December 25, 2011 Comments Off on His Presence > Our Presents
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” -Matthew 1:23
Christmas is more than just a time of giving, more than a time of a few days off of work, and more than a time to go to church. In fact, Christmas is much deeper than just remembering and honoring that Jesus was born to Mary- it’s more significant than that.
Not only is the birth of Jesus special because He became human, like us, but it represents Jesus is with us.
He is no longer this distant figure in Heaven, but is apart of our everyday life.
The promise of Christmas: His presence is greater than our presents.
The true beauty of Christmas is that you are a given a chance to live for something more. There is nothing that God cannot heal because it was the same hands that made the stars that took the nails in them just for you. Jesus came into the world, He came to us on Christmas. (Luke 1:28-30, Matthew 14:26-30, Psalm 23:4)
It takes a reaction to respond to an action, are you willing to react to what Jesus did for you? Are you willing to say “God be with me” because you can’t do this thing called life without God any longer? God doesn’t meet you halfway in your storm, but picks you up during the storm.
This Christmas remember that God has taken the first step towards you, He came down to earth over 2000 years ago, but are you willing to take the next step toward Him? God is with you even when you can’t see Him, because we must walk by faith and not by sight.
God is always with us, but are you with Him?
“23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
December 23, 2011 Comments Off on 3 Truths in 1
As I attended Elevation Church‘s Code Orange Christmas services this week and saw hundreds give their life to Christ, something struck me about seeing a certain young boy, probably about 10 years old, stand up to dedicate his life to Christ.
For most of us we overlook children as being able to comprehend things and understand what’s going on, but really they do understand and fully get it. However, there’s something bigger going on in this situation.
1) The truth knows no age, no sin, no requirement, but presents itself to the soul within. The truth, being that Jesus Christ came to die for our sins as the ultimate sacrifice and offers us eternal life as He is the son of God, comes to someone regardless of their age, young or old, and gives itself to anyone that is willing to hear it. Many people often times set up a barrier around their heart, they come into a situation because their preferences mean more to them then Gods presence. Often times, we come into a house of worship automatically turned off because it has too much lighting, not enough lighting, or they aren’t playing our favorite worship songs, but you have to remember it’s not about us. It’s about Him. Let go of your preference and enter into His presence.
2) The truth engages where we have been, where we are, and where we are going in our lives. No matter what is going on in your life in this moment, God has a part in it. The promises of God never forsaking you, of always loving you, and of protecting you against your enemies always was, is, and will be apart of your life forevermore if you are a christian.
3) We don’t base our faith on feelings, but on the truth. Our faith is never about what we are feeling for that day or any kind of feeling that can manipulated, it’s solely based on the truth of the gospel in the bible. When we allow ourselves to base our faith on feelings, we begin to enter into a constant downward and upward battle for how close we feel with God on a day to day basis. Instead, we should base our faith on what the bible tells us and what has already been promised about this lifetime- that God will always be with us.
October 3, 2011 Comments Off on Past Joy, Present Waste
Do you ever remember what presents you were given for your 1st birthday? How about your 3rd, 5th, or even 8th? Probably not.
What about all those expensive cloths you bought 2 years ago that you recently donated to Goodwill? How much did those cost?
There are so many things in our life that brought us past joy, but are present waste to us. If you think about the sum of money you spent on all those clothes you eventually gave away, you wouldn’t be struggling to pay the bills these days.
There is a greater waste though, far greater for far more people than clothes.
God gave us a free gift, a gift that lasts for eternity. A chance to find a best friend when we’re alone, a place to run when we’re scared, someone to correct us when we do wrong and to reward us when we do right, someone that will love us more than we could love back.
For so many of us today, our salvation was our past joy, but we can’t seem to even remember the last time God brought us happiness in this present season of our life. We go about living our life forgetting to spend time with God – unable to even remember the last month we even actually read our bible.
But here’s the good news, God wants to change something in your life starting right now if you will let him.
Our plan for our life = Past Joy, Present Waste
God’s plan for our life = Past waste, Present Joy
God has the ability to turn our mistakes into miracles, no matter the circumstances. You may think that you’re too far into your life to give God a chance, but you’re wrong. God is fully willing and able to turn our present wastes into our past as we transition into the next day.
The only person holding you back from a new chapter in your life is yourself – it’s not God. God’s love is always constant and never changing, you have to overcome yourself to be able to come into his love.
The greatest gift you’ll ever receive is a free one, but are you willing to accept it?
July 6, 2011 Comments Off on Scars
All scars tell a story. Stories of wounds suffered, some of them outside and some of them inside. Our individual scars tell the story of our lives. But there are some scars that tell us a very different story…
A story that begins and ends with love. We were created to live and love our Creator, to be in His presence and enjoy His company. But love is a choice. And sometimes you choose to leave that relationship, wounding yourself with sin and separation from God.
It was a wound that would never heal, except by an unimaginable act of true love. Gods only beloved son, Jesus. took on your sin on the cross. Suffering the pain and consequence that we all should have gone through: death and separation from God forever.
But God made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up His one and only precious Son to die in our place to heal our scars and to take the place of our sin.
He was beaten beyond recognition, you wouldn’t even be able to tell if He was a human or not. Thick nails pierced through his hands and feed, blood gushing, and a crown of thorns dug deep into His forehead. The son of the Creator of the universe could have ended the pain and killed everyone watching Him die in the blink of the eye, but He didn’t. Jesus could have ended His pain, but instead endured the most excruciating death known in the history of man, suffering for hours on end, because He loved YOU.
And on the third day He rose and was resurrected in a perfect body except for one thing- his scars; the marks of sacrifice, the proof that He conquered and endured the cross for our sins.
All scars tell a story. Ours are stories of pain and brokenness, but Gods is a story of forgiveness and love. And for the rest of eternity, His scars are a story of his unending and perfect love for you.
8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
July 6, 2011 Comments Off on Past Writing
On November 11th, 2010 I wrote the following paragraph:
“There is nothing in this world that you can take from me, there is nothing that I have or want that you can take away from me to ever stop professing God’s name. You can take my school, my family, my grades, my clothes, my health, my intelligence, my body, and my money, but there is nothing you can take away from me that will ever separate me from the Love of Jesus. You can take my fraternity that I have worked so hard for, you can take her away from me, you can take Auburn, but you will never take me away from God. You are going to have to try a lot harder than this, even in your best effort on your best day you will not even make me flench in my faith in God. If you don’t believe me, then bring it on. I am ready to show my strength and faith in God like never before. My love and commitment to God extends far beyond even the human language, I will never bow to anyone but God.”
While you may not have even read that entire paragraph, understand this: Everything came to pass in that paragraph- minus Auburn. My girlfriend at the time ended up cheating on me after an entire year, I missed grades for my fraternity by less than .1, I really struggled with my health and fitness, I overspent money, and I was off away from my family at an out of state school.
Unlike humans, God always follows through on his promises, and certainly isn’t afraid to test you. We often like to make promises to God, fully expecting Him to never actually test us because we’re all such great christians- right?
We often like to tell God that if He rewards us with X, then we will start doing Y in our life. The problem is, none of us qualify to even be at the bargaining table with the creator of the universe.
The christian walk isn’t a game of chance, a bargaining chip, or a deck of cards with different values. Gods gift is salvation through Jesus Christ, a free gift. A gift that we don’t have to earn or qualify for, yet He expects us to use our gift.
Not take it out for a test drive and see what it can do, but instead walk with truth and love that Jesus died for us. Having spiritual swagger is key, we so often live like we owe God something. Walk with confidence knowing that you were bought with a price and God sees an infinite amount of potential in you, specifically, to accomplish the goals He has for your life.
DAN 9:18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. GAL 2:16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.