Friday, June 13, 2014

A Birthday Lesson

    The other day in my devotions, I was reading in Psalm 71. It's a Psalm of David, and he begins by expressing his lament to God. He has been going through a time of trouble in his life, and is asking God for help, comfort, and deliverance. As the Psalm continues on, however, his attitude turns around. Instead of praying for help, comfort, and deliverance, he is singing, and praising God for what He has already done in his life. He has a hope, a joy, and a thanksgiving in God. The verses that specifically caught my eye were these.
17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
 18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
    We see through these verses, David is so thankful for what God has taught Him. Whether by trials, temptations, or different lessons learned, God has taught him so many things. As he got a little older, he took each one of those lessons, and experiences, and used them to share with others. He used them to encourage, help, and witness to others. He shared with them what God had done in his life, and what He can do in theirs as well. Then we see, as David grows even older, he has the same hope for the future. He hopes, just as when he was younger, God would stay by His side, guiding him, protecting him, and teaching him. He does not want God to leave him helpless and comfortless, but he wants the days of his old age to be even better than before. He wants to continually grow, and learn, so that way he can continue to share with the generations to come, God's strength and power in his life.

Twenty-One Years ago, today, on June 13th, 1993,
a happy, healthy, baby boy was born to two wonderful parents.

That Baby Boy has now grown up,


    And, today, as a twenty-one year old, I celebrate my life. Many times, when twenty-one year olds celebrate, they go to the bar, and lose their mind, they go to the casino, and lose their life savings, they meet a pretty young lady, and lose their purity. They basically waste a whole day, "Living it up". But as for me, I'm different. 

    As I read those verses, I couldn't help, but compare them to myself. While David lived many years ago, we can be similar in many ways. While they have been very different, we have both faced trials and temptation. We have also faced God's deliverance, comfort, and help. And it seems we as well have both considered our past and our future.
    As I think back, and comprehend the past twenty-one years, I realize how much God has done. He has saved me, forgiven me countless times, protected me, guided me, helped me, taught me, and blessed me. He has always been there, from the beginning, and will always be there until the end.

    As I think about my life, sometimes it saddens me. I'll be honest to say, there are countless times I have failed. I have sinned, made mistakes, and made other things the focus of my life besides God. There have been countless times I didn't want to read, I didn't want to pray, and I didn't want to do anything besides what I wanted to do. There are countless opportunities I have missed to share the gospel with others. I have not felt like it, I have made excuses, and I have passed the opportunity by because I was worried about what other people might think. But through it all, God continued to correct me, teach me, and help me to grow. He took each one of my problems, and made a solution. He took each one of my sins, and gave me forgiveness. He changed me, and made me a new person. Does that mean I'm perfect now? Definitely not! But I am still learning, and growing more every day.

    Now, as I think about my future, and consider the next twenty-one years the Lord may (or may not) give me, I have the same desire as David did. I want to grow in my relationship with the Lord every day. I want to take each one of my sins, mistakes, and failures, and do better in the days to come. I want my future to be the best days anyone could ever have, as God walks beside me, and guides me. Then, I want to take each one of the lessons that God has taught me, is teaching me, and will continue to teach me, and use them for His service, as He uses me in a special way. I pray, as I grow older, I can then share with others, for generations to come, everything He has done in my life.

    I don't say any of this to brag, or to boast. I'm not looking for any credit or glory, but I say all of this to say, God has done some amazing things in my life. As a filthy sinner, He is still working in my heart and my life every day. I don't know what God has planned for the future, but I do know that I look forward to seeing what He has in store. I pray as I continue to grow older, I will continue to learn and to grow, and as I continue to learn and grow, God will continue to use me in a special way, for His great glory.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Running the Race for Him

"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." ~Hebrews 12:1-2~

Several weeks ago, I was preparing for a 5k, here in my home town. I was pretty excited about it, and was hopeful that I would be able to beat my goal. In preparation for the race, I was training, and running about every other day. On one particular day, I was about half way through my run, and there was a big puddle in my path. I ran around the puddle, and up on higher ground to avoid getting wet. I was running along the irrigation ditch, and there were a lot of rocks on the path. As I was running, there was a rock that hit the tip of my foot. I stumbled, and almost fell sliding right on my face into the rocks. Luckily, I caught my footing again, and was able to avoid the possible injury. I was very determined that I was not going to stop running. I wasn't going to let a little rock stop me, trip me, or ruin my training session.

As I began thinking about that run, I thought about how that relates to my Christian life. Each one of us, as humans, are on a course. From birth, to death, we are running a race to get to the finish line. We as well have to choose which course we are going to take, some are harder than others, some are easier than others, some have twists and turns, and some are pretty straightforward. Whatever course we choose to take, Satan, the great deceiver, will always try and make the course that much harder. He will put things in our way to distract us, to hinder us, or to knock us down. He will do anything in his power to take us of our course, and redirect us onto his. But that's where we have to make the decision, are we going to let those distractions and obstacles trip us up? Are we going to get distracted, and detour off of the path that we are on? As Christians, we should never give up, never give in, and never surrender.

As Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". Jesus has already finished his course. He has lived a great life, He has faced the same trials, and temptations we face, and He is at the finish line, waiting for us to arrive. As runners, We have to set our eyes fully on Him. We can't focus on the distractions or obstacles. We can't focus on the the things around us, we just have to focus on Him. That doesn't mean we won't slip up. Many times, as humans, we will sin. I will be the first one to tell you, I have done things that I am not proud of; But that's where God is with us, ready to pick us back up, and help us keep going on the right path. We just have to keep running the race. Our priorities have to be right, our focus has to be right, and we should run the race for Him. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Day to Remember

"Living, He Loved Me, Dying, He Saved Me, Buried, He Carried my sins far away, Rising, He Justified freely forever, One Day He's Coming, Oh Glorious Day"

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and millions of people are celebrating. Whether it's Easter bunnies, chocolates, or the cross, there are many people celebrating something. Yesterday, the story seemed to ring in my heart once again. As this time of year came around, I was thinking about the life of our Risen Savior. He went through so many things for me. As the song above says, "Living, He Loved Me".....Just think about it for a minute. Jesus, a perfect Son of God, came down from Heaven. There was no sin, no sickness, no sorrow, and no death. He had dominion, power, glory, and everything He could ever want. But He gave it all up. For money? For fame? For popularity? No, He did it because He loved us. He who had everything, gave it all up, so that I who had nothing, could have everything. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

Then there's the fact that He died. He didn't have to do it. He didn't deserve death. But He went through it all. All of the people who were praising Him just a few days prior, saying "Hosanna, In the Highest", turned their backs on Him. Instead of saying, "Hosanna, In the Highest", they were now saying, "Crucify Him". He went through pain, whipping, being spit upon, and beaten. He went through thirst, turmoil, and anguish. The world had turned His back on Him, and now His own Father was not there for Him either. The wrath, the punishment, and the payment that we deserve, Jesus put on Him that day. He could've snapped His fingers, and could've avoided it all, but He didn't. He did it all, so we could be saved. 

He was buried. When Jesus died, He took every single sin that was, is, and ever will be committed. Lying, Cheating, Adultry, Disobedience.....Everything, and He put it on Himself. When He said "Father, Forgive them" I believe He was talking about us too. He took a burden that was not His in the first place, and buried them with Him in the grave. They were taken off of our slate, washed away, and the price was eternally paid, carried far away, never to be seen again. 

If that was the end of the story, it would be the saddest story ever told. But I praise the Lord that it wasn't. He went through the cross, He was buried, But He is not there anymore. He is now risen, and living again. God raised Him from the dead, and now we know that someday we can freely live with Him. 

He has saved me, forgave me, and has given me the best gift I could ever be given. I think Him that even though I didn't deserve any of it. He did it all for me. That's why we celebrate Easter. The food is great, and the fellowship is wonderful, but the time to remember is, and should be the most important part of our day. I hope this Easter Sunday has rung in your heart, like it has mine. God has done so many great things, and even though we don't deserve it, He did it all for you, and for me. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


    Well, I'm back once again. It's amazing how fast time gets by you, and how easy it is to forget about writing. It has been over a year since my last post, and I find it a little hard to sum everything up in  a short way, But I'll do the best I can.

    The past several years have been a roller coaster ride for me. There have been ups, and downs, twists, and turns, and unexpected opportunities behind every corner. If you remember one of my last posts, I was asking prayer for several things. For those of you who did pray for me, I greatly appreciate it! I look back on my life, and realize how much God has been teaching me. I had so many wants, goals, and ambitions. I wanted to do this, I wanted to go there, and I knew exactly when I wanted it. But it seems that my ways were, and are usually not God's ways. Don't get me wrong. If I had my way, my life would be a mess. But God has been using each one of those opportunities to teach me different things.

    I look back on my life and realize how immature I was, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I wanted to jump out of the nest, and spread my wings, but God was holding me under His wings, and saying, "No, you're not quite ready yet" He was teaching me patience, He was teaching me growth, He was teaching me wisdom, and discretion, and He was teaching me to trust and rely on Him. Have I arrived yet? No, definitely not, but it's all a learning experience, it's all a growing experience, and it's all a part of my life.

    This all seems a lot like rambling to me. But I suppose I say all this to say, I had my plans, I had my goals, I had my ambitions. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and when I wanted to do it all. But God had different plans for me. Did I understand that different plan? No, definitely not! Did I like that different plan? No, I can't say I did at the time, But God had it all in His hands. He was in control of it all. He already knew what I was going to do, where I was going to go, and when I was going to do it. He was just waiting for me to surrender it all to Him. When I decided I was going to do whatever He wanted me to do, Go wherever He wanted me to go, and Be the kind of person He wanted me to be. As I decided I was going to make the most of the life I have for Him, instead of making the most of the life I have for me. I was amazed to see puzzle pieces come together, and see His magnificent story unfold. I had to stop relying on my own understanding, and start trusting in the Lord with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6). I had to realize that no matter how much I didn't like how things were going, or how much I didn't understand God's plan, He was working all things together for my good. (Romans 8:28). He has been good to me in so many ways, and He has blessed me so much. I don't necessarily know what tomorrow may bring, and I don't necessarily know what He has planned for the future. Do I still make plans? Of course, as humans, I think we need to. But if God changes my plans, I know He knows best. I know He is in control, and I know that He is working it all out for my good. Once again, don't get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to grow in. But I hope and pray I will continue to learn and grow everyday, and as I learn and grow, I pray that God will use me and my life, in a special way.

    I guess this is enough of my rambling for tonight, I hope to be able to start blogging a little more often again. Thanks for putting aside a little of your time to read. As we begin a new week, I hope it is full of many wonderful blessings for you.