Monday, April 30, 2012

Lord, Make Me!

Birthdays… No matter what the age, birthdays are always so special because they hold a unique value more than any other day of the year. Although gifts are lovely, the cake on that special day is always an exciting part of the celebration. There are tall cakes, small cakes, round cakes, square cakes, and even those outrageous cakes you see on the show Cake Boss. The cakes usually look nice and beautiful once it is at the birthday party. However, the cake didn’t always look that way. It took a few cracked eggs, lots of flour, a pinch of this, a dash of that, and a lot of oven time to actually make the cake displayable. 

Believer, we are all that cake. The Lord wants to make us into something great that others can enjoy. According to John 15:8, He desires to be glorified by the fruit we bear. But what would happen if the baker kept taking the cake out of the oven? It would never be fully cooked, right? Sometimes, we are in the ovens of life, screaming for God to take us out because things become a little heated or uncomfortable. Every time we resist the “making process” the Lord has to take us out to cool us off. The problem with this is that we will never be fully made into what God intended us to be. We will be cooked around the edges not fully cooked in the center.

My Pastor preached a message this past Sunday that will help you further your understanding with the “making process.” Let’s take a look.

Read: Mark 1:16-18

The disciples showed us perfectly how we resist the making process due to the trials of life. Jesus clearly told the disciples that He would “MAKE” them if they follow Him. Like we all have done, we too dropped our “fishing nets” and followed Christ. But what happens when storms come? Well, jump over to John 21:3. After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were heartbroken. Their leader, their master, their love, the man they had left everything for had left them. (At least that is what they thought). Now Simon Peter, frustrated with life, screams to get out of the oven. Not understanding the making process, Peter goes back to fishing. It wasn’t hard for him to go back either because he never truly dropped his fishing net in Mark 1:18. Sometimes, we claim to drop our nets to follow Jesus, but we really haven’t. So every time life gets hot, we pick our nets up and go back to what is comfortable. 

“The net entangles you... The net trips you up and keeps you from walking upright.” –Pastor Vic

What net are you still holding on to that continues to trip you up? Today, you have freedom in Christ to let go of that net. The net is like an egg shell found in a beautiful cake. Although the cake looks wonderful, people keep biting down into pieces of egg shells. Let the baker take His time and thoroughly separate the yoke from the shell. If you want to be a cake that not only looks great but tastes even greater, you have to stop asking the baker to take you out of the making process. The Lord knows exactly when to take you out for display. Drop those nets and stay in that oven until the Creator of everything looks down and says, “THAT is good.”

Maybe today, you are reading this and you can honestly identify the nets you still have in your life. If you are tired of these nets ask the Holy Spirit to help you drop them from your heart. This is not simply a onetime event either. Luke 9:23 tells us it is a daily process to follow Him. Every day, ask the Holy Spirit questions like, “Am I letting old nets entangle me today? What nets are hidden deep in my heart that I am not aware of?” Allow the Lord fill you up with a pinch of richness and a dash of peace, joy, and love. (Proverbs 10:22) These rich ingredients will help you stay content during the making process without any added sorrow. Let Him MAKE you!

“So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

Friday, April 27, 2012

God, the Father

Have you ever had one of those days where you have to accomplish so much that you slowly begin to disconnect from the heart of God? You become so entangled with your busy schedule that when you do spend time with the Lord, it feels rushed or half-hearted?  I can honestly admit that today was one of those days for me. As I went along with my normal routine, I began to feel religious. After all the laundry, cleaning, work, and other ministerial duties, I felt like the time I did spend with the Lord was more ritualistic than it was a relationship. I had to stop and examine my heart.

Daily, life has a way of quickly consuming our hearts and minds. As believers, we have to put God first everyday of our lives. Before school, work, and even habitual morning showers! If your relationship with the Lord starts to feel religious, stop what you’re doing and quiet your spirit. Listen to His voice! God will perfect EVERY concern we have. (Psalm 138:8) This even includes our daily lengthy “to do” lists. Anxiety, stress, worries, and doubt can easily creep into our spirits. Therefore, it’s extremely important we put Him first in our day. We can get the comfort we need in the morning that will last us for the rest of the day. Or that ONE scripture you read in the morning could be the breakthrough word you need later on that day. It is essential we spend time with Him, just because we desire it and not out of religious obligation. 

We are sons and daughters along with Christ according to Ephesians 1:5. Jesus constantly spoke about His FATHER, not His GOD. It is clear Christ was giving us a picture of how we should view the Father. If we view Him as some mystical “god” off in Heaven, we have lost. This keeps us in religious bondage, only desiring to please God with our works. Such as, showing God how many scriptures we can recite. Or telling Him how many times we go to church, as if He is in Heaven with a chalkboard checking off each time we attend church. God is our Father! End of story. We can’t show Him our love by our works.  A son or daughter doesn’t show their parents love by their works. They show it by spending quality time with them. When we ONLY look at the Lord as a distant mystical God, we will continue to show Him our religious works. However, when we view Him as our Father, our religious ways will no longer be a factor because the relationship will be the core, not our works. This understanding of Sonship will further help you prioritize life around the Father instead of the opposite way around.

Believer, if you struggle to make time for the Lord, you are not alone. You are most likely finding it difficult because you have yet to TRULY view Him as a loving Father. When you become more invested in your “to do” lists instead of quality time with the Father, examine your heart. Even Believers who have walked with Christ for years, oftentimes get to this point. Not one man or woman is perfect; even the person writing this post. Today, I had to remind myself that God is my Father. Every day, bring yourself into remembrance of your relationship with the Father. Begin by simply putting Him first in your day. It’s as simple as waking up and just telling the Lord, “I love you.” Acknowledge His presence. Communicate with Him throughout the day. Ask yourself questions like, “Have I been viewing God as my Father today?” Yes, our God is a great God who put the Earth into motion, but He is also a loving and caring Father. When you view Him like this, making time in your schedule becomes easier and more genuine. 

"I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you." -John 15:15

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What's So Good About Friday?

 Grace and peace all.
First read ~ John 16:5-14

I am currently doing Beth Moore’s devotional, “John, 90 Days with the Beloved Disciple.” This devotional is truly opening my eyes and blessing me in so many ways. I am really growing deeper in the Word and in Christ. I definitely recommend it!  Furthermore, one particular devotion really touched my heart. Beth wrote about how we do not always need more patience, love, self-control, kindness etc… We just need more of the Holy Spirit. This began to shake my world up. Let’s tie this principle into Good Friday.

Today, I am writing on an extremely special day known as Good Friday. Some may ask, “What’s so good about a man dying?” Well, nothing is great about any ordinary man dying however, Jesus Christ was not just an “ordinary” man. Yes, indeed he was 100% man, but don't forget that he was also 100% God. It was so important that Jesus came as flesh in order to be our propitiation or our sin substitute (John 1:14).  It was also essential that Christ was God, so He had the ability to redeem our souls. Why is this so important? Jesus’ flesh died on Good Friday, but three days after the death of His flesh, His spirit raised His body from the dead. If Jesus was not both 100% man and God, we would have never received eternal salvation. That is just how precise our God is!

So what’s so great about Good Friday? Everything! Jesus Christ stood in the place of sin so all could have access to the Trinity again. Also, without this day we would have never received the beautiful, wonderful, powerful, and mighty gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came on to the scene 50 days after the resurrection of Christ, also known as the day of Pentecost. Without the Holy Spirit in our Christian walk, we would have no guide, no comforter, and no counsel from God. We need the Holy Spirit to convict us, to comfort us, and ultimately to lead us every day of our lives.

You see, we act like Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews, over in John 3 sometimes. We question who God is and what He is doing in our lives because our natural minds cannot grasp it. We want to trust God and His plans for our lives, but find ourselves struggling with immense doubt. But in actuality, all we need is more of the Holy Spirit to trust Him. If Nicodemus, had the Holy Spirit in Him, we can conjecture that he probably wouldn’t have questioned and doubted the Messiah in the way he did. However, since the Holy Spirit did not fall until after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, he didn't have this luxury quite yet. It’s funny because Jesus obviously knew this too. I believe that is why Jesus was patient with Nicodemus, just like He is with us sometimes. We need to stop questioning the Lord and begin to trust Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, God is so precise that He made your fingerprint like no one else in the world. He uniquely designed you before the foundation of the world was created. (Ephesians 1:4) His plan for your life has been done with so much precision that your natural mind probably could not even grasp the concept. Stop questioning it! We serve a precise God! Unlike Jesus, we know we are not both 100% God and man. We are strictly man, in need of a higher spirit/power. So today, I urge you to ask for more of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). He is all you need! You will be able to fully trust God if you have more of the Spirit in you! 

So again, what’s so good about Friday? Well, if Jesus never laid down his life for us we would have never received eternal salvation. Also, we would not be able to receive daily salvation which is found in the Holy Spirit.

“Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7


Grace and peace all!

I know I have been SERIOUSLY slacking on posting lately. This time I have a good excuse. Lately, I've been busy working on my first book/devotional. It has been so time consuming but a true blessing as well.

I pray all enjoyed the mini series, "Life After Service" in February and March. This month I will definitely work harder on posting more consistently... In fact, I am currently writing a new post RIGHT NOW. Haha ;)

God bless you guys!!