Friday, April 30, 2010

I'll Stand For You

I'm challenging you today.

Stand up for Christ.

Does that idea seem daunting? Scary? Or maybe you delight and take joy in it.

Over 2,000 years ago, our Savior came to earth and subjected Himself to death on a cross, so that He might save us.

All He asked in return is that we would share Him with others, love one another, and that we would believe and have faith in Him.

Seems like a simple task to me, but as I look around, I see that it's much more complicated than that. We are surrounded by arrogance, pride, slander and hate. Christ has been removed from the center of our lives.

These song lyrics, from Jonny Diaz describe what is happening in this world, and what we should do about it:
In a world that tries to water you down, where beliefs cannot be spoken out loud, I'll stand for truth. Where they claim your way isn't wide enough, and they do their best to cover you up, I'll stand up for you.
Isn't this true?

In our world, Jesus has been watered down. He has been plastered on walls and buildings and the backs of cars in forms of mockery. His Holy Name has been misused for years upon years. Places of worship are being defiled. We desecrate and defile our own bodies with sex before marriage. We change our image with makeup, hair color, contacts, implants, reductions. And for what?
Genesis 1:27 -- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
So when does it end?

When will His name get the glory it deserves?
When will His house be reclaimed?
When will His image be restored?

We only get one life to live, and one life to get it right.

If you're living a life ruled by fear of rejection, persecution and suffering, then take heart! Your reward in heaven will be that much greater. If we partake in the suffering of Christ, we will receive great things!
1 Peter 4:13 -- But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Romans 8:18 -- I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
So my challenge again: Stand up for Christ.
Matthew 10:32-33 -- Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Why keep Him to yourself? Share Him. Stand up for Him.

I know that I will.

Lord Jesus, as I walk this road of life, give me the strength and courage to stand up for you. Let me not be ashamed of the name that brought me freedom, the name that opened the door of eternity for me. You said that if we are ashamed of you here on earth, that you will be ashamed of us in front of your Father in heaven, so Lord, I ask that you would take my fears and worries from me. I am not ashamed of you. For your name, I will stand up.

Bring me peace of mind, Father, and the courage to stand strong.

In Jesus' name I pray these things,




Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lord, What Is Your Will For My Life?

So you want a revelation for your life?

I think we have all asked this question.

We want to know where we are going to be in 5 decades, 5 years, 5 months, or even 5 days. We live in the idea of the unknown future. We want to know what occupation we will end up having, if or when we will marry, who we will marry, if or when we have children, how many children; the list could go on forever.

We concern ourselves with things that we have no control over. And that thought may scare us, or worry us even more. We want to be in control of things. We want to know that things are taken care of, but we focus more on how we, ourselves, are going to do that, instead of giving it to God.

One of the most used Bible verses is:
Jeremiah 29:11 -- For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
We are told, by God, that He knows our future. What is unknown to us, is known to God. And when Jesus came to earth, He reminded His disciples, and we who follow Him today, not to worry.
Matthew 6:25 -- Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Matthew 6:27 -- Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:34 -- Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You've heard all of this before, right? You know you're not supposed to worry about things, especially the future, but doing so is easier said than done.

We all worry. But think for a moment. Where does that fear and worry come from? Isn't it a lack of faith? As a follower of Christ, I know that God has taken care of everything, and that I am held up in His right hand. I have faith in Him. I know that He will provide, and that His will shall be done, but I can't disregard the fact that I'm a mere human.

I'm not powerful enough to stop thoughts of fear and worry. I'm not strong enough to push past the thoughts of my humanity. But what gives me comfort, is knowing that God is there. He is powerful enough. He is strong enough. I pray that He will calm my fears, give me peace of mind, and erase my worry.

Like is says in Matthew, by worrying, which one of us can add even an hour to our lives? Worrying is a wasted effort. It takes us away from praising God. It distracts us from worshiping the King who knows all.

And a devastatingly negative affect of our worry, is that we aren't able to clearly see the path that God has laid before us. We will see a life clouded by sorrows, indecision, apathy and worldliness, when we should see a life that honors God, preaches the Good News, prays, asks and seeks continuously.
Matthew 7:7 -- Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
When we step back and say, "God, I know you're bigger than every breath that I take, so I'm giving you complete control of my life," then we are able to see the full picture, the panoramic view of our lives.

Yes, we will have days of doubt. We will question. We will pray and God will seem far away. But if we look at the bigger picture, and realize that life is more than the shoes we wear, the cars we drive, the money that we make, the friends that we have, then we will be able to focus on what happens after this life.

As said by music artist, Casting Crowns:
I am a flower quickly fading; here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean. A vapor in the wind. Still you hear me when I'm calling; Lord, you catch me when I'm falling. And you've told me who I am; I am yours.
While in this human life, I'm focusing on the here and now, because one minute we're here, and the next we are gone. So I ask myself, who can I reach for Jesus today? Who can I help this minute? Who needs to feel the mercy and grace of God now?

If I'm focusing on my future, I'm reveling in the fact that one day I will stand face to face with my Savior; the one who chose the nails for me.

God has a plan for your life.

Trust in Him, and He will show you the way. Pray that He will give you a revelation :)
John 14:1 -- Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
Psalm 31:14 -- But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
Proverbs 3:5-6 -- Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh, Selfish Heart

Hey everyone!

First of all, I just wanted to let you know that I continually pray for you, praying that this blog is touching each one of your lives.

Today, I wanted to talk about something that we all go through on a daily basis: selfishness.

What have you been selfish with? Your money? Your talents? Your time? Your very life?

A Christian rapper, by the name of Lecrae uses these lyrics in one of his songs:
"See your money, your singleness, marriage, talents, your time; they were loaned you to show the world that Christ is divine."
These words spoke to me.

What I've come to find is that people feel like their lives and the things in their lives, are theirs. When in reality, everything we have, down to each breath that we take, is God's. Every cent that we spend on our own selfish desires or wants, belongs to God. How can we expect be like Christ if we are trying so hard to hold onto what we have?

The entire point of this blog is explained in the Bible verse on the top of this page:
Luke 9:23 -- Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
We have to be willing to give up everything we have to follow Christ. Modern society tells us to hang on to what we have, keep things to ourselves, and hide things from other people.

Money is probably the most evident contributor to selfishness in our lives. We want to earn it, have more of it than the next guy, invest in it, or spend it on things that we want, but don't necessarily need. The Bible is clear about serving two masters.
Matthew 6:24 -- "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
1 Timothy 6:10 -- For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There is a story in the Bible, where a man wanted to follow Jesus, but he was wealthy and his possessions were great. He asked Jesus what he must do, and in Matthew 19:21-22, Jesus told him:
“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
How are we supposed to give back to God what is rightfully His, if we hoard it and act as if it is our own? Better yet, if we are too busy holding onto it, how can we help those around us?
1 John 3:17 says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 
That's true isn't it? Above all other things, we are supposed to love. And if that love of God is in us, then how can we be selfish and turn those away who are in need? As it states in Proverbs 28:27:
" He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."
We, as Christians are called to do the work of God. We are supposed to help those who are less fortunate, because the things that we do to them, we are doing to Christ. Scary thought, huh? But in Matthew 25:45, Jesus says,  
"‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’" 
I don't know about you, but that makes me think about things in a different way. I know if Jesus were sitting on a street corner, in rags, with an empty stomach, I would give everything that I had and more.

Why would it have to come to that? Why can't we show compassion to those, just as Christ did. Aren't we supposed to be His hands and His feet? Aren't we supposed to preach to the ends of the earth, the Good News? Aren't we supposed to love with the love that He gave?

He didn't have much, but He gave everything. Down to His very life. He was selfish with nothing. He kept nothing hidden. Yet we try to keep everything and sustain ourselves.

I know as humans, we all struggle with selfishness, but it's not just about the money. We are selfish with our talents as well. If you're great at teaching, why not share the Good News and help others receive the love of Christ? If you can sing, why not reach a crowd of people with lyrics that will fill their souls? If you are giving with your time, why not visit a hospital or nursing home and make someone smile? Each one of us, was given a gift.
Romans 12:6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
What else are we selfish with? Our time. We wake up in the mornings already thinking about the things that we have to get done. We don't stop and give thanks to God for the very breath that we take. My challenge to you, and myself as well, is to wake up 10 minutes early, and spend it with God. He deserves it. Pray, read a verse, or just sit in silence and listen to Him.

Once our day gets started, it's hard to find time to think about God. I've been there. But lately, I find that if I'm not thinking about God, the things that I am thinking about are pointless. I'm thinking about my future, relationships and worrying about things, when God says:
"I know the plans that I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11)."
Give your time, your every breath, your every thought to God.

And even more than anything I just talked about (money, talents and time), I want you think about what we are most selfish with in our hearts. Our lives.

I consider myself a follower of Christ, and I've heard a lot of people use the same words. But what does that mean? It means that we are supposed to die to ourselves, each and every day.
Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." 
By living our lives like Christ, selfishness won't be an issue. This is a lesson that I have to be taught every day, but it's something that I love to learn.

I don't want to be selfish. I want to give, as Christ did. I want to serve others and let the light of Jesus shine through me. I know from experience that there are many people out there today, claiming to be Christians, but the light that was in Christ, is no where to be found in them. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, it is written:
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

We are told to avoid these kinds of people! Their lives are spent on building up what they have, trying to make a name for themselves here on earth, but honestly, what's the point? Their name may be remembered on earth for fifteen minutes, but what good is that going to do when God turns them away? We count a lot of things here on earth as treasures, but what better treasure is there than knowing and giving the infinite love of Christ Jesus our Lord?

So I leave you with one final thought.
Matthew 6:19-21 -- Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Where is your treasure?



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is the Media Affecting You?

This morning, a few things happened.

I was flipping through the channels on TV, and came across a show called 'Antichrist' on the History Channel. Usually, I'm not one to watch things on that channel or TV in general, but something was gripping me to watch it. I know from experience that those things go against the Word of God, and the devil uses sources (like the media), to get into our minds.

While watching, I was looking through my Twitter feed, and this came up on Max Lucado's page:  
"Happy are those who don't listen to the wicked" (Ps.1:1) monitor your media intake today. Watch programs that help you live God."
I didn't know if this was a sign that I shouldn't be watching the show, but still I continued.

About 20 minutes later, I logged onto Facebook, and noticed that K-Love (the Christian radio station) had posted something: 
"Happy are those who don't listen to the wicked" (Ps.1:1) monitor your media intake today."
Now, I'm not sure if K-Love got their information from Max Lucado's Twitter page, but I got a weird feeling. Not only had I seen the verse once (when I was already wondering if I should be watching the show), but then again. It's almost as if God were reminding to beware the lure of the media.

Then I started thinking about the verse from Psalms. It's the first verse from the book of Psalms, and it's clear-cut. It tells us that those who do not listen to the wicked, will be happy.

Now going back to the television show concerning the Antichrist. A lot of the things being said were true, because they took passages directly from Scripture, but a lot of the things were left open-ended or didn't quite piece together. After I was finished watching it, I thought to myself: This is exactly how the devil is getting through to people.

The media is so incredibly warped. From the news that we watch in the mornings, to the scary movies that we watch at night; we are becoming disillusioned. Even down to the cartoons that children are watching, violence, blasphemy, slander, hate and ungodly things are being strung through the messages.

The Bible says that many false prophets will come, that there will be information that is grounded in the Word, but will eventually contradict itself. So the show, 'Antichrist' may have had Bible verses in it, which appealed to me, but I felt like there was a message in it that God didn't want me to hear.

If we want to be able to stand against the devil, and be used for the good that God intends, then shouldn't we be more careful with the things that we watch? Or the things that we listen to?
1 Peter 5:8-9 -- Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
James 4:7 -- Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Ephesians 6:10-12 -- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
My warning to you? Beware the lure of the devil. There are many things that we do in our everyday lives that we don't realize is going against the Word of God, simply because they have become normal to us. We turn on the radio and listen to secular music, we turn on the TV and watch violent or degrading material, we read a book that changes our thoughts, etc. All of these are ways for the devil to try and trap us.

We must resist His temptations. That's not to say that we shouldn't use the media for good though. Christian radio stations such as K-Love are making a difference in the lives of people everywhere. Christian news channels and morning shows are allowing people to get in touch with God when they start their days. Christian books help keep us grounded in our faith, and the Bible is the best book out there.

Turn the media into a resource that can be used to glorify God. And together, with the help of our Christian brothers and sisters everywhere, we can strengthen our faith in the Lord, for He is good.



Monday, April 19, 2010

Humanity Got the Best of Me

This past weekend, I've went through a lot. My emotions have been completely drained. I cried more in 5 hours than I have in years. My heart felt as if it had been thrown out and trampled on. I felt lost and alone.

It's not a good place to be.

The worst part is that I completely neglected God.

It's almost like I could hear Him saying, "Fall on me. I'm here for you." But I pushed away, and tried to deal with things on my own.

The reason for all of this distress? Another human being. I let someone else take hold of my emotions and use them against me. This person knows that they get under my skin, because they know me better than anyone else on earth. I don't think it's fair that someone should be allowed to hurt you like that, but it's life. It's going to happen.

People are always going to use us, misuse us, mistreat us, deceive us, manipulate us, break us, and hurt us. At times, we let those things try and define who we are. But God has called us to be something else. Something greater. He has called us to Him. He has called us His own.

He wants us to come to Him in our times of need. He wants us to fall before Him, broken.

This is my favorite Bible verse. I've used it before, and every time it applies, I will continue to use it. It proves Christ's love for me, and lets me know that He is always going to be with me:
Matthew 11:28-30 -- Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
This man, who gave up His life for me, wants me to know that He is greater than anything I will ever endure on earth.

Yes, my heart will be broken. Yes, I will feel rejected and neglected by other people. But NEVER will I have to fear being forsaken by my Savior.

I have a friend who shared a Bible verse with me this morning, and it really helped me out, so I thought that I would share it with you guys.
Psalm 42:5-6 -- Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
This past weekend has taken its toll on me, but it has awakened me to a simple fact: People will fail. Friendships will fail. Human promises will fail. But God, He will never fail.

I now know that I can't survive through this life without God. Trying to push Him away was the worst possible thing that I could have done, and because of it, I had to suffer through emotions that have been foreign to me since God has been at the forefront of my life. God isn't going to make us run to Him; He wants us to, but we are never forced to. So because I chose to rely on myself, I was subject to experience humanity and its burdens.

My advice to you? ALWAYS fall of God. Don't ever trust yourself enough to think that you can get through this life alone.

Put your hope in God, for He is God.



Monday, April 12, 2010

The Lost Get Found

There is a singer, by the name of Britt Nicole. She's a Christian artist, and one of her songs is called, "The Lost Get Found." I'm in love with it right now. It talks about not being afraid to tell people about Christ, because that is how the lost people get found. It's about being brave to speak the name of Jesus in a world where He is disappearing.

My question to you is, are you afraid to talk about God?

Are you afraid to proclaim the name of Jesus?
Luke 9:26 -- If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
I know that I wouldn't want to stand before God one day and know that His son, the Lamb of God, is ashamed of me before Him, because I was too ashamed of Him on earth.

That's a mouthful right?

What I'm trying to get at, is that we need to be proud to speak the name of Jesus.
Romans 1:16 -- I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Keep this verse in your heart. Memorize it. Believe it. Live it.

So many people need Christ in their life, but if everyone is too afraid to share His name, then how are the lost going to be found? Aren't we denying Christ if we don't share Him? Aren't we disobeying? Jesus says that people need to know the Truth, and that as His disciples, we will face trials in this, but that our reward will be great.

As Britt Nicole puts it:

Don't let your lights go down.
Don't let your fire burn out.
Cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe.

Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out.
That's how the lost get found.

Why do we go with the flow?
Why take the easier road?
Why are we playing it safe?
Love came to show us the way.
Love is a chance we should take.

I'm moving out of the gray.

There are people out there that need someone. They need you.
You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
You are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)
Don't be afraid to stand out and be different in a world of like mindedness. Be different, and make people wonder.

After all..that's how the lost get found.



Thursday, April 8, 2010

God Says

God created the universe with a word.
He molded each of us with dust and breath.
He planned the future of eternity with us in mind.

But you're still frustrated. You're still downtrodden. You're still weary, worn and afraid.
You want answers and comfort, when all you ever seem to get is questions and pain.

Sometimes, we all need a little reminder that God is bigger than it all. His love is over, it's underneath, it's inside, it's in between. His love never ends.

He is bigger than our yesterdays, our today's and our tomorrows. He knew us before we were born, and he knows what eternity holds for us after this life. He is saying, "Don't fear, my child, for I am here." Because when you say things, or fear things, you are telling that thing or that fear that it is bigger than our God. Bigger than our Creator. Bigger than the Maker of the heavens and the earth.

So the next time you feel the weight of this world, remember what God says.

You say, “It’s impossible.”
God says, “All things are possible.” (Luke 18:27)

You say, “I’m too tired.”
God says, “I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:18-20)

You say, “Nobody really loves me.”
God says, “I love you.” (John 3:16 and Jeremiah 31:3)

You say, “I can’t go on.”
God says, “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 and Psalm 91:15)

You say, “I can’t figure things out.”
God says, “I will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say, “I can’t do it.”
God says, “You can do all things.” (Philippians 4:13)

You say, “I’m not able.”
God says, “I am able.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

You say, “It’s not worth it.”
God says, “It will be worth it.” (Romans 8:28)

You say, “I can’t forgive myself.”
God says, “I forgive you.” (1 John 1:9 and Romans 8:1)

You say, “I can’t manage.”
God says, “I will supply all your needs.” (Philippians 4:19)

You say, “I’m afraid.”
God says, “I have not given you a spirit of fear.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

You say, “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
God says, “Cast all your cares on me.” (1 Peter 5:7)

You say, “I’m not smart enough.”
God says, “I give you wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

You say, “I feel all alone.”
God says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

God is bigger than it all.

Trust in Him.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Power of the Cross

Do you need love? Are you searching for mercy? Looking for peace of mind? Want understanding without judgment?

Look no further than at the foot of the Cross.

Jesus Christ was born. He lived and He died. He was buried and He rose again. All so that we may find rest in our souls.

The Cross was meant to be a symbol of death, torture and finality. But instead, it became a symbol of hope, love and eternity.

Everything that Christ suffered, was for us.

As His arms stretched wide, so did His love.
As His arms encompassed the world, so did His mercy.
As His arms reached from east to west, so did His promise of peace.
As His arms held the weight of the world, so did His understanding.

If you feel like you've run out of love, look no further, for love has come.

Are you praying that someone would show you mercy? Find it in our Savior's embrace.

If you're fighting a battle, with peace no where to be found, let the peace of Jesus wash over you.

Are you looking for someone to understand your pain? Christ has been there; He understands.

Sometimes, we need a reminder. We are not alone. We don't have to walk this life in fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 -- For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
At the Cross, we find the love of Jesus. We find His mercy overflowing. We find a peace that only He can give. And we find understanding beyond anything we could imagine.

The Cross is power.

And it held the very man that holds our hearts.

Please watch this video and listen to the lyrics; it's the reminder that we all need.

You're Not Alone - Meredith Andrews