“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.”/Deuteronomy 8:2
These verses really stuck out to me yesterday and I’m so thankful to for the lesson the Lord is teaching me through them. So lately I’ve been going through a season of life that’s been different than what I thought it would be. At 24 years old you would expect that life is figured out, you’re moving into the profession the Lord has called you to, everything is just working out like peaches and cream. Nah not exactly. While still finishing online seminary and working whatever job I can, it’s been extremely hard to be patient and not get so caught up in future plans that I lose complete focus on what He’s teaching me right now. I caught myself the other day just getting mad and questioning God, “if you’ve called me to ministry why am I working in a grocery store?” The problem with this is I had been doing this for quite awhile but not realizing it. I’ve been so upset that I’m not right where I want to be in my profession that it’s hindered how I act and live in this season. It’s blinded me to the fact that I’m in ministry wherever God puts me and I may not be where I want to be, but God has me where I need to be.
After looking at these verses, it’s obvious to me where I made my mistake. The Israelites had the vision set before them by the Lord of going to the promised land and that vision got them all jacked up to go until they realized to get to the promised land, they had to go through the Wilderness first. They spent so many years wandering around in the wilderness, facing hard times constantly and their faith in what God had promised them became smaller and smaller. So many times they questioned God because being uncomfortable, hungry, thirsty, struggling in the wilderness didn’t seem worth it. As their circumstances got tougher, their faith in the vision of the promised land got dimmer. Why would God take us through seasons and places that take us so lower than we’re wanting to go, make us uncomfortable and clueless to why we’re there?
Well after realizing how I had been so caught up in vision of the promised land and looking at my current circumstances saying you gotta be kidding. The Lord humbled me big time after seeing the purpose and reason to why I am where I am. The Wilderness seasons of life are tough, they don’t make sense at all but you’re in them for a reason. I see now why I’m here, instead of working half go and taking more time to get upset over my situation, it’s easy to see now that God put me here to take me low. He’s taking me out of my comfort zone, challenging my pride and humbling the mess out of me all so I can learn to trust in the His process over my own. It’s been hard to understand but at the end of the day God takes us through the wilderness so when we get to that promised land, whatever that is for you, we’ll walk into it praising His name. After learning how to trust Him at new levels in the wilderness, He better equips us to trust Him in the promised land. He teaches us to always attack what’s in front of you, no matter how much better you think you are or how you don’t want to be there, attack it with a humble, joyful attitude knowing that if we’re going to truly live and see the promised land God has in store, the hard work and embracing the discipline He’s taking us through now will be what gets us there.
We could see the wilderness and then cry, moan and complain all day. And guess what? Is that moving us closer to His promise or just wasting our lives wandering around asking why? Attack what’s in front of you, with your eyes set on God’s purpose and will, seeking what’s to be learned there. Seeking how He is stretching and growing you during that time. It may not be where we think we should be but it’s where God has us so all we can do is trust that despite how bad it looks, He’s got a much bigger purpose He’s working together. Attack the right now with a tenacity and enthusiasm unknown to mankind, looking forward to what God has in store but not looking past what’s in front of you. Such a huge lesson for me to see God’s goodness in this process. Trust the process. The promised land is ahead but if you don’t move towards it with God how will you ever get there?
Looking at my surrounding situation in God’s eyes instead of my own, I’m so thankful to even have work to do. I’m excited to attack it because the more it makes me uncomfortable, I can see God bringing me to the end of myself, realizing my desperate need for Him. I don’t know what’s going to happen or how it will all play out but I’m so daggum jacked to see what God has in store and what attacking each day and each job, whether it’s cleaning toilets or much bigger with enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Lessons in the low make the big that God has in store so much more exciting!!!
Today’s random Sunday Funday gold is brought to you by; Oldie but Goldie. To kick off this edition I thought what better way than to put a picture of my favorite oldie but goldie TV show. If these new Netflix shows aren’t doing it for you, I highly recommend the Andy Griffith Show. I promise you won’t be disappointed. This is a God Gold from awhile back that my buddy Dillon had sent to me. The words in this ring even more true today than they did that day in Gold history. I hope everyone has an awesome Sunday worshiping, praising, and learning about the One who gives us this eternal future to look forward to! Man I can’t wait! Enjoy this one from my boy! It’s an oldie but a goldie for sure!
“My buddy Dillon sent me this gold today and dang! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”/ 1 Corinthians 2:9
We cannot imagine all that God has in store for us, both in this life and for eternity. He will create a new heaven and a new earth, and we will love with him forever. Until then, his Holy Spirit comforts and guides us. Knowing the wonderful and eternal future that awaits us gives us hope and courage to press on in this life, to endure hardship, and to avoid giving into temptation. This world is not all there is. The best is yet to come!
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
1 Peter 1:3-4, 7
So had an experience yesterday where these verses I had sent out came to play big time! I couldn’t get away from God’s promise of new life, and “now we live in great expectation.” For me to write about it on the God Gold and read it is one thing but truly believing it so it’s true in your life, that’s a whole other story. I don’t know if you do this but I can hype it up and talk about how much I believe all day long but when life hands you trials or tough circumstances, it’s easy to see if it’s all talk or actual belief. Heard this the other day that emphasized these truths even more, “usually a person acts and lives in what they most strongly believe.”
I had a job interview yesterday and if you’ve been to one before you know how nerve-racking they can be. I had been telling myself and others all day, I’m good, I got this, I’m not nervous at all. Then I get in the car to go to the actual interview and I’m not feeling as confident as I sounded. It was game-time and I didn’t want to show up. I had no reason to be but I was nervous, my hands were getting sweaty and I even had the thought, “I don’t need the money, maybe I can invent something or come up with a cool new idea.” Honestly I just wanted to go anywhere but the interview
Then it hit me like taking a Rocky Balboa left hook to the chin, I had some questions come up, “dude don’t you believe in this life with Christ, the great expectation of having the Son of God by your side, His freedom, His victory, the inheritance of eternal life.” Those questions hit me hard because I was once again acting and living out of what I had, what I felt, and it brought nothing but fear and defeat into my mind, heart and most of all my expectations. The most freeing feeling was sitting there realizing, whether I get this job or not it’s not going to mess up the most important part of my life which is my relationship with Christ. If I get it then He must want me there, if I don’t then He’s got somewhere else for me to go, either way I’m going to be fine because I’m with Him, in His will, and no matter what happens I’m a child of God. Seeing His will like that gave me supreme confidence to walk in there with that “so…” attitude. So what if I don’t get this job, the Lord has another plan. So what if I completely blow it, the Lord must be teaching me something. I don’t have all the qualifications, so what??
Those great expectations in Christ became reality for me in that moment, not because I did anything special, the truth was too real not to believe with all I had. Going back to that quote, if you believe that nothing can stop you or hurt you as a Child of God walking in God’s will, if you believe that Christ has set great expectations for you. You live and walk in your strongest beliefs. It’s not doing something, it’s believing what He’s already done. That moment was just a mini trial and tough situation compared to ones I’ve had before and the trials people go through all around me every day. It was a big learning moment about faith and Christ that I can take into any trial that comes my way and you can too!
The truth is we face these trials and tough situations every day in our lives but how do act and live faithfully through them? Usually when life starts hitting you from all directions the easy thing to do is believe the lies you tell yourself, “I can’t get past this, I’ll never be good enough.” Or believe what the world tells you, “he’ll always be that way, he’ll never do anything in his life.” That’s like if you walk onto a football field with low expectations, expecting to lose and not stand a chance, guess what!? You will lose and you won’t stand a chance. That’s the stinkin awesome thing about having a relationship with Jesus Christ! When your identity is in Him, the Son of God, your identity isn’t in the yours or the worlds low expectations. When trials come and you feel too weak or too scared to feel anything but defeated, remind yourself where your identity is! Remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what you got or how bad it looks because Christ has given you another way, a way of great expectations, victory!!
That’s where these second set of verses hit me because too often I believe all the lies and low expectations we set for ourselves. I wonder why I can’t just have more faith when the fire comes? I easily forget that my identity is in Christ and so what if the fire comes! With Christ I can take all the hits, handle anything that comes my way. It’s really just as simple as looking at these verses, the literal Word of God speaking to you, He tells us the truth about who we are in Christ. He tells us about the inheritance we have to look forward to, the power and strength that comes with faith. Even if you struggle to believe Him and these truths for you like I have. Yesterday, after always praying, talking to God asking for so many different things, seeing the pricelessness of faith and what belief in Christ, what He has done for us and who we are with Him in this new life. It’s so hard to believe and have faith after spending so many years of our lives being defeated and trapped in this mindset of our situation will never change. I know for me it’s because I only like to believe what I can see with my own two eyes. So yesterday I asked God for help in an area that I should of embraced with Him long ago, “God strengthen my belief, help me learn more about you and Who you are, help me seek you more and keep my identity in you as a constant reminder.”
I say all that because I struggle so much and even more in trials, I struggle to have faith. I struggle to see past my old life as a weak, defeated person and to truly believe the truth about my new life in Christ. All I want to do is live more to please God, to live better, to live with my eyes set on eternity. Understanding the simple fact that it’s not something I can DO, it’s something that’s been done, believe it. To live it and walk in these great expectations that Christ has given us, believe. Even when the trials come, believe. It sounds so hard to believe when all hell is breaking loose around you but Christ has given you another way, Christ will renew your hope, set your eyes on the eternity that can’t be taken away, He’ll show you the freedom that comes in believing and living in these great expectations as a victorious Child of God. You may be get spit on, “so what…..” You may lose everything you own, your job, “so what….” You may feel so scared and nervous, “so what…” You have Christ, you have eternity to look forward to, you have freedom to walk in His victory. Can’t nothing hurt you, can’t nothing beat you because you are a Child of God.
“A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables. The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
Proverbs 24:3-5, 30-34
I ran across these verses today in Proverbs. I always here words like “rich” and “poor” in the Word and automatically understand it as we see them, having money or not. Looking around in the chapter more after seeing this story about a lazy person, it’s easier to see that God weighs what’s rich and what’s poor on a whole different scale.
Coming from a person who has a lot of experience in being a little too lazy at times, these verses really helped me see where I’m wrong in the way I live daily and how important it is to stay on the grind. Seeing what my dawg Yoga had to say about it, as much as we complicate it all, it’s really pretty daggum simple. “Do or do not, there is no try.” Those two results of those two decisions, that’s it. You do it or you don’t, you hit the grind or stay lazy, no in between. “Trying” is only something we tell ourselves and others to make us feel better about not doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in life with all the responsibilities we have draining us everyday but no matter how tough or grueling our lives can be we have no excuse to step off the gas pedal. When this picture is painted of what the lazy person’s vineyard looks like, I could really relate. This precious life God gives us to live is not one to be taken lightly because even tho our life doesn’t stop here, there’s so much work to do before we’re there. I especially relate to the part about “a little extra sleep” because if it was up to me I’d always choose that little extra. The problem with being lazy, even though we have a ton of excuses we make as to why we deserve it or need it, our fields become overgrown and out of control. By fields I mean life and by overgrown I’m talking about the decisions, tough circumstances we find ourselves in everyday.
I constantly find myself wondering why I have so many overgrown weeds and thorns in my life, why poverty and scarcity make their homes in many areas of my life? Well when you start adding up all those “little” moments of sleep, laziness, just wasted time, poverty and weeds makes perfect sense. I sit around wanting my situation to be better, wanting to be better, but at the end of the day I’m still sitting and that’s just talk. The craziest part is when you really take some inventory on your days, how you spend your time, how you waste your time, to change how you live your day and spend your time isn’t some big huge leap from where you are to the changed and finished product. To get to that better version of yourself, it’s the little decisions we make everyday and how we decide to make them or focus on what we choose. The problem I’ve had trouble wrapping my mind around is it’s not some big huge change leap all at once, it’s getting up every single day with the focus of, how can I get just 0.01% better today? What little decisions can I make sure to make today so they’ll be easier to make tomorrow and make me stronger in my future? Majority of the time that’s why I’m lazy because having a field that not overgrown with sin and struggle, having better circumstances around me, it seems impossible to change so why try?
That’s the cool part about how God is discussing being rich and poor here. When one is “rich” they are wealthy in God, their relationship with God, knowledge of God, who He is and what He’s capable of, and the wisdom that God gives. Being rich means embracing God’s wisdom, being able to discern where God wants you, what He wants you doing, how to handle certain situations, that’s true Godly Wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t even mean you have to be like Albert Einstein or be able to be smart, it’s just good sense. Having good sense to make those little decisions day in and day out, making more decisions towards seeking God, seeking His wisdom, moving for Him more and being lazy less. Good sense to keep your vineyard of life clean of the weeds and thorns that may hold you up.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be rich so bad and not the money kind! The biggest lesson from these verses was the last part of that story. Where it mentions how poverty and scarcity attack you so fast and so hard, think about that.
If you are living your day to day life in that whatever mindset like, well I’ll just talk to God when I feel like it, learn about Him another day, I can make the wrong decision here because it won’t hurt nobody. I’ve noticed when I become lazy in my life, slack on how much I seek the Lord, it’s like the whole world jumps on top of me and starts pounding me from every direction. Before I can do anything, I’ve already been hit so hard that it’ll take a minute to get back on my feet. The crazy part is when the hits start coming, why they are coming and how we handle it is usually a result of our daily grinding, walking with the Lord or just doing whatever. We start letting our guard down saying “it’s no big deal, whatever, I’m just going to do what I feel like for awhile, who cares,” hits are always coming at us but that’s when we open ourselves up to start taking the hits.
And to think at the end of it all, it’s just continually seeking the Lord, focusing in on the daily grind, using the Godly wisdom and good sense He gives you and applying it to even the littlest moments and decisions in your day. You’ll be surprised after making one little decision at a time, not to be lazy but to keep grinding, those little decisions start adding up and you wanna talk about rich!!!! WHOOO!!! You’re going to like Richie Rich in terms of God’s riches!!! Living and embracing the abundance that comes with having the Creator of everything in your life, that’s living in freedom. Grinding and working for the Kingdom and the King that has given you everything!
2 Corinthians 5:17/ “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
1 Peter 1:3-4/ “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”
Romans 6:3-7/ “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his, For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
I apologize for using so much scripture but this gold God has given me today is too awesome to just be backed up by one verse. So I’ve had some exciting news lately that’s brought up this thought of “New Life.” My brother, Justin and his wife, Ali have given birth to their second stud dawg, a little fella named Finn! (Pic above) I’ve been really struggling to find words for it but I’m just jacked up to be the uncle to not just one, but now TWO of the coolest dudes I know. After going through this process of new life once with my little buddy Lincoln Cash, it hit me the first time but I guess being a couple of years older this time with Finn hit me a whole lot harder. Once I got to see the chunky little guy I was kind of overwhelmed and I know where babies come from and all that jazz but I was thinking, “he was just in there, now he’s out here.” I guess this little piece of new life and how that’s even possible just got me. God sure is creative working that one together.
The part that was the realest though was seeing this new life that was brought into the world and realizing my role as an uncle. I have two little fellas around me that are going to watch every move I make and act out of my example. Sounds pretty scary to be honest because I’m not all that great. The exciting part though when I kept thinking of new life and how my life has played out, if it was up to me I’d be the worst example not only for Finn and Linc but for everyone around me. Thank God it doesn’t have to be up to me because just life the new life taking place all around me, Jesus has given me new life. From the first day I believed and came to know Him as my personal savior at 22 years old, He renews me everyday. Because of Christ, the death he took for me and raising from the grave, I don’t have to live in what I got or in the old life I fight to keep back everyday. I have died to myself and been resurrected with Christ so now I can live in “great expectation” of what He’s going to do through me to those around me.
I’ve honestly never thought about “new life” at this level before. After reading these verses and learning some eye opening truths from a book I’m reading, it kind of clicked with me. I pray that this makes sense and that you too can see this new life with Christ as awesome as it really is. Whether you already know Christ or not, I pray this helps!
Before I started this journey with Christ I was living in a downward spiral. Chasing everything and anything this world had to offer to give me that peace and joy I was looking for but nothing ever seemed to fill that empty void. Until the Lord opened up my eyes to see that He had been there the whole time carrying me and bringing me closer to His open, loving arms. I lived with the Christian title all through my younger years but my lifestyle was far from Christ-like. When I began to follow Christ and had that personal relationship with Him, it’s been the hardest two years of my life. What??? Yeah I said hardest but it’s also been by far the best years of my life. The hard part has been going from a lifestyle of doing what I wanted, chasing my desires and instead putting all that down to walk in His ways.
What’s made it so hard for me has honestly been my view of the gospel and getting myself out of the way. My life with Christ immediately brought some big changes, took me away from people and places I used to be around, He literally flipped my world upside down. I knew I had new life with Him, I could feel it and see it but believing and living it has been the hardest part of the battle. The more you learn about Christ and grow with Him, the more your eyes are opened to see every single imperfection of your sinful self so everyday is a constant battle to get away from the restraints and sin you’ve carried with you all your life. Since my view has been so wrong I’ve tried and I’ve fought but at the end of the day I’d always come up short, feeling defeated and depressed thinking I’m not good enough.
Here’s where things started clicking, I’ve been trying to do something to live in this freedom Christ gives. It’s not about me or what I do, it’s about what Christ has already done. This whole time I’ve been fighting a battle that’s already been won. I’ve tried everything to get into this new life and push away the old one when Christ has already brought me here. I was trying to earn the love from Jesus that I can never earn. By me being so sinful and deserving of all the punishment God could give, Jesus loved me so much He took all the worlds sin on the cross past, present, and future. Bearing the death we all deserve out of pure love for us. He did that to give us another way, a life of freedom, a NEW LIFE.
I spent so much time trying to figure this life with Christ out and work hard enough to rid myself of sin and my imperfections. I did that so I could feel worthy to stand before God. The truth that has been so big for me is when we have a relationship with Christ we are one with Christ. When Christ died on the cross we died with Him, our old sinful lives gone away. When Christ raised from death, we raised with Him into this new life of freedom and great expectations. I kept labeling myself as a sinner and living defeated but these verses from Romans say “anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” We are dead to sin. Even though we don’t feel dead to sin, look dead to sin, or act dead to sin, God says we are. It doesn’t matter what you think or what anyone else thinks, God, the holiest of holies, the creator of everything, He says we are dead to that old life of sin and defeat.
It’s not who we think we are, basing that off the sins of yesterday, failures we’ve had. It’s not about what the world says you are. Know who you are in Christ! Know what God’s Word says about you! You are a child of God, you are one with the Son of God. God says you are loved by Him no matter what, God says you are free from sin and all the things that make you feel defeated. God says you don’t have to do anything, just have faith in who He is, see this life in His eyes. I’ve walked so many days thinking I wasn’t good enough and the truth is we’re not but with our lives and faith in Christ, God says we are! It’s not about us, it’s all about Christ. Finally seeing what happened on the cross and at the grave in the reality of it, my beliefs and my view of who I am has once again been renewed. It’s a daily process to learn these truths and grow in Christ but don’t make the mistake I made and get so caught up in it all you lose sight of the foundation. Keep the truth of the gospel close, enjoy this new life you have with Christ and embrace the freedom He’s given us. Who does God say you are? That’s all that matters. Believe it and you’ll live in it.