Sunday, October 24, 2010

This Fragile Breath

Genesis 2:7 — The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This idea of being but a fragile breath has been on my mind for the past couple days. Only when we are confronted with life-altering situations, do we realize that we are but a vapor on this earth.

This verse from Genesis, I feel, not only speaks to the creation of mankind, but also to remind us of our humanity. We came from the ground and to the ground one day we will return. It’s important to remember that God has blessed us with life, but that everything on this earth is changing, morphing and unstable. It is only when we realize our frail humanity and choose to put that life back in the hands which formed it, that we can find rest and peace in our souls.
Acts 17:24-28 — The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ (Italics added)
We were created by God and for God. He has given us the breath of life, in order that we may glorify His name with our very breath. He has appointed our times to be born and to die, and has mapped out where each of us will live. Every aspect of our lives have been intertwined with the very plan of God. It is my prayer that you would not forget that. We were formed and fashioned by the Master Potter’s hands. He molded and sculpted each of us, and in that, He ingrained a specific life for each of us.
It is very difficult to come to terms with our own mortality and humanity, but you can rest assured that not a single moment of your life is outside of the knowledge of the Lord.
John 10:28 — I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
Although we are dust and a fragile breath in the winds of this world, there is no wind strong enough to cast us out of our loving Father’s hands.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

31 Days of October

For the past few days, I’ve felt God calling me to read the book of Isaiah. I didn’t have a clue as to why, and I still don’t know why, but I’ve learned that when God calls you to do something, it’s best to be obedient. I’ve spent a lot of my faith thinking that I’m hearing what God speaks to me, but much of the time, they are my own selfish desires. Either that, or I’m disobedient to what God wants for me. So what I’ve planned out, is reading the book of Isaiah over the month of October.
Quick Facts:
  1. Isaiah contains 66 chapters
  2. Each day of October, I will be reading 2 or 3 chapters (one day, I will be reading 1 chapter)
  3. I will write down my observations
  4. I will reflect on what God wants me to understand within the passage
Through this, I encourage you to come alongside me, learn with me, experience the passages with me. Reading God’s Word is one of the ways that we can truly come to know who God is and the divine plan that He has for each one of us.

I have always been intrigued by Isaiah, especially Isaiah 53 (the suffering Servant). I feel that I am finally at a point in my life where I am seeking to hear God and am more able to understand the things within His Word.

Prayers during this time of seeking God through His Word:
  • Understanding of the passages
  • Discernment; filtering out the lies of the world and focusing in on God’s truth and reality
  • Openness to learning new things
  • Entering His Word with a fresh, child-like faith
I am excited for what God has in store for the next month.

I will be praying that you will use this month to draw closer to God as well. He is a stable, unchanging God, but there is always more that we can learn about Him. I will also pray that you would consider joining me on this journey.

If you decide to, let me know, so that we can walk through it together –

If you get behind, don’t worry about it.

In His service, I wish you blessings.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hope Renewed

Psalm 130:5 — I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
It’s been an intense few days.

I came to Cornerstone University, this fall, thinking that everything would be great, because it’s a Christian college with a desire to see God in the lives of their students. Boy was I wrong! That’s not to say that this isn’t a great academic school, because it is. But there are so many different opposing views, ideas, worldviews, and such.

On Thursday of this past week, everything kind of fell through. I suddenly became depressed and didn’t know why. It wasn’t until Saturday that I finally figured things out.

My life has always been under the shadow of God…I grew up in church, had great mentors, etc. but as I got older, this wasn’t enough. I know that we all come to a point when we choose what we believe, and then use that belief to determine how we will live our lives, but that is much harder said than done. Coming to Cornerstone, I found that not only are my views challenged, but they are also refuted. Some people here came from an Atheistic worldview…others came from well-supported Christian homes. My realization has been that although none of us are perfect, many of the people are under the assumption that because they are at a Christian school, that their views are superior to others.

My heart became broken.

I didn’t know what I believed anymore. Learning different worldviews in Philosophy and discovering what other people believe, made me question my own beliefs.
  • If God is who He says He is, and can do all things, then why let His world suffer the way that He has?
  • How much longer are we going to be left to suffer?
  • What if God and the Bible are created ideas by humanity, that help us to explain the reality that we live in?
All these questions, and more, have been swirling through my head. I have never had a time in my life, when my faith became so real for me. My mother, had to defend the religion that I once pressed on her. This was very odd to me, but eye-opening at the same time.

I’m so quick to believe. But why? Why do I believe what I do? Is it because I was once taught to believe that way? Or is it because I truly feel God working in my life?

I’ve heard that we finally come face-to-face with our faith when we are under trials, persecution, tribulation, etc. and that is so very true. My faith was under attack. But not by an outside force. It was under attack by my own mind. I was actually going to talk myself into why it’s easier and more logical not to believe that a God created all of this, and somehow has a hand in all of it.

Weird, right?

I’m writing a book, based on my faith. I talk about God and Christ more than anything else. I blog about why it’s important to receive salvation and I try to fix other people’s problems, but I never really evaluated my own life. I took what I had, and left it at that.

But not anymore.

I believe in God because there is no other rational explanation for the ways of the world.

I believe that Christ came and endured this mundane human existence, so that I could one day walk in white beside Him.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and working within me, no matter how abstract the idea may seem.

I have come to terms with the idea of suffering. Although I have yet to experience much of it, my heart has endured a great deal.

I believe that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit exist, as one, just as I believe in the wind, in gravity, in love, etc. Just because things can’t be seen, doesn’t negate the fact that they exist. We believe in these kinds of things because we experience them, and that is the way that I feel with God. When certain things have happened in my life, I have felt an actual tightening of my heart, tears have been brought to my eyes, for no other reason, than I feel God working in my heart.

This revelation has refreshed me and allowed me to look at life with a new perspective. I know that I have a long, tiring way to go, but I also know that God is with me, and that He will never allow me to take on more than I can handle.

After this experience these past few days, and knowing how lost and alone I felt, I can only imagine how those people feel without God in their lives. I may go through uncertain times, but I have a certainty to put my hope in. I may feel weary and burdened, but I have a Savior that says, “My child, I will take your burdens upon myself; I will carry you.”
Matthew 11:28-30 — Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
My hope shall ever remain in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am the Thorn in Your Crown

So many times in our lives, we try pointing the blame at someone else. We refuse to accept responsibility for the actions that we engage in, and we think of every possible lie to keep ourselves from being found out. We do everything from slandering the name and reputation of someone, to bearing false witness. All in the name of making ourselves look better. We sin both consciously and subconsciously. We sin without thinking about the consequences. We are promiscuous. We seek revenge. Our hearts are filled with rage, malice and hatred. This world has become about “I” and what “I” can do to advance myself.

Because of this, we put God into a corner, with only one solution to save the creation that He so dearly loves; redemption. At the Fall, we became chained and burdened by this world, subject to the effects of sin, but God had already devised a plan. He would become human, as are we, and ultimately sacrifice Himself, on our behalf, so that the separation that existed could be closed and mended. The blood of an animal was shed to hide the nakedness of Adam and Eve, and in the end, the blood of Christ, our God, was needed to atone for the sin that we had committed, do commit and will commit.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, punishment, judgment and wrath was poured out. Earth and all of God’s perfect creation was put under a curse; something that we brought upon ourselves.

Genesis 3:16-19:

To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.” 

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

Read this part again, carefully.
Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
Placed on the head of our Savior, was a crown. A crown of thorns.
Matthew 27:28,29 — They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
In the act of atoning for our sins, Christ wore the very curse that God had commanded upon humanity. And for what? To release us of the curse. So many of us live our lives as if we were still bound by sin, subject to punishment and waiting for our day of judgment.

Hear these words: The punishment and judgment reserved for you and I, a punishment that we rightly deserve, was placed on Christ at the cross.

We are free. By the blood of Christ, because of the sacrifice that He made, you and I stand right before God.

And now, it is time that we start behaving according to the standards that God has set before us. Get rid of the lies, the anger, the malice. Do away with foul and abusive language. Love, and I mean really love everyone that you encounter; those who love you in return, and those who persecute you. Honor the temple that God has given you; be pure in body, mind and spirit. Take on the burdens of those who can’t carry their own. Pray, and never stop praying. Seek God in all that you do, for the glory of His name.

It’s never been said that following Christ would be easy, but the promise has been made that it is worth it. Because God is so worthy. He wore the thorns for us, out of a love that our hearts can’t even begin to imagine.

Bring your life to the foot of the cross and surrender all that you were, for the person that God says you are.




Isaiah 43:1 — Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making A Difference

Two days ago, on the 24th, it was my 21st birthday. While most people would be concerned with getting their new license at the DMV or trying to decide what their first legal alcoholic beverage was going to be, I spent my day making the conscious decision to be appreciative and thankful to my family members. Throughout the years, they have put up with a lot from me. I’ve been the cause of anger and tears, sometimes intentional, some just bad programming within myself. I was always the person that knew how to push buttons, and boy did I. Most of the things that I have, came at a price to my mother, but she never complained. My grandmother taps into reserved money so that she can see the way her money is spent, on things that I am passionate about. My grandfather spends the small amounts of money that he has, wishing and hoping for a better life on my sister and I.

I’ve taken so much of my life for granted. I haven’t been appreciative, when all they hoped for was a thank you. Most of the time, I felt that I was owed something, when the opposite was true. I was given anything that I asked for, but it still wasn’t enough. And on top of that, I treated them cruelly.

But yesterday was different. I woke up with a new sense of life. I felt like God was telling me, ‘Everything is going to be different from now on.’

This year, it’s not going to be about me, because it never has been, no matter how much I believed that at one time. My life has always been part of God’s greater plan, and although I didn’t always understand what that meant, I now realize something: I’ve done a lot of talking the talk, but I wasn’t very good at walking the walk. I talked about how important it was to be saved by Christ so that we could have a relationship with God, but my actions never really mirrored that. I talked about how love was the greatest thing we could do, and that we should be kind and compassionate, but in that same breath, I could tear someone down. Looking back on the person that I was, I’m ashamed. I know that I can’t do anything to change the past, but I can make a difference in the lives of people from here on out. Whether that is being kind and showing mercy to the people in my family, or hearing out a friend who had a bad day, things can be different. It’s not always about the big things that we do; sometimes it’s the small, seemingly inconsequential things that mean the most. It’s not always about saying something to someone, sometimes it’s the things that we don’t say; it’s our actions that speak out.

Francis of Assisi said:
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.
For years, I never knew what that meant, but I finally understand. Everything that we do should be testifying the name of Christ and it’s not always about the words that we use. Anyone can stand up in front of a crowd and tell them about Jesus, but not many people preach the gospel within their daily lives. If nothing else, I think this is one of the most important things that we need to understand. Jesus didn’t preach and command everywhere He went. It was through His actions that He proved the love of His Father in heaven. This is what we should mirror. Using words, only when they are necessary.

Every day this year, I’m setting a challenge for myself. Each day on the sidebar (to the right), I will post what I’m challenging myself to do, whether it be a word of encouragement to someone, or giving a hug when it’s needed. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to, check it out. Everything that I do, I pray will be guided by the hand of God, so that people will see His light shining through me.

It’s important for me to make a difference in someone’s life, not only to discipline myself to be like Christ, but also for the benefit of those around me. Everyone needs a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, and in being that person, the door is opened for Christ to enter in. We are called to be His hands and feet, and I want nothing more than to be His humbled servant.

As I make this commitment to live completely in the light of the Lord, I pray that my family will understand how much I love them. All those years of anger and hatred have now come to me at a price; I can’t take them back. I pray that through my actions, they will know that I appreciate them, more than they know. I know that everyone’s life has rough patches, but I’m blessed more than I could ever make known. I thank God for my family, and for the opportunity to be a part of their lives and stories. They have sacrificed so much for my sister and I, and it hurts me to know how badly I’ve hurt them in the past. They are such beautiful people, and I love them more than words can ever say; so now I will show them.

Jesus Christ made the biggest difference this world has ever, or will ever know; I want to make a difference, for Him.



Friday, August 13, 2010

All Worth the Wait

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately. With it being the summer months, I have friends preparing for their weddings, or friends that just recently married. So now I wonder, out of curiosity, what my life holds?

I've never been in a relationship, and while many people find this strange, I think it it one of the most important qualities about myself. I have never felt the need to be in a relationship, and there are a few reasons for that. Growing up, I was so focused on school, that the idea never really crossed my mind. Sure, I had crushes like every other little girl, but it wasn't something that would develop into anything. As I got older, I found myself interested in people, but because of my relationship with God, there was always a voice telling me that it wasn't the right time.

Where I am right now, isn't far from where I was before. The idea of being courted, getting to know someone, and eventually marrying someone, is exciting, but I'm not going to lie, it's terrifying as well. The excitation comes from not knowing who he is going to be; who God has chosen. The terrifying part comes from not knowing if I'm messing things up by not giving people a chance.

I've never been the kind of person to rush things, and I value myself too much to be in a relationship with just anyone. People ask me how I'm going to know if someone is the right person, unless I date them. And my answer to this is simple: when the right person comes along, on God's timeline, there isn't going to be any question in my mind. Things are going to happen the way that they are supposed to.

Yesterday, for the first time, I read Song of Solomon, twice, and once again today. That is one part of the Bible that I never touched, partially because I never really understood it. There were parts in it that scared me, as well as parts that seemed too advanced for my 'childish' mind to accept.

After reading it, I discovered a few things. First, Song of Solomon is written not only as a perspective of how things should be in a relationship or marriage between a man and a woman, but also how Christ perceives His church. We are His bride, and He is our groom. The words and descriptions that Solomon use give us a glimpse of how Christ sees us. We are His prized possession, and He finds us beautiful. 
Song of Solomon 4:7 -- All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
That love and relationship is more important to me than any relationship I could ever have with a man. My focus isn't on who my future husband will be, but on Christ. My relationship with Him can be viewed as a courtship. I'm growing and learning about Him, and I reveal more of myself to Him (regardless of the fact that He knows everything about me). One day, I, as well as you, will be His bride; His eternal love. When I finally came to understand this yesterday, it made me realize how I want a relationship to be.

Adjustments needed to be made in my life so that my choice to remain pure for God and my future husband wasn't made in vain.

In April of this year, I placed a purity ring on my finger.

Back story: When I was 5 years old, I received this ring from my grandmother, but after bending it out of shape, it remained in a jewelery box. After 2010 had begun, I was looking for something that 'announced' who I was and what I believed. This is the year that I will be turning 21. I thought about what the best gift I could give, not only to myself, but to God and my future husband as well. Over the Easter holiday, that answer came. I found my little ring in the jewelery box, waiting there after all those years, and I knew that this is what I needed. I took it to the jewelers, had the band reshaped and polished.

Now on my finger, sits a small, gold ring. In the middle, sits a cross with a small diamond in its center, surrounded by a heart made of two intertwined ropes.

It's perfect.

I never knew that 15 years ago this ring would help me to make a promise.

This promise I've made encompasses a few things: 1) It's not only a promise to myself, but also a promise to God that I will keep my body pure. 2) I will remain pure for my future husband and 3) I will above all else, keep my heart guarded and protected against the temptations of this world, so that when my day of marriage comes, I can give myself completely to my husband.

The lyrics below are from a song called, 'From Here' by Big Daddy Weave. It's the song that speaks so perfectly about what has been on my heart. Jesus Christ is sitting in heaven, waiting for that special day when He will wed His church, but until then, He is watching our relationships between each other develop.

My child, I’ve hoped and I’ve prayed for this very day
Since you were just a little one
And oh how my heart swells with pride
As I watch the man that you’ve become
But this life offers no guarantees
And though my time on this earth had to end
I’m sure that your heart would know peace
If you could just see where I am

From here, the race has been run and love’s already won
I see clearly the end and the start
From here, I’m cheering you on
So live out each breath with all that you’ve got
And know until I hold you close
I’ll be holding you dear in my heart
From here

I’ve seen your tears as you’ve waited alone
Longing for that special one
And now all the waiting is done
As you gaze into her eyes
Seeing the reflection of love
Life’s road may seem rough up ahead
And for now you see only in part
So hold onto each other and know
That there is an end to the dark

Heaven is calling and my heart keeps longing
Looking so forward to the day
When we’ll be together forever in eternity
Just you wait and see

To me, marriage is not only a bond between two people, but a bond between those two people and God. A husband is supposed to not only the leader of the home, but a spiritual leader as well. As a woman, and future wife, my role is/will be to support, encourage, listen and honor. Wives are called to submit to their husbands, and husbands are called to respect and cherish their wives. A husband should be strong in his faith, and seek God in all that he does. A wife should be meek and humble, surrendering her life to God.

I'm not being slow about my choice..because it's not my choice. My future husband has already been hand picked by God, and the day when he is revealed to me, is something I look forward to.

"There is a man that God has, waiting for me out there. It's not always fun waiting & wondering who he is, but using this time to get to know my Creator, makes it all worth the wait."  ♥



Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Cancer Inside is Stealing My Sleep

This is going to be a short post, and a prayer request more than anything.

The title of this post is from the song 'Undo' by FFH.

Why these specific words?

Well, a few months ago a really good friend and co-worker of my mother found out that her cancer had returned. After 3 years of being in remission from breast cancer, she found out that not only had it come back, it had returned so much stronger than the first time. This time, it's not her breasts that are affected. It's her lungs and her spine, and more recently, her pelvis.

Throughout this whole ordeal, she has found it easier to turn away from God and try to battle this on her own.

This cancer has taken over her body, and the prognosis isn't good. She has a 16 year old son who would be left behind, and I think, more than anything, her emotions stem from not being able to have enough time left with him. He's a very strong person, but it's not easy to lose a parent, under any circumstances.

With that being said, I'm asking any and all people to pray for her; to pray these things:

- That she would let God back into her life and allow His will to be done in her life

- That she would surrender her life, instead of putting up walls and shutting people out

- That she would feel the peace of God wash over her, while she battles this cancer that is stealing her sleep

- That her pain would subside and that she can enjoy her son & the moments that they have

- If it be the will of God that she is taken from us too soon, that in the process she would know that God is watching over & protecting her

It's never easy to discuss death, and it's even harder to talk about when we are the ones dying. But the reality is, we are all dying. We all just die at different times, different speeds, different walks of life. I've learned through this woman that life is too short to be angry at people. Too short to be angry at God for the circumstances and cards that we were dealt in life. It's too short to do anything but love with our whole heart and glorify the name of the Lord for even THINKING of creating such a race as humankind.

And for those of us who are dealing, not with a physical form of cancer, but a spiritual form of cancer (sin coursing through our veins), I pray that each of us would be aware of the fact that although we feel like we are stuck with no way out, and when we feel like we are at an end that's approaching too fast - that we would remember this:

The cancerous sin that has invaded our lives has already been removed from our bodies; gone from our skin, eyes, ears, lungs, hearts, mind and soul.
  • So that we can touch those with our hands & heal them as Christ did.
  • So that we can see them for the person that they are and love them regardless.
  • So that we can hear not only the worship of those around us, but also the cries and pain of those in suffering.
  • So that we can shout out praise to our heavenly Father with lungs that are filled with love.
  • So that our hearts would break for those who are less here on earth.
  • So that our minds would be fixed on Christ and honor Him by keeping His commands.
  • And finally, so that at the end of the age, we can rest assured that our souls are safe in the righteous hand of our Lord and Savior.
My heart is breaking for this woman. I will leave her anonymous out of respect.

Please keep her in your prayers, and all of those who find it easier to dismiss God in their times of suffering rather than seek Him and call on His Holy Name.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53.

The Suffering Servant.

Do you know Him?
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Maybe you’ve read this. Maybe you’ve pondered what it says. Maybe you’ve read it once and forgotten the weight that it holds.

Here is the story of Jesus Christ; a story that was told even before His birth.

He was a servant that grew in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot; but in dry ground. It says that there was nothing beautiful or majestic about Him. Imagine that? There was nothing to attract us to Him. He came into this world looking as you and I; there was nothing that would have given away who He was.

Because He didn’t come as a dictator, ruler or conqueror, He was despised and rejected. When was the last time that you’ve heard those words used? This man that came to save us from ourselves is said to be a man of sorrows; that He was acquainted with deepest grief. Mourning and sadness were dear friends. And what did those around Him do? What do we still do today? We have turned our backs on Him. We looked the other way.

This passage goes on to say that we didn’t care. We showed no concern for the burdens that weighed Him down. Notice what it says next? Yet it was our weaknesses He carried. We were the reason for His distress, and do you know what we did? We blamed His suffering on His own actions. The leaders charged Him with blasphemy and said that He had sinned against God and that His death was the punishment. People thought that His suffering was caused because He, a normal man with no particular feature of beauty, called Himself the Son of God.

So, He was brutally punished. He was pierced, why? So we could be whole. He was whipped, why? So we could be healed. And for what? All of us (yes the Bible says that ALL of us) have strayed away. He came as the Good Shepherd to care for His sheep, and we left Him; we abandoned Him. And even after the neglect, God still allowed His Son take away our sins.

The Bible says that while His suffering occurred, Jesus never said a word. He never opened His mouth. Even when all of these outrageous charges were being brought against Him, our Savior was quiet. And then He was led away. Not one of us cared that He had no children to carry His name; no one cared that His life was being brought to a close before He had a chance to have descendants. He had never sinned, and yet He was treated like a criminal, killed like a criminal and buried like a criminal.

But what they didn’t know is that God’s plan had already been set in motion and Christ’s line would reign forever and all eternity; His eternal kingdom.

It says that when Jesus sees what His suffering accomplished, that He will be satisfied. Because of Jesus Christ, each one of us is able to attain righteousness; not because we deserve it, but because He thinks we are worth it. He bore the sins of this world so that we could be free.

Jesus interceded on our behalf. And because of that, He now sits at the right hand of God; in His rightful place.

As a KING.


Let us remember what our Lord and Savior suffered that day on Calvary. He came as a servant, in Your Name and we punished Him for it. We denied that He could be Your Son, and we rejected Him. Why Lord, would You still show mercy to us who don’t deserve it? We don’t deserve Your love, grace or mercy and yet, You offer it. Thank You for Your promises and the hope that You’ve given us. I know that none of us is righteous enough on our own, but Lord, with You by our side, we can stand tall. Your blessings are greater than I can ever count or even imagine and Your favor for me never ceases to amaze. Father, I pray that You would give me a heart, fashioned after Yours. Break my heart for what breaks Yours, and keep me in constant thought about all the great things You do. Those who walked the earth in the past may not have been able to see the beauty that Christ held, but Lord, I do. Not just in His appearance, but in the works that He did and the words that He said. He is beautiful,  and it’s His beauty that will save the world.

In Jesus’ Name,


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Face of Mercy" - Original Poem

Hey everyone!

Here is another writing that I wanted to share with you.
I can only be broken down for so long,
Before the weight of this world makes me fall.
Fallen from your grace, fallen from your hand;
Fallen from everything that kept me standing tall.

How can you even look upon my face?
Against you, I've dishonored and disregarded.
I've decided that on my own, I was strong enough.
My heart for you, has become cold and hardened.

The trappings of this world, have trapped me in it's grasp.
I'm helpless, I'm calling for someone strong enough to save.
How could I forget that you've been here all along?
Waiting with your outstretched hand, saying, 'Child, call my Name.'

I look up, and there you are, with your face of mercy.
You call me out from my weighted brokenness
Called out of humanity, called out of the dark;
Called to be more than clay scarred by sins.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Save Me From Myself" - Original Poem

Enjoy, my friends!

I’m fragile, I’m broken.
I’ve been scarred by many sins.
I’ve been told over and over
That death gives way to new life again.

But how can I believe
When I feel so unworthy?
My shame hides in the shadows;
My guilt has overrun me.

There’s a light at the end
Of the tunnel, they say.
That the one who is the Light
Answers when we pray.

To you, I fall upon
Knees that are so weak
Your glory has overcome me
My lips tremble when I speak.

“Holy One, I come to you now,
Asking you to love me.
My burdens are great;
I’ve been so weary on my journey.

I can’t begin to understand
The depths of your great love,
But you have promised me
Mercy, fallen from above.

Save me from myself,
Jesus, place your hands around me.
Save me from the world
That wants to keep me here so badly.”



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jesus, Bring the Rain

Have you ever thought about asking God to do this? To bring the rain? To bring the trials and tribulations?
James 1:12 -- Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
There is a song, by MercyMe called Bring the Rain. The lyrics say:

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

As a follower of Christ, like the lyrics say, people have asked me how I can still praise God after things that I've been through. My answer to that is this: I wouldn't know what else to do. I have no reason to breathe, other than to worship the name of God. Yes, it's hard to go through things that crush us and persecute us. It's hard to be abandoned by friends and loved ones. It's hard to deal with death and loss. But to me, it would be so much more impossible to live a life without God in it. He is the reason that I'm able to get through the rough spots.
Philippians 3:14 -- I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
It's my prayer that we would be persistent with our faith; not letting the world affect our goal. Sometimes we need that rain, the trials and times a faith-testing, for us to be drawn back to Christ.
It's not an easy road, this life. And God never promised that it would be, but when Christ walked this earth, He left us with this:
Matthew 28:20 -- And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
So back to my original question. Have you ever thought of asking God to bring the rain? If not, make it a prayer.

Father, there are trials in my life that I can't even begin to understand. People say that I should give up; that I should let go, but Lord, you know my future. You know the inner workings of my heart, and you know that I can't live without you. These trials that have come my way, they test my faith. These trials bring questions and pain, but Father, I know that I don't have to be afraid. What is unanswered and unknown to me, you have the answer and you know the outcome. You hold me in your righteous right hand. I'm safe in your hands Father, and I will rest there. I know that everyone goes through trials in their lives, and I know that even though I'm Your child, I'm not immune to it. If I must endure them, Father, give me the strength to get through them. I will trust in you, for your word is truth, and your promises remain. Jesus, bring the rain.




Saturday, July 10, 2010

Who Defines Me?

Yesterday I was having a discussion with one of my friends about the way that Christ called us to live, and how society calls us to live. This lead me to question: Who defines me? Society or Christ?

In today’s society, we are told that it’s okay to drink before the legal age; that it’s okay to have sex before marriage; that it’s okay to slander and gossip about people; that it’s okay to lie, cheat and steal, as long as you aren’t caught.

What does this say about us as a world? I was raised in a family where these things were unacceptable, but I found myself breaking the rules. I’m not going to lessen the fact that I’m a sinner. Yes, I’ve had alcohol before the legal age of 21. Yes, I’ve lied, and cheated. I stole a pack of gum when I was two years old. I’ve slandered and gossiped, done intentionally and subconsciously. I know that at times I’ve told myself that all of that is okay to get away with once and a while because I’ve chosen to save myself for marriage. That’s what we’ve learned, isn’t it? We try to justify our sins by placing a weight on them.

“I’m better than her because I’ve only lied..she’s been with 10 people.”

“God will forgive my sins, because they aren’t as bad as his.”

This is such a wrong way of thinking. And Christ came to change that.

At the Sermon on the Mount, when He was speaking the Beatitudes (Matthew 3, and following chapters), He proposed a new way of doing things. Even thousands of years ago, people sinned the same sins that we do now. And Christ knew this. That’s why He came; to save us. We needed to be saved, and without Him, we would certainly be lost forever.

In my life right now, I feel like I’m letting the world define me. I feel burdened, downtrodden and lost. I go through periods when I feel like I don’t need God; where I’d rather live my life, my way, because I know that at the end of the day, He is still going to forgive me, or simply because I feel like I’ve fallen too far from His grace.

I’ve learned that even though I’ve been saved by the blood of Christ, I need to be continually washed by the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. The blood cleaned us all, once and for all, but the Holy Spirit remains within us, now and forever. If I taught myself to listen more closely, and follow His guidance, then I could live the life that Christ called me to live.

Christ told us: above all, love your God and love your neighbors; don’t judge others; don’t slander; don’t pride ourselves on our own lives; pray in the quiet where no one can see us; think with pure thoughts; serve each other; pray for those who persecute us; if we are struck on one cheek, to present the other, etc.

This would be such a beautiful way to live.

My prayer is that I will open my eyes to the things that God is trying to do in my life; that I will try to live as righteously as Christ would want me to; that I would put other’s needs before my own; and that I would love God with my whole heart. I’m not interested in the things of this world, but it’s so easy to be consumed by them. I take heart in the fact that all of this is temporary, and that one day I will see the face of God. I want Him to be able to say, “Well done, my Good and Faithful Servant,” instead of, “Why did you choose the temporary, worldly, un-lasting things, rather than what is everlasting?”

I want to be defined by Christ; I will not be defined by this world.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Praise in Blessing, Praise in Suffering

I was awoken this morning at 5:30 AM. With it being a Saturday, and only getting about 4 hours of sleep, I wondered why I was awake.

After about an hour of not being able to go back to sleep, I laid in bed, thinking. Why is it so hard for us to praise God in times of blessing, as well as times of suffering?

I put on the Christian music channel on TV and began to read my morning devotions.

One of the first things that I read was about Daniel, and his persistence to God while in the lion’s den. In the most troubling circumstances of his life, he chose to pray to God, to thank him for all He is and all He has done. Imagine that. Even in the most dire circumstances, he still called out to God’s Holy name. It didn’t take him receiving good news to praise God; he did it without fail.

Lately, I find that if my life is going the way that I want, I don’t call out to God anymore. I’ve become trapped by my own selfishness and I forget that everything I have been blessed with, came from the hand of God Himself. He could take it all away from me in an instant, simply because I wasn’t appreciative of what I have, or because I didn’t thank Him or honor His name for bearing those blessings. I wonder, if He took it all away, would I still praise Him?

Maybe you’ve heard of Job. The man who had it all and in a split second, it was gone. His family, his crop, his livestock, his health. Job had a horrible suffering poured out on him, and even he still chose to praise God.

My life hasn’t always been a steady road. True, it’s never been threatened, I’ve never been thrown into a lion’s den, and I’ve never had to suffer the way that Job did, but I’ve gone through my own battles and wars. I need to remember my times of suffering and cherish them. Weird, right? Not so much. In praising God through my sufferings, as well as the blessings, I can thank Him through all. We are given a choice. The one choice that will decide our eternal futures: life or death. And it all stems from blessings and curses. We are blessed beyond measure, even when we feel like we have little to be grateful for, and it’s in these times of uncertainty that we should cling to God, that much more. In doing so, we are choosing to trust God, with everything we are and everything that we have..which will one day lead us to eternal life.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 — Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We have so much to live for, and following, praising and serving God should not only be during our times of blessing, but in the times of stress, suffering or distress as well. To thank Him for what He has given, and what He has taken away, because it’s in His divine plan.

I will be the first person to say that I don’t thank God enough for all He does, and this morning was a reminder of that.

My goal is to keep God on my mind, at all times. To remember that I’ve been blessed beyond what any man could measure. I won’t overlook my times of suffering; I will cherish them, because I know that there is a light (a blessing) at the end of that trial.

And through it all, God is standing by my side, with His hand outstretched, saying, “My child, the one that I hold dear, I’m here. Have faith in me, and when your blessings come, and they surely will, remember that it was I that pulled you through your sufferings.”

Thank God for your blessings and thank God for your suffering. Praise His name through it all.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Light of the Lamb

Property of Aysha Gerald

There are so many times that I've wondered if I'm following the path that God has set out before me. When I took this picture, at the time, I didn't think that it held any significance. But while looking through the Bible, and trying to find a verse that created it into what it is now, I stumbled across Psalm 119:105. This verse has been repeated to me, over and over in my life. I remember being in Christian elementary school, and this being my favorite verse of them all.

Now I know why.

A lighthouse is meant to give light; to alert people on the water of what is near. It gives them a clear path of what is to come. Isn't that the way the Bible is? Isn't that the way that we are meant to use it? It's a guide for us. It's the path that we are asked to follow. God's own words, from heaven are being poured onto the earth, as a path for our feet. As in the picture, the path to the lighthouse (which shines the light of Christ) is rocky. When we are outside the circle of light, especially at night, in the darkness, there isn't much that we can see. In the distance, we can see the light, but that's far off. Isn't that how we are in our daily lives? We are consumed by the darkness of the world, but Christ is the light, the lighthouse that is calling us to Him. He is alerting us of what is to come, and only those of us who trust in Him, will see the future that He as ordained.

The path of life is rocky. Swallowing the truth of the Bible can be a challenge. But God always promises that He will be there through it all. Even Christ, before He left the earth, told His disciples that He would be with them.
Matthew 28:20 -- And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
We're not alone. Ever. We can rest assured that the path has been laid out for us. Even though it's hard to bring our darkness and brokenness to God, such as the darkness consumes everything outside of the light of the lighthouse, we know that the light will always be there. We can come to Him; broken and scarred.

We will find rest in the Light of the Lamb.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love. Laugh. Live.

I recently got into a terrible fight with my mother and grandmother. Hurtful things were said, and there were days without speaking. I was sure that this was the end our relationships.

But as of today, my mother's birthday, things have been mended.

God is amazing.

I’ve prayed that things would get better, if not better than they were before.

It’s amazing to me, the different ways that God speaks to people. For me, it happens in song lyrics, Bible verses, words of encouragement from other people, etc. They will be repeated over and over and over, until I finally understand what God is trying to tell me.

Recently, it’s been:
Isaiah 40:31 — But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
 I’ve wondered time and time again what God was trying to say. At one point, I thought I understood. I thought God was saying that I needed to rest, relax and wait upon Him to call me. But after things that have happened recently with my family, I finally understand. It’s all about trusting God. Yes, in part, it’s about learning to be patient, but with that patience, comes trust. I haven’t trusted God completely with my life. I may say that I do, because at that moment in time, I feel like I have, but with this family situation, it was something that I’ve been trying to figure out on my own for so long.

I needed to hand it over to God. Trust that He would handle it; in His own time. Money problems, friend issues..all of it. I was trying to work them out on my own, and when it wasn’t happening, I was forcing myself to believe that it’s because it wasn’t God’s time yet. But I feel like He has been telling me to give everything up. Completely.

Trust in Him. Only then can I find peace. Run and not grow weary. Walk and not faint. I can’t wait until that day :)

Apart from Isaiah 40:31, a song has been standing out to me. When I get in my car, it’s playing. When I have tuned out every other song, this song comes on, and my attention refocuses. It’s called ‘Blink’ by Revive.

It’s about how our lives happen in a blink. They happen in a flash. By the time we look back, it’s over. We can’t stop time as hard as we may try, so we have to love. Our lives should be spent loving, living and laughing. This recent situation with my family has really made this song mean so much more to me. I love my family, so much, but so many times I hurt them. It’s not intentional, but if I approached things with love, then the outcome would have been so much better than the result of this past time.

In all, I’m so grateful to God for the things that He’s shown to me in the past few days, and even weeks. I feel like He was preparing me for this moment, and I understand.

Live your life in love.

It’s too short for anything else.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

In the Secret

This song, was laid upon my heart. I wanted to share it with you.

In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there.
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait,
Only for You, ’cause I want to know You more.

I want to know You,
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more.
I want to touch You,
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more.

I am reaching for the highest goal,
That I might receive the prize.
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside,
Out of my way, ’cause I want to know you more.

I want to know You,
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more.
I want to touch You,
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more.

How amazing. How beautiful. How humble and honest. This should be the prayer that we pray to our Heavenly Father.

Shouldn’t we all present ourselves to God this way? To yearn for Him, to seek His face. Not in the wide open spaces of a church building, or in a convention center with thousands of other people, but in the secret, in the quiet, in the stillness of our hearts. So many times we try to praise God amidst the buzz of daily life, but when Christ came to earth, He presented another way of doing things.
Matthew 6:5-8 — And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
We serve a loving and faithful God, but the Bible also warns us that He is jealous for us. He wants us to want to spend time with Him. Not because it’s something that we feel forced to do, but because it’s something that burns in our hearts.
Exodus 34:14 — Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
We are commanded to have no other gods before Him. He is the One whose name is Holy, and He alone, deserves to be praised.

The lyrics continue with, I am reaching for the highest goal, that I might receive the prize. Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside, out of my way, ’cause I want to know you more.

The question is, in that quiet time with God, are you pushing obstacles and hindrances out of the way? Are you focusing on God alone? Are you giving Him the time and focus that He is due?

If we are ever going to know God, the way that He wants us to, we need to meet with Him. We have to break our spirits before Him and come to Him with humble hearts. Only then will we be able to know Him, hear His voice, touch Him and see His face. Revel in His presence. Seek Him and He will reveal Himself to you. 
Psalm 100:4 — Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Isaiah 65:1 — I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
Will you be part of the nation seeking God and calling out His name?

In the stillness and a quiet, will you seek Him with all of your heart?
Jeremiah 29:13 — You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Let this be your prayer:

Psalm 27:4 ♥ One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beautiful Promises From a Beautiful God

Have you ever tried to define God? When someone asks you who God is, what is your response? The Creator of the heavens and the earth? Your Father? Your Savior?

He is all of these things, and so much more.

He is so much more than our human minds can contain.

Think about these characteristics:

  • Love – God is the definition of love; Christ is the human form of love. Love walked the earth.
  • Truth – God is truth; everything that is right and good, He is.
  • Limitless – God has no limits. He is not restricted to anything.
  • Boundless – God has no boundaries. He can go as far and as wide as He wants.
  • Timeless – God has created the concept of time, therefore He is outside of it.
  • Everlasting – God hasn’t ever not existed, and He will never cease to exist.
  • Omnipotent – God is all powerful; He holds the power to everything.
  • Omniscient – God is all knowing; He is knowledgeable about the known and the unknown.
  • Omnipresent – God is present everywhere; there is nowhere that God isn’t.
  • Perfect – God is the definition of perfection; He is flawless.
  • Transcendent – God exceeds all ordinary limits; He is supreme to all.
  • Immanent – God remains within everything, and all of us.
  • Almighty – God holds all the might and authority.
  • Holy – God is sacred and deserves to be revered completely.
  • Jealous – God wants each of us for His own; He commands us to serve only Him.
  • Infinite – God is never-ending, unchanging and consistent.
  • Father – God is the authority over us, His children.

God is the definition of everything good in our lives. He first loved us, so that we could love each other. He allowed His grace and mercy to be poured our on us, even when we least deserved it. We need correction, boundaries, guidelines and limitations while we are here on earth, because of the sin that has entered our lives. We are bound by our own pride, selfishness, arrogance and hypocrisy.

Have you ever thought about living in a world without those things? A place where you were free from boundaries? A place where you could run, walk, jump, skip and fly without ever growing tired? A place where you would become everlasting?
Isaiah 40:28-31 – Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Well I’m here to tell you that there is such a place. And it’s being created for us.
John 14:1-4 — Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
How beautiful is that? Knowing that a place is being created, just for you and me.

A place with no boundaries, limitations, time or restrictions. Imagine living, eternally, without fear, pain, tears, heartache, guilt or shame.
Revelation 21:3-4 — I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
We serve such an amazing God. He is full of love and full of promises. Love that will never end, and promises that we can put our faith and hope into. He is so much more than we could ever provide for ourselves, and He is giving Himself to us, unselfishly.



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Your Face Lord, I Will Seek

Hello friends!

I'm starting off this post with a favorite verse of mine:


This verse is such an encouragement to me. I have found that in my twenty years of life, though only at the beginning stages, I have discovered the meaning of life. My life is nothing more than a vessel that I pray God would use. I am humbled by the fact that God would even consider me. But He does. For He favors His children.

Imagine that. Being favored by the Almighty God. The Creator of everything seen and unseen.

This verse, this prayer, has shaped my heart. It's my prayer.

Your face, Lord, I will seek.

Are you seeking His face today? Have you entered into His holy presence? Have you asked Him what you can do for Him, rather than what He can do for you? Are you using the light He has given, to be a light among men (and women) here on earth?

We get one chance.

What's your prayer?



Friday, May 28, 2010

RE: What are you searching for?

In life, at some time or another, we all need a 'RE.'

We need a redo.
We want to revamp.
We would like to restart.
We seek renovation.
We want to be refreshed.
We thirst for renewal.
We try to realign our lives.

But what better way to accomplish this, than being transformed and renewed by Jesus Christ?
Romans 12:2 -- 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.
You've had a bad day. A bad week. Maybe a bad month or a year. You're tired of following the drudgery of day-to-day life. You're looking for a fix. You feel broken, used and downtrodden. Maybe you're in the boat of people where you have Christ in your heart, but your humanity has gotten the best of you. God seems far away. You're lost and looking for direction.
 John 14:1 -- Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
My advice? Look no further than at the foot of the Cross.

Our Savior paid the price, so that you and I could feel His endless love. By His stripes, we have found true refreshment.
Psalm 51:10 -- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
This world tries to convince us that what it offers is far more precious than what Christ can offer. But my friends, that is so far from the truth. This world is temporary. We live for a moment, then we are gone. God's legacy and plan will continue with or without us. Why trust the world for peace, contentment and love? It can't give any of those things; and it certainly can't provide true refreshment and renewal.
Psalm 118:8 -- It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Let the King of Kings and Lord of Lords realign your life. Let Him refocus your life. Seek Him and He will give you the new life and the renovation that you desire.
Jeremiah 29:13 -- You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Our Father won't ever disappoint.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

He Held the Weight of Our Impurity

Do you ever think about what Jesus had to endure while making His final journey to Calvary?
  • Imagine the agony He felt as His seamless robe rubbed against the fresh wounds.
  • Feel the sharp points of the crown of thorns that pressed into His skull.
  • Run your fingers down His temples, tracing the drops of blood that fell.
  • Try to stand tall as the weight of the cross buckles His knees.
  • Hear the roar of the crowd beckoning Him to His death.
  • Subject yourself to the force of destiny that pushed Him to carry on.
Question: What was all of this for?
Answer: So that the weight of our impurity could be forever taken away.

As Christ walked that final journey, He held the weight of our sins. As He was nailed to the Cross, He thought about each one of us. As He hung against His own weight, He was abandoned by the only person who could save Him: His Father.

We were important enough to the Son of Man, that He would lay down His life for us.
John 15:13 -- Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 10:11 -- I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
Jesus is not only the Good Shepherd; He is also the Lamb of God, and many people don't understand that concept.

How can Christ be both the shepherd, as well as the lamb? What does that mean?
John 1:29 -- The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus was born into a world of sin, as perfection.
He came as the flesh of God.
His mission was to bring us, the lost sheep, into His presence.

He didn't come as a dictator.
Or a conqueror.
But as innocence.

He was spotless.
He was pure.
He was immune to sin.

In the Old Testament, people brought lambs to the altar, as a way to atone for their sins. They brought forth the purest lamb, as way to seek forgiveness from God. But when Jesus entered the world, He became that Perfect Sacrifice. He had become that perfect lamb that would atone for the sins of humanity. He would break the barrier that existed between God and man.

As He climbed the hill to Calvary, He was like a lamb being brought to the altar; the difference was that His altar was the Cross. As He hung on that Cross, every past, present and future sin of humanity was placed on Him.

And He was punished. Harshly.
He was subject to the judgment that one day you and I should have endured.
Christ became sin.

A man that was more pure than the whitest white, had become stained by the impurity that we had become. He was drenched in His own blood, but the sin that consumed Him was even greater. The impurity that He took from us, so that we could become right with God, weighed so heavily on Him, that God could not look upon Him; He can't look upon sin. So in the hours from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock, God's own court was in session and He was forced to forsake His Son.

This is hard to imagine, but this may make the picture more clear:

A perfect God created man, in His own image. He was proud of what He had created, but that man sinned, and caused the rest of humanity to be subject to judgment. God loved His people so much, that He sent His only Son into the world, to become the perfect sacrifice. With the shedding of His Son's blood, the barrier that had been up since the Fall of Man was now broken. But before that veil could be torn, God had to judge the sins of the world. Because impurity had been placed on His own Son, God was forced to pour out His wrath on Jesus. The one man who had done no wrong, the one man who had never sinned, was now being forced to endure the judgment that should have been poured out on you and me. For three hours, before that veil was torn (the moment that Jesus released His spirit), God had forsaken His Son, so that after judgment was complete, we could be reconciled to God.

The next time that you think that you have it rough, or feel like you can't go on, think about Christ. He took all the pain and agony that we would suffer, so that we wouldn't have to. All of it was placed on Him when He held the weight of impurity and climbed that hill.

His life was a testament of LOVE; don't let His sacrifice be for nothing.

Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus, because they have already been taken care of.

The price has been paid.
The veil has been torn.
We are no longer separated.

We have been forgiven.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Life is Calling You?

I'm starting this post with a lyric to a song.

I've heard it said today
Is all we're given
Tomorrow may not come
So you better start living
I guess it all depends
On your point of view.

Pardon me if I
Just don't listen
To everything the world
Says I'm missing
There's nothing here and now
I'm gonna hold on to.

How many times have you heard someone tell you that? If you're not living in the 'here and now' or if you're not living 'for the moment,' then you're not really living...right?

1 John 2:15-17 -- Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
The world tries to drag us down. It tries to tell us that we need to indulge in acts of the flesh to really be alive (money, sex, fun, slander, etc). But how can we be any more alive than with life Himself in us?
Galatians 2:20 says that "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
If you think about it in the literal sense, we are basically being told to die to ourselves. As Christians, we should be dead to ourselves, and Christ should be living within us. Our old, human, earthly desires should be gone.

Easier said than done right? Yes, because we are human. But that doesn't mean that we aren't supposed to try; to cling to God, and to call out to Him when we've become broken and weary. When we feel burdened by this life, we aren't supposed to give in; we are supposed to fight that much harder.
John 15:18,19 -- If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
Another part of that song says this: If home is where the heart is then I’m in Heaven.

I don't know about you, but that's what I'm waiting on.
Philippians 3:20 says it the best: But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
We aren't citizens of this earth, no matter what a mortal man tells us. We are citizens of heaven. So shouldn't we be acting like it?
Romans 12:2 -- 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.
If we were of this world, I could understand acting like every other person that walks by us on the street. But think of it this way: We have been chosen, by God, to complete a task; to spread the Good News about His Son. And to do this task, we need to walk with His light. But we can't put that light on until we've stripped away every part of this world.
1 Peter 2:9 -- But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Or how about what it says in Romans?
Romans 8:16-19 -- For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
The way that I see it is that I don't have a life outside of Jesus. I have no desire to live a life outside of Him. Sure, I stumble and fall more times than I can count, but I get back up, dust myself off and keep pushing forward. Knowing that I have the spirit of God within me gives me more joy than any human or worldly possession can give. I've found my life, living for Christ, and it's the most worthwhile choice that I've ever made. No life that I could make for myself on this earth could ever compare to the life that I've received through the sacrifice of my Jesus. I'd rather be hated by man, than separated from Him for eternity. I've been separated from Him long enough.
Matthew 10:39 -- If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
So the question is, are you going to live through the world? Or are you going to let Jesus Christ live through you?

He lets you make the choice.

Choose wisely.