“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. “/Hebrews 11:1
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,”/ Hebrews 12:28
Hope you enjoy this little video about faith! I was at work today and had my own run-in with faith. I was working as a cashier and a lady came through my line. I said, “hey, how are you doing today?” You know, you usually get the same responses, “good, how are you?” Maybe every once in awhile you’ll get an older person that goes on and on about the weather and the occasional crazy conversation when somebody walks through with some personality to em. This lady just cut it to me straight. She responded, “well, it could be better, found out today that the job I’m working is going to end next month.” I noticed something immediately, she wasn’t complaining when she said that, her confident tone was sounding like it was no big deal. I got to talking to her more and I told her, “I hate to hear that, hope everything works out.” I didn’t really know what to say to be honest but she told me that she was buying those groceries getting ahead on the upcoming situation in her life. She said she had mouths to feed so she had to make it work. Then she said something that stuck with me when I was trying to be nice and offer my condolences to her, “the Lord is going to take care of us, He always does, just gotta keep going and trusting in Him.” Living in the Bible belt of the South it’s not unusual to hear someone say the Lord is in control or just got to keep having faith in the Lord. This woman wasn’t just casually throwing around her faith though, I could tell by her confident tone, the way she was handling things preparing for her kids to make sure they had food to eat, and the fact that she kept saying it.
That random encounter with her today put everything in a whole new world of perspective. She had probably some of the worst possible news and she wasn’t sitting around pouting about it, she was moving in her faith, she was speaking her faith. I can’t say if I got that news with not even kids that depend on me that I would’ve reacted that way. Most likely I would’ve been freaking out. This lady was so confident in what God was going to do that she wasn’t moved or shaken when resistance came in her life. She stood firm in the Lord, she wasn’t sulking or acting like a victim. She was still getting the job done and even though she couldn’t see the Lord’s provision in future employment, her finances, or how she would feed her kids, she had faith. She had faith in God’s loving and faithful provision that she was literally using what God had blessed her with and preparing for the next blessings God was going to send her way. She was living like a sponsor for the Christian Nike brand, “JUST HAVE FAITH.” There’snot one but if there was you know what I’m saying. I literally looked at the next guy in line and he had on Nike pants that said “Just do it” in huge letters. So it hit me, “Just do it, JUST HAVE FAITH.”
This woman gave me a stronger faith by just being and hearing her example. Instead of giving up, living defeated and sitting and sulking in her misfortune. She JUST HAD FAITH, and she continued to live and walk in what she knew God was going to do in her life. It’s amazing to me that an encounter that simple can be such a lesson for us all but that’s how God works. As simple as God works, that’s as simple as we are called to live. Just keep moving and battling no matter how hard the hits may seem at the current moment because each and every trial we face we can look to God who will give us plenty to get through it. We just keep stepping and walking through the storm knowing the Lord has us and by the time we get out He has an even bigger blessing awaiting us. Maybe it’s an answered prayer, a breakthrough, or you just learn so much through the battle you faced in the storm, now God has made you stronger, wiser and ready for the next time you get some bad news. Faith doesn’t enable but it points our eyes to the One who is able showing us that with God, we’re unshakable.
“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.”/ Proverbs 16:9
Heard this verse in the sermon this morning and the Lord shed so much light to so much of my life through this powerful truth. I pray that God can use this message to reach you and move you closer to Him. I write about “being stuck” a lot because it’s something that can so easily happen to us in our lives. It happens to me all the time to be completely honest but who wants to be stuck? Not me! Then how come so often we find ourselves stuck, stuck in our problems, stuck in our addictions, sins, at the end of the day just stuck in ourselves? It can happen to any of us and the scary part is sometimes we become so stuck that we are completely blinded to how stuck we really are, the effects we have on people around us, and even though we tell ourselves little comfortable lies to justify and rationalize our current standing in life and it’s problems. We can fool ourselves all day long but we’re still right where we started, stuck.
The preacher this past Sunday morning mentioned the fear of failure and how it can effect us. The biggest effect this fear of failing causes is in our faith. So now we’re stuck, stuck in our itty bitty faith. I find myself sometimes so scared to do something at the thought that I might fail that I decide not to do it. Or I tell myself, “well I’ll just do it later.” The biggest thing I struggle with in this procrastination to move in my faith is planning. I’ll build this perfect, huge, really awesome plan, I’ll spend a ton of time on it (procrastinating), and when it’s time to execute the plan, I make excuses like, “it’s not perfect enough, it needs to be just right before I test it out.” We can plan, hype it up like we’re doing something really awesome but you have to ask yourself, am I really moving anywhere?
One of the biggest excuses I make for sitting still in the areas of my life that it’s obvious God wants to change, He wants me to move forward past them, He wants me to trust in His guidance and strength to conquer the areas of my life that is holding me back from being better and living a life that gives Him all the glory! Sometimes I say, “well what if God doesn’t want me to go that way or do this thing?” Don’t get me wrong, we are supposed to seek God’s guidance and discernment in every situation but we aren’t supposed to use God’s will as a crutch to our lack of faith. The freedom that God gives us as believers comes in knowing that even if we go the wrong way, if we make the wrong decision and fail, God is always there. The powerful creator of everything has His hand in every part of our lives and He is in full control all the time. God doesn’t tell us to sit back waiting on the Heaven’s to open up with a deep voice coming down saying, “Jordan, my son, go this way, do this.” God says to move in your hearts, seek His will and guidance the whole way through but just move. Fear of failing and not being good enough can have a crippling effect on our lives. The good thing is when we do fail, when we do go a way we’re not supposed to go God is like bumper cars. You’re driving one direction chasing after another car to bump and a car comes out of nowhere bumping you, so you were going straight ahead now your knocked facing another direction. God has a way of working through our mistakes and struggles showing up outta nowhere like a bumper car. We think we’re going the right direction and BOOM! God redirects you sending you east instead of west.
What excuses do we have to stay still and stuck in our lives when God says just move in the plans and passions your heart takes you and if it’s not where He wants us He will redirect us to the right direction. That truth gave so much freedom to me and the parts of my life I’m stuck in. I’m scared I may fail, more importantly fail God but we see God the biggest when we take those steps of faith out of our struggle into the unknown, those are the moments where we learn to lean on God, we learn to depend on Him and the faithful provision He provides in our lives. God didn’t give us this life to spend it sitting stuck in fear at the thought of messing up. God promises us that He will direct our steps, He will lead us to victory even if we do take a few steps our way and fail, we can trust that God will redirect us into His ways, into His victory, and into the freedom He has given us no matter how many times we’ve messed up in the past. It’s God’s faithfulness that will set us on this adventure of life in the most awesome ways, our faithfulness is only to step and trust. Here are some promises from God that show us even more why being stuck in our fear of failure is so daggum crazy;
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”/2 Corinthians 2:14
You see what God does!!! Lead us captives in the victory of Christ!!! And when we move and live in this promise, the people around us get to see and smell the sweetness, freedom, and victory of Christ!!!! This thought convicted me a lot, “is my fear of failing and moving forward with God in my life worth holding me back from experiencing the fullness and victory of Christ? Am I that selfish that I would rather sit comfortably in my fear, scared to mess up and move forward knowing that when I give up my fears and my life to trust God on this journey that others around me who are even more stuck and chained up by their fear by not having God to lean on, when they see God moving in my life they will see another way, they will see freedom and life in the fullest?” Think about that the next time you decide to sit still, others lives and eternities are stake and that makes moving that much more important!!!! If you fall down, God will pick you up and set you in the right direction. If you go the wrong way, BOOM!!! God redirects you to His path and His ways!!! So what are we waiting for?????
I’ve sent this video out as a God Gold of the Day many times but each time the truth in it is magnified even more. How can it be? Me and you, we’re Barabbas in this story, just an undeserving sinner who doesn’t deserve freedom. How can it be that Jesus loved us to the extreme of dying the death that we deserved so we could have the eternal, free gift of life from the Heavenly Father. That doesn’t make any sense right? How could somebody love us so much that they literally die for us knowing we may never accept this free gift or love Him back, but Jesus loved anyways and set the chains of Barabbas free. He set the chains of me and you free. The gospel is the most beautiful story a human heart can ever hear written by the ultimate Creator of this world and the author of our lives. I’ve written so many God Gold of the Days on here and sent messages out but no gold from God is any greater than this. I find myself overlooking the importance of the messages God decided to make a thing and not seeing it for the opportunity it truly is, a chance to share the greatest news of all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for us. This is the only reason I send these messages out to you to tell you that I’ve struggled and I still struggle but there is a difference in my struggle now. That difference is Jesus. For all who read this and think any of the thoughts that I too have had, “I’ve done too much bad, I don’t deserve anything good especially not Jesus.” Hey Barabbas, yeah you, Jesus doesn’t care about your past or what you’ve done, He loves you just the way you are in all your brokenness. What you’ve done doesn’t matter in the Gospel message, neither does what you do now, the only part that’s important is what Jesus has done because He’s given us the free gift of life through Him so our days of despair and hopelessness are gone. Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day with the only reason being to tell you that it is done, it’s finished, you’re free from that former life and by accepting this free gift of eternal life with Jesus your new life begins. As Jesus rose up from the grave from death to life, receive Jesus Christ and His love into your life, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, from death He rises you up to LIFE.
I share these messages everyday because of Jesus, He brought me from death to life, hopelessness to hope, and guess what? He can do the same with you!!!
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”/Romans 10:9
P.S.- If you want to know more about Jesus and receiving Him into your life, you can contact me on the God Gold of the Day Facebook page, the blog page under “contact”, and at (864)784-3592. Call me anytime, day or night and I’d be excited to talk to you! And if you’re reading this and you’ve already made this decision to follow Jesus, share this with somebody who hasn’t, tell them about this Good News, just get the Gospel out there!!! Don’t worry about what they may say or if they say no, we’ve been called to plant the seeds, God takes care of the growing. This news of what Jesus has done for us is too big and there’s too many lives at stake to keep it hidden.
““Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.”
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Do you ever feel what David is talking about in verse 2 of this Psalms? “I am overwhelmed by my troubles.” I would dare to say we all have at some point of our lives, maybe everyday you feel this way. This life is jam packed with it’s fair share of troubles, especially when you’re a child of God. Being a child of God makes us an enemy of Satan and the closer we move to God the bigger that target on our back gets so when the devil sees that target, BOOM!! He attacks. He attacks in every way imaginable, spreading lies in our thoughts, tempting us to go against God and do things that God would strongly advise us not to do, and being the “humans” we are, we are so easily enticed and deceived to fall into these attacks, and the troubles of life.
Troubles come in so many different ways but instead of getting into all that, what I’ve struggled with lately is how I respond to the troubles I face. What I’ve noticed in my struggles with troubles the struggles and attacks from the devil in my life is that I focus so much of my thoughts and energy on that, when all that bad comes my way, I just want to lay down, give up, play the role of the victim. I’m so focused on the bad I become like David mentions, “overwhelmed by my troubles.” When I really sat back and looked at it, I thought, “c’mon man, are you serious?” Jesus tells us so many times through the Gospels that followers of Him will face troubles, He faced SO many troubles and attacks while on this earth and living a life with the ultimate goal being to strive to walk as Christ did, in the example He set. Why do I act surprised when troubles come? First lesson; troubles, attacks, they are going to come so don’t be surprised, lean on the Lord and be ready to stand firm in the storm.
Hebrews 2:18 says, ““Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
So how do we respond to getting knocked down? I thought about my time playing high-school basketball and playing at a small 2A school, I was usually the biggest guy on our team. I was tall but man I was skinny as a rail. Almost every game we played teams that had guys just as tall or taller than me and they had some muscle to em. There was so many games I got thrown around like a rag doll trying to guard those big ol jokers. It wasn’t much fun to say the least. There was one game my junior year where I had to guard a guy who was 6’6, probably 275 at least, he was being recruited by Division I schools for football so yeah I had a lot to look forward to. I had been thrown around by guys like him throughout my freshman and sophomore year so something clicked inside of me. I didn’t want to play the victim card anymore and make excuses saying he was bigger than me. I was sick and tired of getting knocked down and wanting to stay down so first chance I got to guard him, he drove to the basket and I threw my body at him fouling him as hard as I could. I doubt he felt it much but I wanted to make sure he knew I was there. Turns out he wasn’t too happy about the foul so the next play, I got the ball at the free throw line, made a move to drive to the basket, BOOM!!!! He lowered his gigantic shoulder into me and put me through the floor. Usually I’m nothing but a big, quiet, nice guy even on the court, but this hit had me fired up. I slammed the ball against the ground and got up to stand looking into his chin (he was big), and the rest of the game I ran my mouth and hit him every chance I could. I just figured if he got mad that easy then being one of their better players I could get him focused on me instead of destroying us.
I’m sure we’ve all had a moment like that where we got sick and tired of getting knocked down, losing and being the victim so you get mad and ready to fight. This is the coolest part about what this verse in Hebrews tells us and what David speaks of in verse 22. In the sports world or life, getting mad and fighting the problem with everything we got seems to be the way to go. You can read a million self help books that will tell you exactly that. But when we face troubles and attacks from the devil in our lives, we don’t have to waste our time or energy fighting a fight that’s not ours to fight. David says, “cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” When you get mad and won’t to fight after being knocked down, respond with taking it to the Lord, through God and God alone do we have what it takes to endure and get through the surrounding storms. So often I either fight with what I got or give in but God tells us to do neither, He says press into Him and lean on Him. Give Him your troubles and He will be faithful in providing everything you need to get through them and keep fighting. And with our identities in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are one with Him. In Hebrews it says Jesus knows exactly what you’re going through so when you cast your troubles on Him, He is there to literally give you exactly what you need. He is there at all times to help in our time of need.
I so often either respond to troubles as a victim or I go and try to fix everything on my own. How comforting is it that we don’t have to be a victim because Jesus has declared us a victor through His victory overcoming the struggles He endured. We also don’t have to try to fix it on our own because He is there with us, He’s been through it all so He is there to help give us what we need to overcome with Him. What’s even cooler when taking our troubles to the Lord, you start looking at your troubles and remember how as a victim you used to focus on all the bad so much that by the end of it, things just got badder and badder? With Jesus, walking as a victor, all that trouble doesn’t seem so bad anymore. When we realize that God really isn’t going to let us be shaken by anything, we can focus on His truth and power, then we begin to see “trouble” through His eyes and it’s not even trouble any more. It looks like a door just got slammed in your face but God says hold up, the door is open, keep on walking because there’s another door. Instead of getting knocked down and doors closed, usually my response is to sit behind those doors all day wallowing in my self-pity, but God uses the trouble as a lesson, a “test” and He gives us everything we need to keep moving through the doors into what He has for us in this life. Trouble isn’t all that troubling when you give it to God. He shows you how to get past it, and the lesson He’s teaching you through it which strengthens you for the next storm that comes up in your life. It’s crazy how everything we see as “bad” is completely reversed when we cast our cares on God, trust in His strength and provision, seeing life through His eyes. So when you get knocked down, stand up and fight by giving it to God. It’s amazing what He will do next.
“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!!!!