Tag Archives: life

Mirrors

Today is hard. I sit in the middle of the shop by myself writing this. Frankly, I have many days like today. As I’m sure many others do too. From the outside, and to many degrees from the inside, life is going well. But so often we can let what’s going on today get you down hard. That desire you’ve been asking God for, but He’s teaching you to wait. The expectation you had for the day up in smoke. Maybe your normal has been shaken up. Or today you just feel alone like me in the shop. Whatever it may be, today is hard. It’s days like these when temptation is strongest. “You know coming to me will make you feel better…” your shame will tell you. Most would that shame comes from sin, but it’s only shame that would suggest it. It’s what you look into that will give you an answer. Like a mirror. You go look at it to reflect back what you can’t see. On hard days you look into the mirror to see what’s going on. The mirror of shame looks back at you saying “You’ll always look this way and you’ll never change. You may as well go to whatever you’ve done in the past, it’ll feel good this time.” But the mirror of Grace says “Look at me, reflect what you see in me not what you see in yourself.” Grace knows today is hard but there’s hope for tomorrow, even for the next hour. Shame knows today is hard but wants you to think yesterday was easier. The only difference between yesterday and today is perspective. Yesterday you didn’t know today would be this way. Maybe you thought yesterday was hard. But Grace got you through it, or maybe you failed entirely. Shame will highlight that is was easier to sin yesterday, it’ll feel good today. But Grace knows sinning today will only make tomorrow harder. Resist the enemy and he will flee(Matt. 5:39). If you keep looking into the mirror of shame you’re only making room for the enemy to linger. Put it down, drop it, destroy it, leave no more room for shame in your life. Put a big ole fat mirror of Grace in your every moment.

“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:19‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What is it that reflects upon your face, Grace or shame? Even in your hardest day, you have to go to Grace. If it was the darkest night of your life, Grace still only reflects who you are and not how dark your night was. Keep Him in the middle. “This is my day and this is my Grace.” That’s what we need to be saying. He alone allows me to even breath. Even in the midst of hard days, if I’m breathing Grace is with me. And He knows just how tough your day is. I warn you not to put on the pseudo joy of grinning your way through. That will only lead to bitterness, both for you and those that experience your mask. Find real Joy and place it before you. The only way through in to truly experience Grace.

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

We go through exactly what Christ goes through? So if today is hard, Christ is right there too. The key is going through it with Him. Not just going through and seeing Him on the other side. The promise is not a good or easy time, but Christ with you through it all. What use would a good time be without Christ? Better to have one bad day with Christ, than a thousand good ones without Him. God is reigning you in until you are completely ready for the release of the glorious times. Let it be joyful anticipation that builds in you and not resentment.

“….Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer? God, they murdered your prophets, They trashed your altars; I’m the only one left and now they’re after me! And do you remember God’s answer? I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit, Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish. It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this: Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways, God blurred their eyes and dulled their ears, Shut them in on themselves in a hall of mirrors, and they’re there to this day. David was upset about the same thing: I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals, break a leg walking their self-serving ways. I hope they go blind staring in their mirrors, get ulcers from playing at god.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:2-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Your loyalty to God cannot be based on what He can get you out of, but the purpose He has put in you. Your awareness of His purpose in you will be the key to getting through today. If your loyalty is based on what He can get you out of, you will become loyal to getting out. Who or what you’re comfortable with, you’re loyal to. Therefore what you go to for comfort will determine your loyalty. Is escaping reality what you’re loyal to? Whether that’s a substance, porn or unhealthy relationships. We can’t say “God get me out of this day.” We have to go through it good or bad. The challenge is to dive into reality and take it head-on. That doesn’t mean we can’t ask for help through it. This is where healthy relationships come in. How often we think we’re alone? If only we would look around. Beyond our problem to its purpose. What is it teaching? Many times I lay my problem down to engage with someone, only to find that encounter held the answer I was looking for.  Another perspective on my situation. A good friend will tell you who you are and that you’ve got what it takes. Maybe not in so many words, but God will use them to bring context and truth. If we will be open and not self-consumed. When we search for the solution to our problem out of our own self-interest we get into a hall of mirrors. Looking back at each other only reflecting the problem back on us. Where all you see is the problem and not who you’ve been called to be. The mirror of Grace says “Look into me and become like me.”

“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:25-28‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Are you convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing you? Do you see the attention He is giving you today? Pruning and cutting back the lies that you’re believing. Yes, today is hard, but not without reason. Maybe today God is teaching you through your pain. Let there be more purpose than just a hard day. He is loyal to those He calls His own. He is tender to your pain but fierce toward the lies you believe. Look into Grace and remember who you are (James 1:23). Lean on Grace today, because tomorrow is coming.

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Thoughts on Influence

The capacity to have an effect on, to shape change.

Take an inventory of the impact you may have made in the past year. Who has entered your life in the past nine months, three weeks, or 72 hours? How have you touched their life? Even if only for a moment, it may be all the time you have with them. In Acts 19 Paul so happened to find several believers. Not by chance, but by appointment that needed to be introduced to the Holy Spirit. Paul didn’t necessarily know they were believers when they met. How should I bring up what God might want to speak to that person, you might ask. I’m pretty sure Paul’s opening line wasn’t “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?” It more likely was “Hello, I’m Paul. Know good coffee shop?” He started a simple conversation that led to their discussion. Also, he didn’t wait to establish a history with them. Start simple conversations, they could lead to divine encounters. If you’re not investing into those in front of you, you’re not influencing anyone. No matter how persuasive you might be. Your friend from high school might simply reject your messages on Facebook. That’s okay, we’re not the ones to make them listen. Your influence might not reach all people. I wouldn’t get an aneurysm over those that aren’t influenced by you. There are two dangerous thoughts you might assume here. If they won’t listen to me, they won’t listen to anyone. The other is that God cannot use another person to influence them. Both thoughts are birthed from pride. Paul came against that pride in this passage, by simply moving his focus. Better to influence those you can, rather than be influenced by those you cannot. Your messages should not be based on who can I get to listen, but what truth am I supposed to be sharing? In today’s world, one might think that influence in measured by your following. Paul’s influence was not measured by a number of people that accepted him. True influence comes from the Lord. Influence is something that is given and cannot be earned. Your measure of influence is determined by the measure you share it. If your influence is measured by likes, then what you give is based on what people want rather than what they need. Influence comes when you have what people need. Someone needs what you have to offer. Don’t limit your influence by your amount of followers. The world measures influence by who you know and how many you know. But it’s not as simple as that. It turns out in this instance, in Acts 19, that their adversary knew who they knew. Walking in knowledge is very different than walking in authority. Believing in your knowledge does not hold the same power of believing in your authority. Jesus was tempted with influence and submitted to authority. Therefore influence should not be measured by volume, but by quality. You may have a million followers, yet are they being positively influenced. You will always be reflected by those that look up to you. What can you change in your life that will positively impact those influenced by you? First and foremost it should be the Holy Spirit that has the greatest influence in your life. In the Tree of Life Version, it says Paul resolved in the Spirit. This means that he had several options set before him, and he was able in partnership with the Holy Spirit to determine which one was from the Lord. Allowing that thought to take precedence and determine the next steps. When we become familiar with His voice we can learn how to direct our thought patterns. It also says that Paul gave direction to his assistants. They submitted to a Spirit-led leader in their life. We also need spirit filled leaders in our lives to help give us direction. Not so our life can be dictated by them, but to learn how we to can submit ourselves to the Spirit. Those we allow to influence us is who we become like. Now not all of our influences will be a leader directly over us. But they should still have a thriving relationship with the Spirit. There are a few instances of influence being used at the end of Acts 19. That of Artemis in a negative way, that which convinced Paul to keep his distance, and that of the mayor to the people. Each case affected the well-being of others. Influence is important because it can guide people in the right direction. Unfortunately, it can easily be used negatively and cause harm to those under it. Therefore we should always be aware of who is listening. When you speak you’re releasing either life or death. No matter how much you think you influence what you have to say matters. Invest in how you think, because how you think affects what you say, and what you say impacts what’s around you. You’re an influencer whether you believe it or not. I urge you to use it well no matter how many you influence.

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Daddy Is Strong Enough

I was on the plane from Naples, Italy to Athens, Greece. I had the pleasure to sit next to a couple and their daughter who was about two years old. In the few minutes around take off she was a bit fussy. Her parents tried many things to calm her down. Soft words, toys, and whatever else they could think of. Finally, her dad said the, “I’m going wrestle you down (for the sake of her safety) and I don’t mind doing it because I am significantly stronger than you.” Thank you, Holy Spirit. This is what Daddy says to you, “I don’t mind loving you even if it is wrestling you because I am significantly stronger than you.” Papa doesn’t steer away from Love even at its hardest. Keeping you from what you want, to protect you from what is best for you. You may want to wander about the cabin, but when turbulence comes He knows you need to be in His lap.
 
I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. Hosea 11:4 NLT
 
You might look back on your year with frustration. Have you gotten all that you desired out of the year? Maybe you got more turbulence than you expected. Though when you look back, you can’t help but see His faithfulness. What He has kept you from or brought you through, has it not been for your good? You have been lead by the ropes of His kindness and love. Even when it felt like you were being held back for no reason. We too often mistake His kindness for suffering. When we are being wrestled into the place where He wants us, rather than where we want to be. You can’t have it because He loves you too much. Either you’re not ready for it or it is not ready for you. This is why God requires faithfulness in little things before there is trust in greater things. Little things are made great through faithfulness. When something is placed in your hand it always feels small, because it fits in your hand. We mistakenly drop what is in our hands to go after the greater things, but miss the greatness already in our hands. Complaining about what is placed before you will keep you from seeing God’s faithfulness through it. He works everything out for the good of those called according to His purpose. (paraphrase Romans 8:28) We must not forget if we are walking according to His purpose for our lives. What is happening to us is good. His plans are for good. Whether it is to teach you something new or to help you align your desires with His. What happens to you is good, no matter how bad the world says it is. Yes, it sucks to go through, but the results are what matters. What He is doing in you is to draw you closer to Him. Closeness to God is the greatest good there is. Paul was made blind that he may see, the persecutor became that which he persecuted. Your perceived hindrance just may be your deliverance.
 
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10 NLT
 
What you are going through or have gone through, is not painful for the sake of knowing pain alone. It is so God might be glorified in your restoration. To help you find where your support comes from. Ultimately it is from the Lord, but practically it is from the community. Those that stick with you through pain, will be the most cherished in the celebration. It is to strengthen you. Faithfulness in the small things is a principle for what you desire and the trail. Remember the next trail may be more difficult, but our God never changes. Neither does His faithfulness. Lean on Him now in this trail, and do the same in the next. When you lean on the faithfulness of God, He places you on a firm foundation. One that cannot be shaken. Suffer for this little while, and share in His eternal glory. Being with Jesus is what makes suffering worth while, it is not suffering that makes being with Jesus worth while. Suffering sucks, let it be what it is. But go through it with the hope of being with Jesus as your anchor. Suffering is not to glorify one’s self. It is to bring greater dependence on the sovereignty of Christ. Knowing that the majesty of being present with Christ will far outweigh your present suffering. You will stay in your suffering so long as you see it as greater than the sovereignty of God. When the glory of God becomes greater than your pain, you will have been faithful in much. Turbulence alway seems more dangerous to those that haven’t experienced it. Daddy is strong enough to get through any storm. Don’t wait for Him to wrestle you into His lap, rest there for the entire journey.
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OMG I Need Direction

On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord. Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses. Numbers 9:15-23 NLT

As we come into the new year it may seem as though everyone around us has such clarity of what this next year will look like. While you’re in a fog. The new year always brings some sense of hope, even to the most hopeless. A chance to start fresh. A resolve to make things right this time around. While at the same there can be a sense of uncertainty. But uncertainty does not have to be hopeless. We are able to go into the unknown without fear. Maybe you haven’t set your goals for the year or made a list of resolutions. Perhaps you’re at a crossroads, and you’ve been there a while. This entire season may be the culmination of your frustrations; waiting on a word from God to move one way or the other. He’s been telling you many other wonderful things…accept the direction you need to go. In this season the work in you is of greater importance than the work through you. If He hasn’t told you to move, maybe He wants you to dwell. The children of Israel did not move until first, the cloud moved. And when the cloud stayed, they continued their work or duty. Continue to be faithful in the work He has put in your hands. His silence is not His disappointment. He has not moved you into your desire because He is restructuring your desire. Your waiting on Him is an act of obedience. It says that you don’t want to be in a place that He is not. In this time are you waiting well; are you settling deep into His presence? Even though you want it to be a transition, are you allowing it to be a transformation? Until the fog lifts stay. Resolve to allow Him to change the way you think. Become the person He wants to move into great things. Be before you do.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

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Tossing Your Faith

I’m standing on the edge ready to jump
But as I go for the dive I hit so many bumps on the way
And the devil keeps saying there ain’t no way
But Jesus is saying jump it’s okay
I’m out here waiting for you
To reach all those other guys with you
You may only think it’s a few
But come and look at it from my view

I wrote that somewhere between January 22 and January 28, 2008. You do the math. What I wrote before this was about direction and after was about timing. This is not an announcement of any big changes as of yet, just that some have been on my mind. I also want to take a second to talk about taking steps of faith. As an encouragement to you as well as myself.

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:14-20 ESV)

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke 16:10 ESV) 

The Bible says that faith like a mustard seed can move a mountain. Why then do we try to increase our faith to match our problem? The size of our faith doesn’t matter, the placement does. We need to put our faith in the goodness of God and not in the problem going away. We have this miss conception that faith can even change sizes. It’s either in God or it’s not. Grow in the confidence of who God is. Big faith is putting your faith and trust in a big God. Quit trying to increase your faith to match your problem, compare your problem to the size of your God. If your problem seems too big, your god (whichever one you’re worshiping at the moment; other blog, other time) is too small. If you think your problem is bigger than what God is capable of you might ought to ask yourself, am I putting my problem in place of God? Last I checked God is bigger than the boogieman! (I dare you not to finish the song)

Still you might say you can’t do it, well you can’t. The Word says to be faithful in the little and He will trust you with much. David went after a giant with a stone in his hand and his faith in God. You could say, David held the stone(action/works) and God held David(faith). He wasn’t trying to crush Goliath with a mountain, he threw a stone and trusted God. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to move the mountain when God just wants us to throw a stone. Throw the stone, let God move the mountain. Your problem may end up being smaller than you think it is. God loves to use small solutions to solve big problems. If your solution is to big to glorify God, it may not be small enough. Your faithfulness will increase your capacity for larger problems, but God’s faithfulness will decrease your need for bigger solutions. It will become muscle memory. “How did I get through that last thing? Oh yeah, I trusted God.” God can’t get any bigger, what makes you think that there will ever be a problem He can’t handle?

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[a] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. (James 2:18-26 NLT)
You can’t simply believe God is big and not be throwing your stones. Faith without action is dead. Peter could’ve believed he could walk out to Jesus, but if he hadn’t stepped out of the boat he never would have. People wonder why no one has walked on water since then, Jesus is not out on the water anymore. The point of that story was not that Jesus could walk on water. Jesus wants you to be close to Him and He is willing to let you do crazy miraculous things to get there. You will never have enough faith to walk on water if Jesus is not out there calling you to Him. If you’re wanting a miracle for anything other than glorifying God, you’re worshiping the miracle not the God of miracles. The point of glorifying God is to bring people close to Him, not close to a miracle. If you stay in the boat you will only be a witness to the miracle and never experience God.

Throwing stones should be simple. I find it funny that we are called to have a childlike faith. Do you remember ever going out to a lake as a kid? What would be one of the first things you would do? You’d go find rocks to throw in the lake. Then you would see who could throw the biggest rock and make the biggest splash. I don’t want you to think that God want you to keep throwing little tiny pebbles for the rest of your life. Find the biggest rock you can, chunk it in and make the biggest splash you can. God will see that splash and turn it into a tsunami, people will see that tsunami and not be able to deny that God moved. The goal is not to get as many people to see your splash, your splash really is pretty lame to look at without God. A tsunami is something to behold. Splashes have little to no effect outside of their immediate surrounding, yet a tsunami can change a nation in minutes. It can even change the terrain of a mountain side. Did you know that an iceberg flipping can cause a tsunami? In the right conditions it takes a very subtle change to cause tsunami size impact. What is the mountain you need moved? Does getting married seem impossible? Ask her out or say yes to the date(this make take a couple tosses). You know where to go but not how to get there? Ask for help from someone who’s been there. If where you are is not where Jesus is moving you, then it’s time to step on the water. Ride the wave, you may already be out on the water and God is waiting on you to toss the stone. If He says go then go, if He says stay then stay.

Father, may we not be people that try to impress others with our skill in moving mountains. But let us be your humble children out at your lake skipping rocks.

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Finding the Sparkle

I was recently faced with two starkly different situations. I was working with pictures for a set and one of them had two girls laughing. This thought crossed my mind, if they were the only two girls in the world which would you choose? I would’ve chosen to stay single. I know sounds pompous, but that is a loaded question based off a picture. I simply was not attracted to either one. The second situation was party where there were lots of single girls. That night I literally did choose to stay single. I was attracted to some of the girls there, but it was still only based off an outward appearance. I’ve pursued girls based off physical attractiveness and it lead no where. These two situations got me thinking.

How often do we settle because we think they are all there is? We put ourselves in a box of finding the person we’re attracted to and trying to make them fit the personality we want. Or finding someone with the personality we’re looking for, but we find them unattractive. What do we do? This conundrum makes me want to pull my hair out. Which side of the coin do we put the emphasis? Do we really have to go though life flipping this relational coin, until we decide heads or tails? (metaphor unintended) We can get so caught up in either one.

We are willing to set aside the physical if they just love Jesus with all their heart. If they’re passionate about what God is doing in there life, I can see past the warts. The trouble in this is that some days they aren’t going to be quite the Jesus you thought they were. Because you went after someone you’re unattracted to, bitterness has a greater chance to creep in. “Why am I in this realationship? I don’t like the way they treat me and I wasn’t even attracted to them to begin with.” This is not to say attraction can’t grow over time, but come on don’t settle. If your not attracted to them by the time you get married, there’s a good chance that attraction won’t grow. Don’t get caught in the lie that just because you find them unattractive that everyone else does too. You’re not the authority on who’s hot and who’s not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Oh, here is where people will say “See past the outside to who they are”, and I agree, but it doesn’t mean you have to marry them.

The far more dangerous settlement is to set aside character for beauty. We think we can lead them into who there meant to be. I just thew up a little, because I’ve been that guy. Talk about immense amounts of pressure. Can you imagine having the responsibility of developing someone else’s character besides your own. Without the infrastructure of integrity in a relationship the greater the chance of compromise. Physical based relationships lead to physical results. Are you willing to risk what God has for you because of self fulfilled desire? God knows the desires of your heart. Don’t think for a second that He’s has someone for you to settle for. Second best is not in God nature, He created Eve just for Adam.

Take some pressure off yourself and your future spouse. Media advertises the unacheivable and porn steals our gift. We are told to look for perfection and find ourselves lost in the search. We try to make someone fit a mold when they are supposed to shaped by a potter. The gift is stolen in two ways, it’s unwrapped and given under the wrong name similarly it is given wrongly to the receiver then the giver is exposed. Pressure is removed by leaving the gift wrapped, or rewrapping, and allowing them to be themselves, even with the flaws. The beauty of getting to know people is, we get to see the heart of the gift before recieving the gift. Go after the heart not the body. Allow yourself to go after the heart of someone your attracted to, allow them to say no if they’re not.

A great example of this is when Jacob married Leah and Rachel. The bible says that Leah had no sparkle in her eye. I’ve heard that interpreted to mean that Leah either had poor eye site or wasn’t pleasant to look at. I would add that it could also mean that her eyes didn’t light up when she saw Jacob or she was unsure of who she was. We assume that Leah was attracted to Jacob and it was just not reciprocated. Let us assume that Leah was attracted to Jacob just as much as he was to her. They’ll never put a smile on each others faces just for walking in the room or should I say tent. Jacob will never be able to put that sparkle in her eye and he knew it, that is why he chose Rachel. The bible also says that Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Leah and Rachel were sisters, chances are that they looked alike. I believe Jacob went after a heart and reaped the benefit of a beautiful body, he went after the one with the sparkle in her eye.

Have you ever looked at someone in the eye who lacked confidence in who they are? It’s near impossible, because they won’t maintain eye contact. They are afraid you see the sparkle in their eye. They are not afraid to show the sparkle, they just believe there is no sparkle. They believe that what they are showing is just a dim light and that is what will be seen. But the reality is that if they would really allow themselves to be seen there would be a sparkle so bright that darkness would never extinguish it. There is nothing more attractive than someone who knows who their heart belongs to and is willing to expose it. If we search through the lens of the heart rather than body or personality, someones sparkle will catch your eye and you will be willing to work 14 years just to let it light up your room or tent.

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel

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My Last Hope

Have you ever wanted to kill yourself? I must admit I have to answer yes to this question. Though those thoughts were very brief for me, they still went through my mind. I can clearly remember the thought of ending my life, but not the reason why. I can say for a fact that the situation I was up against passed and I lived through it. I say this not to gain the sympathy of the reader, but to bring to light an attack that has been forged against our generation. I never went through a period of depression or did anything to cause concern among friends and family. I only have a minute understanding of what someone being oppressed with suicidal thoughts goes through. If only your battle was as easy as I make it sound. I say all this to share who helped me though this small battle and my big battles as well.

“A single thread of hope is a very powerful thing” – Author unknown

I saw this quote and immediately thought of Rehab on the wall of Jericho. The only hope she had, was in the faithfulness of God, when she put the scarlet rope out of her window that her house would be protected. The rope itself was not what saved her, but the belief that in doing so God would see her faith. I’m sure she had her doubts. How is a rope going to save my house? This seemingly small act proved to be exactly what God needed to see and to move on her behalf. She had a small glimmer of hope that she would be seen. She believed that if God was big enough to tear down the walls around her, He is big enough to keep her house intact. She knew that even though everything around her fell apart she would be kept intact. This was the security of an entire nation. In putting the rope out there she not only said God would protect her but acknowledged He was going to tear down the walls. She moved her hope from the walls that had been put up to a God that could tear them down.

“No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!” Job 17:16 (NLT)

Rehab had the same mentality of Job. If the world falls apart or I even die, I will die with Hope in my heart. When everything I have has turned to dust, when my hearts desires seem to slip from my fingers, when the world tells me the darkness is light, it is Hope that I hold on to. When we have nothing to hold on to and we think all is lost hold on to Hope! Not in the hope that my situation will change but in who Hope is, the Hope that conquered the grave. The Hope that gives you a reason to live! Job is not professing that suicide is his only hope, he is saying I will lie down with Hope. I will rest is in knowing that Hope has me in His hands. That until the day I do die I will rest in the confidence of who Hope is. I will rest in Him until the dust settles. Who cares if all is lost? A life without the desires of my heart is livable, but a life without Hope is no life worth living. Find your value in who Hope is not in what you long for. Here’s the deal though, Hope cannot be contained and walls cannot come down without Hope. If we will open the door to Hope’s knock, we can allow Him to knock down our walls and be seen. Asking someone to bring their walls down without Hope is like asking a building be demolished with a pack of toothpicks. No matter how much you poke at it every toothpick will break before the building does. You have to be exposed to Hope before you can be seen. Allow God to see you and He will know your desires, allow yourself to see God and you will know His desires, allow yourself to see you how God sees you and you’ll desire what He desires for you.

The running theory on the fall of Jericho is that there was an earthquake that caused the foundations to give out. To the skeptics, earthquakes are considered an act of God. If we will simply allow God in to shake our foundations, strongholds will fall and the enemy will be defeated. Wait, isn’t Jesus supposed to be my strong foundation? Well I’m glad you asked. Yes. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NLT) The foundation of Jesus is laid by Grace, by Hope, not by our works. We have all laid foundations of our own, that is what the Father wants shake. So that when the dust settles we are left holding onto Hope. Build your foundation on Hope and others will be able to build on that same foundation; there are others that depend on the foundation of Hope that you build.

The greatest story of Hope is when God shook the foundation of Jesus Himself. The night that Jesus put all of His hope in the human race. I say this in the sense that He went to the cross with no guarantee that anyone would accept Him, that the plan of God would even work. This is the real beauty in salvation, we get to choose it. God took everything from Jesus even though He did not deserve it. If anyone, Jesus had the right to curse God. He was betrayed by a friend, deserted by the rest and wanted for a crime He did not commit. On top of all that He was rejected by His Father. In the end all Jesus wanted was to be seen by His Father and accepted by His friends. Knowing all this would happen He still submitted to the will of God. He became the foundation of sin and allowed God to shake it till all that was left was Hope. Jesus could not become the Hope of the world until He answered the knock of sin. The knock of sin is not the act of sin but the consequence, to answer that knock is to open death’s door. He answered so we would not have to, He now waits knocking instead. To answer the knock of Hope is to open Life’s door.

Your Father is knocking
Faithfully knocking
Waiting knocking
He knocks again
This time will you let Him in?

If are having suicidal thoughts please put out your scarlet rope! Call a friend, a family member or a pastor. At the very least call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone, find Hope!!

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