Sheltered, Perhaps.

To those who are taken aback when I’ve never heard of a particular song, seen a particular movie, or heard of a particular person: Sure, maybe I’ve been sheltered. Sheltered under God, and I don’t mind one bit because there are some things I just don’t need in my life right now that likely would only have a negative impact on me anyway…so why chase after it?

Give me a biography of someone who gave their life for a good cause, not the latest top-novel. I’d rather be filled in on something educational than shameful. I’d rather spend time with my little sister than watch my favorite show on Netflix. I’d rather look for ways to fix problems, not gossip about them. I’d rather build relationships, not watch them fall apart. I’d rather live with a purpose than just wait and see what happens. I’d rather look for ways to bring light into this world instead of drowning in the dark.

It’s God that I want to make sure I stay in tune with. It’s His work I want to focus on. It’s His will I want to follow. It’s His love story I want to share. I want to hang on HIS every word, not my favorite movie star’s.

Okay, rant over—for now anyway… 😉

“If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Paul

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What’s the problem?

Lately I’ve been reviewing algebra, and last night as I was checking the answer to a problem, it was not the same as the answer I’d come up with. So, I went back and tried to solve the problem again. I repeated this several times and became quite frustrated before realizing that I had the correct answer…only it was for a different problem.

All throughout our life we are finding answers. It’s a part of growing, learning, and the shaping of who we are. Sometimes, however, we can’t find the answers we’re looking for because we are trying to find answers for the wrong problem.

God always has answers, but we aren’t meant to have all the answers at once and not always as we want them. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but if we don’t receive an answer right away, then, again, we are trying to find answers for the wrong problem.

We need to seek God, and He will reveal answers to us as is truly needed and at the appropriate time.

My Shepherd

1CC03A6A-DD99-473E-A72D-9D059BC50248My Father searches for me;
He saves me from the enemy’s hand.
He holds me in His arms;
I do not go hungry.
He leads me through every valley,
And is my light when the evening comes.
When I begin to stray He calls my name;
He brings me back to a safe place.
In His full protection, worry does not exist;
Where His Spirit surrounds me, thieves do not break in.

Time-Spending

I’ve been using iPhones for years now, and for the first several years I had several game apps and would spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours on them. If I had off work or just somehow had a lot of time on my hands it was sometimes longer.

One particular day, I’d had enough of it. I deleted all of the game apps in about 1 minute, dropped my phone on my bed, and looked out the window in deep thought. I was frustrated—perhaps even angry with myself. I knew God had something much better to offer. I knew He had greater plans, greater thoughts, goals…I didn’t want to be content with what the world had to offer me. Instead, I wanted to seek after God and make His thoughts my thoughts, and His ways my ways. I knew that wasn’t something I was going to find while getting points.

After not playing any for over a year, I went back to playing for a while as I underwent surgery and recovery. I had a TON of time on my hands, and with the bad headache (brain surgery) and meds I just couldn’t concentrate enough to read, so it was good while it lasted. It’s only been in the last couple weeks that I’ve quit them again and it’s literally been refreshing!

A lifelong lesson to be continuously learning is how to spend our time wisely…it’s a gift we are given by God, and as His children we are to give it back to Him in a way that glorifies Him.

Quality Of Life

Before I had my first brain surgery, a lady who was explaining the surgery asked a few questions. One of the main questions she asked was something along the lines of how less valuable I considered my life because of my epilepsy. (This was 11 months ago, so I don’t remember exactly how she asked) I was rather confused by her question and I think she was somewhat confused by my answer. I quickly and quite determinedly replied that I didn’t consider my life any less valuable than if I was in perfect health.

Still, to this day, I can’t see how anyone could ask such a question. I still got the surgery and am working my way towards improving my health, but I don’t believe it has any impact on my quality of life.

I believe when a person is in a relationship with Christ and truly seeking to be who He has created them to be, their quality of life is immeasurable. It is beautiful, and it is perfect. This is true quality of life.

Don’t Settle For The Fast Food. :)

Sitting down in the kitchen, waiting for the granola I was fixing for breakfast, I pictured Jesus sitting next to me—only dressed as a normal guy. He began talking about what we put into our time spent in private with Him, reading His Word, praying, etc., is like the time we put into preparing food. Food that is a box dinner, frozen, etc., and requires little time and effort is going to be a less healthy, inviting, pleasant meal.
———
….just something I found in a prayer journal I wrote back in 2011.

Is It OK?

Sometimes the sin and darkness in this world just makes my heart grieve. I’m not always sure if it’s more because we are hurting ourselves or because we are hurting and dishonoring God.

We dishonor our God by our sinful words and actions, bringing shame upon ourselves before Him. And not only by our own words and actions, but by approving/supporting those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)

We have allowed the enemy to creep in. He finds ways to make things look good and acceptable—sometimes even appealing. We have let our guards down. We take in whatever we are surrounded by. Our standards should not be what is “normal” around us. Just because “our other Christian friends” are okay with something doesn’t make it right.

Dig into the Word for yourself. Speak to your elders. Most importantly, seek after God and allow Him to speak to you.

Your Light Will Overcome

I look upon You, oh Lord;
Day and night I seek Your face.
You take my every thought captive;
All anger and fear becomes dry as dust—Your Spirit washes away all doubt.
You turn my tears of sadness to tears of joy;
My distress fades away.
You restore my soul and weary heart;
By Your Spirit You supply me.
Your love is not measured out, but generously given—how great is Your love, oh Lord!
In You I remain confident;
By Your strength I continue to stand.
May all glory be upon You;
Kings and servants will be at Your feet.
No darkness will prevail,
For Your light cannot be overcome.
All deceivers will be revealed,
All truths will be brought out.
You alone will be lifted high;
Only You are worthy to be praised.

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. 😉

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?