Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Don’t Numb The Pain – You Have A Choice!

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

One of the greatest things I’ve done in life was sit through the pain. I didn’t run away, didn’t rationalize, didn’t find unhealthy ways to cope. I dropped everything and sat in my anger, shame and pain.

I sat there and embraced it, completely.

It was in my pain that I saw a loving God and the strength he has given me. In that lonely and painful time, it was then, that I realized that I am in full control over my decisions and actions. I decided, that the greatest power I have, is wielding my faith and holding on to my integrity. All the pain:  self-inflicted or caused by others, was not going to make me into a horrible  person.

I knew I ready won. No one can take God or my integrity away from me.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

I can do good and be good.

I can rise above the pain of life.

I can hold on to what I truly believe in.

I can explore life with faith.

I also accepted that I knew nothing about the promises of God. It’s not enough to do good deeds, we need to know why we do them.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

We do good to off balance evil.

We do good to help others.

We do good to glorify God

We do good for our own future – storing up treasures in heaven that never rot or decay.

Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

The sight of heaven and being with God as a reward, made it easier for me to press on. Our mistakes and failures are meaningless under grace. We have a choice, every new day, to chase after God and his ways. We must be willing to throw out human opinion and fear of man to rise up. We will be misunderstood, hated and suffer all kinds of things when we decide to follow God. But, don’t focus on that. Focus on God and what he tells you to do. No one can make you do anything or be anything. No one has that power unless you give it to them.

Photo by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

Photo by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

It’s a choice that affects every other choice you make.

Always aim to choose wisely.

The Battle For Your Mind – Satan The Deceiver

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

Finally, I’m back.

I have something to share with you all. The deception of binding and rebuking! *insert weird music here*.

You know what is floating around in the Christian world these days and I have been guilty of it in the past: ” Satan, I rebuke you.” or ” I bind you Satan.”

Seriously, It’s hard for me to keep from laughing but I was talking to someone recently and after taking inventory of all my bible knowledge, I came to the startling realization that Satan is truly a deceiver.

OK, so let me break this down for you guys. Spiritual warfare is real but not how you were taught.  We don’t bind and rebuke Satan. We don’t even need to rebuke or bind spirits. Satan’s main function is to deceive. You see, the battle is in our minds and hearts. Satan attacks our belief about God. Ever wonder how Satan never comes to tempt an unbeliever. Let’s get this straight, an unbeliever serves their flesh. There are three forces in this world : God, human flesh and Satan/demons. Sometimes we blame Satan for our own fleshly desires.

In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given instructions. God had established something in their lives. Satan’s main duty was to come and challenge what God told them.

He works by:

1. Getting people to doubt God. 

2: Getting people to turn away from God.

3. And ultimately getting people to sin. 

But he starts with challenging our belief system. 

Genesis 4 : 3-7(NIV)

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

In the case with Cain, Satan wasn’t in the picture. In this case, this was Cain’s own heart. He was jealous. He had a heart condition and our loving God even warned him to get it right.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a]by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Now, In order to defend ourselves from Satan’s lies, we must know the Word of God. Jesus gives us the perfect example when He fasted for 40 days in the desert. He threw so many” it is written” like a Samurai sword! Seriously, don’t mess with Jesus. *laughs* But the interesting part was how Satan also threw back scripture. However, Jesus knew the word deeply, for he was the word but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we too can wield our weapons of faith and scripture. 

Here, we see all three forces in action :

1. Jesus’s flesh – He was hungry

2. Satan – The Ultimate Liar

3. God’s Word 

Here we see that Jesus conquered his flesh with the power of God’s word when Satan tried to get him to go against the fast that God had established. Jesus had faith in God, the written word and also his destiny. He knew what he was here for and who he was living for.

The battle is for your mind. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT)

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

BINGO! Capturing rebellious thoughts and TEACHING THEM THROUGH GOD’S WORD to obey Christ. Don’t chant these words, believe them and apply them.

If you fall, get back up and keep applying. Like a seedling in the ground, allow God’s word to grow in your life. When he gives you a word, or whenever you read his word, cherish it like the most important thing in your life. God’s word will save your life!

John 8:44 (NLT)

44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 

Friend or Foe?

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Man oh man!

I’m sorry but excuse me? How did I not see this coming? It’s okay though,  I understand now.

CYCLES! History constantly repeats itself until you get it!

Step 1: Identify your weak points and discipline yourself to strengthen them!

That means removing triggers, being aware and slowing down when making decisions!

Step 2: Identify those that undermine you and by all means throw them in the trash!

You are not strong! Don’t try to put up with it, rationalize it out of existence or make excuses for this person. Get rid of them at all cost. There is no negotiating or pleading with these people. Feelings don’t change overnight. You will know a malicious person, set to undermine you when:

1. They put you down whether overtly or covertly through insults, comparisons, or dismissive behavior.

2. You notice you become confused, sad, resentful and private.

Why? Because their aim is to make you feel WORTHLESS!

3. This will happen for the rest of your life so get use to it.

4. Slowly build a support system that will surround you and uplift you during your times in need.

By all means shun every single church, or person that doesn’t fit this qualification. There are churches out there that will make you paranoid, zap you of your life and vitality and make you walk around with constant guilt. Be patient and take your time creating this circle. State what you expect ahead of time and watch people carefully. Circumstances and situations will expose a person.

You deserve to be loved and honored. Don’t settle for less than that! Your inner circle should be people that would even lay their lives down for you and vise versa. Not people that just want to be around you and have a good time, or hear your woes but don’t actually want to root for you and uplift you as a person. This means a lot especially when you are low.  No one will always be happy and full of joy and on cloud 9, 10 and 11, so you need a system of people that will encourage and push you forward. Job had horrible friends. God knew that too and Job had to pray for them, so God would forgive them for judging him and speaking falsely on God’s behalf. But then we see Jonathan, who was not only willing to give up all he had for David, for He understood the calling on David’s life, but was supportive and spoiled the plans of his father Saul to protect his friend. Your friends are LOYAL to you and do not want to see you harmed.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get this right, right way. I wanted to feel guilty for allowing certain people in my life but what will guilt do? Guilt just robs you of your vitality and hinders you from growing and learning. For some, this comes naturally, for others, not so much.

Be willing to walk alone for a season until you find those that will surround you with the love you deserve and help you reach your goals in life. We need each other, but we need the right people!

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

Sanctification Is A Slow Process

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Photo by Marcelo Silva on Unsplash

Sanctification is a slow process. You don’t just wake up one day and all your bad habits are gone. That’s why there is this concept called the “renewing of your mind”. We are also encouraged to guard our hearts. The parable of the sower – the good soil – waits patiently, diligently working on the seed that was planted, until it grew big and strong and produced good fruit.

What made that good soil different from the others was perseverance. Nothing stopped them. Healthy trees need pruning. Healthy trees still get bugs on them. Healthy trees still need maintenance, and a sick tree can be made healthy again, when tended to.

On this journey towards sanctification : DO NOT GIVE UP. Heart break, disappointment, confusion or even sin, cling to Jesus! Sanctification is a life long process of pruning. The goal is to make us more Christ-like – producing the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT- bearing good fruit. The goal of this fruit is to be loving and kind to those around us, just like He is to us.

Quick Glossary:

Pruning– trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.

Vinedresser– a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.

John 15(NKJV) 1-17

The True Vine

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.

Let me break this down for you: First we must know that we serve a Loving God. All my problems flow from a belief of an unloving, unfair God. Here, Jesus tells us to abide in God’s love. Once we take our eyes off of our loving savior, like Peter, we begin to sink.

Second, abiding in the Greek – G3306- menō means –

  1. to remain, abide

    1. in reference to place

      1. to sojourn, tarry

      2. not to depart

        1. to continue to be present

        2. to be held, kept, continually

    2. in reference to time

      1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure

        1. of persons, to survive, live

    3. in reference to state or condition

      1. to remain as one, not to become another or different

  2. to wait for, await one

Therefore, never give up on God or your salvation! Sanctification is a long process of pruning with the goal of love. Your requirements are to stand under the grace of God and to obey Christ’s command of loving one another. When you abide or stay close to Christ, renewing your mind with his word and letting His Spirit work in you; you become loving, kind, patient etc. Evil things that once gave you pleasure and satisfaction, no longer do.

Don’t give up. God loves you with all your faults, sins and preconceived notions. He will hold up a mirror to your face and show you what’s in your heart. At first it will be painful, you will be kicking and screaming. You will question God, get angry with people, sin and be tempted to leave the faith, but don’t. Hold on tight to Christ, even when you do not feel joy in your heart. God is faithful to comfort you, expose you and heal you where you are. The reward is renewed strength, peace and ultimately joy- that is your strength. Pain and hardships humbles us, softens us and makes us compassionate towards others.

God Bless,

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Establish My Way , Oh Mighty God

johannes-plenio-276383

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Established definition: having been in existence for a long time and therefore recognized and generally accepted.

When God establishes a thing, it means it was already predetermined by Him and will come to pass.

I am faced with a great decision, one that has left me a bit tired and overwhelmed. I was asking various people for advice, input and record of experiences, conducted research and even listened to negative comments, just to glean any sort of direction.

However, I had to go back to my christian roots and pray to Almighty God, who, I should’ve consulted first with more fervency. I took a deep breath and google searched Bible scriptures on making choices. The ones that stood out to me were:

Psalms 16:9– The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

and

Genesis 41:32 -And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

The first scripture led me to the second one. It was the second one that my eyes opened wide and I realized what God is trying to show me.

I can stress, I can worry. I can be logical and plan out everything. I can consult people and I can ask for as much advice as needed. I can even make a decision and believe it’s right for me, but in the end, whatever Almighty God had established, will come to pass regardless of what decisions I make. When a sentence has a “but” in it, it means one thing is doing something, BUT another is doing something else. So while we are living our lives and making daily choices, God knows exactly where He wants us to go. For those of us that believe and trust in God this is his promise to us:

Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)  

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.

Let’s be real for a moment. You’re asking the big question ” SO HOW DO WE KNOW God’s VOICE?”

The Bible doesn’t have answers flying out at us like a personalized oracle. However, I remember there were times I’d hear a loud and firm NO in my spirit when I’m about to do something or go somewhere God doesn’t want me to go. Other times, I’d have reoccurring nightmares or dreams. Sometimes it’s a strong urge or leading.

Hearing God’s voice and walking in His established ways requires an ongoing relationship with Him. If you spend time with Him and talk to Him about your issues and choices, He will answer you in due season. Sometimes He will be require us to wait.

God is very real and is not limited to a page in a book. Wisdom requires us to take what we have read, and implement them in our lives. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit speaks and has a tangible voice : whether it’s through his disciples or prophets. The Holy Spirit also speaks to us. Do you believe that God still speaks to us today? Why must we run to anyone else but God himself. If Jesus is our model for prayer, did he not hear the Lord for himself? Did he not make time to be with God in the mountains? Reading the Apostles’ journeys with God, did they not rely on the Holy Spirit as well? God said he will pour out His Spirit on all of humanity and He will live inside of us. So why must we look to other people for what God can do for us? God might send people, but that’s what He will do : SEND.

What I’m trying to say is, as hard as it is, seek God first, and allow him to have the final say in your decisions. We may consult others for input and that’s fine, but ultimately, we must submit our plans and decisions to the Lord and trust that He will get us to where we need to be. We all have our preconceived notions on who we are and what we need to do to get there, but God’s infinite wisdom knows best, always.

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Never Thirst Again!

Photo by: Qang Jaka on Unsplash.

During my time in worship, I was led to read John 4 starting from verse 4 – the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

How many of us use people, things, everything and anything to fill up the void in our hearts? In essence, humans were made to worship. We were created for that. However, Jesus points out to us the kind of worship he is looking for, reading from the MSG translation:

(background verses) 21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

The Samaritan woman had 5 husbands and currently living with a man she wasn’t married to. Sounds familiar? Sounds exactly like our world today. It’s a small section of the passage but it is very important.

Jesus presented himself as the cure to her sin. He didn’t condemn her, he simply implied: drink from my well and you will never have to settle for anything that is not good for you.

Like I mentioned in all my previous posts, don’t hide from God like Adam and Eve in the garden! Run and fall down before God and pour out your whole heart, everything to him. He is not judging you. He already knows! The Samaritan woman thought Jesus was a prophet because he knew she had 5 husbands and living with a man. Point proven, God knows ALL.

Go to him believing He is the solution and cure for all your deficiencies! You don’t need to go to a church building, or a temple. If you look for him, you will find him right where you are.

Let him quench your thirst forever. Drink from the well of his Spirit. He is the source of life. He IS LIFE. He came to give us LIFE.

Be free to be yourself. You do not have to play church, know church doctrine, know every bible verse. Be free! Just have an open heart before JESUS.

God is truly intentional. In my time of waiting on him, he gave me the answer I was looking for. God is in the business of healing deep wounds. He has his timing but when he is ready, he doesn’t care what you are doing and where you are. He will bring it all up to the surface. He will shine his operation light on all of your wounds and disease. He will draw them out with his loving power. He will give you a new heart …look here…

Ezekiel 36:26-28(MSG)

24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!

Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophets of old. Jesus is the word, every word from the prophets were fulfilled in the person of Christ. Find him and you will find life.

Be Well,

Wait Patiently On The Lord

 

Photo by: Diana Simumpande on Unsplash.

 

Joy is not a feeling. Joy is a response. I have been pushing myself to feel happy, pretending that everything is okay and that is not true joy.

I realized, a personal revelation of sorts, that joy is simply finding hope and security in Christ. We based our faith on our emotions, on what we don’t understand or can’t do and that cannot be further from the truth.

Only God is perfect. Even God has feelings. He gets angry, sad and happy. So why are we forcing ourselves to be happy all the time? Why are we being fake and manufacturing emotions that we don’t have,

True intimacy is formed in honest, open communication.  Job, a righteous man that lost everything, went boldly before the Lord with ALL of his concerns. He was in anguish and pain. He lost his children, his money and even his health. His friends and his wife were not supportive but judged him. Job was alone.

The sign of maturity is feeling pain, confusion and anguish but running to God for answers. Job waited patiently for God to answer but he didn’t stop praying. Job prayed until he emptied out his heart.

I remembered how I was treated when I didn’t have it altogether. I was sick and going through a lot and instead of understanding and compassion, I was judged and criticized, just like Job. Looking back, I am tempted to stay angry but my eyes have opened to the situation I was in.

People strive on being fake. On being strong on the outside to prove they have it altogether. People do not understand the beauty in brokenness before God. Falling on one’s face before the Lord and crying out to Him.

You can sit there with your fake praises. You can sit there with your fake HALLELUJAH’s when you know deep in your heart you do not believe one word you are saying. God knows our hearts, we cannot lie to Him. We are only lying to ourselves.

David, another man of God, was also misunderstood and alone. He spent most of his life being rejected, misunderstood and in hiding but in his pain and loneliness he cried out to God. He expressed his anger, frustration, and fear. He told God how he truly felt.

The amazing part is, the more we pray, the Holy Spirit steps in and changes our prayers. As we read his scriptures for comfort, we begin to find hope and strength. God renews our strength.

He will renew your strength. He will strengthen you. He will open your eyes to see things differently. He is a place of safety from the harsh realities of life, people and circumstances.

You can do everything right like Job and still face adversity. I had to learn, for myself, that doing good and being righteous is not a get-out-of trouble card. Trouble comes. Confusion will come. Pain will find you. It is an inevitable part of life.

But in our moments of pain, run to God and then wait patiently on him.

Your Growth May Confuse and Anger Some…

In the last few months, I’ve gone through major changes: spiritually and naturally.

On the surface, the incidents appeared to be bad and confusing. Some were random and out of no where and others were festering like sores under the surface.

It was if God was saying now is time to bring the parasites to the surface. These pesky issues that were hidden away but draining you of your vitality and strength.

It felt as if God was performing an operation. There were moments of fear and confusion, yet I had this great peace and joy…as if I were resting under anesthesia.

My eyes had opened to who and what I was putting my focus and trust in. My trust should be in God alone, no one else.

This was the question that was asked in my heart: I know they have told you who you are supposed to be but what does God say?

There were times I was afraid to rock the boat, to embrace everything I wanted in life because I didn’t want to cause trouble or offend anyone. I didn’t want to be noticed. I didn’t want to face any kind of opposition. I was too tired. I was fine with that. That was the season I was in at that time.

But slowly I was emerging. I had found my strength in Christ, not myself. Some people had preconceived notions on who I am as a person and my fears became reality. Instead of celebrating my growth ( I didn’t expect that though), I was met with fierce opposition.

I want to warn you that if you are growing in Christ, you will face with opposition. The way you walk, talk and carry yourself will offend someone. The way you praise God will offend someone. Sometimes,  being silent when they expect you to be hostile will be offensive. Speaking the truth will offend someone.

Never ever reduce who you are to make anyone comfortable. We are all called to let our light shine! How can we shine when we are always trying to please people? You will know when and how it should be done because God will show you and mold you in a way that is pleasing to HIM.

You are being formed and fashioned into what God has called you to be. Not everyone is called to the same thing and even if it may be similar, it will still look different.

Jesus was a Nazarene. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, the carpenter. He lived 30 years quietly, learning the ways of God in the temple and being a good son. Then one day his ministry began. Jesus was not accepted or recognized by the Spiritual leaders of the Temple. It was even said of Him “Can anything good come out of Nazareth”?

 

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” John 1:44-47(NIV)

The Son of God had humble beginnings and was discredited by many. This serves as an encouragement to me. That if God had to go through it, what makes me anything special? Don’t be discouraged, fearful or sad. Don’t even be angry. Praise God and thank Him for drawing you closer to Him each day. Thank Him for where you are now. Don’t allow your past or anyone stop you from being who you are.

If you are an introvert, an extrovert, artistic, logical, or both; If you have a learning disability, a physical disability, a chronic illness, etc, don’t allow anyone to tell you that these things are a hindrance to your growth. God can use the introvert and the extrovert in different ways. He can use the artist to declare His glory through writing or ministry of song. He can use the logical and the intelligent to proclaim His goodness through teaching.

If you are quiet, acts of service and mercy might be your focus.

Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1Peter 4:11 (NLT)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Painful beginnings are to be expected when you are truly growing into maturity.

My Religion is Love

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

I was introduced to the Christian faith from since I was born. I heard about Jesus and He was a very big part of my life growing up. I knew of Him, admired Him and believed He was real. However, I never really saw what love truly looked like. All around me I saw hate, anger, bitterness and fear. I knew I wanted no part of these things but I had no clue what I was actually looking for as a replacement. My idea of God was a powerful being that held our spiritual future in His hands. We were to obey His rules and thus, escape judgement.

In the two major churches in my life, I didn’t see love either. I was force-fed their idea of what love was but it was just a mask. Everyone hid behind “perfection”, looking the part. You had to say the right things. You had to fit into the culture. Something hit me when I left this second time around.

Looking back at my own personal experience with God, I found true redemption. God stripped me of the legalistic mindset of good works as a means of winning His love, to finding His love as a free gift given through faith in Jesus. God was with me in my darkest moments, talking to me and comforting me, but I was too blind to see. He protected me from my poor choices and spoke to me in my dreams.

When I had my conversion moment, it was the day I saw God for who He truly was. A loving God. I started to measure the love people were force feeding me to the love He demonstrated. None compared! People were not mindful of what came out of their mouths. They would yell “hallelujah” and “praise God” and yet, they were tearing down other people. Gossip, malice, jealousy and even being fake! Imagine someone encouraging people to put on a fake smile when they clearly know they have something in their heart against another. Who are we fooling? Do we really think unbelievers are dumb? They can see through the facade. It made me check myself as well. I never claimed to be loving or anything of the sort, but I wanted to badly to understand what true love was.

I was not content with my environment and empty words. I was not content with empty acts of charity. God revealed to me that love comes from the heart. But where does a heart full of love come from?

I truly believe human beings are not capable of producing sincere love on their own. Every act of love and charity is a gift from God. He moves us to produce that first fruit of the spirit.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

*Screams* LOOK! It’s right there! “Against such things there is no law.” Love is a spirit! it’s spiritual.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[ must be born again.’ The wind[blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-10 (ESV)

To break it down, laws are rigid. They are a check-list or a to-do list of what is wrong and if you do these wrong things, a judge pronounces judgement. However, those who are full of love or produce the spirit of love are free! This love is God’s spirit. It takes no shape or form. It cannot be manufactured. It cannot be conjured up. It comes from a transformed heart and flows out of it. This freedom comes from focusing on what or rather who. It comes from a place of grace: pointing us to God and Him covering our mistakes.

Love comes from a pure heart. Not one full of malice or hate. Before one can profess love, one must deal with their heart condition. Like David, one must fall before God and ask Him to clean their hearts. This is something we must do daily!

Instead of us worrying about specific isolated acts of love, we must focus on the well in which it springs from.

Our love must point to the perfect love of Christ. Our love doesn’t compare to the love Christ has for us but we are known by our love for others. It transforms the way we think about ourselves FIRST! Then, it bubbles over and spreads like a flood.

We focus so much on evangelism and preaching the word. Winning souls and conferences. Friday night bible studies and Church ministry when all it takes to be a disciple of Christ is to love him and acknowledge him in all our ways.

It’s simple. God is love. His love is real and tangible. His love is pure and true. His love changes things. We are simply the vessels His Spirit uses. We cannot boast in our imperfect love but we can brag all day about God’s love. We can share our testimony and our stories of God’s love with everyone we meet.

Love is not cussing out someone who makes you mad. It is also, apologizing if you do. It goes even further in understanding that our words can tear and break people. It is understanding that we must bless and not curse. It is embracing the fact that God fights for us. We have a God that loves us and we can pray for our enemies. When they hurt us, we pray and tell God how we feel. Then He will soothe and touch our hearts and help us to mend.

It is showing mercy. People are not living holy lives for your comfort or benefit. It for their own walk with God. So if you see a brother or sister stumbling, encourage them! If they fall, pick them up! Correction is also love. Don’t flatter and lie about sin to make people feel comfortable. In love, correct them. Love wants to see others succeed too.

Love is about someone else and not you. Love doesn’t keep track of all the good you have done. Love requires us to die. Love sometimes means we must walk away for the sake of peace and for good. Love also means not enabling others to sin.

Our love will never measure up but our love is simply an expression of the change God has done in us. Love lasts forever. Why? Because souls last forever. Chasing after material wealth and success, these things will fade. But human souls live forever. It gets passed down generation to generation. One act of kindness can change a life forever and their children’s, children’s, children.

My religion is love. It never fails.

Seek And You Shall Find

I’m on a treasure hunt.

Slowly but surely I shall find what I seek.

The treasures I look for: no man can produce.

No human hands created.

Not precious metal, silver or gold.

Not even a precious hand to hold.

But treasure that comes from the true and living God.

Produced and seasoned by his Holy Spirit.

Living Water, Bread of Life : Oh nourisher of my soul.

Jesus…..

Wonderful Savior.

 I was on a journey to find true love

I put on my cloak and gathered food and water to prepare

I had my staff in hand, a fountain pen, ink, and a stash of paper.

“I am prepared”, I said.

“I am ready to embark on a journey few could ever take”.

Was I afraid? A little, but I was desperate.

Man made love never soothed the raging screams of my soul.

It could never wrap itself around my heart and give me the warmth I needed.

Gold nuggets scattered along the path, I picked them up, analyzed them, and wrote my

observations down.

“Amazing”, I said. Excitement and hope filled my heart. But, as the journey continued, my

enthusiasm waned. I became distracted. I was focused on the daily tasks of life. I was running

out of food, water, and I had no shelter. My cloak was tattered and my face dirty.

While I was sleeping it hit me hard. My eyes flew wide open and I began to write something

simple: God is love.

True Love is God himself. And Christ is love wrapped up in a savior. His life and His words drip

of love. He promises us peace and comfort, or rather the COMFORTER: The Holy Spirit that will

never leave us.

And I was seeking in essence, not love, but God himself! I put down my cloak, my staff and my

bag of essentials and I humbled myself before the True and Living God. The Most High God. I

fell on my knees, and was compelled to give Him praise and He encouraged me to continue.

Give Him praise for who He is!