“Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”
Saw this awesome picture God created when I was on the road today. His face literally shining on us! Stinkin crazy!
Think on this today:
The One who makes that picture happen, is the One who loves us, cares for us, fights for us, and fulfills our every need.
I could write all day about how awesome, capable and powerful God is but just think on that and live in the peace, comfort and confidence that comes in knowing God, having full access to God, and having this same God who created that, love you!
Shortest Gold ever because what else can be said about Him that He isn’t already showing us!?!?!!!
I love you but God loves you way more!!! Happy Friyay everyone!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”
Both of these pieces of Scripture hold so much powerful truth. I’ve read these before and seen lessons of discipline, hard work, and so many things but today I gathered a whole new outlook on it all. To start off I have to tell you of a dream I had and before you start thinking I’m crazy, this is really the dream I had last night.
I had dreamed that I was told that I had to be crucified. Yeah, seriously! This may have something to do with my habit of listening to sermons as I fall asleep but this was the dream, that I had to get nailed to a cross and die. After hearing this news I was shaking with fear, I remember thinking “no way, I can’t do that.” Especially after I looked around at my loved ones and my life, I wanted no part in dying much less the pain that would come in dying on a cross. I was literally terrified.
Then, during the dream, another person came up and asked to go up on the cross in my place. I was so scared and so afraid of what the pain would be like that I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t stop it either. I was going to let this other person sacrifice themselves because I was too chicken to face it myself. Then……
I woke up, shook, scared and honestly sweating a little bit. All from the thought of having to be hung on a cross til death. I don’t know about you but as a Christian, I’ve heard of what Jesus has done on the cross more times to count. After awhile, it sometimes can be of a lesser magnitude because of the constant hearing of this Good News. You know what I mean? Until, this dream and this new perspective of what the cross really means in my own life and so many others. That’s the death I deserved to have, and when faced with it in what felt like reality, I didn’t want any part of the pain and agony that goes along with it. Then Jesus steps in, takes our place on the cross and makes the sacrifice to save us from all the pain and struggle we face. Seeing it in terms of, “that should’ve been me on that cross.” It brought it to a much more real and personal perspective.
Jesus tells us on multiple occasions to take up our cross and here we see an example of how Jesus took up our cross for us. In our lives, we don’t face the threat of being crucified on a cross but we do face a lot of pain and struggle in living a life that is centered around picking up our cross, and dying to self. I don’t know about you but putting aside my selfish desires, my lust, my addictions and sins, it’s not easy by any means. But there is such a powerful example by Jesus here and in the truth of these Scriptures. We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, people around us everyday in many different areas of our lives and it says to take off all the weight that is caused by our sins, and run the race Christ has set before us. It’s not easy to just let that weight go, actually it’s involves a lot of pain. It’s not easy to be focused on others around us instead of on our selves. There is pain that comes from letting ourselves go and picking up our cross.
Then we see that we are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” Jesus our Savior and the One who gave up Himself, took the weight of our sins, and took up our cross all on Himself. That’s Jesus, the example we look to. As Jesus took His place on our cross, the one that we more than deserved to be on ourselves, He took the pain, He took it all just so that we could have life, to the fullest and complete joy of God. Jesus endured and gave up everything so we could have everything.
That’s the cross. That’s what happened on an old rugged cross years ago that has set us free and set us up as children of God. When you think about it in those personal terms that we deserved that pain, but Jesus took it so we didn’t have to. Just imagine if someone told you that you were going to be crucified, what’s your reaction? Yeah, I know, same here!!! The pain seems to be too much to bear but good thing is Jesus has already taken that pain.
As we take up our cross daily and run the race before so many witnesses, keep the cross that Jesus died on in mind. I want no part in dying on the cross but we are still called to pick up our cross daily. To let go of self and pick up our cross it takes discipline and like it mentions in the verses above, discipline is PAINFUL!!! But, only for a short time, so as we set our eyes on Jesus we see His example to endure, to continue pushing through the pain of picking up our cross out of thankfulness tif the price Jesus paid for us on the cross. Jesus has hooked us up with a pretty daggum good deal but I won’t lie, I struggle to sacrifice and being disciplined in my life. All because of the pain doesn’t sound too fun. At the end of the day as we set our eyes on Christ, we know we deserved a pain so so so much worse so we have nothing to complain or make excuses about. We just have to pick up our cross, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees!!!! We have a race to run and it’s time to embrace the pain for the sake of Christ and others getting to know the sacrifice He made for them too so they didn’t have to! The cross continues to get bigger and bigger, way bigger than us, so lay aside self today, pick up your cross, push through the pain all while setting your eyes on Jesus, the only One who could endure and the only One who can help us endure now!!
“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
We can throw the dice as much as we want but at the end of the day we have no control on how they fall. All we can do is put our faith and trust in God, only He is in control of the outcome, and how the dice fall.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
Saw this today and thought it was an awesome verse to start the week off and hold tight to everyday! Because of Jesus we can rejoice in the hope he’s given us that whatever we face on this earth doesn’t come close to our life with him in eternity! If we keep our eyes posted on Him and that eternal prize, we have a heavenly mindset to take into everyday! Letting that be what gets us up in the morning, attacking whatever we face in our day with confidence because our vision isn’t focused on the little human things in front of us but what lies ahead. We can say “this is gonna suck and maybe hurt a little bit but I can get through it because I know the prize is worth the struggle.” Jesus gives us patience to endure the trouble that comes in our path, patience to hold tight and stand firm in Who we’re fighting for! Patience to not get so fixated on that “I have to have it now, it needs to be fixed” mentality but knowing no matter how long it takes or how much it hurts, God will our heads above water, teaching us awesome new things about Him and His power in our lives that if we just keep holding on a little longer we’ll be able to understand why this trouble is so good for us! And constant in prayer! To keep that Heavenly mentality what better way to attack our day fully connected to Jesus in prayer! I’ve noticed when my prayer life is more constant, my heart is more constant in receiving what the Lord has for me, what He wants to show me, and His love overflows from my heart to my actions and into others in a way I could’ve never done by myself! If our lips are reaching out to Heaven, our thought life is focused on Heavenly things, and our heart will be in the same place, and all these qualities of Jesus like wisdom, peace, joy, strength, patience, and so many others will overflow all at once making a huge Jesus sized hand-print on our lives and so many others!
“4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
–1 John 5:4
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
There is so many times that I’ve heard about this “freedom” we have in Christ, the victory that He has already won for us. I have heard it, you’ve probably heard it a lot too, but what does those truths change for you?
Despite hearing this truth and knowing it’s true, I have still faced many areas of my life where I am in a battle, I’m fighting face to face with the enemy and it’s a struggle. At times it almost feels like a tug of war, my fleshly desires want to give in so bad and I hear all these lies pulling me in that direction but today I found myself in this similar spot except this time I walked away different.
I looked into the face of temptation, a usual comfort spot for me and a place that I usually fall or at least go through this tug of war of a battle with it. So many times I have felt helpless and wondered why I can’t stop myself from sinning? It felt like no matter what I did, I was doomed as soon as temptation showed up. Today, something clicked. Usually during these times of undergoing the battle of spiritual warfare, I can feel the pull of one side saying, “it’s not that bad, you know you want to, you know you’re going to fall like all those other times.” And then there’s always this other side speaking truth over the lies, reminding me of who God is and why I don’t need this sin in my life. The easy choice is usually just giving in and walking away like nothing happened but today I searched for any piece of truth I could to hold onto. What I found was so simple and so powerful.
It finally just hit me, after spending so much time in my struggles with sin and different strongholds, sitting as a slave in them and seeing no way out. I had heard about the freedom and victory Christ brings to our lives but hearing it and actually believing it are two totally different things. This thought popped into my head and began to break off the chains of bondage that I had worn for so long.
“Why am I fighting and struggling so hard to win? The fight has already been won and Jesus has set me free, I don’t have to be pulled by sin anymore, I’m free. I don’t have to give in and I don’t even have to fight. Jesus has already won the victory.”
You may read that and it just be words but for me today it just made sense. God has freed me from sin and bondage, He’s already won the victory. All these times I’ve struggled so much in this tug of war of spiritual warfare but it just hit me today that I’m free, I don’t have to keep fighting a battle that’s already been won. Belief of this truth covered me in these moments of being tempted and a peace came all over me. I walked away grinning and overwhelmed at how TRUE and AWESOME this freedom is that I have in Christ. It made me see that I don’t have to keep struggling and listening to the lies, I don’t have to feel defeated because it’s something I’ve fallen to in the past. As Christ has won the victory, that gives us a position to stand in victory, confidence and power over sin and anything of this world. It’s like playing a basketball game where the score is 77-0, it’s obvious the game is over and you’ve won, so you don’t have to keep playing so hard, you’re free and a victor.
Just felt freedom today in the biggest way I ever have and it felt good!!! Wanted to share that with you today with the hopes that you too can hear this freedom but even more so believe it and live it. Apply these truths to your daily battles and you’ll feel the chain breaking love of God working you through it. The battle has been won and we’ve been set free. It’s the truth but do you really believe it?
Well, I hope everyone had an awesome Sunday! I’m pretty daggum pumped to share some Gold with you today that may get a little wild, but bare with me. I believe God has some big truths in this God Gold for myself and for you!
So, today I want to share one of those good ole fishing stories with you. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon so me and my buddy Craig decided to grab our fishing poles and head down to the pond. I’ll go ahead and tell you that I have been fishing at a lot quite a few ponds over the years but I am by no means a “professional” or experienced fisherman. To be honest, I’m pretty clueless about fishing except for putting the bait and hook on the line and throwing it out there. We started fishing probably around 2 o’clock or so and with some quick bites on our lines, we were getting excited and confident that we’d catch that first fish soon, maybe a whole bunch of fish. As time went by we began catching a lot of things but no fish. I promise you, I caught more sticks pieces of wood today than you could have found on an oak tree. At one point I even caught a couple of pine combs. After a couple hours of this we were both getting pretty antsy so we kept looking for new things to switch up thinking for sure we could outsmart these fish. We changed the weights on our lines, changed the baits up, we even moved around to different parts of the pond but still, NO LUCK!
We couldn’t figure it out, no matter what we tried nothing seemed to be working. The only thing we had going for us was persistence, well, I guess you can call it “stubbornness.” We kept coming up short handed but we were bound and determined that we were going to catch a fish. It was about 5 o’clock and still no fish. My neighbor had came out and told us we were more than welcome to go up the road and fish in her parents backyard which faced the big reservoir in town. We didn’t think twice about it, we thought for sure after all this bad luck we’ve had at this pond, we’ll 110% FOR SURE catch some fish there. We got out there with a new energy and kept fishing away. That’s when I caught the catches of the day in those pine combs but still, NO FISH!!! We kept throwing our line out, trying new stuff because we may not have had many results but we were going to keep working our tails off to catch one. There was NO WAY that we’d go this whole day and not catch a fish! We kept at it and kept at it but then it got to be almost 7 o’clock, we had been fishing for going on five hours now and we couldn’t take it anymore. After all the work we put in to catch a fish, we came to the end of our energy to keep trying any longer. For 5 whole hours we worked and worked but at the end of the day had no big fish story to share. Besides the lack of success with the fish it was still a great Sunday afternoon spent with a good buddy which are moments that are hard to pass up.
Now, I bet you’re wondering why I told you about my bad day of fishing? Well, today at church the Pastor spoke on these verse from Romans 3 and gosh!!! It blows my mind how relate-able is to the truths learned at church today. The Pastor began in these verses speaking about how God’s love is “No Ordinary Love.”
‘Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”/ Romans 3:9-12
I bet you’re wondering, what does this have to do with God’s love and even more so, what does this have to do with fishing? Well, hold on to your hats because I’m going to get there. So he started in these verses to show us the truth of who we are as a people outside of God’s love. Obvioulsy Paul is stressing a major point here that “no one is righteous.” It doesn’t matter who you are or all the things you do, you are still just as broken and just as messed up as the next person. Now I know that’s a harsh reality but the thing is, it’s reality! Even if you think, “well I do all these things at my church and go to all the Bible studies.” It doesn’t matter because Paul states clearly that; “no one does good, not a single one.” Just in case you missed that, NOT A SINGLE ONE! I know this may step on your toes and hey, mine are already hurting so I get it! It was in realizing this truth that apart from Christ we are no good, the next set of verses were magnified even more.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.”/ Romans 3:23-27
This is when I started to realize just how much my bad day of fishing made a lot of sense with these truths that are a foundation to our faith. Despite what God’s Word says, somehow I catch myself and I’m sure all of us do, I catch myself thinking there is something I can do to get myself out of this broken state of sin that I find myself in daily. Maybe if I just work a little harder or try doing some new things such as serving at my church or whatever it is. We find ourselves working so hard to be “less-broken” and somehow earn God’s love in our lives but at the end of the day no matter how much work we do or hard we try we always come up short. That was the case with fishing today, we were bound and determined to catch a fish so we tried everything we could think of and we kept working away but ended the day with no fish. The truth about our Christian lives and YES, I struggle with this so much myself, is that we are constantly hiding from the truth of who we really are, depraved and broken messes. We try everything to “fix it” and we just keep on throwing our lines out there but why do we keep catching sticks and pine combs???
Maybe because, as mentioned in the last set of verses I put up from Romans it’s because the fish has already been caught. God saw us in our broken state of sin and out of His HUGE amount of love for us decided to send His Son as a sacrifice for me and you with His blood covering us in ways we could never accomplish. We could try to keep fishing all day long but Jesus has already caught the big fish of victory for us. Why would we try to keep doing what Jesus has already done, well maybe it’s because we’re stubborn enough to keep throwing our line out or prideful enough to think we can actually catch a fish. I fall into that trap so often and in the meantime while I’m working away I lose sight of the truth, the complete joy and LIFE I’ve been given in the sacrifice Jesus has made. But maybe if I just try this kind of bait instead, or put this weight on the line, NO!!!!
In verses 9-12 of Romans 3, Paul put it plainly that we are completely incapable of saving ourselves. Not one person no matter how “good’ they are or how much work they do, we can never do the job that Jesus has already done. The beauty of God’s relationship with us is that God’s love doesn’t depend on us, and thank God it doesn’t because we would never be able to earn it. God’s love and the Salvation Jesus has brought to our lives is based purely off the sacrifice that Jesus has made, by the grace that God gave us as a gift that made us right in His sight as His Son suffered for us on the cross. That’s the truth of the Gospel, it doesn’t matter what kind of fishing rod you have, what kind of bait you use or how much work you put in to catch that fish, the TRUTH is that the fish has already been caught and there’s nothing we can do to change that or add to it. This love we have from God is purely a gift from God and He expects nothing in return from us except for us to lay our fishing rods down, quit your energy-wasting striving and fight the good fight surrendered to the Jesus Christ.
Seeing the realness of just how broken and incapable we are just hit deep today as I looked at the fact that God saw that we couldn’t catch any fish, so he went fishing for us and caught the fish that we never could. Thank God for loving us so deeply and abundantly when we deserve none of it. It’s all about God and none about us. Seeing how great our need is for a Savior makes me so happy that God has sent His Son to save us and do the job that we couldn’t!
This week I’m challenging you and myself to first off, sit in this truth, pray about this truth and completely be consumed by this truth. It is so crucial to our faith as we see the bad news of us and the Good News of Jesus played out in our lives. Also, secondly, I want to challenge myself and you to put down our fishing rods, our stubbornness and pride, stop trying to work our way to catch God’s love or Salvation and just rest in the truth that Jesus has already caught the fish. In His grace all we can do now is submit our lives to Him and lived consumed by His love and surrendered to the call He’s saved us for to spread the Good News of how Jesus has taken the death we deserved, paid the price and given us LIFE abundantly with Him forever. There so many out there fishing away, some are believers that won’t put down their rods, some are unbelievers that don’t know the fish has even been caught. Thank God for saving us and giving us the opportunity to share the greatest news there could ever be!!!!