“1 Praise the Lord!I will thank the Lord with all my heartas I meet with his godly people.2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!All who delight in him should ponder them.3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.His righteousness never fails.4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.How gracious and merciful is our Lord!5 He gives food to those who fear him;he always remembers his covenant.6 He has shown his great power to his peopleby giving them the lands of other nations.7 All he does is just and good,and all his commandments are trustworthy.8 They are forever true,to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.9 He has paid a full ransom for his people.He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.Praise him forever!”
Hope everyone has an awesome Sunday worshiping and serving together the awesome God we serve!! Wanted to share this song with you because tonight I got the opportunity to see this band, “NeedtoBreathe” play live in concert! Thanks to my awesome and beautiful fiance Sarah for the best Christmas gift ever! This song is one that as I began truly following Christ at 22 years old, it always stuck out to me.
A little story to why this song means so much to me personally and a story that I hope in some way can be an encouragement to you today! I had grown up raised in church but at 22, when Christ opened up my eyes to see Him in His love and awesomeness the biggest I had ever seen, let’s just say I was clueless to what that looked like and what I was doing in this newfound relationship. Which, honestly I’m still pretty clueless but learning and experiencing Christ in new ways everyday, the process of growing in Christ makes this process of life, living for Christ a little easier to live.
So I’m 22, no clue what I’m doing, going through a crazy time where God was opening up my eyes to Him and the purpose He had for me. Beyond the call to ministry, He showed me my purpose in Him is the same of all of our purpose as Christ followers, serving Him by serving others. I had no clue what that looked like and just when I began becoming hungrier and hungrier to experience more of Him and to serve others, He opened up a door in my life. My cousin Paige and her husband Cory, had been going on mission trips to Rwanda in recent years and this year they were going back to serve the people and kids there again. I went to church with them one Sunday to see their little Baker Bea get dedicated. After church they asked me if I wanted to go to Rwanda with them. I literally just heard the message Pastor Joel brought that Sunday, hearing apart of his testimony that hit home with me, and cried the majority of the service. By the way, I used to never cry because that wasn’t “manly” but since Christ came into my life, I am definitely a lot more emotional. I mean how can you not cry when you sit there so undeserving, a past filled with so much bad and then Christ is there loving you, giving you true LIFE for the first time, the Son of God, so holy, perfect and awesome loving me out of all people?!?! I’m not trying to make a case for my crying but yeah, it’s a pretty awesome case anyways!
They asked me to go to Rwanda with them, and coming off the past few months and that service being hit so deeply by the love of Christ. I wanted to hug and kiss them for giving me this opportunity!! I was so hype!!! So my answer to them is obviously yes right? Not so fast! The couple of months following this awesome door being opened, I began to listen to the wrong voices. I heard Satan’s lies, and it made me question everything. “Am I really prepared to fly across the world to serve in the mission field in Rwanda? How do I even serve? What do I have that I can serve those people with? What can I do that can bring any kind of blessing or impact to the people there?” I was scared. Plain out terrified. I mean I have barely been out the state of South Carolina so going to Africa, AFRICA!!! That’s way out of my league right?
I began to worry and doubt and play with the thoughts of not going because I was scared. When people asked if I was going I was more wishy washy than a washing machine that washes shooting stars. I don’t think that’s really a thing but you get my point. I even began making the excuse that since the trip was in the middle of the school year, I would miss classes and I can’t be missing classes. In all my years of being in school, I have NEVER, came close to saying anything like that.
I had a good bit longer to decide but just listen to how crazy God works. I was sitting at my house, my phone rang. I looked to see who it was, saw the area code being from where my cousin was from so I immediately started freaking out. At the time I didn’t have her number because I had a new phone so I started thinking, “oh my gosh! She’s calling me to see if I’m going, I don’t know what to tell her because I still don’t know if I’m going!” I was losing my mind so on the way to work that day I remembered hearing people say, “pray about it.” Like I mentioned, at this point in my walk with the Lord I was clueless so I figured, “well, yeah, I’ll pray about it because if my cousin is calling then I need a decision ASAP!” I literally just said, “okay Lord I don’t know what you want me to do, do you want me to go to Rwanda on this trip or do you want me to stay back so I don’t miss school (yeah right)? I just need an answer Lord PLEASE!!!”
So then I proceed to hit shuffle on my Christian playlist that I had on my phone thinking maybe He’ll answer with a song. And guess what?!? This song is the song that came on! i heard the lyrics;
“God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied”
Yep! I was going to Africa!!! How much clearer could He make it than this! Multiplied!!! He wanted me to go multiply the awesome Halleluiahs He’d brought to my life across the world!!! It’s so crazy how wild but simple God is in His responses to us! I don’t know if I would recommend trying this route but if it feels right, then see how He wants you to share His light!
My fear was gone, I didn’t know how or why but witnessing God work in this way, I just heard, “multiply”, His mission was set for me and I still didn’t have a clue how to serve in the mission field or what I was getting myself into but it was happening because God said so! I hurried, grabbed my phone to call back my cousin so I could tell her the exciting news. I called the number that had called me earlier, to hear the voice of a robot pick up, it was a telemarketer that called me?!?! What?!?!
Just a weird and wild story of how God pushes us out of our comfort zone, through all the fear and lies, into a place of total dependence on Him. And what’s so cool about depending on Him and asking Him what we should do, He ALWAYS answers! In that moment I still didn’t even know if liked the answer but soon after that, when I went on the trip spent two weeks serving in Rwanda. I realized I don’t have to know what’s ahead, I just need to trust that whatever it is, God has set it up for my good and the good of His Kingdom! That’s all that matters! I didn’t know how to serve or what I had to offer and learned throughout that trip that once again, it’s not about what I got but what God can do and will do. I learned that God has made me, designed me, and specifically prepared me through experiences to serve wherever He calls me. In this case, it was being the crazy white boy who loved to dance. That’s something I’m good at and in those moments of serving over there God used that to multiply His Halleluiahs!!!
It stills blows my mind to this day how God works and God intervenes in our life and time of need, how He teaches us to let go and just go! He shows us through the moments of walking out of our comfort zone into the unknown that He is God, He has us, and He is soooo GOOD!!! Those two weeks changed my life completely in so many ways, the next year going on another trip there and getting the chance to ask Sarah to be my wife surrounded by the cheering voices of my Rwandan family, and to think if left up to me and my fear, I wouldn’t have gone! As much as I would love to tell you all the stories, stay tuned! The mission team is saddling up for another trip to Rwanda this year and still unsure if I’ll be able to, I’m going to host “Rwanda Week” here on the blog and through the facebook page, telling you the craziest, most awesome and funniest stories of my time there and how much need there still is there that needs your help! I’m also going to open up a way for you to support the team on this journey so keep your eyes and ears wide open!! It’s such an amazing work that’s being done there with the kids of Rwanda, raising up a nation of Christ followers through the school system so I want to be able to give you every chance possible and make available a way for you to be apart of what God is doing there!!!! Stay tuned for more info on “Rwanda Week.” I promise you won’t wanna miss it!!!!
Been noticing lately how crucial it is for me to have some quiet time with the Lord before I go out into my day whether that’s with worship music, devotional reading, time in His Word, or in prayer and today I tried something a little different. I used to think of spending time in the morning with the Lord with such a religious checklist mentality like if I don’t read a certain amount of verses or pray a certain amount of time then my day is going to be terrible because I didn’t check this time off my list. It’s not like that at all. the Lord gives us so many different ways to come to Him and I’ve learned that we don’t spend this quiet time with the Lord because it’s something we’re “supposed to do”, we spend this time with Him because it’s something we desperately NEED to do! This world can be tough and hard to deal with at times, so when we start the day with God, we are aligning our hearts and minds with God. In this time He reminds us of our identity as a child of His, He teaches and shows us more about who He is, how awesome and capable of anything He is! So when the day starts to happen, tough circumstances or opposition comes our way, we are aligned with God, we know we are His and He is ours, He’s got us, and we can have confidence and great hope knowing that nothing that this world throws at us can harm us in anyway! Even if we do feel some pain, it’s for His glory and He is teaching us through it to become better, stronger and battle ready for what lies ahead!
Starting the day with God has completely evolved my life this week and brought my relationship and view of how awesome God is to such deeper levels, Until you do it, you’ll never know how much more it really is than something we’re supposed to do, it’s time with God, getting lined up with Him, His purpose for you and your identity in Him, it changes EVERYTHING!
This morning I was pressed for time which is my own fault and another lesson learned here is that no matter how busy our mornings or day is, we always have time for God because until we spend that time with Him, all that other stuff is meaningless. I was in a hurry, missed my quiet time and was driving to work so I thought you know what, I’ll mix it up, try something different, so I went on the Bible app, went to a random chapter from Psalms which shows us so much about Who God is and just the deepness of our relationship with Him. I hit the play button on the app and listened to the Psalm 18 as I went down the road. I’ve always thought if I listen to the Bible I’ll feel like I’ll miss something since I can’t see it. But it was so awesome!! Hearing God’s Word instead of just reading it was like it His Word was sinking in so much deeper. And it kept me away from reading only what makes me feel good. It was like God was speaking to me and it changed the game for morning quiet time and honestly how I take in His Word. I’ve got the video above for you and the scripture below so spend some time listening to it on your travels tomorrow, listening to it while you read along, whatever works for you just take some time to listen to it a few times. Let His Word soak into you and spend some time talking to God about it or just thinking about it for a minute.
What does this verse mean for you?
God what do you want me to hear?
What are you teaching me about you here, Who you are and what you’re capable of doing in my life?
As you’ll be able to see the Scripture isn’t short and there’s too much Gold to try and sit here and type about. Besides I’ve been at a loss of words with it anyways today so just spend some time in Psalm 18 today or in His Word, listening to it, reading it, and soaking in what He has for you. Spend some time writing about these verses, just some big takeaways you have. I promise, putting pen to paper helps you dig deeper and really think more deeply on what God is speaking to you. I pray this chapter from Psalms can be of an encouragement to you and bring you closer to the Lord. If you want, share with me what hits you and what you get from this passage. I’d love to hear your perspective and what God has shown you! And I’ll always take all the gold I can get because when it’s God’s Gold, man it’s priceless!!!!
““Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!””
1 Samuel 17:32-37
Gosh I love God’s Word and getting to share how awesome these truths are with you! I was sitting here not having a clue what the God Gold of today would be so figured I better get into the mines of God’s Word and see what Gold He has for me to dig up. Unfortunately turning straight to God’s Word for answers is not always my first move but I’m learning the hard way a lot of the time that turning to Him is always the best move to make!
This passage is one of my favorites, David vs. Goliath!! I’ve shared some Gold from here before but something new stuck out to me today from this story that I pray can be a big encouragement to you today and move you closer to the Lord in your walk!
David is showing up at the Israelite camp asking all the Israelites why they are just standing around, then David sets eyes on this giant, “Goliath.” He asks the Israelites about him and what’s going on, they tell him that Goliath has been calling them out for many days now. He wants to fight the Israelites best soldier, and settle the war that way. A one on one fight to the death, winner wins the war for their side. The Israelites were absolutely terrified, they wanted no part of fighting this giant, so they stood there, listening to his taunts and paralyzed by fear to fight. They said “He was too big, too skilled”, and made all these excuses why they couldn’t beat him but David wasn’t seeing Goliath like they were.
David is just a little shepherd boy at this time and had no place to be anywhere near a battle, much less fighting in one. David’s confidence is unreal, he asks the Israelites in verse 26, “who is this heathen Philistine, anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
You hear that confidence?!?! The overlying lesson from David throughout this whole passage isn’t in his confidence or bravery, it’s Who his confidence is in, his identity. His identity is found in God, “the living God.” David is so confident not because of his ability or anything he has but in God and what He is capable of. So with Davids identity in God, this giant doesn’t look so big when compared to God. When our identity is in Who we are in God, children of His, everything changes on how we see our giants and what I noticed today that was so cool is this identity in God, seeing life through God’s eyes, He teaches us how to not only be confident in the victories ahead but He also reminds us of the victories of our past what He’s already brought us through.
So often I know I get caught up living in my past, it’s easy to base who you are off of who you were yesterday, the failure and sins you were caught up in yesterday. When you place your identity in your shortcomings and times of defeat, it’s practically impossible not to stand there shivering in fear at the giants you face today because if you failed yesterday, you’re probably going to fail again today right? If you lost yesterday then you probably don’t stand a chance today right? NO!!! WRONG!!!
David is brought to king Saul after he is going around the camp talking trash about this Giant, Goliath. Davids identity is in God, His confidence in God is seen from the first words to Saul. “Don’t worry about this giant, I’ll go take care of him.” I’m sure Saul was looking at this little shepherd boy and thought, “yeah right, you aren’t going to fight this giant, you won’t stand a chance.” Then what sets David apart from the scared Israelite soldiers is that, remember his identity is in God, not in him. So he doesn’t look back at all the times he’s failed, all the times he messed up or lost to a giant he was facing. So often when facing giants in my life, I am defeated before the battle of even starts because I’m replaying in my head all the other giants I lost to, all the times I’ve failed. But HEY, you’re identity shouldn’t be in you, it needs to be in God. So instead of replaying the blooper reel of your past, look at Davids example here, he started recounting the times that the Lord has delivered him against giants that seemed too big and too fierce for him to handle.
David looks back at the not at what he has done, because once again his identity is not in himself, it’s in God. So David looks back at what God has done, delivering him against lions and bears. No way this shepherd boy has defeated lions and bears. David knows that it wasn’t because of him that he defeated these violent and deadly animals, it was God who delivered him. So in the moment we start replaying all the reasons why we can’t, we have to remember why God can! Looking back at your past can be a dangerous thing to do, unless you are looking back at your past through God’s eyes, in His identity, looking at each of the victories God has already brought to your life and you can have confidence that this living God is more than capable of delivering you to victory once more.
“The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
I love that verse! David is saying the same God that brought victory yesterday in my life is the same God who is going to bring victory today. Looking back at the victories God has brought us through is where we are settled back into that confidence. When things are getting rough and the giant is yelling taunts at you, saying “remember yesterday, you can’t do this, you’ll never be able to defeat me.” Those are lies straight from Hell! When things get wild and hard in your life and you’re facing a giant sized situation, a giant that has defeated you day in and day out for sooo long, always focus on your identity. Your identity as a child of God. Your identity in Christ, as one with Him, a child of God who may have struggled yesterday but because of what Christ has done, the victory He has given us, you’re not the same person of failure you used to be, you’ve got a new life, a free and victorious life through Christ! It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday because God has called you forgiven, accepted and worthy!
Continue to constantly remind yourself of your true identity as a child of God! Look back at the person you were yesterday and look how far God has taken you! It’s amazing to see what God has done! It’s easy to get wrapped up in and down on yourself because of the wrong you’ve done and the failures you’ve had but when you get discouraged, remind yourself, “I’m a child of God!” Then look at what God has done in your life, taking you from a life wrapped up in sin and death to a life of freedom as victory through Christ! Recount each victory, have confidence in God for what He has already done and have confidence in God for what He is about to do! Yesterday is gone and the new life is here! Sometimes when looking ahead at your giant, it helps to look back at what God’s mighty hand has worked through your life, each moment of victory, then that giant you faced today gets smaller and smaller! Even if it’s others who tell you, like Saul was telling David, “you’re too small, he’s too big, you’ll never win, just give up.” Comments like that are usually from people who are standing scared on the sidelines like the Israelites were. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, the only thing that matters is who God says you are, what God has done and have faith in what He is doing! Focus in on the victories God brought yesterday, be thankful for them, and walk confidently into battle today knowing the same God that made it happen back then is the same God that is going to make it happen today!
“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
Hope y’all had a super awesome hump day and I’m jacked up to share this Word with you! I’m going to get personal with you for a minute to put some context on why this verse hits so deep for me and how it can hopefully hit even deeper with you.
I’ve been in a season of life where it’s been filled with a lot more lows than highs, a lot of transition, big decisions to be made, and all that wrapped together can cause for a whole lot of chains. By chains I’m talking about what facing all that stuff without God can do to you. As humans, especially in this world we live in right now, self-made, fast-food, I want this, I can figure this out. You know what I’m talking about? When handling moments in life that are tough and not how you planned them to be, having this worldly mentality can hurt you a lot more than it can help you. The worry, fear, anxiety, and doubt can wrap you up so quickly in those chains. The world will and can do that to you, life is going to hit you in the face at times, but when life hits, it doesn’t have to hurt if you are doing life with God. If there’s one thing this low season has taught me is that I’m not in control, if I try to figure things out and do it in my own, I’ll fail every time and end up in more and more of those chains. It’s because we are not capable of carrying the burdens of life and THANK GOD for giving us His Son so we don’t have to!!!!
Jesus has paid the price, won the ultimate victory for us to have life and life abundantly. We don’t have to be all the things that the world tells us to be because we are His, in this world but not of it because we are citizens of Heaven!!! The biggest struggle in this season of taking the hits is that I looked past the Gospel and tried to do it myself, and the failure that comes with trying to do yourself what Jesus has already done lead to a lot of pain on the inside. Those chains that can wrap you up of worry, fear and all that crap. They wrap you up so you can’t go places, do things, and just live enjoying this awesome life God has given us and the awesome blessings He has placed in our life.
This verse today was simple but it spoke so true. Have fun! That’s it! Just have fun! Embrace the fact that you serve a God that is in full control of your life, so you are no longer needed to “fix it.” He’s got you! With faith in Jesus Christ you are a child of God! There’s nothing in this world that can hurt you, literally NOTHING!! Because at the end of the day you have Jesus and you have life through and with Jesus for eternity! Nothing or nobody can take that away!! So enjoy life! Enjoy life and all the many blessings God has given you starting with the first breath you take when you wake up to each step He has given you the power to take! Be thankful and never stop being thankful for the victory Christ has won for you and every piece of life that God gives you! He gives us so much because He loves us so deeply and so abundantly that He wants to help us put all the chains aside that this world can so easily place on you and have some stinkin fun living in His freedom!
Even in your work today! Enjoy the work you do and be thankful that you have a place to go and do work that you can be proud of! Enjoy the blessings God gives you from being able to work, the money He gives through the pay checks so that you can provide for yourself and loved ones! And one more chain I almost forgot, the performance chain. The “I have to be the best mentality” that we so often live with. Yes work hard and yes try to be your very best for the Lord but if you work so hard you aren’t enjoying life, then step back and slow down! It’s crazy in the middle of putting so many parts of my life under my performance and work, you miss out on the greatest parts of life that God has given you. Relationships with others, having fun and just enjoying life! At the end of the day, I look back at my 24 years of life so far and each time something big or awesome is brought into my life, it’s God’s hand at work not mine. Trust in Him and step back for a second. He’s got this and He’s got you!!!
Wake up today, this day the Lord has made, BE THANKFUL AND BE GLAD IN IT!!! This life is so precious and the work God does in it along with the blessings He gives us is just too awesome to be wrapped up in any kind of chain! By what Jesus has done for us, you are free and you get to live in this awesome freedom Christ has given!!! Have fun!!! In everything you do, enjoy it! Behind it all, God has given you the breath and strength to do it so enjoy it, have peace and just live man!!! This life wasn’t meant for us to be chained up in our problems, this life was meant for us to live the awesome fact that Jesus has already won the victory over our problems, God is always working in such good ways for our good! Trust in that, be thankful, and just have fun!!! As you can see in the pic today, don’t be a Patrick, be a daggum Spongebob and have a good time! Let the world see how much fun it is to be a born again child of God!!!!!