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

Wide Awake

        It’s important to live awake and aware of the presence of God at all times. He is with us in the Valleys and He is with us at the Mountain Tops. wide awake background

         God will never leave us nor forsake us

         The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us

 

        The fruits of the Spirit are a product of a life that is awake to the constant presence of God in our lives when we keep our gaze on Jesus

 

         Galatians 5:16-26 “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

 

         Living wide awake to God does not just happen automatically, it is a choice, a decision that you have to make for yourself.  The bible tells us to put on our new nature. Just like when you get dressed in the morning, you make a decision to put on that favorite shirt of yours or to put on those shoes because they look good on you. When you became a Christian, a certain way of living looks a lot better on you than the way you did before. The way you lived before is comparable to old raggedy clothes and the new way of living is like putting on some fresh new gear everyday. When we are wide awake, we wake up and decide to put on our new nature. We give the day to Jesus in surrender. No matter how we feel, we say today I will be awake to your presence and that leads to a life that walks in the spirit, a life that walks in God’s way and direction.

 

         Col 3:10-17 “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[c] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[d] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

 

         The more time you spend with God, the more you get to know him and the more you become like him (spending time worship, reading your bible, church, bible study, fellowship with other believers)

 

         When we live wide awake and aware that God is always with us and we welcome Him in into our lives throughout our days, we begin to see with his vision of love, we hear his still small voice speak to us and lead us, we begin to change and become more like Christ daily. We begin to act upon what he has truly called us too

         We see with his vision of love – we begin to look at the world around us differently, all of the sudden rockstars and celebrities become less appealing. We see rather eternal things as opposed to natural. We begin to seek to please God rather than to try and be relevant and please people. When you are awake to his love, you start walking in his love –kindness, forgiving, patient

         We hear his voice speak subtle to our hearts and lead us to action to be a light to somebody who is need of encouragement, to tell that person about God’s gift of life Jesus, to help that person who looks like they are dealing with a lot right now.

         When we live wide awake to God’s presence, all of these things begin to take place in our lives and in which case, we find ourselves changing more and more into the person God has called us and wants us to be.

         Gratitude and thankfulness becomes part of our lifestyle because we are aware that God is helping us in hard times

         Love becomes part of our life because we realize that God loved us when we didn’t deserve it, so we are to love others well even if they do not deserve it. We don’t know why people are the way they are. Everyone has a story, and because Jesus died for our sins and rose again to make Salvation and forgiveness available, they too should have the chance to experience the love of God and to know His grace. We can love and speak to them and be that light.

         Worship becomes a part of our lifestyle, because we are aware of how big and awesome our God is and that He is so loving.

         Keeping our focus on Jesus leads to peace

         Putting our trust in God leads to miracles

         Giving our lives in surrender to his purpose gives us vision

         Using what God gave you, ability to speak life into others, leads to a living faith

         I challenge us to live more aware and awake to God’s presence daily. A lot of times we can be forgetful of that. If we come to church or bible study and it doesn’t change who we are or what we are doing throughout the week we are missing the point. Daily make a decision to remind yourself of God’s presence with you where ever you go. Look for opportunity to be a light to people.

         Wake up on purpose, your life is filled with purpose, to be a light to the world. (God has a plan for you every single day, it is up to us to be still and listen, to make a choice and follow

Never Give Up

neverIn life we all go through ups and downs with emotions, with unforseen circumstances, with storms of life, with letting ourselves down and not living up to who we want to be. I have three words for you “Never Give Up”. Jesus tells us that there will be storms, that you will have ups and downs, that you will let yourself down. But one thing is certain and never changes – God and his love for us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but what he does ask is that we depend on him and that we lean on him and that we build ourselves up strong by spending time with him. He gives us direction on how to do life and on how to lean on him. We could never survive life if it wasn’t for his goodness and mercy and his grace that gives us ability to be strong when we are at our breaking point, when we are at our weakest. When we learn that we are nothing with out him and that we can’t do it on our own, that is when his grace works in our lives and he makes a seemingly impossible situation work out.

James 4:6  “But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
We need to realize and be humble about life. We need to learn to trust that God knows what is best for us and that we don’t. When you learn to be humble in life in reverence  to God, he then will give you grace to get through what ever life is handing you. You will find more peace about not knowing what to do, because you are learning to lean and trust him in and through life, even when we go through hard times. He has been my constant and ever so faithful to me, and he will do the same for you.
Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”
This requires a DECISION on your part to put your trust in him. If you believe the bible than you should believe his word is true and that his promises are true. He will guide us, but it is up to us to place our trust and faith in him so that he can guide us. Things aren’t automatically awesome and perfect when we do follow him, but that decision to trust him will give you peace in times of trouble. And if you follow him and trust him long enough, learn also to see the miracles he will give birth to in your life. He will work things out even through the storms and the heart aches. It is a tough thing to do, to not make every decision on our own, but it is the best thing we can do, so that he can work in our lives the way he wants to. “All things work for the good of those who love him”.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We need to trust that God is with us and he will never leave us. If we learn to trust in him and walk with him, we will find more courage and strength that if we were trying to do things on our own. He will give us grace to live life more joyfully and more fulfilled. Trusting him does require patience, because we live in such a NOW, Instantaneous results kind of world, we need to learn to change our patterns. It is something you choose to do, but if you don’t fully choose to trust, then you won’t see the great things God has planned for you. While you trust God, you should have a personal relationship with him, walking with him daily, talking with him daily and letting him lead your path. If you trust him, but go your own way, you can’t expect for your path to be straight and for things to work out. God has a plan for you and that is something he wants your trust in too. So continue to follow him in your life and learn to trust him. Make the choice, its yours to make. But God will lead you if you learn to follow.
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
My challenge for you today to apply to your life, is change your patterns of impatience and make a choice to trust in God and follow him through all the ups and downs in life. He gives you peace and grace to get through anything this life throws at you. I challenge you to follow him with your life and trust him with your life. He has the best life planned for you.

Trust

Today I want to take a passage of scripture and really just reiterate it and and take a closer look at what it is saying.

Ephesians 3:16-20 “16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. ”

The Bible tells us In John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.”.

In our lives we need to put our trust in God, definitely more than we do now. Honestly, I believe us as Christians today need to make a conscious effort to involve God in our daily lives and life decisions. We need to make a decision within ourselves to choose a hand in hand, side by side walk with God. I know myself and from my daily Christian life. I make a ton of decisions and choices and do life, without even thinking of involving God and his call and will for the situation. We as a church, as a community, as Christ followers need to learn to move and flow with God and his call for us to be followers of him. Not just Sunday followers, but true everyday, close relationship devoted followers. Not only putting God first in your life, but making him the foundation on which you live. Letting Christ truly live through you and be formed in you. When We make the conscious effort to do that and let Jesus have reign, that will be the start of God’s true call on your life and he will be able to use you without your agenda and your goals getting in the way.

When you trust him, that is when he makes his home in your hearts, when you obey him and his voice, that is when he makes his home in your hearts. That is when you live, move and breathe together in one home. Think about a home, it’s not just a house any more, a home is a place where you are intimately involved, where your relationship goes to a whole new level, You learn things about a person that you never knew before. God wants us to know him like we never knew we could. When you trust him your roots grow down in to God’s love and become strong. That is when you are building your house upon the rock. And making God your foundation for life. It is an honor to think that the creator of the universe wants to make his home in you, wants to have that personal relationship with you, wants to work with you to see his call for your life come to pass. When God is with you who can be against you, When God is with you, all things are possible, When we make that decision to walk with God and put our trust in him and not in ourselves. When we make the decision to look for his call and not follow after our own agenda and our own goals, Miraculous things can happen, the impossible can happen. God can use you in ways more than we can even fathom. More than we can ask or even think of He says. This is God’s call, that we live with him and move with him and work with him to fulfill his call to seek and save the lost.

I would challenge you today, ask yourself if your daily life, if your daily thoughts consist of mostly of your wants and desires and goals. If God and his will even enter your minds and hearts throughout the week. If not, can we as a group that wants God’s crazy passionate love in our lives, make the decision to focus daily on asking God what he wants and desires for you today. Can we make the decision that we want to live and move with God and his call for our lives. For some of you, it may just be involving him in your marriage or in your workplace. For some he may have a ministry call on your life. It is simple and difficult all at the same time, Simple in the fact that we know what to do, we know what is the right decision to make. Difficult in the fact that it may be hard to give up our own agenda and surrender to Jesus our whole life and not just parts of it. But God says, when we put our trust in him, we grow strong in him and that is when he is able to use us in amazing ways. Amazing ways could be anything from planting seeds of faith into peoples lives all the way to leading millions to Jesus. God just says he can use us in ways that we can’t even imagine. Don’t be fooled, even the smallest way that God starts to use you once you have made that decision means more than any goal or agenda we had for this life anyway. You can be the difference in the world around you!