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It’s Time To Live Again

It’s Time To Live Again

As I have struggled to find myself in the last year, I feel I’ve somehow gotten lost in the fog of life. I feel as if my days all blur together, and my nights are filled with less and less restful sleep. While there have been some changes lately, I find myself trying to figure out where to go next in my life. As I have questioned my next step, I have asked God to guide my next steps. As I have attempted to figure out my next steps, I have looked around and although things are tough right now, I’m very thankful to have the blessings I do have. I have a roof over my head, I have food in my fridge, I have a car, I’m debt free, and although my social life is in shambles, I have people to talk to from afar. The blessings I have are abundant, and should not be taken for granted.

We see in James 4:14 “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” When we become worried for tomorrow, and when it causes the anxiety to raise, we must remain focused on today, the hear and now. Of course we are to dream, and plan, but understand at the route of the day, God’s in control. Matthew 6:34 “34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” While I pray for changes, I understand that nothing will change without some work, and some grace. Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Our goals should always be to live our life pleasing to the Lord. Our goals should always be to bring Glory to our walk with Christ.

I find myself in the fog and I hope, no, I long for the day the fog lifts, and I can see clearly again. There are so many things I want for myself, and yet I find myself wondering if I’ll ever get back what I’ve lost. As I have wished for a family, a home of my own, a job that would sustain me, I find myself longing for the life I once had, yet very different at the same time. There are certainly primary characters from the Bible that have made horrible decisions, and have reaped the consequences. While not every bad thing that happens in our life is our own fault, we must learn to turn to God when we don’t know where to go. We must have faith that we cannot control every aspect of our lives. The fog will set, and then when it’s time, it will leave. As long as we can still see the light, there’s always hope for tomorrow. We need to remember where our true strength comes from. Have faith, the fog will lift, and in time, you’ll see clearly. Don’t chase the fog though, learn to live despite the fog. Learn to love despite the pain that can come from loving. Learn to allow God’s grace to be your guiding star and treat others the same.

 

 

 

 

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He Bled For Me and You

He Bled For Me and You

You bled for me so I may be free. You gave your life, through all the strife. They nailed you to a wooden cross, oh my what a treacherous double-cross. You came to show the love to us, the masses around raised quite a fuss. They hung you on a tree, for all the world to see. We in this world must have trust, when the time comes we are more then dust.

Matthew 27: 45-50 “45 Now from the sixth hour[a] there was darkness over all the land[b] until the ninth hour.[c] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” What would you give up for your friends? Would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for your friends? Would you be willing to give up everything to save someone you didn’t know? What about people that hated you? Would you be willing to give your life for your enemies? John 15:13 “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life lately. I’ve been thinking about my friends, my enemies (not that I have any) and those whom are no longer apart of my life. I consider my place in this world, and what I would to for my friends. When I was in Iraq I always thought I would die doing something heroic. I would dream about it, always wondering how my last day would go. If we are to truly be one with Christ we must allow ourselves to think like him. Life is hard enough as it is, when you add the cruelty in this world, the horrible things we do one another must not continue. We must learn to love one another, and to lift one another up, not tear each other down.

Christ knows my pain, he knows my sorrow, and he knows your suffering. The Lord who is on high loves and cherishes you, and he bled for you so we may be free from the bondage of sin. Christ died a sacrificial death, a hero to give us hope in a world that was dark. If Christ died for you and me, what will you do with the life you’re given? To take upon the full wrath of God, the man that died on the cross suffered tremendously. The least we can do is put love in our hearts, and treat others with respect. Life’s ups and down aren’t easy for anyone. We are all in this together, and if we look out for one another, we would all be a little happier.

 

 

Sin is Coming for You

Sin is Coming for You

The Devil wants you, He wants you to fall to sin and walk away from Christ. The world that has fallen to sin is always trying to market to you, to draw you into the sin worldview. I like to think this process is much like the marketing in the retail world. Sin is put out there to make you feel good, to release endorphins into your brain, and it like many drugs, is a natural drug released by your body. This phenomenon is found in sex, in drugs, and in many addictions people face. The Devil is the worlds best salesman and he wants to sell you Sin is more fun. The Devil is a master in the art of persuasion. One thing we like to do is say, ‘we can sin now, ask for forgiveness later.’ We think of sin like a credit card. Play now, deal with the weight later, but as sin is much like a credit card, it grows in time, and just like the credit card is has interest. Sin is a quicksand pit, and once we start down that path, as we start to sink in our own sin, we start to panic as we get deeper and deeper. Once we start to panic we begin to sink faster. The lure the Devil wanted all along was to get you into that trap, and watch as you struggle to breath till Sin covers your entire head.

Sin is about your emotional desire. Sin is something that’s specifically targeted to every man, women and child. Sin is now pounded to you in TV, Media, and Movies. In all these things, we are being marketed in the worldview of Sin, so now we know and realize what Satan’s doing, how do we fight back? Satan has been studying us for generations. He’s been learning how best to market sin to us. He is the worlds first salesman, and he’s very good. We must first realize what’s going on in our culture. We must realize how we are being marketed to, and realize what the sin is, and how do we fight back. Satan has a wonderful sales pitch that removes the remorse of our sin nature. If you’ve ever sinned and after you’ve sinned you feel awful, that’s your conviction setting in place that you know you’ve done wrong. Satan has been busy in the last few thousand years making that sin seem normal by selling us Sin is normal, and EVERYONE DOES IT! If everyone sins, if random sex is something everybody does it’s normal. If society says that going into credit debt is normal because that’s just the way it is, we begin to believe that sin is just a way of life, and these things are alright because we have a ‘get out of jail free card from Jesus’s sacrifice. The blood spilt on the cross doesn’t mean we can sin and sin and never have to answer for those sins. The bible states that every sin will be answered for at the foot of the cross. James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

We need to learn to be happy and content where we are with what we have. We chase that good feeling and most of the time that happiness is found in Sin but it’s not real. We are chasing fun, and we find fun in sin. Happiness is found in the contentment in whatever situation we find our self. When we chase the next greatest thing and we never appreciate what we have, it will never be enough. Some people are like this in relationships. They chase the excitement, and the endorphins in the relationship. It’s great for a little while, but when it wears off, and it begins to look like work, they run away to the next ‘greatest’ thing. The grass is always greener on the other side. Those who think money can buy happiness is sadly and sorely mistaken. Money buys fun, not happiness. People are going to come to you and try to get you to sin right along side them. People will try and convince you that it’s better to live in fun, and it’s not hurting anyone. People who have embraced sin will always try to bring others into that sin. No matter what that sin might be, there will always be repercussions. If you’re not careful you can get caught under the net of sin, unable to escape. The sin that is in your life will ripple outward from the point of impact like an asteroid hitting the ground. We don’t need that fallout in our life. Sin can build upon sin, and soon you can be breathing in the radioactive fallout.

The Devil doesn’t want you to tell your friends no, you’re not going to engage in the active sin. If you’re walking in the light of Christ, you will have to tell people no. You’ll have to forgo going out with your friends sometimes because of what they want to do. I’m not saying don’t have fun, but make sure the fun you’re having is good Christian fun. I’m not saying you can’t have a drink or two, just not to be a drunkard. You need to be a good stewards of your grace. Grace from God is a gift. We never know how much time we have and we don’t want to be caught under that sinful debt when the Day of Judgment comes. Judgment will come one day, and we may not expect the moment it comes. Learn to say no, learn to walk away, and learn to use the Shield of God. The glory of God is far more important than the momentary satisfaction in sin. No random hookup or drugs, or addiction is worth being buried in sins debt. It’s important to realize it’s important to take our sins to the Lord when we do, and to ask for repentance when we seek forgiveness. While we will always be forgiven by God we are God’s children and when you’re bad we must expect that there will be some form of punishments. God loves us, but discipline is the job of any good parent. Sin, is us breaking the rules, and rules must be followed, and when we go against the rules, rest assured, the punishment will come back to you. It may not happen that day, but it will. To quote the movie Dr. Strange, “The bill comes due.”

Confronted with Sin

Confronted with Sin

Have you ever made a mistake and did something awful? Have you ever had your mistake pointed out to you and you became defensive, or angry? At some point we’ve all sinned. At some point we’ve all made some sort of mistake. The thing with sin, is, it’s never a victimless crime. Sin is like throwing a stone into the water, it resonates, it ripples throughout the calm water and affects not just where the stone entered, but now everything around it. If we aren’t careful sin can always be justified, and if we can gray an area, we will slowly kick that line down the road as we walk slowly into the darkness. In 2 Samuel we see the rape of Bathsheba, a sinful desire that led David down a horrible dark path. From rape, came conspiracy, came murder. All the while that Sin was watched by David’s eldest son, Amnon. Amnon began feeling lustful towards his half sister. He lured his half sister into his room, and when she protested to laying with him, he took her by force. We see in 2 Samuel 13 how once he was done his ‘love’ which was actually lust, turned to hatred. This hatred led to Tamar’s disgrace, and one man’s sin led him down a path that would end his own life. Sin is a snowball that grows upon itself. Sin at the foot of the cross is equal. Sin builds and as it grows if left unfettered can become crushing.

I have watched as people I have loved turned to a life of sin, and in that sin the ripples of one action would lead to an entire collapse of nearly every part of a life built. When we sin and we fail to acknowledge that sin, when we try to ignore it, we are more susceptible to further sinful actions. Proverbs 17:19 “Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.” When we are confronted by our sins when we love that sin we can become hostile, and cruel. People who love that sinful desire will do anything to be free of conviction. Conviction is an internal battle of conscience. When what we know to be right inflicts with our desires we fight back, we lash out. We hurt those who love us, and we often find ourselves hurting ourselves. It’s not easy fighting back against the sinful desires, but if you are the one doing the sin, remember God’s grace. If you are the one being sinned against, remember God’s love and forgiveness. Neither position is easy, and in both positions people get hurt.

I hate that I have lost someone very close to me over and over because of Sin. I hate they are walking a path of darkness. As I have watched their one choice slowly destroy everything they had, I can’t do anything but watch and pray. Even as I have been hurt time and again, all I can do now is pray for them, and hope for the best. I don’t like to close a door on them, but at some point I need to learn to protect myself from harm. I can’t exactly say I’m okay, but I can safely say I will be. Living in a world of sin isn’t easy. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing all around us. There are sinners everywhere and even as we are sinners also, there are some people who thrive on hurting others. We have to find a way to minister to the sinner, while holding ourselves accountable to our own sin. Accountability for sin isn’t supposed to be comfortable. The sinner will often try to remain in that sin because it ‘feels’ good. Sadly, for those of us on the outside, we’re the ones left being pushed away, yelled at, hurt, and yet it’s our place to be patient, to be loving, to be forgiving, and continue to preach and teach the word of the Lord.

 

Evil People

Evil People

There are people in this world who only want to do evil things. We’ve witnessed this evil in the world time and again. We see it on a planetary scale from Bin Laden, to Mohamed Farrah Aidid, to Kim Jonk-un. We have seen it in our own country as people who would go into a school and kill innocent kids, teenagers, and adults alike. We see it in the news with every rape and murder case that comes to our TV screens. We see evil in strangers, and even in the people we have loved. For as long as people have been around, people have conspired and wished to do evil things. From the first murder in the Bible, Genesis 4:8 “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”, all the way to the present day where we are reeling from the murder of 17 people in that Florida school. I have watched good people lash out and turn cruel, and cold. I have watched as Sin takes hold and destroyed once happy families. Sin is much like the dark side of the Force, it’s draw is powerful. The lusts of the flesh, the worlds desires are all around us, pushing us, pulling us, and somehow we need to learn to fight back.

People will attack you, attacking your beliefs, your positions, and sometimes on the rare occasion perhaps even physically. When the attacks are against you as a person, despite the hurt that comes when it’s from a friend or family, we must remember that conviction is a powerful thing. People will always lash out against people that remind them of their own sin. People will always attack when their beliefs are being challenged. People will always attack when they are hurting. When the attacks come take refuge in the Lord. Psalm 91:2 “I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Yes in the attacks your feelings will be hurt. People will treat you badly, and in some cases it will come from those whom you love most. Some people will change and will fall to the dark side of the force, and will turn their backs on you. When this happens all we can do is pray for them. Step back and guard yourself from further attacks, and pray for them. Also pray for protection, Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” I am reminded of a quote in the movie Batman Vs. Superman, “We’ve seen what promises are worth, how many good guys are left, how many stayed that way.” People can walk away from grace but that doesn’t mean we can never help them come back. I think Evil people are people who are lost. Not all of course, some people are just pure evil, but for the majority of humans, redemption is always possible.

When evil is upon your door, when people are cruel, and cold, we must learn to always respond with love and prayer. We truly do not have the power to change a heart, but God does. If we are to do anything in this life it’s to show others what grace is through us. I think most things can be prevented if more people express love and grace. We must understand that love will always concur hate. We cannot respond to hate with more hate. If we want these bad, evil things to stop happening we can’t ever expect them to stop as long as people are mean and cruel to others. As long as there is bullying, and lying, and cheaters, and people who steal and murder, Sin is everywhere.

I’ve been called names, I’ve been attacked viciously, I’ve been slandered, I’ve been ridiculed, and no matter the pain that comes with these, I know that the Lord is behind me. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Take refuge from the storms that come and go. Find peace in a world full of hate and anger. Find strength in the boxing ring with evil. You will be refreshed when you are weak, and you will be lifted up when you fall. You will undoubtedly stand toe to toe with evil, but you can make it through. Do not be dismayed, and discouraged because we know that in all things there’s a season, and one day, we will move beyond this world and find our peace in Heaven. We know the promises of God are true, and we must have faith. We must learn to step back from ourselves and believe in the Holy Spirit. We must be the light that can shine in the darkness. Live like Christ so everyone knows there’s something different about you. Don’t’ retreat in the face of evil, no, stand firm, and stand tall, and fight the fight.

 

 

 

 

 

What I Believe

What I Believe

I never anticipated what would happen to me after I started to preach the word of God but never the less I wasn’t prepared for the attacks that would come my way. The attacks would come and I know I wasn’t emotionally ready to respond because when they came I would take them personally as if it were me they were attacking. In the most recent attack on my faith I was called a bigot, close minded, ignorant foot. I was called an intolerant idiot with the IQ of an ash tray. Anyone who actually knows me knows this is the farthest thing from true. The truth is, I was judged solely on being a Christian nothing more. I was attacked because of my faith in God, my following of Jesus Christ, and that I do this publicly. Of course with taking my faith so very public backlash was bound to happen, however, I never readied myself for it. The punch was that straight to the gut, and I felt as if my stomach dropped to the floor. Now as I’ve spent time visiting my own emotions, my own positions, I felt it would help me best to put them into words, and evaluate them on ‘paper’.

The important thing about my faith is that I believe in the living God. I believe that God is sovereign over the universe and that the blood shed on the Cross was the outpouring of God’s wrath. This split the divide and broke the bonds of sin that would lead to eternal damnation. This sacrifice of Christ gave us the New Covenant, at the very basic level, it returned hope to those without. This belief has led me to know all people regardless of ethnicity, place or origin, or even their personal beliefs, that at the foot of the cross we’re all equal. No matter what others think, or what their religious or political views are, treating everyone with kindness, and respect is at the forefront of importance. Jesus Christ regardless of his disagreement with the Sanhedrin always showed respect even in the face of adversity. Respect doesn’t mean you don’t disagree, or even that you talk about the area in which you disagree, it’s how you do it. Violence begets violence, and when you sew dissention in the heart of an already tense situation, stress, and tension will rise, and the battle for enlightened conversation is already lost. Problems within our lives are best handled with a calm tongue, an open mind, and above all else, love in your heart.

In all my time in this life, I’ve never been called a racist, or a bigot, or hateful in any way, till recently. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind to the points of view of others, to hear them out. Within the last few weeks however, those who claim to be respectful of the lives of others have attacked me in my positions. I cannot change the opinions of others, nor am I trying to. I will continue to preach the word of God regardless of the attacks that are taken out on me, and regardless of those who find it fit to not have me in their lives, I will endure these attacks.

Be kind to those in your orbit, and go forth with respect. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Go forward in your day spreading love not hate. We will always have a difference of opinions, that doesn’t mean we have to be hostile in our speech, and our positions. And involving social media, think about what you post and how it may add fuel to the fire. Just be courteous. Have faith that no matter what the situation is, God is in control, and will find a way to glory every event, no matter how gruesome it may seem. God’s in control yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so don’t give up hope. Pray about all things and in all things God’s still working.

 

Love Got Ya Down?

Love Got Ya Down?

Well, it’s love season. Everyone’s sending their messages about Valentine’s Day, how happy everyone is with their significant other. For those who are brutally single, such as myself, the season brings horrible feelings. I have found myself irritable, short tempered, and at a loss for where to go from here. I’ve been alone now for 18 months, and instead of feeling better as time goes on, I’ve felt worse. Love is hard to handle sometimes. It can be a mixed bag of good and bad. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is one of the worst feelings you may ever experience. I have felt lost in the wilderness these last months. I have faced rejection over and over, and I found myself feeling bitter and empty. The broken pieces of my heart, and my spirit left on the floor. The doors around me closed and I was trapped in the room with the pain, reliving it over and over again. As I attempted to move forward, every attempt seemed to be futile. The resistance to the lies and succumbing to my situation was harder then I ever imagined it would have been. While on this journey I have not found a new love, or even new friendships, I have found something far more important. It doesn’t take away all the hurt, but it does help. God’s love is more powerful then anything we may find in this life. God’s love doesn’t come and go with the whims of human desire.

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again By, Danny Gokey

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

 Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

We all need to find a way to heal and be all right. Yes the loneliness is hard to handle, and there may always be remnants of this in the background. Being alone in this world without a love, without close friendships can be a living nightmare. There is still hope though. The day will come when the Lord may see it fit to answer those prayers. The prayers that have been frequent in the dead of night, in the middle of the storms, in the meadow with the sun on your face, no matter where you’ve prayed, don’t loose hope, and don’t loose faith.

Lift Your Head Weary Sinner: By, Crowder
All who’ve strayed and walked away,
unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain,
let the past be dead and gone
Come all saints and sinners,
you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome,
the power of the blood

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

We must learn to focus on the Love we have from God. In this time of struggle the pain is real, and I understand it tremendously. I have attempted to avoid social media, and commercials, and even going to the store. I was at Walmart the other day and as soon as I walked in it was a sea of Red. There were hearts everywhere, and chocolates, cards, stuffed animals, all kinds of items to depict love. This isn’t easy for me because in my past, I loved to celebrate Valentines Day. I loved to do the cards, the chocolates, the gifts, the plans, everything you can think of. I loved to spoil my lover on this special day. Without someone, the constant reminder today is a struggle. I never would have thought after my ex-wife left that I would be alone this long. I never would have thought I’d face so much rejection. Luckily, there’s one form of love I never need to fear being rejected. The Love of God will never leave you, and that’s something we need to remember. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” We may face the night but we do not face it alone. No matter how dark and scary the night, we must focus on the truth. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” We may feel lost, and alone, and we may not have people with us, but we have a love that never ends. The Love we have from God may not always feel like enough, but when we are able to push out the heart desires even a little, we may find the comfort that we have been seeking all along.

Being alone isn’t ever easy, and I for one would never downplay the feelings of loneliness. I feel so deeply alone it often causes me to a point of depression. It’s not an easy thing being alone, and we often think we struggle alone. Sometimes finding help isn’t as clear-cut as we would like. Sometimes finding that place where you belong isn’t easy, but we need to think outside of the box. I know for sure I am my best me when I’m with someone. When I have somewhere to give my love and affection. It’s not easy walking this life without someone to share in my experiences. I often feel hopeless that my fortunes will change, but it’s in those feelings I know I’m under spiritual warfare. The Devil wants you to feel isolated, He wants you to feel alone, and He feels it’s easier to pick you off from the rest of humanity. Don’t loose hope, and don’t loose sight of the goals that rest within tomorrow.

Love got ya down 2

While some days it may seem we’re being washed down the river, unable to control where we go, how fast we’re going, and the treacherous waters we may face looming around every bend. No matter what we face, or how doom and gloom it may seem, the love that matters is the love of the Lord. That’s a love without end, and although it won’t make some feel less lonely regarding people, I would say, pray about your loneliness. Pray about what you feel would help with that feeling. We always have options, and when we focus on how to fix the problem, we’re more likely to find the solution with the help of prayer and boots on the ground.