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.