Meeting you at the point

In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.

God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.

But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go. 
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful. 

Suffocation of the Fire That Burns Inside

5 years ago I was a lost soul. I had no hope. I had no ambition. I was inward. I was severely depressed. I felt that I could never contribute to society because I was useless. I felt like I didn’t fit in, or even blend in.  I stayed inside and kept my mouth shut. I was hurt and broken.

I remember praying to a God I didn’t believe in at the time and I cried out, “God if you really do exist, why did you create me? Why am I here? If you really do exist please save me” God was listening that day because a few months later, I found Jesus and a church home I wasn’t even looking for.  God sent me on a whirlwind of a ride discovering who He was while I was discovering who I was throughout the first few months.

But after a little over a month, someone approached me and asked me to join a ministry team. They said and I quote, “We could use your smiling face on the VIP team” I replied, “Are you sure you want me to greet people? I’ve been told have a good smile, but…” they replied, “Yes of course we do!”.

I took that uncomfortable opportunity for me, of standing and talking to people and I signed up to be on the VIP team anyway. Regardless of how I felt, I knew this is what God wanted me to do.  The first few months were rough.

I only showed up on a Sunday when it was my week to serve. But then it got worst and I stopped showing up when it was my weeks and I blamed on the fact, “I forgot my password”  to the program we use so I didn’t know it was my week. Either way, I faced a battle of putting my wants, desires, and ways first before I even consulted or even considers Gods wants and desires.

One night I remember being in my room and just on my knees praying whole heartily because I felt lost again. I was crying, I was reading scripture, I was praying that same prayer but this time I knew God. This time I knew who I was praying to and through. I wouldn’t say it was overnight but God became my priority again shortly after. I started showing up the church every Sunday and not just for church, I showed up early to serve even when it wasn’t my week to serve.  Serving became my passion.

However, passion withers if it’s not properly kept. It’s like a fire that slowly fades away. But do you know what reignite the fire? For me it’s not God’s word, it’s not doing a bible study, where they may help keep the fire going, what really reignites the fire is moving the embers around. Taking in my testimony and sharing it with others. It’s lifting my hand out to others and letting them know they are not alone. That God loves them and care for them. It’s walking beside teenagers and helping them grow and seeing excitement in their eyes when they start understanding and believing in the Word. It’s loving others the way God does.

But it can quickly die if I put myself first. If I put my wants and desires in front of Gods, even without realizing it I can suffocate the passion that burns inside of me that God placed in there.

 

True Love

This idea called Love. We all crave it. We all want it. We all search for it. But many will never know it in it’s true form.

We might sleep around, like I did in past, looking for love in all the wrong places. Ultimately feeling heart broken and alone, wondering why you let it go that far and wondering if you will ever find the right one. But what you thought was love was merely just a temporary feeling.  

Being single isn’t fun. It’s full of a roller coaster ride of feeling lonely. It’s full of possibilities and hopeful relationships that tend to flicker out.

A few months ago, I was battling the issue with loneliness. Everyone goes through it. But this time I got to a point where I sat at church and wondered what in the world I was doing there. I told myself that life would be so much easier if I just left church and got married to the next guy. “At least I wouldn’t feel alone”, “At least I’d have someone who maybe cared for me”, … I could continue what went on my head but I won’t torture you. But you get the picture. I was telling myself Jesus wasn’t enough, that life wasn’t fair, that the love God has for me  isn’t enough.

God’s love is enough, because God is love. God is made known through love. Love is sacrificial, it’s putting the other in front of your own wants, desires, needs, anything. Love is getting up on a cross and suffering a long painful death so we didn’t have to bare it ourselves. That is true love. Jesus is love.

Do you see it? We sit here and we crave love, but the love we crave is not of this world. It is so much bigger. We all made in the image of God, therefore we all have a God sized hole that we try to to fill. Some of us fill it with “religion”, some fill it with drugs and alcohol, some fill it with another man or woman. But the hole, can only be filled by God. The love we see in this world will never fill it, regardless of how hard we try. 

It’s the puzzle piece that we search for. It’s the bonding between the vine and the branch. It’s the reason we breathe in and the reason we breathe out. 

Don’t let the enemy try to tell you can fill it with a temporary solution. The solution will always be Jesus because without him there is no true love. 

Relight the Fire

How many of us sin? All of us. All of us sin. All of us at some point in our day puts ourselves first and God second. Some just put him permanently in second. They think that their feelings and their own satisfaction is more important than what God has for them.
As a baby Christian putting God first tends to be a bit more easier. You tend to analyze every situation, conversation, and every friendship…to see if this is godly, something you are called to, something that you shouldn’t do, or something that is sinful against God. But once that fire goes out, where are we? At this point you’ve probably been called a “crazy” Christian even lost followers on social media because of your over bearing truths from the gospel. But once that first igination fades out, what you left with? A lot of times we are left empty because we’ve beared our souls and we’ve seen no fruit. We passionately pursue Jesus but we begin to let the enemy talk to us a bit more then we should. We stop putting Jesus first. Some of us just stop all together because we feel lost again and feel that if God didn’t show up in those months maybe even years then there is no point to pursue God. So we go back to our old ways.

But putting God first even when we don’t see fruit, even when we feel we are at worst of worst days make more of an impact on the world around us than us putting ourselves first on daily basis. 
God will always be God. We can either passionately pursue him on a daily basis or make him second and not make Him Lord at all. 

There have been so many times I have seen myself putting God in second . I have decided that it wasn’t worth my effort, that I didn’t feel up to it that day, that God will have the grace to sustain me. God’s grace is amazing but it’s not our job to tell God what to do with it. We are putting ourselves in first. Think about if we ever said, “that’s what grace is for”, that’s putting yourself in charge of Gods grace, something that we don’t have the power to do. But what we do have the power to do, is relight the fire.

Relight that fire that was in you years ago, months ago, days ago, because that fire with make a difference. That fire can change the world. That fire will have you walking confidently with the Lord. Where we may fall at times, it’s okay, we just have to keep the ambers moving.

 

Piece by Piece

In order to be built back up sometimes you have to be broken.

Being broken before God, is hard. Where we all know  that he knows everything, yet we still hide from him even though scripture states we can go nowhere to flee from him.

The problem is we take shame, fear, and guilt and we internalize it. We let our sins shame us, our fear over take us, and our guilt eat away at us. Yet we come to church on Sunday as if we are okay, even though we are screaming on the inside. We put a smile on our face to cover everything. 

The thing is God knows all of it. ALL. Maybe you didn’t treat that one person right, maybe you are battling with a sin issue, maybe your anxiety is so high you can barely breathe, maybe you didn’t do something and it eats you up on the inside, whatever it is, God knows. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. However, God does call us to go before him, to repent, to trust, and to surrender.

So being broken and realizing that you have to let go of everything you’ve been holding on to, is hard. Because sometimes you’ve held on to them for so long that they began to define you. You began to question,  “God made me this and I just only have to accept it”. If you do not glorify God in it and there is part of you that dislikes that part of you, chances are it’s not from God. 

I battle with shyness, quietness, awkwardness, I could keep going, but the point is, I don’t believe God made me that person. I could accept it. But I don’t glorify God in it. I don’t like it…honestly it’s a part of me I hate. 

So where do we go from here? How do you build up what is broken? First off, you let go and give it to God. We are sinful by nature so saying we’re going to fix something ultimately means we are going to attempt and if doesn’t work out then we may try again, but we will give up and hide it under the rug, we don’t want to do that.  No we have to give every last peice over to God. We have to let the walls down with God, we built them up  and they’ve been up for so long they became a part of us, but they are not from God. We have to let God break us in areas we’ve never would have before. But we also have to take time in prayer, the Word, repentance, and praise. We literally have to let God be our God again.

I’ll close with this, my pastor once said, “you have to walk into the unknown long enough to let God be your God again.”

Take off the Blinders

I don’t know if you are like me, but I grew up in a shell protected from the outside. Alcohol was not present in my home neither were cigarettes or any type of drugs other than what the doctor prescribed us.  Alcohol and cigarettes were only things part of my family partook in and I didn’t really know what actually drugs were till I was in my teens in health class. I was sheltered.

I was taught not to mind what others are doing and focus on where I was heading. Where this a great mindset when you are pressing towards a goal in the world, but not when you are living for Christ and being who God calls us all to be. You have to take the blinders off.

Let me explain, we can’t truly love our neighbors if we can’t see them. If we have the blinders on, we are only going to neighbors for our own benefit, sadly enough but it’s true. We can’t see where they are hurting, we can’t see how we can help them because we are focused on our next step and our next move. So many of us live this way in life and its scary.

They are focused on their next promotion, their next growth step or their next big move that they cannot see the people God placed before them. They cannot see the hurting people right outside their doorstep. Even if they take 10 mins away from their busy schedule to notice someone, they are inwardly thinking about themselves and how they have to go somewhere or have to accomplish something and are not focused on the conversation at hand. We are all guilty of this on some level but it doesn’t discount how unbiblical it actually is.  My pastor recently stated in a sermon, “love is rooted in sacrifice.”  I didn’t think much of it then but it’s so true. If we are not willing to sacrifice something as simple enough as time are we really truly loving our neighbor? our friends? our family? even God?

God doesn’t tell us we have give up our physical bodies to be sacrificed like Jesus, but he does tell us that we are to give up ourselves to live for him. He does tell us we have to put ourselves aside to live for Him and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. Our flesh will always want it to be about us because naturally, we are selfish not self-less. So there will be times where we go apart from God and not see the people around us. Not see how the city, state, country we are in is so broken. We don’t see all the hurting people on the street, that just want their next hit because that just want a glimpse of that high they once had.

God put us all where are for a reason. Take the blinders off, look around you, sacrifice time for them and think of yourself less because we maybe the only flicker of light that those people might be able to see. So we have to be it.

Potential that Leads to a Gift: My Story

 

My senior year in high school, I decided to take a class to fill my schedule, I heard rumors it was fun and after all, you were on a computer all class, so how could I not take it?

So I enrolled in our school’s graphic design class. My teacher’s  philosophy was that you have to learn the basics before moving towards the bigger and better. So we started out in Microsoft Word, yes Word. Where an empty page was our playground to do our assignment. The trick was we could only use the shapes in Word to create the assignment, nothing more.  Then we moved on to Paint which is very similar to Microsoft Word in its abilities and finally to Adobe Photoshop. I had dabbled in Photoshop at 13, but this time I got to create assignments, have fun, and mess with some cool effects. A recruiter came to my class that year from the Art Insitute. She asked if any of us would consider a career in Graphic Design. I thought about it and nervously I raised my hand. Shortly thereafter, the lady came over to me and she said “I figured you would, I talked to the teacher before class and  I have seen your portfolio. The Art Insitute will love it and will love you. You have great potential. Please consider us, I or some else from the Art Insitute will be in touch.”

I went home ready to share the good news. Instead, I got, “you’re not good enough”, “this isn’t for you”, “you’re smarter than this”.  So I was heartbroken. The opportunity was never spoken about again. It was the one area in my life where I felt I pulled to, but I didn’t have enough willpower nor confidence in myself so I decided to believe them, that this wasn’t for me.

 

Fast forward to a year ago. I followed God and quit my job with nothing lined up. But in that landed a job that was the spark to start graphic designing again. It was in that I landed where I am now. I have created a multitude of things for a few different churches from banners, postcards, business cards, flyers, I could go on, but the most amazing part is I get to use this gift that is being cultivated to impact the Kingdom in a unique way, in the way God has designed me to.

God has designed each of us uniquely so that we can use our gifts for the Kingdom in our own unique way.