“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.“/ Proverbs 3:5-6
Noticed something today when I was shooting basketball that made a lot of sense when it comes to our life with the Lord. I usually shoot around in my driveway before I work out to get warmed up and I know if I don’t start with a few form shots close to the goal then my shot is going to be terrible. If I just go out there and start shooting from everywhere then I’ll be able to get into the construction business and build a house with all my bricks. I’ve learned after the many years of struggling to shoot with perfect follow through that I have to take a minute and focus on my form before I start shooting. If you’re a basketball person or not here’s what I mean by “perfect follow through”; when you raise the ball to shoot, the left hand is there as pretty much a tool to hold the ball then the right hand does all the work, flicking the wrist in s straight line towards the hoop and following through like you’re reaching in the cookie jar. My problem with my form has always been my left hand. For some reason my left hand doesn’t want to just be there barely doing anything, it wants some of the action in the follow through. After shooting today I realized every time I miss it’s because my left hand is trying to do what only my right hand does, follow through. When I would make shots, it was because my left hand stayed out if the way and my right hand did the heavy lifting by doing all the work. A perfect follow through, SWISH!!!
I got to thinking about how much I am like my left hand when it comes to my daily walk with the Lord. I want to make all my shots so bad and be successful in my Christian life, I start to try to do more than just be there with the Lord as my right hand doing all the work and making all the shots possible. I want to make shots so I try to follow through and then I miss shots, the more I try to be in control of my life, the more shots I miss and the deeper I go into the slump of building a house with my bricks. I try to step up to the position of the Lord and be in control, making it happen and making shots but with each time I try to be apart of it, “lean on my own understanding” I fail. Thank God we’re just a left hand and He takes care of the follow through. If it was up to me I’d be a walking missed shot, a complete failure but when I come to the Lord and lean on His understanding that He is God and I am not. That He is in full control and I can’t be, the perfect follow through through the perfect sovereign God, leads to a life of peace, joy, freedom, and victory! Made shots!!! The more I try to do His job the more I fail, the more I become stressed, insecure, and fearful of every move I make. We have to know our position with the Lord, we are just the left hand, a tool that the right hand uses to work through, to bring glory to His name and to make shots, make a true everlasting impact in others lives for the Kingdom of God. We may go through this game a million times to learn the hard way but lets start each day and work on our form. Whether that’s devotion time in His Word, prayer, coming to Him and giving it all to Him, submitting yourself to His understanding and His powerful work He has set out for you. Know that you can’t do His job, only He can make shots, only He can make your paths straight. Be a left hand a do your job, just be there with the right hand. Be there with the Lord, in position ready to follow His lead, He’ll do the work with the perfect follow through and it’ll be easy to feel the difference in His perfect follow through and our broken attempts.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
I want to wish a big Merry Christmas to everyone today! Hope you’ve been able to enjoy the visit from Santa and the time spent with loved ones today! It’s crazy how in 24 years of life, Christmas sure does look a lot different than it used to. Instead of waking up at 4am to see if Santa had stopped by to leave presents yet, it makes more sense why my parents always said go back to sleep. When I was little, receiving underwear, socks or clothes was always so disappointing and now all those things are like acquiring gold. I used to have my cares solely focused on the presents and Santa, so jacked up on candy I snuck out of my stocking before my parents got up. I couldn’t wait and the suspense of Christmas morning killed me. It’s funny how things change. Now I’d prefer to sleep as long as I can and whether I get presents or not it’s not nearly as big of a deal.
Looking back at all the years of Christmas, there was one tradition that stuck out to me today that I never cared much about as a kid. My parents would always read the Christmas story to us on Christmas Eve every year before we went to bed. I never understood why they always made a point to do that but now it makes sense. In that story, the story of Christ coming into the world lays the greatest gift of Christmas, really the greatest gifts of our lives. The story that goes beyond just a holiday, that means more than any temporary excitement or present. As nice as the presents are, they never last, what God did for us by sending His Son into the world, the one true light that breaks through any darkness, the light of love that breaks into our lives and captures us, breaks the chains of darkness and brings not just temporary excitement but eternal joy and an abundance of peace. Crazy to think that God would give us that present when we are all so undeserving. I know now why my parents spent the time to share and enjoy the greatest gift of all with us before any other gifts were received. Thank God for the foundation they set in my life and even tho I didn’t realize it then, receiving this gift from God of being in a personal relationship with Christ and walking joyfully and in perfect peace because of what Christ has done for us and the light that continues to break through our darkness every day. The gift that changes everything! Thank you Lord!!!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Just spend some time today and write this promise from God on your heart, write it on your forehead even. Just be intentional about keeping this close to you and constantly think on it. Spending a day holding tightly to this truth that no matter what my cares, how impossible or how big they seemed that taking them to the Lord and giving them all to Him, then walking away from them knowing that He’s got me, He will sustain me and no matter how wild it gets He will never let me be shaken. This promise of truth spoken from, God, the creator of the universe, changes everything. From top to bottom, He brings the possible into the impossible, He gives peace when there seems to be no peace in sight and hope when all seems hopeless. Hold tight to this Word today and hold tight to the truth that God won’t let anything, NOTHING shake you. He’s got you, He loves you, and He’s going to take care of it because of His faithful love for you and me. It’s pretty wild when cares come up and then this promise from God, the cares start shrinking more and more in comparison to the size of God and His promise to fight for you with His World creating power. Let go, and watch God work.
I’ve been working on this message for two days now. Hearing this song and the way it describes Jesus, Who He is, the amazing things He’s done for you and me, and just the power and life that His name signifies. I felt moved but I also felt extremely convicted. How could I claim I live for Jesus and then live like I have no idea who He is? The reason this message has taken so long to type is not because of busyness or length, purely because I’ve literally sat here at a loss of words on how to describe Jesus. The more I’ve sat and actually thought about His name and Who He is, the more convicted I’ve become. That’s the beauty of Jesus. The more we seek and intentionally think about Him, the more we see just how desperate our need is for Him, and how weak and broken we are without Him.
It kills me to think that I’ve so causally thrown around His name and mention the reason for the season, He’s easy to claim but actually being with Him and growing closer to the hugeness and awesomeness of Who Jesus is, that’s a whole other ball game. I could make a million excuses why I spend more time thinking about myself and my wants than thinking of Him. Why I spend more time watching tv or sports like it’s the biggest part of my day instead of looking into His Word and seeing what the Son of God spoke and sacrificed for me. It’s the easiest thing in the world to casually throw around His name like it’s a name tag we slap on areas of our life to make us feel better about how bad we are or for others around us to think we are better than we truly are. That stuff is easy and I guess that’s why they say following Jesus can be hard. Instead of taking selfies and constantly editing my pictures to make me look better than I am, when I look into God’s Word I see the truth about me and the truth is I’m not that great. It’s easy to be selfish and focus on the things of the world just riding with the flow of what everyone around us is doing but what’s hard is being selfless, following the example of Jesus and being completely different and focusing on completely different things than the world around us.
I live majority of the time as if Jesus is just any other name and I find myself asking too often after living this way, “who??” It doesn’t make sense how I could be so caught up in me and “fitting in” and still claim to know and live for Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the name above all names, the King of Kings, the Son of God, the Savior. Wow. The Who question brings a lot more into light when you actually start seeking answers. The answers in who He is lead to the WOOO!!!! Of praise upon realizing the fact that if it wasn’t for Him I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing but I can promise you it wouldn’t be good. God came down in the form of you and me, took on a life in the flesh, walked against temptation and suffering like we could never imagine and was perfect and sinless with each step. He healed the sick, He gave life to the lifeless and He brought sight to the blind. And what’s awesome is at some point we all are sick, blind, and dead but Jesus didn’t just come to earth to bring life then, He was just displaying in person what He is still doing today. He took every sin past, present, and future, and sacrificed Himself on the cross. He died the death that me and you deserve to make a way for me and you when there was no other way. Purely out of love for a sinful, weak, and broken humanity, Jesus paid the price for me and you. Even knowing that some would always reject Him and some would still mock His name even after He was gone, He still sacrificed Himself. He took pain at levels we could never dream of, why? Because He loves us that stinkin much. While we were chained in slavery to sin and death with no way out, Jesus came and made a way. He rose on the third day with the chains of sin and death broken forever. He didn’t just offer forgiveness through His sacrifice but He offers new life, life eternally, a victorious life of freedom from the sting of sin and death. His name is the most powerful, most loving, name of all names. His name brings grace and mercy to a people who will never deserve it. His name brings hope to the hopeless, confidence to the fearful, joy to the depressed, and peace to the insecure. His name means life and by His name we have life like we could of never accomplished with our own two hands.
I don’t know how I overlook the presence of Jesus in my life so often like I do and treat His name so casually but thank God for His Word. Thank God we can come to know Him, seek Him and always find Him even greater and more awesome with every glance. I don’t know if any of my conviction helps you but if it does, WOOO!!!! Seeing Jesus in the fullness of Who He is can’t be treated lightly, because His light is too great to waste, His light is too awesome to keep closed off from us and the world around us. No matter what the cost it doesn’t matter because Jesus has paid the price in full.
The biggest part of this message is I don’t share my conviction and these realizations of seeing Jesus in a bigger, more deserving light, by no means am I saying I’ve got it all figured out. I’ve struggled and fell into temptation even after righting this. As bad as I want to sit here and ask why? And ask who? Because Jesus feels so far away when we are surrounded by our own darkness. I have no clue what I’m doing, all I know is if it’s left up to me then I’m in a lot of trouble but this is the message. The Gospel of Jesus Christ! I suck and because of Jesus I may still suck but He brings me to a life with Him that brings deliverance and victory over strongholds! Without Jesus I’m nothing. He’s the only good part about me.
I’ve never done this in a God Gold but I’m going to pray for me and you.
Lord, thank you for the life you give us. Not just each breath we breathe but the life of victory, joy, peace and freedom from all the things that try to keep us captive. Thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for your forgiveness. Without your forgiveness by the wild amounts of love and mercy you show towards us, we wouldn’t stand a chance. I come to your Lord on behalf of myself and whoever is reading this and I pray for your breakthrough! I ask that you break through the sin, evil, carelessness and clutter of our lives that fill our hearts and minds and take us away from seeing you in the true beauty of Who you are. Breakthrough Lord, shine your light into each area of darkness exposing us for who we truly are and teach us to come humbly before you, teach us to call on you whether things are going smooth or the times of storms. Teach us to trust in you and renew our minds with each moment to seek you, realize our weakness and incapability to live otherwise, and show us you Lord. Thank you for speaking your truth into lives filled with hearts who stray far from it. Thank you for loving us no matter what stage of life we’re in and teach us to move from selfish ways into your selfless ways. Renew us daily to see your truth above the lies we’re surrounded with and continue the show us where to set our focus, on you. Teach us, grow us, and mold us in our unbelief and move us closer to you and the life you’ve given us. Thank you Lord for who you are. Amen! WOOO!!!
“Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.”/Proverbs 4:25-27
WAKE UP!!!! Focus in today on the God you have before you. Put away all the things in your life that hinder you from keeping your eyes on the Lord and walking out a straight path in the divine and awesome purpose He has for your life. Don’t look to the left or right, not even down. Make a point today and everyday to fight the distractions of your life with intention. If the devil can’t destroy then he will do everything in his power to distract you, stagnating you in your faith and walking out the mission God has given you to serve and spread the Gospel. If he keeps you distracted long enough then he can eventually destroy you. Pay close attention and live with intention to fix your eyes on Jesus in whatever way allows you to do that, whatever things you have to let go of, just do it. The Lord has too much awesomeness planned for your life and the lives around you than to waste our time being distracted on temporary pleasures. Post sticky notes everywhere, set up 100 reminders on your phone, do whatever it takes to lose the distractions and keep your eyes focused ahead. We wonder why we always get to the end of our days, months, and years wondering why we’re still fighting the same fight we were fighting yesterday or the year before, why some relationships aren’t stronger and we still have a dad-bod even though we made a plan to fix that this week or this year. Distractions. They can hold you back in every area of life but thank God He teaches us how to be intentional and keep our focus on Him. Thank God we have His Holy Spirit guiding us and reminding us where we need to be aware and when distractions tempt our steps. Move and look ahead! Fight the distractions with intention and enjoy walking into the wild and awesome life God has had waiting for you this whole time!
ZONE IN on God today!!!!