So Fresh and So Clean

so fresh and so cleanIn this life there are trials, temptations, troubles and hardships that we have to face. Life is not always easy and doesn’t always go our way. Maybe we have come from a broken home, maybe you have struggled with addiction your whole life, maybe someone broke your heart when all you have ever been was kind, maybe you struggle financially, maybe you didn’t get that job you wanted, maybe you struggle with loneliness or feelings of inadequacy. So many things in this life can leave you feeling hopeless and broken. But I am here to tell you that there is a hope for the hopeless, there is love, when you haven’t felt loved in a long time, there is peace you can find and it’s when you find and meet and begin a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus let us know in the bible in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
You see the start to overcoming your trials and your troubles, your sorrows and your storms is to start that real relationship with Jesus. The relationship where you keep your eyes on him throughout each and every day you live. Not just on Sundays or here at Uprise, but it is an everyday real relationship. Jesus is referred to being a husband to the church. People who accept Jesus and live for him are considered the church, we are his bride. So just like a husband and wife relationship, it is an everyday relationship. Each day you think about that person, they are number 1 in your life, (aside from God). You grow to know them more and more, even to the point where you know what each other are thinking. That is the kind of intimate relationship I am talking about. Jesus will keep us full of peace and enveloped in his peace when our focus is on him, because we know this life will be tough, but we know someone who makes us strong when we are weak, who gives us grace to get through tough times, who reminds us that he is with us and he will never leave us.
*The Struggle is real, but Jesus is the strength to live a life that is full of peace.
We don’t need to go to God and tell him how big our problem is, but we need to speak to our problem, and tell it how big our God is.
I have a van that I drive, I’ve been driving it all winter long. I never really had any problems with it. But I did always drive it down to empty. In fact It was most of the time below a quarter tank and I drove it like that all winter. Come a few months down the road, last month sometime, my van started chugging, as if it was running out of gas, but there was gas in it, about a quarter haha. Any way it died out on me and wouldn’t drive. I had to get it towed to a shop. They looked at it and fixed the problem. It was a dirty carburetor. It became that way because I had been driving it all winter close to empty. Not to mention in the air filter there was what appeared to be a mouse’s nest with all kinds of hay, grass and even a good amount of foam. My car wasn’t running right and it’s because of my neglect to give it what it needed to run properly, and because something got into my car without me noticing that was draining my gas even faster and causing it to run improperly.
This is just like our lives. We can go days, months, even years without really giving our lives what they need and that is our focus on Jesus, our relationship with Jesus, the months may past and everything seems to be running fine, but one day you are going to find yourself not knowing what happened, you are out of gas, or you are broken down. Some things got into your life little by little that acted as a poison, you didn’t notice it because you weren’t staying focused and you weren’t intentional about your relationship with Jesus and now you find yourself alone. That thing that got into your life, maybe even a sin that has you restrained from finding true joy, that thing, whatever it was, was sucking away your time and your attention, from the one true source that will lead you to have true peace, joy, fulfillment, and strength.
When we live without Jesus as our daily source, some things can get in to our lives that can make us dirty and that can break us down. But when we give our lives to Jesus, he can make us So Fresh and So Clean and give us what we need to keep moving forward when life seems to be moving backwards.
*When we keep our focus on Jesus first, he gives us what we need to keep moving forward when life’s circumstances around us seem to be moving backward
Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”
Jesus blood was shed as the greatest sacrifice to wash our sins away and to give us a new start on life. A new life with him.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
If and when we gave our life to Jesus Christ, we gave up our own lives and our old selfish desire, because he gave us his love and his life so that we can have strength in him and we can have eternity in heaven.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It is only Jesus who makes us clean, this is not something that we can accomplish on our own because the bible says and we all know it to be true, that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all equal and in the same boat, all in need of a savior to set us free from sin and death. Our hearts are dirty, hard and stained without Jesus blood and sacrifice to wash it away.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
When we give our lives to Jesus, he gives us a fresh and clean heart that is responsive to him. He takes away our dirty hard hearts. Living for Jesus daily is what we need to feel clean, fulfilled, satisfied, and strong in this life. The more you know him, the more you will grow to love him.
*A relationship takes love, work and commitment, and our relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship we will ever have.

RT: We don’t need to tell God how big our problems are, we need to tell our problems how big our God is. #Godiswithus
RT: Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying for our sins, the least we can do is to give and live our life for Him #becausehefirstlovedus

The Hopeless Christian

hopelessA lot of times in life we have our peaks and we have our valleys. We have our times when nothing could seem to go better and we have our times when we struggle with doubt, questions, and a feeling of inadequacy. We find ourselves wondering is there hope in this seemingly hopeless situation. Is there a light at the end of this dark tunnel that I am going through right now? Isn’t being a Christian supposed to be easy, supposed to make everything better?

Here are a couple things to remember when you are going through a hard time.

1. Jesus had told us you will have trials and tribulations in this world, but he said take heart because he has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

– Yes we have things that happen in life to us, that don’t make sense. Some times things just happen, sometimes you make bad decisions for your life, some times you remove yourself from light, sometimes there may be an attack on your life because the devil wants to steal your joy, kill your ambition for spreading God’s kingdom and salvation, and destroy your opportunity at a life full of peace. But when we learn that with God we too are more than conquerors. God gives us the tools we need – His Spirit, His Word and Faith and the local church a community of believers to help encourage you – to be an overcomer. It is up to us to decide to put ourselves in better situations, even if it takes you out of your preconceived comfort zone.

2. God gives us direction in how to leave a life of anxiety and worry behind us and its so deep yet so simple. #TRUST

-It’s so easy to try and create our own path in life. To take matters into our own hands, as if we have it all together.

– Proverbs 3:5,6 ” Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.”

He tells us to seek his will, to seek him first, to trust in Him and in that trust comes our path in life to take. It can be a very hard thing to do, because with that comes patience on our part. In this day and age, we want everything to happen right now. I feel ya on that one, it can be hard, but just TRUST that God has a plan and when we put him first, you have him working things out for you better than you could have even imagined. That trust leads you step by step, he doesn’t show you the end right away, because obedience and trust in him are key to pleasing him by faith. With out faith it is impossible to please God.

-Phil 4:4-8 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

He tells us to lose the worry and pray to him about it and begin thanking him for your answer to your prayer and thank him for everything good in your life now and that he has already done and is going to do, that is where you find peace, is in his presence, is in your TRUST in him. He gives us simple instruction to clear your mind of negativity and focus on him and his attributes, and to TRUST him.

I’m sure that we have all been there. We lose sight, we get bored, we let ourselves think maybe we screwed up to big this time and God won’t and can’t use me anymore, we’ve given God 6 months of our life and we think everything is supposed to be awesome now but they haven’t changed enough so we quit. These are just a few things, among many others, that can hinder us from living a life filled with hope and with peace. I have been to the valley and I have been living life to the happiest, I can tell you one thing. You don’t have to have everything in your life be perfect, you don’t have to be a millionaire to find peace and happiness. That one true peace and hopefulness, that life of complete faith and TRUST in God is where that guaranteed truest of forms of peace and happiness come from. When we learn to put God first, and for real, not just I go to church, but put God first for real, when you wake up to conversations with him, you pop in a worship album and sing to him, you study his word and think on it, there my friend is where true peace, joy and hope for a better life come from.

I challenge myself and all of us to learn to trust God and that his plan and his time for your life are better than life without God and they are better than your own plan for your life. Let’s seek him first in all that we do and He will use us to change the people and the world around us! God bless, love yall, been a while – Jon

Perception

Think PositiveToday I want to talk to you about perception. About the way we look at life and what our mindset is going into life and all it’s different situations. Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person. I think it really is an important thing and the Bible the tells us so as well. Think about the kind of people you like to be around. Do you like to be around someone who is always complaining, dragging their feet, and someone who knows how to turn a typically normal situation into this big drama, or something negative to complain about. Or do you want to be around someone who is always looking for the best in people, someone who is looking to spin a bad situation into something that really isn’t that bad after all if you look at it a certain way. I mean you can take both of those to extremes and a lot of times extremes can be dangerous and unreal. You want the positive person, unless you are one of the negative extremes people. Of course be sympathetic to someone who may be going through a hard time and try and relate to them, but don’t let them bring you down or drag you into negativity. Do your best to look at life with the eyes of love and the way God looks at people.

Phillipians 4:6,8 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…….Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Matthew 15:11 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I could go on and on with verses that God is telling us to look at life positively and with love and kindness. These are just a few encouraging verses to you on just that. We need to really take a look at our heart life and our mind life, what kind of voices are talking to us in any and every situation? Are they voices that scream negativity, doubt, fear, hate, and so on or is it a voice of peace, love, kindness, forgiveness, and positivity? One of them is the right answer, the second one is the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us and the negative one is either your own negative attitude that you have adopted as your own, or it could be the devil and his evil temptations that are sly and may come off as a normal response, but are just temptations to give in to those negative attributes that we talked about. I’m not saying that any time you are negative, it’s the devil, but watch out for it. And plain and simple, looking at life one way or the other is a choice. You have the power to change and to be a light and to walk in love.

A lot of times when you fill your heart and your mind with negative thoughts, that is a direct line to what words come out of your mouth. If your heart is filled with God’s word and his direction and love, you’ll find that his word and love are the type of words that will come out of your mouth in conversation. Same with that dirty negative attitude, if you are always dwelling on the negative of life, those are the type of things that will flow from your mouth in conversation.

Matthew 12:34 “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

My challenge to you today is to try and see what kind of heart and mind you have taken on as your own. Do you find yourself thinking negative a little too often or do you find yourself full of positivity and God’s word? Be honest with your self evaluation, if you want, ask others which category they would put you in. Once you have determined what you were, now you have the choice to make a change, now you can determine what kind of person you want to be. Learn to fill your heart and mind with God’s Spirit and direction, and then choose to put away any negative thoughts that may want to overwhelm you and give them to God, for he cares for you. I challenge you today to start thinking positive and start speaking positive no matter how bad life may get, it’s only worse if you let it be, by your outlook and perception of it.

Thankfulness

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

A lot of times we often forget to be thankful. Sure, I know that most of us are thankful, especially if you live in America. Yes, we are thankful, but do we ever really stop, to take the time daily to really thank God for all that he has done for us, giving us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, giving us the hope of heaven, giving us the promises of peace through tough times, giving us grace when we know that we don’t deserve it, giving us this beautiful creation to admire and be a part of, and giving us the air we breathe and life itself.

No matter what circumstance in life you are going through in this life, remember that God has given us the choice and opportunity to choose life with him. Jesus tells us that there will be troubles and trials in this life. Life is not going to be easy, you are going to have your ups and downs, but it is important that we find the time to give thanks to God for all the good that is in are life, all the love he has poured into our lives. If it wasn’t for God’s love, we would all be on the fast track to hell. So I am so thankful for God to send his son Jesus to die on a cross for my sins, so that I would have a chance at LIFE and eternal LIFE.

My challenge to you today is to STOP and take some time each day to separate yourself from all the business of this world and to pull yourself aside to spend some time thanking God for all that he has done and for all the good things in your life. Remember that in any circumstance He will never leave you nor forsake you. God is always there for you. Make living a lifestyle of thankfulness and thanksgiving a part of your life. Only good will come from that positiveness, and that is a small part of the wisdom of God that he instructs for us to do. So be thankful and make it a lifestyle.

I would like to take this time to say some thanks for some of the things I am thankful for.

I am thankful first of all for God and his loving kindness and mercy in my life. I am thankful beyond words for this. God thank you for everything you are and everything that you have been in my life. and Help me to know you more and to be more like you!

I am thankful for my family and that all of them are such an encouragement to me in the Lord and am thankful for how loving they all are. I am thankful to live in a free country where I can have a job, an apt, food, water, things that make life comfortable. I am thankful for my little doggie, who I love so much. These are just a brief 2 minute summary of some of the things I am thankful for, the list could go on for hours. So you see, it is easy to give thanks and God wants us to remember that we should live are lives in thanksgiving, not just one day of the year. But truly make it a lifestyle of being thankful.