of Jesus. They had soldiers sand guard and sealed the tomb with an enormous stone that weighed tons. To them and the rest of the world, it was a situation that was unchangeable- he was dead.
For you see, both Daniel (in the lions den) and Lazarus had stones rolled over where they were as well. It was a sign of the time that there was no way of getting out of the situation these people found themselves in- it was unchangeable to society.
But we all know that Jesus was resurrected, Daniel survived the night in the lions den, and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. In all three situations, the stone that was supposed to have prevented anything BUT the original plan became a non factor.
Here’s the deal, throughout our life we are going to face situations that we deem would be unchangeable. We face immense trials and hardships that we believe will never end. Maybe it’s a illness, an immense financial crisis, a body image issue, a long drought of singleness without a spouse, or a divorce. All these situations seem unchangeable, we think that there is no way anything could possibly change, we believe that the circumstances cannot possibly ever support a change for the better.
But our unchangeable circumstance is no match for our unchanging God. Our Gods unchanging love, mercy, forgiveness, and freedom that He gives us everyday has far greater power than any of our circumstances. If we remember just how much He loves us and how awesome of a plan He has for our life, I think our “tomb” has a chance to be rolled away.
March 2, 2012 Comments Off on Open.Speak.Shut.
3 weeks ago, to this day, I adopted my very first puppy. She is a black labrador retriever and full of energy. One of the biggest problems I had training her was getting her used to her kennel because when I would leave, she would become all anxious and cry because she couldn’t be with me.
One of my tactics for helping her cope was that I would leave the room and shut the door, but every so often I would tell her something to reassure her that I was still with her, she just couldn’t see me.
For many of us today, I believe that God opens a door in our life, says something, shuts it, and comes back later.
God will say something to us, maybe even give us a glimpse into what He in store for us to accomplish in our future, but then becomes silent again as the door shuts.
Whether God tells us we are going to have to speak, despite us hating to speak. Whether God is telling us we are about to be tested, I believe God calls us into a season of preparation for what He has in store for next in our life.
You may get a small glance into your future by finding out you have a hidden talent or maybe God lays something on your heart. Nonetheless, I believe that God speaks quietly and softly into our hearts as He wants us to begin to prepare for what He has in store for us.
We may not always be able to see Him in our lives, physically, but He always wants us to know that He is there and knows exactly what today and tomorrow holds for us.
February 26, 2012 Comments Off on Give Me More
Have you ever considered the concept of why fast food restaurants have large menus, when in reality the variation of what you can actually eat is very small. Out of multiples of combo’s, there are only slight variations- maybe an extra patty or a slice of cheese. Have you ever considered why they do this?
The more we see, as humans, the more we want. Instead of seeing just one hamburger, fast food chains show multiples of hamburgers on their menus- in all the popular ways that their customers like. When it comes time to order, we can’t decide because it all just “looks good”.
I am not here to try to make you feel guilty about that fact that you’re probably already hungry after reading this and thinking about your next big indulgence at your favorite fast food restaurant- there’s something more here that we need to understand.
When it comes to our faith, our quiet times, and our prayer life- we should be no different than how we react to a fast food menu. We should be asking God to show us more of Him, to ask Him to let us want more of His will more our life. Let our prayer be that the more we see of Gods faithfulness, love, and kindness in our life the more we want of Him.
Let us never forget the joy that is found in seeing God do impossible things through us in our life to further His kingdom. Let us never grow weary of being in His presence and wanting more of Him and less of our own desires!
The more I see of you God, the more I want. Let me never grow tired of wanting to see you move in my life!
January 26, 2012 Comments Off on Where’s Your Meaning?
Meaning (noun): to have an intended purpose.
We are plagued by our past, we are shaken by our decision, but most of all we are afraid to let go of them. Before we know it, they have overcome us and it seems that there is no way out, and shame sets in day by day. We want to know “why”, but we can’t find any meaning in our situation. We are stuck with our past mistakes. For it seems that:
the past is worse than it was and we think of the future worse than it really is.
Enter the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26). She finds herself in a terrible situation; confronted in a 1 on 1 situation with someone of a different ethnicity that is known far and wide to be more superior. To make it worse, Jesus ask’s her to give Him water. Perplexed, the woman asks why He would ask someone of far lesser class to give him water (it was believed that it would have defiled the water if a Samaritan woman gave a Jew water).
See, Jesus cares about every single one of us. According to the bible, we are all children of God once we believe in God. We are all children, we all have meaning to Jesus. We are all equal in Gods eyes, yet we still are afraid of our past. Our meaning is soon to be believed that we are worthless and forever slaves of our flesh and addictions.
Picking up where we left off, Jesus tells the woman that if she knew who He was, it would be she that would ask Him for water because the water Jesus offers her is eternal life. But here’s the best part of the whole story: Jesus already knows who she is, what she’s done, and the sins she has committed.
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Jesus knows where we’ve been. Jesus knows that we are filthy, dirty, sinners even when we think we can hide it. Sometimes, when God reveals an opportunity or His presence in our life we feel unworthy because we feel like we have no meaning and we feel the need to try to hide who we think we truly are. But the Bible tells us that we have all fallen short of the glory of God and that God knows our yesterday, today, and tomorrow’s faults. God loves not because of who we are, but because of who God is.
What once seemed to be worse than it really is, Jesus makes: the past forgiven for what it was and the future brighter than it is, through His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.