Friday, February 17, 2012

Unexpected Turns

Generally when I write I base my thoughts off of a specific verse or set of verses. Not this time it is just a general observation of things I have seen God doing in my life lately. August will make ten years that I have been walking with the Lord, and six months after this journey started I began to have visions and dreams of me becoming a preacher. They continued for about a year and grew more intense. Over the years I have always thought that I was to a lead pastor or in a prominent position in front of the masses out of the gate.

However, over the last month or so I have become more involved in my local congregations’ youth program and have even applied to be the assistant youth pastor there. Since volunteering with the youth I have began to see the potential of ministering to the next generation, while growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord myself. The biggest reason that this is interesting is because I thought that I would NEVER be a youth pastor and as of lately I feel that this is a place that the Lord is calling me to.

This is not the first time the Lord has put me in a place that I never imagined. For anyone who knows me and my background, I was a ghetto boy. I grow up in a rather tough neighborhood, where we didn’t think about hunting deer or going fishing much if at all. With that being said about two years ago the Lord put me in a place where I was attending a Bible study with a group of outdoorsmen. The only common denominators we shared were we were men and loved Jesus. Despite the apparent lack of similarity we have been able to build friendships and I have grown to love hunting, because it allows me a quite time with God in his creation. I have grown in a place that I thought I never belonged, because I trusted Jesus and didn’t allow my own prejudice get in the way.

I write all of this to say that you may not be seeing the doors you want to open presenting themselves, but look and see what the Lord has provided for you. Once you stop putting your own agenda in the way and allow Him to guide your steps you will find more peace and joy than you could imagine. I hope to continue to be used of Jesus where ever he sees fit and I thank Him for every turn that I never would have taken without Him. Take time today and reflect on the places you have been arguing with God telling Him that you can’t do that, and realize He will bless you in the places you are fighting so hard not to go. Trust God that He has the best in store for you.

Live Long, Pray Hard, Die Well!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Physician

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

In lieu of things I have going on with me, my mind has had me thinking of all the different doctors I have come across in my life; the good ones and the bad ones. There was one doctor who I had that got mad at me because he felt I was being rude to his staff, had the audacity to cuss at me and call me things no professional should ever call a client. He has to be to worst doctor I have ever had. I have had several pretty descent doctors but don’t recall ever having one doctor I would call extraordinary.

The only person that has ever come close to meeting that criterion is Jesus Christ himself. God promised to make a difference in my life that no doctor ever could. The lifestyle I chose to live before surrendering my life to Jesus was not one to be proud of. I was living for myself, and the things that were pleasing to me. I was cold, callus and at times downright ruthless. Some people might even say that I was hard hearted. I was a fully fledged alcoholic; I made potheads look tame with the amount of marijuana I smoked. I was also a drug dealer and a thief, all while putting on the front of being mister nice guy.

But that was my before. Since giving my life to Jesus for Him to use me as he sees fit I have been clean and sober for almost ten years in August. The spirit that lived inside of me wanting to please myself and doing what my conscience told me was right has been replaced by His Spirit dwelling in me guiding the decisions that I make. I am no longer cold and heartless, try to be loving and gentle to those around me. The times in my life where I have extreme boldness are when preaching the gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that after someone meets me they speak of me as Peter and John were spoken of in Acts. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 ESV)

Have you ever encountered the Great Physician? If you have not take a moment to seek Jesus ask Him to reveal himself to you and he will. He will do it in ways that you could never imagine. However, be careful because once you meet Jesus there is no going back or denying that you have met Him. Life will not be easy should you choose to follow Him, but it will always be worth it for the glory of Him, who “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV) Today get right with God through Jesus Christ.

Live Long, Pray Hard, Die Well!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Exercise Your Faith

“…For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)

I pretty sure that we can all agree that it is much easier to do things when we have the ability to see. However, that is not how faith usually works. I guess that this is where the phrase blind faith may come from, but in reality while we may not be able to see the outcome of the situation our faith is not based on the outcome, it is placed in a powerful God who rules and reigns sovereignly.

The first person that comes to mind when I think of this so called “blind-faith” is Abraham. God called him and told him and his family to leave what they knew to go to place He would show them. That takes some serious faith, there is no way Abraham could have trusted the place he was to go because he had no idea where he was to end up so the object of his faith had to be God himself.

Right now for me personally I have no other option than to walk by faith, because everything that I see tells me I have no way out and I will never make a better way for my family. But I trust in God and His word that he has a plan for me and my family and while I may not see where that plan falls into line I have an infinite God who has the best in store for my life. I may not become rich and famous (not sure that I want that anyway). I trust that he will continue to provide. The author of Hebrews does an excellent job emphasizing how we should go about in our faith. He says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

While those verses are packed with so much, I want to take the time to focus on one specific area. It reads as such, “…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith….” When we run the race set before us we cannot be worried about the person next to us and the way that they are running because it will shift us off course. We are to be looking to Jesus who is the author (founder in ESV) and perfecter of our faith. He allows us to grow, through our troubles, the person next to us.

Take time today to focus on Jesus so that he will guide you on your race, teaching you how to live in your faith even when you don’t see the way out.

Live Long, Pray Hard, Die Well!