If God Said It: Faith or Wishful Thinking

If God Said It: Faith or Wishful Thinking

Since I have grown up in a charismatic, Pentecostal community, “words from the Lord” are often claimed or spoken in public settings as well as experienced in personal prayer times. I won’t pretend to know any statistic on what percentage are formed from wishful thinking or construed by personal benefit or belief and how many are straight words from out creator to a human being, but I do believe both do occur at a higher rate then anyone understands. I’ve personally had many instances where I thought I heard from God, but I had twisted it into an idea that was totally different from what I initially heard.

Clarification: Some people hear the audible voice of the Lord, but any instance I’m talking about that has happened in my life so far has been either something I felt, more than just a thought in my head, but something I literally felt within myself like a thought, but stronger and so much more true; or something I thought to do that was far out of normal, yet I couldn’t help but know I needed to do it. Later I realized it would have either encourage them, or physically and/or spiritually help them out in a desperate time.

On the flip side of things, I’ve also listened to the Word for the Lord, acted on it, and literally have seen miracles. Some times though, there are things that apply to us on a longer-term scale. All that other stuff leads to influence there times.

When we don’t see results or evidence right away, how do we react?

This question isn’t easy. I’ve had things spoken over me plenty of times from people and felt things very strongly on occasions as well. Some of these things seemed off the wall and some seemed like they cut me to the core when I heard them but how should I react?

I’m going to tell you anything partaking to my advice on these things and pretty much all my blog post are started with at least a simple prayer for the Lord to teach me through his Holy Spirit on these topics. This next bit of advice is both from personal experience and from Jesus, so pray before and after taking advice from humans and know your Bible. It is quite clear on lots of things. So that’s basically my first point on how to react. Stay in constant contact with God and as you get to know him, you’ll get to know his character. So read your Bible while you spend time with him, pray and sing while you spend time, write when you spend time. Always remember, Jesus is just as relatable as your closest friend.

Also, If it lines up with the Bible and it sounds too big or out of your league or something you would love to do, but you can’t even imagine yourself there, take steps toward you goals. Set yourself up for success and see where God takes you and don’t be afraid to take risks. This might sound like a business model, but it’s so much more grand then that. This includes radically serving Jesus with things that don’t even make sense to normal standards. You can’t out give God, but there is one thing that I have to say that is the most freeing.

Be ok with whatever God has for you. Whatever you think you want at this point is only a part or the shadow of what God wants to give to you. When we take a Word we receive, check it out with the character of God through the Bible and prayer, and start moving toward some of these goals, we will find ourselves in tough times. How do you treat that moment? Do you say, that’s awesome! If that is from the Lord, I want it, and if not, I don’t.

What am I doing now? Waiting, learning other unrelated lessons, learning to love Jesus and praying that if the words spoken were from the Lord, that I would stay true to my God and fulfill them, not out of obligation, but love.

Can we always know for sure? All I can say is sometimes, we wait and see, and in Christ, may all Glory go to him!

My Life is NOT My Own

My Life is NOT My Own

Life.

This word has been presented to me year after year by platform after platform. I’ve been told it’s found in letting go and I’ve struggled with the thought of my life being out of my control, my life not being my own. This notion has always been in my mind because of repetition in teaching and songs, written in my poems, but never being written on my hear in more then dry erase on a white board.

Since a young age, I lived for the spotlight. Being the youngest, being told go away, you’re too young or not yet were sucker punches that to me then, didn’t make sense. When your identity is in being along, being alone doesn’t leave much identity in the mix.

As grew up, where acceptance lacked, I gained in grit, and a determination to find a way to be known by the likes of anyone willing to notice. With each step into a new year, I tied myself to a new tactic, from sports like baseball and gymnastics to humor and wow factor. I pursued women, lust and pornography to try and fill the empty feeling my shallow friendships and rejection from the last girl couldn’t fill within me.

This lead my into a hatred of myself and my own body, my own mind and identity. My christianity was my life in the light, my vice in conventions and retreats, but it was my shame in the evenings and in the deleted history from my phone screen, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to delete that history, the memories and shame would never delete.

My comfort soon came to me in routine. This routine was comfortable, like being in a prison cell. The routine creates normality, but not because it becomes better, but because there is survival in the numbing, but no, no there is not living. I would start out the week with a community, broken, yet free, spotted with others like me. I would fill my mind with words and quotations, to later fill my schedule with anything that would give me my fix, pick any from above, whatever one I could get. If it was the word of God, I’d meditate on it, to later forget, and be filled with loneliness again, to turn to another vice much more destructive.

See, religion is all fine and dandy, and in the scripture, there are rules that have helped frame me into a moral human being, but without Christ Jesus, those were just words. Words that cut me open and showed me how dirty I really was inside. But oh how life is different on this day!

FLASH BACK: 2014, filled with pain, emptiness, and a glimmer of hope.

FASTFORWARD: 2015,  a year of thanksgiving, renewed life through Jesus Christ, realizing not just everyone else, but I was loved and adopted by my creator, nothing inside could change that he is love and he is light. I became a friend with my savior.

FASTFORWAR: 2016, the pain and emptiness had not been dealt with in full back from 2014, and struggles came and went, and complacency was my reality, but not my intent. Perseverance and self control were in the development stages, as I re-indulged myself in some of the sin I claimed freedom from just a year prior, as I re-applied shame and condemnation daily, like that old Coppertone sunscreen. It went on thick, but the more I rubbed it to try and hide it, it sunk deeper in to the pores of my being.

FASTFORWARD: 2017, a year starting with not wanting any friendship with complacency, not just interested in intimacy with my creator and king, but desiring to give him everything.

NOW: My identity in him is the only thing I’ve ever found to be satisfying, and as I give away my life, I find myself so alive, a truth that only God knows why, but he promises it to all who are willing to give Him their hears. Now when I start to fall into thoughts or actions of lust, personal condemnation, self pity, or identity in people and things, I come back to Jesus quicker then ever, with surrender. I know where life is, I’ve known where life is, but I now confess it with my mouth AND believe it in my heart; Jesus Christ is Lord!

I am not only saved, but set free. If you can’t say the same, I challenge you to join me.

Small Beginnings: Big Dreams

Small Beginnings: Big Dreams

I was always asked as a child what I wanted to be when grew up. I never really knew what to answer. As I grew up, I became a little better at convincing myself and others that I knew what I would “become”. I got older and I took on child acting jobs and became more confident in my acting and singing skills through various avenues. What I have now learned, after changing my perspective of plumbing from a backup plan for acting, to a career, taking on almost four years of working and schooling, I’ve found myself even less sure of “what I will become” then ever.

This, for me, is not something that causes anxiety, like it might many people who grow up in this society where “becoming something” has grown to hold more weight then true joy and engaging in a job and life that is purposeful, involving ones passions and gifting. I won’t say this has always been something I haven’t worried about, but what I’ve been engaging in lately is not full of standardized testing or college courses I don’t care about or things to tailor me towards a path I have no clue if I will be going into, yet I’m always learning.

I hold many interests in which I’ve expressed on my blog, from hiking, to biking, to barbering, to bee keeping, to music, to plumbing (my only job I actually make money at.) and it is such a hard thing for me to sit here and say confidently “I’m a plumber” and leave it at that and it’s even harder for me to blame I will be plumbing for my job for the rest of my life. Each one of these interests honestly have stretched me in so many different directions, I don’t know howdy life runs so smoothly other then the sovereignty and grace of God.

I say all of that to say this: I may look like I know where I’m going and you might not feel like you have a clue, but the truth is we’re all on the same page. None of us know what tomorrow may bring. None of us are made for un-fulfillment. None of us were made to be stuck in a rut.

We were created for greatness! we were created to be fulfilled and to fulfill others through the one who fulfills us. We were created to be creative and to drive positive change, and sometimes even rediscover old simplicities. If you’re reading this, you have purpose. Pursue your passions and as you do so, you’ll find what is important and not to you. Always keep learning in whatever avenue you can, and most importantly, give your passions and gifting to Jesus. Let him take them and make them beautiful in you for his own glory. Either way though, there is no point  in feeling stuck. If you’re going to school, or if it requires schooling to pursue your dreams, go for it! If it takes a call to help with summer help or it takes eight years of school, go after it! Don’t throw away your other dreams though; you might need them down the line; we all have to start somewhere.

 

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

I am full, yet I am empty. It is not simply content that can fill the void inside of me, but only silence; only solitude will truly bring me into a place of fullness of joy and identity.

To say all the right things outwardly, to do all the right things publicly, it only blows up the outward appearance like a balloon. From another’s vantage point, it creates an illusion of fullness, while in reality, it only makes the emptiness that much greater.

As I sit, I saturate, and I absorb as I meditate. I am satisfied as I loosen my belt and rest, as I sease to strive. This phenomenon does not exist for irony’s sake, but for the one that did create, who does not cease in His goodness, who does not falter in any way.

We’re filled when we’re empty, we’re strong when we’re weary, we know peace in calamity, and we’re wise when we embrace simplicity.

This is true, because at the end of our abilities, we are able to embrace humility. At the end of ourselves, in the rest of our Heavenly Father, we are filled.

So I throw aside all of my distractions, sit in His presence and saturate in His goodness, meditate on His word and absorb it’s challenges and its promises that hold true. I’ll rest in his peace, even when everything around me is in peaces, and in simple faith is where my strength and confidence will stand undefeated.

I know the practicals, and I believe it in my mind, but Jesus, would you change my heart.

 

“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)

Garden Restoraton (Poem)

Garden Restoraton (Poem)

I’ve wrestled with my mind in desperation
And I’ve become crippled by its convincing blows.
My defenses were weak and the forest of my mind was overgrown.
The lies have become trees that block the Sun’s rays
And my mind was shielded from its promises, with little light shining through the trees and heavy haze.

But while my defenses were all but destroyed and my mind almost def from all the noise, an old friend introduced Hope.
Hope has no one face, and is friends with Joy, Patience and Grace.
These strangers saw my forest and all the mess along with it. But most of all, they saw the little light shining through and knew there was more I could get.

These strangers and I began to landscape.
Where each tree was erased, the light began to replace.
With the brush dragged away, a fresh wind removed the haze.
Now the land is clear today
Of any tree able to decay.
Only one tree remains.
It has been there all along.
This tree will always stay and always be strong.
But the difference between this tree and the rest, is this tree brings life to the land, not death.
It’s shade is calm, it’s fruit is sweet.
It brings rest to all who need.

The friends who came were all unique and born to different lands, through my old friend brought them to a new clan.
This friend was Love, who’s spirit carried the best of everyone of them and so much more.
And thanks to Love, I was no longer torn.
I was in their clan, forever and more.

There is a hidden beauty in the garden that has now been discovered.
Through hope and joy and all the others,
Lies were uprooted and life was uncovered.

written: 3.26.15

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

If you grew up in the US and ever went to a VBS or Sunday school class, you definitely know at least the beginning of the song “Jesus Loves Me”. If you now doubt the claims made in this song or possibly never really believed them, I can totally relate. At one point, I thought, “who cares if the Bible tells me. I want to know for more reason then a book telling me.”

Over the years, I thought about the lyrics to this song a criticized it:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong
Yes Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so
As I think into my life though, I begin to see beyond just love because my Bible “telling me so.” I know that to some, the Bible doesn’t hold much weight, but you can relate to wanting to know something that’s real.
Why does Jesus love you and me?
Where this question can start being looked at is you. You know yourself probably much better then I know you, but I do know, that throughout your life, there have been times where, if you’ve given credit where it’s due or not, Jesus has given you second chances, displayed his beauty to you through his creation, and has given you oppertunities to recognize him and even has given you the invitation to have him as your good father, your sacrifice and savior, your pilot and even your best friend! Now, like I said, you know you, and I know me, and if I look into my life, I do not see a deserving candidate for such an offer. I actually see the opposite: I see a selfish, impulsive human that tries his best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, but fails every day at it.
When we take a look into our own lives and focus ourselves on the goodness of God, and even look into other’s lives that have lived faithfully to his words and commandments, we see him keep his word and our focus begins to shift. Focusing on the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” and blaming God for actions humanity consciously makes is counter productive to our own growth, because He’s letting us make our own decisions, something I see as incredibly gracious instead of making us into robots or striking us down when we make mistakes. He even allows bad things to happen to us to draw us closer to his side and even provides peace in the process. Every time, it is worth it when it’s done by the side of Jesus. There are countless testimonies that attest to this truth. Contact me if you would like to hear firsthand from cancer survivors, X-drug addicts, dealers and smugglers, X porn addicts, people who have conquered depression or even people that are going through those struggles as we speak.
Moses told the Israelites this as they were going into the land God had promised to them:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

We read on and hear of God’s faithfulness and the ways He was with them, and still protects them to this day. And for us today, Jesus promised this to those who love him:
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 ESV
Jesus has given his spirit to anyone willing to receive him and love him. So as I look at Jesus’ faithfulness and accept his love for me, may I no longer wonder if he loves me and why there’s tension or un-fulfillment when I’m trying so hard, but may I ponder the following questions:
Do I love Jesus?
Am I willing to let his love into my life and give him an opportunity to change my life?
If we only know because the Bible tells us so, and if it is true, isn’t it worth giving him a chance at our heart? I have and I would encourage your “YES” more than anything in this world!

Life Vest Ocean (A Short Story)

Life Vest Ocean (A Short Story)

I’m drowning in an ocean of life vests, trying to ignore them. But I relent. I’m searching for one that will work best and hold fast, but for God’s sake, or really my own, I need to just grab one!

The more options I have, the more I want to push back, trying to swim away taking on mouthfuls of salty water and eyes full of the foamy sea, as I stray, growing weary.

I feel so lonely, so lowly and un holy. I feel so un whole.

Instinctively, in my pain and pending death, I grab ahold of a lifejacket, not worrying the size, not taking notice to the warnings or weight ratings, for just hope it will preserve my life. As I throw it on, I start sinking, but as I paddle my feet, I manage to stay afloat.

I grab the next one in sight, and it keeps my head above water, yet is far too tight. I’m sticking with it until I see another one and grab it. This one is tattered and worn, ripped, clasps broken, yet stories untold could reach the depths of this ocean of the countless accounts of saving it has done.

But what floats in the distance is beyond comprehension or reason. After jumping ship and drifting out to sea, my captain had not stopped pitching me vests. He wouldn’t give up on me yet.

Although shame himself could have singlehandedly thrown me out into that vast blue, he chose to convince me to do it myself, concluding I did not even deserve to be. Why I listened after the offer of full forgiveness from the captain, I can not answer, but I listened to the lie that the price must be paid with my soul, even though the caption himself had paid the price in full.

And as I stare at this ocean of life vests, peering through, I see a life boat. A boat I know I do not deserve, and a boat I long for. Not just for the boat, but it’s contents as well! My captain himself left the rest for me. Still in the distance, I am left to decide: Stay here floating, temporarily servicing, alone and dying; or will I board the boat of safety, on top of the roaring sea and all of it’s creatures of malice, instead of in it, thriving, forgiven, united, and alive…

The answer seems simple, yet I hold back. What will it take for me to recieve the fullness of my captain’s saving?