Monthly Archives: January 2012

He Came for You!

“When someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.”  -old Skin Horse from the Velveteen Rabbit
 
This is a good parallel to the love of Christ. Jesus loves us all from before we were born and while we were still in our mother’s womb. Sinner or saint, young or old, any race, alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexual or straight, those who have had abortions, committed adultery, the dishonest, the thief and the abused. He has come for ALL people and loves us all unconditionally. It is when we come to the realization of this love Christ has for us and put our faith in Him that we can truly become real!
 
Jesus said: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Luke 5:32 NKJV)
 
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)
 
He said he came for ALL and he meant it. Replace “all you who labor and are heavy laden” with your name and repeat that verse 3 times. Let the Holy Spirit of God speak to you!
 
Come to me ______, and I will give you rest.
 
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJV)
 
Recommended reading:
Ten Things Jesus Never Said (And Why You Should Stop Believeing Them)
by Will Davis Jr.
 
-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

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If Anyone Has Ears To Hear, Let Him Hear!

Jesus said:

“Is a lamp brought to be under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:21-23)

“Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” (Mark 5:19)

The Lord has freed me from bondage to sin.

The Lord has forgiven me.

The Lord has changed my heart and taught me to love more.

The Lord has brought a new life giving light to my life.

The Lord has brought meaning to my life.

The Lord has given peace to my life that “surpasses understanding.”

The Lord has had compassion on me.

The Lord has loved me.

Many have said, “You often don’t realize what you have until you no longer have it.”

With the light, peace and joy that comes from faith in Christ I think many experience the opposite: You don’t realize what you have been missing out on until you have it!

If you have “ears to hear” then hear this:

Jesus loves you!

He said: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

Do you feel as if you need rest in your life?

God is here. He is with you now as you read this. God’s Holy Spirit surrounds the earth and is waiting for you to open your heart and let Him in.

You say, “This sounds great but I am an intellectual person and all this God talk is a made up primitive fairy tale.”

Here’s your intellectual argument:

Life is a miracle. The miracle of life cannot be explained or understood even by the smartest scientist without divinity. Life doesn’t just happen from nothing. Life has been engineered. Our DNA is a written code by our Creator. The evolutionary theory is completely flawed. What came first the eye or the eyelid? We feel in ourselves that there is more to life. We have a spiritual longing because there is a spiritual side to us. We feel within ourselves that there is something that cannot die. Life is not meaningless. An infinite universe parallels an infinite God. The entire universe and life system is far too complex to have just happened. I could go on and on but God has designed it so that we are to seek Him spiritually not scientifically. We are to seek heavenly wisdom instead of worldly knowledge. Men worship our own intellect but what’s the point of anything if we just die and become nothing?

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness.'” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

Life passes in the blink of an eye. Don’t waste it.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:6-9)

Reality is “what is” not “what if!”

Are you one of those types of people that while thinking you constantly put yourself in “what if” situations? For school I just took the Strengths Finder assessment test this week. This test asks a bunch of questions and from the answers it’s able to pin point your 5 greatest strengths or “themes” as they call it. With my results three of my themes were “learner”, “intellection” and “input.” Reading the descriptions of these themes they all have a lot to do with deep thinking so I was not surprised with these results. I’ve always been a deep thinker and have admitted before that at times this can seem more of a curse than a blessing. I think the key is learning to stay on the right train of thought and not allowing our minds to wonder into dark areas that stem depression or just negative thoughts in general. Our minds are so amazing we literally have to learn to tame them from trapping us into a mind state we don’t want to be in.

Ever since I was a young boy I have been an analytical thinker. My mom has told me stories of going shopping for a toy and not being able to make up my mind on which one I wanted. I would have to analyze every detail of each choice before finally making a decision. Often after coming home I would then get upset out of fear I had made the wrong choice. Do we do this with our faith? Do we choose what we believe or do our beliefs choose us?

On our road trip out to Georgia I obviously had a lot of time to think. I caught my mind pondering on the question: “What if I had been born into a predominantly Muslim country, would I have turned out to be a Muslim?” As I was thinking about this the Holy Spirit revealed something to me… I felt the presence of the Lord and He said, “Justin you’re not a Muslim. Stop focusing on the ‘what if’s’ and pay attention to ‘what is!'”

I quickly realized that all these “what if” questions are pointless, imaginary situations that only live in my head. This is not reality. Reality is the fact that I was not born into a Muslim family. Reality is that I am a Christian. Reality is “what is” not “what if!” We cannot waste our lives always pondering the “what if” questions. This would be living in make-believe land. I guess we do this to try and get a better understanding of the positions of others, but to be honest making up a situation in your head does not put you in someone else’s shoes. It’s still just a pretend situation that you’ve made up yourself, and if you have made this up yourself how can you possibly learn anything from it? I’m not saying it’s bad to try and see things from other people’s point of view but rather that we should stay focused on the reality that is our lives. Wondering where you’d be if you had made a different decision ten years ago or if you were born into a different family is really meaningless thinking. We need to focus on what we actually have going on in front of us and not hypothetical situations.

Reality is you’re here. Reality is we are alive. The miracle of our unexplainable existence is proof of something bigger. Reality is in my heart I know there is more to me than my flesh. There is something deep inside me, it’s my soul. My soul belongs to Him. What is, is God. God said to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” This is reality. Accept God or reject Him but good luck making any sense out of life without Him.

Without God I’m a crazy person left with my own self-righteous thoughts and digging my own grave. Without God my inner soul doesn’t exist. Without God there is no ultimate good to give us a moral law to stand by. Without God men might as well act like animals if that’s all we are. Without God I suppose the best thing in life would be pleasure of the flesh—which never brings fulfillment by the way. Without God I’m lost. Without God we will die and become nothing making our entire existence completely pointless, and with that questioning any reality at all. If we die and become nothing, then how is it possible that we are something? Without God life is meaningless and we’re all an accident. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Without God we don’t exist.

But… we do exist.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Real Financial Freedom

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” (Proverbs 23:4)

Today I write this as I’m driving through Oklahoma on my way to Georgia.  My wife and I are in the middle of a move from one coast to the next.  We decided to move for many reasons but mostly for a change of pace and a new chapter in our lives.  It’s not that CA was a terrible place to live but more that we have been there so long that our lives became quite redundant.  With my recent reignited faith as well as many other circumstances—including a place to stay in GA until we’re able to find our own—we thought it was the perfect opportunity to go out and experience life in a different state.  

With moving we have had to downsize our belongings to be able to fit everything we’re taking in to one car and one 5×8 trailer.  This was quite an interesting process.  Going through all our stuff we both realized how many things we’ve been holding onto that we actually have no need for at all.  We sold all our furniture and gave away tons of clothes and kitchen utensils.  We got rid of two tvs and sold my truck as well.  We basically narrowed it down to the clothes we actually wear, the dishes we actually use, the equipment I need for work and memorabilia. 

This whole process was a great learning experience of the age old lesson that possessions don’t bring happiness.   It’s such a simple lesson that we’ve heard time and time again, but I think it takes personal experience to realize the reality of it.  As I was getting rid of stuff I felt a sense of freedom growing from letting go of these things.   We really bond ourselves to our possessions but if you were to die tomorrow how much would you love that car you’re driving today? If you were told you had a year to live, how much of that year would you spend working to get money for a new flat screen tv?

Today at a gas station in Texas I saw a woman with her young son buying a whole handful of lottery tickets.  To me this appeared foolish and in my head I thought to myself, “How often does she do this?”  I was thinking she should be spending that money on food and not lottery tickets, but to her she probably thinks freedom could be in one of those tickets.  I’ve heard many people say, “If I could just win the lotto then I’ll have financial freedom.”  Now I don’t know this woman and I should not have been judging her.  I have no idea what her life is like, but with my life I do not believe that winning the lotto would bring me freedom.  In fact I would bet that if I had won the lotto in the last five years it would have done the opposite.

I spent many years of my life chasing financial success dreams and I see a lot of others doing the same.  I see it in the hearts of so many—“I just want financial freedom” they say.  So many have this desperate desire to get rich and make it their life goal to chase money while despising the ones that have it.  I’ve seen people jump from one idea to the next, or from one career to the next, just hoping that they’ll get that break.  People waste their entire paychecks at casinos.   Walking through a casino is so depressing.   One person after the next throwing money away, hoping for that slight chance they will win and cash in. 

There are many reasons my wife and I have decided to move to GA but financial gain is not on that list.  In fact we are abandoning our financial stability with moving away from our jobs.  A lot of people have said we’re crazy for doing so, but I know God will provide enough so that I eat, have clothes and a place to sleep.  This is plenty for me.  Through this whole process I’ve come to realize that money really is not that important.  In the past when someone would mention the term “financial freedom” I’ve often thought of investors, real estate, savings accounts, stocks, etc.  I always considered financial freedom as something that I was very far from having.  I now have a different perspective on what true financial freedom is.  It isn’t about being rich—true financial freedom is not having a controlling desire for money.  There are plenty of rich men in the world that do not have financial freedom.  They are addicted to making money and devote their entire lives to work.  No matter how much money they make, they want more.  This is not freedom.  As Solomon would say in Ecclesiastes working your whole life for financial gain is “vanity and grasping for the wind.” America seems to have set this ridiculous standard of living where we feel we are poor if we don’t have a nice house, a new car and all the latest fashion trends for clothes.  People rack up these credit card debts because corporate advertising shoves it down our throat that we have to have all these things.  It really is vanity. 

So what is real financial freedom?  Financial freedom is trusting that the Lord will provide and not desiring more money than you have.  It’s about being content with what you have and not looking down on, or envying those that have more.  “Thou shalt not covet.”  I’m not saying it’s bad to have nice things but that it’s bad to worship these things and devote your whole life to gaining possessions.  It’s a wasteful life of “grasping for the wind.” 

This whole post can be wrapped up in the scripture below.  This is a simple message but one that many need to hear. 

“Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

If greed has overcome you to the point that it controls your life then please ask God for help.  It all starts with prayer and trusting that God is in control.  Ask the Lord to change your heart and He will.

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow…

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would matter to you today?

Yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow is never guaranteed, but the present is here now. Today’s possibilities are endless. Today you decide how you will live your life. “We can’t control the wind but we can adjust the sails.” Whether you believe in God or not, every day and every breath we take is a gift. We are all a part of the universe and on this ride of life together. I just want to encourage you all to live, to seek more from life than carnal desires, and most of all to love! We must love each other! Love is what counts. Love is what matters.

Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

“We cannot control the length of our lives but we can control the depth.”

Live, love, thrive!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

Search your heart. Be honest with yourself and you will find the love of God. It is unmistakable. We are not a mistake. We are His and He loves us.

He loves you!

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

An Honest Search for Truth

Hello there 2012! So, my last post of 2011 was about lying and I figured what better way to start off the New Year than to write a post about truth. What is truth? Do any of us know the truth? What does truth mean to you? Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Do you believe this or do you think He was lying?

Here’s some truth about me: I believe the words of Jesus. I believe Jesus was telling the truth. I believe all truth to our existence can be found in Jesus Christ. I believe the truth can set you free and bring peace, joy, hope and love to your life. I believe in God and I believe our life is more than an accident. I believe the universe was created and not just an outcome of something coming from nothing. I believe that the creator of the universe is not silent and has revealed Himself to us again and again, but has only shown enough of Himself so that it is left up to us to seek or reject.

Here’s some more truth: Nobody can honestly disprove God. Studying the creation does not disprove the creator. I have felt the presence of God and nobody can honestly tell me I have not simply because they have not felt the presence themselves. Some of the most brilliant men in the world will tell you that the more we learn, the more we realize what we don’t know. Scientists have barely tapped into understanding the miracle of life but yet so many men will claim with certainty that there is no God. Scientists can’t even figure out where the moon came from but yet men claim science and logic disproves a creator. It doesn’t make sense to me. I will be the first to admit that I do not know everything. Actually I will go even further and say that with all there is to know about life, I barely know anything. But… I do know Jesus Christ and I have a spiritual relationship with him. You can choose to believe me or you may choose not to, and in turn call me a liar or delusional. But I promise you I’m not lying and I’m not crazy.

Jesus said “seek and you will find.” He was not lying. I chose to seek and I did find. What did I find you may ask? I found truth. I found life. I found hope. I found joy. I found peace. I found love. God wants a relationship with you and it is up to you to take a step of faith to initiate this relationship. God has not only told us “seek and you will find” but also “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” The key part is “with all your heart.” If you do not truly seek with an open heart but instead go on a half-hearted spiritual search you may very well not find anything at all. You may find yourself right back where you started saying: “There’s no God.” There isn’t? Really? Prove it. You may honestly believe that God does not exist, but if that is you then I don’t think you have ever truthfully searched. You owe it to yourself to do an honest search. Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself. There’s still time. God is here. There’s more to life than just lusts for possessions, sex and power but you have to be willing to give up your fleshly desires and truly seek to find it. You have to be willing to give up your life to find life. You have to be an optimist. If you have only set out to disprove God then you have never truly searched at all.

God says:

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]