“This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”
The Good News!!! It’s is the craziest most scandalous, wild love story of all time, and the best part of it is that God brought this good news to us! I know you’re probably thinking, “Geez, Jordan sure does talk about the Gospel and this good news a lot.” Yep, I sure do because today just like each day before this I realize that the only thing that matters to me and all of us in this life is the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s it. It’s the only news that saves us from a life wrapped up in bondage to sin and death, it’s the only news that gives us LIFE, not just one day, but here and now, the Good News of Jesus Christ is the only thing that changes anything. It’s powerful, it’s beautiful, it’s the truth, it hurts our pride and humbles us, and it’s love in the purest and fullest of forms. With all the craziness of our lives, the decisions we have to make, tough circumstances we’re faced with and so much more, out of all the wavering and unsteady parts of our lives. The Good News is the balancing and solid foundation that God has given us to stand on, and NOTHING can move us when we are standing firm and trusting in the Good News God has so graciously blessed us with!
It’s so cool to read Paul’s letters and here him go over the Good News like he does here in Romans! Just to show how the Good News is all that matters in this life, Paul talks about how this news of Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, it wasn’t new news, it had been talked about by God through His prophets for years and years and years. The Word of God as a whole points directly to Jesus Christ and the Good News! It sounds crazy that Genesis and Jesus would go together but check it out, it’s pretty wild how God stood at the plate like Babe Ruth calling His shot, pointing out to the stands He was going to hit that big life-saving homer!!!!
Through Christ and the price He paid on the cross for our sins, the resurrection of his dead body coming back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit, through Christ He has paid the price for our sins, died the death we deserved and then rose victoriously standing as more than just a man, but as showing the full power and holiness of God. Rising with our victory, the keys to LIFE and LIFE forever for me and you!!! WOOO!!! If that don’t make you want to get up and do a dance!!!
One of the cool parts about these verses out of so many cool parts, is how Paul talks about this mission that the Good News of Christ has set him on. The mission to not just keep this good news to himself but to tell each and every person he comes in contact with about the great and awesome things God has done for us! Telling people that no matter what you think you know, no matter how bad you think you are or who you are, God loves you, He loves you so much He sacrificed His Son for you! He says it to the Romans, you, yeah you, even God invited you to receive this Good News!!! It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, this Good News is for you too! Seeing that just opens up the importance of his mission for me and you even more! Paul calls himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ. A slave! I know you’re probably thinking, “what? Why would we want to be a slave for Jesus. Doesn’t sound all that appealing.” Well after seeing how Paul talked about the power and beauty of this Good News of Jesus Christ, how Jesus gave everything to give us, undeserving sinners who deserve death in the worst way, He sacrificed everything to give us life. Paul saw the Good News in its fullness, and lived with the Good News as the foundation to His life. So yeah he claimed to be a slave of Jesus. Shouldn’t we all be slaves of Jesus after all He has done for us? A “slave” in this time was one who had a master over him, one who obeyed everything his master said to do, worked for his master, and focused his whole life centered around pleasing and serving his master. With our Savior, Jesus Christ, the life of a slave is magnified even more. The mission is set before us, we hold the keys to new life for others all around us, we can live as if we never heard this good news or we can be slaves, devoting our life to the cause of Christ, living to serve and spread the Good News so that others can have Jesus as apart of their lives.
To put this all in perspective, had a close buddy tell me today that he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior today!! Wrapped up in the midst of my own problems and life’s craziness, spending every waking second trying to figure my personal stuff out, my buddy told me this and goodness gracious!!! It had me at a loss of words, it had me more excited than I’ve been in a long time. It took me back to when I accepted Jesus in my life as my Lord and Savior, the moment He came in, my life took a 360 degree turn from broken and weak to life in Christ. Jesus changed my life from living my way, focused around how wild I could get on Friday and Saturday nights, or every night some weeks, Jesus broke the chains that wrapped me up for years and gave me a new breath to breathe in His new life He’d given me! Jesus changed everything and despite so many times of so many days still walking hopeless, broken and confused this same Good News that changed my life once continues to break through into my life changing it daily. All it took was seeing someone else going through this transition from death to life, from living for self to living with and for Jesus. And once again the Good News spoke life into me. Seeing and hearing my buddy tell me what the Good News of Jesus Christ is doing in his life just raised the stakes even more that truly and honestly, no matter what anybody tells you, no matter how bad your current situation is and you can’t see any good in it happening any time soon, this is what it’s all about! The Good News! All the things we think that matters so much in this life is nothing in comparison to the Good News of what Jesus has done for us!!!!
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”/Colossians 4:2
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”/ 1 Chronicles 16:11
“You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows”/ Job 22:27
Going off yesterday’s God Gold about prayer, there’s another huge truth with prayer that I felt the need to share with you. As much as God has opened my eyes to see Him even bigger with this truth and the impact He continuously has in my life, I pray this can be of some encouragement to you also and move you closer to the Lord.
Yesterday I mentioned the importance of prayer and that time spent talking to God. Looking at prayer and everything through the lens of the Gospel, seeing our need for God and the incapability we have to do life on our own, most of all seeing God’s awesome love and faithfulness to us which gives us a victorious life to live not just one day in eternity but here and now. We can have supreme confidence when we give our problems and life to God that He will show us just how amazing LIFE really is when living in His Will!
The problem I’ve faced so often and at times I’m sure we all do is this failure cycle I mentioned yesterday; “After going through so many days of failure in some personal areas that sprinkled defeat throughout the rest of my life, I always found myself asking, “how did I fail again, why do I continue to fall into this same sin, why can’t I beat and get out of the circumstances I’m in, why can’t I be better?” It’s those questions asked over and over again to myself that have kept me wondering, failing, stuck, failing, wanting more, but still failing. It’s a vicious cycle of what happens when we ask those questions to ourselves and seek answers from ourselves, lean on our strength and what we got to get through something, to just get better.”
Do you ever find yourself asking those same questions? Do you ever find yourself in that pit of defeat, no matter how hard you try you can never seem to dig out of it? What must change? This verse from Colossians says; “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” You can find verses about devoting yourself to prayer all throughout God’s Word and there’s a big reason to that. With God’s Word being instruction from God spoken directly to me and you, He’s telling us the way out of the pit. When one devotes themselves to prayer, they are letting go of their own strength, letting go of trying to dig out of the pit and move forward by themselves. When we go to prayer it’s a humbling of ourselves, giving up our incapability for God’s capability. Devote yourself to prayer and you are devoting yourself to God. That’s when things start to change, no longer do you have that low-living, defeated perspective from the bottom of the pit, no longer do you walk scared to mess up with that fear of failure looming over you with every step. Walking with God, leaning on God, and devoting yourself to God changes everything because God is all and then some of everything we need to conquer any problem that comes our way. No pit is deep enough for God’s power! “Look to the LORD and his strength”
This is the big part about these verses and prayer that has really helped me out a lot. You see the words in these verses like, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.””“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Devotion to God isn’t just a when I feel like it, sometimes type of thing, devotion is everything, all the time whether you feel like it or not. The moment we take our eyes of God, the moment our thoughts start to turn into evil thoughts, temptation, and we let that be. Failure and defeat are ALWAYS going to follow. Instead, ALWAYS seek the Lord, and be watchful, meaning stay on guard for whatever could be thrown in your path. Instead of just praying about big needs or tough problems I have lately, God has started to show me through His strength and my weakness that I have to constantly ask Him for help, otherwise I’m going to continue digging deeper into that pit. “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Instead of waiting for the attacks to come at you from all different angles, God says to come to Him in prayer ALWAYS, CONSTANTLY! If you go to God all the time then what room have you left to fail? ZERO! God’s love and provision is unfailing and so faithful! Go to God before you even have to worry about the attacks and obstacles you may face on the road ahead. Staying in that connection with the always victorious God will prepare you to win. “Winning” may mean different things for all of us because we all have our different struggles but why wait til the game is one the line to take the game winning shot? Look at basketball greats like Micheal Jordan and Kobe Bryant, two guys who made a huge mark on the game for being all time great players with some of the greatest skills this world has ever seen, and they were also known for hitting those clutch game winning shots. If you read up on them or asked them how they got to that level they wouldn’t tell you they just showed up and their natural ability carried them to greatness and winning. Their winning started in the long, hard, hours of sweat in the gym working on their game, shooting jump shot after jump shot, preparing themselves to be the best, preparing themselves to win.
God makes it clear that we too must be DEVOTED to Him, always seek His strength and leave nothing to chance because we will take attacks from the enemy, we will take hits in this life and we can’t just walk out into life expecting to win on our own ability. We will always fail. Spend those long hours digging into God’s Word, seeking Him through prayer, completely lose yourself in the devotion to God and learning more about Him. When you walk out on the playing field of life with Him at the lead of your life, walking in His strength, seeing the world in His vision, step onto the field as who God says you are, a VICTORIOUS child of God who can’t be beaten and can’t be harmed no matter what the world throws at us. These verses from Job, a man who endured sooo much hardship in his life, literally went through every kind of attack and obstacle you could think of and in chapter 22, Job speaks with His confidence as winner set in God.
“You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows”Job 22:27
It’s that simple. Go to God and watch the work He does in your life. You may be in that pit of defeat right now but God says you don’t have to stay there. You may not be in that pit but you are terrified that the fall into one is right around the corner, take time to prepare to win, if you fail to prepare and go to God before the attack comes, then you know what will happen. If you’re like me you know and you continue to ignore the power of God’s presence we have right beside us at all times. I pray we can take these truths to heart and go to God, not just when we’re in trouble but always, seek Him and His strength so we can walk into this life we have with Him as the VICTORIOUS children of God that He has made us to be!
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.“/ 1 John 5:14-15
Psalm 102:17/ “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.”
2 Chronicles 7:14/ “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”
The last couple of months and especially few days of my life, the Lord has continued to show me what is possible through prayer. Really He’s continued to show me His love for me and His faithfulness to always be there listening and offering all the help I need. I’ll be the first to tell you that “prayer” hasn’t always been something I’ve seen as all that important. I especially haven’t seen much need for it, I guess it just kind of felt like something you do to fulfill your religious duties as a Christian. You may have read these verses and you may read this message thinking the same thing, “oh yeah, prayer no big deal.” Thank God for putting me in situations lately where I felt so incapable, situations where I quickly realized that without Him, I don’t stand a chance. After going through so many days of failure in some personal areas that sprinkled defeat throughout the rest of my life, I always found myself asking, “how did I fail again, why do I continue to fall into this same sin, why can’t I beat and get out of the circumstances I’m in, why can’t I be better?” It’s those questions asked over and over again to myself that have kept me wondering, failing, stuck, failing, wanting more, but still failing. It’s a vicious cycle of what happens when we ask those questions to ourselves and seek answers from ourselves, lean on our strength and what we got to get through something, to just get better.
The good news is, which is expressed in these verses is we don’t have to keep failing, we don’t have to keep leaning on what we got, God has given us a victorious life through His Son Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins and raising on the third day with our new life of freedom in hand. My prayer life didn’t seem that important because I still thought I could fix my failure and become better on my own. But LOOK AT THE GOSPEL!!! Jesus made that sacrifice for you and me because He loved us and wanted to give us a way out of failure and low-living in sin and death. Jesus loved us so much that He gave us the gift of LIFE through Him for eternity and a victorious life here and now. Prayer just seemed like something to do to keep my religious points up but think about what those verses in 1 John tell us, we have God to take our problems to, we have God to go to in every occasion. And the only reason we can go to God and talk to Him as children of His talking to a loving and faithful Father is Jesus. Jesus broke through that separation between death and life, giving us eternal life but also giving us VICTORIOUS LIFE here and now, giving us the right standing before God to go to Him and express our need for Him. And just think if God gave His Son as a sacrifice for our lives, covering all the sins we have committed and sending Him to take the punishment we deserved. If God loved us enough to do that, you best believe these little problems we have now will be answered, help will be given and provision will be made. It really blew my mind in my prayer life when God brought the Gospel to me in a bigger light each day. I can’t figure it out, I can’t be better, I can’t win but that’s okay because Jesus has already won, Jesus has made a way for us to talk to God and have a loving personal relationship with Him so guess what? We can go to God with confidence that when we pray He hears us, the answers may not be in the way we want them but they will be in God’s will where He already knows what’s best for us and what we need to move forward and live this life on earth as victorious and in freedom from all the things thrown in our way.
So throughout the past few months seeing the Gospel in a bigger light each day, I stopped only praying when it was convenient, or only when it involved a big problem in my life. God helped me realize through the Gospel that even the little itty bitty things that we think we can handle, pray about those, pray about everything. This cycle of failure and being stuck from moving forward to actually get better, started to become less and less of a problem. Through prayer, talking to God and giving Him my many insecurities and worries, I began to see Him at work right in front of me in my life. God answered my prayers, not always how I would prefer but in the way that He wanted, the way that provided me with everything I needed to move forward in victory and leave defeat farther and farther behind. Seeing God answer prayers, I don’t know how to explain it but that relationship between you and Him becomes deeper and deeper in love. God shows you His love and His faithfulness to always provide and help you, then that level of trust with God grows deeper, that level of humbleness grows deeper, God makes it so easy to see and feel that our comfort, security, and hope comes through Him and Him alone. Not me and you and not anything in this world, just God. “Prayer” is just a word for that deep loving connection between God and His children, it’s that personal relationship that grows through each moment spent in His presence.
Prayer isn’t just something we do because it’s something we’re supposed to do, or just say in conversations to sound good that you’ll pray about it. It’s so much deeper, holds so much more power, and brings LIFE, VICTORIOUS LIFE to the one reaching out to God. Prayer is something you do because you have no other way to survive, it’s you’re only source of relief, it’s your lifeline. Sorry if that’s a lot, God has just continued to make that time of prayer talking to Him of greater importance to me personally. I just wanted to give you everything I could to express this with you because what God can do through your relationship with Him and time spent talking to Him is so incredible!! My prayer is that you embrace prayer for what it truly is and I promise from experience you won’t be disappointed in what God does in every single area of your life. He is such a good God that is continuously faithful in His love for us, and always doing an amazing work in our lives. Go to Him. Seek Him. The same God that created you and this whole beautiful world around you is there for you, to listen to you and to show you the many beautiful and powerful qualities that make God so so awesome!
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand — you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me. May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.”
Nothing to say that matters anywhere close to what God’s Word says!!! Enjoy this, meditate on it, live it, pray it, love in it, share it, and most of all trust what God says is true is sooo TRUE!!!! Whoever is reading this, I love you and I’m praying for you today!
“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.”/ Romans 8:28
Hot-tow-mighty!!! I’m so jacked up to share this truth with you today from God’s Word! And if you aren’t sure what that first phrase means, just find the most southern person you know and they should be able to explain it to you! I’ve heard this verse so many times brought up when people are talking about going through struggles or have some big blessings in their life, and it fits right? God is working everything for our good. I mean that sounds like a truth I’d like to put in my back pocket and hold onto! It’s so wild, I’ve heard this mentioned so many times in that context, simply that God is working everything for our good but it’s like a lot of verses. We can pick them apart and find what sounds good to us, what makes us feel good, and that’s it. What’s wild about this awesome truth is when you get to reading all the words around it, leading up to it and following it, the complete context of this verse in Romans chapter eight is so so so powerful. Not just our version of “good”, but stinking powerful and breathes so much freedom into the life of the believer. The last few days in so many different situations and just random events, this verse kept coming up over and over again.
I kept hearing it brought up and then the verse was played out before my very eyes so turning to it once again, oh boy did it make sense. Yesterday, I had a flat tire on my car. I thought well it just needs some air. I went and got some air in it then got home, all I could hear was a hissing sound, almost like a snake coming from the tire. Yep. All that air that I just put in it after having to lay down on the wet ground in the rain to take the hub cap off, my hands covered in grease, all to get to the little hole to put air in. I don’t tell you that to complain, I’m just letting you know that feeling when I git home and I heard that snake in my tire. I went from thinking the problem was solved to needing a new tire just like that. I wasn’t exactly reciting this verse at this point. To be honest I wasn’t seeing, speaking, or thinking any “good” was going to come out of this. I won’t share all the details but I’m currently in the job search stage, doing interviews and working some part-time jobs to make sure the bills get paid. Replacing a tire, not exactly something I budgeted for or had money just to throw at it. I tell you all that because in my mind, hope was lost. Another setback, what in the world was I going to do now? You know the feeling I’m talking about? Every time you think you’ve taken some steps forward it’s like a wall is always there saying, “hold on there buddy, you aren’t going any farther. I’m going to send you backwards ten steps more than the steps you took to get to this point.”
You see why this verse without the context sounds really “good” but in our eyes what good is there in having a “flat-tire situation?” Not much. In our eyes and thoughts thats usually when the complaining starts, we play the victim card to ourselves and the people around us. It sucks right? Just wait there’s more to this story and so much more to this powerful scripture! Later that night, after an afternoon of feeling sorry for myself and feeling defeated. God stepped in once, twice, and kept coming!! I was taken care of. I won’t get into the details of that either but let’s just say in the most random of ways, that tire was taken care of. A simple act of faithful giving led me from defeated to WOW! I wasn’t in a place to pay for that tire and God stepped in to take care of me financially.
So when I went back to that verse, I looked at it a little different, no matter what comes my way in this life, no matter how bad the struggle gets, God is always going to take care of me. From the first moment He opened my eyes to see His love for me, His love and faithfulness and proved more true time and time again. Each time I’ve gotten in that spot of hopelessness, feeling like no matter what I do I’ll always be defeated. God says wait one second young buck! Looking back a lot of the struggles, I could see how God was showing up, in even the small most insignificant ways in my eyes, He was always there and He always provided more than enough to carry me out of that pit of defeat and elevate me into His peace and provision. Wow!
Just when I thought God had shown me this verse in the fullest, nope! There was even more! I had confidence and peace that no matter what came my way, God would give me a way out, He would provide my every need and He would show me that there’s so more than enough reason to trust and rest easy in His faithful love. This morning at the service I went to guess what verse the preacher pulled up for a minute! Yes sir! If it wasn’t Romans 8:28! He had some comments on this verse in the truest most complete form when looking at the context. Check this out and honestly check Romans eight out because it holds such deep and powerful truths!
Romans 8:1-2/ “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death”
Romans 8:5-7/ “Those who let themselves be controlled by their lower natures live only to please themselves, but those who follow after the Holy Spirit find themselves doing those things that please God. 6 Following after the Holy Spirit leads to life and peace, but following after the old nature leads to death 7 because the old sinful nature within us is against God. It never did obey God’s laws and it never will”
Romans 8:16-17/ “For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
Romans 8:25-27/ “But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. And in the same way—by our faith<sup class=”footnote” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: .625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0″ data-fn=”#fen-TLB-25208e” data-link=”[e]”>[e]—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will.”
I apologize for the scripture overload but I promise if you dig into this, you won’t be disappointed! For those who are in Jesus Christ, have that relationship with Him, there’s nothing that can hurt us. He has given us the life-giving Spirit that FREES us from the cycle of sin and death, worry and feeling defeated. I could go all day into these truths but look at the victory and life given through these verses. Jesus tells us when we rely on the old nature (what we got and how we see things), it leads to death. Jesus came to give us another way out, a life of freedom through the Holy Spirit that resides within us. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our comforter in times of trouble, and most of all the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. No longer do we have to rely on our perspective of defeat, what we think are good things and bad things, God gives us the Spirit to help us see with His vision. When we see this verse talking about God is going to work everything out for or good. What we see as “good” doesn’t always match up with how God really works things for our GOOD. A flat tire, we get upset, worried, and feel hopeless but read the rest of the verse and the verses before it. Without the Holy Spirit we can’t please God, we can’t even see or ask Him for the things that our heart truly needs because we have no stinking clue. We hear “good” and all we think about is material blessings, some luck and things that make us feel good. “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” Note that key word, ALL that happens to us. In each moment of our lives, whether we are suffering or thriving, God’s version of “good” comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes because He is molding us into stronger, more dependent on Him, all around more in the image of Jesus Christ. Then it talks about loving God, fitting into His will. How do we even know what His will is? Living lives to please God and give Him all the glory, living in the Spirit responding to the constant moments of suffering and blessings with love for God because He is making us stronger. This chapter talks so heavily about the FREEDOM we have in Jesus and through the help of the Holy Spirit. Think of how freeing it is to walk throughout your day with the Spirit, no matter what comes your way, you’re seeing things in God’s eyes. Everything changes. Flat tire. No big deal, God has got me and He’s using this moment of suffering to not bring me backwards but to move me forward into His strength. The freedom in seeing everything that we think is so bad as a moment to lean on Him, a moment to trust in what God is doing because at the end of the day, we can take hits but God won’t allow us to be broken by the hits, just walk out of the fire stronger and more complete in our faith than we were before the flat tire. The FREEDOM God gives us is just living and embracing each moment as a part of His perfect will, no longer do we have to care and worry if things are going to go exactly how we want it but now we just live, in complete peace knowing God is working and going to take care of me. It takes fear, doubt, hopelessness, insecurity, worry all out if the equation because seeing things in God’s vision, all those human feelings are completely reversed. The sovereign, all-knowing, universe creating, powerful and loving God is in complete control and I mean I would dare to say He knows what we need and where we need to be way better than we do. So with that novel of a God Gold, just live today. Trust that no matter what you can take your problems to God, He’ll help your human vision from focusing on our idea of good and bad, showing you Himself. And He is GOOD, SOOOO GOOOD!!! ALLL THE TIME!!! God is good!!!
Hope everyone has an awesome Sunday worshipping the Lord! Here’s a little Sunday funny for ya. Enjoy!
“The story is told of a lady who was rather old-fashioned, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language. She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground asking for a reservation.
She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t quite know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term BATHROOM COMMODE. But when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again and rewrote the entire letter referring to the bathroom commode merely as the BC. “Does the campground have it’s own BC?” is what she actually wrote.
Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure out what the woman was talking about. That BC business really stumped him.
After worrying about it for awhile, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either. So the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about he local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:
Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure in informing you that a BC is located nine miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away, if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. It is such a beautiful facility and the acoustics are marvelous. Even the normal delivery sounds can be heard.
The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now a supper is planned to raise money to buy more seats. They are going to hold it in the basement of the BC.
I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part. As we grow old, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather.
If you do decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks.
Remember, this is a friendly community.
Sincerely, Campground Owner”
Ran across this God Gold from awhile back when all these were still just text messages. My buddy Dillon sent me this fine piece of gold and MAN!!! It seems like it’s age nicely because it me even harder today than it did the first time I read it! I hope this can be some encouragement to you today and also be a challenging thought to think about. As Dillon says it, this is why we live, Jesus Christ is why we have life. Thank God for sending His Son and giving us a way out from a dead life, giving us a fresh breath of LIFE in the fullest of forms! Enjoy!
“Let me just share my favorite story in the Bible this morning.
Mark 5:21-32/“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
You see, this woman had been bleeding out her entire life. She had spent every single dime she had trying to “get clean.” All the people would separate themselves from her because of her condition that she had been dealing with for 12 years. But she believed and had the faith like non other. She knew Jesus had all the power to heal her and for her all she had to do was touch his cloak. So when she heard that Jesus was coming to town that’s exactly what she did. And IMMEDIATELY her illness left her body for then she was clean by the blood of the lamb. Jesus appears to be confused on who touched him as he knows that he just healed a woman. He knew exactly but he wanted this woman to fall on her knees before him. The words Jesus said to her have never left me, this is why we live “Your faith has made you well, go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Where is your faith, in something? Someone? Or Jesus? Is it so powerful and strong that if you were to touch Jesus you would be healed or would you have to ask Jesus to heal you because your not that sure? That’s an important thought. Give it some time!”
Hope everyone has a great FriYAY!!! I hope this song can help you have a good start to the day and give you some hope to hold onto and put your belief in throughout the day! No matter what kind of situation you’re faced with, the picture of this mom and grandmother getting on their knees humbly before the Lord, giving all their pain and burdens to Him. At times it may be tough to keep your belief strong but Jesus is their for you, throughout God’s Word and is faithful to answer your call to Him. I pray that Jesus helps our unbelief today that may be caused my personal doubt or surrounding circumstances and renews our faith in Him. It’s so daggum awesome to have a Savior that not only saved us once but continues to reach out His loving arms and save us daily, giving us new hope, strength and joy to walk out this journey of life with Him! “Our impossible is His reality,” believe that!!!!
“Vindicate me, my God,
and plead my cause
against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
deceitful and wicked.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”/ Psalm 43
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”/ Matthew 16:24
I’ve read and heard this verse so many times in my life and even more so in the past couple of years where Jesus has become bigger and bigger to me. The past couple of days this verse has taken on a whole new meaning to life and life with as a follower of Jesus. I’ve been faced with some exciting opportunities, some big decisions and the possibility of a lot of life change happening really fast. I’ve been spending the last couple of days visiting a church, checking out their ministry and interviewing for a position to be apart of their staff. I’ve had job interviews before and walked into plenty of new situations but this one was a whole new world to me. With marriage on the horizon and coming up quicker than ever, all the new things that go along with that new chapter of life, these last couple of days have held big implications for myself and my beautiful fiance Sarah. I give you all those details to give you a little better idea of why this verse has become so big. It’s been terrifying to be honest going through all this and anyone could say, “yeah pf course going through all of those big things would be.”
I learned quickly the biggest reason behind the scary in this was ME. When looking back at every piece of fear, the word “I” was the root of the fear. Playing the pro’s and cons game trying to be level headed in this decision, almost every con started with “I”, “I don’t know if I’m ready to step into a new situation, I don’t know if I have what it takes to make an impact in the area of ministry I’ll be serving in.” Different things like that, a whole bunch of “I’s.” Then not only fear but pride also played a big role, and guess what word was at the beginning of that, the root of my pride, “I.” “I feel like I’m prepared for more, I think I can do more than this position entails, I think I’m ready for more.” Can you see the reoccurring theme in all the con’s and doubt, “I.”
Think about your life, your current situation or your big decisions, honestly even the little decisions like going out of your way to talk to someone, be a friend to somebody or whatever it is. Think deeply for a second and look at why you haven’t done the things that God has told you to do, why you haven’t taken the little steps of faith and the big leaps of faith into what God has perfectly placed right in front of you. Now be honest about it, what’s holding you back from all the MORE that God has for you and that He’s divinely placed in front of you? The word I comes up a lot doesn’t it??? Yep. I say all that because it’s more evident now more than ever that the majority of steps of faith I don’t take in my life, whether with personal bad habits, sin strongholds, decisions, and opportunities to serve others in a way that may change their life. Whatever it is, little or big, “I”is always at the root of my regret, at the root of my doubt and failure, “I” is the biggest problem for all of us humans because that one letter word “I” holds so much power in our lives. “I” is the root of what’s holding us back from taking that next step of faith, to make that decision that we’ve been putting off, the decision that can change the course of the rest of our lives and most importantly as followers of Jesus Christ, “I” completely hinders and hurts how we follow Jesus in our lives.
Of course the day I’m stuck in my “I’s” the worst, this verse came up as the verse of the day on the Bible app yesterday. Pretty cool how God works things together. Jesus says, to be his disciple, DENY YOURSELF. I’ve spent a lot of time getting caught up in the other parts of this verse because they sound really cool to do, “take up your cross and follow me.” But look what Jesus says first, before any talk about following Him. The first thing He says is to DENY SELF. Looking at it in the view of all the “I’s” in my life and the power they have to hold me back from ever moving forward following Jesus. It make sense why Jesus says this first, because following Him is near impossible when you are battling following your “I’s” and self. Denying oneself changes everything. Jesus knows that the moment we get our weak, doubting, prideful, sinful, and fearful selves out of the way, that’s the moment we change that “I” to “He.” When living out of what we got, what we think we’re capable of and how we see things, talk about some low living, regret filled, sad lives. When we realize that we don’t have to use “I” anymore because when we came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior and that personal relationship with Him was established, we died to self just as Jesus died on the cross and Jesus raised us to new life as one with Him, no more “I” just Jesus.
Jesus says “deny yourself.” Deny your I. In this new life with Jesus we don’t live playing the odds, counting the chance of success, or asking the question, “can I do this?” With Jesus we live off faith, we move off faith, we make decisions out of faith, we walk in the fullness of life and the MORE that God has prepared for us off of faith. Not faith in “I”, faith in “HE”, Jesus Christ. The coolest part of Jesus calling us to be disciples for Him and following Him is He gave us the biggest most powerful, life-changing, chain-breaking, risk-taking truth to embrace this life as a disciple. DENY YOURSELF. Jesus wants nothing more than for us to live in the fullness of the life He’s given us and point others to Him so they too can live life with Him. Jesus tells us “DENY SELF” because “I and self” is the biggest chains holding us back from walking in the freedom He’s given us. When our faith is not in ourselves but in who we are with Jesus, who He says we are, born again children of God, those chains are gone and we’re set free to just live, have fun waking up everyday and making the most of what God has for us, instead of getting torn up and worried because our “I” problem, we can just live, take risks, have peace that even if we make the wrong decision, even if we fail, that’s okay because Jesus doesn’t only give us life, He gives us an abundance of grace where He forgives us, picks us up, renews our mind and hearts back to Him and His ways, and moves us forward.
Denying self changes everything about how we follow Jesus. If “I” is the root of why you are where you are today and why you feel stuck to move forward, don’t let it hold you back any longer. Give yourself, doubts and fears to Jesus and He will show you how to move step by step, as His disciple, following Him. The biggest lesson about denying self was my perspective on this situation and in a lot of my life, when we are so focused on our insecurities we miss out on seeing the goodness of God and how’s He is so perfectly putting you in the best situation to grow, live, and move into the MORE He has for us. It won’t always be easy but from my experience with this, don’t waste your days letting the incapability of yourself clutter your perspective and vision in what God has for you, the divinely orchestrated parts of His plan that knocks on your door saying “Hey you, child of God, lets roll out of this weak life and roll with me, leaning on my strength, my hope and my love moving into a life where impossible is not even a word, faith is the gasoline that fuels you, and where LIFE can be embraced with Jesus and lead into others receiving this same LIFE.” It’s crazy how everything changes when we deny our selves and live in the truth of who we are, children of God. The scariest part of this is how easy the “I” problem can sneak up on you and hold you back from what God has in store for you but we have His Word to remind us that life doesn’t have to be lived that way any longer.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves”
Prayer: ” Lord thank you for this truth and this powerful instruction you have given us. It’s truly amazing how everything is flipped upside down and changed when we get ourselves out of the way and come to beginning of you. Thank you for loving us to the point of giving up your Son as a sacrifice for us, thank you for giving us a way out of the life that we deserved to die on the cross and giving us new life with you! I ask Lord that you teach us how to step out of the comfort zone of our “I’s” and move into the MORE and fullness of life that you have for us. Teach us how to live off faith in you, and deny ourselves Lord so together as children of Yours, we can step out in faith, just live and enjoy this life, open our eyes to see your goodness and perfection being worked out in front of us and move our eyes from our own imperfection. Help us Lord be disciples of you and help us take up our cross so we can live humbly as tools for you to help others see you working through every area of our lives and help others see you so they too can experience the awesomeness and love in a life with you. Thank you Lord for today. Thank you for the gold found in your word and continue to renew our hearts and minds with your truth and help us apply these truths to our lives! Love you Lord! In your holy and precious name we pray, Amen.
“Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.”
3 John 1:3-8
So I learned about these verses in class today and to be honest, I didn’t even realize there was a 3 John, I mean there are already so many other books with John’s name on it. Obviously I need to keep learning all I can. What’s so cool about this letter John writes to Gaius, which to be honest once again I would’ve never noticed by just skimming over these powerful verses like I would usually do. John is writing to Gaius who is a local church leader/pastor, encouraging him and thanking him for all of the faithful service he has dedicated his life to by serving the Lord and serving people with the Lord. This part stuck out to me because John is commending him for the hospitality he’s shown towards traveling ministers coming through his town. These guys are complete strangers to Gaius but he is still willing to do whatever it takes to help in advancing the Gospel and bringing the life changing truth of Jesus to people. It may seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal what Gaius was doing but that’s what’s cool about Gaius’ example of service.
He didn’t have to open his doors and give a place to stay to these traveling pastors, in the context of these verses it says that Gaius is sick and struggling with some kind of illness that won’t seem to leave him. On top of that, he faced scrutiny from some members of his congregation about having these traveling pastors coming in and messing up what they had going on. Gaius probably didn’t feel like serving and being faithful in these moments but it’s obvious that the truth was the driving force of His life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spread of that good news to people in need of Him, that was the most important part of his life. Everything else was secondary. I’m sure at times whether it seems like a little or big act of service, we so often make excuses, “I don’t have time for that, well if I serve in that way then it will mess up this or that.” At the end of the day, isn’t the good news of Jesus Christ coming to this earth, dying for the sins of man, and giving us a gift of eternal life when we deserved the death on the cross. I was extremely convicted today to think, what could possibly be more important than that??? Although I so often enter ME into the equation and what I want, I find myself wasting time focusing on me instead of focusing on the only truth that really matters on this earth. Whether it’s showing hospitality to someone through literally letting them stay at your house or showing faithful hospitality in little daily life ways with others, either way you put it, it’s important and no matter the size of the act of service, each moment we step aside from ME and live in God’s goodness and truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spread and when God is in it fully without our selfishness, the little becomes huge Kingdom impact.
It’s crazy to think about all the times I base my life and the opportunity I have to serve others off of ME and my wants, making excuses and listening to the opinions of the people around me, justifying my lack of faithful hospitality because it’s not what my neighbors doing or it’s looked down upon in our church culture or our culture we live in outside of church. Learning from Gaius example today, all the stuff we deem as important is nothing compared to the goodness, faithfulness, and love that God shows us daily and has shown us through the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. What’s holding us back from being faithful in our service in this mission to spread Christ to the broken lives all around us? When seeing the truth in the magnified way that Gaius sees it, seeing the truth in the magnified, extremely HUGE life changing way that it is, changes a lot about how we serve and how we seek out opportunities to serve and when God shows up at our front door with a chance to serve someone in our daily lives, instead of saying no because of this, that or the other, embrace each opportunity to serve in the truly important and BIG lens that it is. It may seem little at times but little is much when God is in it.
Also, talk about some humbling hospitality, I’m out of town for a job interview and my buddy who lived not too far from where I’m checking out is letting me crash at his place for a couple nights while I’m here. It’s not anything special or out of the ordinary, it’s just what we do because Christ has called us to serve, the truth is too big to overlook when lives are at stake. My life and heart has been completely humbled and changed by my friends act of hospitality. So who’s life can be changed if we all embrace hospitality in faithful service of the good news of Jesus Christ! I’m excited to see the Kingdom impact that will be made through lives surrendered to the truth of the Gospel! It may be hard at times, we may not feel like it, we may be sick even, we may face so much opposition it doesn’t make sense, but with the view of eternity, it’s an eternal sacrifice for an eternal investment and God’s eternal glory will be magnified.
Ran across my friend, Olivia’s post on Instagram today and I’m telling you, she was bringing the HEAT!!! It is such a powerful Word and one that changed my day completely around, reminding me that despite all the craziness and stuff going on in my life, the Lord has got me, He’s in full control, I need to step back and watch Him do what only He can do. In Olivia’s Words, NOTHING is too big for Him! Couldn’t help but share this awesome truth with you today and as much as it has impacted me, I pray you too can be lifted up by this powerful and awesome promise from God!! Super thankful for her sharing the Truth in this way and excited for you to see why this has got me so jacked up!! Hold on to your hats, Liv bout to preach!!!
““The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”/ Exodus 14:14
Holding fast to this great promise this week! There is so much more behind just this one verse! This verse comes right before Moses is empowered by God to part the Red Sea. The Egyptian army is pursuing them and the Israelites are fleeing! They get to the Red Sea and begin to doubt God and even ask Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt?” (Where they were in so much bondage) They have made it so far and are beginning to doubt that God will get them through yet another trial. But in this chapter of Exodus 14, God does the unthinkable and miraculous. God tells Moses to lift his staff, stretch out his hand, and divide it! WHAT! God parts the Red Sea for the Israelites and as the Egyptians follow them they are engulfed in the sea!!! (Praise God emoji) If you are facing a trial that seems completely impossible this week, trust God that He will do the unthinkable to prove His faithfulness to you. Trust that He will fight for you and sometimes we just have to be still. Thankful for the power that is found in the Word and the comfort in reminding our hearts of the faithfulness of our God! Nothing is too big for Him!! Thank you Jesus!”
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””/John 8:12