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Unconditonal

amazinglovePeople are so fickle.  I was thinking about how easily others get upset with people on social media because they aren’t getting enough attention or likes. They threaten cleaning out their friends list because people don’t talk to them enough or God forbid they vote differently from you or have an opposing viewpoint. It seems more often than not, that we attach many conditions to friendship.  Why do so many people not allow for others to think for themselves or have their own opinion about something?  What happened with listening to each other and agreeing to disagree on certain matters?

Since Easter is this weekend, it makes me realize how wonderful it is to have a savior who loves mankind unconditionally.  We all can be punks sometimes.  I wonder how often Jesus feels neglected by mankind, even by Christians. I know personally that in busyness, I often push through life and neglect to give Jesus the attention or credit He deserves.  When Jesus walked the Earth, he taught radical living, opposite from what our flesh wants to do.  He ticked people off because His teachings didn’t line up with theirs.  Many walked away from Him. But, he didn’t move.  He wasn’t afraid of the lepers.  He touched them.  He didn’t care to be seen with a questionable woman.  He breathed real love upon her. For those who had questions,  He sat and answered the questions.  He spoke truth, but didn’t force it on the audience. He endured betrayal, physical lashings, ridicule, anger, and still forgave.  He knew He would be denied by Peter, yet sought him out afterwards for breakfast, after the Resurrection.

Explaining how extreme Jesus’ love for mankind is really unfathomable.  But, once you realize it and come in full contact with it, it’s overwhelming to know you are loved without condition.  When you are smacked with that kind of love, how can you not follow Him?  His love is a magnet.  It moves me out of myself and draws me to Him.  If you haven’t met Him, I hope that you will soon.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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An Empty Vessel

Her heart was hollow and she stood unyielding to anyone that tried to reach out to her.

She was used to the insults flung at her by those who were supposed to love her.

She didn’t trust what people called love.

She heard their artificial claims and witnessed their cold shoulders.

 

Yet, she crossed my path.

I want to show her the love that My Father showed me.

So, I take the time to

Chisel….tap….stand back

Wait.

Pray.

Smile at her with an honest grin

And with eyes that hope,

With eyes that felt like she does….once upon a time.

Until, God shook me and showered me with love that wasn’t deserved,

A pure love, a real love.

I’m waiting for that cloudburst to drizzle upon her face

And fill that heart to capacity.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Poetry, Writing

 

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A Beautiful Mess

mess

Tear stained face with a bruised heart,
Sitting between walls of solitude
Falsely reasoning within herself
That no one understands.
She’s a complete mess
Who’s waiting to be mopped off the floor of her despair.

She listens to inner lies that have lingered from harsh words
That was spoken in quick temper or without thought.
The accusations, disappointments, the inability to achieve acceptance
Have created this complete mess
That is tangled in her mind.

Interwoven and pulsating from her veins
A need to be seen, heard, and most importantly loved.
He sees her and knows her.
He hears her questions and doubts.
Her heart is naked before Him, but she thinks He doesn’t see.
He knows that she isn’t a complete mess.
He knows how to mop her tears and untangle her mind.
He sees that she is a beautiful mess waiting to be cleaned up.
He’s awaiting the word from her to help.
He can’t help without her asking.
He watches and waits with a heart ready to gush out love.
His arms are ready to grab hold of her and untangle her mess,
He’s ready to recreate the pieces of her that is broken
Into His original masterpiece.

 

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Calling Mercy

Have you ever played the game “Mercy,” on the playground? I’m sure it’s not allowed on school playgrounds anymore, due to the true brutality of the game. It’s a game of enduring pain where both participants grasp hands and try to bend the other one’s back until the weaker one yells Mercy!! I remember playing against the boys on the playground, trying to prove that girls were just as tough as boys. Sometimes I would win, but other times I wouldn’t. I really didn’t like to lose, but sometimes you just had to give in because you didn’t want a broken finger, hand, or wrist.
Thinking back to the game, it made me think about the word mercy and how much mercy God has shown me. I know there have been times in my life when I was close to snapping or breaking and I’d end up calling out for help, for mercy. It was in those times that I would admit that I was not as strong or as independent as I wanted to be. God in his wonderful nature immediately extends mercy to a mere human crying out and giving up. Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. God has the upper hand and He could quickly destroy me or you, but he doesn’t. He has compassion on us, a compassion that we can try to understand but never be able to achieve within the true character of who He is. But, in order to receive the fullness of mercy, I think you have to see the depth of it and accept the need for it with total surrender.

Mercy comes when you come to the end of yourself.

“Give thanks to The Lord, for his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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New Year Beginnings

A new year is quickly approaching.  Most of us plan to make new beginnings or the appropriate term would be make new resolutions for the year ahead.  I’ve been thinking about beginnings lately.  I’ve been going reverse and forward in my head trying to reflect on my past and squint ahead at the future.  Each year we look at the beginning of January as a clean slate.  We make promises to change certain habits, get healthier, get closer to God, rebuild relationships, or redevelop our paths in our lives. I’ve promised myself that I need to get healthy again because I feel like I’m not moving enough and I know I’m eating whatever I want.  But even as I type this, I’m thinking about the Reese Cup that is staring at me across the table.  Our clean slates quickly get filled with erase marks and moved beginning dates. 

 Back to the beginning though, it’s a place to start.  It’s the point to learn something new.  At the end of every year, I reflect on what I’ve experienced, seen, lost, and learned.  So with every New Year, I think I should look at it as a time to begin to learn more about my journey.  I should embrace the beginning of each day with alert eyes, ears, hands, and heart to tackle whatever God has for me that day.  I pray that I will be aware of what I’m supposed to do and not miss an opportunity that God has scheduled me for.  I pray that I won’t ignore the whispers of the Holy Spirit just because I’m selfish, proud or afraid. 

When I think of the first beginning, my mind goes to creation.  Genesis is the origin, the coming into being, or the beginning.  In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. He made light and dark separate to distinguish night from day. He made vegetation to grow and bear seed. He made the creatures that roam the Earth, swim in the seas, and soar in the sky.  He finished His creation with humanity.  He made us in His likeness and wanted blessings for us.  He said these beginnings were good and He rested.  Then He placed man in the garden to tend it but requested that he not eat from the Tree of Knowledge.  He then made woman for man, because He knew that man needed a companion.

 Then if you’ve ever read Genesis, you know that we screw up.  We listen to the Devil and eat what God’s told us not too.  We think we know better than He does.  We think that we have to know everything.  We think we need to control our own lives.  We do as we want and then feel the shame afterwards.  But God is so good that He made a way to erase the slate of sins in our lives.  He loves His creation and if we would just stay in His newness every day we will reap the benefits of His goodness.  Yes, we will slip up and mess up, but find peace in the grace of God knowing that Jesus paid for those slip ups and mess ups and that he offers a renewing beginning each day.  The sun rises and a new day appears, let’s live it the way that He intends for us to.  Let’s tend to what He has given us for each day and we will see His blessings.  If we continue that thought pattern for each day then the days will turn into weeks that will turn into a year filled with God’s goodness. 

               

               

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Decorated But Empty

emptybox

Through Christ we have a relationship with God.  At one time in my life I had a religion with God, it’s not the same.  You feel empty, you feel like you are never going to do enough or gain enough favor from him.  You mess up and you pray for forgiveness. You are afraid others will call you out on your sin and then hide it even more.  Then you slip and think if I do this or that, I’ll make my way into His Kingdom.  It’s tiring and unproductive.  Religion is cold, lonely and dark.

Christ’s love releases you from that worn out path of religion.  He knows you messed up, will mess up, and he doesn’t shame you in it, but instead he forgives you, constantly.  His love and forgiveness is never ending.   All you do is ask Him for it and it’s done.  With this type of forgiveness, you become victorious over anything that you need to overcome.  Because when you have a relationship with Christ, you come to Him raw.  You bear your heart to Him, because you trust Him.  You understand and somewhat grasp what all He has done for you.  Although, His love is unfathomable, you know deep down that it’s real and it’s there inside you.  He knows you better than you know yourself.    His love becomes greater than any sin that had power over you before.  He knows if you are having a bad day, if you feel awful, and yet He doesn’t close the door on you.  He’s there to listen, comfort you, and reassure you that He’s beside you.  A relationship is warm, comfortable, and light.

Anytime you have a close relationship with someone, you start to show little bits of their personality in your own.  I think it happens that way because you spend so much time with that person that they really do rub off on you.  That’s how it’s supposed to be with Christians, we should have such an awesome relationship with Him that we begin to show bits of who He is.  His light is in us and we should be shining it out of us.  His light is love.  He doesn’t love the world; He loves those who reside in the world.  He loves people, he doesn’t discriminate, he doesn’t choose particular types of people, instead He loves all people.   Christianity is made into something harder than it actually is.  Religion puts Christianity in a big pretty box, wraps it with expensive paper, puts a huge felt bow on it and tags it with, “Don’t touch unless approved by the Almighty.” 

Christ came and blended in with people that the religious folks didn’t expect him to be around.  This gift of Christ didn’t come wrapped in ribbons lying in a plush cradle.  This gift of Christ came swaddled in cloth lying in a manger.  This gift of Christ on this day whispered, “I love you and I’m here.” 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Peace, be still

This month in youth we have been exploring the topic of peace. There is so much busyness in our world today; as a whole we seem unsettled and always moving. So, the idea of inner peace seems nonexistant. The world is on edge in many nations. There are battling neighboring countries and battles within countries. Take for instance America after the last election, there is an even bigger division in politics and culture. So, the idea of peace in community seems rare. This is the season of Christmas, where we sing about Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men. Last Friday, we were shocked to see the news report of a man going into an elementary school and killing twenty kids and six adults. How can anyone be so heartless? So evil? Heartlessness and evil exists and walks the earth, it looks for a willing participant to carry out its plan. Someone without inner peace or peace with others is a perfect recipient. Without peace we are at war with our emotions, thoughts, and each other.

Where does peace come from? Can you obtain it from within? I’ve tried to find peace within my own flesh and strength, but in my experience it is impossible. I’m too imperfect, broken, and weak to find any lasting peace within myself. The peace I have now comes from Jesus, he is the everlasting peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) says, “For to us a Child will be born. To us a Son will be given. And the rule of the nations will be on His shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Teacher, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” When Jesus walked the earth he brought peace to those he came in contact with. He delivered people from demons, he healed people, he spoke to people about loving one another and being at peace with one another. In the bible we read where the disciples begin panicking when storm arises while they are out on the water in a boat. Jesus is sleeping, he’s not concerned about the storm. (Mark 4:38) The disciples wake him, thinking they are about to drown. Jesus gets up and tells the storm “Peace, be still.” The storm ceases and everything becomes calm.

There are many times that I’m like the disciples on the boat. I’m running about the ship freaking out, thinking I’m about to die or everything is going to sink. Then I stop trying to figure it out on my own and go to Jesus. He settles the storm and gives peace.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections, Youth

 

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