Tag Archives: perspective

Easter the Great Love Story

“Dad, I’m in love and I want her to be my bride.” “Tell me about her.” I remember the first conversation I had with my Father about you. It’s a moment that has never diminished in excitement for me. I look back and laugh at the fact that I am more in love with you now than I was then. “Well Dad, I must admit she’s not perfect. Actually, she’s dying and will never be able to reach me. But I can’t stop thinking about her. The very thought of our separation consumes me. How do I win her over Dad?” “I know who you speak of, they are as dear to me as they are to you. There is only one way. You have to bear the very thing that is separating the two of you. You have to give your life in place of their’s. Son, to take on all of this mean to be separated from me.” When I heard these two things I realized, the breadth of this task and that you were worth all of it. To be separated from my Father. I always knew what this meant, but the reality of the agony is beyond comparison. Even greater was this pain to being beaten. You have to understand the intimacy of my Father and me. I have be with Him from the beginning, when He started I was there, and when He finishes I will be there also. We never do anything apart from each other, and I had to be forsaken by Him. The one thing that got me through it was the thought of you. I look back on those three days with pure joy, because I knew that I would be able to invite you into what my Father is doing. That you would be able to do greater works than I ever could. “Son, the only way for this to work is for you to overcome death.” “I know. I have a plan for that too.”

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning,just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” Mark 16:1-3 NLT

The plan to win your heart has been in place for eons, and it’s never changed. To become everything that is keeping you from His Love. To take what you deserve and replace it with what you can never earn. Today you may feel the Jesus wooing your heart, but there is something in the way. Here is the truth when they went to the tomb, they also wondered who would move the obstacle in their way. Just as the stone was rolled away for them, so also is anything you may feel is in your way. You don’t have to be good enough or straighten up. This is Love, ready to fight for your heart before you have reciprocated. He is inviting you in. Not into just an empty tomb, but resurrection power. All you need to do is invite Him in. Admit that you have a sin in your life and repent. Believe that Jesus is your savior. Confess that He is Lord of your life. Don’t worry about the all rules. Love and be loved, and listen to His voice and obey it.
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Patient Bravery

“Do you trust me?” Those seem to be my waking words from God lately. I answer yes, but I still question my answer. Of course I trust God, where else can I go? But do I enough to deny the premature fulfillment of the promises of God from an enemy who can’t fulfill them? I’m not even completely sure if I’m in a place to write about trusting God. Then again where there is the greatest potential is where we are attacked the most. In my weakness He is shown strong, and my weakness brings Him glory.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14 NKJV
 
Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT
 

I read this passage first in the NLT and it hit me. Patience takes courage. My steps toward the promise are no more powerful than my waiting on the promise. I am believing for a promise right now. I have taken what I thought would be smart moves toward it, but have yet to make any significant headway. Have the steps hindered progress, I doubt it. Here’s why, my belief is not in a promise being kept, but in the keeper of the promise. He is faithful to fulfill all that He promises. If the outcome is not what I perceived it to be, it is not because I screwed it up. For if I could screw it up, I would be able to make it right. So if things are not turning out the way I believe they should be, there are two possibilities. The promise I’m believing for is a pose from the enemy, like when satan tempted Jesus with the nations. Or I am not yet prepared for the promise. Believe in a big God, not just for big promises. When we put Our faith in God and not the promise, we give the enemy less room to work with. We put our faith in the promise and the enemy comes in with options of fulfillment. “Surely you won’t die, God is keeping this from you.” But when we put our faith in God the enemy has one option. “God is not God.” If your faith is in God then there is no power in this phrase. Sadly this does work on many people. Maybe not the same words. It could be “God is not listening” or “God doesn’t care”. Which are all lies. We need to find the agreements we have made to allow us to believe those lies. God is God, and He cares, He listens, He sees, and He moves on our behalf. Trust in Him, He is faithful to fulfill all that He promises. In writing this I read the passage again in the NKJV, He said to me I strengthen the heart of those that wait. Again I say it is our weakness that brings Him glory. I must admit that in my waiting I have not been strong, and Holy Spirit gently reminds me. “I am strengthening you to hold the promise you are waiting for. My promises are unbreakable, but they can break those that aren’t ready to hold the fruit. The purpose of my promise is to build you up and for you to stand on. Stand on my promises and you will see the fruit that you are believing for.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about myweaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

Genesis 3:1-7 The Fall of Man
Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation of Jesus.
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Open Letter to Singles

Stop writing open letters to your future spouse. You marry the person so you can share things that you can’t share with the rest of the world. If you’re willing to share these thoughts intended for your future spouse with the world, what else are you willing to share? As we wait on the gift of being able to share here’s is how I would aim to be single. There are two types of single people. Single and loving it or single and hating it. If you’re single and loving it, then I write to you in hopes that you’re loving it for the right reasons. If you’re single and hating it, then I write to give you hope. You are single for a reason. Learn that reason and have a happier life. There is selfishness in our life that we tend to ignore. We don’t want to let those parts of our flesh die. What I’ve learned from being in relationships (dating, post-dating, friendship and family) is that they will draw those things out of us. In a healthy relationship, those things get called out of and you have help in the battle. Your selfishness will kill your relationships. This is especially true with marriage and children. Now my point is not to make your goal in life to be “marriage material”, but to live up to who God has called you to be. Yes, singleness is a gift, but it’s not an excuse. If your friends have seen your worst and not called you higher, then you need better friends. They are not being friends, but being tolerant. If you feel called to be single, be willing to make people jealous of your singleness. Be a great example to others of how to love well. Jesus was single, but He was also desirable. He is the greatest example of who a husband should be. Clearly He knew how to navigate thirsty people without hurting them. There are wells inside each of us that need to be filled. There is one that thirst for eternity and Jesus is the living water that satisfies its thirst. But there are other wells for relationship and purpose. The well of purpose is only filled by you doing what you’re designed to do. The well of relationship is filled with friendship and family. And a well especially to be filled by your spouse. The depth of these wells are up to you, and being single is your chance dig deep the well of your marriage’s beginning. As unmarried christians we tend view singleness as the season of finding the right person. A wise man told me that dating without intent is practice for divorce. Without intent you get together until the benefits run out then you go your separate ways. I would add that dating with too much intent is practicing for divorce as well. I was ready to marry every girl I was interested in. I thought I was being honorable in doing so. Honorable to the girl, maybe so. Honorable to God and the call He placed on my life, not so much. I was fully committed to girls that I was not supposed to be committed to. The gift of singleness is not happiness up until you find a date or marriage, but to fully engage with what God has placed before you. It is being able to go to coffee without planning the wedding. It is being able to lead and serve without expectation. It’s being able to genuinely tell the opposite sex that you love them without them thinking it’s weird or you want something. Where the motives of your actions come from love and not manipulation. You don’t need to impress someone for them to really love you. Dating should be an invitation to join with you in what God is already doing. Willingness to risk rejection to make the invite can only come from the security of sonship. Don’t wait until you’re married to stop being selfish. Who you are before marriage will be who you bring into it. The truest gift of singleness is preparation for marriage, whether on this side of eternity of the next. The gift of singleness is not a ticket out of marriage. Don’t miss your opportunity to get yourself together before you multiply or step into eternity. The gift of singleness is something you offer your spouse at the altar. What have you saved and prepared to offer them, and ultimately Jesus. Thus the gift of singleness is the sacrifice of marriage without the benefits. Do you still accept this gift? What we need to be asking ourselves daily is, how can I be a living sacrifice today? Blameless and holy, worthy to present myself at the altar. We will all present ourselves to Christ, but some will also present themselves at the altar to a spouse. I know what I offer will never measure up to what I receive, but all the more I will cherish the gift. For I aim to offer my very best. The best I have is all of me, seeking to become more like Christ.

1 John 4:10
1 Corinthians 7:7
Ephesians 1:4

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I’m Still Here, Keep Going

Yesterday I failed miserably. Before that I had many great successes, but still more blundering failures. Yet I am here today to tell the tale. Still the greatest thing I have to repent from is the comparison of my faithfulness to God’s. I tell God “whether you come through or not, I’ll remain faithful”. Then I turn my back on Him like it were a normal part of my daily life. In His kindness, He says “thank you” and actually follows through with His Word. I wake from my slumber and take another breath of the air that He has granted me. Often forgetting to thank Him with the very breath He put in my lungs.

Take a deep breath.

He can’t stop loving you. Imagine this. Your sitting in the Fathers arms. You crawled there from your latest stumbling. You look up, maybe expecting a scold. But all you see is a smile. “Wait, don’t you know what I just….” you say as you look back and see nothing there. Your past is gone. You can’t experience both Grace and your past. As you sit in His presence you begin to feel Him move away. He says “Come play, make, create. You’re not made for what you’re leaving behind, but for what I have set before you. Step into it. Get up again and again and again.”

Keep Going

Here I am saying these things, being the voice I was meant to be. I have many failures, but a bigger future. I must admit I was weighed down from my failing for a some time, almost enough to keep me from writing this. But God, in my greatest desperation says come on. Write it. Say it. Do it. You are righteous, and the righteous rise again. From the greatest defeat He rose from the grave, now in your failing you’ll rise again. Don’t stop to listen to your past. Listen to my voice and I will lead you the path of righteousness. I can’t help but give you hope. Take it with you wherever you go.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NLT)

The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and merciful,slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:6-13 (NLT)

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Harvest Time

Today I harvested olives for the first time in my life. On a hillside in Marcellina, Italy. Some might romanticize the idea of picking olives in Italy. There was nothing romantic about the experience, it was hard work. Let me first say that an experience doesn’t need to be romantic to be fun. This was not a light day of picking olives, but a harvest. And I am going to do it again tomorrow, because it beats walking around looking at monuments in Rome. While I was harvesting today these thoughts came to my mind. As christians we tend to separate our lives into terms of seasons. “I’m in a planting season right now.” or “This is my season of pruning.” (which is actually during or after harvest BTW) But as we all know when we say those things, we are longing to be in our harvest season. To which we think will be our season of rest and receiving. We fail to realize that that harvest season is one of the busiest times. And a good harvest requires hard work, even sometimes specialized equipment. In my work the passage in Matthew 9 came to mind.

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.”
Matt 9:35-38 NLT

I thought to myself, why would someone not want to be a part of this great harvest? The reality is we don’t want to be a part of the harvest, but we do want the fruit from it. We want to sit back drink our cappuccino and post cool photos with the perfect scripture. All in hopes that someone’s life will be changed from it. Let me be clear that I am not saying to neglect your social media influence for the cause. What I am saying is, that’s not enough. Jesus said we will do greater works than He had done. If Jesus had social media, first of all He’d have so many followers that Socality would manage his account. Secondly, His ministry would not depend solely on it. Why then would yours? You can’t plant seeds, expect them to bear fruit and expect the fruit to simply appear in your hands one day. When fruit falls off the tree on its own, it has ripened beyond its peak flavor. Social media is a great seed planter, but a bad harvester. You know when a post is planting a seed or sharing bad fruit. A harvest requires workers. All the testimonies I have seen and been a part of from social media went far beyond the reach of post. The harvest of the seed can only be reached face to face. Be the worker that answers the prayer that Jesus prayed in this passage. Go into the fields announce the Good News, heal the sick, teach the confused and helpless. These are His fields and knows which fruit is ready for harvest. Will Jesus be your foreman?

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Self-Service

Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. John 13:3-5 NLT 
 
Self worth is the beginning of seeing value in others. You can’t truly understand the worth of someone else until you see the worth in yourself. Have you ever tried to win a battle for the sake someone else? No matter how hard you try you keep losing. And we try to make their value higher than our own, but the enemy comes in and says you don’t deserve them anyway just give in. Until you find yourself worthy of victory, you will never win. We try to devalue ourselves for the sake of others. We need to first see our own value to understand the value of others. When we see our value and know that all were created equal, we will begin to see the value of others. We can begin to put higher value on others. Knowing your worth and putting and on the shelf for the sake of others is far greater than feeling worthless and putting that on the shelf. If you think low of yourself and you are giving of yourself, you’re not giving very much. You’re saying I’m already down here I might as well serve, you’re then serving to feel better about yourself. Which is self serving. When you have high self worth, you have high value service. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples He wasn’t lowering His value to do so. True servanthood comes from authority, not striving. Service should never come from a place of need, but to a place of need. We’ve all been in the place where our identity is tied up in how much we serve. Instead we need to serve out of who we are, rather than determine who we are out of service. If you stopped serving who would you be? You must first have something, before you can offer something.

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” John 13:6-8 NLT

Here is a phrase that will go against the grain of cultural Christianity. One of the greatest ways you can honor your leader is to allow yourself to be served by them. The only way you will gain a sense of belonging is to be served. Until you belong you’re not serving, but striving. If you want those you are leading to be servants, then you need to serve them. Service upward is easily turned to brown nosing. While service to the least of these will never turn to that. Until you can receive without obligation, you will not be able to give without it. As a leader my greatest desire is not that those under me serve me, but they serve those under them. If we are only in leadership to receive from those under us, then we are not leading. Serve to create a place of belonging, belonging creates ownership, and ownership breeds a servants heart. We all know that servants make the greatest leaders. Great leaders have nothing to gain, but to benefit those they are leading. Serve your leaders in this way, by serving those below you.

Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:9-11 NLT
 
True service is never more than it needs to be. To serve beyond someone’s need runs the risk of entitlement. Now let me clarify what I mean by honoring your leader by being served by them. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples He purposely did not wash more than their feet. He knew exactly how He needed to serve them. He did not take away what was their responsibility. By being served by your leader, I mean that you are submitted to them. When you come under their authority you are allowing them to wash your feet. You are not asking them to take on what is your responsibility. As you walk your feet are going to get dirty. If you’re not making a few mistakes or even failing big time, you’re not moving very much. Not every mistake is a sin. Maybe it’s a process that you’ve never done before and you miss a step. A leader serves you by stepping and showing you where you fell short and how to do better moving forward. A great leader will show your where they fell short and how they moved forward, so you don’t have to. They come down to say how deep that puddle was when they stepped in it, or what potholes to avoid when you turn down certain paths. To come under leadership you need to have prepared yourself to be under that leadership, where they are only needing to wash your feet along your walk with them.

Learn to bathe yourself. Make assessments on your own. This is what I have to offer and this is where I need to clean up. A leader that sets unnecessary criteria for you to belong, an oatmeal bath maybe, is not a leader you want to be under. As a leader you may need to show people how to bathe, but you’re not the one bathing them. You are a feet washer, showing those under you where and how to walk. Empowering them to get their feet dirty, or the better term get their feet wet. Feet get wet from washing. If your feet are dirty, but still dry you may want to ask why. As a leader your greatest pleasure should be washing your followers feet. If feet need washing, then people are going somewhere. Ministry is moving forward.
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Complexity of Modern-day Christianity (Simplified)

How should we respond to refugees, politics, the fallacies on Facebook, my misguided christian friends on social media, my non-christian friends social media, and so on. I’m sure as a bible believing christian you have an answer for all those things. What to say and how to say it. (oh yeah this one, how to navigate the misery of being a single christian) I’m sure what we have to say is valid. But have we over complicated it all? Christianity was not meant to give you the ability to simply be right. If you can win an argument, what have you lost in return? Are we in relationship with Jesus so we can be right on Facebook? What did christians do before Facebook? I know for a fact that I served a lot more than I cared how people responded to a post. Stop posting about what christians should be doing and go be one. (I would put an exclamation point, but that might seem harsh) Stop asking for permission from your followers, and walk in authority from your Father.

John 14 (read it)

Stop worrying about whether or not you have a place. You have been left with the gift of peace of mind and heart. (peace of heart is for the singles) Know Jesus and know the Father. Do good because of your love for the Father, not to be better than the next christian. This is christianity, know Jesus and be Jesus. You should be known for your love, not your knowledge. Be willing to ask anything. You are born to do greater works than status updates. Let your platform be a place of testimony. He has revealed Himself to you and not to the world. Now He lives in you, so reveal yourself to the world and your are revealing Jesus. Share your story not your opinions. I love how this chapter ends. Jesus knew his mission. Even knowing the difficulties of what was set before Him, He still set His mind to do it. That is peace of mind. Knowing what is before you and trusting God through it. Even unto death. “Come, let’s be going.” Let us be known for going, not for knowing and doing nothing except updating our friends on what we know.
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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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The Success of Submission

Why are we so afraid to submit? We view submission as being subdued or under someone’s thumb. We are afraid that what we submit will be taken from us. That if we give this new thing in our lives to God, that we really enjoy, He is going to take it away from us. If we give up control of it, it will never turn out to our benefit. We view submission simply as giving something up. The contrary is true, submission is receiving what we could not earn on our own.

Sometimes submission is used as a cop out for what God has for us to do. We simply submit it because it’s to difficult and walk away. God never intended submission to be giving up but coming under. Submit to God, but still do your part. Submission is not being chained but set free. It allows you to walk in what God has intended for you. Submission is not a covering to have God move where your supposed to, but where you can’t. Submission takes action in doing so, as a result giving the authority to take action. Submission takes courage and gives authority, to both the one yielded to and the yielder.

I think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house. Joseph could have submitted to his circumstances and sucked at everything he did. Instead he chose to stay submitted to God, leaving his dream in the Fathers hands. Because of this the Lord was with him and he succeeded at all that he did. This caused him to be promoted at a rapid pace. Joseph’s dream wasn’t his calling, pleasing the Lord was. It pleased the Lord to bring success to Potiphar’s house through Joseph, so he submitted to the house and allowed his success to profit from it.

Side note: Christians shouldn’t suck at their jobs but should be easy to promote.

Submission breeds a invulnerability to seduction. Because of Joseph’s submission to pleasing God, he was able to run away from the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. Because of his submission to the house he gained favor with Potiphar. In ancient Egypt, the punishment for adultery was death. The fact that he was sent to prison instead implies he was believed over Potiphar’s wife. I find it interesting that Potiphar’s wife is never named in this story. She was submitted to her impulse and remained unsuccessful at reaching her goal. She must have been really pretty, for she was definitely not submitted to her husband. You will never make a name for yourself without submission. She will always be known as the wife that tried to cheat. I’d rather remain unmentioned than poorly viewed or be a stumbling block. Who’s story are you trying force yourself into? Instead of trying to make a name for yourself, submit yourself to the Lord and allow Him to make your name.

Submission empowers. Joseph was given complete authority over the house he submitted to. He was successful at all that he did. His desire to please God produced an excellence in his work. When you are submitted to God, others will see that God is with you. If you focus on pleasing God, those in authority over you will be pleased and promote you. Your promotion will only go as far as your submission, complete submission equals complete authority.

Submission saves. Joseph was saved by his submission to Potiphar. Because he had gained the trust of his master his life was spared. Not only that, he achieved the same success in the prison he was sent to. His demotion was redeemed by his submission. In the same way we are saved by submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Instead of gaining trust, we are learning to trust. Though we deserve hell, because we submit, we are given eternal life.

I actually did submit these thoughts to an authority in my life, this is what he said. There are two types of submission, willful and forced. Willful is like, a cop asking you to get on your knees and put your hands up, then you doing so. Forced is like, you refusing the request of the cop and him putting his knee on your neck and twisting your arms into submission. Are you putting yourself under authority or are you being put under authority? All authority is from God and all authority is submitted to. It is our choice to how we submit. How we do so will determine our success.

Genesis 39

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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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