Expectations of God 

Today’s sermon had tears flowing down my cheek. It’s Palm Sunday! It’s the entry of the King, our redeemer!!

But it wasn’t typical Palm Sunday service. This sermon was about expectations. We know the Jesus was and is the redeemer, the King, but they didn’t. The people heard the word that the King was coming. They expect status. They expect a stallion, they expect a king. But God’s way was a donkey and not just a king but The King.

We spend our lives doing the same thing. We expect God to move a certain way, we expect God to show up in ways we define. If there is anything negative, we automatically presume that God isn’t moving. Here’s a secret: God is moving in ways we cannot see, sometimes we have to break in order to be built back up. Sometimes we have to go through things because God is going to use it later. Not only that, but when we define how God should be doing something, we are limiting not only the blessing, and the move of God but also the impact how God can use us to do great things. 

God is amazing, but how many of us have expectations of God. We set “standards” and “guidelines”. We set marks to say that if it fits it’s God, if it doesn’t then no way. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem on a donkey the people, stated this didn’t fit their God as they define him. They turned their back on Jesus, not for the lack of belief, but for the lack of fitting their expectations. 

I  am writing this not because I feel everyone does this. I’m writing this because I’ve done it. I’m writing this because I’ve seen so many people do this, including people I’m close to. 

Don’t expect God to move a certain way. As Pastor Tally Wilgis stated today, “You could be in the middle of a miracle.” Just surrender, give up full control. “Expect God to do God’s work, God’s way.” -Pastor Tally. 

Guilty Voices 

I’m guilty of a lot, but one thing hit me tonight. 

I was the advocate who stood up to remove God from schools. I was an advocate for seperate church and state. I was an advocate for removing God from this new world we call America. 

I’m guilty. I’m guilty of convincing people not to believe in God with facts and so-called “wisdom”. I’m guilty of putting labels on Christians and marking them as weird and full-of-themselves. I am guilty of a lot. 

But God saved me. God sacrificed his Son, JESUS CHRIST. I was guilty of those things, but in Jesus I’m made new. God placed a burden in my heart to stand for what I believe in, I just never realized I was rooting for the wrong team the entire time because I all I wanted to was to be like every other person I knew. I never dug deep, I never truly knew what I believed. I never realized that “fitting in” was a tactic of the enemy. God knitted you together, if He wanted everyone the same, He would’ve made us all the same. 

So many people today are scarred of what others think. Nonbelievers, Believers it doesn’t matter. We look around to see who has their hand raised in worship, because we don’t want to be the only one. We don’t like to pray outloud or in public because we are afraid of what others might think of us. Do you know what they might think? They might envy you. They might want what you have. They might want that kind of faith. So what if you get some who don’t like to feel uncomfortable around those “Christian folk”.  It’s not your job to please everyone. Every though some think so. I am majorly guilty of that. 

It’s a hard battle, but God has shown me a lot recently. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have a voice in what I believe in. It’s okay to stand up for what’s right.

Listen, God gave of us a voice not to just talk about ourselves, our drama, and our cozy churches. He gave us a voice to stand up for Him to defend Him and to proclaim His Son, Jesus. 
Use your voice for the good and it can change people’s lives. 

Conviction

How many things do you hide from?

Each of us look for ways out of circumstances, each of us look for ways around things. We look for escape hatches before we even are forced to run. 

Some people don’t like churches because  they don’t want to be convicted. They don’t want to be forced to deal with the problem in their lives, who really does? They’d rather show up on a Sunday morning listen to the pastor preach then leave and never think about that sermon again.

I was listening to someone preach about how we are so focused on the outside of our churches, the building, the graphics, detail orientation, that we are neglecting the inside, the heart and the body of Christ. Same thing, I feel goes for us spiritually. Many of us go to church, we play the part, it makes us look good and feel good, sometimes we even tithe, sometimes we even serve but our heart isn’t there, our spirit is thirsting and yet we are neglecting it. 

We neglect our souls because we don’t allow ourselves to have the Word spoken to us in truth. We curve it around ourselves. Think about, if the pastor gets up there and talks about what you did the night before, let’s say  drinking, and states that being a drunkard is a sin, you will find every excuse to say that is not you. If the pastor says anything that is going on in your life, anything that relates to you, you think that it’s not you, that you aren’t that bad. Here is the thing, if you have to convince yourself you’re not that bad, you are. It’s time to buckle up and face it.

Allow the Holy Spirit to use that conviction for the good, not for yourself to hide. We are to be more like Jesus and less like self.

Take off your Sunday best, take off the makeup, who are you?  You are a child of The One True King. The Holy Spirit is apart of you. Don’t live for selfish gain, live to be like Jesus. He lives inside of you. 

Center of it All

I came to realization that I typically take whatever topic and talk about myself and my past and how I can use what was taught to grow myself and hopefully others. There’s a flaw in that however. A flaw that is drilled into all of us. It’s all about me. Why? Why do I have to talk about myself? Using my own personal stories to reflect on the Word of God is great, but if you take a blog, even my blog, and you read it, it’s centered around one thing, ourselves. 

“Well then what’s the point of a blog if its not about me?” Here’s the thing, if you are a Christ follower and I pray you are, it should reflect your life, and Christ should the center of your life not yourself. So many of us will take negative situations and allow it to affect our emotions, feelings, and our day even weeks to years. We give the situation control of our lives, all because we allow it to affect us, because it’s all about us. BUT it’s not suppose to be about us.

Jesus did not die for us to be in our own self pity world. He suffered and died for us to live in freedom in him. Negative things happen, but we can’t define ourselves as the situation. Allow Jesus to set us free from all the horizontal chains and weights we put on ourselves.

Jesus loves all, love like him. Jesus forgives, forgive like him. Jesus shows mercy, allow mercy to flow through you. Jesus was sinless, live a life trying to achieve a sinless life. Jesus redeemed us, live in freedom. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, love yourself so that you can show love to your neighbor. 

Loving yourself is hard. However, God made you. He doesn’t make junk. He makes wonderful and lovely things. You have purpose in life, even if you do not see it. God made you just the way you are. God loves you. God is your Father. Love yourself because The Creator of the World is the Creater of You. 

#Ihaveissues

Tonight I literally sat in service at a church I’ve been watching for a few years online. Tonight was one of the hardest messages I’ve heard, maybe it was impact of the message of being at the church or maybe I was SUPPOSE to be there and the Holy Spirit just spoke clearer than watching it online. Either way, God had his hand in every aspect of the message that was delivered to me.

First off, the message was titled, “Hidden Issues”.  Issues that I’m hiding from, not you but me. What am I hiding from, & what am I hiding behind, were the questions asked. My self inclined  reaction was nothing, I’m not hiding, everyone knows everything, right?  Wrong.

As Pastor Steven was preaching my insecurities, my fears, my self-doubt, my reactions to things, how I personally respond to situations that I tell no one about just started playing over and over in my head. I was hiding. My selfishness and self centered ways showed off its ugly head this evening.

My issues go all the way back from early childhood. It’s not my family’s fault. I can blame them but the reality of it all, it’s my own fault to be holding on to things  that I don’t even realize I hold on to. My issues are my issues, it’s not their burden to carry. 

I have to get over my ownself. I have to literally spend time with God away from all the distractions in this world, and just be one with my father. I’ve been longing for this for so long, I can do it for a few moments but then everytime I get distracted, I reconnect, I put my focus on anywhere but my Father 

I recently took that jump, I trusted God, and quit at the time my only income source, my job. I felt God was calling me to, but I quickly forgot as to why. Where there may be several reasons, the number one reason was my relationship with my Father was struggling. I told my pastor that all I was doing was working, and I get inclined to do so, I loved my coworkers and why not bend over backwards for them? It’s who I am, it’s who God made me. But here’s the thing, it started destroying the very thing that I hold as an anchor in my life, my relationship with my Father. So what won there my gifts or my Father? My Father ultimately got the way, and I quit my job. But it stopped there. 

I prayed but not the extent I should. Recently, I was asked “What is God telling you to do?”. I couldn’t answer it. I didn’t know because I was focusing so much energy to my freedom that I neglected to remember why God called me out of my job to begin with, to build up and mend my relationship with him, so that I can do and serve with gifts he gave me to better His Kingdom, to live on mission with God. 

So when I say, I need to get over myself, and have that personal time with God, I do. I have to get over me because I know for fact I am what is holding me back, no one or nothing else. 

The Age Gap

As an almost 29 year-old, I am struggling. I am at an age gap where I want to be able to meet people, but a bar is not the place. I am at the age where I have to find a group of people who love me, and will be there when I need them, because its time to grow up, even though I’m stuck in my teens at heart. It’s time to realize the lies I’ve told myself were not true. The judgement I placed on people were my own fears reflected back to me. The lack of love I felt from people was not that it wasn’t there, it was because I was turning away from it, not looking at it straight on because I was afraid.

The lies I’ve told myself are lies of a teenagers mind, the lies that people tell you because of their insecurities. I’ve told myself I’m worthless, but I’m not. I’m worthy of everything as I am a daughter of a King. I’ve told myself I’m a failure, but I’m not because I have a purpose in my life to the will of my Father, and I can’t fail until the day I stop breathing. I’m told myself that no one will like me because I’m too ugly or too fat, that lies of a teenager still haunts me today, but the mere fact is they are not true. I’m a beautiful woman who may struggle with her eating habits, there’s help for me there, but God doesn’t judge me on my size, he doesn’t judge me on whether or not I have brunette hair or blonde hair or even if I put an effort on getting ready. He simply doesn’t care, only I care what other’s will think.

I’ve judged people, a lot of people, Lord please forgive me. I have misjudged people based on their attitudes that day, or their personality. Here is the thing, most of those judgments are a reflection of myself, attributes of myself, that I don’t like to see pawned out, whether it’s anger, bitterness, or any other fowl feeling mood. I am afraid that I will be the old me, full of anger and bitterness. So seeing those people I see myself and I judge them as not being loving, but it may just be there way of loving in the moment. Regardless, it doesn’t matter, because the old me is dead, where some attributes will forever haunt me, they do not define me anymore.

There are people out there who love me because I am me, not because I look a certain way or was born with their DNA. There is a Father in heaven who never once stopped loving me. There is my Savior who died for me, the ultimate love and sacrifice, dying for the sins I struggle with on a daily basis, who is seated at the right hand of the Father who loves me.

I maybe struggling right now in the age gap. But it doesn’t change who I am in Christ. I’m still a child of God. I am still pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus. I am full of joy knowing that I am loved through all my struggles and all my ups.

Break Free

In a series called Break Free a few years ago, before I even dreamed that I had enough audacity to step-out and let others know what I was thinking, I was challenged. Break Free was about breaking free from the chains that we hold onto, that God did not put there, so that we can be the person God called us to be.

April 2013 I posted on Facebook, “I didn’t realize until today that I’ve been holding on to something that should’ve been let go awhile go. Thanks to Captivate Church and Pastor Tally I will try to break free from it.” No one knew what it was, I honestly thought no one really cared.  That one thing I was trying to break free from was an event that happened in the past. An event that took the little bit of self image and worth that I had and crushed it in just moments.

As I began my adult life, I took that image and my worth and I let it define me. I let it eat at me, I let it take me to the bedroom with random men, I let it tell me  that I wasn’t worth succeeding, I wasn’t worthy starting my own life. I honestly, don’t know if I wanted to change because I was comfortable. I told myself it was who I was and I was just living life. Instead I was filling myself with emptiness, not love, not support, but dead dreams and lack of hope.

As Jesus came into the picture and I started feeding myself with God’s promises and with God’s love. I no longer became an empty lost vessel. I was filling up with God, and it was amazing. God was stirring things up inside of me. I felt love like I have never felt before. God was using me.

Then all of a sudden it stopped. God’s voice became quieter. I felt my faith was on a brink of falling apart. I was going back to the darkness that I was in when the event happened. I felt alone, unloved, unworthy of everything. But I was still praising and still seeking Him, I was not giving up. I took a leap of faith and asked for help.

I came across this quote my pastor stated back in the Break Free series in 2013 that says “Self-Image without God’s Image is a broken image”. I thought this was completely true. That I cannot be the person God created me to be without Him, otherwise I am just trying to fulfil my own self righteousness and worthiness, I am trying define myself.

If I let myself define me, I am unworthy, lonely, unloved. It is only with God that I can see myself loved, worthy of all, and most of all never lonely because He is always there. So I was letting myself define me and not letting God have any say in the matter. I stopped hearing God’s voice because I didn’t think I was worthy of it, I felt alone because I felt like no one cared, but I didn’t even give them a chance. It is a cyclic pathway that just leads down a spiral that I replay everyday and it’s dangerous.

I am not going to say it’s going to easy climbing back out of the spiral and trying to create new pathways on how to communicate and how to build a relationships. It’s going to be hard seeking truth of the way God sees me versus the lies the enemy wants me to believe. I have to break free from the chains that I am still letting the define me. It is only with God’s help and grace that I will be able to do it.

Surrender 

Jesus died a torturous death, hanging on the cross for our sins. We are all sinners, none of us are perfect. He died for me, he died for you. He died so we could live a life in glory of his name.

He was separated from his Father, his Father was taking all the aggression and anger He had toward sin and putting the punishment on His own flesh. As if a child was severely beaten for the act of another, but by his own will, not by accusation. 

God did it just so that WE could be saved through Christ Jesus. 

Yet we take our burdens today and sit and take pity on ourselves because we have a “challenge” to face.  Maybe, we are stressed out. Maybe even we think we failed and suddenly our lives are falling apart. Yes, at times I feel separated from God, that’s normal, even Jesus felt separated from his own Father, and they are one. It’s hard to realize that He will not forsake me. He is not like everyone else in my past, not even a little close.

I took my burdens and I let them drown me the other day. I let them consume so much so that I did not even take a chance to put my hope and my peace back in Jesus. My stresses in life and my burdens do not define me. But I let them define me that day, I didn’t surrender.  They are not who I am.  I am God’s daughter and He is my Father and I am saved through Christ because he shed his blood on my behalf. This world is not my home so letting this world influence my walk with God, is letting the enemy win. 

Blinded

People go through life thinking they have all together. They go through and think that the way they think is correct. But here is the problem, generally speaking you are not all together and you are typically not right. 

This is because we rely on ourselves to define our ownselves, or allow others to influence every detail of our lives. Then becoming a person you are not, a person God does not want you to be. But you are so much more.

There several types of blindness. However, I’m only going to touch on both the literal and the unliteral. 

In Acts 9, Saul was seeking to kill the disciples, however, Jesus began to talk to Saul. He was asking why was Saul persecuting him and why was he not going the path that he should’ve been leading. Jesus blinded Saul for three days.  Three days without sight. Three days without the temptation of sin starring him in the face. Three days to call a time-out and to just follow the path God laid before him. Without sin in our lives imagine the life we could live. 

Perhaps, we are like Saul. Perhaps we think we are leading the lives WE think we should be living, but is it the life  that God thinks we should to live? In Psalm 139, it states God knitted you together in your mother womb, but he also laid out a path before you. But it’s not up to Him on whether or not you follow it, it is yours. 

In Mark 10 it talks about a blind man, Bartimaeus, that wants to be healed. He wants everything in his might to be able to see again. He heard Jesus was coming by where he was and he began to CRY OUT to Jesus.  Many people told him to stop. But he did not listen to them. He kept at it. Jesus heard Bartimaeus and asked him to come over to him. He listened and threw down his cloak and walked to Jesus.  Jesus then gave him his sight back. But it was only by Bartimaeus faith that he was healed.  

We are blinded by many things. We are blinded by the judgement that we had as kids. We are blinded by the sin we refuse to give up. We are blinded by the people we surround ourselves with and their opinions about us. We let them tell us who we are. We let our sins define us. We let our past keep us in chains. Many of us don’t even think we have specific things wrong, it is because we are blinded.

We need the Bartimaeus faith. The faith of not giving up until the Lord heals us from the stuff that blinds us. We need to CRY OUT to Jesus daily. We need him. We cannot do the life God has for us without him. He redeemed us over 2000 years ago. Now we have to act like the redeemed. 

Take the blinders off, become the raw human you were meant to be. Stop letting others define you.