I suppose it's easy to be enthusiastic about Jesus. Let's just be honest. He's amazing. But this is the time when God is looking for worshipers. He's not looking for enthusiasts, He's looking for worshipers.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
I suppose it's easy to be enthusiastic about Jesus. Let's just be honest. He's amazing. But this is the time when God is looking for worshipers. He's not looking for enthusiasts, He's looking for worshipers.
Monday, December 28, 2009
It strikes me as funny when the Bible asks us in James 1:2 (NIV) to "consider is PURE JOY whenever you face trials of many kinds..." Being short-sighted and lacking the omniscience that belongs to God alone, we find it hard to see the beauty in diverse trials. As a ship in the midst of the storm it is difficult to see the calm that lies elsewhere on that very same body of water. But this is why I love the Word of God: in the midst of all kinds of pressures and pains and misunderstandings, we are assured that all these things are working together for our good.
In the same chapter of James, the next two verses reveal a marvelous truth:
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This Word assures us that when we stand strong in God and face various trials head on, we are in the process of being made complete. This promise resonates within me, because I believe that I have more to offer. I'm seeking God and falling more in love with Him, and I pray that this process brings out the best in me. So that I may be like Jesus, who is the perfect and pure Example of perseverance and long-sightedness producing vast and glorious fruits. Hebrew 12:2 says:
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus looked beyond the cross and set His gaze on the joy of a redeemed human race. As He focused on the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, knowing that the end result would have Him seated at the right hand of God once again. This verse also encourages us to fix our eyes on this strong and mighty Jesus, who is, indeed, the Joy that is set before us.
I pray that we will all reach our full potential by any means necessary. Individually and as the Body of Christ. I know that the church has more to offer this world. My heart longs to see her rise from every kind of trial and shine still...minister still...love still. I pray that perseverance will be developed in us all and as it develops, may we be made mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Life has it's phases. It has seasons. We go through times that are warm and full of life and that produce fruits, like Spring. But we also go through seasons that are like Winter, when everything is cold and unyielding. Seasons change and people change with them, but I honestly believe that each phase in life has it's purpose. There is always a reason for every season that we go through.
I think about great men and women. People who's lives are documented in the marvelous Word of God. When Moses was growing up, he always had the best that Egypt had to offer. He lived like the prince that he was. There came a time, however, when Moses' comfort zone had to be vacated. It was at this time that Moses found himself wandering through the desert for 40 years! What worse place could a man who had lived in the lap of luxury find himself? The desert produces nothing. It is dry and it is barren. But these 40 years prepared Moses for his destiny. There was a reason for the season that he was in.
We all go through times when it feels like we're wandering aimlessly under the sun, not knowing which direction to take the next step. The good thing about these times is that, with God, there is a special way that our steps are ordered. In the end, all that we experience will work together for our good.
I pray that each season in your life will bring it's own lessons. I pray that no season will be wasted. I pray that in the end, you will grasp your victory and that you will become all that you were born to be. There is a reason for whatever you may be going through. Trust God and keep pushing. Your time will come.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I think that its about time that we all stake our claim in this thing we call revival. Its time to take part in the beauty that we are crying out for. Its time for the church to BE THE CHANGE that she seeks. What is your part in thing great movement? Is it to pray until the world bows down in reverence of our King, Jesus? Is it to take care of the orphan and the widow? Is it to praise God with everything you have so that the earth is provoked to do the same?
I urge you to seek God with everything that you have and to find out what your role is in this great kingdom. We've got to get our hands dirty. This isn't a game. Its time for battle.
"These are the times that try men's souls."
- Thomas Paine
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
And my soul longs to see Your face
There is a weight in my chest
Lord, let Your will be done
It is with You that I run this race
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Word is Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) explains the beauty of the Cross of Christ:
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I love these verses. These verses tell the story of grace. They tell the story of a free gift. Jesus came to die for us when we had nothing. God sent His only Son when we were nothing. While we were still filthy in the depth of our sin, Jesus shed His blood to provide a way back to the Father. There is nothing in heaven or on earth that has the power that the Blood of Jesus has. Nothing else has the ability to bring us to the place of repentance. Nothing else has the power to justify us. Nothing else could rend the veil that separated us from our Creator. Nothing else could pay the debt that we owe because of the wretched nature of sin. It is only the Blood. It is only the Cross of Christ.
Because Jesus died on the cross, I am forgiven. My life was saved because He forfeited His own. I'm eternally grateful that God demonstrated His love for us in this way. We weren't good. We were not righteous. We were sinners. It was while we were in this state that God chose to send His Son.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I don't know about you, but The state of the church saddens me. This isn't what it was meant to be. The church wasn't supposed to be about programs and doctrines and merchandising. The church is meant to be the bride of Christ. We are meant to be an answer in a dying world.
I really believe that God is about to do something major in us. I believe that He's ready to win the heart of His bride back. Since that is what my God wants, that is what I want. I want revival. I want it to begin with me. I want a genuine love for God and an authentic love for people to flow out from our pulpits and from our pews and I want that love to flood our communities.
We have to realize that we are the church. Individually, we make up the church as a whole. Let's adorn ourselves with praise. Let's make ourselves beautiful and let's go in to see our Bridegroom. When we go to see Him, let's pour our love on Him like the woman with the alabaster box.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
There is a man
With nothing to his name
Saturday, November 28, 2009
"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow."
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Saturday, November 21, 2009
I began with that so that I could continue with this: God is drawing us with His eternal love. It's actually a wonderful thing to behold. It's the budding of the beautiful and bold fruit of revival. People everywhere are being transformed by the relentless love of Christ.
I was thinking about James 4:8 today. This wonderful promise says that if we will take the chance in drawing near to God -if we hunger after Him and seek His face- that He will draw near to us. There is a fresh hunger burning in the bellies of the people of God. We are no longer satisfied with surface religion and a parody of the church of God. We're ready for change. We're ready for more.
The great mystery of this truth lies in knowing that it is God Himself who births this righteous hunger within us. That's what Philippians 2:13 says. This verse teaches us that God is the one who works in us so that we want to do His good pleasure...and then He works in us so that we follow this want with actions. God is placing within us a hunger that will cause us to draw closer and closer to Him. And He promises that as we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us.
Now is the time for us to lay down those things that make us heavy and to run toward our Prize with everything we have. Now is the time. My prayer is that we will open our hearts to the love of Christ that is like no other love. I pray that as we receive His love, we will begin to run hard and fast toward Him. And as people start to run with passion and grace, I pray that the whole earth will be shaken with the sheer force of desperation in our foot steps. Now is the time.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I was reading Psalm 16 and verses 9 & 10, with their life-giving power, fanned the flames of these thoughts. They say:
9Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
The psalmist says that they find rest in knowing that their soul will never be abandoned. Even if they find themselves in the grave. I know that life can provide situations that cause the strongest of men to feel like they have somehow fallen into a pit. But hope can be found in this: that Jesus will never leave you by yourself.
If you've found yourself in a rough place, in a place that seems like a abysmal chasm, please find encouragement and hope in the truth that God is there with you. Stand firm on His promises and know that this season will bring out the best in You.
I just came to bless Your name
Your name is Light, Your Name is Hope, Your Name is Love
You are my God
And my heart will rejoice in Your amazing love
When I think of Your marvelous works
Let our whole lives sing Your praise
Thursday, November 12, 2009
JesusRock Tour ft Mali Music, Leah Smith and Brandon Camphor and OneWay:
Dates: November 13, 2009
Address: UMBC Fine Arts Building Recital Hall
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
Cost: FREE for UMBC Students, $10 at the door
This is definitely going to be a night to remember! Leaders from a new generation of worship making their mark in the kingdom! BE THERE!
C.L.A.Y. Youth Weekend: NO LIMITS
Day 1: Deitrick Haddon Concert ft. Brandon Camphor and OneWay
Date: November 20, 2009, 7:30 pm
Address: High Point High school
3601 Powder Mill Rd
Beltsville, MD 20705
Cost: $10 (comment on this post for more ticketing info)
Day 2: Community Outreach
Date: November 21, 2009
Date: November 22, 2009, 9:00 am
Address: Temple of Praise Int'l Church
11301 Rhode Island Ave.
Beltsville, MD 20705
The Youth leaders at Temple of Praise Int'l Church have been working tirelessly to bring a weekend of fun and community outreach. This year's theme is NO LIMITS! Make sure you come to each event and bring a friend or two!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I realize that these verses are packed with a lot of beauty and are wealthy in revelation, but the part that I'd like to focus on is the last. Jesus told Peter that it was going to get tough, but he would make it. And after Peter made it, Jesus made this one request: that he strengthen his brothers. This charge is as relevant today as it was when Jesus first spoke the words.
In light of the larger scheme of things, I haven't lived on this earth very long. In my few years, however, I have experienced much. I know that this notion is relative, but I stand by it. I give God a pure and confident praise because He has seen me through many things. But my praise cannot be the end of the matter. After I've come through, I must turn around and pull someone else through the same dark tunnel. After I've stumbled through to the other side without much of a path before me, I must bring others across the path that my feet have just created.
I think that this is a responsibilty of every Christian. You see, God's kingdom isn't about the individual. We are a family. And in our family, we uphold eachother; we help eachother reach the required mark.
Your experiences -whether good or bad- are a gift that can be used to glorify our Father. Whatever you're going through, when you come out -and you will because you're more that a conqueror- you have to make sure to strengthen your brothers. You're not a victim when you have Christ. You can never be, because He's gone before us and He's won a mighty victory. Don't play the part of a victim. The things you've been through can be turned around to expand God's kingdom. What the enemy meant for evil, God can turn to good.
This is my prayer: that we, the body of Christ, will uphold and support one another. And that we will have a heart to search for our lost brothers and sisters. That every experience that we live through will be used toward winning an eternal victory.
Strengthen your brethren.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
In times when men are looking for a truth
In search for the things that can fade
With a mere touch
We're walking in darkness
Stumbling through a sea of devastation
As strong waves attempt to force us into a box
That has been framed by law and legislation
But this is our cry
For now and forever
Nothing can keep us silent
Not now. Not ever.
Will will sever
Our ties to this world
In it but not of it
No longer do we love it but we seek after the things
That make Your heart glad
We see darkness all around us
But we are the light
Surrounded by witnesses
We don't retreat in this fight
But we push for what is right
For what's good in Your sight
For those things that You desire
This is what You require
So this is what we do
While shouting praise to You...
We live in a world filled with hatred and such
But in these times, men will turn to the Truth
Panting after You....
Monday, October 19, 2009
Today when I was reading Hebrews 10, I was reminded of the charge that my mother gave me. In verse 39, the Bible says:
But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition, but of those who believe, to the saving of the soul.
Here, Paul reminds us that we aren't from the family of people that retreat. We don't fall back in the face of adversity. We don't fear. Instead, we have faith. We press on with strength and joy. We move forward without fainting from the heat.
I guess I just wanted to remind myself and to remind someone else of this: we come from strong, beautiful and healthy stock. We are children of God. We have all that we need that pertains to life and Godliness. We have been called to glory and virtue. We are in this world, but we are definitely not of this world. We have to stand tall and uphold the honor of our family name.
The draft cards are in.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I've entitled this post "Pay It Forward..." because I don't think there is a need for me to tell Jesus about His own unending love. There are, however, hurting people to share this love with. There are lonely people who need to find the friendship that I've found in the Holy Spirit. There are fearful people who need my God's perfect love. There are people who need Jesus.
We've got to do more talking. We've got to do more sharing. We can't wait for the proverbial "somebody else" to do it. People need Jesus. I'm so emphatic about this because I remember how much I needed Jesus. I know the sweet sweet relief I've felt ever since He took hold of my heart.
So now whenever I see someone crying I ask Jesus to be everything to them. When I see someone in a heavy situation I ask Jesus to take the burden away. When I get a chance I tell people how much Jesus loves them I don't hold back.
There is no Christian that is exempt from the call to reconcile people to Christ. It's time for us to pay it forward. When we were children everyone told us how good it is to share. We would share, albeit a bit reluctantly, but we would do it every time because we wanted to do what was "good." There's no better time to share than now and there's no greater gift to share than the love of Christ.
"Hi...I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I have some amazing news..."
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This verse is so beautiful to me. It promises that if we pursue the knowledge of the Lord...if we press on to know Him, that He will surely come to us. The Word here says that He will pour out on us like the rain. What's interesting to me is that it doesn't say that He'll come only to the righteous and the holy...it doesn't say that He'll only come to the sanctified and set apart. The Word says that He will come to us just like the latter and former rain fall to the earth.
Have you ever been in a rain storm that fell on your neighbor's house and not your own? Have you ever experienced a spring rain that only watered one neighbor's garden and not the other? I haven't. The Bible says the the Lord will come just as the rain comes to the earth. He will pour out Himself on us all. Who would be able to stand in the presence of our Almighty God?
I hope that in seeking God, my pursuit of Him will cause a rumbling in the heavens that will cause Him to rain His kingdom down on my entire generation. Not just in churches and in Christian homes, but everywhere; so that all people will see His glory. May the righteous pursuit of an awesome God by the people He loves passionately and unconditionally cause a great revival.
I encourage you to seek God. I pray that the more you know Him, the more you'll want to know Him. And I pray that the desperate chasing of God by those who've been called to His purpose will spark a mighty outpouring of His presence.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
In Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV), the Bible says:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This verse is so special to me. It renews my passion to seek a God that is desperately willing to be found by a people that He loves dearly. Proverbs 25:2 says:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
As children of God we have to understand that WE ARE ROYALTY. If God is the King of kings, who do you think those kings are? The Bible says that it is the glory of kings to search out a matter. When we've searched for an Almighty God -running hard after His presence and seeking His face- we are building our character. We're growing. We're becoming more like Him. What greater glory is there for a Christian than to be like Christ?
The Holy Spirit isn't far away, watching and waiting to judge. Our God is here with us. He's an ever-present help. He cares and He loves us with an everlasting love. If we press on to know Him, He will come to us just as surely as the sun will rise.
Never doubt that God loves you and that He is near. Understand this: Yes, He loves everyone, but most importantly...He loves YOU. He loves all YOUR quirks and YOUR every nuance. He wants a relationship with YOU. He's not far away. Go to Him. Take His hand. Begin this eternal journey and don't look back.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Will You take it and make it Yours?
Will You mold it into a vessel of gold?
It's not mine, it is Yours, oh Lord
If I decide to give my all
Will You take my life in Your hands?
Will You light my path and guide my steps?
Give me favor with God and man
Made for Your pleasure
Given to Your plans
Your love beyond measure
Has caused me to stand
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's
Monday, September 21, 2009
I've come to the conclusion that it is fairly inaccurate to believe that love is blind. In my years of limited erudition, I've come to understand that love does, indeed, see the multitude of sins...but chooses -with full sight- to cover them.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
and i appreciate all that YOU've done?
have i said that i'd like to give YOU
every peice of me, every last one?
have i let YOU know how much it means
that YOU'd spend YOUR time with me?
or that if YOU had never found me
i have no idea where i would be?
have i made it clear through jest and tears?
have i given enough of myself?
to show YOU that its YOU i want
it's YOU and no one else...
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
People, I've learned, have a very interesting way of defining life according to their own experiences and schema. The only way that we know how to frame our world is through the lenses of experience. The problem arises when we try to define other people. People are so diverse and intricate. Only God can truly know our hearts, so when one man tries to blow the horn of another, he might toot too loudly or too softly, never really getting just the right pitch. On the other hand, a man that toots his own horn won't exactly find the perfect tone, due to certain unavoidable biases. So, who, you might ask do we give the privilege of "the toot?" The Word of God is the only mirror that we can look into to give us a clear image of God, of self, of others and of the world around us.
What does the Word say about me? That I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I'm royalty, that I'm a redeemed sinner, that I'm the apple of God's eye...so many other things. The beauty of finding ourselves in God's Word is that in the end...every good and beautiful thing that describes us is found in God, which should eradicate all feelings of pride. This also gets rid of feelings that we're not good enough or that we'll fail, because as long as we find rest in God who does not fail, we are standing on unshakable ground.
This is the bottom line: YOU ARE WHO GOD SAYS THAT YOU ARE.
Nothing more...nothing less...
What sweet relief I've found in learning that I don't have to try anymore.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I was reading 2 Timothy 1 today and it was verse 5 that sparked these thoughts, and my active imagination fanned the sparks into flame. Verse 5 (NIV) says:
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Timothy's grandmother and mother left a tremendous legacy behind for him to follow. They made the way a little clearer for Timothy by the way that they lived. Their faith is described by Paul as "sincere faith." Paul also pointed out that this same faith "lived" in these amazing women. Their faith wasn't dead. They must've been working it out, because we all know that faith without works is dead (James 2:20).
What legacy will I leave behind for those who will come after me? What will be said of me when I'm gone? I think that these are questions that we must all ask ourselves. I'm praying that God will develop within me a steadfast and diligent character, so that in the end, I will be found standing tall on His word, with a song of praise in my mouth and my arms lifted high in worship to a God that saw me when I was nothing and told me that I'm special.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Jesus, I know that I need You in my life. I believe that You are Lord and that You came to earth as a man to die for my sins. I believe that after three days in the grave You rose again. Thank You for dying to set me free from sin. Right now, I accept You into my heart and into my life. I give You my heart freely. You are my Lord, and I accept Your free gift of salvation.
Congratulations! You just made the best decision of your life. Jesus didn't promise that walking with Him would be easy, but He promises to never leave you or forsake you. He promises that His burden is light. He promises to give you a life more abundant that you could ever dream of!!
Be sure to tell someone about your new decision! Spread this amazing and exciting news with someone you love!
I believe that we are living in blessed times of great import. God wants to do something very special through and in this generation and I'm excited to see how His plan unfolds. I am convinced that this is a different season and that God is using different people.
For the sake of this post, I'll refer to the generation in which we live as "The Different Generation." I call us this for two reasons. The first reason is that I believe that God is using us just as we are; with all of our unique characteristics and idiosyncratic ways. God isn't asking us to be inconsistent with the way He's already made us. He wants us to come to Him just as we are and as He perfects His good work in us, we become who we were made to be: a good work in the eyes of God, unique, special....different. God has called each of us for a special purpose here on earth to bring glory to Him. No one was meant to take your place, just as you weren't meant to take another person's place. As we seek God daily and we grow and develop into vessels of gold, God perfects that good work which He started in us the day we accepted Him. God didn't create us to be clones of other people. Psalm 139:14 (NIV) says:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The psalmist here is acknowledging that God made him fearfully and wonderfully. God took His time to make sure that we came out just right. Perfectly. This verse challenges me. I want to seek God more. I want to know Him more and in knowing Him, I want to find out more of what He's called me to be. This makes life so exciting because the possibilities are endless. (Who was it again that said that being a Christian is boring? Ummmm...I beg to differ!)
The second reason that I've dubbed us "The Different Generation" is simple. God has called us to be set apart. We are living in amazing times, but they are also very dark. God has called us to break through in the darkness and be a light so bright that the darkness must flee. John 15:19 (NIV) says:
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
We are called out of this world to go against the grain. To be different. I love the way that this is worded: but I have chosen you out of the world. God has hand picked you and I to be set apart for His glory. What an amazing and humbling privilege!
In Romans 12:2, the Word of God reiterates our call to be separate from the ways of this world.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Be transformed. We have to reset our minds and our hearts to go along with God's ways. We have to mutate from our very nature and become a remodeled version of ourselves. And this can only take place when we accept Jesus into our hearts and lives as our Lord. Then we have to diligently seek Him and follow His ways. When we fall, we must get right back up and follow Him all the more. We have to stay plugged in to His word and we must spend time with Him in worship. This is how we will be rewired to fit God's original plan. With the glorious guidance of our Friend, The Holy Spirit, we can continue to grow until we see Him face to face.
This my prayer: That this "Different Generation" will bring God utmost praise and glory with our unique gifts and personalities. I also pray that each one of us will fall in love with Jesus so much that we will be ruined for those worldly things that are apart from His heart.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
...the way the clouds look from an airplane window
...a rainbow after the storm
...the way that babies grip one of your fingers with all of theirs
...the taste of water with a hint of lemon
...the sound of worship from a heart filled with the love of God
...a good book
...the bond of real friendship
...an exceptionally good movie that you can relate to
There are so many little things that I am grateful for. I've already named a few, but there are so many more. We take so many things in our lives for granted. Let's remember to stop for a minute and look at the world around us. Let's take in the smell of the earth after a hard rain and the sound of children enjoying their innocence. These things can easily be a reason to complain. We hate when it rains but we don't want famine. We yell at children for being too loud but we pray for the gift of childbirth. We must realize that life is all about perspective. There is beauty in absolutely everything, as long as you look for it.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I used to think it was naive of me to believe that love- true love- could fix any problem and heal all wounds. I've learned, however, that this is not a naive idea at all. It is truth. Let me interject with this thought: God, in His Word, repeatedly urges us to love ourselves and to love our neighbors. He says it all the time. He even emphasized this command when He said, "Look...forget all the other laws...its all summed up in loving your neighbor like you love yourself." (Galatians 5:14). Why is it such a big deal that we love each other? Honestly....? Its because in loving other people we are clearing an opening for the Holy Spirit to move upon the heart of man. A lot of times its hard for people to accept and receive God's love, not because they're wicked. Not because they have hard hearts. Its actually because they don't know what love is. They've never been touched by its warmth. So when God comes to move on their hearts, His Spirit doesn't find that little piece of Himself that someone should have left behind. He doesn't find that little piece of Himself to mix with and bring people to trust Him and come to repentance...
Too often we sow hurt and fear, and God has to clean up the messes we've made. But when we sow love, the person we've sown into has a small idea of what love is. When God comes to take their heart and establish a relationship, that person's heart says, "I've felt something like this before...this just may be real..."
Now, back to the idea of love fixing any problem. Is it sexual sin? Or gossip? Or anything that doesn't match up with God's Word? The thing is that the desires to do these things are there because we need something...some kind of unconditional acceptance....some kind of affirmation. Being man, who's heart is desperately wicked, our very nature longs to find fulfillment in the things that are of the flesh. But those things can't fulfill us. Only God can. God is love. Only love can...
Let's love ourselves...I mean really and truly...and let's love one another...it isn't always easy to do either but lets do it...let's fight our flesh and go against the nature of our humanity...let's love and love and love....
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
I think that so many people are caught up in the perception that Jesus only came to judge and to condemn. I can understand why the enemy of our souls would fight so hard to keep this impression in people's minds. The truth is that knowledge of how much God loves us gives us such a boundless amount of power over the wiles of our adversary. It's the knowledge of God's love that causes people to be filled with Him, and thus having an immeasurable amount of confidence and power. It says so in Ephesians 3:19 (NIV):
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
To know a love that surpasses knowledge. It goes beyond our limited mental faculties. But it is ours for the taking, nonetheless. And when we know this love in the depth of our hearts, we are filled with the fullness of God, because God is Love. They are one and the same.
But I digress...
The purpose of this post is to speak to someone who is wondering whether or not Jesus wants to deliver them, or use them, or make them whole. These words stand as a testament to a kind and compassionate God who desperately loves a flawed people.
In Mark 1, there is a certain leper who saw Jesus in Galilee. The bible records their meeting in verses 40-42:
40. A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."
41. Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"
42. Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
This man had lived the life of a leper. Ostracized. Scorned. Rejected. But he heard that there was a Man in town who drove out demons and healed the sick. I'm sure he struggled with whether or not to go to Jesus. Would He send him away? Would He reject him like all of the others? But in the end, the man went to Jesus, still skeptical. "I know You can do it if You can bear the stench of my disease," he said, " I know that You can help me if You are willing to bother with my filth." And Jesus in all of His kindness and compassion, reached out to touch a man who had not felt the touch or connection of another human being in such a long time. Jesus touched this man and said, "I am willing."
This moves me to tears. Because I know that my sinful nature is like leprosy to Jesus. But He saw me in my sin, and He washed me in His blood, and then He went the extra mile to call me "friend." People, Jesus is willing to love you. Jesus is willing to wash you. Jesus is willing to take you just as you are. You don't have to be perfect for Him. You don't have to be "good." You don't have to be clean. Jesus will reach out to you from where He is. He will touch you and His touch will make you whole.
Come Just As You Are...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
When a person is gossiped about without the right to speak for themselves, can't we say something to defend this right? When a friend is doing something unGodly, isn't it our right to speak the truth in love, even if that truth hurts? When a man is begging on the streets of a big city and on-lookers are walking by with judgement in their eyes, isn't it the right of a Christian to give him food? When a prominent minister of the gospel (in any capacity) has sinned or fallen, isn't it his right to receive support and prayer -not prating- from the body of Christ?
It breaks my heart to see injustice in any measure. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter from a jail cell in Birmingham, AL and said this:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "
These words ring true today, just like they did during the Civil Rights movement. They ring true for every form of injustice that is seen in our daily walks with God. Let's dig deep inside to find enough passion and compassion to do something when injustice rears its ugly head.
Matthew 7:12 says in NIV:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
It's that simple. Silence in the face of injustice speaks so loudly. Let's be more active in fighting injustice...even in the smallest of things.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
In times of plenty, its very easy to worship God. Its as if there is a tangible reason to exalt Him when you have your health, wealth and good fortune.
But this is the thing: character is seen in how we respond to God when it seems like everything is going haywire and God seems far far away. There is a woman in the bible that I admire a lot. She's only spoken of in seven verses. She's unnamed. Not much is known about her. But we do know one thing: She had a great faith.
In Matthew 15, the Bible speaks of a woman from Canaan who saw Jesus on the road and cried out to Him for help. In the NKJV, verses 22-25 say:
22And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same region and cried unto Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
23But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, "Send her away, for she crieth after us."
24But He answered and said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
25Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord help me."
I think that these verses are so powerful! This woman cried out in a time of agony and heard nothing from Jesus. She cried out so persistently that the people around Jesus -His disciples- asked that He send her away. She was so alone in that moment. It seemed like compassion was so far off. When Jesus said that she was outside of His jurisdiction, the woman still pressed on. She went to Jesus and worshiped Him still. This is such a beautiful thing. When her circumstances and the people around her urged her to give up and go away, she only sought Jesus more. She worshiped Him.
I learned so much from this woman in only seven verses, people. The next three verses read like this:
26But He answered and said, "It is not meet to take children's bread and cast it to dogs."
27And she said, "Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus answered and said unto her, "O woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
After the woman worshiped Jesus, she still didn't get the answer that soothed her aching soul. You see, this woman was from Canaan, and the Canaanites were a people that worshipped false gods and didn't adhere to the ways the Israelites. Because of this, the Israelites were warned on many occasions not to follow the ways of the Canaanites; not to marry them or to worship their gods. So, when this woman from Canaan asked Jesus for a miracle, He told her that it just wouldn't be right for Him to give to her the same things He gave to the children of promise. The woman pressed on still, telling Him that she didn't care. She would take the leftovers. She would take the crumbs.
That is amazing...
After being pushed away many times, this woman knew that in Jesus, she found her only hope. She refused to give up. She pressed on until Jesus looked at her with a new respect; a respect for the magnitude of her faith. And after pressing on in worship and in intense pleading, her miracle was granted. Her daughter was healed.
Let's think back to the last time we worshiped Jesus even when it seemed like our worlds were ending. Let's remember the last time we were persuaded to the point of no return. We are no longer on the outside of the Promise. Through Jesus' blood we are taken into a beautiful and gracious covenant. We are God's children. We get the bread from the table, not the crumbs. Let's not settle for less. Let's worship and praise and pray and serve until we are given our rightful seat and our rightful portion.
I learned a lot from this nameless and faceless Canaanite woman. Perseverance built on persuasion. Worship in the face of turmoil. Faith in the face of adversity and rejection. Character.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Then a very VERY square man takes a seat next to me. When I say square, I mean SQUARE. Very straight-laced. The man is holding what looks like a portfolio that houses what looks like a short paper that an undergrad student would turn in for an English 101 assignment. Now, I will make this disclaimer: I'm not (that) nosy. I like to mind my own business, but for some reason my eye happened to read a few lines of this manuscript of sorts that my fellow commuter was holding. The first thing that jumped out to me was a passage from the book of Matthew. I was so excited! I thought to myself, "Yay!! He's a Christian! He's my brother!!! I'm so happy! We're gonna be friends and then we're going to encourage each other in the Word and blah blah blah..," silently rambling to myself about friendship with a person that most likely wants nothing to do with me! lol! I could not muster the strength to wipe the grin off of my face. Then I began to strategize...how can I introduce myself so that this beautiful friendship could commence? I decided to just go for it...
"Hi, I'm a Christian!" I said, with the biggest, cheesiest, corniest grin on my face. My heart was racing. I couldn't wait to hear his excited response!
The man turned to look at me and said, deadpan, "Oh...really?" and then turned back around to face the front of the train.
He most likely thinks that I'm THE creepiest person he's ever met. lol! The scenario did NOT go down like I was hoping it would! I was still smiling, though, because I was still excited about the fact that he'd be in heaven, but I made sure to keep that thought to myself before I scared him enough to make him bop me on the head with same portfolio that had gotten me into the mess.
The next stop was mine, so I had to leave my new bff without a proper introduction. But that's okay...we have all of eternity to make that happen...:)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.
5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."