Letting Go to Hold on

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Think about this; sometimes God, (whose love for us is the greatest love out there) let’s us go. He doesn’t force us to do anything, but rather has given us free will. And no matter how much God wants us all for himself, there are moments when God deliberately lets go of us in sadness. Why would God let go of his children whom he loves so much? Sometimes God lets go to give us what WE want in order for us to realize, that in fact, it isn’t what we really want. It isn’t until God lets us go that we often learn who is the one most dear to us, God. “The Lord corrects the ones he loves” (Hebrews 12:6.) So yes, He lets us go; watches as we slowly dig ourselves into a hole, all the while sending out signals and warnings. But He doesn’t take a hold of us, until we decide and realize on our own that we truly want and need God!

Just as it hurts God to let us go, it hurts us to have to let go of the things and people we love. We’ve always been taught to hold onto the things and people we love most, but we fail to realize that sometimes letting go is the best thing we can do. In letting go of what we hold so dear, we allow God to take that place and take a hold of us. In life I have come to learn that letting go of something good for the sake of God means I get to hold on to something GREAT! When we choose not to let go of those things we hold so dearly, we are telling God He is not the most important in our life.

There’s a story in the bible about a man who tells Jesus he has kept all the commandments. The man asks Jesus,” What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:20-21). It says the young man heard this and went away sad. The moment it hurts us to give something up or it saddens us greatly, is when we can be sure that God is no longer the most important one in our lives. This is why God asks us to let go of certain things, in order to get our full attention back on Him. God doesn’t want to come in second place or have part of our hearts; He wants to be the pinnacle of our life. However, He can’t be our cornerstone when there are other things and people we are holding onto closer then Him. Matthew 6:21 says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” What are the things or people God is asking you to let go of? Remember we are blessed when we let go of what God asks us to, and it’s not until we let go of these things that He can embrace us.

Trust Without Borders

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I was listening to the song Oceans by Hillsong United while worshipping the other night. I have heard this song many times before, but that night the lines “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” took a hold of me. Trusting God without borders? It’s easy to trust God when we have everything in line, when we have a career and plans for a future, but what happens to that trust when we don’t? We trust God when the money is flowing, and there’s a roof over our head, but where’s the trust when we take those things out of the equation? God confronted me hard that night. I claimed to trust God but in moments of thinking about my future, I was overcome with fear and loneliness. Often times, the trust I have for God is with borders and God grabbed my attention to tell me He wants to show me to trust Him without boarders. Trust like that of Noah when he was asked to build an Ark. Never having heard or seen of rain, he was obedient and trusting. Trust like Abraham, who though probably uncertain, walked to sacrifice his only son trusting God was in control.

Sometimes God will strip everything away so the only thing we have left to do is trust in him with all our hearts. Psalms 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (ESV.) Those chariots and horses are the things we tend to trust in more than God, but God wants us to be safe and secure in Him. Trusting in God is knowing we will never be alone because He is a faithful and loving God. Many times God will show us what real trust looks like by taking away the things or people we come to trust and rely on more than Him. Learning to trust God without borders is the hardest thing we may ever have to do, but when those thoughts of fear and loneliness come we must fix our eyes on Jesus. We fix our eyes on the One who loves us more than anyone in this world will ever love us. We fix our eyes on the One who gave His life for us and trust Him because we know without a doubt He will never let us down. As the scripture says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you,” (Psalms 56:3 ESV.)

So in those moments, when God strips us of our man made borders, and our self made security, our hearts must rejoices in the midst of the pain. We must hold on to His word that says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (ESV.) If this is what it takes for us to draw closer to God, for us to trust God with all that we are, than we need to embrace it without complaint. Even when our hearts feel broken or fearful and our future is unclear we will trust in our everlasting rock. We will wake up every day declaring Psalms 52:8 “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever” (ESV.) After all, trusting in God’s steadfast love is the only really security we can ever have.

Complaint Leads to Defeat

Hebrews 12:3-4

Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[a] then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Growing up I was kind of obsessed with Winnie the Pooh; I loved all the characters except one, Eeyore. Eeyore was always moping around and complaining, even as a child I found him to be annoying. To give you a better idea (in case you never watched Winnie the Pooh) here is one of Eeyores famous lines: “End of the road. Nothing to do, and no hope of things getting better.” Where am I going with this you ask? God confronted me with the realization that so often I act just like this character. I complain and whine on a daily basis over small insignificant things and Jesus who died for me on the cross, not once complained despite all the suffering He endured. The problem with complaining, other then it showing a lack of gratitude for all God does, is that complaining leads to mental defeat. There is nothing we go through in life worth complaining about, when we bring to mind Jesus on the cross. You know the saying a positive attitude brings positive results? When we have a heart of thanksgiving, despite the million reasons we may think we have the right to complain, we aren’t giving the devil a chance. However, when we choose to complain, we open a door for the enemy to start making us want to give up. Even when the Christian walk gets tough I have to remember not once did Jesus complain or even question God, he simply did what the Father asked of Him. This is exactly what we need to do as followers of Jesus! We must continue on with our Christian walk without allowing complaint and defeat to attack our minds. We need to always remember what Jesus went through was far worse and he did it without a single moan, groan, or grumble. Isaiah 53: 7, He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, 
 so he did not open his mouth.” If Jesus had started to whine and complain, he could have ended up talking himself out of doing the Father’s will. The more he complained the more convinced he could have made himself to give up. Complaining makes the mind weary and that’s where defeat over powers our minds. This is why we need to always rejoice and be grateful, to always keep in mind the hostility Jesus endured, because this will keep our minds from defeat.

Samaritan Women

Image-1-5 Hatred between Jews and Samaritans was fierce and long-standing during biblical times. This was a result of varies disagreements, wars, and differences in worship. The Samaritans built their own Temple for worship on Mt. Gerizim, and decided that their mountain was the dwelling place of the Lord, rather then the Temple in Jerusalem. For this reason Jews did not associate with Samaritans, making the encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan women in John chapter 4 all the more interesting. Ever wonder why Jesus being a Jew would associate with a Samaritan women? The simple answer; because Jesus is love. Keep reading for the extended answer. I am certain Jesus didn’t even hesitate to ask this women for a drink because Jesus didn’t look at the fact that she was a Samaritan, He looked at her heart. Jesus didn’t see her as an adulterer or label her into the category of promiscuous women; instead He seized the moment to confront her with love and hope, that otherwise she may never have gotten. The Samaritan women’s response to a Jesus speaking to her, is one we so often give God, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” In other words, “You are Holy, I am a sinner. How can you speak to me?” Rather then embracing God’s acceptance of who we are, just how we are, we question how He could love us or how He could want to talk to us. Like the Samaritan women, we fail to recognize who is the one asking for a drink. Ever heard the quote, “we are our own worst critics?” Often times we are the one’s that label ourselves; “I’m a liar, I’m a thief, I’m a fornicator, I’m a gossiper, etc.” Meanwhile, God is standing right in front of us labeling us His children, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 John 3:1). Just as Jesus knew the Samaritan women had a not so clean life, He knows all our imperfections, but He wants to encounter us to bring us to hope if we let Him. If we stop questioning and wondering why He’s there for us and why He wants to talk to us the sinners and simply learn to embrace is ever open arms for us, He would be more then willing to give us the living water that will forever quench our thirst. God says come as you are because I love you as imperfect as you are.

Deeper Look into Lazarus

John 11:43-44

 “When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

In all miracles found in the scripture God adds an element of teaching for us. These teachings benefit us by edifying our faith and strengthening our relationship with God. A very well known story in the bible and one of the greatest supernatural miracles recorded is about a man named Lazarus, whom Jesus brought back to life after being dead four days. I’ve broken this story into three main points we can.

  1. The miracles God will do in us and for us will, happen on God’s time and in God’s own way. Martha and Mary wanted Jesus to come when Lazarus was still alive, not after the matter. One of the first things Martha tells Jesus, once he finally arrives to see Lazarus is, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha might as well have just told Jesus “it’s your fault he’s dead because you didn’t heal him when we asked.” God’s timing is perfect and He shows Martha and Mary that, by supplying a supernatural miracle long after the time they expected it to occur. Here we find a valuable lesson in hopefully waiting on God to answer us, not when we want but when God says it’s time.
  2. God does the miracle but He needs us to participate. In the process of Lazarus miracle, Jesus required the participation of men from beginning to end. First He needed men to remove the stone from the tomb and then to remove the linens from Lazarus body. It is important that we remember God doesn’t need us, but rather we need Him. However, God does require participation from us. In the waiting process for our miracle to occur, we need to pray without ceasing and worship God. Sometimes our participation will require more than just worshipping. For example if we are waiting on God to supply a job, we must fill out applications and turn in resumes, that’s the participation God requires for that specific miracle. Every miracle requires different kinds of participation, but one thing they all require is that while we wait we worship God and He will glorify himself.
  3. There are barriers that can hinder our miracles. In Lazarus case there was an actual barrier, the stone covering his tomb. If Jesus hadn’t made sure the stone was removed what good would it be for Lazarus to be alive, but stuck in the tomb? For us, many times the barrier blocking our miracle is sin. God cannot move in our miracle when there is sin in our life, because sin separates us from God. The simplest way to remove sin and the only way is to ask God for forgiveness. The action of coming before God with a repentant heart will move the barrier and allow the miracle to move through.

Let me end with this. After Jesus ordered Lazarus to come out, He wasn’t done. Even though Lazarus was in a sense a brand new being now, with new organs, new blood, new skin, and a new respiratory system, the work wasn’t finished in him yet. Jesus tells them to take the “grave clothes” off of Lazarus. Lazarus still had things from the past to remove, despite his new healthy life. You see, the work in us is never finished. Even after we are made new, God keeps working on us. There is always something else to remove, to undo, to change. Just because we receive the miracle we wanted doesn’t mean we are “Holy” or that we can sit back and relax. All it means is God is good!

Being Uncomfortable

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Let’s talk about being uncomfortable, and not the kind of uncomfortable you get when your socks get wet and you have to walk around the rest of the day with soggy socks and cold feet.I’m talking about the kind of uncomfortable you get when you are being corrected and disciplined. It’s that moment when all the confidence you had disappears; it feels like all eyes are on you, even though there’s no one in the room. It’s the kind of discomfort that hurts because you know it’s the truth. It’s the uncomfortable moment of being confronted in order to produce change in us. You know what I’m talking about; we’ve all been there. These moments are so crucial in our Christian walk because they are the moments we are being molded. Isaiah 64:8 puts it so beautifully, Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” If we don’t allow these moments of discomfort, we don’t allow God to be the potter, in other words we aren’t allowing God to mold us. Being a lump of clay in God’s hands means we will get shaped and re shaped on a daily basis. The chiseling may hurt but the outcome is God’s masterpiece.

How beautiful is it, that during these uncomfortable moments of putting our guard down, when our weaknesses are being highlighted, God says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, (2 Corinthians 12:9.) God loves when we are weak; in fact, the moment we think we have it all together is the moment God steps aside. A lot of time’s we are stagnant in our lives and it’s a result of trying to be in control rather then letting God be the one in control. When we attempt to be the one’s in control we shut out discipline, tune out correction, wanting to avoid being confronted with uncomfortably. The reason we haven’t gone to the next season is because we think we have it under control.

Right now God has you exactly where he wants you to be, and He will continue to keep you there until you learn to surrender. Surrendering means acknowledging we are imperfect and desperately need God. “My sacrifice, O God, is [a] a broken spirit;
 a broken and contrite heart 
you, God, will not despise.” (Psalms 51:17.) The faster we learn to surrender and become uncomfortable with our current state of being, the faster we can go to the next season. The key is remaining broken…remaining uncomfortable.

Covenant with God (Purpose on Relationship Recap)

Loving to remain Holy.

Missed the Generation Glory Purpose on Relationship conference? Here’s a super brief recap of what you missed. Next time I would really advise going because there was so much to grasp on to.

Relationships are a vital for people all around the world. Everyone is looking for someone they can trust, love, and be themselves with. However, human relationships falter and people let each other down, which is why the most important relationship we can ever have is one with God. Not only is our relationship with God important, but also without a true relationship with the Father, all our other relationships will be dysfunctional. In working to maintain a relationship with God, we learn how it’s like to have healthy relationships with others. So, for anyone who is marriage minded the key is to seek God first, work on building a relationship with Him first, and when your future spouse comes along you will be able to have a healthy relationship.

Once you’ve formed a true and healthy relationship with God you have the foundation set for marriage. A relationship with God requires a covenant with God just as a marriage requires a covenant with each other. A covenant isn’t simply anagreement; it is a conditional promise that cannot be broken. God made a conditional promise to humanity that has never and will never be broken. In the same way when we enter into a covenant of marriage it also cannot be broken. This means divorce is not an option.

Romans 8:26-28 (NIV)

 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

When we enter into a covenant with God we are allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede for us and give us strength in moments of weakness. We are allowing the Holy Spirit to shape us into men and women of God; this is where we develop the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.) Can you see how obtaining these qualities will produce a fruitful marriage and why it is important to seek a relationship with God before a spouse? Being in covenant with God requires sacrifice; it requires learning how to follow instead of leading. Jesus didn’t do anything that the father wouldn’t do. He had such a personal relationship with his Father that he would lead him and tell him what to do. This is why it is so important to understand if someone you are interested in isn’t being fathered by God, he/she is not going to know how to guide you.