Thursday, February 13, 2014

Back To The Blog!

It's been a very busy time for me since June of 2012 and my last post - but I'm not making excuses - just getting back to the Help For It All blog. I am in the Spring semester at Liberty University getting my Master's Degree in Christian Ministry - Worship. I have a new video and single being released on April 1st - my new website has gone live (where you can get a sneak preview of the new single) - and lastly we are in a blizzard here in Western NC. So there you go . . . but blog back on!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Christ seeks you whether you seek Him or not

A lot of us grew up going to church – many of us didn’t. The whole Christ concept is easy for some to grasp because they have believed for a long time. Others can’t understand the paradox of God coming to earth in human form to reconcile with the world – and that faith is all you need. Seems farfetched to some. There are debates among all sorts of people - from pastors – to philosophers – to ordinary people like you and me, on how and why God seeks us. So for a moment we are going to assume that we all stand in the same place – and let’s say it is a place of “I don’t know what I believe.”

Well now we can look at what makes Jesus so awesome. The coolest thing about Jesus Christ is that He seeks a relationship with you whether you seek one with Him or not. In fact, he does with every human on earth. 
In Luke 19:10 the scripture says: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
And in Revelation 3:20 it says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

The reality of the situation is that God seeks ALL of us – good, bad and indifferent. Drug and alcohol abuse, crimes committed, terrible brokenness – no problem, because His love is beyond all understanding of what we know of love. Whether you believe, once believed, or never believed – you are precious and worthy in God’s eyes. I would make the argument that if you are a non-believer, He seeks you even more than anyone else – for He wants you to have an understanding of who He is, and that you can have a personal relationship with Him. In Matthew 18 we learn - “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”

That is what amazes me the most! That the creator of the universe has time to deal with me and MY issues. Healing for MY brokenness and solutions for MY problems. Man I tell you – if you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be blogging about the love of Christ, I would have said YOU were nuts. But I can share this with you in all honesty and earnestness. Jesus has changed me. When I truly turned my life over and accepted His love and forgiveness – the game changed. And every day I grow in my faith and my walk with Christ - it just keeps getting better. I know sometimes it’s hard to believe what you don’t understand and what you can’t see. But if you make the decision to take that “mustard seed sized" step of faith – He WILL SHOW UP.  I guarantee you of that. I don’t stand on my own words and understanding – I stand on His.
“Heavenly Father I come to you in prayer. I just read this thing on the internet that was talking about Your love and forgiveness and I don’t know what to believe anymore God.  But I know that I need the peace and understanding that it talks about in the scriptures. I want to know You – I want to know the truth. Please show yourself to me Lord. I invite you into my heart and my life starting today. Thank you Jesus for dying so I can live - and in your precious name I pray – Amen”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Is ambition and greed the same thing?

Having the drive to be successful is a good thing. Making good grades - excelling in sports - practicing a musical instrument to be a great player - making money - not a bad thing. Being ambitious is part of a lot of people’s make-up - and it should be! Where the gut check lies is in your priorities. When you become greedy - you will fall.

    Psalms 10:3 - "the greedy man curses and spurns God"
    Proverbs 11:6 - "the treacherous are caught by their own greed"
    Luke 12:15 - "be on guard against every form of greed; life is not in possessions"

So what's the difference? Ambition can be centered on using God given gifts to be good at something. Maybe even using that talent to further His kingdom. To use it to help others knowing that it is the right thing to do. To honor God with those very gifts. Greed is more about your 'stuff'. Keeping up with the Jones's so to speak. Some actually gain their total identity by what they do - what they have - what their title is. It's VERY easy to get caught up in worldly things - but it's a dangerous place to be. Especially for followers of Christ. If you want to lose something - make it your idol.

One of my all time favorite church sign messages is "if you really want to make God laugh - tell him about your retirement plans" Priceless...

True joy comes in wanting what you have. Not always wanting more. Taking what you are given with grace. Pure joy comes in giving or helping someone in need. If God has blessed you with the means to help others - make no mistake - it is expected of you to do so. In a world of Wall Street meltdowns - greed in this country has gotten out of control. A lot of folks are simply interested in what they have. Where their children go to school. What kind of house they live in. Guard yourself from that mind set.

If people in this country would follow God's principle in this area, we wouldn't need welfare - healthcare reform - bail outs or government redistribution of wealth. A country based on these principles would take care of itself. Truly loving your neighbor and caring for people in a real way. Given the opportunity I believe people with the means will always do the right thing. So as the Congress is battling over the debt ceiling and America is on the brink of default - think about that. Pray about it.

One Nation Under God doesn't sound bad to me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does your soul crave?

We are doing a series called Soul Cravings and I feel compelled to share some of what I’ve learned so far.

First of all – I believe every soul craves something. I’m not talking about food or even earthly companionship. I’m not talking about learning and knowledge – for I know some do crave those things. I truly believe that in every human being there is a true soul craving – a craving for something that will fill the void that we all have. And I believe we crave the same thing when it comes right down to it. God.

Even those who have had all the love in the world shown to them – I believe they crave love. Those who have more money than they could ever spend – I believe they are not fulfilled by it. Those who have perfect families with great parents and loving siblings – they still crave something. Those who have fame and fortune, privilege, with everything at their finger tips – they too crave. People with perfect health – great jobs – more opportunity than they can shake a stick at – crave. It doesn’t even matter where you stand with your personal religion. Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindu, Shintoist, agnostic, and even with atheists – soul craving is just there.

It doesn’t take you being a broken person with a history of abuse, divorced parents, drug use, or even prison time to feel empty. There is that one spot that just seems to be void – even if you haven’t figured it out yet – it’s there. Welcome to the human condition.

I believe that God simply created us that way. With a yearning to know your maker – to know Him. Why? Because you can only achieve true joy and feel true completeness when you know God. He created us to WANT to know Him. No relationship, abundance of money, awesome family, or really ANY perfect situation can take the place of God. It just doesn’t work. It's broken!

But God will fill the void in every way. Seek Him through Christ to fill that place in your soul. You will be filled to the brim with peace and understanding. If you put God first – everything else just seems to fall into place. Relationships are better, families are closer, jobs are more fulfilling, and finances just seem to work.

Proverbs 3:
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.
 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
   in the sight of God and man.
 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.[a]
 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
   fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
   and nourishment to your bones.
 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
   with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
   and your vats will brim over with new wine.
 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
   and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
   as a father the son he delights in.[b]
 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
   those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
   and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
   nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
   in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
   and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
   those who hold her fast will be blessed.

That scripture is a great way to start. Fully trusting God with all aspects of your life. Listening to God - loving Him first - following the path He sets before you - trusting Him with your finances - accepting His discipline and seeking His wisdom - THAT can fill the void.
Know God and fill the void.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When you're down - always look up

Sometimes when life seems to be going in the wrong direction - we clam up. It might be a family problem, a relationship problem, job (or lack of), or a tragedy looming on the horizon. When this happens to us - and it always does - prayer can be stifled. I know sometimes I find myself asking 'why?'. But in those very moments is when prayer is the most helpful. When things are good it's easy to sing praises to God. What about when we run out of rope? Are we the same cheerful people so ready to praise?

The scriptures tell us that we will suffer.

1 Peter 4:12–13
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

They also tell us that He will comfort those who seek Him.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Even in the darkest times - seek God in prayer. He will comfort you. And even if everything is not immediately revealed to you - there is true comfort in knowing that someday you will understand why.
Always look up.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How is God so patient with us?

If you’re anything like me – you make the same mistakes over and over. The sins that we struggle with the most are the ones that we often repeat - makes sense, doesn't it?  Sometimes it’s hard to ask for forgiveness for these sins because we know we just asked to be forgiven for them. It's like "God I know I just stumbled again, but please forgive me - AGAIN".

I started thinking about how awesome God’s love for us is. He is an awesome parent when it comes to patience. Our Father in heaven loves us through everything we do and shows us continued grace over and over as we often repeat our sins. It's hard to understand God's unwavering patience at times, but it’s certainly easier to understand if you understand God’s timeline. In 2 Peter 3:8 – it says “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”.  So if you look at our lives on God’s timeline – our whole life has been but a very short time for God.

I like to think of it this way. When God got up this morning and had His first cup of coffee – my entire life has passed before Him. Pretty cool premise. All of His disappointments with my struggles have been while He spent time over that very first cup. To Him, it hasn't necessarily been 10, 15, or 20 years of disobedience - just the dawn of His day.

God has big plans for all of our lives. His dreams for us are bigger than we can imagine. We all have a purpose. It's important for us to understand that. As we try to improve ourselves day by day, God's patience is there because His days are as big as He is. Our entire lives are a blink of an eye to God. He knows our hearts, our intentions, and our actions. As long as we are sincerely working towards improving our lives - serving Him by showing obedience - and asking for forgiveness for our shortcomings - God's grace is present because of His abounding love for us. He will equip you with the ability to overcome any brokenness that you may carry around with you. He will give you all the tools you need to live the life He has for you. Just pray everyday for the wisdom and understanding to know. Remember this always - God's Will for you will never take you where His Grace won't protect you!

I hope God delights in me on his second cup...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are YOU a blue blood? I am.

The royal wedding has been quite a spectacle – I mean I didn’t watch it personally – but I saw it on the news at least a half dozen times. Then came the news coverage of the royal honeymoon. Heck, I was standing in line at the grocery store and I saw the royal couple on the cover of most of the magazines in the checkout line. I started thinking. What must it be like to be a “blue blood”? You know – part of the royal family. Then it hit me. I am part of the biggest, most important kingdom in the universe. And my King sits on the highest throne in the land. Yes, that’s right. I serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I am His subject and wouldn’t have it any other way. The crown jewels of this kingdom are my friends, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters – my family. There is no price that can be put on THESE crown jewels. And the crown of my kingdom sits on the head of the most important man in all of history – Jesus Christ. The One that came to save us, indeed a courageous warrior who conquered the world without ever firing a shot. Yet He did it as a servant, a humble servant. There is no monarchy anywhere in the world today where the king, prince, or duke would dare lower themselves to the position of a servant. One who washed the feet of His followers. Who sought after those who wanted nothing to do with His father. And then He died a criminal’s death on a cross on Calvary Hill. He paid the ultimate price so you, me and anyone else who believed in Him would be set free of sin and given eternal life. To reign forever with Him in all His glory – never to fear any man or any army. Yes you are part of the royal family – delight in that.
So I leave you with this. You ARE a blue blood – part of the most royal family on this earth. If you are willing to serve this King – you shall not want for anything – you will have nothing or no one to fear. And the best part? This is a kingdom that will never end. So make your place at His table. Sit down – eat – and drink. How cool is that?