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Lent day 14

Are we willing to make a fool out of ourselves for Jesus?
Keith Green’s testimony on 100 Huntly Street in the late 70s spoke of how he suddenly was okay with looking like a radical when he spoke of Jesus to people. He was no longer afraid of saying ‘do you know Jesus?’ And looking crazy, because he fully believed. I’m not good at that. The cruel words and horrible blasphamies that people respond with get to you after a time, and now I find myself very hesitant to talk to strangers, about anything, let alone about something as important as Jesus. It’s hard to know when the timing is right, should you simply talk to some random person you stand behind in the mall? Is that okay? When I asked my evangalist grandfather how you became a good witness he said, and I quote, “practice.”
The big thing is listening for the Holy Spirit. If God wants you to talk to someone He will tell you if their hearts are ready. We need to practice listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and saying to people what the Spirit tells us to. I know this is something I need to work on. Are we willing to be fools for Jesus?

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · guidance · power of God · searching · still fighting

The lie of pride

Lent day 5

Someone who is not willing to admit their weaknesses can only show their dark side to others.
Pride. One of the greatest and yet underrated sins. We fall and fail and struggle due to pride, and it is pride that often causes people to not follow Jesus, or to only follow Him in name- calling themselves Christians yet living as though they don’t know Him at all. Pride makes us weak but decieves us into thinking we are strong. Pride says that we have no weaknessess and are strong enough on our own. And when we believe that lie then all we can be is dark. The kind of pride that makes you think that you are always right, even when it’s obvious that how you are acting is wrong. The pride that says you are justified, even though deep down you know that you are sinning. The pride that says you don’t need God’s rules, just His best friend status. God said that there is no love in pride because He knew the evil pride would bring. When we see someone who is conceited and full of themselves, that person tends to irritate us, why? Because in truth pride is annoying to those around it. It’s harmful to those in it and around it. And it’s just sad, because pride shows the weakness of the pridefilled person. We all have moments of pride. Some are healthy moments where we feel pleased in an accomplishment, others are harmful moments where we feel better than someone else because of something good in our lives. The only way to fight pride is to acknowledge it and pray for God’s deliverance from it. We may have to do this everytime the feeling rises. But everytime God will help us, that’s who He is, and He is pleased with is for trying to do our best to serve Him.

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Lent day 2

Even the little concerns

Lent day 2
Today needed a photo, and if I’m honest I’m not sure everyone will get is being said in this one because this understanding of God is something we all struggle with.
God cares. Hang on, don’t roll your eyes, I know we have all heard this term missused and misrepresented. Just (as my new yoga teacher would say) breathe into it for a moment. God cares about you. Every tiny, crazy, dumb problem; every monumental catastrophe, He cares.
My example may sound odd but give me a chance.
You see that guy in the photo below? That’s my horse. He’s been my horse for over a decade. We have had big crazy dreams, big crazy failures and many learning moments. I’ve been worried about him lately. It’s been really cold (though he usually prefers that) and he has been acting odd. Distant. Even a little aggressive. I checked him over and he’s physically fine, so I chalked it up to the cold air and waited. Then it warmed up and nothing changed. Now I’m concerned and on with horse behaivior experts trying to see if something is wrong on the inside. With a little work on a few bad habbits his aggressive attitude faded away, but he was still playing shy with me. It felt like something I should deal with myself, I have trained horses for several years, I should be able to solve this on my own. Yet I was worried about him, and a little sad to see him acting that way toward me who loves him so much. So I prayed. I’ll admit my prayer began along the lines of “sorry to bother you with this God,” because like I said, it didn’t seem like a big thing, just something that was bothering me. Skip to today. I’m out in my yard, my horse comes right up to me, which he hasn’t done for the past several weeks, his ears are pricked but I give him some space and let him do his own thing. His own thing turned out to be following me around the yard, wanting to be close to me even though I had no treats, nuzzling my hair and being his normal self. It was so nice to realize that God wasn’t bothered by my odd, seemingly unimportant request. I know this story was long, and most people probably can’t relate to it, my point here is that no matter how silly your request seems, even if you feel like you should be able to deal with the problem yourself, even if you’re worried that God will see it as too small for his power, He still cares, it’s never too small of a problem for God. We get it into our heads that God likes big flashy miracles, but don’t forget that God was not in the Wind, He was in the whisper. Ask Him. No matter how silly small or unimportant it seems, bring it to God and watch for him to make things better. Like a loving father He’s never ashamed to kiss and  bandage our scrapes.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · The Bible

All of me loves all of you.

All of me loves all of you.

Who do you love so much that you even accept the hard things from them? Love emotions can be tested by a lot. Your dog could puke in your favorite shoes, your kids could lie to you, your best friend could betray you, your spouse could yell at you, on and on and on; but if you truly love them then you forgive them and continue to love them after this right? Why? Because people mess up and mistakes happen, and you love them more than yourself. But what if it isn’t a mistake? What if nobody messed up? What if what hurts you is not only accurate and true, but something you have to accept? So many people talk about the things they won’t accept, that they love, but not unconditionally. They will take the parts that make them happy and feel good about themselves, but they choose to throw away all else. Is that love? No. At least, not real love.
Oh. I’m not talking about person to person relationships, I’m talking about person to God relationships.
The only time when unconditional love and unconditional acceptance go together is when in context with God. I don’t mean Him accepting us, I mean us accepting Him. Back to the top. What if what hurts you isn’t a mistake? There are parts of the Bible that hurt sometimes, they offend us and are hard to accept, so what do we do? We toss those parts away. We claim them irrelevant or Old Fashioned, we say that we’ve moved past that in our world and that God needs to keep up. Wow. So, is that love? Nope. We don’t love all of God. We only love the Genie in a Bottle bits. We even say rediculous things, like we’d rather be lucky than have God, because God takes effort on our part. We want everyone to accept us, faults, failures, sins, dark sides and all. We want God to do that too. Then when we find out He does we click our heels together and run after Him in joy. But wait, theres more. Our run toward Him comes to a skreeching halt when we realize that, yes God accepts us faults, sins and all, but He plans to change us from that person. We’re supposed to love Him so much that we leave that person behind and become a new creation. But that sounds so hard! And we don’t want to. So we pout and complain and say that God is unfair, and then we do the unthinkable, we try to change Him. If He wants to change us then we should change Him first so we can stay the same. That’s not love and it’s certainly not what a Christian is or does. We don’t love all of God, we only love the easy parts. We love the feelings and the Miracles, we love when someone is healed, we love the worship music, we love the handbag that says Jesus loves you, but we don’t love God. If we did we wouldn’t be trying to fit him into our box, we wouldn’t be trying to change or misrepresent or warp or disregard the word and rules God gave us. Jesus IS God, and yet He cried not my will but yours Father. Why? Because he knew that it was God’s will for him to die even though he didn’t want to. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had been like us. If Instead of saying “your will father,” he had shouted out “forget this! Your rules, your Authority was all Old Testament, people don’t need to be what you’ve planned for them in this modern world, you’re out of date and I’m not doing this!” Then got up and left the garden. Where would we be now? Hopeless. Broken. Alone. Scared. Lost. We don’t think about it, but the Jerusulem that Jesus was in was a very modern version compared to the Jerusulem of David. Yet He didn’t disregard the old texts or God’s will just because it wasn’t modern, Jesus knew that God and His word was and is still relevant and necessary. If Jesus was willing to be subject to His Father’s will, why aren’t we? Because we don’t truly love God. Sometimes it hurts and feels unfair, but if we love God we will let Him change us. He didn’t make us to be the broken, sinful mess we are, He made us to be followers of Him. Let’s get to the place where we love all of God, even the side of God that is going to change us.

Blog · Jesus

Hanukkah- day one

Hanukkah- day one

They’re in Bethlehem Jesus sits with his family, as Joseph lights the shamash and recites the Hanukkah blessing:

[ blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has Sanctified us with his Commandments, and commanded us to Kindle the Hanukkah light.]

[ blessed are you, Lord our god, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.]

[ blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.]

Then Joseph lights the first candle on the menorah. Games of feasting begin. How odd it must have felt to recite the blessings with Jesus sitting there. He would have seen the miracle happen and being part of it, his family were blessing his father and him, what a strange feeling that must have been. I know I feel a little strange doing this. I’m not Jewish. Yet because God has adopted us into his family I take part in his miracles, I count myself as one of his children. Being adopted is an odd feeling, you’re part of the family yet something feels a little different. Jesus wasn’t adopted by Mary but he was by Joseph. I wonder if he felt a little disjointed during family events such as Hanukkah? Or even going to the temple. His family went to worship their God, Jesus went to chat with his dad. How strange that must have been for him and maybe for them.

How about you,? Have you ever considered how amazing it is that God took us into his family?

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · Jesus · Love

He cares about it all

God cares about so much!
We all get caught up in the master plan that we forget that He also cares about the little things, the day to day things that probably have no effect on the master plan at all. Like when you get a cold and ask to feel better, or when you plan to go to the park and pray that it doesn’t rain, or lose something and ask to find it. None of that matters for the big plan for your future! If you can’t walk in the park or don’t feel better from your cold makes no difference to the end resault of your life. You could spend your whole exisitance never finding your lost gold hoop earings and it wouldn’t change a thing in God’s master plan, but it matters to you so it matters to God. He care about more than your destiny, He cares about you.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus

Come broken

There is nothing wrong with loving the Bible from the place of a broken person trying to find the heart of God. You don’t have to perfect and then come to Jesus. Come to Him first and He will perfect you. You will never get to place where you are holy as Christ, you can’t, it isn’t possible. But that’s why we chase after God, because He is the only one who is perfect and Jesus is the only way into Heaven, our greatest works, even to give until we have nothing and to die for the sake of another is nothing without Jesus, it won’t get us anywhere without Him. We are all broken people, unable to measure up to the glory and ritchousness of God, but that doesn’t mean we should run away from Him, but instead run to Him. All He wants is a repentive heart that wants to change. A heart that knows it needs Him. A broken heart knows who the Healer is and is ready to be loved and fixed and made whole. Love Jesus in your brokenness and let Him love you into a whole new person.

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Today my dog and I became lost while hiking. I was sure I knew where we were…until I didn’t. Down a trail overgrown with trees and weeds we ended up in a field. I thought I knew which field…but I didn’t. We walked and walked and all I could see was rolling crops and a shed and a tractor. I reasoned that a tractor meant life, but how far away was that life. We had two hours till dark and I knew I would rather be caught in the dark in that field then back down the trails where we get bears and cougars, and ghosts and monsters if my old camp leader is to believed. We had seen tracks that could easily have been a cougar earlier that day and though I figured it probably wouldn’t bother us I also knew that my JRT would make it his mission to catch said cougar if he saw it and that could be bad.
What’s my point in this story?
There were moments when I felt nervous. Moments when I was sure we might spend the night in that guys crops. However I never felt alone. I find hiking is where I talk to Jesus outloud. No one around. The beauty of creation filling my senses. I spent the time talking with Him and knew I was safe even if we spent the night out there. He knew that beyond the second grove of trees was a road that would take me to the main road and lead me back to camp, but I didn’t know that. I simply had an uncanny sense of peace as I walked with Him.
When you are lost and don’t know where the road is, trust Jesus, talk with Him, He knows the way home.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Um…no thanks Jesus, I’m good.

Um…no thanks Jesus, I’m good.

Recently I was in church with my cousin. The preacher mentioned the healing of the blind man. You recall that healing? Jesus spat in the dirt and then rubbed it on the man’s eyes. It makes me cringe a little thinking of it, seeing as I’m a bit of a germaphobe. My cousin laughed at me when I rubbed my arms in horror at the thought of having spit rubbed on me. “Ya.” She said, “It’s like. Thanks but no thanks Jesus, I’ll just stay blind.”
She was joking, but it made me think, how often do we turn away Miracles that Jesus wants us to have because we don’t like the way that Christ is going to make the miracle happen? How many times does Jesus spit in the dirt and we draw back because we don’t like it? The miracle that’s coming doesn’t outweigh what we have to go through to recieve it, in our minds it doesn’t at least, if we waited and had the miracle happen despite the spit and mud, we would realize the value and gift of that blessing. How many times has Jesus said, “let me take you through this and I will give you this blessing.”
Or, “if you give up this, I will give you this instead.”?
And so on and so on. But we don’t want to go through the pain, the illness, the fear, the move, the new job, the outreach, [fill in the blank]. What came to mind when you were given the chance to put down your own draw away reason? I know what came to my mind. But as John Wayne once said, “courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways.” The cause before the effect of the miracle may not cause suffering or pain, but there is always a little fear. It would be strange if there wasn’t, because we are dealing with the ultimate power. God. And His love, grace and blessings. And when dealing with God there is a lot of unknowing. We run headlong on Faith and that can be really scary. But perfect peace comes from knowing that you are trusting what you don’t know to the all knowing, one true, God.
Miracles aren’t always easy. Sometimes they are hard. Sometimes they take sacrifice. Sometimes you have to have spit rubbed in your eye before you can see. But know this. God always, always, always, has your best in mind as He works His plan for your life.

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So rightly, amiably, spiritually, sensitively- anything but usefullyCS Lewis

So rightly, amiably, spiritually, sensitively- anything but usefully
CS Lewis

Let us not permit our belief in Jesus and the doctorine we stand on turn into something that is pleasing to the whole world and useless to it at the same time. The cross is offensive because it holds our sins and condems them as sins as Billy Graham said. When it becomes pretty and easy to be around because we no longer have to change to be present with God then we have lost the purpose. A sinner who continues to sin freely cannot claim Christ – so says 2 Peter.
Let us not make the Cross and Jesus something coated in neon lights and fully accepting of us in a way that makes it so we never have to take on the new person and leave the old behind. Let us not preach and believe a doctorine that is useless to those seeking God.