My personal motivation to you
This is going to be a different kind of post today.
I was challenged to do this in high-school by a pastor, and have found it to be a great study. I plan to do it again, and now I am challenging you. Reader, that means you, don't push off my challenge. Please give this a shot, whether you read your Bible every day or have never touched one, take a moment to hear me out and try this. You will not regret it.
If you take your time, you will complete this challenge in 21 days (8 verses a day)! It's really easy and doesn't take long. This is a great way to see the importance of the word of God.
This is the Psalm 119 challenge. There are 176 verses in Psalm 119. The challenge is simple. You will basically be dissecting a verse.
First, you will underline where it speaks of the word of God. (Whether it uses the word precepts, testimonies, statutes, commands, judgments, etc.) Basically anytime the passage uses a word that speaks of the words God has spoken, underline that word or phrase.
Second, you will seek out the action the author is doing towards the word of God in the verse and take note of it. (Most of the actions are words like keep, learn, look, teach, etc.) You can put a box around this word or phrase.
Lastly, you will now search for why the writer has wrote to do this action with the word of God. What is the reason? Highlight that reason. Some verses have this part; other verses do not.
I will attach some photos of example verses I did in my Bible. I really hope you're not still reading this and thinking about not doing it. I'd recommend at least trying to do the first letter of the chapter. Oh.... if you didn't know, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the Bible. It is divided by the Hebrew alphabet of 21 letters. The first Hebrew letter would be Aleph. You should at least read and try to do the three steps to the first few verses under this letter.
The whole point to doing this is seeing how highly important and superior God's words truly are in our life. Over and over again you will see how many ways the word of God can be described and how many actions we can apply towards it. I hope you take the challenge. Here are my examples. Let me know if you give it a shot! You got this!
I wrote this post about a month ago, and I think it is finally ready to post. There is so much I could say about Jamaica, but you would just have to talk to me in person. Here are some photos of sunrises, scenery and our team during the week, along with a brief summary of what I got out of the mission trip. I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful day whenever you are reading this!
Hey, it's Michael Jaymes. Thanks for taking the time to read this far. I hope you don't stop here... Or even here...
I feel like it's been awhile since I've written to my readers, and that's because it has. I was suppose to post something a few weeks ago; I kept pushing it further down the road until- well- now. Now I'm literally on the road, and I'm not driving so I thought I might as well write in the quietness of the backseat of this packed car.
My parents, brother Dave, my girlfriend Yailinee, and I are making our way down to Harrisburg, PA, 2½ hours south of my home area of Scranton. We are heading down on a cold Sunday morning to make it to a church service that will be preached by Pastor Gary Scott. (You know you're a Jesus freak when you travel 2½ hours to hear a theologian speak.)
Gary Scott is very close to my brother, my dad, and I. We met him on our Jamaica missions trip about three weeks ago. And that is why I am writing right now. I should have posted this a few weeks ago, but going to hear Gary Scott reminded me of it, and therefore I'm typing. So, now that I have drawn you in on an adventure I am on, I want to suck you right out of that adventure and pull you into a new one. This is a blog post about my Jamaica missions trip. Enjoy!
JAMAICA MON! This is my second time I have been to Jamaica, and my fifth missions trip out of the country. This one was by far the best in all ways. I grew tighter relationships with fellow friends I had seen on the missions trip last time, made a greater bond with my brother, and even grew my relationship with God. I don't really know how or where to even begin with this post, so I'm gonna just try to go chronologically with
what I remember and then if any sporadic thoughts pop in my head I'll share those too.
So Dave, Dad, and I decided to join the church on a missions trip. This was my brother Dave's first missions trip to go on after becoming a Believer. (He had been on others before, but just recently God has saved him.) From my church, Kenny, Jason, and Pastor Bill also came. We all arrived in Jamaica on Saturday, November 3 around midday.
Once we arrived in Kingston, we waited for other churches and team members to arrive. Some I had met in the past; others were new faces. I was very excited to see my favorite bus driver, Michael still picking us up. This man has an incredible testimony, which I will have to share another time.
Anyways, everyone piled into the big bus. I think there was 21 of us in all? It was like one of those buses where the engine is kind of underneath the drivers feat so it has a flat face to it. It's like a bus you'd see in New York City. Cool thing about this bus is that there is a passenger seat right in the front next to the bus driver that I always tried to get to first. It was the best seat, right next to the bus driver that I shared my first name with.
The bus driver always brags about how good of a driver he is if you bring it up. He really is an amazing driver! He told me that before salvation, he use to be a street racer, and no one has ever beat him. He's never been in an accident, but has witnessed many. He also said that he raced people on windy roads driving backwards and he would still win. He's an incredible driver. I can't really describe it. You'd just have to see how narrow the roads are and be there to experience it. Sometimes he even drove up little roads going backwards in the bus to impress us.
After a long drive from Kingston to Buff Bay, we got to the mission home we call the Globe. Saturday is the day we just settle in. Sometimes we'll go walk around the town and see what it's like, but many take a nap due to jet lag.
Buff Bay is not a very popular place in Jamaica. I wouldn't say it's rundown, but it's not somewhere everyone has heard of. Everyone that lives in Buff Bay lives there because that's where they grew up. No one moves to Buff Bay. Not many move out either.
Throughout the week we did all different kinds of ways of witnessing. We did open air evangelism (basically taking turns preaching from a microphone on the street), gave the gospel in schools, spoke at hospitals, and preached night services at different local churches. That is one of the neat things about Jamaica: Jamaica is very open to Christianity and allows us to speak in their schools and hospitals freely. This gave many opportunities to spread the good news of Christ with everyone we could. Every night would end with fellowship and walking down the road to get some jerk chicken, an amazing food famous in Jamaica.
Now that I've given a basic rundown of the trip, I just realized how long this already is. Since I can't go over it all because this post will just keep going, I just want to touch on a few of the highlights of the trip. (So that whole chronological idea just got thrown out the window)
1. I wrote what I believe to be my best poem yet on this trip. It's funny how it happened... About halfway through the trip, I got a migraine (they run in the family). I went to take a nap during a break time we had hoping to help my head, but I couldn't fall asleep. I decided to try to read to occupy myself, but couldn't get into that either. I looked down at my bag and saw my notebook I only write poems in, which I don't even know why I brought it with me. I asked God if He wanted me to write, picked up the notebook, and started writing. That poem was 100% spirit led. I wrote it so quickly and the words were flowing on the page perfectly. It was pretty amazing. I'll leave a link to the poem if you want to read it at the end of the post.
2. I also had the opportunity to give the gospel a few times in different ways. Street preaching was a little bit of a challenge, but each time I did it my words were clearer and the message came across smoother. You truly just have to pray and acknowledge that we are the tools that God will use for His word to go forth, and then speak what He has taught you. I also got to speak to children which reminded me of the time I spent teaching at Spruce Lake, the Christian camp I use to work at. Any time I was offered the chance to give the gospel, I tried to act upon it. I now realize how important it is to memorize scripture, and I'm very thankful for growing up in a Christian school where I was tested on verses. This made giving the gospel much more of a breeze for me. I would just pray, breathe, and let the Spirit guide my words.
3. Lastly, I got to see and learn from many wise men on this trip. Rich Ives, Gary George, Gary Scott, and Roy Owens were all men from different churches in the US I met down in Jamaica. All of them had an impact on me, especially Roy. This was my second time seeing Roy on a Jamaica trip, and we connected really well. I'm thankful for the memories I share with some of these guys.
Going down there and seeing the Jamaican people and their culture is life changing. It is very humbling to see how different it is from the states. Some of the friends I made in Jamaica answered questions about how different the culture, lifestyle, and religion is. In some ways they have it easier than us, but in others we are spoiled. I'm guessing there's pros and cons to every country.
To wrap this up, the Jamaica trip made me excited about seeing God work. It is so good to see things fall into place and happen the way God plans. The sad part is when I come back home, that fire seems to fade. I was just witnessing daily to others. What have I done since then?
It's healthy as Christians to challenge ourselves in this sense. It's like asking the question after singing a song in church, "do I know what that song even means, or do I just sing it because it was catchy and sounds good to me?" Or when reading the Bible the question should be asked, "Did I just read that to say that I read the Bible, or did I listen to what God had to say to me?" Everyone can play the part and do what's right, but are you challenging yourself to take it one step further. Jamaica definitely challenged me. It challenged me to not just play the part. It challenged me to do what's right and know why I'm doing it.
The biggest thing that challenged me was something my pastor pointed out towards the end of the trip. We woke up early every morning to do devotions as a team together. We started the day off right. Since I've been home, I have tried to work that into my routine, and doing this has made a large difference in my day. It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah...
Isaiah 26:9NKJV "With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Because of starting my day talking to God, His glory worked into me is shown as I live out the rest of that day. So in closing, that is what I want to challenge you with. Sometimes it's the things that may seem little that can have a big impact on your life. Jamaica challenged me to wake up early and read the word of God. Have you done that yourself? Maybe give it a try.
I know this was long, but I hope you enjoyed my reflection on the mission trip, and maybe I have encouraged you in someway today. If you're still reading this... Wow! God bless you!
Here's the link to the poem I wrote in Jamaica! (CLICK HERE)
Born in sin, already lost.
I could never pay the cost.
Jesus Christ came down from Heaven,
Fulfilled the promise of election.
He lived a perfect life for me,
And then He died to set me free.
My Lord’s mission was to die
To make the dead come alive.
Three days later He rose again
Proving power over death and sin.
Because He died in my place,
Now I live a life of grace.
No longer sin has grip on me;
Jesus Christ has set me free.
No longer nothing of myself;
Now I have eternal wealth.
What was broken has been restored
By the one and only Lord.
The Holy Spirit now lives within
To give me power over my sin.
In chains no longer to my sin;
Now enslaved to God my King.
God the Father calls me His son,
Because Christ paid the sufficient fund.
I am a child and a slave,
Because of the life that He gave.
I have decided to follow Jesus,
Because I know He first loved us.
Because He died for my soul,
I will give my life in full.
He has chosen me for glory.
He is making me more holy.
I know my life is not by chance,
So I will live by His commands.
His word is truth; this I see.
By this I’ll live eternally.
Life that is given from above
Causes me to live in His love.
For my Master I shall give
All my life that I shall live.
There was once a Man... the kindest Man to ever live. On the outside, He looked nothing more than a common man, but on the inside He was the most loving Man to all around. He looked at all as equals. He showed mercy to all colors and statuses. There was no upper and lower class to Him; the weak and strong were still people in His eyes. He was one that many sought wisdom from. When questions came He spoke truth, even when the lie would be much easier for the hearer to receive. Some chose to look up to this the Man, but many rejected Him.
The man became widely known across the land. He would often speak to crowds and give a message like this...
"I have news for all to hear." His voice was gentle but stern. "Some will dislike the message that is to follow, but for those of you who have ears, hear my words."
The Man paused and slowly glanced over the crowd. Some were intrigued and ready to listen; others looked worried not knowing what to expect.
"You are all infected with a deadly disease. It was inherited from your fathers, who inherited it from their fathers. You may feel fine, but do not be a fool and ignore these words. It will soon overcome you; you have less time than you believe. One day it will be too late, and it will bring you to the grave.
I do not come to only tell you of this disease. I come today to tell you of good news. Do not be afraid of the death that is to come; I can offer you life by cleansing you of this disease.
"You see, I come from a place where this disease has never been. My Father, lives in a Sanctuary where only good resides. He allows those who are clean to enter into the Sanctuary. That is why He sent Me on this quest. He is inviting you to be healed and live in His presence with Him, where the disease can never reach. I was sent to spread this message to you. My Father has chosen Me as the healer, and I have come to heal you. Follow Me, and I will lead you to your new home. I am the only way, the only truth, and only hope of life. No one comes to my Father unless they come through Me."
Scoffers scoffed; the confused remained questioning; but many followed. As the Man turned and started to walk away, little by little a group of followers formed. Some were just curious. Others came to see the excitement. There were those who followed that completely despised the Man and His words. Out of the group as a whole, only few were there who had actually believed. They were the ones who felt drawn to go and endeavor on their journey to their new home.
As the Man went further, the crowd grew smaller. The excitement was lost; the haters went home. The curious gave up. All that was left was the Man and those who truly desired to follow Him.
One day the Man asked, "Do you know why you are here?"
Simple answers were thrown around, but none were the answer the Man was looking for. He then gave them understanding to what was vague to them before.
"You are here because you are the sheep to My flock. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. The others were not of my flock. No wonder they did not stay long. Only those, given to Me by My Father will follow Me. They are the ones that have ears to hear. That is you!
"I gave the message for all to hear. The words were clear. Truth was given, but all men reject what has been given by My Father. All are deaf to the words of truth until my Father gives the ears to hear. It is then that you heard My words and followed. His grace has given you understanding beyond the natural man. Now you hear the Truth, and the Truth has set you free.
"The journey is hard. Many of you have given up so much to follow, but do not fret. Do not grow weary. I am the Healer, and I have overcome the struggle. The reward of life is more promising than any imaginable satisfaction found in this world. Your desire to follow Me because you know without Me you are dead. This choice was not a mere decision, but a choice of life or death.
"Those who choose death are set in their ways. Their desire in life is not of healing, for the disease has taken grip of their minds and hearts. They do not choose to be healed because they either deny the fact of being ill or seeking healing where it cannot be found. But you have been awakened from the lie! You have been chosen to be healed. It is only by grace that you are here today.
"The beauty of it is the fact that no one is making you stay. My healing has freed your will from the disease, and now you choose to follow Me. You love me, because my Father first loved you. Isn't it beautiful?"
The Man's words were powerful, almost causing knees to buckle. The followers were in awe of the affection set on their lives. Many were made fun of, lost their families, wounded with words, and even beaten or killed; They were broken people following what some called a lost cause. But they could all see that there was a reason for it all. The natural man had rejected the ways of the Healer, and therefore hated the followers too. Their ways were in complete opposition to the world's, but they pressed forward. They found joy in life, knowing the promise of purpose was there.
Life as a dead man is not life at all. Living life that only results in death is a life led by pride, lacking the pursuit of a greater purpose. The purpose found in the Man was the purpose of truly living up to the expectations that the Father had for all. He sent the Healer knowing all would reject unless He chose to open the ears of some. It is those who have ears to hear.
Do you hear Him? Are these words of Truth impacting you today? Or are you going to allow the sickness to flood your head and push the thoughts of life away again?
John 14:6 (NIV)Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
A short story written to help understand the disease of sin upon the natural man and the power of God that heals. -Michael James
You know, I've been thinking to myself recently about the sin I struggle with in my life. I'm not talking about the every day sins we commit that are different in each day. I'm talking about that one sin in particular that haunts me.
You probably have that same sin. That one sin that seems to be stalking you everywhere you go, creeping around the corners, looking for a chance to defeat you again. It drains you physically, conquers you mentally, and rips you apart emotionally. It's almost like that sin has got you on a leash. It's in control; and when it pulls, you follow.
That's why I wrote this poem. God has all the answers, and some of the answers to my sin are very clear to me. It's just a matter of actually listening. It's a matter of asking God for a repentant heart. For me, writing is a really good way for me to let things out and listen to my own advice. Hopefully it's helpful to you also.
I say I'm a Christian that's in love with my Savior,
But I act like a slave to my bad behavior.
The Devil is knocking at every door.
I know it's him, but I fall for his lure.
I'm like a fish that he is trying to bait.
With sin on the hook, Satan waits.
The Devil is patient as he hunts his prey.
All he has to do is put sin in my way.
I see sin on the hook. I know it's not right,
But I still go over and give it a bite.
At first it's good; it satisfies me.
The tempting sin feels meant to be.
I savor each and every moment in sin,
But then I realize I should have never fell in.
The hook is in me and now I'm caught.
It would not come out no matter how much I fought.
Failure sinks in; I plummet in defeat.
But for some reason, Sin and I still meet.
I hang my head in shame and sorrow,
because I know Sin will be in my tomorrow.
It became a habit for me to meet with Sin;
I start to say, "I will never win."
One day, I realize, I've been doing it all wrong.
Instead of myself, I look to God alone.
"God! Please Help me! I should have came to you before.
I tried to fight it, but no longer can endure.
"I'm weak, depressed, and have become defeated;
My sinful habit is being repeated.
"I felt alone like you weren't there to save me;
I realize now you were waiting for my plea.
"I'm sorry Lord; I have sinned in your sight.
Please, give me strength to overcome this fight."
The Lord looks down; He hears my cry.
I hear his sweet voice: "Oh, child... why?
"Why have you done what I said not to do?
Hell was created for sinners like you."
I hang my head in sorrow again.
He's the last person I wanted to offend.
Then, in mercy and kindness God says to me,
"Good thing my Son has set you free.
"I know you're a sinner; I know what you've done.
That's why I sent Jesus: my one and only Son.
"Don't look at your sin and become depressed.
Run to Jesus and find your rest!
"Jesus sacrificed His life for you.
He made the just payment that was due.
"Now your sins are forgiven and gone.
In your heart he has put a song.
"Joy and gladness floods your ways
Because now you are covered by saving grace.
"So don't be depressed; don't be ashamed.
Boast in the cross and what you have gained.
"You have been chosen for my good purpose.
Don't let sin make you feel worthless.
"You are going to stumble and fall,
but that's why Christ has paid for it all."
My wounds are healed by my Father's words.
My faith in Christ is reassured.
I look back at sin as I leave the bait.
Sin has such an unsatisfying fate.
It always feels right at the time,
But moments later it leaves me empty inside.
Maybe this time I will stay closer to Jesus.
Why do I leave Him when He never leaves us?
"This time I've learned. I won't fall in!"
I said this on the way to again meet with Sin.
Will I ever change my life so fickle?
Only God can change His child's sinful cycle.
In this world I will never be sin free,
but all the more glorious Heaven will be.
Maybe you're thinking that ending was a little twisted, but sometimes life isn't a happy ending. I mean face it, you have sins you have probably been struggling with for many years like me, and then one day you hear a very emotionally moving message that makes you think you need to clean your life up. You start by turning your back on that sin for awhile, but then you fall again. Why? Because we are such FICKLE humans that need a God to do everything for us!
That's the beauty in the Gospel. We have to do anything for God's love; He just chooses to love you and changed your life. So remember: God has a purpose planned for you. He didn't save you to be worthless; He has intimate meaning to your life. Live up to that! Be changed and show the world what it means to be a Christian. You will fall, but have joy in knowing that God has already forgiven you.
Falling is a part of life; the difference is a Christian is suppose to get up. Don't let sin push you down; stand tall! Live a positive life showing the satisfaction only found in Christ. That will make all the difference to the world. Yes, you will fail, but only a fool will live in failure. Get up, move on, and stand on truth.
John 17:17 (KJV) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Proverbs 1:2-7 (NKJV)
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion--
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Before I begin, I wanted to remind my readers: I only write when I feel the Holy Spirit pushing me to write about a certain topic. I feel like writing without God's guidance lacks passion. I don't want to just pick new topics to write on each week; they would be half-hearted. I like to wait for God to show me something in my personal life, so that when I write to you, it is written more personally, passionately, and God led. So I'm sorry I have not written in a long time, but God has been teaching me this for awhile, and I am now finally ready to share.
Have you ever played out a conversation in your head with someone who disagrees with you on your religion? You could be any of the following: Christian, Catholic, Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish (and the list goes on). Believing in a religion and being open about it is a great way to stir up controversial debates with others you bump into. Maybe you dread these conversations; maybe you love these conversations. Either way, they are bound to happen if you say you believe.
If you have played out these conversations in your head or been in one before, you know that it is not easy to have all the answers. I think that is the problem with the Christian society today: We don't strive to know the answers. Instead of studying and preparing, we become defensive and say silly things like "The Bible says so." That doesn't really prove a point very well... If this is your go to strategy when witnessing, you should probably rethink how to go about stating the facts.
For me personally, I love these conversations. I have friends that debate with me on Christian topics quite often. It's funny, a majority of these debates are among other Christians, but every now and then I have a few with those who are not. I believe these conversations are a good thing. When having these debates, it causes me to stretch and realize where I need to grow. I am sometimes asked questions that I have to answer with a simple I don't know because of my lack in specific studies, which pushes me to know more. I hope this is the same for you.
II Timothy 3:16-17(NKJV)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When encountering controversy, don't look at it as a bad thing. Don't become dogmatic and angry with those who disagree. I feel like sometimes Christians frown upon knowing the Bible inside and out. We need to stand upon the Word of God. Instead of becoming the know it all Christian that is never wrong or hiding in the corner, try laying down your belief, explaining what it means, and proving it.
In other words:
State the principal you stand on.
Expound upon what this means.
Prove your statement in scripture.
This is very important. If you cannot do one of these three, your side of the argument becomes flaw. Now I understand it's not our words that saves or changes someones mind, but the Holy Spirit convicting them and God giving faith. This gives no excuse for us to not study! How is the Holy Spirit going to use our words if we can't give an answer at all? Let me give an example.
(Atheist): Why is God going to send me to hell if He is soooooo loving?
(Christian): Because you are not washed by the blood. The price of sin is eternal death.
(Atheist): That doesn't sound very loving.
(Christian): God does love, but He is also just.
(Atheist): What makes God just if He creates people knowing they are going to hell someday?
(Christian): The Bible says so and that's just how it is! Don't argue with me; argue with God.
(I know, most conversations have much more to them, but bare with me for the sake of the example.)
From this very short conversation I made up, I hope you can see how important it is to know what the Bible says, what the Bible means, and where the Bible says it. In the debate above, by the end of the conversation, the Christian didn't point the Atheist to any scripture, he did not explain what some of these foreign terms may have meant, and he became defensive and angry in the end. Conversations like these do not accomplish anything except maybe a tear in your relationship.
II Timothy 2:24-26(NKJV)
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
My pastor says this a lot: "Doctrine is practical." This truth is truly needed to be taught more. I disagree with the belief that only pastors and priests study that stuff. You are not always going to agree with what the man behind the pulpit says. I'm not saying your pastor is a false teacher, but is it possible that he can teach something incorrectly? Remember, he is just a man! This means he can be wrong and it won't be the first time. Pastors are no more of a man than you are. Their knowledge from the Bible may be more full, but this does not mean you can believe everything they believe without studying on your own.
Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree, but this is no excuse to not studying the harder questions of scripture. Remember the one verse I posted above? It says that all scripture, meaning there's not one part of scripture that does not apply to the list given in that verse. If it's in the Bible, it's there for us to read and study. Do you think God wants us to be ignorant about Him? Of course not!
It's actually sad to think back on my own life. I remember lacking a lot of understanding of my God, and I praise God for all the knowledge I have gained over the years to know Him better. If you can't even explain who your God is, how can you believe in Him? In my opinion, that's a scary way to live. I don't know anyone who would state, "I want to worship a God I don't know about."
That's just foolish. You have to strive to know Him better. He is a person too! He may not be a simple man like you and me, but God has attributes and emotions just like us. Not to mention, He is in three separate parts while still being one God. Each person of the trinity serves a specific role. All three parts of God can be studied out alone. (I'm in a study of the attributes of the individual persons of the trinity right now.)
Studying who God is can cause one to grow so much closer to Him by understanding more about who He is and what He expects of His children. We are also commanded to be like God; without a knowledge of who He is, we cannot live up to this command.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Subjectively, I would state that the largest reason we as Christians need to study theology is because God commands us to.
II Timothy 2:15(KJV)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
He expects us to read His word. The Bible is all about God and what He has done or is doing; we should not only study the parts about Him working. We should study about God Himself too.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
Many times in Psalms it talks about the ways of God. How can we know His ways if we Don't know much about His nature? For example: we know the ways of a pig because we know it's nature. A pig will roll in mud because it is part of it's nature. You can't fully understand God's ways without studying theology to better understand His nature.
12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. 13 You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
As we mature in our Christianity and understanding of the word of God, we can move onto the harder things to understand. For young Christians, it will definitely be much more difficult to study some doctrines of theology; they can obviously start with reading something like the life of Christ. For mature Christians, I believe it is a responsibility to study the deeper and harder subjects of scripture. If no one studies, there will be confusion on the important matter of who God truly is.
Typical debatable Christian topics consist of questions like:
Does God hate anyone?
What is election?
What does it mean to be predestined?
Does God hear the prayers of the unsaved?
Can God keep one from getting saved?
If God doesn't change, why was there a time of judgement and now a time of grace?
What is God's will?
Why did God allow sin?
How is God jealous yet sinless?
Why does God have the right to judge?
Is God required to show mercy?
Does God demand worship?
Why does God seem hidden today?
What is the wrath of God?
If you are not a child of God, who is your father?
These are all questions that you should be able to answer, expound upon, and prove in scripture. I can't answer all these questions perfectly myself, but I have been trying to study to know more about who God is. If you are seeking to know who God is more, I would recommend a book about doctrines of the Bible. I read one myself written by William Evans.
Make sure you do not believe a book as absolute truth unless it is the Word of God. You still have to line up what they say and make sure the doctrine is sound. The book is very useful for personal studies because it gives an outline with references to help know where the Bible speaks about specific topics. Studying theology becomes much easier with an outline to help lead the way.
The internet can also be a very useful tool for studying your theology, but again, make sure you line it up with the Bible. It is very important you don't read something and follow a false belief without even knowing it. I've done this myself, but it's all a part of growing and what God brings to our knowledge in time.
I know I went over a lot in this blog post, but this is something that has been on my heart for a long time. No, I do not think it is God's will for everyone to become a scholar or monk, but you can never know enough about God and His Word. There is always more to learn, and that's why it is so important to keep studying His Word. I hope this post has impacted you and causes you to study more about your God.
I urge you to prove to yourself that your faith is true by lining up what you know and have been taught with Scripture. Know God well enough to be able to be a tool for Him and witness to the lost. Don't let theology be confusing; let your doctrine become practical in your life. If God is truly your Father and friend, Don't you want to know everything you can about Him?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
II Peter 1:10(NASB)
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
Please, even if you didn't know Dave Crispell, take the time to read this in honor of him.
May 10, 2018, Dave Crispell went home to be with the Lord. For those of you who don't know, Dave Crispell was a special pastor to many. His preaching was probably something that started a true growth in my life at a young age. His life truly reflected Christ, and even as a twelve year old, I noticed it. When I was in fifth grade, I rededicated my life to the Lord, and Pastor Crispell baptized me soon after. From that point on, I always looked up to Dave.
Dave didn't stay at the church very long before God called him to serve elsewhere. Pastor Crispell's ministry was worldwide. What a true role model for missionaries! Just a few of the places I know that he served in are various churches in Pennsylvania, Alaska, the Bahamas, and Haiti (I know there is many more that I don't remember at the top of my head).
He use to message me on Facebook every so often to tell me he was reading my blog. For me, that was a huge encouragement that he was taking the time to read it.
I felt God pushing me to write while I was at Pastor Crispell's memorial service yesterday, so I took out a pen, peeled open a tithe envelope from the pew in front of me, and started writing on the white empty inside of the envelope. Here is a poem that God has blessed me with. It has been written in honor of Dave, but I'm sure it can be a true encouragement during any loss of a loved one. I hope you enjoy it.
Please share this with anyone you know that knew Dave Crispell.
"The Death Of A Believer"
-In honor of the life and death of Dave Crispell
In times of worry or devastation,
Remember Christ, your restoration.
Even when death seems to have won,
Remember Christ has overcome.
The end of life on this earth
Is the beginning of life with eternal worth.
In the grave one's body lays,
But the soul has risen. God be praised!
On earth you mourn and you may cry,
But in Heaven where God and angels abide
There is no crying. There is no tears.
There is only rejoicing, and joy filled cheers.
For God has brought another child home,
And it was all for His glory alone.
Though your loved one passed away,
Praise God that Jesus made a way.
You will miss the one you lost,
But praise God for His Son paying the cost.
The price of Christ on the cross
Saved the life of your loved one lost.
So take the time to thank God today
For the life of your loved one that He gave.
A life that's lived for Christ is blessed
With eternal life, nothing less.
The life of your loved one has now passed;
But your life on earth still lasts.
So let the life of one be a reminder to you:
Live up to the purpose God has for you too!
"It's unbelievable how many relationships and friendships are ruined because we would rather lie to comfort someone than tell the truth and see it hurt them. The pain from the truth will never last as long as the pain when the lie is revealed." -Seth Gattuso
My friend, Seth, posted this on his Facebook status a few months ago, and it kind of sparked my attention. I've been thinking about writing on the topic of truth for awhile now, and I guess this kinda gave me a kick in the butt to get a move on.
I chose this picture above, because I have heard and seen this quote too many times recently. It's actually sad the way the world's thinking has twisted what God has said. "Unity is Greater than Truth?" REALLY????? You'd rather be surrounded by ignorant people while you are all lied to than stand alone on the truth? (some people have really lowered their standards)
It's funny, I saw another picture that was similar to this one awhile back. It said, "I'd rather walk in darkness with friends than stand alone in the light." I actually laughed out loud after reading this. I thought to myself, "Isn't it common sense that if you choose to be with your friends in darkness, you all end up falling? One in light is much better off."
But that's not how the world thinks these days; they aren't blunt (and I mean in a straightforward way not in a sassy rude way). For example: people aren't even blunt enough to let their children lose in sports anymore. Everyone gets a trophy, and everyone's a winner because no one was keeping score! They literally wash down things as small as winning and losing.
They have twisted biblical standards and would rather lower their status to ignorance and stupidity. Even worse, Christians sometimes follow or don't say anything at all instead of being alone standing on God's truth. I shouldn't even say "the world thinks this way", because I have brothers in Christ that do it too. I shouldn't even say "brothers in Christ" either, because I do this myself. I guess we all probably do this in different shapes and sizes.
"The truth is blunt, so why aren't we?" -Truth Part One (honesty with others and yourself)
Think about the title of this post. How do those words effect you? Let's think through this logically.
Well, the opposite of the truth is a lie, and the opposite of blunt is sensitive. So if we're not speaking truth, we're speaking deceit. If we are not being blunt, we are sugarcoating. That's heavy! Think of the weight that statement carries now. How many times have you maybe withheld the truth, or maybe said something "slightly true", or didn't say what was really true at all? Those all fall under the sugarcoated deceit category instead of the blunt truth.
Let's try this; pick one of the following statements that you think describes you:
"The truth is blunt; so am I."
"The lie is sugarcoated; so am I."
I know this may seem silly, but this is important. You are probably not perfect, and you will probably pick the second statement. You could be lying to others or even yourself. As a Christian you should be striving to be able to say you have been getting better at not lying to others and even yourself.
Think of the quote from my friend stated up above. Has that happened to you? Have you covered up your past, beliefs, or opinion with a lie to attempt to save a friendship? Whether you did this in front of one friend or many, it isn't right. Honesty is the best policy (I know... so original).
Psalm 25:5(NKJV) Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
"I'll just do it one more time."
"Everyone else is doing it. What's the differrence?
"It's not that bad."
"Okay, if I do it now, I won't do it later."
"Well, I already started. I might as well finish my sin."
Ever hear these voices in your head? These are examples of your lies. You have deceived yourself into making mistakes over and over again. It's sad, you say you are Christians, but sometimes drop this status and trade it in for ignorance when you come to times of temptation. Read these verses below. Maybe you can relate; I know I can!
Romans7:14-20 14(NIV) We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
After all this, maybe you are wondering how do you speak more truth? Here's what I think: fill yourself with truth, and truth will be produced. Simply, read the Word of God, and your words will be truthful. This goes two ways. The one way would be in honesty (telling someone the truth to a question), which I spoke about above. The second way would be in belief (telling someone the truth from the Word of God), which I will talk about in the remainder of this post. Either way, REMEMBER: fill yourself with truth, and truth will be produced.
John 8:31-32(NKJV) 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
"The truth is blunt; so why aren't we?" -Truth Part Two (belief)
When there is simply a time in life that you are asked to do something wrong, why is it so hard to just say, "No"? Maybe you aren't even asked; maybe you are just facing temptation. What makes it so difficult to tell yourself, "No"? I'll tell you what makes it difficult! Our sinful nature CRAVES to disappoint your Savior. As a Christian, you were made alive in Christ, but that doesn't mean it's not easier to just live like the dead man. Those old habits and sin sometimes creep into your life, desperately trying to deceive you.
I want to stress the truth in your personal life because it is so important that you know where you stand between you and God. If you can't come to an agreement within yourself, you won't be able to stand up for what you believe when you are around others.
Romans 12:2(ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Maybe you struggle with standing up for Christ. Instead of just simply saying, "stand up for Christ", let me give you some advice on how to do this. (This is subjective.)
Know what you believe based on the truth. Don't try to stand up for something that you don't know the answer to.
Say, for example, you believe sex before marriage is a sin, but you don't know why. You were just taught that. You don't even know if or where the Bible speaks about it. Do you think it's a great idea to tell someone else this is wrong? What will you say when they ask you why? "Because the Bible says so." Great advice; now you just annoyed your friend with the most simple, ignorant answer.
It makes more sense to study out what the Bible says, where it says it, and why it says it first. If you can answer questions like these, when the situation/conversation comes, you will be prepared to bluntly stand up for what you believe. You won't sugarcoat the truth, or give halfhearted answers; you will know exactly what the Bible has to say about the topic.
You can't stand on what you don't even know. I know "Christians" that say that they believe Jesus died for them, but don't really know anything else about God or His Word. How can you say you stand on this truth if you don't study it? If you truly are a Christian, PROVE IT! Show your love for Christ by doing what He commands. Don't know what He commands? Maybe try reading His Word to find out! If you live half-heatedly for Christ, you will never be the one standing on the truth.
Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
To be like Christ, you need to know His ways. Think of some of His encounters with the Pharisees; He was blunt when He spoke the truth. Doesn't sound loving at first, but realize that telling someone the truth of God IS being loving.
We need to do the same as Christ: speak the truth bluntly in love. How many "hot" topics are there today that Christians are considered "haters" for? If Christians answered people with more than just "because the Bible says so", maybe there would be different answers from the world. Maybe we'd be less of haters towards their choices and be seen more as lovers of what our God says.
I'm not saying we won't be hated; the Bible teaches that the world is against God. But if you don't know what you believe, you will be a laughing stock for Christ instead of a witness. Be prepared for the opportunities to witness. Study His Word so you can stand on truth. Don't follow the lies of this world. Line up what they say with what God says, and don't be afraid to speak up for what is right.
James 4:17 (ESV) So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
I know this is very long and drawn out, but the basic truth of standing up for Christ is much easier said than done. Just know that if you are the only one standing on truth, not following the crowd, you're not truly alone. Your Father is looking down saying, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
Romans 12:21 (ESV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
So, this blog post isn't on a huge topic of any sorts, but I thought I'd give you an update on me. :)
Recently the battle of temptation has been very overwhelming and holding me back from writing. It's hard to try to do what's right and encourage others when your own life is not in line. It's kinda like having someone who can't ride a bike try to teach you how. I feel like I try to give advice I can't even take from myself sometimes. BUT.... God is still good to me. His mercies are new every morning, and I know that He still loves me as His son, even when I mess up.
On a brighter note, I just finished editing the third chapter of my book. It's only five chapters long, so I'm very close to being done. I'm hoping to get it published soon after and release it on my blog if anyone is interested in buying. If you have any advice on easy, cheap ways to publish a book, please contact me through the subscribe tab above, or leave a comment below with your email, and I can get back to you. :D
My sister is an artist, so I plan on having her do a sketch of what I want the cover to look like. I'm very excited for the finished product! I keep praying that God will use His words in my writing to touch the hearts of others.
I have some big plans ahead of me in my life. I have been trying to save every dollar I can. I believe God is pushing me to move forward in the next chapter of my life. Maybe within the year I will be moving out. I am praying for His direction constantly; it's exciting to see little answers of prayer each week.
For this summer ahead I have three small personal goals I have set before myself:
1. I'd like to gain 20 pounds by the end of the summer.
I have never really gotten into working out or eating healthy, but my girlfriend's father and one of my close friends are both into it. I started working out a little bit with both of them, and seeing progress has got me too excited to quit. I haven't really gained any weight for like five years; I've always been that average sized kid. This year I'm hoping to put on some muscle.
2. I want to hold a copy of my book in my hand by the end of the summer.
I wrote this book in about thirty days. Because of procrastination and business of life, I have pushed off the editing of my draft. I am now so close that I have no excuse why I can't have it done.
3. I would like to get through a few Christian books by the end of the summer. I find it hard reading on my own sometimes, but I find it much easier to read with others. I'm hoping to read through a few books in my Bible study or with some friends this summer. Here are a few books I have that I have not read yet and would like to.
The Pursuit of Holiness
Close Enough to Hear God Breathe
The Imperfect Disciple (finished half of it)
The God of Yes (finished half of it)
Don't Waste Your Life
The Path to Holiness
Life Beyond Living
The Battle Plan for Prayer
Many of these books were given to me by friends or family. I've heard great things about a lot of them; I just have a rough time sitting down reading one of them. I'm hoping to finish at least three this summer. If you like any of these or know of any others, let me know what you have read and found encouraging. :)
That's about all I have to say for this post. I'm hoping to have a poem finished sometime this week or next. Thank you for taking the time to read this. It means a lot.
This is going to be short, but these words are full of meaning.
1 Corinthians 9:19,22-23(NASB)
19 "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it."
These words have really touched my heart. I have read them and pondered them almost every day for the past two weeks. They're very humbling; they cause me to wonder why I'm not doing the same thing. It really causes me to examine myself and to see how selfish we so called Christians can really be at times.
Paul was willing to come as low as considering himself a slave to someone else. What a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ his life reflected! Didn't Jesus do the same thing for us? Coming down from the throne, the most precious jewel of Heaven, to live and die as a ransom for the sins we commited. Just like Christ, Paul was a slave to all for the sake of the Gospel.
Sometimes I look at myself and think, "When was the last time I was willing to do something for someone 'lower' than me? When was the last time I even considered someone else's soul? I believe the Word of God, but do I put it into practice?" Maybe you should ask yourself the same question.
Romans 9:17(NKJV) "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
John 10:27(KJV) "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"
I share these two verses because I want you to realize the truth that you may not already see. In Romans 9:17, it is speaking of saving faith. Where does it come from? God. How? From hearing His Word. According to this verse, faith is not just a decision made by one. Scripture makes it very clear that no one chooses God before God saves them!
This is special because it proves the intimacy of God. You didn't just decide one day to follow God. You had no right to say to God, "Hey, your son died for ME, and I want eternal life." You may have said a prayer asking God for mercy, but what led up to your decision? Isn't the sovereign God the one who chooses what happens in this life of yours? God planned for you to hear His Words because He was drawing you to Him!
God, in His perfect plan, intimately came to you through the Gospel and said, "Follow me," and that's exactly what you did if you are a born again believer today. Isn't that much more special? Realize, it's not your salvation to take; it's God's salvation to give! How much more thankful should you be that God was gracious enough to give it to a sinner like you?
In John 10:27, Jesus says that His sheep will follow Him. Understand, none of God's people are left behind. God does not make mistakes. They will hear His voice and follow. This doesn't mean they will hear the Word, and it will go in one ear and out the other. If we are willing to speak, His people will hear and follow.
That should be exciting news. Yes, you will be rejected and mocked, but even if one hears the Word of God from your witness and comes to Christ, isn't it worth it? You may even see one come to Christ that you would have never expected!
I just wanted to encourage you with these verses because they really encouraged me. Sometimes, I just read a part of the Bible, and don't line it up with the whole to see the full glory in it's truth. Maybe you do the same. When you take the Bible as a whole, and see how different passages line up to show an even more glorious truth, it is truly beautiful.
I guess I just wanted to challenge you, Christian. I wanted to challenge you to act upon what you read. If you read the first passage I shared above, how is that going to effect your life? Are you just going to say, "Wow, that's a good verse" and walk away, or are you going to let those words sink in and act upon this truth? Ephesians 2:10 says we are created for His work that He created for us to do. Maybe this is the very wake up call you needed.
I'm not saying quit your job and be homeless to reach the homeless, but I am saying to not get comfortable in life. Instead, step out of your comfort zone, and be willing to serve others. Maybe you can't financially or physically help others, but you can always pray.
I want you to do something that can truly help humble yourself. Think of the person in your life you love the most, whether it's your spouse, child, friend, or parent. Just someone that is dear to you.
Now, I want you to think of the person you would least want to be seen with, whether it's because they're not cool, or smell bad, or are too sinful for your status, or maybe you just plain dislike them. The love in your words when you pray for that dear friend, should be the same love you use when you pray for that person you don't like. That's NOT easy to do, but it's truly humbling. It's a first step to a servants heart.
Humble yourself, and be willing to be a slave to others. Don't let these words just be words. Realize, this is God speaking to YOU through His holy Word. Listen to what He has to say, and if you truly love Him, you will do as He commands.
1 John 2:3-6(ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
I haven't had the chance to blog as often as I use to... mostly because of work, but also because I have been preoccupied with other parts of my life. Recently I have been thinking of what I wanted to blog next and this has been in my head for awhile now. Please, just remember, I am not trying to come across offensively, but I my writing style may be a little blunt. ;)
Where do I begin? I'll start with this: Is God using you, or are you trying to use God?
'But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Romans 9:20 (NIV)
We live in such a selfish world today. Whether you bump into an old friend, meet up with family, or maybe just seeing every day people, what is the main topic? Usually, they talk about their life, and then you get a chance to talk about your life. You probably ask questions like:
"How are you doing?"
"What have you been up to?"
"How's your job?"
"How's your family?"
Then It's your turn to answer and everything you talk about is you and your life.
I'm not saying this is entirely a bad thing. Sometimes people ask how someone is doing because they care. Sometimes you have a friend you haven't seen in a long time, and they just want to know what they've missed. The point is, if I'm a Christian, why am I the main point of all of my conversations? Why am I not answering with "God..." instead of "I..."
Let me ask a few questions for you to chew on...
Do you believe God saved you? Did He have to? Did He save you because You said a prayer, or You did something different, or You made the decision that He can be a part of Your life?
Please, don't keep reading until you really ponder these questions. The answers you make personally to those questions will affect what these next words may mean to you.
I don't ask those questions to scare you or cause you to debate with me, but I believe they are important for you to answer on your own. It's truly a humbling matter.
I grew up thinking God saved me because I said the magic words to a prayer.
(That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 9:10)
After saying the prayer, like all the other children, I must have been saved. I was just listening to what I was told to do. I knew the Bible was true, and I thought I did what it said. God HAD to save me because I did the steps! (Pretty selfish mindset, don't you think?)
Over the course of my life, growing in my faith had caused me to really debate with what I was taught. Early on I had many points of doubt with God, wondering "What if I didn't mean it and I'm not saved?".
Now, I'm not blaming teachers, my church, or anyone teaching me incorrectly; I'm actually thankful I went through a time believing this false teaching. If I didn't go through it, I wouldn't be able to share it today, and if I'm going to blame anyone for a moment of time I went through, wouldn't God, the Creator and author of time, be the one to blame?
You see, God has ordained the times and has His hand on every moment. That means God had a purpose for me going through a time where I was in the dark. It was a part of my life that God had planned, moving pawns into place when the time had come for everything to happen according to His way (Ephesians 1-3). If I never went on believing the lie of being saved by a prayer, maybe I would have never sought God in the first place.
I'm saying all this because I want you to know this truth: God is intimate with His Creation.
This is very important to understand and remember. God didn't create the world and wind it up like an alarm clock to watch everything happen. God is working at every moment of every day. God knows what He has done, knows what He is doing, and knows what He's going to do. Our God commands us not to be a sluggard; it'd be pretty hypocritical if all he did was "sit back eating potato chips on the couch to watch the world pass by." (A line from my friend Ben)
God has predestined me as one of His children. How do I know? Because the Bible says so and no lie has left the mouth of God. He had me planned as one of His elect. If He had me planned as one of His elect, He'd definitely make sure that life lead to a point where He drew me to His son and I heard the words of God that ultimately gave me saving faith to make the decision to follow Christ. Yes, I made a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, but it was NOT on my terms! It was ALL an act of grace on God's part! My decision was made because He decided to save a dirty sinner like me, and grace be to God because of it!
He drew me to His son. ("No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." -John 6:44NIV)
He put His Word in my life so I could hear. (9 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”' -Romans 10:9-15NIV)
I heard the Words of God, which had the power to pierce through my heart which was turned away from understanding God. (hears a bunch of verses about the power of God's Word: https://dailyverses.net/the-word I didn't want to list them all)
I was redeemed by Jesus Christ. ("The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." -1 Corinthians 2:14NIV)
Only then, when God's Word gave me the understanding of who God was and who I was in his presence, I came before God and repented asking for His salvation. (25 "Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." -2 Timothy 2:25-26NIV)
It was ALL granted by God's beautiful work of grace. (8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:8-10NIV)
(12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—" Romans 9:16-23)
All that to ask this question: Are you living on your to do list or God's to do list?
I was at my friend's house the other night, and before going to sleep his father was spreading some wisdom on us. Something that struck me was when He asked, "Is God on your priority list?"
You would think the easy answer to this question would be "Yes, of course God's at the top of my priority list", but that wasn't the answer he was looking for (trick question). You see, God, the sovereign one in control, does not and will not conform to the little box you call your life. I don't think there's a verse in the Bible that states, "God will conform to your ways." Believing in some God that lets you live the way you want, when you want, and HOW you want is some made up God in your head!
You need to live your life asking God for Him to conform you to His ways. What I'm not saying is you can't have goals in life, but remember, as a Christian, this is not your home. If God was gracious enough to save you, don't you think He had a reason. That is what you should be living your life towards. Stop trying to meet your own expectations, and dig deep searching God's word for His expectations in you. God is no sluggard, and neither should you be. Be willing to put in work for God while you live on this earth.
We live life trying to put God in our box while we go on with daily living. Yeah, we have time for Him on Sunday, maybe prayer before dinner, and if we're feeling "extra spiritual" we even read His Word in the morning or go to Bible studies.
We need to come to the realization of how gracious God has been to you, saving you from sin, without any requirements because you couldn't keep any of the law anyways. He went as far as giving you His only Son to die a brutal, bloody death, so that you could be with Him some day. And what do you do in return? Lie to yourself, saying YOU saved yourself with the magic words or deeds and throw God in YOUR box to follow your life plans?! Sometimes a self examination can really show how selfish and messed up we so called "Christians" really are.
After realizing that everything is all by the overflowing love and grace God showers upon us, only then will we see why living for Christ is so important. It's all part of God's plan. Maybe it was God's plan for you to read this today so that you could get back on track.
Again, I am not saying you can't have a career, goals, or fun. I'm just trying to get across this point:
Don't put God on a to do list; that's a works based salvation and not the salvation the Bible teaches. Instead, read God's word and ask Him what He wants you to do for His glory. Paul was humble enough to call himself a slave of Jesus Christ (first verse of many of His letters); are YOU?
So I have the prologue and first chapter pretty much completed and edited. I would have liked to have the next chapters edited by now, but it has been rough trying to get someone to help me so it is not bias. I have a few sources that I am going to have help go through it with me hopefully soon. Prayer that (in God's timing) I finish my book and it brings glory to Him would be MUCH appreciated. Thank you -Michael Jaymes
It's a day late, but here's a poem I wrote on Christmas Eve. I hope you enjoy it and have a happy holiday.
What Christmas Means To Me
I come to you with news today.
Good tidings of great joy I will relay.
The Christmas story, have you ever heard?
The true story recorded in God's word.
It's about the boy born in a Manger.
To this world he was a stranger.
At this time there was silence on earth
Until this new born baby's birth.
This is not the story of an ordinary baby.
This is God's son, sent to save me.
Born of a virgin, how could this be?
Because the son of God had to be sin free.
If He was born from the seed of man
Sin would have ruined God's perfect plan.
Instead God chose the virgin Mary
And sent an angel to tell her whom she'll carry.
Mary said the angel's words were flawed,
But he reminded her that nothing is impossible with God.
Joseph planned a divorce when he found out,
But an angel in a dream removed his doubt.
Sure enough, Mary bore a son.
Prophecies were fulfilled; the Messiah had come.
The angel declared that they call Him Jesus
And that He was the one sent to save us.
Remember I said, "He was sent to save me"?
That's because God planned for Jesus to be
The spokesman, a servant, the only way,
The door, the deliverer, and the sacrifice paid.
You see, Jesus lived as a perfect man.
He's the only one that could fulfill God's plan.
The price of sin was high to pay,
But my Savior, Jesus, paved the way.
He faced His fate; He lived perfectly.
He was sinless all the way to Calvary.
He was dying, hanging, on a tree,
But I know He did it all for me.
Dead and cold my Savior laid.
In the grave he laid for three days.
He has risen! Can it be?
Oh grave, where is thy victory?
He took my sin to the grave,
And now my soul he has saved.
This is why Jesus was sent:
He came and died for the punishment
That sin had put upon our soul
So we can then again be whole.
Do you now see why I celebrate Christmas?
It's not for money, toys, or other presents.
I'm reminded of His birth,
A gift with priceless worth.
Because of Jesus being gifted,
Now my burden has been lifted.
This story is what makes Christmas true.
I pray that God gives this gift to you.
By Michael Jaymes
First of all, is spilt even a word, or is it a slang term? (Lol)
Heard a great message from my pastor awhile back. He used this statement to make a point I wanted to share with you.
"Don't cry over spilt milk."
Well, what's that suppose to mean? Let's take it, first, literally, and then as an example to apply to our lives.
Literally, it means what it says. I mean, I don't think this needs to be explained, but I like the picture it puts in my head. I think of when I was a kid, trying to pour my first few bowls of cereal. I saw the target, aimed, and still seemed to go all around the bowl on the floor and table, making maybe a tenth of what I poured out into the bowl. I knew where I wanted the milk to go, but mistakenly spilled (or spilt? lol) it all around the target.
There was probably a few reasons I missed. First, I lacked the strength in my five year old arms to pour a full gallon of milk. Secondly, my mom use to always make my cereal for me. It was new and difficult for me to learn to do. Thirdly, as a child, my accuracy was not a strength yet. Even though it is something as small as pouring milk into a bowl of cereal, it was still something I had to learn.
As you can expect, I cried when I made the mistake. I was a child; what more can you expect of a child that doesn't achieve their goal? After making a spill, I wouldn't want to clean up the milk; heck, I wouldn't even want my cereal anymore! I felt defeated. I wanted to give up!
"Don't cry over spilt milk."
Whether it was my mom, dad, or maybe an older sibling, someone probably came along my side, told me to quit crying like a baby, and helped me clean up the accident. You see, I couldn't just cry and leave it there; what does that accomplish? I had to clean up the mistake and move on. I couldn't dwell on a small, mistake and allow it to ruin my whole morning. Instead, I could clean it up, pour my milk again, and enjoy my cereal.
Now, I know this all seems silly to think about, but this is how you sometimes live your life. You act like a five year old again. Instead of cleaning up your mistake and moving on, you decide to pout about how, "I can never accomplish anything in life." and say, "I hate my life." Really? You're going to let a mistake that's in the passed ruin the way you live in the future? That seems a little childish, does it not?
Maybe you blame your mistakes that haunt your life on depression, not being good enough, or on others. You want to know what I think you should blame it on? PRIDE! The only one deciding how you will live your life is yourself. You make a mistake.... That stinks, but don't be unwilling to clean it up and move on! I don't care how small or large this mistake is. Maybe you upset someone on accident or made a mistake at work. Maybe a mistake threw you off track for a life goal, or maybe you made a choice that is "unforgivable" to someone else. Whether it's great or small, you have to move on. Don't choose to live in a bitter, selfish, depressed lifestyle because you're no good. Get up, and move on.
Now, if you've read this far, thank you for persevering through my ranting. Let me get into the Biblical aspect of this. I can understand that some mistakes are harder to clean up and move on from than others. Some may seem impossible in your own strength to overcome. Thank God you don't have to and sometimes shouldn't keep trying.
You see, some mistakes are created through just pure accident. All this proves is that humans are not perfect; move on. You can get over that. Issues created by sin is different. For example, if you create an issue through your temptation in sin, should you try to overcome it in your own strength? NO! Why would you trust yourself to overcome sin when YOU are the one who fell in the first place? What sense does that make? Logically the only other person you can turn to as a believer is God.
“So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.” (Hosea 12:6ESV)
I've said it before, I'll say it again: MISTAKES HAPPEN!!! Whether it's out of an ignorant decision or pure accident, you can't change the fact that you spilt the milk. The question is, what are you gonna do about it? Are you gonna act like a child, cry about it in the corner, and leave the mess hoping someone else will clean it up so you can act like it never happened? Or will you go to God, the only one who has control over your messy lifestyle, and ask Him to help you?
"'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." (Joel 2:12-13NIV)
Sometimes, it's pretty hard to face God without pride. No one wants to admit they need help, they can't do it, and that they made a mistake; but what's scarier: trying to fix things on your own, trusting yourself, the one who is bound to mess up again.... or facing a compassionate God and crying out, "God! Please have mercy on me. I can't do this on my own; I need your help to get through this."?
You may be a disappointment, a failure, and a defeated individual. You may be broken beyond what anyone can imagine. You may feel like there is no reason to live life anymore because this mistake is too much to bare. (weird, I say all this as if I have experience...)
These depressing thoughts will NOT put you back on your feet. These are thoughts of pride, pulling yourself down, treating yourself like you're garbage.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." (Psalm 42:11ESV)
Have you forgotten? If you're a believer, what you once were WAS garbage, but not anymore!!! You're created in the image of God; you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. You are a light for God. You were adopted as one of God's children FREELY in despite of your filthiness, and now you want to call yourself trash? Don't lie to yourself. You know who your heavenly Father is! Turn to Him! When was the last time you asked Him for anything!?!? This time of darkness seems like a very convenient time to get things right with Him.
Sometimes God allows what we call "bad things" to happen for us to turn to Him. He has a much better plan for you; He has a purpose of glory in everything. Let that encourage you to turn your back on these depressing thoughts and run to the one who loves you! As a Christian, death has no hold on you; the only one that will never let go is God. Cling back to Him; turn to Him and search for comfort and peace only He can provide.
"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:17-19ESV)
Remember the story I told in the beginning? Someone came to help the child clean up the mistake. They helped fix the issue. YOU are the child in the story, and that someone who came along side the child is God. Don't be a baby that pouts in the corner; instead, allow God to help you clean up the mess. Stop giving up and letting your emotions run your life. Stop pushing God away. Who else is going to help you?
"Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7NKJV)
I wanna challenge you to read Psalm 34 if you are struggling with something bothering you from your past. It is a great passage of comfort, and can help you fix your eyes on the Lord. He is in control; He knows what you are going through and why. Trust and seek Him for peace.
I know... I haven't written in awhile. My mind has been engaged on my work and my life. I guess that sounds kind of selfish. I'm sorry; I took my mind off the goal for a long time, but I have good news for you! Before I get to this news, let me give you a small update on my life.
If you did not know, I was writing a book. Yes, writing, as in past tense. I can now say I have written a book. My first book is finished; well, actually, it's still a rough draft and has to be proof read. The book is basically written, but over the review it may receive some slight changes in wording and maybe some additional sentences. I wrote it in about a months time! I'm actually surprised with how quick I wrote the book. It is not very long (between 70-110 pages), but it is exactly what I wanted. I cannot wait to share it with you. It is easily read and great for all ages to hopefully enjoy. I am hoping to have it published early on in the new year to come.
After finishing writing, I took a long break from writing anything at all. I started doing some online work and really enjoyed the job I got into. It's been a great first two months working, but it kind of got me side track from my passion of writing. I almost feel I need to apologize for my absence. Maybe you have kept up with my blog or maybe you have never read it before, but I have always had a passion of sharing the effectual love I have received from God that can change your life too. I have always had a passion of being a motivation to the people around me with my words; the last two months I have stepped away from that passion and filled that space with work. I guess to put it bluntly, I have failed myself and feel like I have failed you. More importantly, I have failed God.
God has put this ability and enthusiasm inside of me of writing and sharing uplifting news with you, and I have disregarded? Shame on me! But let me point something out to you: just because I have fallen in the pit of failure, it does NOT mean I can't get out.
This is where the good news for you comes in! You see, I have fallen into a lazy state. I have fallen off track with something I believe God wants me to do: share what He has taught me with you!!! But let me be an example to you in your life! Maybe you have fallen off track with something too. It can be anything! Maybe you strive to lose weight, buy something you have to save for, be better at basketball, or even grow closer to God.
-YOU WILL NEVER GET THE RESULTS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR WITHOUT PUTTING IN THE TIME-
You see, when you start something, you aren't finished until you get to the result. You don't quit in the middle. Maybe you slacked off at a time, but don't let that stop you from getting back up. Maybe there's a sin you keep falling into temptation with. Do you discourage yourself by saying, "Well, I fell into temptation last time so it doesn't matter if I do this time. I'm never gonna be able to stop anyways." STOP! That is a lazy way out. It's an excuse your flesh will try to use.
Mind over Body!
Whether it's a sin temptation or just any ordinary situation in life, don't let your failures stop you from reaching success.
-If you want to lose weight, put in the work.
-If you want to buy something out of your price range, put in the discipline to save your money.
-If you want to get better at basketball, keep your head up and start practicing.
-If you want to grow closer to God, put in the time for prayer and devotions.
If I want to be a better witness through my writing, I need to start writing again. I let my laziness get in the way and told myself it doesn't matter. I now realize that from my lack of motivation, I had fallen away from my writing; but if I don't start again now, how long would I keep pushing it off?
Listen, you are not alone. Everyone struggles with reaching goals in life. As a motivation, remember this verse:
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
As a Christian, God has created you for good works. God has prepared a way that you would walk for His glory. Let that motivate you to live up to that goal. It has motivated me tonight. I was quoting that verse and thought right away, "Man, I gotta get back into writing."
I hope if there are any goals you have missed or failing to reach, that you would get back on track and live up to the purpose of success. Don't let mistakes hold you down; instead, allow motivation to pick you up.
So I haven't written in awhile, and that is because I have been working on a book!!! Yes, I am going to self publish my first very own book! I am not exactly sure when it will be done (I'm hoping very soon), but I have also been working on this poem. So I wrote a poem, but I didn't want to post it without backing it up with scripture. So here it is! I hope you enjoy it. God bless!
I wrote for Christians, trying to give a better understanding of their salvation. I hear many testimonies where people talk a lot about what they did and how they accepted Christ. It always makes me think, "Is it really all about what YOU did? How did you make that decision on your own? What caused you to make that decision?" I use to think that I had salvation because one day I asked Jesus to save me and repented of my sin. I am not saying that there is no repentance to salvation; that is definitely part of it! But what happened first? Did I just magically decide one day that Jesus was the answer to all my problems and choose Him, or has God had a purpose and plan for my life, choosing me beforehand allowing me to choose Him also?
I am not trying to offend anyone in this poem, but I definitely come across blunt. If you have your opinions or disagree that's totally okay. I am backing up what I say with scripture and doing my best to explain what I have been learning in my personal study of Soteriology recently. I just want people to realize after salvation how intimate it really is. God chose you first, had a plan, made you who you are for His glory, and has a plan in how He'll use you.
You didn't do anything, saying anything, or be anything different than anyone else; God just decided out of His sovereignty that you were going to be one of His. You rejected Him through life until one day He decided to open your eyes, draw you in, and cause you to choose Him by repenting and believing. And that's not the end; now you are on a journey with God where He is transforming you and sanctifying you more and more into the likeness of His son. Isn't it beautiful!?
I guess I will stop rambling on; here is my poem and there is scripture next to every line to hopefully back everything up. I would encourage you to read all the scripture and really meditate on what the words mean. It was really powerful doing a small study on sin and salvation. Please enjoy.
Salvation By God
I write in spite of what the world may say
Or think of me because I believe this way.
Some say and may believe that this is true:
"salvation is a gift for me and for you."
I won't and don't doubt one's salvation,
But is it possible a lie swept across the nation? II Thessalonians 2
I'll try to find an easy way to explain
That the delusion of salvation through a prayer is insane. Ephesians 2:8-10, John 6:44, Psalm 65:4
Many agree with what parents or church taught, Psalm 118:8, Jeremiah 17:5-12, Isaiah 29:13
That they get a say in going to hell or not. Matthew 10:28, Romans 9:14-23
Don't base your case on what others may say. Psalm 118:8, Jeremiah 17:5-12
Base your religion on what the Bible relays. Psalm 33:4, Psalm 18:30
Feel free to see what I believe God teaches,
But again, don't believe because it's what a man preaches. Psalm 118:8
This is what His word has said to me;
So Please, enjoy this poem on how man is set free:
My soul is wholly saved by grace God gave me; Ephesians 2:8
It's not by a work, a prayer, or a plea. Ephesians 2:9
My eyes were opened; I see black and white. Acts 26:18
Their way is gray, with no wrong or right. Ecclesiastes 5:1
For they without ray of light inside Proverbs 4:19
Are in sin's darkness where they abide. II Corinthians 4:4
Is in their sin where they will stay? I Corinthians 2:14, Matthew 22:14
That's not for me to choose or say. II Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 8:29-30, I Peter 2:9
"Is it a bit unfair?" you may debate. I Samuel 2:1-7
"Shouldn't all get a chance to enter heaven's gate?" Romans 9:20-24
Does he or she have a right in that choice? Romans 8:7, Romans 3;12
God doesn't listen to a sinner's voice. John 9:31, Psalm 34:15
For they one day may receive salvation. II Corinthians 2:2,
But not out of their own declaration. Matthew 7:21-23, Titus 1:16
God's gift that lifts one out of darkness Ephesians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 4:6
Is solely on Him; works are regardless. Ephesians 2:9, Titus 3:3-7
Can't you see that all are enslaved to sin? Acts 7:51, Romans 3:12 John 8:34
Every work is bound by evil within. Titus 3:3, John 3:20, Romans 8:8
To vent and repent to God won't save! Romans 3:11, Isaiah 29:13
Anything man does only leads to the grave! Romans 7:5, Proverbs 14:12
Realize the wise of this world are not right. Romans 1:22
Man's ways are hopeless in this fight. John 15:4-5, Philippians 2:13, Galatians 6:3
To win against sin is impossible for man; Matthew 19:25-26, Hebrews 10:1-10, Hebrews 11:6
To be freed from sin's chains is something God can.Romans 6:22, John 8:36, Romans 8:2, Isaiah 43:10-13
A good deed won't lead one to receive; Romans 10:1-4, Titus 3:5, Romans 3:27-28
Only by God given faith one can believe. Romans 12:3, 10:17, Hebrews 12:2, Galatians 3:23-24
Any voice or choice said by one Romans 10:9-10
Is because God’s saving work has begun. John 15:16
God draws one near and opens their eyes. John 6:44, Luke 4:18, John 9:39, II Corinthians 3:16
He takes a fool and makes him wise. Ephesians 1:17, James 1:5
It's then that men will choose to repent. Romans 2:4
Because God gave the knowledge of what sin really meant. Proverbs 2:6, Ephesians 1:17
When freed they believed through faith in Christ Galatians 2:16
Because He is the one who paid the price. I Peter 2:24
When in their sin, faith couldn't be found 2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:4-6, Ephesians 4:17-19
Because by sin's nature they were bound. Proverbs 5:22
Please see that we are not freed from what we say. Romans 9:20, Acts 4:12
It is God alone who can takes sin's chains away. Galatians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 3:17
It's He who will be the one who will choose His elect. Romans 9:11, 11:5, Ephesians 1:4
He is the Creator, sovereign and perfect. Psalm 18:30, I Timothy 6:15, Romans 9:1, Acts 4:24
Is Christianity being sugarcoated? I feel like Christianity is being preached as if we are the center of attention, but the Bible is completely against this. It's not about us at all! It is about our King, God almighty. He does so much for us that we don't deserve.
Living the Christian life is not about becoming a better person, or checking off a list of works, or deciding that God saves so "I might as well live His way." True Christianity is all about how God draws one in, transforms Him completely, and this one now lives beholding Jesus Christ.
Think about this:
Salvation is nothing one does; it is all by the grace of God and out of His supernatural power. He draws one to Him and opens his eyes to the knowledge of his sin and hopelessness without God. That is the only reason one would repent and turn to God because in the state of sin, no one will turn to Him. This is the beauty of salvation!
Romans 7:18-25(ESV) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. vs.19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. vs.20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. vs.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. vs.22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, vs.23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. vs.24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? vs.25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Ephesians 2:8-9(KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: vs.9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
After salvation, one's life is under the chastising and direction of God. Yes, He has the choice of right and wrong, but His will is limited by God's allowance and directing. This life is not lived in attempt to have less sin; after salvation you are still in your flesh and will still choose to sin at times. This life is not lived chasing perfect deeds; this life is lived chasing a perfect savior!
Phil. 1:21(KJV) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Salvation causes one to see how beautiful Christ truly is. It's what causes one to thirst after God more and more. It's not within the man that changes the way he walks, talks, and thinks. These things are transformed by God! His salvation changes one!
Acts 26:18(KJV) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
PLEASE REALIZE THAT YOU DOING GOD'S WORK IS ONLY BY THE SALVATION GOD HAS GIVEN YOU. THE DEEDS YOU DO AFTER SALVATION ARE NOT OF YOURSELF!
Phil. 3:9(KJV) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
I am not saying that you don't make your own choices, but you never would have made the choice to glorify God if God never saved you in the first place! God commands us in His word to live for Him, but you showing fruits in how you live after salvation is only because Christ has broke sin's bound on you. So in saying that, your works are only done out of result of what Christ first did to you.
Understand? Good, let's move on.
Sorry, but I am now just getting to my main point, so please, just hang in there.
God has now saved one; this person is now a Christian. Now what? Well, they usually go to church. Why? To know more about this new God in their life. The danger of this is that so many church's teachings are watered down! All this Christian may hear is about how lovey lovey God is to everyone. If you read your Bible a little bit, I bet you will see a God who is a little more than just love.
Yes, God is love, but God is also equally hate! Yes God is full of grace and mercy, but God is full of wrath and judgement also. So you know the one half of God; shouldn't we want to know the other half of God? Do you want to know your God as much as you can?
Many would say God is not hate or even anger; He's just a big happy guy waiting for someone to "decide to love Jesus". If God was just love and loves everyone, then answer me this:
Why did He create hell?
Why did He flood the ENTIRE world and only decide to save eight people?
Why did God destroy Sodom and Gamorrah?
Why did He harden Pharaoh's heart?
Why did He favor Israel as his chosen people?
Why does the Bible talk about so much bloodshed?
Why does the Bible say many will come before Christ and be denied?
Why does God say He loved Jacob and hated Esau?
There's probably many other questions I could ask, but can you see that God is more than just love? Stop reading the easy stuff. It's not wrong to know God loves; it's really important to know God is love. But there is so much more to learn about Him.
You see, I am not trying to tell you churches are wrong, but many churches are afraid to "offend" people if they teach about the other side of God. Let me tell you a secret: the whole Bible is offensive! Jesus Himself was offensive. He never sugarcoated people's sin; He drove straight to the point and was blunt to the sinner. He was not afraid to hurt feelings because sometimes the truth really does hurt.
I have something very important to tell you. If you remember anything you read, let this be it:
DON'T BASE YOUR SALVATION OFF OF WHAT SOMEONE TELLS YOU!
I don't care if it's your pastor, best friend, parent, or sibling! Everything they tell you may be true, but do not believe what they say without lining it up with the Bible. The only one you can believe about your salvation or any topic about living the Christian life is God, the one who is the giver of life! He understands it much more than anyone you will EVER meet. He is the only one who can explain it, and He explains everything you need to know in His word!
2 Timothy 3:16(ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
You see, without lining things up with the Bible, man finds no reason to read their Bible. With no reason to read your Bible, you will have a belief that is simply based on man's words. The danger of this is that any man can falsely say anything about the Bible. Anyone can say, "God hates alcoholics," and thousands may believe it. Did they actually read a verse that says that or are they just basing their belief off of what one man said? Do you see my point?
I know this whole post is a little rabbit trailish... but I want you to get these three points out of it. First, salvation is a work of God not of man. If it was of man than man would not be truly hopeless would they? Second, any good work done of you after salvation is only because God has saved you first. Your works are not a checklist for God, but they are part of the transformation and working of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life. You would never serve Him unless He saved you first. Third, after salvation, READ YOUR BIBLE. Don't base your religion off what you heard, but seek to know it for yourself. Grow closer to God by learning more about Him.
I would challenge you to find some answers to the questions I mentioned above. I would encourage you to even find the answers on your own. Don't see what Google has to say, or ask that "really good Christian friend", or go to your pastor. These are all good resources for input or where to look into the Bible for the subject, but a Christian should study God's word on their own. Have some time between just you and God, pray you will understand what He says in His word, and dive in. You can look up what passages of scripture may cover these topics, but read them yourself.
If you still don't understand after searching out an answer, then I would go to someone who knows more or may have more knowledge on the question you are trying to answer. It's always good to discuss deep theology and doctrine with friends or elders.
Find a good church that preaches the word truthfully. I can remember growing up a pastor telling me, "Find a church that reads from the Bible and challenges you to read your Bible on your own." Those are wise words. If a church is challenging you to read it for yourself, I bet there's a better chance what they are preaching is going to be found in the Bible.
I'm only challenging you to do these things because I want to be an encouragement to you to read your Bible. If you read my last post on lazy Christians, you would understand why I am writing this. It is so very important that we actually find out who our God truly is to us; especially in your own life. Find out more about who God is as your Savior, Father, friend, Creator, and director.
2 Timothy 2:15(KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Any "Christian" can say, "Jesus died for me" or "God is love" or "I know I'm saved because I said the prayer", but do they really know who God is? Do they really know what salvation is or what they believe? I have been going back and forth with myself if I wanted to ever write this because I feel it may offend some, but I know God has laid this upon my heart for a reason. I want you to think about yourself as you read these words, and truly answer to yourself if this is you.
I am not here to attack anyone; I am not here to make you confused or afraid. I am not writing to make you doubt your beliefs or change your beliefs. I want you to read this and question yourself. I want you to really dive deep instead of just skimming the surface. I want this post to cause you to do your own research if these words cause you to think.
I hate seeing these "LAZY Christians". There life speaks words to me like this: "Oh, yeah, I'm a Christian. My mom told me to get to heaven I had to repeat after her and just really mean it. I said the prayer and I think I believed hard enough. Ever since, I have been doing all these good things for God."
You know these people. Maybe this is you. These people know the simple verses like Romans 3:23, John 3:16, and maybe Acts 16:31 if you're lucky. They talk about how much their life has changed since they've been trying to be a Christian, but if you look deep enough, these are the same kids that are at home watching porn when no one is around, cursing because they're "cool" when they're outside of the Christian circle, listening to that rap and hip-hop trash that fills your mind with filthiness, and just completely following their heart after lustful desires that the Bible completely speaks against doing.
I am not saying that Christians don't struggle, mess up, and do these same or similar sins daily, but I know the Bible says "you will know them by their fruits." If you don't see them even trying to put off the old and put on the new how can you believe that they have truly been changed at all?
The Bible CLEARLY states, “Put off the old, and put on the new.” If these small areas of their life aren’t matching up with the Bible, what’s the rest of their life look like? The Bible talks about confusion and diversions in the world. It talks about how Satan will have diversions in the world and lead people away from God. Could one of the diversions possibly be someone thinking they are saved?
Revelation 12:9 (KJV)
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV)
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The Bible says many will think they are going to Heaven, but you want to know what they will say? It will probably be along the lines of, "Lord, I did all these good things. I said the salvation prayer, I prayed for my friends to get saved, I went to church on more than just Sundays, I went on that one mission's trip, I went to youth group, I stopped cursing for the most part, and I did all these other good things for you!" Jesus' words will be, "Depart from me ye that work iniquity; I never knew you."
Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
How sad will that be? That must be a shocker to them! Did you see the pattern though? The people that think they are saved will say, "I did this, I did that, I I I I....." Is it really about anything we did? Is salvation AT ALL about what you or I did? Is it about some prayer you said? You really believe that a prayer is the key to salvation when it's preached all the time, "It's not by works"? I hope it doesn’t make sense when the preacher says, "You can't do anything to save yourself so just say a prayer and Jesus will save you!"
Speakers like this are literally telling you to do a certain work (say a salvation prayer), and you will obtain the gift of salvation from Jesus. After that they tell you to change on the outside and show the world what a "Christian" looks like. Just live a certain way and say the right things; you will definitely be going to heaven if you just follow these simple steps. Step one: Say the prayer. Step two: Live the life. Step three: get others to say the prayer. I believe these are the three key steps to living the life of a "Lazy Christian."
Now let me tell you why I feel this way. Romans 6:6 says that Christians use to be slaves to sin. Do you know what that means? The unsaved is enslaved to sin, as in bound by sin. You were or are consumed by sin nature. If one is bound by sin nature, can they do anything that is good? NO!!! Of course not. The Bible says that their works are like filthy rags because it is impossible for someone to do good if they are enslaved to sin.
Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
That's like telling a human to grow a tail or to fly with wings. It's impossible! Why? Because you are bound by human nature. Your human body cannot do that. It’s the same with an unsaved man enslaved to sin; they cannot do any good because good is the complete opposite of sin and outside of sin nature. So if this is true, is it really possible to admit you are sin and do something good like saying a prayer that you believe in God to get saved? I would disagree, but this is what many believe.
I wouldn’t doubt one’s salvation who believes this way, but I would doubt their understanding of their salvation. God can save somebody and they can still believe they said a prayer that saved them. But at the same time, one can say they got saved by a prayer they said and not be saved at all. Many believe this way, but I think it is a mix of Christians and unsaved.
Psalm says the fool rejects/disbelieves God. A fool is one who is unsaved. If they are rejecting God, why would they come to admitting they need God? They wouldn’t! So how can you get saved? I’m making it sound like mankind is pretty hopeless.... But that’s because mankind IS hopeless. Salvation is nothing any man can achieve on their own. It is only by the work of God one can be saved.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
You see, God draws one near and touches their life with His grace.This grace is what saves; this grace is what opens one's eyes so that they may see. Saving grace is what reveals the truth to one of their hopelessness. Without God’s drawing and touching one’s life with this grace, man cannot receive salvation.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Many will disagree with this because of the belief of God not wanting any to perish and giving man the freedom of choosing salvation. They might say that if God’s drawing was only for people He chose then He’s sending people to hell. First, God doesn’t send people to hell; sin does (Romans 6:23). Secondly, If you are bound by sin nature do you have the choice to do what is right? I don’t believe this is so. So can you really have a choice of doing what is right? Would that make salvation special at all if it was just thrown to whoever? I believe it is much more intimate if God says, “I have chose to save you!” I believe God has to shine light in the darkness to open up salvation to you.
Another part people disagree on is God’s drawing. Some believe there is no election and chosen people for God, but if you read Ephesians 1-2 it says otherwise. I believe on the opposite side of the spectrum; I believe if God doesn’t draw you in and open your eyes, you don’t receive salvation. Many will say that makes God unfair. Well is God a god based on fairness?
HA! NO! (not trying to mock anyone, but I hate the idea of a "fair" God)
If that was so, God would weigh our “goods” and bads on a scale and tell us if we made it to heaven or not. If God was truly fair, everyone would go to hell. NO ONE is righteous and even worthy in God’s presence. Is grace “fair”? The whole idea of salvation is not fair. It wasn’t out of fairness God gives salvation; it was out of His love and grace He chose to save some of His creation. If you don’t think that’s fair or right of God to do, read Romans 9 and then tell me if you have any business telling the Creator what He can and can’t do with His creation!
Man cannot confess of sin to be saved; one confesses their sin because God has saved. When God reveals full glory and grace to one, they will repent, but without God drawing and revealing, man cannot find good on their own.
You see, man would not be hopeless if you believed you have to seek God and say a salvation prayer when you believed. Man is only hopeless if they cannot save themselves, but only be saved if their life was touched by a stronger outside source (God) that could break the sin’s chains of slavery.
I hope I am not being confusing with all this, but if so my challenge to you would be to read your Bible and search it out! Don’t base your beliefs on man’s words; match up their words with the Bible. Don’t base your salvation off of what your pastor says or your parents taught you; look to God’s word! He promises to make Himself known to the ones who seek Him. He will draw one in, open their eyes, and cause them to realize the reality of their sin. They will cry out to Him because He has shown them.
I use to believe in what I call the Two-part Salvation. I believed God already did all the work by sending His son to die and promising life through his rising from the dead. I believed the free gift of salvation was just thrown out to everyone and whoever took it was smart. I always thought, “Why wouldn’t everyone take it? Even if you don’t want to follow Him, might as well take His gift of eternal life.” I believed that when I got saved it was through my belief and my words of confession. I believed God made a solution for my sin, and I acted upon it.
Ever since about six months ago I have been questioning my belief. I always knew I was saved because I could see change and feel conviction from the Holy Spirit in my life. I just had this problem with not knowing all the answers.
I will never know all the answers, but that shouldn’t stop me from diving deeper. From not diving deep enough I got myself into believing that my salvation was partly out of my working. Once I dove deeper and tried asking myself and other godly men in my life the harder questions I started seeing that my salvation was intimate. I could see my salvation had nothing to do with a prayer, but it had everything to do with God choosing me in His timing for His purpose. How much more special is that God wanted a relationship with me and I’m not just another lucky guy that chose to accept Him into my heart?
His gift of salvation is grace that is particular and much more meaningful than the grace He gives to everyone every day. That grace would include things like oxygen we breathe every day, a body that works, creative minds, and just the opportunity to live. Salvation’s grace is much more meaningful than the grace that God gives to the unsaved and saved every day.
I think I will stop rambling for now because this could go one hundred different directions if I keep typing. Let me end with this thought: I don’t want you to believe what I say because I say it’s true. It’s a lot to take in and questions will pop up in your head, but instead of getting defensive of what I am typing, look to God’s word and see what it says to you.
Don’t allow yourself to say, “I’m right and this guy’s wrong!” I wouldn’t be posting this if it wasn’t important to me or I didn’t believe it could open a whole new point of the Bible to you. Salvation is a topic I feel we dumb down so much when there is so much we might not understand about it. Did Jesus die for all sin or just Christians’ sin? Does God hate or only love? Was my salvation my choice? Can one reject salvation after Him showing grace and opening their eyes? Can I lose my salvation? Can I be saved and still do what I want?
I have already answered these questions and more for myself, but I’d like to challenge you to answer them personally. Get serious with God’s word; ask someone like your pastor or a Christian friend that may be more knowledgeable about questions like these. Ask them to show your where and what the Bible says. If you take anything out of this post, don’t let it be anger if your belief of what the Bible says about salvation is different than mine. My whole goal was to cause my readers to think and to tell you to not become a lazy Christian.
So don’t walk away from this post saying, “Hmmm, that was interesting.” I want you to get up, grab the Bible you haven’t touched in a few days/weeks/months/years, and get your phone. Do a simple Google search of some keywords or where to find verses. Read some passages you remember that talk about salvation if you want to study more (I would suggest Ephesians and Romans). Ask others questions. Do everything in your power to try to understand and know as much as you can about what God says about salvation.
Don’t be a lazy Christian; thirst after the word and desire to understand it more instead of taking an easy way out. Don’t make God the God you want Him to be in your mind; read the Bible and see what He has to say to you. (look at that! I said I’d stop rambling four paragraphs ago…)
I am sorry I have not posted in a long time; I have pushed it off for awhile now. Some of it was laziness, but most of it was because I do not want to write halfheartedly. Let me explain....
I work at a Christian camp called Spruce Lake located in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I am a counselor for a program called Day Camp there. Day Camp is like day care and vacation Bible school smashed together that lasts eleven weeks in the summer. At Day Camp we average close to 100 campers a day, and anywhere between 8-15 of them are my responsibility every day. I am the counselor of the Rattler group, which is the 12-13 year old children.
These kids pretty much drain me Monday through Friday. My day consists of teaching devotions, feeding them lunch, running games and playing along, walking them to each activity, and anything in between. We do camp games, hike Spruce Mountain, go on field trips, swim, make crafts, and many other things that occupy time from 9-4 every day. Since it is a Christian camp, God is shown and talked about at every opportunity found.
Like I said, these kids drain me, but I love my job. I have such a burden for teaching these kids about who God is, what God has done, and what God is doing. I want them to know about Christ and be able to share the same relationship I have with Him. Some of the children come from a family that go to church or at least have heard about God, but many of them do not. Many parents use Day Camp as just a day care and opportunity for their child to do something with their summer instead of sitting in front of a TV.
I get home from work every day around five. I am then exhausted and ready to do nothing; I get the urge to write many times and want to when I get home. I just don't want to write with the attitude of trying to just get it over with, or quick putting something together without studying my Bible or feeling inspired. I don't want writing to become homework; I want my writing to be done out of pure love for God, knowing that through my writing, God can use it to touch the lives of others.
I guess I am kind of challenging other Christian writers with this: Don't write because you feel like you need to, but write because you want to and are moved by the Holy Spirit to motivate, discipline, encourage, or overall point others to Christ. Yeah, maybe some of my delay in writing was out of laziness, but there were many times that I thought, "I do not want to write if I am this tired and unprepared."
I know I could throw something together in twenty minutes that sounds good and says to love Jesus, but is that really the attitude I want to go into writing with? I mean, this is talent given by God that I can use for His glory! I don't want to do a sloppy, halfhearted job on the Lord's work; I want to take my time and do my best to glorify Him. If I just try to throw something together quickly, am I going to hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."?
This doesn't just go for writing. This goes for any occupation, hobby, or work done by us. If Christians are going into life with the attitude of, let's just get this over with, are they truly bringing praise to God? If you are going through life with this this kind of rushing or sloppy attitude, you're lacking the heart and motive.
What is your motive when you work? Is it, "How can I point someone towards Christ today?" or is it, "I can't wait till this day is over so I can do what I want!" The second one definitely sounds selfish, but it's how so many of us act so often.
To close, I would like to just try to encourage (as well as myself) to humble yourself and remember what you are working for. Pray and ask God to give you the opportunities to set an example of a follower of Christ to others. Be all in for the glory of Christ. Put your own desires and goals aside when you are doing God's work. Don't get sloppy or become lazy; become motivated!
Earlier this week I passed an old friend who was walking his bike up a hill. I thought he was probably going to work. I debated on giving him a lift, but he had a bike and I wouldn't be able to fit that in my car. As I kept on driving, I wondered the conversation we would have had since I have not talked to this friend after a few bad choices and wrong turns he has taken in the past five years of his life. I'd probably ask, "What happened? Where did your "relationship" you claimed to have with Jesus Christ go?"
I could think of many things that just didn't work out for this friend in his life; no doubt in my mind it was a hard life that was full of struggling and trials. The only answer I could think of him saying is, "Well I didn't ask for this life."
That's when it dawned on me! I felt like an idiot having a conversation with myself that was just running through my head. But he's right! He didn't ask for that life; none of us have. That's the problem! What have we been asking for as Christians? Have you been asking God for anything recently? I struggle with this a lot in my own life. I know what the verses say; I know He's always there for me. Why do I still fail to look to Him?
Matthew 21:22(KJV)- And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Christians so often say that they keep struggling with this temptation or they are stuck in some rut of sin. Have you ever done this in your own personal life? This drives me to ask you a question: What are you doing about it?
There's been times in my life I would struggle and fall over and over again into the same dirty sin, and feel awful knowing I wanted to please God but just keep messing up. I would get to the point where I'd pray and ask God, "Why would you choose me as one of yours knowing I would be this rotten of a sinner?"
I forgot one thing; I forgot to ask God for His strength. You can look and see in the Bible over and over how much we need to look to God for His strength. It can be hard to understand why your life is this way or that way; it can be hard to understand why God would allow some trials to come into play. My motivation to you is to remember that God is good. You may not see it, feel it, think it, or even understand it; but God will never fail to be good. He is always good! And because He is good, He will help you if you would just ask.
When you think about big or small trials or struggles that become a part of you and effect you, REMEMBER! God is good! We are right in saying we did not ask for this life, but don't forget to ask for His strength through it.
I didn't ask for back pain. I didn't ask for sin addiction. I didn't ask for one of my close friends to die. But I cannot forget his goodness in my life! Don't let these hard things weigh you down. You want to know what else I didn't ask for? I didn't ask for Christian parents, a Christian education, to be born in a free land, money to buy a car, for good godly influencing friends, or even salvation! God, out of His goodness, gifted all of this to me. I have no room for complaining. Do you really think it's a good idea to blame God, or say He was wrong, or complain about something that He allowed when He gave us His perfect son?
If you're struggling as a Christian, that's a good thing. You're not home yet. Don't get comfortable in this world. You should feel foreign and unwelcome to this fallen earth. Maybe you didn't ask for the life God gave you, but as a Christian you should be thanking God for how much He has truly done for you. Open your eyes! See how good of a Father He truly is!
To top off how good God is, He promises to hear His children's prayers. As a son of God, I can thank God for the life He gave me, and ask that He gives me more! Don't let His mercy, grace, and goodness stop where it's at! We are right in saying we didn't ask for this, but we are wrong in saying that this is it! God's word says, "Ask and ye shall receive".
So to close in the answer of the question, why?, my answer to you would be because God is good. And because God is good, we should be asking for so much more! He has been so gracious to His children, and He will continue to show His goodness throughout life. We can't get caught up on the thought that we didn't ask for this; instead, we need to keep asking for Him to work even more. Run to Him, do His will, and keep asking for His grace and goodness to be poured out on your life.
Matthew 7:7-8(KJV)- Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
This poem is very personal to me. I wrote this poem thinking of my own life and the people around me. This poem is written to the "Christians" that don't live it. How many times have you seen a friend worship at youth group and turn around and listen to Eminem in their car? Or how many times does someone lead prayer and then curse when they leave their Christian circle? What about me, when I tell my friends at Bible study to stay pure in thought, action, and mind, and I don't even stand true to this statement? How foolish as Christians Can we be!
I understand, just because I am a Christian it does not mean I will never mess up. I get that; but when someone proclaims the name of Christ only sometimes... that hurts me. There's a difference between being a Christian who messes up and being a faker. We need to stop saying we are a Christian if were still enslaved to sin. One is not a Christian until God opens their eyes and repents of this way. Only then will they be broken free from sin's chains.
If we truly have been made alive in Christ, we need to stop living like were still dead in sins! We need to stop going our own way as if it doesn't matter. If I am a Christian, I need to stand up for what I believe, live for Christ, and cast out those old habits. If you are a Christian you need to do the same! It's not just a one and done choice; this is a daily choice we as Christians must make. Don't let different sins be your god in your life. Don't let temptation take hold of your life. Let God be the only leader of your life.
Live for Him
Making a promise that you won’t sin
Is like telling someone they will always win.
So don’t tell God, “I’ll always do right.”
Instead, ask God, “Can you prepare me to fight?”
Don’t make a promise that you can’t keep,
And then bring sin to His feet.
The Father knows your every deed;
He knows if you will succeed.
Do not act as if this is untrue,
Or that these sins you did not do.
Come to grips and understand
That you will break His every command.
Ask for His guidance throughout life
Because going your own way leads to strife.
Yes, trials and temptations of sin will still be,
But remember His grace can set you free.
In your own strength you will lose this war.
Sin is more that you can ever endure.
You cannot overcome the flesh alone;
Instead, humble yourself before the throne.
Cry out to God and He will help you.
In your own power there’s nothing you can do.
You can’t do it on your own;
That’s why He sent His Son to atone.
Stop living life as a game!
Repent to Him your sin and shame.
Be real with God; He will forgive.
For His glory you shall live.
So choose to live for Him today.
Stop living in that sinful way.
And when you choose to reflect His Son,
That’s when you’ll hear the words, “Well done.”
It has been on my mind recently that I believe God is calling me into missions. I don't know where, how, when, with who, or even why; but I know that God wants me to tell others about what He has done for me and what He can do for others who are broken and lost like I once was. I have a heart for those who are slaves to sin; I know the cure and don't think as a Christian I should keep that to myself.
I have been on three mission trips outside of the United States in the past, and it each time this question would pop into my head: "What about America; where are the missions here?"
I have a burden on my heart for unsaved in America. I've heard teachers and preachers go on and on about how corrupt America has become and where America started. I hear them say how America is on a downfall. I find myself always asking this question in my head, "Okay, instead of talking about how awful our homeland is, what are we doing about it?"
I understand we as Christians need to talk about these things, but I don't understand why I don't see movement. Where is the action taking place? I've started to learn the truth to this in my life: if I don't see a change and I want one, I should make it myself. That's what I feel God is calling me to do! I want to be that change.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
I feel compassion on America because it is true that it is falling. It is becoming darker and darker. There is no one man in the nation to blame; the only blame is that we live in a sin-cursed world. Our culture is becoming so polluted at every moment of the day. You can't even check out of a store without seeing a magazine that causes immortal thoughts or seeing candy and becoming a glutton. You can't flip through five channels without coveting what celebrities have or how they live. You can't watch a movie today that doesn't try to justify that murder and violence is "okay" or that because this scene is quick it's "okay" for teens to watch.
1 Peter 5:8(KJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
What has our world come to? How far are we going to allow America to corrupt our minds? I find myself justifying things saying why they are "okay." I soon after realize how stupid I was to think that something is not ungodly and contradictory to the Bible. I can see the spiritual war becoming more of a reality in my life as I open my eyes. The issue is that I see a need for revival but no one filling the need.
I am not writing this to judge or point a finger at anyone; I am just trying to make a point. My point is this: have you ever been in denial of God's will? It doesn't have to be missions at all; that's just personally where I have been convicted. For so long I have pushed the thought of missions out of my mind. I worry and deny how it could happen. I ask, "God, how can this work? How can I do this? Are you sure?" Is that you too?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Maybe this is you. You deny God's purpose and plan that He has for you. You feel convicted or a burden and see a need, but you push the thought aside because you are afraid. Why? Why are we so afraid of the future? What is the true fear? Do I fear missions because I don't think God can do it? Do I deny missions because I want to live a "normal American's life?" Do I fear leaving my comfort zone?
Are we underestimating the power of our God?!
I mean think about it. It can be large or small, but we all deny God's purpose or plan in our lives in one way, shape, or form at some point of life. Maybe you do it daily. Maybe you denied it years ago. Maybe you feel the conviction, but you are too afraid to move.
Maybe you deny God's reasoning. You know something is sin, but you still do it because "God takes all the fun away." I've been there, done that, and am embarrassed to know that as a Christian I can still fool myself. I write and tell others at my Bible study how wrong and stupid sin is, yet am turning around, becoming a hypocrite, and doing it myself. I can't even accept my own advice sometimes. Anyone else, or am I alone on this one too?
Do you realize how ignorant we Christians can be? (Remember I am not trying to point fingers. This includes me.) We say we trust in an all-powerful God, yet we still doubt Him and try to do things our own way. I mean how stupid can I be? If I know God is calling me to do something, whether it is in my idea of life or not, I need to be willing to go with all confidence in God, trusting He will direct my way. I need to have a positive attitude and be thankful He is putting direction in my life. We take His prodding of conviction in our lives so for granted; without Him being a guide where would I be?
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
This whole post sounds a lot like a pity party on doubt, or as if I were trying to say ALL Christians do this. I am not trying to come off in a way that makes you feel worse about your position in life, but don't be convicted and not move like I have in my past and still struggle with today! My pastor, Bill Schneider, says, "If you read the Bible and you don't feel like you've wrestled with God, you're reading it wrong. Read it again!"
The truth to this quote is that we are not perfect; so a book that describes our imperfections should not always leave us with butterflies in our belly (not saying that's a bad feeling sometimes). Instead, we should be coming out black and blue. Let the word of God make you feel broken and realize how much you need to change, how much you need to turn around, and how much you need Christ.
I will close with this thought: is there any area in your life that you are denying God's will? Do you have denial in His guidance. I would not use the the cliche "Just let go and let God," but, instead, pray and move. Pray for His guidance and start doing something. You can't expect God to use or direct you unless you get up. Don't sit back and wait on God; get up and ask God to lead. Push your denial and worry to the wayside, and replace it with confidence in His direction.
I haven't posted in awhile (I plan on getting back into it) because I've been very busy as my Senior year is ending. Today I wanted to share something small with you about my mom.
My relationship with my mom has never been this close in my life. I didn't use to give her the respect she deserves, we'd fight and yell back and forth, and I use to just plainly ignore her or avoid having a relationship with her altogether. At the beginning of my senior year that all changed. When God became more of a priority in my life, my relationships started to get better. I made it a point in my heart to make my relationships better with my friends, but then realized I needed to do the same with my parents.
Since the fall of last year, I don't think I've fought once with my mom. I can't remember the last time raising my voice at her or vice versa. The "I don't care" attitude that I use to carry around is gone. God has mended my relationship with my mom, and we have had some really deep conversations since then. I love my mom; I thank God for her when I remember to. She's really deserving of a thank you, a hug, and a Texas Roadhouse gift card today!
In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a link on my blog. I started a guys Bible study at my house about two months ago, and it has been fantastic. Every Tuesday we get together and talk about struggles in life and how our relationship with God is. We pray for each other and things that are going on in our lives. We've been trying to focus on the topic of leadership, but we talk so much about other things we don't always get to it. Anyways, the first night we had a Bible study, I asked my mom to share her testimony with the group of guys. I recorded it so I could one day share it with others. I hope you enjoy. God bless!
BTW: It's a little noisy in the background because people were eating, but it is well worth listening to.
MY MOMS TESTIMONY: click here
This post is more about me personally and what I learned this past week on my senior trip then a motivational post, but I will still include some encouragement. (By the way, this is my class and I'm the one with the bag on my face.)
The past week I had two guest bloggers on my blog because I went away on my senior trip. It was exciting when it was finally here mostly because it means the end of my high school career is just around the corner. I have gone to a Christian school all my life, and I am very thankful for the influence it has had upon me. Yes, it has had its ups and downs (there are A LOT of rules that I think are dumb, but that's okay because I still love my school), but I thank God for the provision of money for my parents to send me to a school that is founded on His truth.
Going to a Christian school means a Christian senior trip. At first I wasn't so thrilled about this idea, but it ended up being one of the best trips I have ever gone on. It started off with a sleepy twelve hour car ride to Ohio. I only have ten classmates (I know, small senior class), and we divided up between two vans. My van was either sleeping or laughing the whole time. This trip really unified us; I found things out about my friends I never knew. Relationships really grew. I will forever be thankful for the friendships that were brought to life on this adventure.
I think most of my class would agree that the Beast is a fantastic roller coaster! I think it is the longest wooden coaster in the United States. There are no loops, but this thing was fast, took many wild turns, and was very rickety. There are parts that you just feel as if the carts will fly right off the track... -but hey! The sketchier the better.
Sunday we went to a church by the name Williamstown Baptist Church. The speaker, Pastor Leap, preached on assurance of salvation and if one is truly saved. I love messages like this. I cannot stress it enough when salvation comes up in a conversation that salvation is not a checklist, magic words, or dos and don'ts. Salvation is the giving away of your life because He did the same for us. It's repenting and believing. It's dying to sin and being raised to life in Christ. I just love salvation messages. Even though I am saved, it's always encouraging and fills my heart with joy with how much He has done for us.
The last floor was my favorite because it pointed everything to Christ. The different pictures and texts on the walls talked about how an all loving God could send a worldwide flood and it all pointed to Christ. The ark was so interesting and made me realize how uncomprehendingly big God is. It was a great experience and super fun; I would recommend the Ark Encounter to anyone and everyone.
To wrap up the trip, my class and I went to the Wilds Christian Camp. I don't have any pictures of the Wilds because phones are taken away for this part of the trip (I know it sounds rough, but it wasn't that bad). We stayed for four nights at the camp where other Christians schools also attended that week. There were (I think) 26 schools total that attended senior week and about 240 seniors. This part of the trip was an adventure alone. We went rafting, played games like life-size Foosball, went on a zip line that was over a ravine-like river, hiked down a mountain to see a 120 foot waterfall (the hike back was the hard part), went on a 65 foot swing, made new friends with other students, and the list goes on of exciting thrills the Wilds had to offer. I can't begin to explain how amazing this trip truly was!
At the beginning of some days and end of every day, we got together in the "Moose Room" and listened to preaching of God's word. Matt Herbster was the one who usually spoke; his messages were very impacting.
They were all good, but one message was really impacting in my own life. The message was based on Romans 12:1-2 and Psalm 16:11. Matt Herbster spoke about being fully committed to God and not holding anything back. I've heard messages like this before, but Matt made it very real to me. The message really came alive and convicted my heart in upcoming decisions I will be making like college, marriage, and moving out. I feel like I have recently been making those decisions on my own; I have been praying for God to allow me to do things my way instead of praying for His will and guidance. I didn't even ask God what He wants me to do.
This first brought fear into my mind; I wondered what my future holds. Am I truly willing to do ANYTHING for God? What if God calls me into missions or to not get married? Am I willing? What if God calls me to live somewhere I don't want to, or He provides me with a job I don't like? Am I willing?
Questions and worries filled my head. I felt like I was driving a car in complete fog. I wish God would make my future at least a little clear. I realized through all these thoughts and worries that I was starting to lose faith. Yes, I am still afraid of what the future holds, but I know my God is in control. I should not lose my faith in Him. He's been with me before; He will be with me now.
The other thing that stuck out to me was when he spoke about being ready for God to answer. I may be all in for God, but without my daily devotions and keeping my relationship with God as my priority, I cannot expect Him to lead. I have to let Him speak to hear what He wants to tell me. He is my guide and I need to be willing and ready to listen if I truly want to live for Him.
Overall, this trip was probably one of the best trips of my entire life. I hope that the spiritual influence that God brought into my life serves as a reminder as I finish high-school and move on in life. I don't know what is in my future yet, but I know God has a plan.
Ashlea Heitner is my computer teacher, but she is more importantly my close friend. To be honest, I first thought it would be weird having her as a teacher, seeing she's only four years older than me and was a fellow student five years ago. Now, I am exceedingly thankful I can see her every day to talk to about the many topics we have in common or just to have a good laugh to brighten my day. She is encouraging in many ways such as her positive attitude, her way of writing, and her spiritual walk with the Lord. Ashlea (Mrs. Heitner), thank you for being a part of the shaping of my life. Your influence has been a blessing and has driven me to write more. You were one of the main reasons I started to blog, and I will forever be thankful for you pushing me to do so. I am happy to have you share some thoughts on my blog today.
Pardon the Interruption -by Ashlea Heitner
The squeak of the expo markers on my polished, clean white board echoes in my mind. Tiny fingers reaching for the “p” key or the “t” key on keyboards still catches me off guard. Teens walking up to my desk asking for advice about a rigorous math problem or asking for a difficult concept from their Bible class to be explained causes me to push aside my papers, cap my pen, and give them my attention. Teachers, not so savvy with technology, burst through the doors with their laptops pleading for help, for some semblance of order in the mass chaos that is the web.
Driving home, I often find myself pondering over what was said during the day or what could have been accomplished. Given the longevity of my drive home, I tend to muse on such things.
However, the interruptions continue to pile as I turn the knob of my door to enter my bird’s nest or as some people label, my home. My husband is sprawled out on the couch with a sharpened, no. 2 pencil and a gridded, research notebook diligently completing his various homework tasks.
After several hours in the lab and working an 8 hour shift, the guy is hungry. Typical man? Maybe. But it is true of the women too.
My hand seeks the handle of the fridge to assess the current situation. Pork chops? Steak? Chicken, again? So many options, yet I am on a time crunch. The bellowing of my hubby’s stomach doesn’t allow for second guessing the meal-plan, but quickly maneuvering to get it done. As I pull out bowls, parmesan cheese, and chicken to prepare the meal, texts erupt from my rose gold iPhone on the counter with family members asking for prayer requests.
Interruption, hitches, glitches, disturbances, or delays are all a part of life. Life is so busy that just taking in a breath seems like an arduous or calculated task. I’ve noticed lately that my response to interruptions reveals my heart and my real motivation.
My attitude is really dependent on how well my plans are executed and to what measure my expectations are met. You can imagine the emotional teeter totter I have set up for myself.
There will always be interruptions. At times they are welcomed and other times they seem insurmountable, like everything scribbled on your list will never get to be crossed off.
In the last few weeks, I have been monitoring my “annoyed, impatient, irritated” odometer when disturbances halt my progress. The proverbial “gas pedal” is revved when I either have had:
Little to no sleep
A situation has blown up in my face about finances, marriage, family or friendships
School work, programs, kids
No time with God (whether through prayer or reading His word)
Do you know how hard it is to pretend or hide those things? Some of those things aren’t in my control. People get upset. I recognize that. You recognize that. It’s easier to counter the offender
with a verbal slash of your own when you have felt wronged or betrayed.
But what if we were to choose to pardon the interruption with kindness, with peace, with compassion? What if we were to counter with love and grace?
In order to do that, I want us to truly focus on the last bullet point. This is my personal caveat, no time with God isn’t an option. It is the hinge on which you and I learn how to turn away from the natural, reactive emotions. It is the foundation on which we stand when everything else has fallen apart.
One of my favorite quotes is from A.W. Pink. He says, “No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.” His statement reiterates the truth found in Scripture.
Proverbs 29:11a “A fool always loses his temper,”
Proverbs 10:23 “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,”
The moment we neglect to read and study God’s word is the moment we open ourselves to the desires of our flesh, the fears surrounding our decisions and the reactions that instinctively come to us. We act like fools and it isn’t a compliment.
God loves a wise man that seeks his face, that desires or longs to know and obey the commands God has laid out for his life. If it wasn’t true, why on earth would men, inspired by God, waste their time writing in tandem about how good and right it is to follow God’s leading, his guidance. It isn’t easy. It’s hard, but it is ALWAYS worth it.
David, a man after God’s own heart, cherished the presence of the Lord so much that even if all he was able to do was be a doorkeeper in the house of God at least he was there and able to bask in glory, in holiness not in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10 “For a day in your courts is better than A THOUSAND elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the
tents of wickedness.”
In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. The priority of your relationship with God is the key to the attitude you will cultivate and allow to grow. Ignoring time with God is simply setting up your attitude to fail.
Let me ask you a question. Better yet, Scripture has a question.
“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do
good, seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”
If you desire life and love, to see good, do the things commanded of you. You will fail to perfectly execute such instruction. I have failed. Do you notice that in the verse the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous? NOT the perfect. Release the weight of perfectionism. It isn’t worth carrying.
The interruptions will continue. It is inevitable. But my challenge to you and I is this. Seek God and what His word has laid out for you. With Christ you succeed. Life has a lot of twists and turns that either fall into the good or not-so-good categories. We don’t control that. We control how we respond by choosing to put on grace, love, kindness, peace. We decide to turn our eyes from the wicked things. We choose what dominates our thoughts and steals our joys. Determine whom you will serve. Search God’s word and pursue his commands. And the next step is obvious, follow them.
Jase Rosenburg has been an inspiring writer since the first week I began blogging. I stumbled upon his site (jaserosenburg.com) through Faithfulbloggers, and have been exchanging e-mails with him ever since I started reading his posts. Reading his work inspires me because of how personal he can be. I love to read about personal experiences; it lets me know the writer can relate to similar struggles of life. He does not try to sugarcoat the truth. His passion, "I write in the dark to bring faith to light", is prominent in each of his posts.
Jase, thank you for being an encouragement to me. You are a blessing and motivation to my blogging journey. I am thankful that God has allowed an online encounter between us; thank you for promoting Christ through your writing. I am overjoyed to have you guest post on my blog.
-Michael J. Vitelli
Hope -by Jase Rosenburg
First I’d like to thank Michael for this opportunity to post on his blog. I know that it’s a huge thing to trust someone else with your readership.
I thought for a while about what I’d like to share today. I ended up with the topic of HOPE. It sounds like such a simple word, but without it where would we be?
I’ll share a personal story since you guys don’t really know me. I’m like most of you, I’ve faced challenges. I lost my dad to cancer in 2006. I beat cancer in 2007. I’ve also battled a few other health issues since then that leave me in excruciating pain at times. And I lost my stepdad in 2015 to cancer.
I can say that without a doubt hope has been the only reason I’ve made it this far. God will stop at nothing to get to you. I want you to fully understand that sentence. GOD will stop at NOTHING to get to you. Think about that for a few minutes.
It truly amazes me how much he loves us. Many times when I’ve been in pain my wife will pray for me and the pain eases. I’ve been awake at all hours of the night crying in pain. I didn’t want to wake her up so what did I do? For a while I did nothing but be miserable. Then one night I decided I was going to praise God through song. I started singing. I can’t tell you how it works, but it does. When I sing out praises to God, the pain eases and I eventually drift off to sleep.
Many people wonder why does God allow us to go through such things. I have to say that we live in a fallen world. This place is cursed and we have to deal with the repercussions of a decision Adam and Eve made long ago. However, while we are here on this earth GOD gives us hope in the trials. It doesn’t matter what we are facing, he is there. He understands.
If you’re in the position right now where it looks like things are hopeless, hang on. Call out to God and hope will rush in. I guarantee you that he will come to you. It may not be in the way you want or expect, but you will have hope.
One of my favorite things to imagine is God being a hero. How many times in movies or books do things look hopeless? Then there is a hero that sweeps in and saves the day. Why do we love those stories? Because we can relate. God is ready to sweep in to your situation and bring a hope that will comfort you in any situation.
All I can say is God IS good. He proves it to me every day. I look down at the scar on my arm and I see hope. I look at the sunrise and I see hope. I look at the flowers and plants and there’s hope there too. It’s all around us. Open your eyes and see what God is waiting to give you. I promise you it’s worth every thing you’ve had to go through.
I’ll leave you with this from 1 Corinthians 15.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am 19, and decided to start to writing in the winter of 2017. I feel a burden on my heart that I have much to say, so why not share it? I want to be heard and I want to touch the lives of others. What is a better way than through the internet? I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." It's time for me to live it out.