As you can see in the picture today, that little piece of wood is making a cross. It was a day just working in the grocery store for my dad. A regular day like any other, being a grocery stocker, I was pulling pallets of groceries from the stock room out into the store to put them in their place on the shelves. Then when pulling a pallet out, I heard a, “CRACK!” A piece on the bottom of the wooden pallet got held up over a bump and a piece of the pallet broke off. Pallets breaking is a pretty usual occurrence so I just kept pulling it out into the store paying it no attention.
Then, about 30 minutes later I was approached by one of my co-workers. As we were standing right where the pallet had broken off, she showed me what it broke into, a cross. And obviously it wasn’t just two pieces of wood crossing each other, it was in the shape of a cross similar to the one Jesus died on. With the long piece going up and the shorter piece going out where the person’s arms would lay during their crucifixion. I stood there in amazement! It was hard to believe that something so usual and small would turn into a picture of the greatest symbol this world has ever seen!
I didn’t know what to say as the word traveled throughout the store, pictures were taken, and just mentioning how awesome a reminder that was from God for the pallet to break into a cross, Gospel conversations began to take place with others about it. That one cross, that one random and wild moment of two pieces of wood forming something that literally means everything for us through what Jesus had done for us there. On a day like any other, where everyone there is searching for some source of joy and hope because you know how fun “working” is!
I wanted to think it was just random and it was no big deal but what took place after the cross was noticed, it was obvious to see God’s fingerprints all over it!!! There was someone added to the God Gold list that day after talking about the cross! Someone who is now receiving God’s truth daily! There were conversations had about the cross, about Jesus! How DAGGUM CRAZY is it that God would set this up?!?! How much crazier is it that God didn’t just leave it at a busted pallet, but He used this random and divine work to open up doors into others lives! To open up hearts and ears to hear and see how powerful, in control and how much LIFE God brings to us through His Word and through His Son, Jesus Christ!!! I wish I could go into more detail about all that God continued to do afterwards in the lives of those who saw Him that day but I’ll just say, it opened up some doors to see how He wildly opens up our eyes to Him and draws us closer to His amazing love! And if you haven’t learned yet, the closer one gets to His unrelenting and powerful love, life change begins to take place and it’s awesome to watch God work it together!
It’s crazy how God works and I can say I wasn’t just reminded of how awesome He works things together that day, but I was reminded to keep my eyes open as much as possible in my life to witness those crazy “God moments.” He is at work around us all the time and sometimes in ways we can’t understand but stay open and pay attention! It’s so cool to see God at work!!!
And what’s even cooler as God intervenes in our lives and makes Himself known, He has already set up ways to get His truth to others, to get the Good News of Jesus Christ out! To share His love with the world! A lot of times it’s through you and me but I saw that day how God used the God Gold as big stepping stone to even bigger steps ahead in someone’s relationship with Him! There is so many different ways that God gets the truth of His Word out and the Gospel of Christ! It’s so exciting to see the God Gold as another one of those ways to deliver Jesus to others! The One who contains a love that saves us and changes lives all the time! I’m so thankful to be able to send these messages to you and humbled to realize the power of sharing Jesus with others! His love and truth has done nothing but transform my life since day one of receiving Him, that’s why the God Gold is sent out with the hope that you too can receive Jesus into your life! Share the God Gold!!! Tell somebody about Jesus!!! Look for the crazy little ways God sets you up to share Him with others and SHARE HIM!!!!
“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,”
This week is my first week starting a summer internship at the church I’m at. Leading up to that first day of the internship I was beginning to be fearful, some doubts and worry crept into my mind. It’s not that this opportunity is bad by any means, it actually couldn’t have worked out any better to get to learn from so many like-minded, faithful people. Why did I have all that negative creeping up? Mainly, because it’s a new situation with a lot of new faces and I’ll be be doing new things that I’ve never done before. New and change can be scary because it makes us get really uncomfortable.
The first morning of the internship I woke up with those butterflies like it was the first day of school. I opened my Bible to these verses from Daniel. I noticed in the context that Daniel was praying out of need for himself and the Lord’s people. Daniel shows throughout this book how important and crucial prayer is for believers, but here I noticed something that gave me not an example to learn from but a description of God that I could surrender myself to and hold onto in these uncomfortable times I faced.
Daniel shows us an example of laying our lives before God in prayer, seeking Him for help, provision, and guidance in our lives. We see from Daniel that praying is the only answer in any situation of life but from Daniel’s description when he called on God, describing God as who He truly is, “great” and “awesome.” Calling out the characteristics of God, how He is always faithful to keep His promises to us, to deliver us and be there for us. How God’s love for us is “steadfast.” Constant, always increasing, and never-failing. That’s how God feels and acts towards His children.
That struck me right there, instead of just going to God like He’s a genie in a bottle that’s going to grant my wishes. Stepping back from all of my needs, complaints, and insecurities long enough to really call on God for who He is, how He feels about us and how He treats us. Seeing God in the truth of who He is, that He is greater than any darkness in this world or uncomfortable situation we will ever face, and how is so faithful and constant in His love for us. My eyes got big and heart was filled with peace as I went into this new situation filled with a lot of uncomfortable change and new things. I felt a confidence that was overflowing despite how I wanted to feel or how I would’ve felt yesterday, I had no reason to put my trust in me or my human ability because of seeing God in His fullness. He made it easy to trust Him and find my confidence in Him and Him alone.
I was given a schedule from the youth pastor I’m interning under and after lunch for 30 minutes, he gave me a scheduled time for prayer. I kept looking at it all morning thinking, “I’ve never prayed for 30 minutes at one time.” And I kept thinking about all the other tasks I had to do but I followed the schedule and took this BIGGER and TRUE view of God into that time of prayer. Stopping from all my to-do’s, stepping back from my worries and fears and stepping into His presence, it changed my heart, my day, and this time with God has changed my life.
I thought before no way I can pray for 30 minutes straight, got off my knees 27 minutes later and time had flown by! I felt renewed, fresh and ready to attack the rest of the day ahead! I don’t write this to recommend that you pray, I write this to remind you as Daniel has done in these verses of the powerful, mighty, awesome and constantly loving God you are speaking to. Just the fact we have access to God blows my mind but just take time in your day to hit your knees, let all the other stuff you’re dealing with take a time out and surrender yourself before this mighty God we serve! Impossible turns to more than possible, fear turns to faith, and doubt turns to hope and confidence! Not because of you but the faithful and loving God you are speaking to! Know who you’re speaking to and He’ll do more than change your day, He’ll change your LIFE!!!!
‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘
I wanted to share this message of “grace” today with you because after my experiences the past few weeks, grace has been what I’ve seen so clearly from God. Not too many days ago I got married to the most beautiful girl, a girl who is fits me and my weird qualities like a glove. I could go on for days about all of the grace shown by God in that but I’m going to share with you a different side of His grace today.
I always feel weird about sharing stories like this because in no way do I want you to think any more of me or think that I have done anything special. Before I say anything else, this message is about God and His awesome grace, all that He has done in my life is all Him and none of me. Throughout the wedding weekend, there was many moments with close friends and family where speeches were given, stories were told and love was present. From speeches on the night of the rehearsal dinner, to just moments receiving encouragement from my closest friends before the wedding, and so many more.
As I’m going into this weekend looking at my life and seeing so much that I still struggle with, it was in these moments God opened my eyes to see all He had done. A little over two years ago, I was traveling down a bad road filled with alcohol, bars, and parties as my main focus and enjoyment in life. It controlled me and I thought that all of these wild and drunken moments was as good as life would get. Then, through a lot of random and divine events, Jesus was there. Jesus came into my life at the age of 22 and has continued to change the way I live, think, and act ever since. When I thought I had found life on the mountain top with what the world offered, I didn’t know how wrong I was until I met Jesus. Life with Him was truly LIVING!!! In no way did I deserve this sudden life change for the better or to even know Jesus but by His grace, He saved me!!
Life changed a lot from my old days, I received the call to ministry and was off!!! It’s crazy how Jesus took me from one life to the other and what’s even crazier is how when this life with Him started, I took off and have been running for Him ever since. The words heard from close friends over this weekend highlighted this life change that Jesus had brought to my life. But what hit me even more, while I was still so focused on the things I still struggled with, was hearing how Jesus had used my life and brought His love to these guys forever impacting their lives. Hearing story after story from my closest friends on how these messages, and all that Christ has done in my life has impacted them and so many others in their lives for the better.
I was and still am amazed at what God has done in my life and the lives He’s touched along the way. I know all of this was not by my doing or anything I’ve done, it’s all Him and His wonderful grace! Standing on this mountain top moment, I was just so jaw dropped and thankful seeing how God has worked things out. But like I’ve experienced many times before, those mountain top moments can easily cause us to get proud, cocky, and complacent in our lives. Seeing this grace from God was different though, I didn’t feel as complacent or cocky but seeing His grace in a whole new way. After seeing all that God has done, I just couldn’t wait to see what more He was going to do. What lives He would touch and the chance to continue learning more about Him. Hearing these guys highlight these God Gold messages a few times, all of their words just brought me to seeing why I do what I do. It’s God’s grace that isn’t just forgiving but it’s transforming, it brings us to strive to be better, strive for more of Him and doing the great works He has designed us to do. Stop for a second and look back, at all your failures and see how God has continually brought you through it. How God has continually grown you into the image of Christ and less like your old self! See all the lives God has touched through you and once you see all that God has done, live under the truth that all He’s done with you isn’t all He’s going to do. It’s only the beginning of a long story!!!
When you see God’s grace don’t just let it make you complacent or in a “still” thankfulness! Let His grace move you, strive to become better, pursue God first and always as hard as you can, and live in the fact that God has saved you not just for one day when you get to Heaven. God has created you for good works here and now, God has saved you to bring His love and grace to others! It’s by nothing you do that you can be saved, it’s by God’s amazing grace that you are saved RIGHT NOW, not after you read your Bible or get rid of all the sin in your life. God has saved you so you are saved, now live in His grace and let it continue to push you forward for His glory!! Don’t be comfortable on the mountain top, get excited about the next one and the next one and the continual mountain top moments God is going to bring to your life!!!! He has given us everything, when there was nothing we could give him that would be good enough, so strive to know Him, to please Him and let your life be a symbol of His grace for all to see!!!
2 Samuel 5:17-20
David Defeats the Philistines
“When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.”
Been reading a lot about David lately because I’ve been blown away by his story and the way he lives/walks out his relationship with the Lord. He faced so many “Giants” in his life and God delivered him time and time again. Why did he receive so much of God’s delivering power? Because God received all of him. David was in full submission to God’s plan, purpose, and will for his life so it showed in the way he lived. As soon as he found out about the Philistines plan, he didn’t say “Well I’m a gifted warrior,” running straight into battle using his own gifts and power. He ran straight to the Lord, seeking out council on his situation. He gave it to the Lord and the Lord answered, giving David the armor, power, and confidence to deliver him past his enemies. Coolest part about these verses, I wondered what “Baal-perazim” meant, looked it up and it means “God of the breakthrough.” Pretty cool right?!? No matter how well we think we can use our gifts to get us through, no one is more interested in the use of our gifts than the one who gave them. I’m amazed at David’s character and confidence but I’m even more amazed that I serve the same God, that equipped and delivered men like David. Knowing that, I have no doubt that I can walk and live out my relationship with the Lord with supreme confidence, not because of who I am, but because of the God I serve. God of the breakthrough. We all can!