Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fear, Not!

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you,
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Proverbs 14:25-27
A true witness delivers souls,
But a deceitful witness speaks lies.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.

2 Timothy 1:6
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline

Three verses God has been been constantly reminding me off these past few days. You know when particular verses just start popping up everywhere that God must be trying to get your attention and that there must be a message from him. So I am deciding to listen.

I am a University student this year. I am studying as a SETA student, so I can work with special needs kids and help them through their education journey. It can be a constant battle...but that isn't the only battle I am fighting right now. I happen to enter another battle field daily. Five days a week right in my own classroom. It's a spiritual battle, and there are so many souls to be saved.

What does it mean to fear something? What does it mean to be afraid? What does it mean to fear the Lord? The simple word, fear, has multiple meanings. We tend to think of it as being afraid. But when you start talking of "The Fear of the Lord" I have heard it explained as being constantly aware of his presence. If you have ever been told "Someone is always watching" this might make sense of you. To be constantly aware of someone's presence is to always be knowing that someone is around. Let's face it, when someone is around we act differently then if we are on our own. We don't do certain things and we don't say certain things. It really does depend on who is in the room. It is the same way with God. It isn't right, but it happens. We need to be constant with him. We need to remember that God is always there and that we should always be on our best behaviour. There is no need to suddenly be worried, and put on a mask.

My next question is...why does it have to be so hard to share our awesome and powerful, glorious experiences in the presence of God with unbelievers? Don't people learn the best by hearing other's personnal stories and experiences? Why do we suddenly get so scared around our unsaved friends. Why do we suddenly forget that we can lay hands on our unsaved friends and pray that God will heal them? We do it all the time at church and with our Christian friends, It's time to step outside of the church.

I had an experience. Someone in my class was telling me some of their health problems that they have been dealing with. The whole time they are talking God was telling me "come on, pray for her, you can do it." But the ruth is, I didn't. The Truth is that I regret it, I have regretted it ever since then. I know I should of...but I was too afraid. I let fear take control and not God. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear" Well then all I can say right now is "Jesus, get this devil plain out of my life cause I don't need him....I need YOU! I want that spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

I want to see lives saved, eyes opened, people healed, and Christ revealed. But how is this ever going to happen if I am too scared to step forward and begin praying for people in my work, in my classroom, and even just plain on the streets. What would happen if we just kept this in our churches? What would happen if we just kept all this "spiritual stuff" in our safe communities? We wouldn't be fullfilling what Christ asked us to. We wouldn't be "GOING in to all the world" Those words God gives me for people, I need to take a step of faith and believe they are from God. Then I need to GO! I need to SPEAK those words of power and love in to somebody's life.

Are you afraid? You aren't alone. Question is, are you going to let that fear control you? Or are you going to give it to God to let him deal with it so you can get on with the work He has set out for you to do????

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Simple Isn’t Easy: It’s About Grace

Grace: By grace I have been saved, through faith. I see you Jesus. My Jesus. My saviour. My Father. My best friend. Grace…faith…love. That’s what it is all about. That is why I believe. Why is it that the simplest concept to grasp is what is often seen as the hardest thing to understand? Why?

The fact is: the only thing keeping us from God and keeping us living forever with God, is sin. This is generally what religion is all about: Sin and eternity. Everyone seems to have a different picture, these days, of what eternity looks like to them. For the most part it’s all the same, do good deeds and be the best person you can be. Don’t be bad. Typically people see it as…you must be a good person all your life. We must not mess up. If you can do this, after death, you will be okay. Either you get to become a god, you might get your own planet, or you will come back to life as something better. But ONLY If you aren’t doomed because of some dumb thing you did.  Well if this was the case then we are all doomed. We have all sinned. The Bible says so in Romans 3 “For we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”  And that is why we need the grace of God. With his grace we don’t have to feel doomed, but we get the opportunity to receive a second chance.

So, we have established that we can not work for our salvation. That we have all sinned. Sin is what separates us from God. It’s the truth: WE are not perfect. Doing good things will not make us perfect. I would hate to have to live up to that model of perfection. That is a HUGE burden to place on someone. Good works just can’t get you in to Heaven. So why do people insist that it can work?

People want to be great. They want to make a difference. That’s why doing good things can seem so appealing. Cause most times, it will get you noticed in a positive way: FAME! GLORY! That is what people want. People want to be noticed. It really makes sense why one would think that being a good person will get you a good eternity. It makes sense why people would want to follow that road so willingly. Cause the other road sounds like such a difficult and impossible task, one that should have a long and difficult journey to accomplish. People look at that “Long and difficult road” in the wrong way. Truth is it is a better road to follow, one that will get you further. The problem? This second road is the road called servant hood. The “doing the little things” road. The one road most people what to shy away from. Let's face it, other road is the road of quick and easy, and glory and fame. But I’m sorry, that isn’t always right.

The road of a servant. The road full of hard and dirty work. People avoid it at all costs, because of its distance. Because when they look down in to the distance all they see is work, and dirt. It’s because they aren’t able to look far enough. What they don’t realize is where the road ends up. In a far more beautiful and wonderful place. A place of glory. Of love and belonging. The one problem is, people don’t want to wait. They want it NOW. But this second road is a road of true love and true belonging. Because it’s not only the road of a servant, it’s also the road of grace. Something that attracts that servant. On that road you will never find yourself alone, unlike the other road. The other road, you will have people come and go in your life. It is never guaranteed you will always have companionship on that first road. On this road all you can ever know is love. On this road you will ALWAYS have friend.

This is one thing people find so hard to practice, and to walk through: because it makes them look bad. It makes them look weak. But you know what? WE ARE WEAK! We can work our buts off all our life, but if we don’t have complete surrender, if we don’t accept his grace, we have nothing. On our own, we are weak, but we are strong in Christ. Christ in me, Hope of Glory.

God likes the simple. God likes to begin small.God needs servants not leaders. He is the leader and he asks us to follow him. He starts off small. He builds big things our of nothing. He works the impossible out of something as small as a mustard seed. And he lives in Me. That is why I can believe that he will use me. Because he can do anything our of nothing.

Christ in me! Surrender is a difficult task to grasp. Total surrender is about the hardest thing for us to do. We are such control freaks. But we must see ourselves as nothing because God wants to make us something. God asks us to surrender ourselves to him. He gave us a choice to choose whether we want to, but than he promised us that if we do, he will work and shape us to be who he wants us to be. He will use us for great things. Here again we find ourselves with a problem. A time problem. This is a process. We seem to hate the word process these days. God’s timing is the best timing. Problem is we like our timing,. Problem is we have lost all patience for anything worthwhile case we want the good things NOW. These days we have no time for patience amongst our busy schedules. But this is how God works. He takes his time. We don’t know his time. We just need to wait on him for as long or as short as he deems necessary.

This may sound all simple and easy, easier than sweating over if you have done enough through out your life to go to Heaven. Then this may definitely sound too good to be true. This is true, but it is not easy. Becoming a servant and submitting ourselves to that standard is never easy, but it is good because it is what God wants of us. It is what he asks us to do.

This eternity, this love is a gift. A gift of grace. We don’t deserve any of this. Jesus didn’t have to die. He died because of his unconditional love for us. Because if He didn’t die we would all be dead. A gift of grace from God to us. The gift of a second chance. Jesus is the only way to eternity. It says so in the book of John. “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” Jesus is the way. It’s not the easiest way, but I really believe it is worth it. Servant not leader, Grace not works, faith not sight. Total surrender, total humility, total love. God is a God of grace. All he wants of you is your surrender, your willingness, and your love. He wants you to come as you are. To come with the innocence of a little child. He just wants you to ask, and to accept openly as a child does. This gift is yours to take. Open it up and receive it. It’s the most important thing you could ever do. This is your gift, remember it’s rude to decline a gift so freely given. So take the chance, walk down that road…and don’t look back. You WILL be guaranteed a change of life, forever.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thank You, God

This Time of Year, when turkeys begin to go on sale, the pumpkin pie is baking in the oven and the house smells of pumpkin spice lattes. It’s the time of year where we all begin to ask ourselves just what we are thankful for. Well…I believe I just may have a new take on that thought. I am thankful for a lot of things, and why shouldn’t I be? I have a ton. My room is full of stuff. Stuff I just wouldn’t be able to give away cause of the “value” and “memories” that comes along with it, when really all it is another “thing”

I had the opportunity to see another world this  past May. Another world where they didn’t have much. You couldn’t shower every day there and you  brushed your teeth using stored jugs of water. Where sometimes the dishes piled up for days before you could wash them just so you had enough water to wash them. Dishes that have had to sit in a hot room for a few days do not smell the greatest after a while.

Money is always a problem, we just never seem to have enough. On my trip it was the exact same thing, although in these cases, they really didn’t have enough, when we just think we don’t have enough, there are people out there who DON’T have any at all.

On my trip I had the opportunity to play with some very special children. Children who had lost their Mommy and Daddy. Some of these children had been found in horrible conditions. Everything from bushes to dumpsters, some just wandering around, lost. All twenty or so of these children had found there way to this home, the home of a very compassionate lady. This women who had dedicated herself to raising these children to know God and to know love. They didn’t have everything but I could tell they really felt safe there. I had the opportunity to teach some of the older ones, through a kindergarten class. They were learning there letters. It is very interesting to teach a group of children with limited resources. I not only taught this kindergarten class but I had the opportunity to teach Sunday school as well. Those children were some of the most behaved in the class. They didn’t have all the fancy equipment and supplies I am use to teaching with. The supplies were actually pretty limited. Yet they were still there to learn; they were there to understand; They were there to build relationship and to have fun.

So what am I thankful for this thanksgiving? Well On this past trip if there is one thing I learned most of all it is this…the importance of strong community and strong relationships. That is what these people had. They may not of had much but one thing they valued was each other. They seemed to always be together. The home I stayed at seemed to always have someone over visiting. Their door was always opened. They didn’t seem to mind that they had no “alone time” like we do here. They were never in a rush to be somewhere or to do something. But one thing they always made sure they had time for was for their friends and their family. They know they importance of community, and that is  One thing, I believe, we could learn from here in North America. You know sometimes I think that the people here believe they have it the “best”. They have all their resources at their finger tips, they have everything they could possibly need to survive. I am starting to  disagree, though. I don’t think we have things right here. Some things I believe we have very wrong. We take too much for granted and other things we don’t take for granted enough. It’s not us who have thing together, it’s the folks living down in Jamaica, or Sough America, or Africa. They have their priorities straight, they know what’s important.

That’s why this thanksgiving the thing I am most thankful for is the people in my life. For the slow moments like this where i can sit back and relax, where I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. I am most thankful for the times when all I have to worry about is whether I am having a good time with my friends and family. That’s what’s most important. Cause when hard times come by, it’s not going to be the money you have, or the things you own, or your busy schedule that helps you out of the hole…it’s going to be the people you know and love that are going to come and stand around you and lift you up our of the hole. And if you were too busy doing “stuff” to build relationships…when all that stuff comes crashing down on you, there’s going to be no one to come and help dig you out.