Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life isn't easy, but God conquers all

So recently my Facebook and twitter feeds have been bombarded by people posting what they are thankful for this month. I applaud the idea, even if it is growing a little stale. But this post is going to be for those who aren't sure what they have to be thankful for - for those struggling to come up with enough ideas to fill a week, much less a month. If not for Jesus, I know I could struggle with this. So bear with me for a minute. It'll be worth it, I promise :)

Next week it'll be 10 years since my mother passed away. Blink and a decade has gone by without her. I wonder what she'd think of me and the decisions I've made that put me where I am in my life now. And then there's my father, who, to put it mildly, doesn't have much to do with the family anymore. Not assigning blame here, just telling it how it is, and it's hard to argue with that. My once close-knit family has fractured to where I am basically on my own.

There's the fact that I'll be 28 next week, and recently I've watched friend after friend get married. Obviously I am happy for them, and more than a little envious. I don't have that companion to stand by my side, to encourage me, to laugh with me, and to share the secret joys and troubled times with. Each year, those friends will drift a little further apart, and it scares me I'll be left alone here as well.

I'm voicing the thoughts a lot of people don't have the courage or the will to say. Not everything is great and wonderful and life doesn't always go your way. The guy doesn't always get the girl, and the girl doesn't always get swept off her feet. That raise or bonus you were looking for may not come. Injuries happen. Your car may get totaled. It may be a struggle day to day for you just to simply live life. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a lot for which to be thankful; you just have to know where, and to whom, to look.

There is a God who loves you more than I can ever explain in one simple blog post. But he's real, and he's there for you if you'll let him be. And this is something I struggle with every day - reminding myself of the Gospel of Christ, and just letting go of the desire to have control of my life. Although I don't really know why. You'd think I'd let the one being in the universe who is all knowing and all powerful be in charge, but somehow, in my limited intellect, I think I can do better than he can. I think that I can know what is best for me, and how to best have a situation resolve.

I'm not saying it's easy. Obviously it's not. But God can and will ease the sorrows and comfort the broken hearted. He wants to wipe away the shame and the guilt. For me, that is enough to be thankful for this month. To some, It may not seem like much. But for me, it'll do. There is pain and hurt in this world, but there is joy in abundance just waiting for you if you know where to look - Jesus Christ. To quote DC Talk, 'There is love in the red letters. There is truth in the red letters. There is hope for the hopeless. There is peace and forgiveness. There is life in the red letters.' When you don't know where to turn, when all you know is pain, when you feel alone - remember that the God of this universe sent his son to die for our sins - he took our place so we can be with Him forever! Ladies and gentlemen, that is powerful love right there.

Share it with your friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers this holiday season. You never know what they're going through or dealing with. You may get ignored, or get dirty looks, or even cussed out. But who knows? Maybe that one person who needed to hear it will. And it will make all the difference in the world to them.

Love in Christ,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No Place For A Hero...

So... been a while since I've posted. Been busy - broken hand,  yard work for myself and my aunt, work, karate (brown belt - missed my last test due to the broken hand. Kinda set me back. Still around 1/2 way to black belt though), small group, programming project on the side, etc. Needless to say, my plate is full. Anyways, I'm back, and I'll try to post on a more consistent basis in the future.

Now... On with the show! To explain the topic of this thread... So I was listening to a song last night by The Heavy called 'Short Change Hero'. The lyrics in the chorus are "This ain't no place for no hero... this ain't no place for no better man. This ain't no place for no hero to call home."

It got me thinking about something our small group covered recently. The topic of 'Resident-Strangers' - For Christians, this isn't our home. We are aliens in a foreign land. Our home is in Heaven with our glorious savior, Jesus. We should be ecstatic that he has prepared a place for us as he promised. This world - this isn't a place to call home. But some of us, myself included sometimes, strive so desperately to call this our home. We try our best to fit in when we should be standing apart from the world so that they can see their is a difference in our lives. Imagine the impact we would have if this was the case!

This world may not be our home, but we are here for a purpose. We don't have to be 'heroes' or 'better men' - we only need to live so that our actions glorify Christ. Show others that there is hope, and explain to them what gives us that hope. But this doesn't mean that they should be looking to us - we are sinners too, and will ultimately let people down, no matter how hard we may try. While nothing we have done makes us the 'better man', we have been redeemed. That is the difference. Nothing but Christ seperates us from Hell. Christians themselves are not the 'better man' - we only try our best to point towards the ultimate hero.

I hope everyone has a great week. Let me know if there is anything I can pray for you about.

Love in Christ,

Friday, June 22, 2012

Every Little Thing

So while stumbling around on Youtube the other night, killing time, I came across a song called 'Every Little Thing' by Dishwalla. Great song, and I think it can describe a lot of people I know, including myself.

In the song, there's a line that says "I wish I could be every little thing you wanted, all the time". I think this can take several different forms: Trying to be perfect at work. Conforming yourself to what you think your boyfriend or girlfriend wants, or even changing things about yourself to try and get in a relationship. Striving for approval from your parents. Trying to act cool in front of your friends. Or even trying to earn favor from God by being a good person and checking off every box you can think of - you try to be every little thing to those people. Even worse if you try to do it for everyone, and not just one group. It leaves you feeling exhausted.

But God has given us freedom to be ourselves. He chose to save us when we were at our worst. There was nothing that was desirable in us - he certainly doesn't need our devotion, but he chose to bring us to Him anyways. I can't even describe what a joy that is, but I'll try anyways. The Creator of the universe, the one who knew us before we were born, created us as unique beings, all with our own quirks and faults and traits. Even more than that, he sent his son to die as an atonement for our sins so that we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him. He loves and cares for us enough to do that, but yet we have such a desire to try to please others by changing ourselves and what makes us who we are!

Galatians 1:10 says "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." - It's a challenge to myself. Stop worrying  about what others think about me. If God loves me enough to send his son for me, then I don't need to worry about trying to please everyone else. Don't stress about "being every little thing" to everyone. Serve God, and serve others when I am able. Show Christ's love to those that I come across. Continue growing closer to God, and enjoy the ride.

Have a great week everyone. Let me know if there's anything I can pray for.

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Times... They Are A Changin'

So it's been awhile since the last post. Figured I should give everyone an update on the happenings in my life lately.

Lots of good news!

- I'm now a Green Senior Belt in my martial arts class (Tang Soo Doo), which means I'm roughly 1/2 way to Black Belt. It's definitely getting more intense.

- One of my best friends, Stephen, is getting married this weekend in Mobile. Excited for him and the new life he is about to embark upon with his soon-to-be wife, Clara.

- New Job! I accepted a position at Warren Averett in Feb and have been enjoying it. Still getting my feet under me, but it's been good so far and I think I'm going to like it.

- Taking a class at Brook Hills to be a disciple-maker/able to lead a mission trip. It's been good so far, and definitely making me step out of my comfort zone.

Staying busy between martials arts, the bible study I'm co-leading, studying for that class at Brook Hills, and trying to fit in time to hang with friends and visit family. It's hard to find time for myself sometimes, and I need to unwind and have nights to myself just to have a breather, but all-in-all, life's not too bad. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have a girlfriend right now - don't know how I'd fit her in right now :) - but who knows... maybe that'll be one of the changes that I talk about next time I post... lol.

Hope everyone is having a good week. Let me know if I can pray about anything for you - I promise I'll fit it into my schedule :)

Love in Christ,