Heaven Week

Easter week always gets me to thinking about what Christ suffered on the cross for me. I think of the passage in Isaiah 53, prophesying about what Jesus would suffer for us. So that we could be redeemed, and we could have a personal relationship with Jesus and have an authentic relationship with our savior.

Jesus suffered so much so that He could set us free from sin, yet how easily we as Christ followers can fall back into old patterns, our pride, our flesh, the devil are working against us as we try to follow Christ. Following Jesus is no cakewalk. It’s hard, yet we can’t even grasp how much he suffered for us, the lashes, being spit upon, all his closest friends failing to stay awake.

Remembering what Jesus went through helps me to stave off that annoying and pesky sin nature, it helps me to keep Jesus as the center of my life. His sacrifice reminds me of his amazing, powerful love that He loves me with. He cares for us and will always be there for us, even when we turn away from Him.

Thankful and excited to celebrate, Jesus’ defeat of death and sin and His resurrection this weekend.

I leave you with Isaiah 53, what a powerful chapter.

Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;[g]
when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[j]
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[k]
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Contentment

Contentment what is it? What does it look like do I have it? These are some questions that I have been wrestling with recently. This is a interesting season in my life, I am in between the job I want and the job I have which I am grateful for. It is not easy being content when you are still pursuing your passion and you want it so bad that you cannot stop thinking about it.

When there are what seems to be insurmountable roadblocks that you have to get through to even sniff your passion, it can be quite hard to be content. I am not where I want to be right now, but I can still be content in all that Christ has done for me and all that He has blessed me with like a job, my beautiful wife, my amazing family and my amazing friends. A great church that is so friendly and on fire for Jesus that it is a blast to be a part of. Even though I am not where I want to be yet, my contentment is found in Jesus and not my career or my finances.

Scripture Sunday

Hey everyone. I hope you’ve had a great week. I have been fighting the flu the last three days, so I want to apologize in advance if this is not very deep.

As I mentioned last week I am going to be writing on the Scriptures I am reading at the time of writing. I am still in Revelation the last chapter that I read was chapter 17.

It starts off by describing a woman, who is called the great prostitute, she is sitting on many waters, showing her influence and power. She becomes drunk of the sexual immorality that she has committed with the kings of the earth.
Then an Angel carries John (the author of revelation) into the desert and what he sees is the woman sitting on top of a great beast, who is cursing God and shouting out blasphemous things against Him. In this scene she is also drunk with the blood of the saints who she has killed. John is baffled, I know I would be too. The angel describes what John is seeing the woman represents Babylon. The beast is coming to wage war against Jesus and all of his followers.
The world will marvel at the beast;because he will be killed and rise again. That is gonna draw a crowd of followers. There will be seven kings that give their authority over to the beast to wage war against Christ and all Christians. They wage war but they won’t win Christ conquers them in the fight. The waters represent people, tribes, nationalities, the nations that is the prostitute, the beast will hate the prostitute and go after her and devour her, rip her apart. Meaning many people will die at the hand of the beast, many nations will crumble because they follow their own sinful,stubborn hearts. What a sad picture that creates. People are pursuing their own passions and the vilest of desires and they will end up paying a big price. I am glad that God has grace for those who call upon His name, we don’t have to be apart of this, all we need to do is turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus wins. He is the one that we should follow. We need to let go of our selfish desires and put God first, following him with all we have. He gave us everything and the greatest gift of all salvation, so that we can spend eternity in paradise and not in hell.

I am praying that I can share the gospel with many people, and bring them to heaven with me. God loves us all and I hope that you decide to follow Him. I did and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s good to be on the winning team. Team Jesus all the way.

Trapped

One of my favorite things to do is write song lyrics. I have done this for years. I have least five or six notebooks full of lyrics. I have put music to a few of them, but I mostly write lyrics, because I have fun writing them. The newest lyrics that I have written, I am going to share. It’s about how I sometimes feel trapped underneath the weight of my sin, yet God always rescues me from that feeling. He is mighty to save and His grace is wonderful. I will at a later time write music for these lyrics. Hope you enjoy them.

A trap has been set, the trigger hidden underneath the dirt, mounds of earth hide the evidence.

I fall broken, once a proud man humbled by my sin being exposed.

My frail humanity, calls out to God.
Save me from this den of sin I fell in.
Cleanse my darkened soul onto you Jesus I hold.

Grace reaches out a hand, bringing me up from the earth, the dirt falls off. Washed clean, letting the water of grace envelope me.

Endings

This past Monday was the series finale of my favorite sitcom How I Met Your Mother. This show has meant a lot to me, it was a funny quirky show with a sensitive side. The writing was really fantastic. There were scenes that made you laugh and scenes that made you cry. All of the characters were easy to relate to. I really enjoyed the series finale as it answered some questions that I had in my mind about the characters, while they also threw in a surprise twist ending, which not everyone liked but I was good with it.

Endings, how to do you deal with the end of a job? The passing of a loved one or a friend? Have you thought about the legacy that you will leave behind once your own life ends? This is something that I have been pondering since Monday night; leave it to a sitcom to get me to start thinking about deep, heavy stuff! My life will eventually have an ending. What message do I want to preach with my life? I have gathered a few thoughts about how I will know if I finished well.

  • If I end my life still loving God and loving others and sharing His Gospel that’s a good ending for me.
  • If I still love my wife, future children, family go out of my to love them and support them and help them that will be a good ending for me
  • If I am still willing to take risks and grow in my faith even if it requires me to give up the comforts of this world I know I will have finished strong.

Loving God and others with all my heart, mind, and soul is how I want to live from now, until the last page of my script is written.

What do you want your ending to look like?

Love One Another

I love Jesus and sometimes following Him is not that easy, even though it is very simple to follow Jesus. Following Jesus means to follow His commands and to love Him and to love one another unconditionally. Yet I believe, that loving people unconditionally is one of the hardest things on earth to do. It is very easy for us to love people with conditions especially those who are mean to us or belittle us, or look at us the wrong way.

Loving people the way that Christ loved us is impossible if we try to do it without God’s help. As Christ-followers we can only love those around us, especially our enemies with the help of the helper the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit we are enabled to love those and pray for those who we have trouble getting along with.  It’s easy to love those that we like and have a natural affection for. Jesus says that even non-believers do that. To love one the same level that Jesus loves; is to put aside selfish desires and hurt feelings, it is to embrace a call to love without conditions, that is the way that Christ loves and it is the way that I want to love those I interact with even if they give me a nasty look.

Following

Following Jesus. That is the simple way to break down what Christianity is about. The question that I have been wrestling with lately is, is it really as easy as the American church says it is to follow Jesus? I believe that the answer is no. Following Jesus is no light and minor endeavor.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Matthew 7:21-23

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:26-33

To truly follow Jesus one must surrender everything to Jesus. Sins; bad habits, impure thoughts, selfishness, pride, arrogance. He demands and deserves all of us. Matthew 7:21-23 is a very sobering passage. Many who claim that they are Christians, even some that do works for the kingdom of God, will not enter heaven. The road is narrow. Sin should break our heart, though as I find is the case in my own life, it is so easy to be desensitized to my own faults. It is easy for me to be lulled into complacency in my relationship with God and not take the time necessary to strengthen it. I don’t want to be one of those people that goes before God in Matthew 7:21-23 and Him to tell me that He never knew me.

Luke 14 states clearly that Jesus wants to be the most important part of our life. Above everything we should follow Him at all cost! No matter what happens to us: persecution, betrayal, being disowned by those that we love. These are all real prices that people have had to pay to follow Jesus. One question that burns in my heart when reading that passage is Am I willing to endure and suffer for the sake of Jesus? Am I willing to let go of the comforts of living in America, my possessions? Am I willing to put it all on the line for Jesus? I can if I truly count the cost of following him and realize like Paul did that suffering in the present age, will be nothing to the reward that true Christ-followers will experience in heaven.

These thoughts have been stirred up in my heart, thanks to the Lord and a book called “Follow Me” by David Platt. I have only read the first 15 pages so far, but God is challenging my thinking on what it really means to follow Him.

Time to walk that narrow road of obedience and follow Jesus, knowing that it might cost me everything and that’s ok with me.