Thursday, September 20, 2012

Champion of Faith

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
– Hebrews 12: 1-2

As followers, moving forward in Christ takes serious commitment and effort on our part. Throughout this journey/race through life, the Apostle Paul encourages us by telling us to keep our eyes on Jesus in Hebrews 12. Since Jesus perfects our faith, it is important that our eyes remain on Him. He is the one who gives us the endurance, hope, and strength to finish this race strong. There is a part in one of my favorite songs, “Come to Me” by Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music, where she sings about fixing our eyes on Jesus. “Don’t look to the right or to the left,” she says, “Keep your eyes on Me.” That particular part of the song moves me every time. Our eyes must remain on our prize, which is Jesus Christ, for He is the ultimate champion of our faith.

So maybe you’re reading this today and you feel like you’ve got it all together. “My eyes are on Jesus, I don’t need to read this,” you may say. I have felt that way at times. But are your eyes really on Him? Fixing your eyes on Jesus means that you consult with Him about EVERYTHINGCommitting everything to Him first. Whether it’s a new job you want to apply for or a girl/guy you want to pursue. You know your eyes are on Him when you consult with Him first. It’s more than just putting Him first on a checklist—it’s making Him first in your heart. 

Sometimes we complain to God, “Why didn’t that work out?” or “How come that relationship fell apart?” or “Why is he/she running faster than me?” But did God truly release you to pursue that person. Was it in God’s will for you to go out for that job? Consult with the Champion FIRST. When our eyes aren’t on Jesus, discouragement sets in and we slowly become hopeless. This is why it is so important to keep our eyes on Jesus—He will never disappoint us. He will continue to give us the hope and endurance we need to finish this race strong.

Believer, stop looking to the left and right—focus your eyes on the Champion of our faith. If our eyes aren’t on Jesus, then they simply are on everything and everyone else. Stop comparing your stride to othersGod has a perfect plan for YOUR life. When your eyes on Jesus, you will have peace, hope, and joy about your race. Right now, fix your eyes on Jesus and block out everything around you. Allow the Lord to perfect your faith and restore your hope. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you vision to see Him. What is stopping you from truly keeping your eyes on Jesus? Consult with the Lord. All you need for this race is right in front of you. Christ endured the cross for you—Keep your eyes on the one who is seated in Heavenly places.

"Come to Me" by Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music

Monday, September 17, 2012

You Complete Me

It's time to talk about SINGLENESS! This is one of the most important aspects of moving forward in Christ. The "singleness season" is sometimes viewed as some kind of curse. However, it is actually a blessing. Oftentimes as singles, we look for people to fulfill us and make us whole. In actuality, Jesus is the ONLY one who brings complete fulfillment. During this season of singleness, you have the opportunity to completely fall in love with Jesus without any distractions. Let’s take a look at some more benefits of this season: 
  • Healing- The Holy Spirit now has time to heal your heart completely. He exposes every broken area in your heart and begins to mend them. Wounds from past relationships will heal and forgiving your exes will become easier. This is also where the chains of sexual addictions can break off. It’s important we counsel with the Holy Spirit about our insecurities, weaknesses, and pain. If you are not healed from these issues, you will carry it into your future relationships.
  • Maturity- I hear so many young people complain about their singleness. Child, slow down—enjoy your youth. This is the time where you can grow fully into your womanhood or manhood. Your maturity at 18 will be totally different at 20. No one wants to be in a relationship with an immature person, right? Really take the time to mature naturally with Jesus.
  • Growth- You now have the free time to grow with the Holy Spirit. A relationship with God is the BEST relationship to have. It’s filled with never ending  love, joy, and absolute peace. You can worship, read your bible, develop a prayer life and spend time with Him without being so distracted. If you know how to draw closer to the Lord while you're single, you will know how to draw closer to Him when you are in a relationship. You can use this season to grow deeper in your relationship with your FIRST LOVE—Jesus Christ.
  •  Wholeness- During this season, the Holy Spirit can finally make you whole. After all of the healing, you are no longer fragment pieces but a whole vessel, ready to be filled up with more of Him.
Have you ever seen the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire? There’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character wins back the heart of his love with this line, “I love you. You complete me.” Many times we desire this “fairytale” kind of love that we see in movies, not realizing that we already have this love in Jesus. We all want our prince charming to come sweep us off of our feet or the girl of our dreams to knock us out of our seats. But why would God send us our future husband or wife when we still are not whole? That will only lead to arguments, insecurities, heartache, and ultimately divorce. In our season of singleness, we MUST press into God's presence to receive the wholeness we need. This keeps us from putting all of our worth into our significant others when we are in a relationship. Our worth should only be found in Christ because HE is the only one who completes us.

-If you can't find peace in your singleness with Jesus, you definitely won't find peace in a relationship.-

Believer, don’t look for a man or woman to TRY to do what only God CAN do. Only God can complete you. Today, let the Lord begin His completion process in you. The Lord wants to give you the desires of your heart but you have to delight yourself in Him first (Psalm 37:4). Yes, there will be times where you FEEL lonely. It’s important at the moment to acknowledge that you are not alone and His presence is with you. “Lord, I know that You are with me! You are all I need. You complete me!” Immediately go into worship when loneliness rears its head. Beloved, you want to move into your next relationship already complete in Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you peace and contentment in this season if you are anxious (Philippians 4:6-7). Take advantage of your season of singleness. Fall in love with the One who has been madly in love with you before the foundations of the Earth were created.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

God Forgives, I Do Too

 “I will never forgive her for what she did to me!” “He hurt me so bad, how could I ever forgive someone so horrible?”... Sound familiar? Forgiveness is such a touchy topic amongst Believers. In actuality, we are extremely hypocritical. We want forgiveness from God for our sins but we don’t want to forgive others. We want to hold on to what he/she did to us when we were seven. Letting go of what our mom said to us out of anger when we were 15 seems impossible to release. Forgiving others is difficult for us, as sinful humans. But I am so grateful that God is not like man and forgives graciously. In order to move forward in Christ, we have to start looking more like Himin His image. Since He forgives, we must also. Sadly, unforgiveness always leads to bitterness. 

“Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Have you ever been around a bitter person? Sometimes you see them at the grocery store. No smile. No joy. No life. They are just bitter. The problem with bitterness is that while they have moved on, you are still stuck on the hurt. This makes moving forward in Christ impossible. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” You want the one that hurt you to suffer, but in actuality you are the one suffering. Bitter roots in your heart will choke the fruit you bear. 

Jesus tells in John 15:12 that the greatest commandment is to love one another like He loves us. How can we please God by loving one another if we are harboring unforgiveness in our hearts? Believer, you can’t love and hate at the same time—something has to win. Don't let hate win in your heart. 1 John 2:3-5 tells us that if we truly love God, we will keep His commandments. We must keep His greatest commandment, which is love. Release that hurt in your heart today. Bitterness today will remain bitterness tomorrow. It’s time to move forward, Believer.

Where are your roots bitter? Who hurt you so much that you can’t seem to let it go? Today, you can move forward in Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to expose and heal every bitter root in your heart. Don’t allow bitterness to choke your fruit of joy, peace, love, and a sound-mind. Let His love set you free today. The joy and freedom you experience when you forgive others is absolutely amazing. Receive it, right now, where ever you are. Unlike Rick Ross who says, "God forgives, I don't," we must always forgive if we desire to move forward with Jesus. #70X7
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” –Matthew 18:21-22

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finding Hope

Rihanna found love in a hopeless place. But what if I told you that you could find hope in the love of Jesus? Once this hope is found in His love, it will never be lost again. Many times we lose hope after experiencing rejection. Whether the rejection was from someone you barely knew or a loved one—rejection is still rejection. Hebrews 6:19 assures us of the hope we have in Christ, “We have this hope—like a sure and firm anchor of the soul—that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” When our hope is found in Christ, it is an anchor for our soul/emotions. Rejection is no longer a factor when our hope is in Christ because unlike people, He can never fails us. However, when our hope is found in people, we will always experience rejection.

Indicators that your hope is NOT found in Christ:
  • You are not Happy- My Pastor always says, “Whoever you put in charge of your happiness is responsible for making you happy.” In this stage, when people fail you, you become depressed. Your hope is found in others making you happy.
  • The Opinions of others matter the most- At this point everyone’s opinions start to make sense to you. “Maybe I’m not called to do this… She was right.” “I am ugly….That’s why he left me.”  Your hope is found in the opinions of others. 
  • People become your god- Here is where idolatry sets in. As a result of the first two stages, you have now put people before God. You have made them responsible for your happiness. You also have cared more about what they have said rather than what God has already spoken. Your hope is found in your worship to others.
  • You have an Ego- This is where it gets ugly. You now have become “big-headed.” After all of the rejection you’ve experienced, you now want to vengefully prove to everyone that you are “somebody.” Your hope is found in avenging others.
When our hope is not found in Christ it is easy for our lives and emotions to spiral out of control. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal you from all of the rejection you’ve experienced by putting your hope in others. Hebrews clearly tells us that our hope in Christ will be an anchor for our emotions. Romans 8:39 also says that nothing can separate us from the love of Chris. We can never lose the hope that's found in His love because we can NEVER be separated from it. Think about it, when you first fell in love with Jesus you found unexplainable hope, right? Believer, everyday fall in love with Jesus more than you did yesterday. This is how you will be reassured that your hope is found in His love alone. If Rihanna could find love in a hopeless place, how much more hope could you find in the love of Jesus?

-Lord, be the anchor in my soul that holds me together in the midst of the storm. Today, I place my hope in Your steadfast love, knowing that I will never sink into hopelessness again.-

Friday, September 7, 2012


As we continue in this series, “Moving Forward,” we must tackle a very important part in following Christ—the mind. Our minds have done one of two things in our lives—slowed us down or built us up. We cannot move forward in our relationship with the Lord if our minds aren’t being renewed daily. The Apostle Paul clearly stresses how important mind renewal is in Romans 12:2, “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. (ESV)” Our minds must be transformed and renewed by the word of God. My Pastor is currently teaching a series on mind renewal. Let’s look at some notes.

A few indicators that your mind isn’t renewed:
  1. You don’t know who you are. Usually in this stage, you find yourself settling with any and everyone. “Well, I guess I’ll settle for this guy even though he’s not even my type… I’m just lonely.” You have lost your identity.  
  2. You don’t know where you’re at. In this stage, you are extremely unsure of where you’re at. “Should I really be working here? Maybe this isn’t the job for me… I’m just tired.” You have lost your security.
  3. You don’t know where you’re going. This is the most dangerous stage to find yourself in because now you are extremely anxious. “What does my future really hold? I just don’t know about anything anymore.” You have lost your hope.
“What could you really accomplish with a renewed mind?” –Pastor Vic, The Room Church
Indicators that your mind is renewed:
  1. You know who you are in Christ. You have confidence in Christ that you normally wouldn’t have. “I don’t have to settle, I have been chosen by God (1 Peter 2:9).” Your identity is redefined.  
  2. You know where you’re at. You are content where you are. “This may not be my dream job but I am content with where God has me right now (Philippians 4:11).” You’re secure in Christ. 
  3. You know where you’re going. You have put all of your trust in the Lord. “I may not know every detail of Your plans for me and I don’t even care to know them all because I trust You. I trust that your plans for me are filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).” Your hope is restored.
Believer, it’s very easy to let the things of the world conform your mind. It is vital that in your walk with Christ, you renew your mind daily. What thoughts conform your mind daily? Are they thoughts of doubt, fear, anxiety, and insecurity? The only way you can renew your mind is by transforming it with the word of God. When the enemy tries to conform your mind with defeat, find where God said you are victorious in His Word (Romans 8:37). If your mind isn’t being conformed with His word, what is conforming it? Renew your mind. Go! Move Forward!