Wednesday, July 16, 2014

keep on truckin

This one goes out to the man who works two jobs to put food on his families table, the boy who helps his sister with special needs every morning to get ready for school without complaint or second thought, the man who studies every day to make sure he gets good grades because without his scholarship, he would be back home working minimum wage...
These are the stories of people, this is the story about Dedication.

Why? Why do we choose to get up in the morning, eat, fill in daily work, eat, sleep?
Doesn't it seem a tad bit pointless, to live in this fallen world of infallible people? I suggest that we all take a chill pill and lay in our beds for the rest of our lives. It sounds tempting right? You can do whatever you want and just be lazy ALL THE TIME.
It's what most people secretly desire with their time, but what happens. You slowly waste away as life passes by without you, leaving you with nothing to show for it except broken relationships, no trajectory and maybe that strange piece of belly lint you've been staring at for the last week
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2.
We are so much more. More than the person who wants to lay on the couch and watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad in two weeks (okay yes, that example hits close to home). But get this, we are more than even the unrealistic standards the world tries to put on us. More than the unreal pressure to keep performing and be better than everyone. More than that job promotion, more than that A in Spanish, more than the affirmation you crave from your significant other.
Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
Feeling tired? Out of strength? Easy, there is not a single thing God can't renew us from. I am telling myself this today, I feel the weight of this heavy world pressing down on me.

Lord, give me strength. Bring me the encouragement and strength to have all I could ever need in you. Help me to keep on truckin, never letting sin and sorrow take me to a place where I can't see Your face. Renew my passion, restore my life, forgive my transgressions. Lord, I know you don't give us more than we can handle and help me to understand the place I am in and the wisdom to continue to follow Your path. In Your name, Amen. 

Psalm 22:19
 "But you O Lord, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help me."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

road rage

Driving down the interstate, stuck in Atlanta traffic you get frustrated. Bumper to bumper, the CO2 starts to mess with your head. Why are all these people in my way, don't they know how important I am, I have places to be and people to see...but then you look around.

Green minivan has four kids in the back with no dad to be found.
White Lexus is talking his ear off vehemently towards who knows who, probably the president himself.
18-wheeler has at least 400 tons of timber in his trunk and those trees aren't getting any younger.

Bottom line is, you are one person. ONE. There is nothing more humbling than to understand how little you matter in this world. When there are 6.794 billion people on this planet and around 370,000 babies being born every day it's hard to justify road rage.
To others, we mean nothing. To us, we mean everything...why don't they slow down for me? I matter the most. 1 Peter  5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you," 
We are nothing and will never be anything to almost all of the world. If you met 1 million people in your entire lifetime (and that is pushing it (big time)) you would have possibly influenced way less than .1% of the population.

How can we ever impact a world that is ever increasing and less caring than ever before?
We can't. least that's what most people would say. But, as Christians we have the ultimate tool for impacting lives and showing others how to live for Christ.
It's love, people!
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2
What? That can't be right, if I am humble and gentle people on that interstate will run over me, no one will ever hear me and I have no possible chance at making an impact on this loud and sinful planet...
Yes, our world is full of liars, cheaters and backstabbers, what better way to be heard then to shine the  love of God and be the contrast for their life. Your light is shining so brightly they have no choice but to turn and look at you and therefore Christ. We are called to spread the love of Christ Jesus that is within us, it really is that simple.

Love simply.

 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Friday, January 31, 2014

stop trying

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Oh that's easy, I'll graduate college a semester early with my boyfriend who then will propose and we will get married. After that, we will move to a big city and get jobs we love together having free time and money to take spontaneous trips on the weekend and get our yearly missional trip out of the way during the summer, maybe Uganda or something....
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"--yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil," James 4:13-16. 

What then, do we do? We could sit around binging on Netflix and professional sports putting our efforts into things that matter very little in this fast paced society we have been shoved into. There's probably a special on cheese balls at the grocery store, a coupon for a free scuba diving lesson somewhere on the internet, or even a new recipe to try out...but these things mean nothing without God. Am I saying God is in the cheese balls? Yes, absolutely but thats not the point that's being made here.
We, as a culture, have to stop planning our lives putting an unrealistic amount of tension and stress on our lives and future when all we are is mist. God says that we live in arrogance if we believe we can predict the plans the Lord has for us. Have faith, His plans are good and prosperous...why wouldn't we take all of these gifts He layed out for us so perfectly. The cookie cutter life you so lustfully crave can exist, but at what cost to your soul?

Let go these earthly prides you call your future. Let God take our broken bodies and become anew through His spirit. Take the eyes full of sin we have and transform them into portals for Your vision, making all things we do directed towards Your glory and Your presence in our lives.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he," 
Proverbs 29:18.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This is not a blog.

RenĂ© Margritte was a French painter who created                "The Treachery of Images". It is simply a picture of a pipe with a French inscription that reads     "This is not a pipe."
His work culminated to the simplest of images because it became countless talk of introspection and what it meant to claim reality. This representative reality confused many people and he went on to create many images similar to this.

In much the same way, I propose my own introspective gesture.

This is not a blog.

Yes, it may look like a blog and I am certainly having to type all this stuff out sitting on my computer in the library, but this reality is clouding what you will really find on my small little subsection of the world wide web.

I can only claim this "thing" you are reading as an outpouring of God's infinite wisdom and grace and steadfast love for all of us. To put God into the containment and limit His unending presence in our lives to my blog (yeah yeah okay its my blog) would be a gross mistake and a depressing look into our reality.
"Oh God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my should thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You," Psalm 63:1-3.
We live in that dry and weary land, He is our water. Eternal water, I will give you living water and you will thirst no more He told the woman at the well. Come, follow me He says countless times.

He loves us so perfectly that He would die for us on the cross and cleanse us of all of our transgressions both past and future. But He also loves us so much that He conquered death so that He could live for us, a permanent fixture in our lives. The Holy Spirit lives within us and we become more than conquerors.

"Yeah He loves us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves, oh how He loves," David Crowder.
This simple fact should resonate to the very core of our being. We are nothing, yet He gave us everything.

Thank you God for Your sacrifice, let me be a living sacrifice in Your name.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me,'" Matthew 16:24.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

you are home

What is loss? A commitment relinquished, a story that's been told, a moment when you realize you won't see someone ever again...
Life has little meaning on it's own, its the relationships you build and the love that is shared that make all of this evil sin filled world meaningful.

"For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thess. 5:9-11. 

On days such as today, we reflect on lives lost. Men and women who have carried on past this world in search of paradise through Christ. I pray for the families of the lives that were taken on 9/11 and any other time, because when is death ever greeted, much less expected.
But we should find strength in those that leave us to be with God because they have reached a place much more incredible than this place we try to call home. 2 Corinthians says: "So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
So you see, Earth is not our home. We long for our Lord as the Sun longs for the breaking of a new day. So don't be discouraged by the death that looms around us, take heart! Our Lord is a mighty defender and a strong deliverer. He is our strength when we are weak, our All in All.

I personally want to say that I am sad for the losses that have incurred on this day, but I rejoice in the fact that the Lord's children are on their way home. I'll miss you Mamaw.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

in His eyes

"Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil." Proverbs 3:7. 
In many ways, evil can be present in your life. Sometimes it is found in things you would expect. Don't drink that, don't smoke that, no looking over there, shouldn't be hanging out with that person etc etc. But sometimes evil can be found in much more persistent and scary places such as your own mind. Sin is defined by some people as the the absence of God: this can definitely be applied here. 

8:30 Wake up, Shower. 
9:00 Frantic breakfast, scurry to work.
12:00 Lunch, alone.
3:30 Find coworkers to ease the pain of boredom at office.
5:30 Head home tired, ready for dinner.
7:00 Settle for box dinner, sit at television.
10:30 Wake up and head to bed in preparation to start another day the same.

What is wrong with this picture? At what point did this person break from the tedium of this world and find his comfort, his joy, his security from the one person willing and able to love us unconditionally with no restraint? 
"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30. 
We are so much more than ourselves when we give our lives to Christ, we are more than conquerers and burning with the passion of a never-ending God. We need God daily to replenish our reserves, to flush out the sin and poison that this world fills us with constantly. Without Him, we crumble and fade. 

When you wake up you will most likely make the decision to brush your teeth, but if you don't then missing a day isn't a huge deal. Miss another day and you'd be fine. Miss a week, then two? Most likely you will be receiving a firm slap on your wrist from your dentist and another appointment because now you have cavities or worse. Keep up this habit and before you know it you are gumming soft foods and chugging nutritious milkshakes because your teeth are gone now. 
Basically, not giving God some time out of your day will make your teeth fall out...Okay that's not true, but without Him you will surely crumble and fall. His wisdom is greater than anything we could hope to accomplish on our own. 
So next time you don't brush your teeth, just remember how God would feel about that.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wax on, wax off

Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off. The drone of every day life can sometimes muddle our true purposes. Daniel Larusso can't seem to grasp his mentor's (Mister Miagi) odd approach to training him in the highly skilled form of martial arts. He participates in activities such as cleaning his car, doing the dishes and sweeping the floors. It is a point of irritation for our protagonist, but by the karate tournament something magical happens. All of the menial tasks that he thought served no purpose actually were training him for the large goal at the end: to win the tournament. (I'm sorry if you've never seen this movie but he wins the tournament and gets the girl, classic)

There seemed to be a time when I could think with confidence that I understand this world, that the things I see all work together for my own personal good...In other words, I was naive. God sees and knows every facet of our lives. There are tasks we complete drudgingly every day that seem to have no purpose or meaning...Why would balancing my checkbook further God's glory? What does good grades have to do with His eternal love for us?
What most people can't see is that EVERYTHING we do affects His kingdom and His glory. My friend has a sign right under her front door that says, "Your are now entering the mission field" and this should ring true with everyone. All the people we see are influenced by us in some unforeseen way.

He has mighty plans for us, "Plans to prosper and not destroy, plans to give us a hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11. With that in mind we should be living on easy street right?
Well, no. This is a cruel world full of fallible people. Life is hard and living out your faith is even harder. But we can take courage in this: "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith,"John 5:4. 

But we are all born from God not of Him...until something awesome happens. We die to ourselves and become more than we could ever be alone. "You however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you,"Romans 8:9.

Anyways, I don't know where I was really going with this but there are two points you should take from this post:

1.God works in mysterious ways but we should learn to trust His path for our lives (even if it should seem meaningless at times) and carry ourselves as if we are accomplishing the greatest task in the world.(Because we are, people!)

2.We are not enough to fulfill God's plans here on Earth. Without the Holy Spirit we would surely fail (I fail every day as it is). So take heart how incredible you are (or could be) with the unlimited potential of God's love and power sitting right inside of you every day waiting to fulfill what God has in store for us.

I'll stop there because this was a jumble of different idea trains, but I will leave you with this.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, Ephesians 3:20