Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trusting in Him

        We are all given the strength to do far more than our abilities expose through the merciful grace of God.  When we put every ounce of our trust in Him, we are able to expand our knowledge and train our hearts to seek His love.  Sometimes, we lack understanding and crave reasons why, but the hardest thing to grasp is to stop and think that God doesn't let us fall hard on our faces without His help of getting back up.  When we stumble and trip over obstacles, God is always there to respond to our prayers.  When we seek Him instead of worry, He distributes comfort to assure us of our capabilities.  I'm sure we have all heard the saying, "One bad day does not mean you have a bad life."  God doesn't work that way.  He doesn't guilt us into learning a lesson.  He doesn't force us to do things that we know are wrong just to get inside our heads.  God lets us experience new, creative things and helps us grow in Him at the same time.  God won't ever lead us astray, but if we stray away from Him, than we may wake up one day to find our world completely turned around.  Only God knows what is best, so trusting in Him provides us with feelings that instantly convince our minds of His wonderful, saving, and powerful love.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

God Knows Exactly Who I Am

    God knows who I am.  He knows everything about me.  He understands what I don't get myself.  He's always there during every step, but I don't know why I can't always be there for Him.  When I feel so lonely, He makes all my tears turn to dust.  When I don't know what my future holds, He reassures me that I'm not as lost as I thought, that I'm not as broken as I felt, that I'm not as bitter as I appear, and, most of all, he assures me that He is always in my heart.  

    When I don't know how to begin, He shows me paths that I could never figure out on my own.  He's given me a new life, He's taken away my doubts, He gave me a whole new meaning to myself.  He gets why I suffer but knows I can do better and encourages me to find another chapter in this life that we are given.  He tells me that I'm not as far away as I seem.  He shows me ways to be who I am without the fear of someone else to get in the way.  With Him in my life, I have seen what it means to have love and hope.  He gave me a life that I would have never known without Him.  If it weren't for Him, I would be lost, scared, and afraid of the future that lies ahead, but now that I'm saved, I know what it means to live life for someone else other than give back to Him.

    Without God, none of this could ever be real.  None of these things could ever be put into action if it weren't for Jesus dying on the cross for us.  Some of us just don't get the great measures of what He did.  He not only risked His life for us, but sacrificed all He had, to assure everyone that all who believed would live forever, in Him.  Because of God, we are free to be everything He has called us to be with a true heart, kind soul, and pleasurable moments to relive again and again.  He makes all of this possible, and without Him, we would be lost as so many people in this world are.  That is why we have to let our light shine before everyone and teach them what it means to have mercy and grace upon us.

    Through the grace of God, these things can be done.


Be Courageous: Make A Change

        I have asked God to show me, through His word, how to be the Christian that I need to be.  I believe that God desires for every Christian to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to serve our Lord; but  more than just being a Christian and knowing what it means, we need to walk with God through all of our life and be a visual example to those who haven't experienced Christianity at all.  God tells Christians to love all people and seek to tell them more about Him.  Christians should protect, reach out, and teach people about God to example all of His ways.  Christians should model how to walk with God, using integrity and respect.  Some people choose to mock faith or ignore it, but I can tell you as a Christian, that we are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given us.  You can't fall asleep at the job and wake up one day to find that the chances have already passed.
        The scariest position to be in is hearing these statements and agreeing with them, but having no motivation to actually live them out.  Instead, the inspiration that these people lack will sit and die away in darkness.  These people will live for themselves and waste the opportunities they get to really make a difference.  There are some, regardless of the mistakes they have made in the past, who will step up and take the call of leading the example for Christianity in itself.  When possible, Christians are called to love and mentor others who have no religion in their lives, but desperately need the care of an eternal Father.  Whoever is willing and courageous should step up and lead as well.  Christians don't slack off on the job; we are told to guide by God's grace, teach others to follow Christ, accept the responsibilities in life, break the destruction from the past generations, pray and bless others in any way we can, boldly pursue anything God calls us to do.

        I am a Christian, and I will do these things for God.  I have accepted these responsibilities and want the goodness of the Lord over the presence of my life as any good person does; but who can actually live this talk I brave enough to carry on these roles?  Where are the Christians that God has called to step up and lead the life planned out for them?  Where are the courageous Christians that this world lacks?  This generation can be different if we all step up and show others how important God is to all of us; let's change the minds of those who think they are right without God.  Let's make a difference.  Let's make a promise to inspire those around us by exampling all that Christ asks us to do.  If we can perform and act upon these simple scenarios, then God will show us the people that need impacting the most, and He will guide us to say the right words that speak to their hearts.

 "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

**Brief parts of this paragraph are molded from the movie "Courageous":  this is a modified version of a speech presented in the film

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Quit

Jesus is stronger than any of my darkest fears.  If I understand this, then why is it so hard to have trust when things don't go by my plan?  Instantly, as if being electrocuted by a flash of lightning, I curl up and hide in fear because I wasn't prepared for God's plan to come and interrupt mine.  Of course, I knew it would happen at some point, but I thought it would be during better timing, under greater circumstances when I wasn't so cluttered with the rest of my life.  Just when things start to turn around and give me peace, everything is cluttered up all over again.  How am I supposed to have trust when that happens?   If I don't make time for God, then I won't ever be able to trust that He knows best.   

 I have trust because, even when I can't see Him, I understand that He knows me and He will protect me.  No matter how busy or overcrowded my schedule seems to become, I will always have time for Jesus if I allow it.

During this new year, I have many things on my mind of what I want to quit.

Examples include:  clutter, saying "yes" when I really mean "no", constant distractions from God, speed (moving too fast), multitasking and trying to get everything done at the last minute, activities followed by activities, spiritual emptiness, and settling for good instead of best.

When all of these things are capable of fixing, then I see no reason to stand by and continue to watch them happen.  So I quit.  I quit trying to do more than I can handle, I quit living with clutter because I just don't have time to be organized, I quit hiding what I really feel to avoid showing my true feelings, I quit filling my life with activity after activity, and I quit settling for what is "good" instead of what is "best".

During this new year, I am going to quit filling my life with all of these empty habits and start building more time for God.  I am going to quit doing all of these pointless things, and assemble my life to be under God's plan, not mine.  Most of all, I want God to lead me to have courage to trust Him when things don't go by my understanding.

I quit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Is It Really All About Me?

I have never known anything different than the life I have always lived.  There hasn’t ever been a major crisis, lack of food supply, or anything major that drastically impacted my life.  I hardly ever experience life threatening situations.  Many of us have this easy lifestyle, but there are also many of us who have experienced just the opposite. 

Have you ever thought about the other side of life?  Not the easy side that so many of us are granted - but the hard side that isn't really seen with a first glance.  Have you ever looked at life with a different perspective?  We know what it's like to give to good causes and help those in need, but most of us haven't really experienced anything where we know what it's like to be on the side receiving the offering.  Some of us contribute to charity when we are financially able to, but others just sit and watch when bad things arise.  They figure that ignoring the cause will make it all go away, but that really isn’t the solution.  Here on this Earth, we have a chance to make a change, a difference, an impact, or something that will last for years to come.  If we always sit on the sidelines and watch, then we will never be able to make that difference we always talk about.  We can’t just turn everything off when we don’t like what we hear, but we should face it and overcome it together. 

This selfish perspective on life is easy to understand when we get stuck thinking about only ourselves.  In reality, there is so much more going on than the things in our own little world.  There are global issues that have a major effect on communities when we are worried about the day to day friendship problems that impact our small groups of people.  I’m not saying that friendship issues aren’t worth caring about, but sometimes, there are things going on outside of your own life.  Just maybe, if you look away from your daily issues, you could see the bigger picture that says “You aren’t the only one in need.”  Once you understand that, you can switch views and take on a perspective that allows you to care for someone other than yourself.

Did you ever think about the fact that there are seven billion people on this Earth and that you are only one of them?  Did it ever cross your mind, that out of the seven billion people in the world, that there is someone so much worse off than you are?  Most importantly, did you ever think that you could be missing out on something big?  You could be in the place where you have escaped the greater picture that God wants to put in your mind, but you just won’t take the time to listen to Him.  Just think to yourself…is that where I am?  Is there something that God wants me to see?  Could you be living a greater purpose, God’s purpose, where you are currently only living your own?  If there is a better way to live life, and it is available to you anytime you want to accept it, then why wouldn’t you take it?  Ask yourself…Is that where I am?  Is this where I want to be?  Outside your world, there are people who are suffering and in situations where their lives are on the line.  What if it were you?  You would want someone to help you, wouldn’t you? 

Take time to stop and reflect on everything you commit your service hours to.  Are you being an example in the community for those who don’t know what service is?  Are you making an effort to make a change?  Sometimes, we get those little glimpses of what it is like to have a life of service.  For a brief moment, we scarcely understand the fact that not everyone has it as well as we do.  For that little paused moment, did you ever stop to think that service isn’t just when it is convenient but that it is a lifestyle…that it could be your lifestyle if you would let it be? 

So…what if there is a bigger picture?  What if you are missing something big?  I have been there, and it makes me feel so guilty.  Sometimes, I get so selfish and revisit these feelings.  Ask God to show you open doors to lead you in the path He wants you to take.  You can’t live this life alone, so ask the only one who can to help you live it.  Ask God to show you the way to the light…the way to make a difference.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Changing For A Better Future

  If you don't like where you're going, then change the road you're traveling!

Yes, it sounds a lot simpler than it really is.  Truthfully, I wouldn't be on the road I am without God.  He is the one who guides me in the right direction.  All I have to do is ask for His guidance, and let Him lead!  Sometimes, we see that the life we are living isn't what is best for us.  Of course, we could never really know for sure what is best, but God gives us a pretty good idea when we listen.  I have changed directions so many times that I constantly find myself wondering where I will be next.  The idea I have for my life is so different than God's plan for me.  Even though I don't know what my future looks like, I have the hope that God will always protect me, and I know He definitely will.  When we trust in God to lead us where we will go, then we know that we will always be safe.  When I get the slightest idea that I am doing something wrong, I instantly want to change because of the fear of disappointment.  I know that staying the way I am is not going to arise any growth in any area of my life, so I find some way to change.  With God's help, changing the way you live your life is a whole lot easier than doing it on your own.  Of course, you wouldn't want to change for anyone other than God; God lets change happen for the better.  It isn't to hurt us or punish us for our mistakes but to let us travel a better path than the one we were previously on.  All in all, change might not sound so great at first, but in the long run, it will work out for the better all because of God's plan.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Importance of Friendship

The friends who mean the most will always find a way into our lives. 

  There are so many important people who influence me in my daily life; parents, grandparents, coaches, kids, cousins, relatives, strangers, and friends.  Friends are special.  They aren't related to you, yet they understand you.  I have had many friends come and go, but true friends will always stay with us wherever we may find ourselves.

   God has a way of putting special people into our lives at just the right time.  He uses differences to bring people even closer together.  I have learned a great amount from God and cannot wait to learn even more. As the new year has approached, a resolution I have is to renew relationships.  I want to make this year a year to get to know people who I haven't put all that much effort into speaking to.  I want to learn new things about the incredible stories behind everyone's life.  As we are starting a new year, I see it as a great time to keep in touch with the people we don't want to lose, reach out to the people we never speak to, and stay close to the ones that mean the most.  

  Friendship is a special way to grow.  Friendships teach me the importance of being myself.  Most importantly, friends give me confidence to do the unimaginable.  No matter how many times I watch some friends part, those who mean the most always seem to find a way back.  It isn't "luck" or a "coincidence", but it is God.  God keeps those special people in our lives for a reason.  True friends need each other, and can't stand to be apart.  They share special moments and love each other through tough circumstances.  They can talk about anything together!  Essentially, when friends disagree, it is the most special moment when they can regather what they lost.  We all know who these important people are; take this year to show those special people how much you love them and renew the relationships you wish you had never lost!