You know I am just like any other Christian- prone to stumbling, confusion, and irritation. I struggle with issues in my life, and pray and study to make sure that I am on the right path. As I learn, I realize that we are all in this together, and that often the things that I go through- so do others. Here is an article this morning that really helped me, and I hope it helps some of my readers as well.
A few weeks ago, we talked about complacency in our Christian walk and today our theme is “making it count.” Perhaps, you are reading this and saying “making what count?” Well I mean life in general. Everyone in the world whether they admit it or not wants their life to count for something. As we age, we realize that we want to leave a legacy. It may be a “bad boy/girl” legacy, a good family man/woman, a hard worker, a savvy business owner etc, but what ever it is (and whether or not we admit it out loud or to ourselves), we want our lives to have had a meaning- a purpose. Think of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life Book, and you will be starting to catch my drift. Now if you are a Christian then you know that the legacy we are to leave is one of building God’s Kingdom, and Glorifying Him with our lives. My question to my readers is simple: How are you making it count today? What legacy are you working on? We all only have one life to live, and once the game is over- IT”S OVER! There are no “extra lives” like in the new Jumanji movie. There are no “do-overs.” My fear for people is that most of them “put off” living for God until later. They put Jesus “on a shelf” for when they have more time. What if you run out of laters? Why aren’t you living for Him now? I notice a growing trend among older people called “regret.” You become advanced in age, and you realize that all the “stuff” you worked for- new cars, new houses, vacations, the latest gadget – all of that holds no meaning. You can’t take it with you! I did not think that this type of logic needed to be put into a blog post or words because I thought that society in general had decided long ago that you couldn’t buy happiness. However, after being around some of my friends who are those type of ” Jones,’ ” I came to the realization that material possessions have not been De-prioritized as much as they should be. Your possessions can never make you happy! That job will never make you happy! That significant other will never make you happy! The only thing that will ever truly fill that void inside of you is God and living for Him. Stop putting off living for Jesus and JUST DO IT already! It really truly is the only meaning-filled life that you could ever ask for. Living for a loving God and spreading goodness. There is no higher calling. Teaching people about the God who saves souls, and loves you unconditionally. Embracing all the right things in life- goodness, kindness, humility, and patience etc…We all love those type of people who just exude goodness, or the ones in the movies who want to fight for what is right and conquer evil. There is a reason we all find ourselves drawn to those personality types. It is because we are meant to live that way. We were born with that inherent desire to choose right over wrong, and love others. God and Jesus are the way to that life!
Verses for study:
John 14:6, Romans 2:14-15, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Romans 12:1-5
In conclusion, we are and have always been a part of the most epic story ever told- Good vs. Evil. You are either on God’s side or the worlds. There is no in between. There is no lukewarm. You were always meant to step in and be a hero for God’s Kingdom, and allow Him to work in your life and through your life. If you want the ultimate adventure, the good life, or to make it count, then ask God what to do, and He will answer. He is always faithful to answer heartfelt/ sincere prayers.
In as much as I share lessons with my readers, I am learning them myself at the same time. Sometimes, I find myself up against Spiritual walls where I know that something is wrong, but I cannot quite put my finger on what it is stirring in my soul. During these moments, I talk to friends when I should turn to God in prayer first. His answer and insight should be the one I seek first ( I get that wrong a lot). Today, from a dream I had last night, I researched “on the fence” which immediately makes verses like the the Lukewarm church in Revelation 3 come to my mind. In turn, this led me to research complacency. I ended up studying two sermons- one on Sermon Central about stepping over the fence (or wall) that holds you back from knowing God more, and one on Crosslife’s website that talks about complacency. I have talked about Jesus lessons before, and for first time readers- let me explain: a Jesus lesson is something I describe as coming from life events that you may have thought were not even related, or perhaps arbitrary thoughts that you blew off because you were “overthinking.” In my experience, when you are truly learning from Jesus, there is this point that culminates after several thoughts where Jesus just teaches you this huge lesson, and everything that happened in the last few days- verses that friends quoted, arbitrary thoughts (that were not arbitrary), and random verses that flashed through your head- were really God’s small voice trying to get your attention. ( Don’t worry I miss these messages a lot because I am a dummy). Now understand that this article brought all these thoughts together from like the last week or so. I was feeling like I am just not doing what I am supposed too, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong- I was still doing the normal routine, and accomplishing little things, and trying to cuss less than yesterday and still thinking about my blog and business, but that was the problem- I was THINKING not DOING. Faith requires work- it is one of our jobs, and it all just kind of culminated into a huge lesson with this article. I had become complacent.
I hope this reaches you the same way it did me, or at least makes you want to study the theme of complacency. What was amazing to me was seeing Rev. 3 in it, CS Lewis’s Screwtape letters mentioned (which i has arbitrarily been contemplating reading), and even see Psalm 46:10 mentioned- which was a verse a friend sent me 3 days ago as encouragement. Why do I find this so amazing you ask? Because all of the random events were not random at all, only a Divine Teacher like Jesus and the Holy Spirit could coordinate random events to coincide into a random 1 in a 1000 sermons found online that was found simply because I had a dream about helping children climb over a fence, and felt like I should research it. As it turns out things were not random at all, but it was God the entire time. He truly works in mysterious ways.
When I was a child, I loved Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. Those were my favorite movies, and I can honestly say that I still love Wizard of Oz and all of its spinoffs on the story. I love the Adventure of the Movies and how the heroine grows. Now Alice In Wonderland, I probably need to go watch again as I have not seen it in a very long time. However, last night I had a dream where I ended up in a very confusing place, and the whole dream-scape had an Alice in Wonderland Vibe. So really , I just started researching the “Biblical Significance of Alice in Wonderland,” and I came across this neat website and article that really had several of my dream elements in it, and it just made sense….I wanted to share that article with you today and I hope you have time to go read it!
Over the last three years, this blog has mostly been in the back of my mind, and I posted randomly. Even though I tried and tried to post on a regular basis, life got in the way. But failure is only true failure when you quit trying. My life really has not changed that much over the last 2 years. In fact, I find myself frequently re-living the same scenarios in my life- whether it be a type of self-fulfilling prophecy lifestyle, or maybe I have not learned all the lessons that God has taught me. Either way the point I know is being made is to keep moving forward- fall forward. I think that is one of the most important lessons in life is to learn to make even failures a learning opportunity, and not beat yourself up for mistakes or errors. I read once that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Cheers to trying something new! A new way to look at life! A new way to embrace adventure! This year I have decided to revamp my blog. You may have noticed that we have a whole new look and new identity. It was picked with my fellow travelers in mind. As Christians, it is exactly what we are- travelers on a journey to someplace better. This earth or fallen world is not our home. The Bible refers to us as sojourners, pilgrims, travelers etc…It is how I got the title for our new identity on this blog. This year I have learned that the ultimate destination for Christians is not Heaven but instead is to become more Christlike. SO if you think of your destination as a state of being then you will come to realize that the Journey of Life is the destination. This place is like one giant classroom meant to teach us important lessons and help us grow in Christlike character so that we can get back to that place from whence we originated. We came from Heaven and to Heaven we will return. I have learned to think of life like one of those amazing action movies full of twists and turns where the characters go on this grand adventure. In the course of the adventure, they make friends, learn to love and forgive, learn about themselves, and serve a higher purpose. Let’s share the adventure together as it was meant to be! Let’s commit to never stop learning, growing, or loving! Happy New Year!
So about 9 days ago when I published my last article, I sat down and did a study on “giving.” I made a page of notes to copy and paste into this forum (which I will do following this post) intending to share what I learned. Little did I know, that the Lord would really start to build on this idea of “giving” so complexly that what He was really giving me was Spiritual Gifts. Now I will not share them or tell you all of the stuff that was intended for my Growth, but I will share what it has come to mean. Often the little lessons lead to a bigger lessons like becoming a more mature Christian. It led to some amazing supernatural experiences that are so different from ordinary life that I feel like a part of the Matrix movie. It is like severe moments of clarity and understanding that just occur without any input from me. That is exactly what Spiritual Gifts are: Directly from God, nothing short of amazing, and are not in any way done as an individual. Now what is amazing that upon learning God had given me this amazing blessing: my first goal was to learn what it was, how to use it, and what to use it for. I prayed over it and He answered as He always does. HE told me to read Ephesians. I started in Ephesians which turned into kind of an instruction manual for Spiritual Gifts, then sought council from older wiser Christians, close friends who know me, and as I learned more questions came into my head. And after each prayerful question, He gave me amazing answers. I realized suddenly what it truly means to “add to your talents,” to use what you are given. It seriously requires lots of study. It requires lots of prayer, and lots of practice. What is truly amazing is how God is with me every step of the way. So amazing that I could cry with the sheer wonderfulness of it. He has led me to people and books, Scripture, and sources to further my understanding. He has provided me opportunities to practice by studying false religious systems (it is scary how they have permeated our world without us knowing it). I always said if there is one thing that I could do or share with others it would be my faith. It is like this amazing adventure full of twists and turns, hope, constant encouragement from my invisible Father, lots of potent life lessons (even when I get things wrong), and experiencing God in such a way that it can be nothing short of extraordinary. Moments like hearing Jesus teach me to paint, and Jesus watching a movie with me pointing out where the movie has satanic influences and where God always shows that Good conquers evil. It is like having a constant companion that will never leave you. So to conclude, let me just say that anyone who wants to talk more about Spiritual gifts just leave me a comment with your email. IF the Lord is willing, I hope to next share with you how He is teaching me to “Walk in the Spirit.”
Notes on Giving
As I mature In Christ, I feel Him putting on my heart to make my life about giving. In a general sense, what is giving? Baker’s Evangelical dictionary has an entire page dedicated to “Acts of Mercy” or giving. The online dictionary defines it as “cause or allow (to someone or something), offer, supply, or provide.”
But what exactly do we give? According to the Bible, we are called to give to the needy- clothing, food, or water. We are to enable the church to preach the Gospel. Hebrews 13:3 also says “not to forget those in jail.” Not only are their numerous verses about what to give in the Bible, but there are so many instructions on how to give. Not to mention the many parables that Jesus spoke giving us concrete examples of what we have to offer: think “the Widow’s Mites, the parable of the talents.”
Verses on how to give:
Matthew 6:2-4 Give in Secret
Romans 12:8 Give Liberally
Proverbs 3:27. 11: 24-25
Luke 3:11, Luke 6:30
Acts 20:35- It is better to give than to receive
2 Cor. 9:6-8
Paul even gives instructions to give voluntarily and cheerfully. He said that “God loves a cheerful giver.” He stated that if you have to gift of giving then give with “liberality.” One of my favorite stories on giving from scripture is about Dorcas or Tabitha from the Book of Acts. She was not well known and did not have a lot written of her, but what was said is telling. She was just a normal woman who gave back to her community with the talent that God gave her. What an amazing thing to think about! Just use your talent to give back! How hard is that? One of my favorite parts of my giving study was when I read 2 Cor. 8:10-20 in the Bible Version the Message. I felt like God was speaking directly to me about something in my life! We all tend to overlook giving until “we” are taken care of. We give to the poor and needy, but not until it hurts. The Bible and God have so much to say on this matter yet we ignore what we already know is one of the basics of being a Christ-follower. We give God and other people our leftovers and not our first fruits. What a Potent lesson!
Last night I had a dream where I was in a mall that had grown since I last saw it in a dream. The parts that were under construction were no longer under construction, and it not had three floors. The most vivid thing from this dream was that I was making rock candy in two different places. I woke up thinking what is so important about rock candy. I spent some of my time researching this morning and then the lesson from last week and last nights dream just kind of came together in these articles.
Now to fully understand, let me tell you what I realized the other night while i was trying to fall asleep. I was thinking about how would i describe my life if someone asked me too. I would say I work a lot , help my parents, take care of my dogs, watch TV, and sleep. I study the Bible and try to find time to do some serving. Then it was like this revelation just hit me: wow that is not what life should be about. It is part of it sure, but the Christ-follower life should primarily be about Serving God. So that article that I included by Pastor Rick was saved on my computer from a few days ago when I started researching serving, but I had not found time to read it yet. After I read article one, then I turned to the pastor’s article, and like I always say that nothing happens on accident. I think the fact that I read it today just really put on my heart what God has been showing me in the last few weeks. We as Christians can not sleep or stagnate in our faith. We have to make the conscious choice to keep growing and building on our Rock (Christ). We never stop maturing on this side of eternity, and like Pastor Rick said then our growing and maturing should lead to more serving. To study without acting on what we know means we stagnate. We become dead. You see we already have a zombie apocalypse going on. We have so many people walking around consumed by technology doing what the world says is normal, and it is not right. We have the Sunday Christians who show their faith one day a week and study, but they don’t LIVE IT. It is an everyday or more of an every moment choice to live God’s way. It is something that you consciously choose to do. Letting God change you on the inside is something you have to constantly choose. Its a race, a journey, an expedition, but mostly an adventure that you never quit living. You have to choose to do right over wrong, watch good stuff over bad stuff, study the Bible when you don’t feel like it, pray, love , and give. You have to choose to do those things. It is not enough to just “know.” Faith has to be composed of “actions.” Want a scriptural reference? Please see the Book of James. Love to all!