Jesus And Our Life Song

09BA7F0F-876F-4E2E-8659-9275CAB07178This evening as I was listening to some light piano music, instead of writing in my prayer journal as I intended, I began day dreaming…again.

I pictured myself at a piano trying to write a song. I’d get a few notes I liked, but then would get stuck as to what to play next. After awhile I became frustrated. Then Jesus came into the picture. (That’s always a good sign, right? 😉)

He came and sat next to me and had me start playing again. I started to play, but like before, I got stuck. Only this time Jesus immediately put His hand to the piano and played just a few notes that got me to where I immediately knew what to play next. We continued on like this and it was beautiful. Not just for the music itself, but for the way we were able to function together.

The song was my life, and allowing Jesus to help me in writing the song was allowing Him to help write my life story. It’s easy to want to write our life story all by ourselves and get all the credit. But to be sure, it’s not going to be anywhere near as beautiful.

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You Give Life

 

You withstand pain that the strongest man cannot survive.
You take hold of death that mankind cannot even see.
You bear the weight of sin that is not Your own;
You take all shame upon Yourself.
You take the punishment of death and offer restoration of life.
For a life that is broken,
You give life that is new.
For life that is short,
You give life that is eternal.
For a life that is empty,
You give a life that is filled.
A life that is in darkness,
You bring into light.

Confidence

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Something I’ve observed over the years is a lack of confidence despite many efforts. All the time I’m hearing people say things like, “I am worthy”, “I am special”, “I can do this”, and “I’m proud of who I am.” …yet this seems to be one of the most insecure generations ever!

Why is that?

Well, I think one of the main reasons is it’s like we’re talking to ourselves—we’re giving ourselves a pat on the back, saying, “Great job!”

To be sure, we need encouragement. We need reminded that we are loved and special—that we matter, and can make a difference in this world. But trying to provide these things with our own words isn’t going to build our confidence quite like when it’s coming from a different source.

So where do we find it?

While we need  to have people in our lives who help keep us straight and keep us going and who share words and do things that build us up not tear us down, there is only One who can always, without fail, help us remain confident no matter what the situation—and that is Christ.

I see many saying they don’t really care what others think about their makeup, what they believe, and how many followers they have on the internet, when clearly they do care as they spend hours trying to be presentable and going with what’s popular—being people-pleasers, and really—building up their pride.

Ironically, one of the most important things to build our confidence is humility…not pride, as the world often leads us to believe. If we build ourselves up in pride we are bound to fall at any moment, simply because we are imperfect humans. Rather than taking pride in ourselves, we need to take humility in Christ. With our confidence in One who never fails, we will not be disappointed!

Let’s humbly before God place our confidence in Him knowing that He gave His life for us—we are loved. He created us—we are beautiful. He has a calling for us—we are special. He gives us power through His Holy Spirit—we are strong. This is a confidence that never fails!

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

 

“Do not correct a scoffer…”

1506404985274This. We SO need this:

“He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”
Prov. 9:7-8

Many times on social media I see and hear situations where people are scoffing at Christians for their faith and beliefs. Often our instinctive reaction is to stand up in defense and not always with the best attitude.

Over the years, as I’ve come across these situations there’s literally been times I opened my mouth to say something but then quickly kept to myself what I may have said—saying something just hasn’t felt right somehow. These situations have reminded me of when Jesus was tortured, scoffed at, spit upon, and crucified like none of us have ever been before. How did He react? He was silent. Later, He even said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

So, I guess my thoughts I was wanting to share tonight are that when we are in these situations, rather than being quick to defend, let’s be quick to forgive. And hard as it may be, let’s intercede for and love them as Christ has for us.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

1506342058188Okay, you’ve probably heard this before, but for real—not only for the sake of those who hear our words and see our actions, but for ourselves—who we’re known as is going to be based on what is portrayed in our lifestyle, not just our words that come out in discussions, debates and daily conversations.

I’m so frequently blown away by the hours and hours spent, particularly on the internet, of debates that are obviously pointless. Stop. Just stop. Stop and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and ask yourself if you are responding in a Christ-like manner. If someone has questions and is willing to learn, by all means, answer their questions in a way that directs them towards Christ, encouraging them to seek Him on their own.

Now, believe me, I’m not knocking teaching…it’s something we all need. Part of our lifestyle should be teaching one another in love. But it’s easy to think teaching is strictly words when it is far from it.

Most of Jesus’ teaching was not done from a pulpit, but by walking side by side with His disciples amongst the lost and hurting. He seldom used words to teach them how to forgive others, show love to complete strangers, to fellowship with one another, to give, to be humble and respectful, and to seek after God and fully surrender.

He actually DID these things!

He ate with the sinners, He forgave, He fellowshipped. The words that He did speak He spoke in love to those willing to hear while living it out. What if He had only ever used words, and never actually lived them out? What if He had said to go to the sinners, the lame, the blind, the hurting, the beggars…and never actually did it Himself, but rather all He ever did was have discussions with the Pharisees? It would hardly paint the same picture or convey the same message. That is not the Jesus we read of in scripture.

As we’re learning things, let’s put them to good use and teach them as we live them out—not limiting it to ourselves and pointless conversations.

In other words, don’t be like the Pharisees…be like Jesus. 😉

Allowing God To Rain—Being Made Clean

1504093198378Coming home this evening with my family from a visit to my grandparents we had just had rain and you could tell simply from the air. It had that fresh, cleanliness about it—where you just want to stop, take a slow, deep breath and enjoy it for a few moments.

It got me to thinking of how important it is for us to allow God to let His rain fall in our lives. It reminded me of His blood and how it washes away our sins and makes us holy.

Living in this world, the air that we breathe very easily becomes polluted. Similarly, what we are breathing in as Christians can easily become intoxicated by what’s around us as we are hardly in a perfect world. But if we allow Him to, God can wash away the hate, anger, selfishness, pride–the evil–by His love and precious blood. We don’t have to allow these things into our lives. He can fill us instead with the air that is pure–the wind of His Holy Spirit.

To do this we must come to Him. Out of the darkness. It’s easy to hide away where a lot of the pollution goes unnoticed especially when we don’t particularly want to see it. Something that has caught my attention is how there are many things you don’t see until you’re in the light. When we see the sun’s rays shining in a window you can see dust and tiny things floating in the air that you couldn’t see before. Likewise, if we look towards the light, (God) we will see unhealthy things that need taken out of our lives that has before gone unnoticed.

Let’s do some examining in God’s light. Not only of ourselves, but what we are taking in—what we are breathing in on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable at first, but it’s what we very much need…and afterwards can be so refreshing!

Make The Most Of It

There are many things we have no control over, but it is still up to us how we accept those things and react to them.

What got me to thinking about this was a few weeks ago at a doctor’s office for a pre-op appointment. While in the waiting room I noticed that literally everyone there was doing something on their phone. I have an iPhone myself, and there have been many times I’ve been waiting doing who-knows-what on my phone, but when I noticed this I didn’t like what I saw, and soon decided I wanted to do something about it.

I didn’t particularly want to be in a doctor’s office waiting room–who would? But I’ve been realizing something: no matter what our situation is, we should be seeing it as an opportunity.

Despite the fact that it seemed like there wasn’t anything else to do, I put away my phone. Before long I was able to strike up a conversation with someone. Nothing of great significance, but still–it was a conversation. Though I didn’t have the chance to share the gospel in the short time we were talking, it was enough time to communicate to the person that they are noticed and respected; a person can look at them and smile.

Small things like this can mean a lot more to someone than we might think—and I’m saying this from experience. I distinctly remember the few conversations others have started with me throughout the years. People who didn’t know me that came over and gave a compliment or just started talking about something completely random in such a kind way. They’ve been very uplifting and encouraging—I don’t easily forget them.

There have been many times where I was not feeling well and let that get the better of me by being impatient or unkind. I have no control over not feeling well, but I can choose how to react. No matter what our circumstances or what we own, we are capable of impacting others in a good way or a bad way. It is our choice.

It’s easy to let opportunities slip by while being distracted, or we can simply be unwilling to step out and do something for the benefit of others. This is a selfish way of living, and whether we realize it or not, living selfishly is not healthy for us as an individual.

So let’s make the most of whatever our situation is, and make a difference in someone else’s life for the better.

What is your “focus”?

As I believe I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I will soon be getting brain surgery. (July 26th to be exact…prayers appreciated!) We are hoping to find the “focus” of where my seizures are starting from and remove it to stop seizures.

So, trying to learn something from this, I was thinking how everybody is different. Not everyone has epilepsy. Not everyone who has epilepsy has a “focus”–a part of the brain that if removed can prevent seizures.

It reminded me of how everybody is different and what may be a problem for one may not be for another. For example, some things may be fine or even good for one, while for another that same thing may cause them to fall into sin, lead them away from Christ, or both.

We all sin. No matter how hard we try, we simply can’t be perfect. However, we can and should run from sin and towards Christ. Sometimes there are things in our lives that aren’t inherently bad, but are unhealthy or even toxic for us as an individual.

With my surgery/hospital stay, most of the time will be spent carefully analyzing seizures to find where exactly they’re starting—the surgery itself will only be a small fraction of the hospital stay. Similarly, where our problems are coming from can be quite a precarious task, and often times harder than actually taking care of the problem itself, but it is quite critical that we are doing this.

Many times we look for a quick fix–try taking out one thing, that doesn’t work, try something else, etc.–and that can easily make things even more complicated. One thing we can be sure of, and that’s that God knows exactly what our problems are. So guess who we need to go to if we want to find the root of our problems? Yep. You guessed it. God doesn’t hide these things from us, but if we’re not careful, our natural human tendency is to ask with our hands over our ears because we’re not so sure we’re going to like the answer.

Something I want to be sure to communicate is that no one is a perfect listener. It’s something that we can mature in, but as long as we are in our earthly bodies we aren’t going to have perfect ears. There’s been more times than one where I thought there was something I needed taken out of my life that I later realized I was wrong. But that’s ok. It is better to risk being overly-careful than being neglectful.

So, we need to take our hands off our ears and listen. Is there something that perhaps may be having a negative impact on your life that God may be asking you to take away, either for a time or permanently?