Such a powerful song that you may’ve already heard but if not…enjoy!
Recently, under the weight of insecurities, fears and the inevitable self-evaluation we all perform in the process of transition I came to the place where I was considering to quit writing. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy writing but I honestly felt I have had nothing to say of value. If I were honest, I’d say in many ways I still feel that way. Good thing I refuse to let my emotions keep me down.
I finally got around to listening to an audiobook named “Quitter” a New York Times Best Seller from Jon Acuff. In chapter three, Jon got me good by talking about his two sides “today Jon” and “later Jon.” Today Jon says, “today is a good day to write…I’m gonna hammer out a few ideas.” Then Later Jon interjects, “ya…you could…or you could just do it later…you will have more energy and feeling much more creative…later.” This analogy hit home pretty hard for me. It describes me where I have been.
I can’t, we can’t, allow this mindset to settle in because it is a cancerous thought that will root its way to the place where we want to give in and give up. Regardless of whatever level of success or accomplishment we achieve, we are not immune to its effects. Allowing that conversation in my head almost stopped me from writing…it may be stopping you from your “more” whatever that may be. Whatever it is you feel you should just give up because of this or that I encourage you to join me in taking the risk and invest wholeheartedly into the dream of our hearts. I refuse to be a quitter. What about you?
Home, sometimes the most inviting place is the place you are most familiar with and that is where I find myself now. With Spring Break behind me I look back and I see it was a week set aside for me to encounter God and refocus my priorities. Each day was an adventure, a refreshing break from routine, in which God met me right where I was. I was empowered to be who I was made to be like never before and I bring that home with me. That made all the difference to me; because of that I was able to boldly be me and it led to a week of watching God move.
Now, the adventures don’t have to end. In fact new ones have started and I am determined to look for those opportunities to recognize and enjoy them like never before! If I have learned anything is that everyday can be an adventure with God if we are open to it! I believe this a part of that abundant life that Jesus came to bring us (see John 10:10). Let’s greet this day as a day that is full of God-appointed adventures, intentionally, letting Him have His way and watch the difference it makes.
I don’t know about you but I am a creature of habit and change it not an easy thing. Yet, it seems life is constantly changing around me, good, bad and indifferent change is afoot and at work. In most of the times that I have been confronted with change its always been terrifying. It was scary when I realized my inadequacies to save myself and so I gave my life to Christ; it was scary when I had to get my first job and pay bills; it was scary when I quit one job for another and even worse when I was fired from a job. Fear tags alongside change but what most people miss in times of change is faith because fear chokes out faith.
Thankfully, God is constant (Hebrews 13:8), unchanging and undaunted by the circumstances we face in life. Nothing takes Him off guard. When change comes in fear will try to creep in but when we allow God to invade the spaces of our life…faith will always arise. Faith that our God has a great plan, faith that He is ever faithful, faith that He will finish the work He has started in us! Change is not always bad but the enemy will do everything he can to get your perspective of change off of God and onto the mess. Too easily we forget that God is the expert on taking our mess and turning it into a message. God makes all things new…but only if we can give it to Him. Today I challenge you to do that: embrace the change and the newness that God has and as Jon Acuff says, “PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE!”
Things have been ramping up lately here my way in such a fast pace it’s exciting to see what God has been unfolding. There is nothing like the feeling of success in what you do. As things begin to fall in place all I can do is see God’s hand all over things. It proves that God meant what He said concerning us in Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.“
If the fact that the God who created the universe not only hears your prayers but begins to answer them with the details that you’ve been praying for…that’s motivation! The Cross & Resurrection is motivation enough because he demonstrated His great love for me while I was still His enemy, trapped in my sin, He died for me, to give me life! That provides more fuel to the fire…it’s motivation to go deeper in the heart of God, motivation to build His Kingdom, motivation to do whatever He sets before me to do! It begs me to ask the other question: “what motivates you in your relationship with God?” Share you thoughts on Twitter or Facebook!
It’s always good to be reminded of things that we so easily forget in day to day life. Today I got my reminder on the power of depression and how to combat it. If you are facing depression I can guarantee you being around “church folk” (religious) does not work. Often the “church folk” will offer a kind scripture and send you on your way. However, you and I can know Scriptures like “the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)” but unless we learn and intentionally tap into the truth of them they will remain as empty words.
The past couple of days have been rough for me, as soon as I have come home, I got attacked out of nowhere with a depression funk. It was the oddest thing as I was fine at work and even had some great days at work. Yesterday, I slept the day away thinking it was just being worn out from returning to the routine but then tonight was far more brazen. While I was reading and praying, I noticed my thought suddenly turned deeply negative. It was an onslaught of depression that put me in the dumps for no reason at all.
I had the wisdom to text a good friend who then called me and prayed for me. Before we ended the brief call he told me God put in in his heart to tell me to put on praise music (not worship) and to dance before the Lord. Gotta love a timely word of knowledge to bring life to your situation! No sooner had I made a quick playlist on my iPhone and started dancing a fool the depression was gone and I celebrated in who God is! Depression can not inhabit the same place as praise; it’s like telling a sword and a ballon to share the same space. That ballon will pop as soon as the sword moves in place…depression in praise is much the same way.
It was this no hold crazy praise dancing that invited an awareness of who God is and who He is to be that forced any remnant of depression to flee. Joy is constant because it is not based on circumstances while happiness is flexible depending entirely on our circumstances. Praising, not worshipping, invites nothing but joy, that exists no matter the circumstances of life so next time you feel a bit low turn up some songs that praise Jesus and dance. You will quickly discover that the joy of the Lord truly is your strength.
This is a poem sent to me by a friend who wishes to be anonymous but it is amazing and worth the read. It’s awesome to see what you the readers have in yourself and it is my honor to showcase it! I pray you enjoy this submission as much as I did!
It starts with questions, questions, questions, questions.
I want answers, answers, answers, answers.
But no one can give me answers to such simple questions.
The answer is complicated. The Answer is simple.
Simple questions means simple answers right?
Simple Answers only help difficult questions.
Wait, I’m just rambling.
Simple questions can have simple answers.
The same as hard questions can have hard answers.
The way I see it, I make my own answers.
Answers to please my simple questions.
Answers easy to hear.
Answers that make living simple for me.
That’s the way I like it.
We live in a society of convenience.
It makes things easy for everyone.
Or is that only cause everybody likes hearing simple answers.
Answers soft, like a smooth whisper into the ear.
A soaring song, floating lightly into your mind.
Sweet as honey on thy tongue.
A warm gust of summer wind in the frigidness of winter.
A cool breeze in the blazing desert.
Anything to make life a little easier.
Getting a high off of the feeling of it filling your lungs.
Swallow that pill it’ll make things all better.
That’s the kind of answer I want.
That’s the kind of answer the world gives.
We don’t want truth.
We want simplicity.
The way I see it, I have my answer.
So why search for a different one?
Doesn’t this answer make me happy?
I think it does.
I hope it does.
Wait, does it?
Just like that I am lost.
We are lost.
Even though we have that answer our hearts remain cold.
We don’t care to work.
We don’t care about others.
We don’t care to love.
But wait, I care.!
Well, ya. So what.
I care for myself.
But I wanna care!
I haven’t been taught that though.
I haven’t been taught to care.
The answer I digest into my stomach isn’t that of caring.
I take the answer the world gives me.
That 30 seconds of euphoria.
But I don’t want that any more.
I want a different answer.
Where to turn?!
I wish it was simple.
I want it to be simple.
So we stop searching.
We take what we can get.
We don’t want truth.
We want simplicity.
While that’s what the world teaches
I am learning better.
I can assure you, the answer won’t be easy.
Not a check box on your list.
Not a signature.
But it will change your life.
Teach you how to care.
I don’t need that small round pill that I used to strive for.
To make me happy.
I don’t need that smoke that I used to skip school for.
To make me smile.
I can assure you,
You will leave things behind.
Things you will miss deeply.
Things you will want again.
But these things you will be missing are short.
But I can also assure you,
It is for the better.
It is like leaving a torn down apartment to a mansion.
A scooter to a Ferrari.
But even better than that.
I can assure you.
It won’t be easy.
But it will be worth it.
Have faith to get through it.
Know that making this decision means your life.
It meant mine.
And I’m all the better for it.
I promise you…
You won’t find it here.
But if you want to live a life of fullness.
This is it right here.
Jesus wants you.
God wants you.
It’s not the answer you may want.
It won’t solve your problems.
But you need it.
I need it.
It is the answer that the world won’t give you.
The world wants you to live the way you’ve been living.
”Keep on drinking that drink and sucking down that smoke.”
Don’t listen though my friend.
You will find the answer you are looking for.
You will find the answer you are looking for.
It is not one of simplicity.
Not of convenience.
But you will find the answer you are looking for. Trust me.
I have found mine.
Sometimes in life as you are pursuing God the road you take might suddenly turn in an unexpected way. These “suddenlys” if taken in the right heart will lead to some divine set ups for encounters with God. It’s God’s way of blessing us in many ways, whether it be in our finances, friendships or even opportunities to do what you dream of doing. You really can’t plan these and you can not sit back until they happen either.
This week has been a week of “suddenlys” so far and its only half way done. I came down to Alabama see this amazing family of God and to learn what I can. The transpired events have been confirming so much of what has been on my heart but unsure of. It’s challenging, provoking me deeper into the heart of God and realizing God’s plan for my life is nowhere as narrow as I thought it would be (that is for another day). It has been and still is an unexpected adventure. We’ve seen God move in awesome ways in the past few days and He is setting something much larger in place as well.
I really want to encourage all of you who read this not to give up on the dreams in your heart. Trust God to see you through the storm that you may find yourself in. Often that is part of the incredible journey that God will use (not that He authors anything that steals kills or destroys) but what the enemy meant for evil God will use for good as it is this day to save many people through your life and testimony (see John 10:10, Genesis 50:20, Revelation 12:11). These unexpected adventures become benchmarks in our relationship with God!
As you are reading this it is Easter Sunday in the US and I am loving it. I feel like a kid at Christmas who is so wired that he can’t sleep. I can’t imagine the sheer joy in the atmosphere as those closet to the Lord realized that He rose from the grave. For me, the empty tomb is the very reason that the enemy has lost all authority in my life. John Mark McMillian said it best in his hit song, “Death In His Grave” (see below).
We are free to know God, to live richly, to love loud, to dream and to see it come to pass. All because of the Cross the debt of our sins was paid by Perfection and because of the empty tomb it has been sealed for eternity. Jesus is ALIVE! He is alive and at work in the earth. He cares for you and He cares for the things that you are facing. No matter how you got where you are He will see you through every storm that you face. You have no need to fear and no need to fret about tomorrow. Because death has been defeated and the One that is Life reigns forevermore! I don’t know who that is for but that is what is on my heart!
I pray everyone has a phenomenal Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday (however you call it) and remember that the chains that seem to have you bound have been broken in Jesus’ Name for no other reason than the fact that He lives! Walk into the freedom He has for you and do not look back!