Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We Are In A War

If we were fighting for our lives in enemy territory, how would we be behaving?  If we knew that the enemy was seeking us, seeking to capture us, torture us, and eventually kill us, what would that look like?  We are in a war like this!
God created everything and it was good.  There was no sin on earth, things were functioning in the design that God had created.  Everything was living in Truth.  Then Lucifer questioned God and he was kicked out of heaven with his angels.  At that point, God allowed Satan to roam the earth, and the war was started.  Satan roams the earth, seeking to kill and destroy, seeking to destroy Truth.  But Truth can't be defeated and God will not be defeated.  In many ways, the earth is Satan's territory, as Satan roams the earth, controlling much of our culture.  Yes, God is with us and His angels are surrounding us, but Satan is roaming the earth like he owns the place.
At times I forget that I'm in a battle.  I forget the seriousness of the battle.  We are not fighting for our physical life but for our souls, our eternal life.  Satan is seeking to capture us, to torture us in our own doings, and by doing this, kill us.  Let us not forget this.  In C.S. Lewis book 'Screwtape Letters', he speaks from the viewpoint of Satan's servants.  In this book he writes that one of Satan's greatest and most devastating tactics is causing humans to be complacent.  There comes a point where a Christian lets down his guard and becomes ho-hum about life.  Satan's servants discuss what to do, and they decide, let's not do anything, because if we do something to him, he will turn to God, so let this Christian be, because he is falling into our trap.  We forget that we are in a battle, and slowly we begin to become like the world, and when it's a gradual thing, we don't recognize it.  We become ho-hum and that is where Satan wants us.
Sometimes its frustrating constantly being on guard, constantly watching everything we do, having to be careful what we watch, analyzing what we do, but we are at war.  Yes, we know we have won, but Satan continues to attack.  So although we know God has won the war, and that Jesus death has saved us, we are still at danger, because Satan roams the earth and he is still seeking to destroy us.  Keep your guard up, we are in enemy territory.  Don't become complacent, but guard your hearts!  I love you guys!

'You shall be Holy'

1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

What's it mean to be Holy?  What's that look like?  How can we be Holy when we are sinful creatures?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Joy in Patience

Psalm 37:3-5  "Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it."

I love these words. Words that instruct us to trust and be faithful. Words that demonstrate God's provision for us.  What a great feeling to hear that God will give us the desires of our heart if we delight in Him. I many times focus on this piece, praying that God will grant me my hearts desires. At times I would get anxious, wondering why God was not giving me these desires.

It wasn't until I moved to Colorado that I realized the importance of the words later in this passage. One week I was in my one-on-one meeting with my supervisor and I was sharing this passage with Him and how I was trying to fully trust in the Lord and sharing my deepest desires, when Ron quoted verse 7 to me, which says, "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him."  I think this was back in April or May, and since then, God has been using this simple verse to work in my heart. Everything in verses 3-5 are great, but true joy comes in resting in the Lord and waiting patiently. This humbled me. I had my timeline on things, when I thought things needed to be done, but I was missing the big picture. I was missing the journey that He had me on. I was missing the lessons that I needed to learn before those desires could be focused on God. And you know what I found? When I am patient and work in God's timeline, I have expereinced great joy. God knows what He is doing, He hasn't forgotten about you, but is asking all of us to rest in Him. He wants us to slow down and spend time with Him. And when we rest in the Lord, we are able to wait patiently for Him, for we know we are in His hands, and that He will give us the desires of our hearts.  It may not be in our timeframe, but in His perfect timing. For there is great joy in waiting patiently for the Lord.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unheralded Faithfulness

When you think of faithfulness, what do you picture?  Maybe you picture friends or family members who have been married for 50 years.  Maybe you imagine people in your church who have served sacrificially for years.  Maybe it's someone who sticks with a sports team through years of losing.  Maybe it's a friend who has stuck by your side through thick and thin.  Or parents who have never wavered in their love for you.  Whatever it is, it comes up short to the faithfulness of God.  Maybe we know this in words, but do you truly believe this in your heart.  It can be hard to see the faithfulness of God, or believe that He is always faithful because He is unseen.
Take some time though, look back on the years, and see God's faithfulness.  Despite some of the decisions we make, God remains faithful.  Think of the pain that God must endure with us each day.  We choose to serve other things, we choose to spend time with things that are pointless, we pursue task, jobs, and people, that keep us from discovering who God is.  Don't you think that must be painful?  Think of the hurt Jesus must have felt as He carried the cross through crowds spitting on Him and saying nasty things to Him.  These same people were those who followed Him and those He spent time with, and now they turned their back on Him.  Jesus should have dropped the cross and left this world, but He remained faithful to us, not succumbing to the temptation to leave us dying to sin, but followed through, saying "I Love you!" and offering us grace!  Take time to look back on God's faithfulness and His hand on your life and soon you will see the Love God has for you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


It's a part of daily life.  So many struggle with how to deal with conflict in a healthy manner.  We can blow up and get upset when something happens, or we can avoid the issue and storm away, never resolving the issue.  Both of these lead to further issues of mistrust and hurt between the parties.
So how do we handle it in a positive way?  It starts with honesty and talking to the other party right away.  Often times, people don't do things to us to purposefully hurt us, but we make assumptions that the act was done maliciously.  If we are honest with the other person, saying I felt hurt when you did this, because I felt like you meant to hurt me.  Often the response back will be, oh, I didn't mean to hurt you, I didn't realize that when I did that, it hurt you.  Not only does this clear up confusion and keep us from making inaccurate assumptions, but it will help down the line, now that this person knows not to do that again.  When talking through conflict, always use "I" statements, stating how you feel, because it's no longer an opinion then, but truly how you feel.
This is not something that is easy, because we become vulnerable when we approach someone.  We feel like we will be hurt worse if the person sees us with pain.  But trust me, usually it will be a healing process.  Conflict is something that will never go away, so it's important to learn how to deal with conflict and to deal with it effectively.  Let's work on effectively communicating with eachother!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Grace Not Freedom

Grace is a beautiful thing.  It keeps us from being condemned to Hell.  It gives us freedom from our sins.  It's not something we earn, but something God has given us.  It's so important to understand grace and to be able to receive it.  But lately, as I have heard people talk of grace, I believe we have begun to take grace and state that because of grace we are free of God's commandments.  It has become a way to excuse ourselves from things that Jesus teaches.  But that is not grace!

Grace extends itself freely, granting us freedom from our sins.  But it does require something from us after we accept grace.

John 8:11 says, "And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either.  Go. From now on sin no more."

We like to hear Jesus tell us that He does not condemn us.  But sometimes the next part can be tough.  Go, like right now, and sin no more.  Jesus states here, yes I have given you grace, and you have been freed of your past sins, but go now and sin no more.  How often do we read over passages and try to ignore them cause they require too much from us, or find it tough to follow follow after Christ.

1 John 5:3 - "For this is the love of god, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

God gives us commandments not as a way of punishment, but as a way to make our life easier.  It's God's way of saying, here's how to live a joyful live and to avoid a lot of heartache.  When we truly Love God and are all in for Him, we see how His commandments are not a burden, but really a blessing that He has given us these things to help us along our way.

There are many things in this world that Satan has a grasp on, things that tear us away from our Maker.  God extends grace to say, I Love you, and want you, but you must die to self and come to me.  Are we really excepting grace as what it is, and turning from our sins?  Give it all to God, follow His commandments, and draw near to Him!  May you find peace, strength, and courage, as we carry the cross!

Monday, September 24, 2012

#1 Together The Road Is Much Easier

During training, at times it was tough to finish a workout.  I would get bored talking to myself and slowly become demotivated as the run or bike ride went on. But during race day there was an adrenaline that came from having fans around me for an entire day.  The day did not seem that long, it did not seem that difficult, and it was definitely more enjoyable then what I expected.
Life is the same way.  It is much more enjoyable and easier to navigate when we are surrounded by people who encourage us, who are driven for the same thing, and who stick around us till the very end. I'm very blessed for the people that God has surrounded me with over the years.  People who have stuck by me and encouraged me.
So often we try to do things on our own.  We try to overcome our struggles, addictions, and try to battle on our own.  But God doesn't want us to take these things on our own.  He wants us to rely on each other, to help each other, and to really seek Him in our weakness.  It really is more enjoyable when we allow others to help us, to support us, and to walk through life with us.