Friday, September 23, 2011

What is this season for?

So as most of you that know me know, I have recently entered into a new phase in my life.  For the first time ever I am no longer single.  Rebecca and I have decided to start dating/ Courting/ being friends with a purpose, whatever you want to call it.  But what is this time actually meant for?  Enjoyment of each other in an environment conducive to letting each other know how we feel?  I think not!  How about discovering if it’s God’s will for us to get marred one day? … Maybe, but I don’t think that’s all either.  According to Joshua Harris, “our goals should be to grow and guard.  We want to grow closer so we can truly know each other’s character, but we also want to guard each other’s hearts because the outcome of our relationship is still unknown” (75).  So this is a time to become better friends, to learn about each other and to get a chance to see who each of us really are, not to worry about if in the end we would be compatible as a couple.  That kind of stuff will work its self out later if we maintain a proper attitude now.  So how do we become better friends/ get to know each other better, and guard each other’s hearts.  Well at the moment taking walks at school, hanging out with each other’s families, and other activities that aren’t particularly romantic, that are conducive to conversation are great chances to learn more about each other. So what about guarding our hearts… that’s the hard part, how do you let someone know how much they mean to you without communicating more commitment than you can give? Unfortunately I didn’t find any magic answer from Harris, other than that as your confidence in marriage increases so should your romantic expressions.  So it sounds as if I would need to refrain from it pretty much completely.  So what is appropriate?  Should we hold hands, is it ok to say “I love you”? I don’t know, and I don’t think there is a general answer for everyone in this stage in their lives, it’s something God has to communicate to everyone individually what is appropriate for them at the stage in life that they are in.  so yeah, sorry for not giving all the answers to life’s questions, but I hope if you are where I am right now this can help you.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grace and Love

Hey guys, first off, I’m so sorry I’ve abandoned y’all, I guess life can just get away from us.  There’s a song you guys need to check out, this post is basically inspired by it, Grace and love by Kutless http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo-ND6msMU0
But anyways I was listening to my ipod while I was mowing, and that song came on (I haven’t heard all my music yet) and the words spoke to me. 
Many things in life are hard for me
Many things can pull us down
I don't understand why I do what I do
How could I take my eyes off you
After all You've done for me
And after all You've done for me

It's by Your grace and love I am saved
It's by Your grace and love You've forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I'm amazed
It's by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

And it's by grace and love that I am free
I'll live with you eternally
I thank you Lord that I am free
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying upon the tree of Calvary
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying for me

Because it's by grace and love I am saved
It's by Your grace and love You've forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I'm amazed
It's by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

Many things in life are hard for me
But by grace and love You've forgiven me
And by grace and love we are free

Why do we do what we do, we turn our backs on God and we sin, even while knowing what we do is sin, and knowing that our sins are what hurt Jesus more than the floggings or the crown of thorns or the crucifixion, our sins are what made him suffer; knowing that the humans who he loves so much are willing to spit in his face, and reject him and his will in their lives, even though that will is the best things that their lives could ever experience, and it would be so much better than anything they could do on their own. Think in your own live what’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt, was it a physical pain, or was it rejection, or someone making fun of you, or someone you trust betraying you, I don’t know about you, but being betrayed to me is a lot more lasting and painful than any injury I’ve ever had, and Jesus was betrayed and rejected more than you will ever even imagine being.  But the amazing thing is he still loved us.  In fact he loved us so much he willingly went through all that, he could have easily just left us on our own doomed to hell without his forgiving grace, without spilling his own eternal immortal blood to cover our sins.  But He LOVED us … HE LOVED… us, the ones who tortured him.  Think about it, he was human; he had all the feelings that we do, he felt the physical torcher, he felt the betrayal, and it crushed him.  Yet he loved us… wow isn’t his love and grace amazing. And it’s by his grace and love I am set free, I am no longer a slave to sin he freed me. He’s forgiven me; set me free and asked me to be his son… he adopted me.  Go back and think about it, forget the fact for a second that he is God, and just think about the fact that the very person who caused him the most pain, tortured him, he asked to be his son.  It's by His grace and love that I am free and will live with Him eternally.  Thank you Lord that I am free, thank you Lord for loving me, thank you Lord for dying upon the tree of Calvary, thank you Lord for loving me, thank you Lord for dying for me. 
Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.  Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ring and Sin

ok guys, this is a kinda old one, but hope you enjoy. 


12/2/08
There are many aspects of life that interest people.  Many of these aspects have been written about in books, made into plays, or, more recently, made into movies.  Some of these aspects are love, strength, guilt, forgiveness, and sin.  The Lord of the Rings has one such aspect.  The aspect in The Lord of the Rings is sin.  The “one ring” in The Lord of the Rings parallels sin in the world.
            In chapter one of the film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gladriel, the Lady of L√≥rien, discusses the forging of the great rings.  She tells about how Sauron made three rings for the Elves, seven rings for the Dwarfs, and how “nine rings were gifted to the race of men who, above all else, desire power.”  And she says, “[W]ithin these rings was bound the strength and will to govern each race, but they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made.”  She goes on to say that “Sauron forged in secret a master ring to control all others and into this ring he poured his cruelty, malice and his will to dominate all life—‘one ring to rule them all.’”
            The Devil, also known as Lucifer, also has a will to dominate all life.  This fact is evident in Isaiah where the Bible says, “You [Lucifer] said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on…the utmost heights of mount Zaphon.  I will I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’”(Isa.14:13-14 TNIV).  Here the Devil says he wants to become more powerful and more sovereign than God, he says he wants God to be below him.  Since God is the ruler of everything, Lucifer is saying that he wants to dominate all life. Because of Lucifer’s rebellion, God threw him and all his followers out of Heaven.
            Just as Lucifer was cast from his throne of power, so was Sauron severed from his ring of power.  It was on the slopes of mount doom, where the ring was forged, that Isildur, who was the son of the king of Gondor, took his father’s sword and cut off the hand of Sauron. By cutting away Sauron’s ring, Isildur brought about his defeat.  Isildur then had a chance to destroy the ring, “But the hearts of men are easily corrupted.” So Isildur kept the ring.  The ring, being part of Sauron, had a will of its own, and caused Isildur to die, by betraying him when he was hiding from orks.
            When Isildur died, the ring was lost for a very long time.  After more than two thousand years, Gollum’s friend, Degul, found the ring, and Gollum killed him and stole it and it consumed him.  Eventually Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from the shire, found the ring in Gollum’s cave.  He kept the ring until his “eleventy first birthday,” and on that day he gave it to Frodo Baggins, his nephew.
            Because Sauron was rapidly gaining power, Frodo had to soon start on his long and hard journey in order to destroy the ring.  In the same way, sin will one day be destroyed, because the devil has been getting more powerful since he first had his power taken from him.
            Frodo faced many hardships on the road to Mordor where he was going to destroy the ring.  In the same manner Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John15:18-20 NIV).
            In Revelation, the Bible refers to a great battle in the end of time, when sin will be destroyed forever. It says, “Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.  They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown” (Revelation 20:7-10 NIV).  This type of battle is also in The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King (the movie).  The combined forces of Gondor and Rohan face the innumerable forces of Sauron at the gates of Mordor in sight of the great eye, which is Sauron.  When all hope seemed to be gone, Frodo unwillingly overcame the power of the ring, and Gollum stole the ring and fell in the fire.  At that point, Mount doom started to become active, and the evil forces of Sauron fell into a newly opened ravine that got covered over by the fires of mount doom. Then the tower on which Sauron lived crumbled and fell into the “burning sulfur.”  Evil had now been defeated.
            In the Bible, when sin and evil are defeated, God will bring his children home; then send everyone else to the punishment awaiting them.  In The Lord of the Rings, after the defeat of Sauron, Aragorn was crowned King of Gondor and the world then experienced peace. 
            The Bible and The Lord of the Rings may be very different, but Lord of the Rings parallels the Bible in several ways, the most obvious is the parallel between “one ring” and sin.  The ring, just like sin, consumes people, and the ring was destroyed just like sin will be destroyed in the end of time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

THE PRODIGAL SON

Ashley wanted me to post more often, but again i have nothing pressing to wirte, so this is a devotional i wrote in highschool. 

Word Count: 400
Writing: Basics and Beyond
April 27, 2010


"Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons. After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! I will get up and go to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.’ So he got up and started back to his father. “He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms round his son, and kissed him. ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’ But the father called his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began." (Luke 15:11-24, GNT)

When I was younger I tried to obey my parents, do what was moral, and go to church.  I grew up in a religious family in which almost everybody but me already knew God; in fact my grandpa, uncle, and brother were all preachers, but I didn’t know God for myself.
At thirteen, I came to the realization that I didn’t deserve to be God’s child.  He had given me life and I had wasted it in “reckless living.”   In many ways I was like the prodigal son in the story that Jesus told.
In today’s Scripture the prodigal son took his inheritance and wasted it.  When he became hungry, he realized that even his father’s servants were better off than he was.  He decided to go back to his father and see if he would hire him.  The father had been missing his son because he loved him so much. When he saw someone walking down the road he immediately knew it was his long lost son.  He got up, ran out the door, down the driveway, and met his son in the road with a hug and a kiss.  He didn’t care that his son had wasted half of his property.  Ignoring his son’s speech about being his servant, the father called to have the best steaks prepared, because they were going to have a party. 
As I sat there in church with the realization that even the servants of God were better off than me, I prayed.  As I prayed, God heard me and ran out to meet me with arms outstretched.  I begged him just to let me be his servant because I knew it was too much to ask to be his son, but He didn’t care what I had done.  He forgave me.  Now he is in Heaven preparing a feast for me.
I pray that everyone has had a similar experience and is going to that feast that God is preparing for us, but if any of you haven’t I pray you will.  When God draws you and lets you know you are separated from Him, you will have a terrible feeling of dread, and all you can do is pray.  When God is satisfied, He will replace that dreadful feeling with assurance and peace.  It’s between you and God, nobody but Him can tell you weather you are His child or not.

Dear God, thank You for saving me and making me Your child.  Please help those who don’t know You realize that without You they are nothing, and that You love them and want what’s best for them.  Draw them to You and save them.  Thank You again. Amen  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Turn from your false gods

                Should our friend’s good fortune not make us happy for them instead of feeling sorry for ourselves?  One of my friends just announced she got engaged, and of course I congratulated her, but inside I felt jealousy, and I envied her.  She now has what I desire with every ounce of my being, and yet can’t have yet, a committed relationship headed towards marriage.  Perhaps the fact that I used to have a crush on her helps feed my jealousy but that’s no excuse, I’m a child of Almighty God and jealousy isn’t a character trait that his children should have.  Perhaps desiring something so much, no matter how good it can be in the proper time, that it drives you to literally be in pain about your lack when one of your friends gets it, means that that has become an idle that you are worshiping instead of God.  That’s a scary thought; I have become an idle worshiper without making a conscious decision to turn from God and towards this false god of an intimate relationship.  Every time Israel turned to false gods in the bible, they always suffered, and God removed his protection from them, and they were usually conquered and brought into slavery.  But whenever they would turn from their false gods and seek Him, he was faithful and just to forgive their sins and restore relationship with them and restore his protection.  When we turn to false gods today, perhaps we aren’t conquered in a physical battle with swards and stuff, but we get conquered spiritually and God removes some of his protection from us, and we are easily sucked into the sinful ways of the world.  Like in one scripture it talks about his word being a light unto our feet.  It’s talking in the analogy the shepherd is walking along a slope and one wrong step in the dark will make him fall down the hill, but Gods word is a light helping him find the safe path at the top.  But when we neglect studying the word, or let our batteries in our flashlight die, we can’t tell were the path is anymore and so easily step off that ledge.  So much now, I pray asking that God will show me the path he wants me to take in my life and I get disappointed or frustrated when I don’t get an obvious answer, but He’s given me a way to see my path, but I blatantly leave the batteries out of the flashlight he gave me and I turn my back on him, desiring relationships and other stuff more than him.  And what could have been a peaceful night stole down the beach hand in hand with Jesus turns into a perilous mountain climb in the dead of night, and I wonder why I can’t overcome addictions and I fall into temptation.  The reason is obvious; I have turned to worshiping false gods.  Now the only way off the side of the cliff without falling and being destroyed is to get on my knees and beg him to come and help me, and get those old batteries out and charge them and put them back in the flash light so that I will be able to find my way back down the mountain to the beach where Jesus is standing with his arms wide open waiting to embrace me and take my hand and continue the peaceful stroll down the moon lit beach. 
                If you are like me and have at least subconsciously turned your desires away from God after something else, I recommend that you get on your Knees with me and get back into His holy word, and submit to him your desires; he loves you and wants what’s best for you.  I know its scary leavening any aspects of your live up to someone else, but as one verse in Jeremiah says, he knows the plans he has for you, they aren’t to harm you, there to help you and bring you a good future.  I don’t know if anybody else needed to hear this, but I know I did.  And even if I did a terrible job writing it, God still used it for me, so it was worth it. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not Just love, but IN LOVE

Ok so this if my first official blog post, the last one was a copy of an essay I wrote awhile back.
God has really been working on me lately through conversations with my friends and blog posts by LoVizzle.  I’ve been struggling with putting things in front of God and not letting Him have the proper place in my life, right in the center.  At my weakest I had even reached a point where if God wouldn’t give me what I wanted, permission to date, I was going to stop asking and just do it on my own.  Thankfully He didn’t let it come to that.  Through a desire to understand that He placed in me I asked my friends lots of questions and through their wise advice and scriptures such as Jeremiah29:11 and songs like While I'm Waiting helped me learn to be patient.
I could now wait, but I wasn’t happy about it.  Why would God keep something as amazing as a relationship with a godly young woman from me?  Why didn’t He want me to be happy?  I continued with this attitude for several days and then last night before church I sent a text to my friend Kay lo and asked her how she had become satisfied, not just patient, with being single.  She responded by saying,
                “The only times in life that I have ever been truly satisfied and content were times when I was closest to God.  It took a lot for me to get to those points in life though.  But in those times, I was so focused on the love of God, that the love and attention I got from others didn’t even compare to the love I was receiving from God, and therefore it made it much easier for me to spend every second of my time pursuing God’s perfect love rather than the love guys [or in my case girls] would have to offer me because there was just no comparison.”  She continued and said, “You may REALLY like [a girl] right now, but you will never TRULY be able to love her unconditionally as a man should until you live in the perfect love of God every moment of every day.”
                Wow it was like God was just talking right through her. He didn’t want me to just love Him he wanted me to be IN LOVE with him the way He’s so IN LOVE with me.  But how do you fall in love with God?  How do you let His love consume you?  How do you get that close to Him? If you aren’t saved it’s impossible, you first have to feel his convicting power then respond to his drawing and pray sincerely, begging him to save you.  Once you have surrendered to His satisfaction and He saves you, is when you can truly communicate with Him and actually know what love is, and fall in love with Him. But I’ve been saved since I was 13, I already had that line of communication available, how do I fall in love again?  So I asked Kay lo again. 
                She replied back saying that last year she had had a really bad 8 months and couldn’t get over a relationship she had had.  She said the depression had caused her to lose her joy in life, and even the will to live.  She said,
“I wanted to laugh because something was actually funny, I wanted to smile and it not have to be fake, I wanted to be happy, TRULY happy without pretending.  Then in a night of misery knowing that I did NOT want to live like that, God showed me that until I was ready to devote all of my love to Him, I wouldn’t just get better on my own,  Because without his love, we really can’t feel anything but lustful emotions and hormones.  All true happiness comes from Him alone.  And when we put Him first, that’s when we experience the love with others. … When I got to the point where I knew I couldn’t live in that condition a moment longer, God just said, ‘So are you ready for MY love?’ And that’s when I realized that that was all I Needed all along.”
                I related so well to that, that very day I had said to myself, “What’s the point of life, I’m sick of it.” I had reached the bottom and knew I couldn’t stand it much longer.  So I decided to go into church and try to worship God and not care what I looked like or what people thought about every action I did.  I entered, willing to be moved by God.  The song selection was like God was saying, “you know what I want.  I want my love to consume you in every aspect of your life.  I Love you!”  Now through much prayer by myself and others I can say I don’t just love God, but I am truly IN LOVE with Him.  He loves me, and he loves you too, and wants us all to be madly in love with him.  And he’s willing to help if we’ll be willing to let him. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forgiven

Since God is my life, i think how i met Him should be my first post.

 I know I have been forgiven!  Like many a thirteen-year old boy, I sat half listening to the preacher in church.  While I was sitting there, God came and let me know just how bad a sinner I truly was.  He also let me know that I didn’t deserve forgiveness, but He wanted to give it to me anyway.  In fact, He loved me so much He sent his son to Earth for me, if I didn’t repent, He would have to send me to Hell, no matter how much it broke his heart.
When I was younger I tried to obey my parents, do what was moral, and go to church.  I grew up in a religious home where almost everybody knew god, except me.  In fact, my grandpa, uncle, and brother were all preachers.  At the age of thirteen, I came to the realization that I didn’t deserve to be God’s child.  He had given me live and I had wasted it recklessly.
No longer listening to the preacher, I sat there thinking about what god had shown me.  Meanwhile He sent my mom to me.  She sat down beside me and asked if I was lost; I replied by shaking my head, no.  I was too busy thinking about what god had told me to act on His calling.  Thankfully, God sent her to talk to me one more time.  This time, she asked me if I needed to pray.  I responded by nodding my head, turning around, and kneeling at my seat.  I no longer could ignore God’s calling.  The only words I can remember praying were, “I am so sorry,” and “please forgive me,” but Jesus was pleading for me to his father.  As the bible says, “[T]he Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.” (Romans 8:26 NASB95)  
When I finished praying, I knew God had forgiven me for all my sins, both the ones I knew about and the ones I didn’t know about.  He not only forgave me but He also forgot about all of my sins.  Like the Bible says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins.” (Jeremiah 31:34, NLT)  God is so loving that when the devil brings past, forgiven sins back to my mind, God can say that He doesn’t know what I’m talking about, or He doesn’t remember anything like that.
Now, since I am saved, I no longer have to fear that God will have to send me to Hell, because I am one of his sons, but it also doesn’t mean that I’m going to have an easy time either.  1 John tells us, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John3:1, NKJV)  In fact, the world not only didn’t “know” him, but also hated him and sent him to the cross, and while on the cross He said, Father, forgive them; they don’ know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34, The Message)
Although I am not capable of being like Jesus, I should try to learn from his example, and strive to be more like him.  I have been forgiven! So I should be able, with God’s help, to forgive that much more.  THANK YOU GOD!