My personal motivation to you
Any "Christian" can say, "Jesus died for me" or "God is love" or "I know I'm saved because I said the prayer", but do they really know who God is? Do they really know what salvation is or what they believe? I have been going back and forth with myself if I wanted to ever write this because I feel it may offend some, but I know God has laid this upon my heart for a reason. I want you to think about yourself as you read these words, and truly answer to yourself if this is you.
I am not here to attack anyone; I am not here to make you confused or afraid. I am not writing to make you doubt your beliefs or change your beliefs. I want you to read this and question yourself. I want you to really dive deep instead of just skimming the surface. I want this post to cause you to do your own research if these words cause you to think.
I hate seeing these "LAZY Christians". There life speaks words to me like this: "Oh, yeah, I'm a Christian. My mom told me to get to heaven I had to repeat after her and just really mean it. I said the prayer and I think I believed hard enough. Ever since, I have been doing all these good things for God."
You know these people. Maybe this is you. These people know the simple verses like Romans 3:23, John 3:16, and maybe Acts 16:31 if you're lucky. They talk about how much their life has changed since they've been trying to be a Christian, but if you look deep enough, these are the same kids that are at home watching porn when no one is around, cursing because they're "cool" when they're outside of the Christian circle, listening to that rap and hip-hop trash that fills your mind with filthiness, and just completely following their heart after lustful desires that the Bible completely speaks against doing.
I am not saying that Christians don't struggle, mess up, and do these same or similar sins daily, but I know the Bible says "you will know them by their fruits." If you don't see them even trying to put off the old and put on the new how can you believe that they have truly been changed at all?
The Bible CLEARLY states, “Put off the old, and put on the new.” If these small areas of their life aren’t matching up with the Bible, what’s the rest of their life look like? The Bible talks about confusion and diversions in the world. It talks about how Satan will have diversions in the world and lead people away from God. Could one of the diversions possibly be someone thinking they are saved?
Revelation 12:9 (KJV)
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV)
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The Bible says many will think they are going to Heaven, but you want to know what they will say? It will probably be along the lines of, "Lord, I did all these good things. I said the salvation prayer, I prayed for my friends to get saved, I went to church on more than just Sundays, I went on that one mission's trip, I went to youth group, I stopped cursing for the most part, and I did all these other good things for you!" Jesus' words will be, "Depart from me ye that work iniquity; I never knew you."
Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
How sad will that be? That must be a shocker to them! Did you see the pattern though? The people that think they are saved will say, "I did this, I did that, I I I I....." Is it really about anything we did? Is salvation AT ALL about what you or I did? Is it about some prayer you said? You really believe that a prayer is the key to salvation when it's preached all the time, "It's not by works"? I hope it doesn’t make sense when the preacher says, "You can't do anything to save yourself so just say a prayer and Jesus will save you!"
Speakers like this are literally telling you to do a certain work (say a salvation prayer), and you will obtain the gift of salvation from Jesus. After that they tell you to change on the outside and show the world what a "Christian" looks like. Just live a certain way and say the right things; you will definitely be going to heaven if you just follow these simple steps. Step one: Say the prayer. Step two: Live the life. Step three: get others to say the prayer. I believe these are the three key steps to living the life of a "Lazy Christian."
Now let me tell you why I feel this way. Romans 6:6 says that Christians use to be slaves to sin. Do you know what that means? The unsaved is enslaved to sin, as in bound by sin. You were or are consumed by sin nature. If one is bound by sin nature, can they do anything that is good? NO!!! Of course not. The Bible says that their works are like filthy rags because it is impossible for someone to do good if they are enslaved to sin.
Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
That's like telling a human to grow a tail or to fly with wings. It's impossible! Why? Because you are bound by human nature. Your human body cannot do that. It’s the same with an unsaved man enslaved to sin; they cannot do any good because good is the complete opposite of sin and outside of sin nature. So if this is true, is it really possible to admit you are sin and do something good like saying a prayer that you believe in God to get saved? I would disagree, but this is what many believe.
I wouldn’t doubt one’s salvation who believes this way, but I would doubt their understanding of their salvation. God can save somebody and they can still believe they said a prayer that saved them. But at the same time, one can say they got saved by a prayer they said and not be saved at all. Many believe this way, but I think it is a mix of Christians and unsaved.
Psalm says the fool rejects/disbelieves God. A fool is one who is unsaved. If they are rejecting God, why would they come to admitting they need God? They wouldn’t! So how can you get saved? I’m making it sound like mankind is pretty hopeless.... But that’s because mankind IS hopeless. Salvation is nothing any man can achieve on their own. It is only by the work of God one can be saved.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
You see, God draws one near and touches their life with His grace.This grace is what saves; this grace is what opens one's eyes so that they may see. Saving grace is what reveals the truth to one of their hopelessness. Without God’s drawing and touching one’s life with this grace, man cannot receive salvation.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Many will disagree with this because of the belief of God not wanting any to perish and giving man the freedom of choosing salvation. They might say that if God’s drawing was only for people He chose then He’s sending people to hell. First, God doesn’t send people to hell; sin does (Romans 6:23). Secondly, If you are bound by sin nature do you have the choice to do what is right? I don’t believe this is so. So can you really have a choice of doing what is right? Would that make salvation special at all if it was just thrown to whoever? I believe it is much more intimate if God says, “I have chose to save you!” I believe God has to shine light in the darkness to open up salvation to you.
Another part people disagree on is God’s drawing. Some believe there is no election and chosen people for God, but if you read Ephesians 1-2 it says otherwise. I believe on the opposite side of the spectrum; I believe if God doesn’t draw you in and open your eyes, you don’t receive salvation. Many will say that makes God unfair. Well is God a god based on fairness?
HA! NO! (not trying to mock anyone, but I hate the idea of a "fair" God)
If that was so, God would weigh our “goods” and bads on a scale and tell us if we made it to heaven or not. If God was truly fair, everyone would go to hell. NO ONE is righteous and even worthy in God’s presence. Is grace “fair”? The whole idea of salvation is not fair. It wasn’t out of fairness God gives salvation; it was out of His love and grace He chose to save some of His creation. If you don’t think that’s fair or right of God to do, read Romans 9 and then tell me if you have any business telling the Creator what He can and can’t do with His creation!
Man cannot confess of sin to be saved; one confesses their sin because God has saved. When God reveals full glory and grace to one, they will repent, but without God drawing and revealing, man cannot find good on their own.
You see, man would not be hopeless if you believed you have to seek God and say a salvation prayer when you believed. Man is only hopeless if they cannot save themselves, but only be saved if their life was touched by a stronger outside source (God) that could break the sin’s chains of slavery.
I hope I am not being confusing with all this, but if so my challenge to you would be to read your Bible and search it out! Don’t base your beliefs on man’s words; match up their words with the Bible. Don’t base your salvation off of what your pastor says or your parents taught you; look to God’s word! He promises to make Himself known to the ones who seek Him. He will draw one in, open their eyes, and cause them to realize the reality of their sin. They will cry out to Him because He has shown them.
I use to believe in what I call the Two-part Salvation. I believed God already did all the work by sending His son to die and promising life through his rising from the dead. I believed the free gift of salvation was just thrown out to everyone and whoever took it was smart. I always thought, “Why wouldn’t everyone take it? Even if you don’t want to follow Him, might as well take His gift of eternal life.” I believed that when I got saved it was through my belief and my words of confession. I believed God made a solution for my sin, and I acted upon it.
Ever since about six months ago I have been questioning my belief. I always knew I was saved because I could see change and feel conviction from the Holy Spirit in my life. I just had this problem with not knowing all the answers.
I will never know all the answers, but that shouldn’t stop me from diving deeper. From not diving deep enough I got myself into believing that my salvation was partly out of my working. Once I dove deeper and tried asking myself and other godly men in my life the harder questions I started seeing that my salvation was intimate. I could see my salvation had nothing to do with a prayer, but it had everything to do with God choosing me in His timing for His purpose. How much more special is that God wanted a relationship with me and I’m not just another lucky guy that chose to accept Him into my heart?
His gift of salvation is grace that is particular and much more meaningful than the grace He gives to everyone every day. That grace would include things like oxygen we breathe every day, a body that works, creative minds, and just the opportunity to live. Salvation’s grace is much more meaningful than the grace that God gives to the unsaved and saved every day.
I think I will stop rambling for now because this could go one hundred different directions if I keep typing. Let me end with this thought: I don’t want you to believe what I say because I say it’s true. It’s a lot to take in and questions will pop up in your head, but instead of getting defensive of what I am typing, look to God’s word and see what it says to you.
Don’t allow yourself to say, “I’m right and this guy’s wrong!” I wouldn’t be posting this if it wasn’t important to me or I didn’t believe it could open a whole new point of the Bible to you. Salvation is a topic I feel we dumb down so much when there is so much we might not understand about it. Did Jesus die for all sin or just Christians’ sin? Does God hate or only love? Was my salvation my choice? Can one reject salvation after Him showing grace and opening their eyes? Can I lose my salvation? Can I be saved and still do what I want?
I have already answered these questions and more for myself, but I’d like to challenge you to answer them personally. Get serious with God’s word; ask someone like your pastor or a Christian friend that may be more knowledgeable about questions like these. Ask them to show your where and what the Bible says. If you take anything out of this post, don’t let it be anger if your belief of what the Bible says about salvation is different than mine. My whole goal was to cause my readers to think and to tell you to not become a lazy Christian.
So don’t walk away from this post saying, “Hmmm, that was interesting.” I want you to get up, grab the Bible you haven’t touched in a few days/weeks/months/years, and get your phone. Do a simple Google search of some keywords or where to find verses. Read some passages you remember that talk about salvation if you want to study more (I would suggest Ephesians and Romans). Ask others questions. Do everything in your power to try to understand and know as much as you can about what God says about salvation.
Don’t be a lazy Christian; thirst after the word and desire to understand it more instead of taking an easy way out. Don’t make God the God you want Him to be in your mind; read the Bible and see what He has to say to you. (look at that! I said I’d stop rambling four paragraphs ago…)
I am sorry I have not posted in a long time; I have pushed it off for awhile now. Some of it was laziness, but most of it was because I do not want to write halfheartedly. Let me explain....
I work at a Christian camp called Spruce Lake located in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I am a counselor for a program called Day Camp there. Day Camp is like day care and vacation Bible school smashed together that lasts eleven weeks in the summer. At Day Camp we average close to 100 campers a day, and anywhere between 8-15 of them are my responsibility every day. I am the counselor of the Rattler group, which is the 12-13 year old children.
These kids pretty much drain me Monday through Friday. My day consists of teaching devotions, feeding them lunch, running games and playing along, walking them to each activity, and anything in between. We do camp games, hike Spruce Mountain, go on field trips, swim, make crafts, and many other things that occupy time from 9-4 every day. Since it is a Christian camp, God is shown and talked about at every opportunity found.
Like I said, these kids drain me, but I love my job. I have such a burden for teaching these kids about who God is, what God has done, and what God is doing. I want them to know about Christ and be able to share the same relationship I have with Him. Some of the children come from a family that go to church or at least have heard about God, but many of them do not. Many parents use Day Camp as just a day care and opportunity for their child to do something with their summer instead of sitting in front of a TV.
I get home from work every day around five. I am then exhausted and ready to do nothing; I get the urge to write many times and want to when I get home. I just don't want to write with the attitude of trying to just get it over with, or quick putting something together without studying my Bible or feeling inspired. I don't want writing to become homework; I want my writing to be done out of pure love for God, knowing that through my writing, God can use it to touch the lives of others.
I guess I am kind of challenging other Christian writers with this: Don't write because you feel like you need to, but write because you want to and are moved by the Holy Spirit to motivate, discipline, encourage, or overall point others to Christ. Yeah, maybe some of my delay in writing was out of laziness, but there were many times that I thought, "I do not want to write if I am this tired and unprepared."
I know I could throw something together in twenty minutes that sounds good and says to love Jesus, but is that really the attitude I want to go into writing with? I mean, this is talent given by God that I can use for His glory! I don't want to do a sloppy, halfhearted job on the Lord's work; I want to take my time and do my best to glorify Him. If I just try to throw something together quickly, am I going to hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."?
This doesn't just go for writing. This goes for any occupation, hobby, or work done by us. If Christians are going into life with the attitude of, let's just get this over with, are they truly bringing praise to God? If you are going through life with this this kind of rushing or sloppy attitude, you're lacking the heart and motive.
What is your motive when you work? Is it, "How can I point someone towards Christ today?" or is it, "I can't wait till this day is over so I can do what I want!" The second one definitely sounds selfish, but it's how so many of us act so often.
To close, I would like to just try to encourage (as well as myself) to humble yourself and remember what you are working for. Pray and ask God to give you the opportunities to set an example of a follower of Christ to others. Be all in for the glory of Christ. Put your own desires and goals aside when you are doing God's work. Don't get sloppy or become lazy; become motivated!
Earlier this week I passed an old friend who was walking his bike up a hill. I thought he was probably going to work. I debated on giving him a lift, but he had a bike and I wouldn't be able to fit that in my car. As I kept on driving, I wondered the conversation we would have had since I have not talked to this friend after a few bad choices and wrong turns he has taken in the past five years of his life. I'd probably ask, "What happened? Where did your "relationship" you claimed to have with Jesus Christ go?"
I could think of many things that just didn't work out for this friend in his life; no doubt in my mind it was a hard life that was full of struggling and trials. The only answer I could think of him saying is, "Well I didn't ask for this life."
That's when it dawned on me! I felt like an idiot having a conversation with myself that was just running through my head. But he's right! He didn't ask for that life; none of us have. That's the problem! What have we been asking for as Christians? Have you been asking God for anything recently? I struggle with this a lot in my own life. I know what the verses say; I know He's always there for me. Why do I still fail to look to Him?
Matthew 21:22(KJV)- And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Christians so often say that they keep struggling with this temptation or they are stuck in some rut of sin. Have you ever done this in your own personal life? This drives me to ask you a question: What are you doing about it?
There's been times in my life I would struggle and fall over and over again into the same dirty sin, and feel awful knowing I wanted to please God but just keep messing up. I would get to the point where I'd pray and ask God, "Why would you choose me as one of yours knowing I would be this rotten of a sinner?"
I forgot one thing; I forgot to ask God for His strength. You can look and see in the Bible over and over how much we need to look to God for His strength. It can be hard to understand why your life is this way or that way; it can be hard to understand why God would allow some trials to come into play. My motivation to you is to remember that God is good. You may not see it, feel it, think it, or even understand it; but God will never fail to be good. He is always good! And because He is good, He will help you if you would just ask.
When you think about big or small trials or struggles that become a part of you and effect you, REMEMBER! God is good! We are right in saying we did not ask for this life, but don't forget to ask for His strength through it.
I didn't ask for back pain. I didn't ask for sin addiction. I didn't ask for one of my close friends to die. But I cannot forget his goodness in my life! Don't let these hard things weigh you down. You want to know what else I didn't ask for? I didn't ask for Christian parents, a Christian education, to be born in a free land, money to buy a car, for good godly influencing friends, or even salvation! God, out of His goodness, gifted all of this to me. I have no room for complaining. Do you really think it's a good idea to blame God, or say He was wrong, or complain about something that He allowed when He gave us His perfect son?
If you're struggling as a Christian, that's a good thing. You're not home yet. Don't get comfortable in this world. You should feel foreign and unwelcome to this fallen earth. Maybe you didn't ask for the life God gave you, but as a Christian you should be thanking God for how much He has truly done for you. Open your eyes! See how good of a Father He truly is!
To top off how good God is, He promises to hear His children's prayers. As a son of God, I can thank God for the life He gave me, and ask that He gives me more! Don't let His mercy, grace, and goodness stop where it's at! We are right in saying we didn't ask for this, but we are wrong in saying that this is it! God's word says, "Ask and ye shall receive".
So to close in the answer of the question, why?, my answer to you would be because God is good. And because God is good, we should be asking for so much more! He has been so gracious to His children, and He will continue to show His goodness throughout life. We can't get caught up on the thought that we didn't ask for this; instead, we need to keep asking for Him to work even more. Run to Him, do His will, and keep asking for His grace and goodness to be poured out on your life.
Matthew 7:7-8(KJV)- Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
This poem is very personal to me. I wrote this poem thinking of my own life and the people around me. This poem is written to the "Christians" that don't live it. How many times have you seen a friend worship at youth group and turn around and listen to Eminem in their car? Or how many times does someone lead prayer and then curse when they leave their Christian circle? What about me, when I tell my friends at Bible study to stay pure in thought, action, and mind, and I don't even stand true to this statement? How foolish as Christians Can we be!
I understand, just because I am a Christian it does not mean I will never mess up. I get that; but when someone proclaims the name of Christ only sometimes... that hurts me. There's a difference between being a Christian who messes up and being a faker. We need to stop saying we are a Christian if were still enslaved to sin. One is not a Christian until God opens their eyes and repents of this way. Only then will they be broken free from sin's chains.
If we truly have been made alive in Christ, we need to stop living like were still dead in sins! We need to stop going our own way as if it doesn't matter. If I am a Christian, I need to stand up for what I believe, live for Christ, and cast out those old habits. If you are a Christian you need to do the same! It's not just a one and done choice; this is a daily choice we as Christians must make. Don't let different sins be your god in your life. Don't let temptation take hold of your life. Let God be the only leader of your life.
Live for Him
Making a promise that you won’t sin
Is like telling someone they will always win.
So don’t tell God, “I’ll always do right.”
Instead, ask God, “Can you prepare me to fight?”
Don’t make a promise that you can’t keep,
And then bring sin to His feet.
The Father knows your every deed;
He knows if you will succeed.
Do not act as if this is untrue,
Or that these sins you did not do.
Come to grips and understand
That you will break His every command.
Ask for His guidance throughout life
Because going your own way leads to strife.
Yes, trials and temptations of sin will still be,
But remember His grace can set you free.
In your own strength you will lose this war.
Sin is more that you can ever endure.
You cannot overcome the flesh alone;
Instead, humble yourself before the throne.
Cry out to God and He will help you.
In your own power there’s nothing you can do.
You can’t do it on your own;
That’s why He sent His Son to atone.
Stop living life as a game!
Repent to Him your sin and shame.
Be real with God; He will forgive.
For His glory you shall live.
So choose to live for Him today.
Stop living in that sinful way.
And when you choose to reflect His Son,
That’s when you’ll hear the words, “Well done.”
-Michael J. Vitelli
It has been on my mind recently that I believe God is calling me into missions. I don't know where, how, when, with who, or even why; but I know that God wants me to tell others about what He has done for me and what He can do for others who are broken and lost like I once was. I have a heart for those who are slaves to sin; I know the cure and don't think as a Christian I should keep that to myself.
I have been on three mission trips outside of the United States in the past, and it each time this question would pop into my head: "What about America; where are the missions here?"
I have a burden on my heart for unsaved in America. I've heard teachers and preachers go on and on about how corrupt America has become and where America started. I hear them say how America is on a downfall. I find myself always asking this question in my head, "Okay, instead of talking about how awful our homeland is, what are we doing about it?"
I understand we as Christians need to talk about these things, but I don't understand why I don't see movement. Where is the action taking place? I've started to learn the truth to this in my life: if I don't see a change and I want one, I should make it myself. That's what I feel God is calling me to do! I want to be that change.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
I feel compassion on America because it is true that it is falling. It is becoming darker and darker. There is no one man in the nation to blame; the only blame is that we live in a sin-cursed world. Our culture is becoming so polluted at every moment of the day. You can't even check out of a store without seeing a magazine that causes immortal thoughts or seeing candy and becoming a glutton. You can't flip through five channels without coveting what celebrities have or how they live. You can't watch a movie today that doesn't try to justify that murder and violence is "okay" or that because this scene is quick it's "okay" for teens to watch.
1 Peter 5:8(KJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
What has our world come to? How far are we going to allow America to corrupt our minds? I find myself justifying things saying why they are "okay." I soon after realize how stupid I was to think that something is not ungodly and contradictory to the Bible. I can see the spiritual war becoming more of a reality in my life as I open my eyes. The issue is that I see a need for revival but no one filling the need.
I am not writing this to judge or point a finger at anyone; I am just trying to make a point. My point is this: have you ever been in denial of God's will? It doesn't have to be missions at all; that's just personally where I have been convicted. For so long I have pushed the thought of missions out of my mind. I worry and deny how it could happen. I ask, "God, how can this work? How can I do this? Are you sure?" Is that you too?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Maybe this is you. You deny God's purpose and plan that He has for you. You feel convicted or a burden and see a need, but you push the thought aside because you are afraid. Why? Why are we so afraid of the future? What is the true fear? Do I fear missions because I don't think God can do it? Do I deny missions because I want to live a "normal American's life?" Do I fear leaving my comfort zone?
Are we underestimating the power of our God?!
I mean think about it. It can be large or small, but we all deny God's purpose or plan in our lives in one way, shape, or form at some point of life. Maybe you do it daily. Maybe you denied it years ago. Maybe you feel the conviction, but you are too afraid to move.
Maybe you deny God's reasoning. You know something is sin, but you still do it because "God takes all the fun away." I've been there, done that, and am embarrassed to know that as a Christian I can still fool myself. I write and tell others at my Bible study how wrong and stupid sin is, yet am turning around, becoming a hypocrite, and doing it myself. I can't even accept my own advice sometimes. Anyone else, or am I alone on this one too?
Do you realize how ignorant we Christians can be? (Remember I am not trying to point fingers. This includes me.) We say we trust in an all-powerful God, yet we still doubt Him and try to do things our own way. I mean how stupid can I be? If I know God is calling me to do something, whether it is in my idea of life or not, I need to be willing to go with all confidence in God, trusting He will direct my way. I need to have a positive attitude and be thankful He is putting direction in my life. We take His prodding of conviction in our lives so for granted; without Him being a guide where would I be?
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
This whole post sounds a lot like a pity party on doubt, or as if I were trying to say ALL Christians do this. I am not trying to come off in a way that makes you feel worse about your position in life, but don't be convicted and not move like I have in my past and still struggle with today! My pastor, Bill Schneider, says, "If you read the Bible and you don't feel like you've wrestled with God, you're reading it wrong. Read it again!"
The truth to this quote is that we are not perfect; so a book that describes our imperfections should not always leave us with butterflies in our belly (not saying that's a bad feeling sometimes). Instead, we should be coming out black and blue. Let the word of God make you feel broken and realize how much you need to change, how much you need to turn around, and how much you need Christ.
I will close with this thought: is there any area in your life that you are denying God's will? Do you have denial in His guidance. I would not use the the cliche "Just let go and let God," but, instead, pray and move. Pray for His guidance and start doing something. You can't expect God to use or direct you unless you get up. Don't sit back and wait on God; get up and ask God to lead. Push your denial and worry to the wayside, and replace it with confidence in His direction.
I haven't posted in awhile (I plan on getting back into it) because I've been very busy as my Senior year is ending. Today I wanted to share something small with you about my mom.
My relationship with my mom has never been this close in my life. I didn't use to give her the respect she deserves, we'd fight and yell back and forth, and I use to just plainly ignore her or avoid having a relationship with her altogether. At the beginning of my senior year that all changed. When God became more of a priority in my life, my relationships started to get better. I made it a point in my heart to make my relationships better with my friends, but then realized I needed to do the same with my parents.
Since the fall of last year, I don't think I've fought once with my mom. I can't remember the last time raising my voice at her or vice versa. The "I don't care" attitude that I use to carry around is gone. God has mended my relationship with my mom, and we have had some really deep conversations since then. I love my mom; I thank God for her when I remember to. She's really deserving of a thank you, a hug, and a Texas Roadhouse gift card today!
In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a link on my blog. I started a guys Bible study at my house about two months ago, and it has been fantastic. Every Tuesday we get together and talk about struggles in life and how our relationship with God is. We pray for each other and things that are going on in our lives. We've been trying to focus on the topic of leadership, but we talk so much about other things we don't always get to it. Anyways, the first night we had a Bible study, I asked my mom to share her testimony with the group of guys. I recorded it so I could one day share it with others. I hope you enjoy. God bless!
BTW: It's a little noisy in the background because people were eating, but it is well worth listening to.
MY MOMS TESTIMONY: click here
This post is more about me personally and what I learned this past week on my senior trip then a motivational post, but I will still include some encouragement. (By the way, this is my class and I'm the one with the bag on my face.)
The past week I had two guest bloggers on my blog because I went away on my senior trip. It was exciting when it was finally here mostly because it means the end of my high school career is just around the corner. I have gone to a Christian school all my life, and I am very thankful for the influence it has had upon me. Yes, it has had its ups and downs (there are A LOT of rules that I think are dumb, but that's okay because I still love my school), but I thank God for the provision of money for my parents to send me to a school that is founded on His truth.
Going to a Christian school means a Christian senior trip. At first I wasn't so thrilled about this idea, but it ended up being one of the best trips I have ever gone on. It started off with a sleepy twelve hour car ride to Ohio. I only have ten classmates (I know, small senior class), and we divided up between two vans. My van was either sleeping or laughing the whole time. This trip really unified us; I found things out about my friends I never knew. Relationships really grew. I will forever be thankful for the friendships that were brought to life on this adventure.
I think most of my class would agree that the Beast is a fantastic roller coaster! I think it is the longest wooden coaster in the United States. There are no loops, but this thing was fast, took many wild turns, and was very rickety. There are parts that you just feel as if the carts will fly right off the track... -but hey! The sketchier the better.
Sunday we went to a church by the name Williamstown Baptist Church. The speaker, Pastor Leap, preached on assurance of salvation and if one is truly saved. I love messages like this. I cannot stress it enough when salvation comes up in a conversation that salvation is not a checklist, magic words, or dos and don'ts. Salvation is the giving away of your life because He did the same for us. It's repenting and believing. It's dying to sin and being raised to life in Christ. I just love salvation messages. Even though I am saved, it's always encouraging and fills my heart with joy with how much He has done for us.
The last floor was my favorite because it pointed everything to Christ. The different pictures and texts on the walls talked about how an all loving God could send a worldwide flood and it all pointed to Christ. The ark was so interesting and made me realize how uncomprehendingly big God is. It was a great experience and super fun; I would recommend the Ark Encounter to anyone and everyone.
To wrap up the trip, my class and I went to the Wilds Christian Camp. I don't have any pictures of the Wilds because phones are taken away for this part of the trip (I know it sounds rough, but it wasn't that bad). We stayed for four nights at the camp where other Christians schools also attended that week. There were (I think) 26 schools total that attended senior week and about 240 seniors. This part of the trip was an adventure alone. We went rafting, played games like life-size Foosball, went on a zip line that was over a ravine-like river, hiked down a mountain to see a 120 foot waterfall (the hike back was the hard part), went on a 65 foot swing, made new friends with other students, and the list goes on of exciting thrills the Wilds had to offer. I can't begin to explain how amazing this trip truly was!
At the beginning of some days and end of every day, we got together in the "Moose Room" and listened to preaching of God's word. Matt Herbster was the one who usually spoke; his messages were very impacting.
They were all good, but one message was really impacting in my own life. The message was based on Romans 12:1-2 and Psalm 16:11. Matt Herbster spoke about being fully committed to God and not holding anything back. I've heard messages like this before, but Matt made it very real to me. The message really came alive and convicted my heart in upcoming decisions I will be making like college, marriage, and moving out. I feel like I have recently been making those decisions on my own; I have been praying for God to allow me to do things my way instead of praying for His will and guidance. I didn't even ask God what He wants me to do.
This first brought fear into my mind; I wondered what my future holds. Am I truly willing to do ANYTHING for God? What if God calls me into missions or to not get married? Am I willing? What if God calls me to live somewhere I don't want to, or He provides me with a job I don't like? Am I willing?
Questions and worries filled my head. I felt like I was driving a car in complete fog. I wish God would make my future at least a little clear. I realized through all these thoughts and worries that I was starting to lose faith. Yes, I am still afraid of what the future holds, but I know my God is in control. I should not lose my faith in Him. He's been with me before; He will be with me now.
The other thing that stuck out to me was when he spoke about being ready for God to answer. I may be all in for God, but without my daily devotions and keeping my relationship with God as my priority, I cannot expect Him to lead. I have to let Him speak to hear what He wants to tell me. He is my guide and I need to be willing and ready to listen if I truly want to live for Him.
Overall, this trip was probably one of the best trips of my entire life. I hope that the spiritual influence that God brought into my life serves as a reminder as I finish high-school and move on in life. I don't know what is in my future yet, but I know God has a plan.
Ashlea Heitner is my computer teacher, but she is more importantly my close friend. To be honest, I first thought it would be weird having her as a teacher, seeing she's only four years older than me and was a fellow student five years ago. Now, I am exceedingly thankful I can see her every day to talk to about the many topics we have in common or just to have a good laugh to brighten my day. She is encouraging in many ways such as her positive attitude, her way of writing, and her spiritual walk with the Lord. Ashlea (Mrs. Heitner), thank you for being a part of the shaping of my life. Your influence has been a blessing and has driven me to write more. You were one of the main reasons I started to blog, and I will forever be thankful for you pushing me to do so. I am happy to have you share some thoughts on my blog today.
Pardon the Interruption -by Ashlea Heitner
The squeak of the expo markers on my polished, clean white board echoes in my mind. Tiny fingers reaching for the “p” key or the “t” key on keyboards still catches me off guard. Teens walking up to my desk asking for advice about a rigorous math problem or asking for a difficult concept from their Bible class to be explained causes me to push aside my papers, cap my pen, and give them my attention. Teachers, not so savvy with technology, burst through the doors with their laptops pleading for help, for some semblance of order in the mass chaos that is the web.
Driving home, I often find myself pondering over what was said during the day or what could have been accomplished. Given the longevity of my drive home, I tend to muse on such things.
However, the interruptions continue to pile as I turn the knob of my door to enter my bird’s nest or as some people label, my home. My husband is sprawled out on the couch with a sharpened, no. 2 pencil and a gridded, research notebook diligently completing his various homework tasks.
After several hours in the lab and working an 8 hour shift, the guy is hungry. Typical man? Maybe. But it is true of the women too.
My hand seeks the handle of the fridge to assess the current situation. Pork chops? Steak? Chicken, again? So many options, yet I am on a time crunch. The bellowing of my hubby’s stomach doesn’t allow for second guessing the meal-plan, but quickly maneuvering to get it done. As I pull out bowls, parmesan cheese, and chicken to prepare the meal, texts erupt from my rose gold iPhone on the counter with family members asking for prayer requests.
Interruption, hitches, glitches, disturbances, or delays are all a part of life. Life is so busy that just taking in a breath seems like an arduous or calculated task. I’ve noticed lately that my response to interruptions reveals my heart and my real motivation.
My attitude is really dependent on how well my plans are executed and to what measure my expectations are met. You can imagine the emotional teeter totter I have set up for myself.
There will always be interruptions. At times they are welcomed and other times they seem insurmountable, like everything scribbled on your list will never get to be crossed off.
In the last few weeks, I have been monitoring my “annoyed, impatient, irritated” odometer when disturbances halt my progress. The proverbial “gas pedal” is revved when I either have had:
Little to no sleep
A situation has blown up in my face about finances, marriage, family or friendships
School work, programs, kids
No time with God (whether through prayer or reading His word)
Do you know how hard it is to pretend or hide those things? Some of those things aren’t in my control. People get upset. I recognize that. You recognize that. It’s easier to counter the offender
with a verbal slash of your own when you have felt wronged or betrayed.
But what if we were to choose to pardon the interruption with kindness, with peace, with compassion? What if we were to counter with love and grace?
In order to do that, I want us to truly focus on the last bullet point. This is my personal caveat, no time with God isn’t an option. It is the hinge on which you and I learn how to turn away from the natural, reactive emotions. It is the foundation on which we stand when everything else has fallen apart.
One of my favorite quotes is from A.W. Pink. He says, “No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.” His statement reiterates the truth found in Scripture.
Proverbs 29:11a “A fool always loses his temper,”
Proverbs 10:23 “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,”
The moment we neglect to read and study God’s word is the moment we open ourselves to the desires of our flesh, the fears surrounding our decisions and the reactions that instinctively come to us. We act like fools and it isn’t a compliment.
God loves a wise man that seeks his face, that desires or longs to know and obey the commands God has laid out for his life. If it wasn’t true, why on earth would men, inspired by God, waste their time writing in tandem about how good and right it is to follow God’s leading, his guidance. It isn’t easy. It’s hard, but it is ALWAYS worth it.
David, a man after God’s own heart, cherished the presence of the Lord so much that even if all he was able to do was be a doorkeeper in the house of God at least he was there and able to bask in glory, in holiness not in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10 “For a day in your courts is better than A THOUSAND elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the
tents of wickedness.”
In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. The priority of your relationship with God is the key to the attitude you will cultivate and allow to grow. Ignoring time with God is simply setting up your attitude to fail.
Let me ask you a question. Better yet, Scripture has a question.
“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do
good, seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”
If you desire life and love, to see good, do the things commanded of you. You will fail to perfectly execute such instruction. I have failed. Do you notice that in the verse the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous? NOT the perfect. Release the weight of perfectionism. It isn’t worth carrying.
The interruptions will continue. It is inevitable. But my challenge to you and I is this. Seek God and what His word has laid out for you. With Christ you succeed. Life has a lot of twists and turns that either fall into the good or not-so-good categories. We don’t control that. We control how we respond by choosing to put on grace, love, kindness, peace. We decide to turn our eyes from the wicked things. We choose what dominates our thoughts and steals our joys. Determine whom you will serve. Search God’s word and pursue his commands. And the next step is obvious, follow them.
Jase Rosenburg has been an inspiring writer since the first week I began blogging. I stumbled upon his site (jaserosenburg.com) through Faithfulbloggers, and have been exchanging e-mails with him ever since I started reading his posts. Reading his work inspires me because of how personal he can be. I love to read about personal experiences; it lets me know the writer can relate to similar struggles of life. He does not try to sugarcoat the truth. His passion, "I write in the dark to bring faith to light", is prominent in each of his posts.
Jase, thank you for being an encouragement to me. You are a blessing and motivation to my blogging journey. I am thankful that God has allowed an online encounter between us; thank you for promoting Christ through your writing. I am overjoyed to have you guest post on my blog.
-Michael J. Vitelli
Hope -by Jase Rosenburg
First I’d like to thank Michael for this opportunity to post on his blog. I know that it’s a huge thing to trust someone else with your readership.
I thought for a while about what I’d like to share today. I ended up with the topic of HOPE. It sounds like such a simple word, but without it where would we be?
I’ll share a personal story since you guys don’t really know me. I’m like most of you, I’ve faced challenges. I lost my dad to cancer in 2006. I beat cancer in 2007. I’ve also battled a few other health issues since then that leave me in excruciating pain at times. And I lost my stepdad in 2015 to cancer.
I can say that without a doubt hope has been the only reason I’ve made it this far. God will stop at nothing to get to you. I want you to fully understand that sentence. GOD will stop at NOTHING to get to you. Think about that for a few minutes.
It truly amazes me how much he loves us. Many times when I’ve been in pain my wife will pray for me and the pain eases. I’ve been awake at all hours of the night crying in pain. I didn’t want to wake her up so what did I do? For a while I did nothing but be miserable. Then one night I decided I was going to praise God through song. I started singing. I can’t tell you how it works, but it does. When I sing out praises to God, the pain eases and I eventually drift off to sleep.
Many people wonder why does God allow us to go through such things. I have to say that we live in a fallen world. This place is cursed and we have to deal with the repercussions of a decision Adam and Eve made long ago. However, while we are here on this earth GOD gives us hope in the trials. It doesn’t matter what we are facing, he is there. He understands.
If you’re in the position right now where it looks like things are hopeless, hang on. Call out to God and hope will rush in. I guarantee you that he will come to you. It may not be in the way you want or expect, but you will have hope.
One of my favorite things to imagine is God being a hero. How many times in movies or books do things look hopeless? Then there is a hero that sweeps in and saves the day. Why do we love those stories? Because we can relate. God is ready to sweep in to your situation and bring a hope that will comfort you in any situation.
All I can say is God IS good. He proves it to me every day. I look down at the scar on my arm and I see hope. I look at the sunrise and I see hope. I look at the flowers and plants and there’s hope there too. It’s all around us. Open your eyes and see what God is waiting to give you. I promise you it’s worth every thing you’ve had to go through.
I’ll leave you with this from 1 Corinthians 15.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
As I near the end of my high school career, my senior trip will be taking place soon. The highlights of the trip will be seeing the replica of Noah's ark, going to an air force museum, King's Island amusement park, and the Wild's Christian camp. I cannot wait to tell of my experience when I get back. I will return from my trip the 28th of April, but until then I will be having two guest bloggers posting. One will post April 24, and the other will post April 27. They are both very encouraging writers to me, and I hope you will enjoy what they have to share.
I hope you are having a blessed week, and thank you for checking out my blog!
I John 1:7-16
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
You hear of "true" love today as if it is just flippantly thrown around. You see it in fairy tales, in movies, in social media, and in your friend's life. You say to yourself, "I wish I could have a relationship like that." What you don't know is that you can. I am not talking about the world's view of love. The world believes you can "fall" in love. Does that mean you can fall out of love?
I want to tell you of the one true love you don't have to chase after; this love finds you. It can make life seem like it is starting over. You cannot "fall" out of this love. This is love that can only come from perfection. This love is not a feeling that comes and goes, nor is it an emotion you start to feel. This love is a person, and that person is God.
Maybe you already have this relationship with love but have never thought of it in this way. Let me put a new perspective in your mind. Without a relationship of love with Christ, all others are faulty. Let me say that again. Without Christ, your relationship with others will fail! Let that sink into your thoughts; ponder this truth for a moment if you haven't ever before.....
Recently God's mercy and love have been a reminder in my own life. I thank God every day for the overwhelming love He bestows upon us all. God is the definition of love. GOD IS LOVE! This is exciting news! this should make us shout in praise and leap for joy! "Why?" you may ask. Let me tell you how I see love. Here is my personal thoughts of what I believe is true and have read in His word about God's love.
Without God we are nothing. This also means without love we are nothing. If God is the one who makes us found, then we are lost without love. His love finds us. In God we have purpose; In love we have purpose. In God we are found; in love we are found (I think you get the point).
The greatest, living example of God's love is shown through His son, Jesus Christ. This great deed of God was only possible by His abundant grace and mercy. Mankind brought sin into the world, but the holy God allowed His son to be the ultimate sacrifice, taking the place of the world's sin, to make a way for unity with God. That is a lot of love!
Put yourself in God's shoes for a moment. If you had full power, created humans, and they disobeyed you, would you not wipe them out and start over? Why would you keep them around when they won't even thank you for life and do what you say?
Remember, God is love. He is not like us. He decided that He would make a way for us. He gave up His only son for you, me, and every other sinner that has ever lived. Why would God do that? Why would God make a way for you and me? You and I live a selfish life and make mistakes every day. Why would God want us around?
Again, remember God is love. A friend once said to me, "The motivation for Jesus dying on the cross was His love for sinners." He died with the purpose of giving us hope through His love. The pain He suffered was for you. Every time you sin, remind yourself, Jesus died for that very act. Jesus died for you. Deny it all you want; Jesus died for you! How great is the love God has for you, that even though you are not perfect, His own son willingly paid the debt for you!
Without Christ dying for you, what are you? Where does that leave us? Without the death of Christ, unity could not have been made with God. God needed a perfect sacrifice, a payment for the very sins we do every day. Without God's love you have nothing. In one way it should almost depress you in realizing how wretched and awful you are, but in another way it should cause you to rejoice in how gracious God is to you. Your sin put God's son to death, yet He willingly died for you because He loved you. Why would God do that to His son? It was all because God is love.
God didn't leave His son in the ground. What power would that prove? The Son of God, who claims to be one with God, is conquered by death? How could God save you if He cannot even save His own son? For those of you that don't know, this is not the end of the story. Easter (the holiday celebrated last Sunday) is also called Resurrection Day. It is the day we remember when Christ rose from the dead. He proved that sin could not even kill Him. He bore the weight of sin to the point of allowing it to put Him in the grave, but He rose from the dead three days later proving His power over sin. He left that sin in the ground. Sin has no grip on almighty God!
Maybe you ask, "Why would He die in the first place?" It's all because God is love. You have sinned; instead of you paying for your sin through death, God allowed His son, Jesus, to be the perfect sacrifice. He rose from the dead showing that sin can't hold Him down.
His death and resurrection portrays what happens spiritually when surrenders his life to Christ. Just like Jesus died, one must spiritually die to his own ways, and give his life to Christ to follow His ways. Jesus rose from the grave without the sin weighing Him down. When He gives one life, He forgives them of their sin. This is the beautiful picture of God's love.
Everything is meaningless in life without love. Our purpose as Christians is to serve God with His great example of love. We are commanded to love because He first loved us. The meaning to life is found in the love of God. If you claim Christ to be your personal Savior, love should circumference your whole life. If your life is founded on God, it needs to be overflowing with love. Your life needs to reflect God and the same love He showed you.
This is not easy. To do this you need to be constantly reminding yourself that God is love. If you have a relationship with God, you have a life founded on love. Share that love the same way Christ has shared it to you. Let God's love in your life motivate you to show love to others and be a light for Him. If others see the way you live, they will see the relationship of love you have with God. A life lived for God, though it may not fulfill YOUR personal desires, it is full of love. A life of love is a life of purpose; this is worth much more than a selfish life lived for yourself. Let God's love dwell in you, because without love, you are nothing.
I Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Today, April 17, is considered Haiku poetry day. Faithfulbloggers.com had e-mailed an idea to their followers of writing Christian haiku poetry that would be placed into a PDF book. I wanted to share the poetry that I wrote myself, and the book if you would like to read the other's work. I wrote ten haiku, which are listed below. If you would like to see the full book, click here.
I hope I am a blessing to my readers. I am working on my new post and it will be posted hopefully tomorrow. God bless you! -Michael Jaymes
Fix your eyes upon
Your God and Your Creator;
Marvel at His work.
Your ways are true Lord.
Put a longing in my heart
I will seek your will.
How awesome is my Savior
He has gave me life
"From Darkness to Light"
I was in darkness,
But then He came and found me
I am now in light
How wretched I was
My works were as filthy rags
Yet you still loved me
"He Is Worthy"
Worthy is His name
Pure and perfect sacrifice
Paid the debt for me
Your grace continues
Like a stream that softly flows
It never runs low
“Thank you, God”
For blessings that you give me
For grace that was free
“Purpose to Glorify”
You give me purpose
This is my reason to live
Glorify the king
“Abundant in Love and Mercy”
In this I find joy
Your mercy is plentiful
Your love never ends
Usually I like to write as if you are reading about yourself, but today, I feel this is a group issue and want to tell you that it's not only you. In this post I will be talking about us, the children of God, as a whole. I believe we all struggle with this problem at times in our lives. This is not a problem that simply goes away through life; It will most likely haunt us for the rest of our lives. With one willing soul that is ready to wake up, others may follow. Let's conquer the fear of change together, sparking the lives of other Christians who can do the same.
Change is not always bad. It definitely can be; we all know that feeling we get when we start pushing the limits and feeling "okay" with sin. Yeah, that's the wrong kind of change. I want to talk about the good kind of change. This change comes from God and God alone.
At the beginning of time, God made the world perfect for us, but Adam and Eve didn't keep it that way. They brought a change into the world... a bad change. They changed unity with almighty God. They chose their own way instead of God's way. This idea of making our own decisions, as if we are God, is not something new. This started back in the time of Adam and Eve.
As time went by, God, through His grace, made a way for us to have unity again by sending His son, Jesus Christ. This brought a choice of change into our lives. We had the choice to accept Christ's gift of life, or we had the choice to reject it. As Christians, we have chosen to make a good change of having God as king of our life instead of ourselves. Now, this is where the true challenge comes into our lives.
Even though we have chosen to give our life to God, we still sometimes try to hold some back. We still live in our flesh and have some of the same desires of sin. We are changed by Christ, but we haven't fully changed our ways to match up with our choice. It's like going on a diet; we have our "cheat" days. With God there is no "cheat" days. We need to live up to the standard we have been called to. God was gracious enough to choose to give us life; it's time for us to live up to that holy lifestyle.
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called," Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)
I can even see it in my own life. Yes, I am a Christian, but I still do that same, stupid sin sometimes. I feel like I can't let go of some of those fleshly desires in my life. It's not easy to live a life true to my word. I say I am a follower of Christ, and then turn around and do something that is specifically wrong in God's eyes.
We all do it. Sometimes we say we want to change, but we chicken out. We are too in love with our sin. We don't think we can live without it. We can't live without God either, so what is our choice?
Maybe you are saying right now, "Yeah, I'm a Christian and I sin, but it doesn't bother me. It's not that bad. I mean, God knows I'm gonna sin anyways and He's forgiven me so what does it matter?" Let me tell you, IT MATTERS A LOT! If you do not feel convicted or ashamed of offending the king of your life with sin, maybe you should examine yourself. Is He truly your Savior, or did you just say a prayer so that you can go to Heaven? If you are serious about having a relationship with God, and you are having doubts, it is never too late to call upon His name.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 1 Peter 1:10 (ESV)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)
God wants us to be serious about our relationship with Him. It's never too late to wake up. If we are true believers, we died to our own ways; we need to stop going back to what is dead. It's time to stop walking as the dead and live life the way we are called to live. It's not easy to change, but it is not optional. As Christians we are called to change to His ways. God will not conform to our ways. We need to change our way of thinking, our way of speaking, and our way of living.
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 12:2 (ESV)
Let's be the ones who are willing to stand up. I want to start a change and actually hold firm to what I say I believe. We need to stop trying to serve God while serving sin. It doesn't work! it won't work! Even Jesus said a man can't serve two masters. We need to be willing to change. We need to be willing to allow God to make a difference in our life.
Think of it this way: we are all light bulbs. A light bulb lights up, right? Wrong! A light bulb ONLY lights up when it has its source of energy. Without screwing it in, and turning on the switch, the light bulb is dark.
As light bulbs, without being screwed into place, we are nothing. That is what we are without Christ, worthless. We can never screw ourselves in; we need His helping hand. We have a purpose of showing light, but without Christ, we will waste what our purpose is. We will be worthless without Christ giving us purpose.
If you accept the gift of life, Christ will screw you in. Some believe that is the end of the story. "Yes, I allowed Jesus to come into my life. Now my life is complete." Well, this is not exactly the end of the story. This is more of a fresh beginning.
Yes, Christians are now screwed in and are being a "good person" like they should be, but this is not what is intended by salvation. Salvation is the beginning of a life of sacrifice. Salvation is allowing Christ to screw you in and be used by Him. If you tell Christ not to turn the switch on, yes you have Christ, but you aren't showing how Christ can use you. You then become worthless again.
When Christ gives you life, don't hold back from letting Him use you to shine for Him. He needs you to be a light to others so that others may come to know Him. The life of a Christian is of service. You need to tell God, "Yes, I am willing to let you turn the switch on. I am willing to look different then the others who are not screwed in. I am willing to be a leader to those who are screwed in but have not let you turn the switch on. I am willing to change for you."
When Christ gives you life, don't remain in the works of the dead man you once were. Let Him change you. Remember, you may be a problem, but you are not the problem. We together are the problem. God is the resolver, and with God, we can change. Let's not be the problem; let Him work in you to become His work of art. Be the one who stands up for God.
I haven't had the chance to write this week because it has been SO busy!!! I've had work, had a group of guys over for fellowship the one night, I had to write an essay for school, and it has just been crazy. Thankfully, it has been a great week! Even though it was a little stressful, I thank God for how well it has been going. To Him be the glory.
I still wanted to share something for the week so I had an idea. For school I had to write an essay for an honor society banquet that is tonight, and I (along with 3 others) will be reading what I have written. There was a mix up of who was writing about which of the four categories, and I ended up writing a second essay. My second one was definitely better because I had a little help from my good friend and teacher, Mrs. Heitner. I shared the second one first, which is on service, and then decided I might as well share my leadership essay also. I hope you enjoy them. I hope you are having a blessed week! If you would like to contact me or sign up for my newsletter, I love the interaction. Also, if you are a blogger like me, I would definitely love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on my site and I would definitely love to check out your site also. Again, have a wonderful week, and remember to thank God for your blessings.
Do you ever need a reminder? Maybe you need something to keep you motivated and on track? Well, it's a Sunday night, and I don't want Monday to be here already! My weekend went WAY too fast. I think it's a good idea to have a reminder for the week.
Remember God's promises! Here are a few to meditate on for the week ahead of you. (I understand I can go into much more detail with each of these, but I'm going to keep it brief. You can always dive further into God's word for more promises and answers.)
1. God promises to sustain:
It might be a little hard for me to relate since I am not paying many bills and living on my own yet, but I understand that money can be an issue for some people. Maybe you wonder how you will afford college. Maybe you wonder how you will ever be able to provide for a family. Maybe you wonder if you will even have food in the pantry next week. Don't carry these worries alone. Trust in your almighty God who promises to provide for you. There's nothing out of His reach; He can do the impossible. Have faith and ask for Him to be there for you.
2. God promises hope:
He is worthy of praise! When you come to grips with how wretched you are, it should just remind you so much more of how awesome God is. He sent His own son, Jesus, to make a way for you. He died for you so you don't have to pay for your sins. He made the payment for you. Praise God for making a way for you and me to come before Him boldly. Praise God for the hope He has given you of salvation from sin. He had a plan and created a way for man to have unity with Him. What an awesome promise of hope!
3. God promises purpose:
This point is my favorite. I just love the picture it puts in my head when I think about how God changed me from having a worthless life to having a life full of purpose. I think of God taking garbage and shaping it into something beautiful. Purpose is all we ever need in life. Without purpose, there is no meaning to you. With God's purpose, he can use you to change the lives of others. Making the decision of giving your life to Christ, is a decision of following in His footsteps. Don't feel worthless, but remember God promise. He can use you.
4. God promises forgiveness:
Have you ever thought about how dirty you are? Have you ever thought about how loving and forgiving God is? It almost doesn't make sense? How could He forgive someone like you or me? He is truly amazing! I can't comprehend how He forgives me for my past, present, and future mistakes. When He sees me, He doesn't look at my sin anymore; He sees His son, who has saved me! Again, it's such a beautiful picture that God puts in my head. Be overwhelmed by His forgiveness. Thank God for it daily. It's truly amazing how a holy God forgives an unholy sinner. How great is His love for you and me!
5. God promises life:
Lastly, God promises life. Before salvation, you were a dead man walking. You were living life by King You! You did what you want, said what you want, and didn't care about anyone but yourself. Maybe you had morals put in place because of good parenting or upbringing, but your life was centered around you. It says in the Bible that outside of Christ, you will not see life, but in Christ you have eternal life. Once you were dead; now you have life in Him. Thank God for becoming a part of your life! What else could you ask for? This is the biggest blessing God can promise to you. He offers life to you when you deserve judgement for being imperfect. Remember the promise that God gives you life. He wakes you up and pulls you from the sinful death you once walked in. Walk worthy of this new life you are living for Him.
I wanted to put these reminders out there for those who have given their life to Christ and found themselves in a rut. Maybe you just feel stuck or are struggling recently. Here's the wake up call to get you back on your feet.
I've said it before, and I will say it again. God does not promise an easy life. We're suppose to reflect Christ. If you have ever read the gospels, you can see He had some rough spots too (especially the part where He died). It isn't easy living a life sacrificed for God's glory, but it is definitely worth it.
I want to remind you of the blessing of God's promises to motivate you. It's so amazing to know God has promised so much! One of the greatest promises of all is that He doesn't lie. He is an honest God. Jesus even says it in a prayer in John 17:17. Many times throughout scripture, the Bible is called "the word of truth." God is honest throughout His word. I'm so thankful for the attributes of God, especially honesty. He won't break the promises he has made for you and me.
This verse was shown to me recently by Ashlea Heitner and has been a good reminder to me when I read God's word. Don't forget about God's promises. Let them encourage you.
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
If you haven't read the analogy I wrote that I will be referencing to, here is a link to read it now. Part IV will be covering the topic of "Desire" (roughly paragraphs six and seven).
Have you ever came to the point of life where you hit that wall right in front of you and you feel a little stupid because you knew it was there? It's like when you're looking to the side, talking to a friend, and you walk into something. That's kinda what happens for Christians who finally get serious about their life being lived for Christ. It takes some longer than others, but know that God cares for His children. Sometimes God puts a roadblock in your life as a wake up call.
When you come to that point where you say to yourself "Duh!" after you realize following God's way is the better action, you have two choices to make. You can either decide you'd rather keep going about your way, or you can decide to get serious with God, ask Him for the help, and search the map with Him for guidance.
Let's say you chose to go about your own way. Maybe you feel that God will never forgive you, or you're too deep into this sin and don't want to give it up anymore. Maybe you decided that His way is too hard. Maybe you only chose God because you wanted to be saved, but you still want to live your life your way.
I'd encourage you to never feel abandoned by God. Know that you can go back to Him, dirty, wasted, and broken; He will pick you up every time. God won't leave you behind. Know that struggling through life with God on your side is much better than struggling through life alone. I'm not saying it will be easier physically, but it is definitely easier mentally knowing God is with you every step of the way.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
If you only asked Christ to come into your life and save you because you wanted to escape God's wrath, you should examine yourself. God is not a tag-along friend to save you from fire. Salvation is built on faith, not on some prayer you said one day. Your life cannot be ruled by your desires; life is lived for God's glory alone. Don't try to take that away from Him. If you have not come to the point of true desire to live a life for Christ, maybe you have never given it to Him in the first place. Have you really accepted the role of living for Christ, putting His desires over yours?
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV)
Search Him out! You will find Him! He is the one and only true answer to life! Stop your search for a purpose here, and look to the almighty Creator for salvation. Stop living for the pleasures that are passing; die to sin and live for Christ!
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17 (ESV)
When you decide to get serious with God, Praise His name! Praise God for bringing you to the point of brokenness for His purpose of opening your eyes to Him. God desires you to follow Him; God wants your desires to be met through His will.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
The more you choose Christ in your life, the stronger your relationship grows. The stronger your relationship grows, the more you will desire to please Him. The Christian life is all about the work of the Father. It can be done alone, at home, at work, in private, in public; God can be worked out of your life everywhere and everyday. It's all about choosing Him and letting your desire to bring glory to God drive your life.
It's definitely not easy to let God call the shots in life. It's not always easy to look at the map or ask Him for assistance with things in life. Sometimes you think, "I got this" or "I know this is probably something I shouldn't do, but I'm not one-hundred percent. I'll just not ask or check the map so I don't feel guilty about it."
It's easy to deceive yourselves or fall to your own flesh. Sometimes you fall back to your own desires because you have given God a lot and you want a small part of your life. Maybe deep down you know that you have sin in your life, but you keep it a "secret" by not bringing it up to God or searching His word.
“For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps. There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themselves. Job 34:21-22 (ESV)
Follow His ways, and soon His ways will become your ways. Know and try to comprehend how much He loves you, and soon His love for you will become your love for others. Be a follower of God and His desires; soon His desires will become your desires. Fight the sin that creeps into your life. You will probably mess up. No, you WILL mess up, but get back up and look to Him every time you fall. Drive according to the map.
Live your life choosing Christ. Let God become the desire over bringing glory to self. God's ways are better than your own; let Him guide the way. Listen to what He has to say, and talk to Him about everything. He will help you grow and bless you. Die to yourself daily, and put on the desire of living for Christ. Live life keeping Him in power; let Him empower you to live out His desires.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24
This is the end of my series of "Who Is in Power", and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments you can leave them below, or you can go to the "Subscribe" page and contact me there. I hope that I encouraged you and have given you a new way of looking at your life. God bless!
If you haven't read the analogy I wrote that I will be referencing to, here is a link to read it now. Part III will be covering the topic of "Expectations" (roughly paragraphs four through six).
What do you expect of God? Have you ever thought about that? Do you treat Him as if you expect something from Him. I know I have definitely done this. I can think of times that I have thought of God as a bail out. I expect Him to help me when I'm in trouble. If you do something stupid, or something you know was wrong, and it back fires, should you expect God to do anything?
Maybe you expect God to say, "I told you so!" Maybe you expect God to be like, "Here I'll help you out this one time." or, "Come on, really? I can't believe you! You are such a mess up!" Maybe you expect Him to not say anything at all or not to even look at you.
God is loving and is full of overwhelming mercy. He will get you through every mistake you have made. This is not to be used in your own way. Don't expect God to "bail you out" when you decide to do the same sin every day without caring about God's direction. He will not be angry with you or throw you out of His family, but instead He will wait for you. Treat God with the respect He deserves. If you had someone you were in authority of, asked them to do as you said, and they did the complete opposite, would you not be let down? You expected them to listen!
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13 (ESV)
Think of it this way. When you were (or still are) living with your parents, did you ever say to your father, "Dad, did you do that list of chores I gave to you, yet?" Did you ever say, "Dad, the grass looks high. Go mow the lawn." or, "Dad, I broke the window with the baseball. Go clean it up before Mom gets home. If she sees it, you did it." OF COURSE NOT! What kind of respect is that? My dad would not be happy if I talked like that. I'd be lucky if He didn't punish me for disrespect like that, but that is how you treat God.
"God, did you get me a raise at work yet? If not, I need it! Can't you help me out?" Maybe what you ask isn't always a bad thing to ask for, but there is a lack of faith. instead of asking for a raise, ask God to be the great provider as He has been throughout the Bible. Think of the ways He provided for Israel. He guided them day and night, told them when to move and when to set up camp, and even fed them. It's not wrong to ask God to help you; it's the way you ask Him.
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people." Exodus 13:22-23 (KJV)
"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”" Exodus 16:4-5 (ESV)
"God, you know Paul has cancer. Can you just cure Him and put Him out of misery? You are making Paul and his family go through a very hard trial. How can you do that to Him? I thought you were a loving God!" Sometimes we ask God to do things that are not part of His will. We can pray, and pray, and pray, expecting an answer; but God doesn't always give the answer we like. Know that God has a reason for everything He allows to happen to people. Whether it's a trial or a blessing, God has a reason. Trust His way even when you think His way is wrong. God knows the future; He can see further down the highway than we can. He has a better view of the next exit for your life and the lives of all His children.
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
"God, can't you see the mess I made with my life? Can you erase it or sweep it under the carpet for me? Do Something!" Sometimes, we try to switch places with God. We try to make God the servant, make Him drive, and tell Him where to go. God doesn't do that; God will not submit to someone as faulty as you or me. There is only ONE God, and that God is not you. Stop trying to steal His authority; the position of a servant is an overwhelming blessing.
"If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." John 12:26 (ESV)
When you try to snatch God's place away from Him, you try to live a life driven by pride like Satan once did. He is a great example of how pride can drive you. God gives you a position of a servant, a friend, and most importantly a child, but you let your ego get in the way and say you want better. God didn't allow Satan to take His glory; don't think you are any special exception. Be thankful as a servant of God. Don't try to make God the driver of your life and listen to your ways. God doesn't drive; God guides.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105 (KJV)
God expects His servants to live life according to His word. He provides direction; you just have to follow. Two mistakes that Christians make are following their own way instead, or not moving at all, expecting God to somehow make things happen in your life while you sit back and watch. The Bible is full of verses about the lust of our flesh and desires of our heart. The Christian life is described as a life of labor with effort in it. That shuts down both those ideas. You are God's servant who is expected to follow Him.
The bottom line is that you cannot expect anything from God. He has already given you so much and you're going to be ungrateful and ask for more? How selfish can you get? God has given you more than you can ever ask! God provided a way for unity between God and man, and that's not enough for you? We are trash, that God decided to make into something beautiful, and we are still disappointed in Him. It's sad how we let our pride get in the way of who our God truly is.
Remember that God is in power. You are the servant. God has already given you plenty; be thankful for what He has given and know that He will still provide. You are the servant; God expects you to live for His purpose. It's your choice. Live the life of your dreams, (dreams fade and lead to disappointment) or live the life that you, as a Christian, have been called to live. God has a purpose and plan for you. Go seek it out.
If you haven't read the analogy I wrote that I will be referencing to, here is a link to read it now. Part II will be covering the topic of "Acceptance" (roughly the first three paragraphs).
So first off I want to make a point. Throughout history, men have tried to prove that time is circular, or that it never changes. They say there is proof that there is nothing new, and that there is no start or beginning. In other words, we are living in a meaningless routine. I want to tell you that is NOT true! They are right, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), but they are wrong in saying there is not a purpose, or an end goal to life.
God proves them wrong with the first three words of Genesis, "In the beginning". He started history, and He has a purpose and plan for where it is going.
I say all this to explain that life is like a long, crowded highway you are driving on. Each stop you make are the choices you make in life. The highway is the ordinary routine. Each exit is a decision you are making to be brought in your life. Whether it's as big as quitting your job, or as small as going to the park. Each and every exit you take matters.
Accepting Jesus into your life is a big choice. It's like you park your car on the side of the highway, and start driving His instead. You are leaving behind the old you, the old ways, and starting fresh with God in your life.
When you become a Christian, it is easy to follow Christ at first. It feels good to talk to your new heavenly Father, and it's easy to do what is right to please him until life hits you right in the face. It's like you're driving down the highway with Jesus, and you see all these exits you want to stop at. Now you wish you didn't have Jesus with you, or you wish that Jesus would just let you have a "little fun." You know His words, and you know it's not what He wants.
This is where a lot of Christians fall away. Sure, you want eternal life, but you want to follow your heart instead of Christ. You don't want Him to show you the map and tell you what is true. You would rather here the lies of your flesh to fill your heart's passions.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
I want to encourage you that accepting Christ is a huge step worth taking in life, but know what you are choosing. Christianity is not just some religion like the others; Christianity is a lifestyle shaped after a relationship with God.
Come to the understanding that He is King and you are a servant. If you choose to follow Him, know it is worth giving up some fleshly desires that only fill you with more emptiness. Anything outside of God or that is done without God is meaningless and benefits you with nothing. A life lived for God and a heart that follows after Him is full of blessings.
Don't become angry with God. Don't become frustrated because you want something you know He doesn't want you to have. God has a better plan. His reasons are higher than your desires. Anger causes you to make mistakes like cutting off His word or cutting off praying. Don't let your desires control you.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." I Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)
Know that even if you push God away, He will never push you away. Sometimes we are fed up with living for Him. This is wrong, but He will always welcome you back. He won't leave. He will stay, sitting right beside you, waiting for you to talk to Him again. He accepts you with love and compassion. God hates sin, but He doesn't hate His children. His mercy towards you is overwhelming. He is a just God, but He is also a loving God.
He doesn't promise a life without punishment. He doesn't promise it to be easy. He doesn't promise to make you perfect. Don't expect life to be easy or for you to be an exception. Just remember once you accept Christ into your life, He won't leave you. He will help you through your struggles and pain. He will direct you where you are in fault. Stay close to Him, and He will stay close to you. Rely on Him instead of yourself. He is your guide; He will always look on you with love.
Accept His love. Accept His way. Accept His word as your guide. He is your Father and your friend. Don't push Him away, but live in honor of all that He has already done for you. A life for Christ is a life of blessings. He will give you purpose. Live in acceptance to Him.
If I really wanted to, I could make this post short. I could say, "Keep the power where it belongs." and be done, but I think there is a little more to it. As Christians we know God holds power in our lives; He is the one who leads our life. I just feel like we have the head knowledge but don't live it out the way God wants us to. I want to take the time to write a 3-5 part series on this topic. Here is an analogy I will be coming back to in the next few posts:
You are driving down the highway of life. You have different destinations you stop at on the exits, and then you continue with the ordinary highway. Every now and then you have to make a stop; you have many goals along the road of life that come and go throughout it.
One day you decided to follow Jesus and use His car in the highway of life. At first you drove, and He used the map. He guided everywhere you should and shouldn't go. He brought you through some amazing journeys. You guys talked all the time; He seemed to always know the answers.
Then Jesus started telling you things you wish He didn't. He told you not to go to places you knew you shouldn't be going to. Some of them seemed obvious, but some of them were annoying. "Why can't I stop there?" you thought. "What's the big deal? Why's He acting like He owns my life?"
Angrily you went about your own way and soon stopped listening to Jesus' guidance. You became a little more reckless on and off the highway making choices that you once never would have. You Won't talk to Jesus anymore, but He is still sitting there waiting. You feel like He's staring you straight in the face sometimes, especially when you've messed up. Every time you take a glance at Jesus, His eyes aren't full of anger; instead they are full of love. You feel guilt fill up inside you, but you push it away and keep on driving.
Some days you cry out to Jesus when you are in panic. "Jesus, I really did it this time, I know you can save me. What are you going to do?" With no response, or maybe just the one you weren't looking for, you become angry again. "I thought you were my friend! Answer me!" Again, you have let your anger overwhelm your situations that you have put yourself in. "Fine, you drive!" you say as you get out to switch seats, but Jesus doesn't move. Instead, you just see those loving eyes staring back at you. The guilt brings you to your knees.
"Forgive me, God! I need you to lead my life again! I've gone astray, and I need your help. I can't live life alone. I am lost and don't know where to go. Hear my plea; can you forgive a sinner as dirty as me?"
After your cry of help, you get back in the driver seat. This time you see Jesus holding His map again. You turn the ignition on and get ready to put the car in drive. Before you can Jesus hands the map to you. The old map has a bookmark near the middle that you open to. You see a verse that answers your prayer.
Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (KJV)
"Thank you, Lord. I'm ready to follow you." You get back on the highway of life as Jesus holds the map. Throughout your journey you seem to look at the map with Jesus for guidance. You find it that you are talking to Him more often than ever. Your life becomes full of trials and struggles, but it is full of overwhelming blessings and grace too. Jesus has always been there. He never leaves you and is always in the car with you. He is the guide to your life. He brings you to great destinations and helps you find comfort through the hard ones.
He loves you. He comforts you. He fills your heart with grace and mercy. He has shaped your life to live more and more after Him. Driving with His guidance has become more of a desire than a struggle. You long for His way instead of yours. You long to live more like Christ.
Okay, so I hope you enjoyed my little story. I am going to be going over some key parts of it in different posts. See if you can guess what they are going to be on. Read through the story and see if some of the story may apply to you personally. I know it does in my life. If something is not clear to you it will be made clear after I explain it in the near future. God bless!
"Lack of consistency can bring on a lack of interest." -Anonymous
You remember that time you were on fire for God? You did devotions every day, you prayed when you woke up and went to bed, you were encouraging to others, you always had a smile on your face, and you looked like you were living the "Christian life" the right way. What happened? Where did your flame go? That light that you once had, has shimmered down to a few sparks here and there. The flames you once fanned and fed to keep a consistent burning and desire inside you has dimmed to a low glow of dying embers. Every now and then, you light a match to let your fire begin again, but it is easily blown out and pushed aside for other desires in your life.
Your what use to be fire is now just a fire place waiting to be lit. You remember it sometimes, but do not have the same desire to stay warm as before. You have gotten use to the cool air full of sin around you. Sometimes the cold sin brings a shiver up your spine; you look back at your fireplace and think to light it. "No," you tell yourself, "I'm too far gone for that warmth anymore. I don't need it, and I don't want it."
I saw a fitness ad once that really gave me some inspiration in writing about this. It said, "Routine=Consistency; Consistency=Results" How true is that in the Christian life of you and me today? I can personally say that so often in life I've done this. I would be consistent in my walk with God for a time. I would pray to God before I ate and when I woke up, I would read my Bible like I should, I would listen to uplifting music instead of today's top hits, and I would feel like I'm really pleasing God. It was great! As you can guess, it didn't stay that way.
Some friends would show me a new "cool" song that I just had to listen to. Now I'm listening to that garbage again. I'd hear a dirty joke in the locker room and chime in with a laugh or a comment of my own. Now I'm using filthy talk again. I would hear some really juicy gossip that I just had to share or ask about. Now I'm talking about others. I would forget about reading my Bible because I tell myself, "I'll get to it later." Is later here yet? I guess not because I haven't read it for a few days. Now I've pushed God's speaking out of my life. What's next?
When the Holy spirit gets my attention I tell myself lies like, "Oh, I'm not that bad." or, "Okay, I will read the Bible once to make up for all the other times I missed it." Read those lies again. Do you see any desire in them? My desire for God has been completely shut out because I filled my heart with the world instead of God.
This is a common mistake of many Christians. Yes, I am saved, but sometimes I go into the battle without my armor. You know you do this too. So often you fill your life with things that seem great and maybe aren't bad, but you shut out the priority. As a Christian, God should always be at the top and above everything. He is the foundation and sets your standards of how you live.
Sometimes you hear a really great message, or go to a Christian concert, or go on a missions trip, or hear a story of a miracle, and you run to your fireplace. You start a roaring fire and are almost pressured into being a light for Christ because you realize you need to get back into the routine. Why doesn't that ever last? Why do you let the fire die?
This may not be the ONLY reason that Christians fall back, but (in my opinion) this is one of the biggest struggles of a Christian. WE ARE LAZY!
You set standards and pursuits in your life in line of what God tells you, and you don't hold true to yourself. Don't be discouraged! It's not because you can't do it! It's because you are forgetting something: you can't do it on your own. Live your life according to God WITH God.
Ask Him to stick to doing devotions at a certain time. You can't just jump to being good at something. It's going to be tough! You are going to mess up! You are going to forget! But know that you can do it. God wants to talk to you; He will help you. After doing something over and over and over (and over), it will start to stick and become easier. Become consistent in your daily walk with God. Let your light shine for Christ. Be different! Your consistency will show results. Strive for those results.
Maybe you struggle with something other than devotions. Everyone has that one sin that's more tempting than the others. You are probably going to fall a lot before you learn to step over that stumbling block in your life. Know that God is with you and will help you get through it. Your consistency in trying to do what is right will have results of breaking old sinful habits.
Keeping a fire constantly going is hard work, but it's work that glorifies your King! Know that living the life of Christ is more praiseworthy. It's easy to become lazy and give up. I do it all the time! Never let that stop you from trying again. Don't fall so far away you become uninterested with the work of your Father. Keep on toward the goal. You can never fall too far from God for Him to reach down and help you back up. Continue struggling for Him, and your consistency will bring results.
My pastor has recently been challenging the congregation to read the book of Ephesians every day or throughout the week. I've read Ephesians before, but every time I go through it, I feel like new things pop out at me every time. In a nutshell, the book of Ephesians tells us what God did, what we should do about it, and how to do it. Here is my very simple outline of what I have personally learned from Ephesians.
What God did:
God made a way. for us as sinners to have unity with Him. It is found all throughout the book. God adopted us into His family. He has predestined me. He showed grace to me. He had mercy upon me. He loved me! That's what God did. He prepared a sacrifice through His son, Jesus Christ, and made it possible for me to have life in Christ. It's truly the greatest love story known to man. God chose me before the creation of the world, and He knew He would save me someday. Isn't that amazing? God has chosen us. He knew how rotten and filthy in sin I'd be, yet He still decided to send Jesus to die for me. God made a way for all to have unity with Him. God showed love to the world.
What we should do:
God has given a purpose to believers in Jesus Christ. He has chosen us, and has a plan for us. Paul reminds me how dead I was in sin, and how God has saved me. To God be the glory! Through His grace He has saved me. Now I need to walk worthy to that calling. God wants me to live up to the standard of a Christian. We need to mature in Christ. God doesn't want to live the way we use to live. He has changed us! He has made us alive. A living man doesn't act as the dead man does. He shows life. We need to show we are alive in Christ and not dead to sins. We need to get rid of our old sinful habits. We can't hold hands with God and the world. Put it away. Just because we become saved, does not mean we will not struggle. God doesn't promise an easy life; but He does promise the strength to get through it. He does promise a purpose. I need to live up to His standards and pursue the Christian life God has planned ahead of me.
How to do it:
I know I need to live differently. I know I need to glorify God and choose his way. I know I keep falling to sin. How do I stop. The last few chapters of Ephesians sum it up. I need to live the life of love. After putting off the old man, replace him with the new man. The old man is dead. Live as a new man alive in Christ. Don't fall back to old ways. Live as God's holy people live. I need to search out God's wisdom. I need to walk in the light. I need to live as a servant to others. That's how Christ lived; He laid the example when He was on earth. He came as a servant to us. I need to be in unity with the body of Christ and in unity with God. Ephesians tells me I will struggle against my flesh and this world. I am at war with sin. It's time to put the armor of God in play. Ephesians ends with telling me how to prepare for war. I love how it ends with prayer. Prayer is so important in my life; I need God daily. Prayer is so humbling to me as I hope it is to you.
That's the book of Ephesians in a nutshell. There is probably much more you can get out of that I did not cover, but this is what I grasped from it. I have been studying Ephesians in school, church, and my own daily devotions. I find new things each time. It's becoming one of my favorite books to read.
Here is a small part of one of my favorite messages from my pastor. If you have the time, I'd encourage you to listen to it. It really touches me, and I think it will encourage you also.
Lastly, thank you to all who have been following/reading my blog. It is very encouraging when I get feedback from those who read it. The Facebook likes, the shares, the comments, and the private messages have all been very motivating to me. It makes me want to keep writing. Keep sharing, liking, and giving me your thoughts. The more views I get, the more encouraged I am to write. In my first month of writing I had 1800+ views. I hope and pray that what I write touches the lives of others. What I write is only my own understanding of what God has laid upon my heart, and I believe He wants me to share it. To God be all the glory. Thank you!
You breathe, walk, and talk. You sleep and get up every day. You either go to work or school. You do your daily tasks just like any other day. You go to church on Sundays (or when you get to it). You play a sport or have a special hobby you enjoy. You feel just as alive as everyone else around you, but are you really?
Physically, yes, you are a living man or woman traveling a path through this earth. You are making an impact. It may be big or small, but everyone is making some sort of influence upon other people's lives. As a Christian that influence should be positive. The way you live should look different. Don't let your Christian life become less meaningful. Become full of Christ; don't be lifeless.
You know what the lifeless Christians look like. They go to church. They say that devotions are great. They say God is good. They pray like everyone else. They look good until it comes to their outside world. At work you would never know the difference between them and the other coworkers. Outside of the church walls it's like the "Christian flashlight" is turned off till next Sunday. Maybe you are this way. Maybe you think, "Oh, I'm just saving my God battery for next week." or "Wow! that message was fantastic." and forget all about your faith.
Don't become a stale Christian. It's easy to go through the motions; it's not easy to give your life to Christ. How simple it is to say a prayer and tell yourself you're saved now! Now you can go on living your life how you want because you don't want to give ALL of it to God... just the parts that people are watching.
How lifeless can we get as Christians!?!?!
Living life for Christ should be a life full of energy. You have a purpose; pursue it through motivation. Be encouraged knowing that you have a home, and you are going to that home to be with your King someday! You are not home yet. You are on this earth to do business for God. Giving your life to God is just the beginning of a new life. Putting Jesus Christ as your Savior is sacrificing your life on earth to be lived for Him. He has given you a purpose. Live it out to the fullest.
Don't let temptations and downfalls hold you down. Don't fall away to what you need to be clinging to. Don't become bland to your faith. Don't become lifeless.
Be strong in the Lord! He will give you strength. He is the great provider. He is all-powerful! Being a Christian should be exciting. God has given you a reason and a way to go about your life. Is that not the greatest gift of all? He has given us life through a sacrifice of His son, and you're going to choose to not let that change you? He transforms our lives. The old man is dead; we are made new in Christ. Don't be a lifeless Christian! Let that fire you up to be a more excited Christian.
God has changed you! Let that be shown in every single crevice of your life. Tell others how He can change them too! Explode in your Christian faith. A purpose means everything. Have the motivation to tell others,
"I am alive in Christ!"
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
There's always a moral to a story. Whether you are looking for it or not, there is a climax that leads to a conclusion showing if characters will make the right decisions in the story. There are good and bad times that lead to a happy or sometimes sad ending. Each story, whether it's a movie, or a book, or someone's life, has a conclusion. You always see how each action leads to a reaction. You will see how one choice leads to different moments. It's a chain effect. That's what makes a story so real. Without a link to the chain, the story is incomplete. Everything has to fall together. Here's an example:
Sweat runs down my face as I pace back and forth. How am I going to fix this? I think of my options, but they all seem to fall to shame. I hear the "whoop-whoop" coming closer. I can't be here when they are! Adrenaline rushes through me. I dig my hands into my empty pockets as if I'm going to find an answer to my problem. I look out the window. Down the road I can now see red and blue flashes bouncing off buildings proceeding my way. I rush to the kitchen sink and wash the blood off my hands as if that will wash away the pain. I look at the dark ruby stain on my jeans. Evidence is all over me, and I'm not to be blamed.
I give one last look at the living room scene, "I'm sorry, Mom" and bolt out the back door as I hear someone smash through the front. I run through backyards jumping over neighbor's bushes and taking ragged breaths in between my strides. I should have remembered my inhaler. I take a quick peak to see if anyone is following me. That was a mistake! Before I can dodge it, I smash right into Mr. Docking's apple tree. I feel pain rushing to my head; The night sky above me spins in circles. I don't have to be able to see myself to know there is a bump the size of a golf ball on the left side of my head. Breathing is becoming foreign; the oxygen in the air is becoming unreachable. The world around me is becoming a fading fuzz. I hear someone walking towards me, but I'm too weak and can't concentrate my eyes on the figure. I can't keep fighting my body. I give in, shut my eyes tight hoping for the best, and pass out.
This is an example of a link, just one part of the chain. Without the full chain, or full story, you do not have any idea what is happening. You probably have ideas in your mind, but you will never know what happened or why this character is running or if he gets away. You don't even know the main character's first name. Obviously, a story has more to it; there is an introduction, some drama, maybe some action or romance, and a conclusion.
Life is a chain effect story. Your life is a link-by-link chain getting longer every day. Your life had a beginning and will have an end. There is a main story and many side stories. You are creating this chain; you apply new links continuously. As you make decisions, it effects how your life plays out. Some decisions in your life may not matter as much as others like your favorite color, favorite sport, or going to McDonald's or Burger King, but the choices that matter are the ones that will have an ultimate effect on your life.
Every major choice you are making in your life is either done for you or for God. Every time you choose yourself over God, it is becoming easier. You decide that sin is okay this time, but that's what you said the last seven times. You decide that this isn't that bad, but the line you drew six months ago has been moved to a further extent. Choosing yourself over God is basically saying, "God I put my trust in you, and I know you are all-knowing, but I got this one." Stop falling to your weak flesh, and look for strength in Christ.
Maybe you think that building your life chain your way is better. Why does it matter to build it God's way? Maybe you see life as a playground. "I might die tomorrow so I might as well play it out how I want to now." Your logic is backwards. Your faith is weak if you think you should live for your own pleasures. Living a life of your own pleasures can become an addicting and sinful habit. Deciding to live life your way leads to a life without a purpose. A life without a purpose will leave you drowning in your sin. Then when you get to the end of your chain you will realize the waste; you will see that all pleasure was only for a season. You will find that your life story's conclusion was not a happy ending.
Look to Christ and ask for the strength you need to persevere in your life. Find the confidence in God to live life for Him instead of yourself. Instead of living in the moment, live looking to your conclusion. Ask God, "How can I live my life more for you, today?" Setting a strong foundation in Christ will set a good habit of living life for God.
You know you will fall into sin. No one is perfect, but don't make that the excuse to sin freely. There will be climaxes in your life. There will be hardships and downfalls, but don't give up. Make your motive to persevere to the conclusion of your life. Choose to live trusting God's control to the end. An eternal benefit from God is better than anything you or the world can offer to your own life. Make your story have an ending that points to Christ. Let your mistakes cause you to look to God for more help. Ask for His strength to overcome your struggles. You can't do it alone, but He promises you don't have to. Stop taking baby steps towards God while still living for yourself. Don't be afraid to take full steps in God's direction. His motive set before you will lead to a life full of His blessing. Look at your life. What's your conclusion look like right now? Would someone be able to tell who you were living your life for? Make the changes you need to make with His help. Start building your chain in His direction. Your motive is effected by decisions. It's never too late to change your motive. Set God as a new motive; make your story one to remember.
Some say it's not about how fast you finish the race; it's about finishing honestly and humbly. "Slow and steady wins the race." You know the story of how the stuck up hare made a bad choice and ended up losing the race to the tortoise, but life is not always the same. Yes, life can be seen as a race. Is it always about going slow and steady? I don't believe so. Let me explain myself.
Never underestimate yourself! You do it all the time. You tell yourself it's easier to take things slow or to not do something at all when you have full capability to easily do something. It's easier to just take baby steps then to take the big steps. Everything you do should be to the best of your ability. Our flesh is lazy and easily pleased. Telling yourself you can do it later is always easier than working hard now. It's easier to push something off; it's easier to push the finish line off for another day. Make your stride longer. Put a little hop in your step. Work hard to the end.
Your stride is like your work ethic. It's basically like how hard you really try to do something. Ever get an easy job and do it half heartedly? I think we can all relate. Let me give you an example.
I'm still in high-school, so a part time job at Dollar General sounded good to me. It's super easy! I stock shelves, work as a cashier, and walk around making sure labels face the right direction. Sounds like the easiest job ever, right? It also makes it very easy to not work hard at it. Slacking is not hard to do during my job. Even simple things like taking my time checking someone's items out, not acknowledging or saying "Hello" to customers, or even just walking around instead of turning labels. I mean, I'm still getting paid so what's the big deal right? WRONG!
Just because no one notices, doesn't make it right. God is always watching. If I'm really living my life to please Him, I shouldn't be giving Him half of me; That's pretty selfish. He's given me a life to live and a chance to live it for Him and I'm going to choose to live it my way, at my pace, and depending on my mood? What kind of commitment of giving my life over to God is that? That's like me saying, "Here, God, you can have my life, but I'm going to live it my way."
Colossians 3: 23 says, "And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"
It may be a simple verse, but it is convicting to my life. Every single thing I do should be worked hard at for God? Sounds like a lot of effort. God never promised the easy life. Am I really sold out to God? I have to take a step forward in what I believe.
So extend your strive towards your mark. Set a goal in front of you, not out of reach, but far enough to make you stretch. God didn't create you to take life easy; He created you to live out your purpose. Don't wait for Him to move, but walk in the direction he guides. God can't use you if you don't move or only take a few steps at a time. Take the leap of faith, knowing God is going to lead the way. How long is your stride?
I am strong. I am brave. I can do this. I won't back down. I won't give up. I won't give in. I am able. I will not fall. I will finish. I can conquer. I will stand firm in what I believe and know. I will rise to my calling. Challenge accepted!
It's time for some motivation. If you haven't already came to the conclusion that some things you just can't do on your own, it's time to wake up. Realize that life is tough. Realize that you're going to get stressed, and annoyed, and depressed; but know that you don't have to go through things alone. God invites you to let Him help take the load.
Know that even though God can be on your side, that doesn't make life easy. God never promised an easy life. In fact, He promises suffering in His name. He promises that anyone not on God's side is against Him. It's time to suit up, and take on that challenge.
The life of a Christian isn't easier, but it has meaning. Go ahead and live the life that the world tries to persuade you with: "the perfect, care-free life with no worries." Does that even sound realistic?
I think of it this way: a life without God is a life without purpose; a life that's lived without a care or a goal is pointless. You know who lives like that? Kids live like that. They don't have a job or responsibilities that they are worried about. They run around recklessly and make a mess of themselves. At a young age, that's okay, but it's time to grow up sooner or later. You can either walk around living like a child, or you can decide it's time to take life seriously.
Life matters. Know that it's important. There is a purpose, and God wants you to live it out. Fulfill your purpose! God uses His people in so many different ways. Just look at the Bible. They didn't all just do the exact same thing (it'd be a pretty boring book if you read about fifty guys building an ark). God has a unique purpose for your life. He has blessed you with talents that you might not even know about yet. God uses His people in many ways, but they all have the same goal: to please Him. That's what life is about, bringing glory to God. What else would it be about? You? Ha! That's funny.
Sounds like a joke, but so often you do that without even knowing it. You think about how YOU will prosper in life. You think about the best interest in YOUR future. It's not wrong to look out for yourself, but it is wrong to think the world revolves around you. Know that God will supply your needs. You don't need to keep worrying about your life if you hand it over to God; He has a much better plan than you could ever form on your own.
Ask God to help you feel motivated. Ask God to help you look to His ways. Ask God to help you live your life for Him instead of yourself. Look like Christ, love like Christ, and live like Christ. That will bring honor to God. That will open the eyes of others. Spread the great news of what He has done in your life. He is a good God. Be determined to live your life out to please Him.
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am only 18, but I've decided to start to write. I feel a burden on my heart that I have much to say, so why not share it? I want to be heard and I want to touch the lives of others. What is a better way than through the internet? I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." It's time for me to live it out.