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my life with a Christian perspective

Tag: God

ugly

its such a negative word.  it can never hold a positive meaning.  it is a word i don’t like.  i hate to use it, and i am not a fan of hearing other people use it in regards to other people.  don’t get me wrong, i won’t hesitate to use it if we’re talking about a sweater or the color of carpet, but as soon as its used to describe a person’s looks, i’m done.

when i was younger, if i saw someone i didn’t find attractive, i’d say they were ugly.  now i never said it out loud, it was always to myself. and at the time i didn’t really think anything of it.  i mean, it was my opinion, right? they didn’t know i said that or thought that about them.  it was my own personal thought.  thats how i justified my thought process.

well a couple of years ago i heard a song by christian artist jonny diaz called ‘more beautiful you’.  there is a line from that song that changed my outlook on the word ugly.  jonny diaz sings, “there could never be a more beautiful you”.  the song has become a favorite of mine and i always think about it when i start to fall back on my old, judgmental ways.  it has become a tool God has used to help shape and form me.

you see, that line holds an insane amount of truth about every single person God has ever and will ever create.  for us, especially christians, to call someone ugly is like saying that we don’t agree with God’s choice in the way that person looks.  and i don’t know about you, but i don’t like to tell God, or at least insinuate, that His choices are wrong.

one of my favorite authors, donald miller, talked about the subject of what we perceive as beautiful and what is not, in one of his lectures. he talked about how crazy it would be if someone pulled us aside to show us a pile of camel poop and described how beautiful it was as the steam arose from it.  shoot, i’d think that person was crazy, too.  but he made his point with this: what is it that tells us what is and what isn’t beautiful.  why am i more attracted to one girl, but not the next?  does that mean something is wrong with the other girl? not at all.  its just the way our brains work.  everyones brain works differently and find different things attractive and beautiful.  the only exception to this rule is sunrises and sunsets.  i’ve never heard anyone say that either of those are ugly.  i believe that is God just showing off.

God is perfect.  and His vision for everything and everyone is perfect.  He doesn’t get tired of creating unique and beautiful creatures.  if He is perfect in every way, then everything He creates is perfect.  even our looks.  adam and eve, before the fall of man, were naked.  they didn’t know any different.  they weren’t ashamed.  they were just pure.  the way God intended for all of mankind to be.  but we failed.  and now as a society, we place importance on beauty.  the world paints its own version of beauty in magazines and movies and sets the standards for what beauty should look like.  when in actuality, beauty should look like you.  it should look like me. the outcasts and the unloveable.

how we see others is not how God sees everyone.  He created every single person.  we were created in His image and that should be good enough for anyone.  we’re not airbrushed or photoshopped.  we were perfectly molded in a very specific way and in the very hands that created this world we live in. criticize sweaters and carpet all you want, but please stop referring to others as ugly.  God only creates beauty.

stagnant

right now its 1:09 in the morning, and i can’t sleep.  when i can’t sleep i become restless and my mind starts to go a mile a minute.  right now all my mind is focused on is my inabilities to move forward and progress my relationship with God.  thats why i have called this post “stagnant”.  because that is how i am feeling and how i’ve been feeling for awhile now.

lets first start off by defining the word stagnant.

  1. not flowing or running, as water or air.
  2. stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.
  3. characterized by lack of development, advancement or progressive movement.
  4. inactive, sluggish or dull.

i believe all four of these definitions can sum up how i’ve been in relation to my relationship with God.  for awhile i’ve tried to put a label on it.  give it a title so it could have some substance and i could define how i’ve been feeling. before stagnant, i could only describe it as a numbness.  you know its there, but you can’t feel it.  when your foot is numb, you can’t walk.  when your hand is numb, its difficult to hold on to something.  when your relationship with God has become numb, you have difficulties holding onto it and walking forward.

i remember one time a few years back i got stung by a bee.  i had been stung before as a kid but had never reacted the way i did a few years back.  aside from it being painful, my foot turned about 5 different colors and became pretty swollen.  and later that night, while trying to go to bed, i had hallucinations.  first off i couldn’t stop shivering.  i rolled myself into the tightest fetal position i could possibly make to try to stop the shivering but it was no use.  the clatter of my teeth was so loud, it woke up my roommate.  i was up every 10 minutes trying to use the bathroom but couldn’t go.  and when i was in bed, trying to stop shivering and fall asleep, i felt as if i were strapped down to my bed and unable to move.  i was hallucinating thinking i was bound to my bed.  wanting to desperately jump out.  physically i knew i wasn’t tied down, but my mind didn’t know the difference.  it was the strangest thing i had ever experienced.

the reason i told you that is because the way i felt tied down to my bed those years ago is the same way i feel in my relationship with God. i feel tied down and unable to move.  i feel numb.  i’ve become stagnant.  and honestly, i don’t know where it came from or when it started.

when i think about what we as Christians are called to do which is to love and to go out and tell the world of the good news, thats when the numbness sets in.  its as if i become strapped down.  its like i’m strapping myself down.  i become scared when i think of representing my Father.  there is a line in an As Cities Burn song that has been with me for years because when i first heard it, it struck a chord deep inside me and it described me perfectly.  he simply sings, “now i let go of Your hand somewhere between love and what it demands of me.” and that is me.

back to the definition of stagnant:

first, when you’re not constantly flowing or running with God, you stop growing.  one thing i’ve learned as a Christian over the years is this: you can’t expect to grow in Christ if you stay still.  repeatedly throughout the bible, its stated that you must keep conversation through prayer.  you must stay in the word.  you must physically follow in the steps of Christ.  if you stop, you won’t change and you’ll become stagnant.

second, when you become stagnant in your relationship with God, you become foul or stale.  when i think of stale i think of bread.  when bread becomes stale it either becomes moldy or it becomes hard.  it becomes no good and has to be thrown away.  when something becomes foul, it stinks. no one wants to go around it and it starts to attract insects.  when we become stagnant with God, obviously we don’t start to grow mold on our bodies and start to smell, but our personalities, character and souls do.  we no longer look like the image of Christ.  our moods and personalities start to stink and no one wants to be around us.  instead of being the sweet aroma of Christ, we become the foul stench of the world.

third, we become characterized by lack of development, advancement or progressive movement.  we become strapped to the bed.  we don’t grow.  we don’t move forward.  and we don’t learn anymore.  we just are.  as i was typing this third meaning, another As Cities Burn lyric popped into my head: “so i hear theres a whole world out there, but i’ve grown to love this bed to much to leave it. i keep hearing about this world out there.  come untie me from this bed, come untie me from the wicked things i love.”  if we become tied down to our beds, to our complacency in life, we lose the ability to move forward and advance in our relationship with God.

forth, we become inactive, sluggish or dull.  or all three.  this one is the main one for me.  especially sluggish and dull.  i just feel lazy when it comes to my relationship with God.  i’ve become so complacent and comfortable in the life i have, i’ve lost the ability to progress.  its not that i don’t want to, i’ve just been inactive for so long, i’ve become comfortable.  and comfort is dangerous. being uncomfortable is scary, and that is why i get scared when i think of what it is God wants me to do.  God usually doesn’t call us to do things that make us comfortable, He calls us to step out of our comfort zone.

but this isn’t uncommon.  moses, one of the greatest men of the bible, was scared when God told him to go speak to pharaoh. i realize that being scared is normal and that God loves to use the ones who think they can’t be used. and i’m sure the way i feel is no different than someone else in my situation. but the point i’m trying to get across is that for awhile now i feel stagnant in my relationship with God.  its not something i want.  i want to look forward to picking up my bible and spending time in Gods word. i want to enjoy praying and spending time with God.  i want to be able to do Gods work without second guessing myself and without the fear the holds me back. but i don’t.  i just curl up in the tightest fetal position i can and wait for the fear to go away.

its the fear thats keeping me tied down.  the other day i posted on twitter “the devil is only as strong as the fear he creates and the fear you allow him to create.”  each day i give into the fear, i weaken myself and allow the devil to become stronger.  the way i’ve been feeling is incredibly difficult to explain and i’m not sure if what i’ve said has painted an accurate picture of where i am.  but in a nutshell, i feel tied down and unable to move.  i try my hardest to break whats holding me down and i constantly squirm, but i soon realize i’m not strong enough and give up.  i pray to God to help, but my prayers are laced with doubt.  i’m tired.  physically, emotionally and mostly spiritually. i’ve become stagnant.  i’ve become complacent.  i’m in desperate need of change that only God can bring.

i didn’t write this in search of pity.  i just felt i needed to write so i did.  if you have read this, then i’d ask if you wouldn’t mind praying for me.  because like i said, i’m tired and i can’t go on running in the same spot.  thank you.

obedience

if you know me then you know that a little over five years ago i felt God call me to north carolina.  i didn’t know why at the time, and i still don’t know why.  it was a pretty strong feeling.  i had never been there.  barely knew anyone there.  and everywhere i went, i either heard someone talking about it or saw something related to it.  but i never went.

about 2 1/2 to 3 years ago i read a book called ‘through painted deserts’ by donald miller.  that book changed my view on moving.  it actually took the want to move to north carolina and focused my heart on traveling the country for a couple of months.  either stopping at a final destination and calling that home, or coming back home to louisiana to live out the rest of my days.  the urge to move to another state had become less and less by this point and i knew that i just wanted to buy a van and hit the open road.  but i never left.

currently, i don’t have any sense of a calling or a want to move permanently to one specific place, or anywhere at all.  i do on the other hand still want to travel.  but similar to the moving thing, its not something i’m in a rush to do or something that i am feeling called to do at this moment.  one day i’d like to do it, but it doesn’t have to be today.  it doesn’t have to be now.

the other day i had a conversation that made me feel pretty uncomfortable. uncomfortable in the sense that i was being challenged to look at my relationship with God and my obedience to Him.  and that is what this post is about.

my friend that i conversed with suggested that i take some time to pray and think about what we had talked about.  that, too, made me feel uncomfortable because now i had someone outside of myself telling me that i needed to basically check myself and reevaluate my current situation and relationship with God.  it made me feel uncomfortable because i’m not a fan of others seeing a weakness in me and calling me out on it.  but i’m incredibly appreciative of those who aren’t afraid to do so and grateful for those people.

so i did what my friend told me.  granted it was only two days ago, and i’m not done seeking counsel and praying and giving myself an examination on my spiritual life, but i have come to some conclusions.  the reason i talked about the moving and traveling stuff earlier is because its the reason why i’m in the situation i am with myself and why i am writing this.  my friend told me they were afraid i wasn’t being obedient to God by going to north carolina five years back.  when they told me that, i suddenly became defensive and annoyed and upset.  i had the emotions because i felt what they said was untrue.  i’ve been a Christian for awhile now.  i always try to please God and do what He asks of me.  i really and truly do my best when it comes to that.  and thats why i became defensive, annoyed and upset.  but i also started to feel this way after the conversation ended and we went our separate ways.  the reason being is because i was no longer feeling those emotions toward my friend, but instead at myself.

after the conversation, i went home and started praying and asking God if it were true.  had i rejected what He had placed on my heart five years ago? was it even a God thing or a me thing?  i even sent a friend a message to get their opinion and insight on the situation and they ended up giving me some great advice.  one reason i was upset at myself is because i can be lazy in my spiritual walk with God.  i don’t stay in His word as much as i should.  i don’t pray as often as i should.  and if you want to have a better faith in God, a stronger dependence on God, a better ear to hear Him, then its imperative that you keep yourself in His word and pray as often as you can.  you have to communicate with Him in order to hear and see when He communicates to you.

as of right now, i don’t have an answer on whether or not i was being disobedient.  maybe He placed it on my heart to prepare me and get me ready.  maybe He has been using this time to build me up and prepare me for what He has in store.  maybe it wasn’t even Him calling me to north carolina, but instead, it was me just wanting to leave and escape some recent events that happened back then.  but i do know this.  i’m a good guy.  i love God and i love people.  and even though i sin and fall constantly, it doesn’t mean i’m not trying.  being a Christian is incredibly difficult.  believing in something you can’t see.  listening to something that usually doesn’t talk to you directly to your face.  these are hard concepts to grasp and hold on to.  but i keep holding on.  even though it may not seem like it, i always have and always will have faith.  i’ll have faith that God has a bigger plan for me than what i can ever imagine.  and when the day comes for that plan to be put into action, i strongly believe He will open the door of opportunity so wide, all questions of doubt will wash away.  i also know that i’ll never turn my back on God and deny His name.  and i know that if i have disobeyed God, its never been my intention.  as i said before, i’m a good guy with a good heart and i have good intentions.  God knows that.  and thats all that matters.

that conversation and these couple of days have shown me what areas i need to work on and to not be lazy and make excuses for myself anymore.  so from here on out, its nothing but bettering myself and my relationship with my Father.  if you’re reading this and feel the need to be an accountability partner to me, i’d gladly accept and appreciate it.  God gives us the strength, but He also says that we should require counsel from others.

thank you.

if i only knew

often times i’ve judgingly looked at others and thought to myself, “man, if only they knew”.  and by this i mean, if they only knew who Jesus is.  if they only knew what they were doing were wrong. i really felt sorry for them. then i’d go on about my business and not give it anymore thought.  i never realized my “concerned” thinking was actually a problem until this morning.

this morning i was sitting in church with friends and enjoying the message our pastor was giving us.  i’m sitting there taking notes down in my phone and doing a lot of thinking about the message and how it applies to my life.  then, out of nowhere, the aforementioned thought came across my mind: “man, if people only knew”.  the odd part of it is, it wasn’t related to the message being given and i wasn’t even looking at anyone when i thought about it.  as soon as it came and went, God told me “the reason they don’t know, is because you haven’t told them.”  i sunk down in my chair, stared at my phone with what i’m sure was a look of shock on my face and felt as if a pile of bricks had just fallen on me.  i didn’t know what to think.

i felt i needed to write about this, but didn’t really have anything to write off of other than what happened in church this morning.  and usually before i write a blog post, i like to get some thoughts in line and do a little research on the subject at hand before i start writing.  so i came home and jumped on my laptop and started watching some random videos on a video site called wimp. its actually a really neat little site with good, clean videos for people to watch. anyways, i came across a video of two people juggling and one of the commentators was a guy by the name of penn jillette.  now if his name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the other half of the eccentric magic act better known as penn and teller.  penn is the rather tall and large fella who does all of the talking and teller is the short, quiet portion of the act.  well when i came across the juggling video and heard penn jillette’s voice, i suddenly remembered a video of him i saw a few years back of him talking about how an audience member gave him a pocket bible at a meet and greet after one of their shows.  penn jillette is an adamant atheist.  he even states in the video that he knows there is no God.  but thats not what he talks about in the video.  what he says ties into what God told me this morning.

in the video penn asks the question, “how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”  i don’t know about you, but that question really struck a cord deep inside of me.  and it goes along with God telling me this morning that “the reason these people you “feel sorry for” don’t know Me is because you haven’t done your job in telling them about Me.” in case you haven’t realized this yet, i’ve had a pretty good reality check today.

i was lucky to have been raised in a Christian home.  raised on moral values and been in church most of my life.  sure i went through my rebellious stage and stepped away from God and the church life.  i’m sure most of us have. but like i said, i was lucky to have Christ in me at an early age, so it wasn’t hard for me to get back in line and start going to church more and being around the right people to help build me back up.  i’m not saying i have it all together because i don’t and i’m far from that.  now i said that being raised in a Christian home was lucky and it was by most standards, but it also has a con to it that most fail to recognize.  being raised around goodness can make you blind to the badness.  you start to take it all for granted and its harder to appreciate Jesus.  we start to think that since we asked Jesus to come into our lives and live within us when we were 7, that we feel that we’re old pros at the Christian life.  we become know-it-alls and sadly enough, we become a little snobbish to everyone else.  like i am when i look at others in a judging manor wondering “whats their deal” and “don’t they know what they are doing is wrong?”  its a fine line to walk on and if you’re not careful, you’ll fall on the wrong side.  i don’t think satan gets more joy out of anything else than when he can make a Christian believe that they are better than the lost and nonbelievers when in reality, Jesus says we are no greater than the least of these.

matthew 28:19 says this: “therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  we are called to tell people about Jesus.  it doesn’t mean we have to go to russia or africa.  we can do it here in our country, state or city.  it does us no go to hold onto the most important information there is and keep it to ourselves.  if all the teachers in the world stopped teaching and told no one of their knowledge, the world would fall apart.  we are constantly surrounded by bad news every single day, but we hold the good news inside ourselves. we’ve become selfish.

this was an incredibly difficult realization this morning and its a hard pill to swallow.  being a Christian isn’t easy.  rarely does God ask us to do what we are comfortable doing.  instead He would rather challenge us and make us feel really uncomfortable to make His will be done.  and He does this because being comfortable requires no faith.  this is also difficult for me because i am in no way one for starting up conversation, or keeping it going really.  never have been.  its always just felt really awkward to me.  much like dancing.  so aside from giving me a reality check, i’m pretty sure God has challenged me. and i can’t say that i’ll succeed at this challenge, but i’ll give it my best.  i also have assurance in knowing that God will not place something in your life if He knows you can’t handle it.  so i suppose i can take this challenge as a complement from God.  He has faith in me to speak His word to others, i should have faith in Him to provide the courage to do so.

so if you’d like, i would appreciate it if you would join me in this challenge if you feel lead to do so.  i’d like to hear your feedback on the issue and possibly some tips on how to go about this.  remember, we weren’t made to sit idly by until we’re dead and receive the prize of heaven without working for it.  our faith without action is dead.  and remember this: if you’re not dead, you’re not done.

also, if you’d like to watch the video i mentioned, here it is: 

what to wear

does choosing what to wear for church affect your reason for going?  lets see.

this morning, like most mornings, i didn’t feel like getting out of bed. especially today because its sunday and one of my only days to sleep in.  i just want to stay in bed and be lazy.  but its sunday and i enjoy going to church and that is enough motivation to get me out of bed.  before i had to get ready i decided to tool around on facebook, twitter and instagram… being a creeper.  well while i was creeping around on twitter i read something a friend of mine tweeted.  she said, “dressing up for church is such bogus. i just want to roll out of bed and go sit and listen to someone teach me about Jesus.”

i completely agree with what she said because there have been sundays where i wish i could just roll out of bed with medusa hair, pajama pants, an old t-shirt and some flip-flops and just show up, sit down and be filled with God’s word.  and technically we can.  we don’t have to be prim and proper for church.  Jesus doesn’t care, but we do.

i’ll admit it, i’ve put thought into what i wear before i go to church.  and who hasn’t?  maybe there is some cute boy or girl you’d like to impress.  God forbid they see you as you look when you first wake up.  maybe its a really fancy church.  you know the kind where you feel like you’re going to break something if you look at it the wrong way.  there’s even the old phrase of “putting on your sundays best”.  a lot of effort and planning goes into some peoples outfit for church.  some people buy suits and dresses and shoes for just that day.  but why? why do we put so much effort into looking so good for church?  now i’m not saying its bad to look nice and dress up, but our motives for doing so should be checked.  are we going to church to look good and pick someone up, or are we going to be filled with the Spirit so that God can pick us up?

i think most of the time we place too much worry on our outward appearance. the men become dapper dans and the ladies look like a modern day june cleaver.  we focus on others opinions of us rather than God’s opinion of us. especially on sundays because that is where we need to look like the poster child for Jesus. we have to make our outward appearance look good so that it will reflect a false image of our inward appearance.  think about it.  if you see someone who is disheveled and dressed way down, we tend to not see them as having it all together and we kind of write them off.  but if we see someone who is sharply dressed, we see them as having their lives together and easily approachable.   if we show up to church looking hungover, people may think we don’t have our lives together and think, “oh that poor guy needs some prayer and Jesus in his life”, when in reality, they are the ones that need Jesus in their lives and all we did was just roll out of bed and into our car that morning for church and didn’t even get a cup of coffee to help us wake up.  i think more often than none we treat our weekly trip to church as a time to hang out and socialize instead of treating it for it what it really is, a time to worship our Creator and as my friend said, “…go sit and listen to someone teach me about Jesus.”

i wouldn’t imagine that this would have been an issue back in the day during the time Jesus taught.  if He wasn’t preaching in a synagogue, Jesus was usually in the town square, outside, speaking to crowds of people.  outside where there were no paved roads and cement to stand on.  people stood in the dirt.  out in the sun.  they became sweaty and dirty.  i highly doubt looking good was their reason for hearing Jesus speak because on that day, learning about God meant they were going to have to get dirty, smelly and unattractive. but not us.  learning about God and Jesus is a luxury, and sometimes we treat it as so.  we have a roof to protect us from the sun and rain.  we have air conditioning to keep us cool in the summer, or year round if you live in louisiana, and a heater to keep us warm in the winter.  we’ve become spoiled.

as i mentioned earlier, Jesus doesn’t care how well we dress or how poorly we dress.  He just wants us to show up.  i’m not saying that you need to start dressing poorly in order to get the most out of church, i’m saying that you may need to evaluate why you’re putting so much thought into what you’re about to wear to go worship Jesus.  if you’re dressing nicely to try to impress someone, like i’ve done before, then your motives for going to church are wrong and you probably should sit down and talk to Jesus.  wearing a $500 suit or a new top designer dress may fool other church-goers and impress everyone there, but it doesn’t fool God and it surely doesn’t impress Him.

actions not words

this was inspired a few moments ago while sitting in the shower apologizing to God.

i do that quite often.  i like to talk to God while im in the shower.  i have no distractions.  no one to bother me.  im at my most vulnerable.  its kind of my quite/alone time if you will.

what i am going to write about is the expectations i have of a friend and the expectations God has of me, and how they are parallel each other.  so here it goes.

every time i find myself apologizing to God and telling Him that im sorry for sinning, two things happen: 1. i get a huge blanket of guilt that covers me because i know im going to commit the same sins im apologizing for again. and 2. God always reminds me of my relationship i have with a friend of mine.  so with that being said, let me go into detail about my friendship.

i have this friend that i’ve known for about 5 years.  it hasn’t been the easiest friendship to say the least, but its been good.  we don’t talk much anymore and thats mostly my fault.  this person over the years has put me through the ringer.  they have let me down numerous times.  hurt my feelings.  said some mean words.  and yet i kept giving them a second chance.  i keep giving them another chance because they always apologized.  so i let them come back, in hopes that they would eventually show me through actions, not words, that they were actually sorry, but they never did.  so now we don’t talk anymore.

the problem with this situation is that i was tired of hearing the apology.  i wanted to see it.  i wanted to feel it.  eventually their words lost meaning and i didn’t believe them anymore. and through this experience i’ve learned the importance of showing action behind your words.  if you say you love someone, show it.  if you are sorry for something you’ve done to someone, show it.  if you make plans, stick to them.

here is where i am going with this.  while im in the shower apologizing to God for a sin i’ve committed a thousand plus times, He stopped me mid sentience and said “hey, remember that friend you always get mad at for not showing you that they are sorry?  well you’re being that kind of friend to Me.”  and thats where part of the guilt blanket comes in.  He’s right.  im treating God the exact same way my friend treated me.  and yes, He does have the same expectations that i had of my friend.  He wants me to show Him that i am sorry, and to not just say it over and over like some broken record.  and to be honest, as im apologizing to Him, i feel no meaning behind my words.  they just roll off my tongue like a well rehearsed script.

now aside from what i just mentioned, there is a second part to this friendship: i should have portrayed God better than i did.  see God truly forgives me when i apologize and ask for forgiveness.  He knows im going to screw up again, but He takes me back regardless.  no questions asked.  i kept taking my friend back in hopes they would change.  if i would have been certain they would have kept on like they did, i wouldn’t have given them as many chances.  but thats not how God operates.  even though my words may have lost their meaning, He knows my heart.  He knows im just human and that im not perfect.  and that is how my friend is.  they are just human.  yes it would have been nice to see action behind their words, but thats the only thing i wanted to see.  the selfishness that is stored inside me refused to see my friends heart, but instead wanted to see only action.

so i guess what i am trying to say here is that when you come to God and say you’re sorry for something, do your best to show Him you’re sorry.  put forth the best possible effort you can in showing God that you’re sorry and i strongly believe if you do that with a pure heart, you will soon find yourself distanced from whatever it was you originally apologized for.  also, ask God for the ability to portray the kind of grace He gives you, to others. we are all selfish and have selfish ways.  people will disappoint us.  people will let us down.  if they’re a true friend, they mean well.  look into their heart and cover them with grace.

goodnight world.  love you.

 

learn from the past

i’ll start off by saying its been awhile since i’ve written.  thats for a few reasons, actually.  one, i’ve been busy with school and work.  both consume about 12 to 13 hours of my day 5 days a week, so by the time i get home, i’m tired.  second, i haven’t really felt inspired by anything lately.  and if i write something that mentions God or Jesus or something that is faith based, i try to take it as seriously as possible.  i won’t just come here to write something that has no heart or thought behind it just to crank out another blog.  i prefer my blog to have some form of meaning and thought.  with that being said, let me begin.

i know you’ve heard people say “hey, don’t live in the past” or “don’t look back, it does no good.  look toward the future!”.  i’ve definitely heard people say this to others and to me as well.  and i agree with it, but to a certain extent.

here is why i agree with it.  i agree that one should not live in the past constantly.  its poisonous to the body.  living in the past will prevent you from growing.  it will prevent you from realizing what you have right in front of you.  lets say you had a really great relationship with some guy or girl a few years back, but they broke it off.  now you’re stuck comparing every guy/girl you’re with to the person that left you years ago.  all because you keep yourself in the “good times”.  another example is if you went through a traumatic experience at some point in your life.  now you use that experience as an excuse for why “life isn’t good” right now.  you tell yourself that “well so-and-so really hurt me, and i don’t know if i can learn to trust anyone else.” there are a ton of examples, but this isn’t my main focus.

so basically, living in the past and coming up with excuses only holds you back and prevents you from maturing, growing and experiencing life and everything it has to offer.  that is why i agree with the aforementioned quotes.

now here is why i don’t agree with it, and the purpose of this writing.  there is a difference in looking in the past and living in the past.  if you look in the past too often, you start to live in it.  now if you look in the past every once in awhile, its ok, but only if its for good reasons and not for ill purposes like feeling sorry for yourself or remembering someone who has long moved on.

looking back on your past is good, and can be good for you.  yesterday i was at work and doing a lot of thinking (which i do a lot there) and started to realized where i’ve come from and where i am now.  it was a pretty humbling experience.  i stood there just thinking of some of the stuff i’ve been through and was kind of amazed at how i’ve made it through.  i also thought that i didn’t make it through on my own and definitely not on my own strength, and  the only reason i’ve made it through anything in my life is strictly because of God and His grace.  and that is why i am writing this.  if you look back on your past and see all the stuff you went through and how you made it out alive, you start to realize just how much God has been working in your life.

coming from personal experience, when i’ve been through really crappy situations, i find it extremely hard to see God at work.  its as if He suddenly becomes silent when you cry out.  you feel abandoned, unwanted.  you start feeling sorry for yourself.  and since you’re human, you’ve been through this. but even though it sucks at that moment, its a glorious life experience that you cannot get anywhere else.

i’m 27 years old.  i’ve been through some pretty lame stuff in my time here on earth.  and to be cliché for a minute, i wouldn’t trade it for anything.  and the reason is because of being able to look back at my life and see God at work during those times.  and yes, there are some things i’ve been through that God hasn’t revealed to me just yet as to why i was put through those seasons of life.  and He may never reveal the reason for those seasons of life.  and i’m ok with that.  looking back and being able to see God in those rough patches puts a smile on my face and makes it all worth it.

this may sound kind of crazy, and it should because it sounds crazy to me, but i look forward to the bad seasons of life.  i don’t look forward to them because i enjoy it, but instead because i know God is bringing me through this with good intentions in His eyes.  if you look at bad circumstances with the mentality that God only does things on your behalf to build you up and mature you, and not to harm you, then you realize just how great the bad can be.  fitness legend jack lalanne said this: “I work out for two hours every morning, seven days a week — even when I’m traveling. I hate it. But I love the result! That’s the key, baby!”  i believe that exemplifies just what i mentioned.  it sucks to go through it, but the outcome is glorious!

i hope this made some sense.  its a bit lengthy and scattered so if you made it this far, congratulations and thank you.  so i’ll close with this: look back on your past to learn from it, see where God has brought you from, and to better yourself.  if you learn to appreciate the tough times and know they only build you up and make you stronger, you’ll realize just how good God is to you and it will fill your heart with joy!

good night and i love you.

refresh

i was at mcalisters earlier tonight to grab a bite to eat, obviously, and the person that brought my food to me started up a conversation.  basically he was telling me how his car was pretty much broken down and was needing a new one pretty badly, so he asked me to pray for him.  then he walked away.  now i should tell you that i have a bad habit of telling others i’ll pray for them when they ask for it, and i never do.  pretty sad really and doesn’t reflect Christ in the least little bit.  well God has brought it to my attention that this is an area of my life that i need to work on, so i have been trying. anytime someone has recently asked me for prayer, i stop what i’m doing and pray right then and there for them.  i’m not sure if its the right prayer for them or not, but God knows what they need and He knows my heart and my intent.

well tonight, as soon as the guy walked away, i started to pray for him to find a dependable car that he could rely on and wouldn’t cost much money.  and for some reason, i asked God to refresh his heart.  i have no idea where it came from or why it worked its way into me asking God to open a door for this guy to get a car, but it did, and it opened my eyes a little bit and got me thinking on the idea of having our hearts refreshed.

i’m not sure, but i believe God placed those words into my prayer for 2 reasons: 1. the guy actually needed to have God refresh his heart and 2. i needed my mind opened to this idea of having your heart refreshed by God.  its kind of one of those things you can’t really explain, but if you pray, i think you can relate.

in this world, we are bombarded with negativity.  its so much that when something positive happens we’re taken aback and surprised.  and i think i speak for most of the human race when i say that this way of living is completely backwards.  each negative occurrence we’re faced with stacks up and wraps itself around our hearts.  when we were born, God made us with a pure and clean heart.  He graciously gave us a heart meant for loving unconditionally, portraying Christ and only being able to be understood by you, God and one other person.  but that pureness, cleanness and innocence unfortunately doesn’t last too long in this world.  the world rejects a goodness such as this, and there really isn’t much we can do about it.  we are thrown into the ring with the lion and told to survive.  we are told to trust our hearts and to do good unto others. well when you’re driving and someone cuts you off or rides your bumper, its hard to find the goodness in your heart to ignore them and let it roll off your shoulders and easier to shout profanities or give them the evil eye.  the reason this happens, i believe, is because we access our emotions from our heart.  and since more negativity is wrapped around our heart, its quicker for us to portray a negative attitude rather than a positive one.  we’re not willing to take the time to dig deep into our heart and find the good to portray that positive attitude, that image of Christ.  that image that was embedded in our hearts the moment we were created.

so where am i going with this?  well, our hearts are covered by all the crap this world throws at us.  for some its easier to not have the crap stick, but for most of us its stays stuck to us and we end up becoming bogged down.  it affects every aspect of our lives and we end up portraying the world instead of Christ.  so what do we do?  well its not difficult but its not easy either.  the easy part is what i mentioned earlier- talking with God and asking Him to refresh your heart.  the hard part is having the patience to allow God to clean up all the dirt and grime left on your heart by this world.  but He can and He will.  so just sit and have a good talk with God and ask Him to clean up your heart so that you can use it for what He intended us to use it for, praising Him and loving others.

goodnight world.  love you.

infectious

let me start by defining infectious.  according to the merriam-webster dictionary, the word infectious, as an adjective, has 3 definitions: 1. capable of causing infection, 2. that corrupts or contaminates, 3. spreading or capable of spreading rapidly to others. for the purpose of this blog, i’ll be referring to the latter.

today on my lunch break a phrase came to mind: “be infectious to Jesus, not an infection to Jesus.”  it may not make sense reading it, but i’ll explain it.

when Jesus walked the earth many years ago, He was noticed.  i would imagine Him as the kind of guy that everyone noticed when He walked into a room.  if there was loud chatter and conversation amongst the crowd in a room that Jesus walked into, i’d be willing to bet a hush fell over the people when He entered.  that’s just the kind of guy Jesus was.  He was an infectious person and had an infectious personality.  people wanted to hear what He had to say, even the pharisees, who thought they had no need for Him.

throughout the new testament there are stories upon stories of Jesus teaching and preaching to huge crowds.  crowds filled with disciples, thieves, pharisees, tax collectors, true believers, harlots, sick people, healthy people.  you name it, they were in the crowd.  shoving their way to the front just to hear what Jesus had to say.  His words, His actions, His thought process… everything about Him was infectious.  so much that it resulted in His death.

so back to the aforementioned quote.  “be infectious to Jesus…”.  it doesn’t make much sense when you read it, but it does in my head, so i’ll do my best to detail what it means to me.  this is basically me saying that we need to be as infectious as possible, just as Jesus was, in our Christian lives.  Jesus isn’t physically here anymore to walk the ends of the earth and go the the bad neighborhoods, poor stricken parts of the world or the darkest places of peoples lives.  that’s why we’re here.  its our job and its in our hands.  just as Jesus said in Mark 16:15 “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  we are here to tell people the story of Jesus and the goodness, graciousness and love of God.  that’s just what Jesus did, minus telling stories of Himself.  and when He told people of God’s great love, people stopped what they were doing to listen.  some even completely stopped their lives and started following Him.  you don’t see that very often nowadays.

that leads me to the second part: “…not an infection to Jesus.”  and by this i mean that we need to be careful with both our words and our actions.  if we preach the good news but act worldly, we become an infection.  we infect and soil the very message Jesus died for.  we have to align our voice and our body.  there are a couple of quotes that have always been stuck in my head and that’s due to the fact that they are unfortunately true: “Christianity is the leading cause of atheism” or the famous one by Ghandi, “i like your Christ, but i do not like your Christians.  they are so unlike your Christ.”  this is because we have become an infection in the side of everything Jesus taught and preached on.

so go into the world, wherever that may bring you, and be as infectious as Jesus was. speak the good word, act in love and prove to the world that Christianity is not an infection, for what Jesus did, He did for you and it wasn’t for nothing.

“180″ movie

do yourself a favor and watch this.

do everyone a favor and share it once you’ve seen it.

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