Saturday, August 25, 2012
I have heard this phrase "God can't love me." way to many times. Many youth say it as well as adults. For some reason they believe that they are to far 'gone' for God to love them. They have sinned to much or have done way to much wrong. I mean, they know what's in their heart and the corruption within; consequently, with justification, they believe God and his love is not an option for them. Its time for me to be blunt on this, this is a complete lie.
God loves you so much, but instead of just saying that, I can prove it to you logically. Everyone (though few as it may be) who reads this, knows that Jesus came and died on this earth for us. This gives us the opportunity and ability to connect with God on a personal level. This sacrifice was made to give us a clean slate. Thus, all of our wrongs and mishaps have been wiped clean. Jesus did this when we were at our worst. He died for us when we could of cared less about him. He died for us while we were rebellious in our heart and doing whatever our flesh desired. He died for us at OUR WORST. Jesus knows how bad you are and that darkness that lies within. He knew it all along and he is beckoning you to come and embrace him and his love forever.
We as Christians are considered his adopted children (Gal 4:5-6). Adopted parents love their children just like their own. They accept their flaws and work with them through their problems. My challenge to you today is stop going around sulking and complaining about how your not good enough or how you can't be loved. It is time for you to embrace this gift that was put in front of you.
Its time for you to recognize your son ship.
Friday, July 20, 2012
This question is probably one of the oldest challenges to religion. It used to scare and intimidate me; however, I have grown to almost enjoy answering this question. It is a question that springs up all throughout the Bible as well. It entails the questioning of why suffering, death, murder, rape, and all the other evil things in our world occur.
I'm going to take you back to the time of the Judges of Israel. This is before King David, King Saul, Jesus, and even Jerusalem. The people of Israel were just beginning to put their roots in the promised land. However, there was a problem; the Israelites used to be faithful and follow only one God, but this all began to change. They started following numerous other gods like Baal and Molech. They forgot how their God delivered them from Egypt and their other enemies. Pretty soon, Israel started to get attacked and the country was constantly under siege. In one point of history, they were hiding in caves and farming in the dark because when ever they had a harvest, their enemies would kill them and steal all of it. Consequently, poverty and sickness ran rampant in the Israelite camp. The people were hurting so bad that God decided to step in…
This is when he approaches a man Named Gideon. When Gideon found out who it was (after this angel figure told him) the first question he asked was "If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles and wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us 'Didn't God deliver us from Egypt?' The Fact is, God has nothing to do with us…"
This is a great question that people have. You might have this question as well. If God is so great and mighty why does all this suffering happen around us? I mean where is he when kids are dying and people are starving? To the people with this question, I hate to say it but you might not get the response your looking for. Gideon didn't. Gideon did not get an apology or even a good reason. On the contrary God told him an answer that he was probally not expecting to hear. God told him that He(Gideon) was going to fix things. God was going to give him the power to change the fate of the world.
That leaves us with this final point. God doesn't have to explain himself away. Yes there is suffering, hurting, death, poverty, pain, sickness, etc. Yes children die of starvation and malnutrition almost every minute. There are young girls that are sold into sex slaves. Asking about what is God doing is the wrong question. You should ask about what YOU are doing. We are God's hands and feet. HE uses us to spread his love an joy. Our purpose is meant to stop all this suffering and heart ache. The real question then is this "Are you doing anything about all this evil in the world?"
My challenge is to find a cause on your heart and fight for it. Gideon's heart was for his people that were suffering. He changed all that. What is the thing that you see that needs to be changed. Stop sitting around and do something. God has given you the power and ability to do just that.
Lol I did not realize how long this devotion was. I hope you got through it all and it challenged you. All this comes from mostly Judges chapter 6
Saturday, July 14, 2012
I find it interesting that Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world and he denied them. We question many times if Jesus really struggled with the same things we did. Did he struggle with lust, envy, pride, etc? I would have to say yes. Here we see Jesus looking out at the kingdoms of the world and having an opportunity to have it all. It wasn't just the kingdoms, but everything in them. It was the money, fame, power, wealth, women, etc. It was everything that this world has to offer; this was Jesus' real temptation. What was his response? "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."
I must admit, if I was proposed that offer, I don't know if I would have the same response. The reason I say this is because I struggle with this same temptation but on a much smaller scale. I struggle with wanting the new gadget, car, or even video game. In other words, I really do wrestle with desiring the pleasures of this world and what they bring. Sometimes my thoughts become consumed with them; consequently, I don't even think about God or who he is. So, it is honestly hard for me to imagine being in Jesus' shoes and giving the same answer as him.
My challenge to you this morning is more of a question. Looking at this story and this temptation, what would you say? Would you say that you need to to serve God only or would you jump at the opportunity to have it all. I just want you to check your heart and be honest with yourself. If you do this, then whatever answer you have will empower you with the ability to work on yourself. All I ask is to be honest with your self.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Have you ever been called worthless or useless? Has someone ever told you that you were good for nothing in this world? Comments like that hurt and can bring a person down to a major low in life. Now imagine if God was to tell you that? Imagine seeing God face to face, this all powerful and absolute being tell you that you were a wicked and worthless servant. Now talk about demeaning. This type of comment would be a major blow to someone's self esteem.
In Mathew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a parable about 3 people getting a measure of money (called a talent) from their boss. Now the amount given is not important, but the importance lies in what the people did with the money. Two of these individuals took the money and invested it. It was a risky task but it paid off because they doubled the money for their boss. The other individual was full of fear for doing something wrong, instead of investing the money he hid it to keep it safe. The reason why he was afraid was because his boss was known to be a hard person. He didn't want to screw anything up. So long story short, when the boss called the three people back he was pleased with the first two people who invested and made a profit. He actually rewarded them for what they did; however, the last individual was not as lucky. He was punished because he did absolutely nothing with what he was given. He was called wicked and lazy; as a result the boss fired him. Can you see the picture that I'm beginning to draw?
In this specific parable Jesus was not talking about mere money. He was trying to teach us a lesson. What was that lesson? It was that God gives us these abilities or "talents". Everyone has them; some are teachers, comedians, cooks, etc. Everyone is good at something and this is what God gives us. GOd does not want us to do nothing with these gifts. He doesn't want to sit around and waste them by either not using them, or by applying them for our own selfish needs. On the contrary, there is a purpose for our gifts and talents: it is to further the kingdom of God. It is to help people and empower them to either seek God out or realize that he is there. Talents like laughter can literally save a person's life. One smile can convince a person thinking of suicided that there is more meaning to life. It can help them see the significance or even the value of their own existence. Sometimes we fall into the character of the third man in the parable. We get scared and fearful that if we put ourselves out there and use our talents for GOd we will mess up and ruin everything. Other times we are just scared to even try. Its not wrong to be afraid, but it Is wrong to let that fear control us. If we fall into this, we end up wasting our lives and doing nothing productive for it. We have gifts for a reason: gifts are meant to give to others. Now imagine God saying to you 'You are wicked and lazy because you wasted what I gave you'. That is something no one wants to hear.
On the other hand, if we do use our gifts for God, we take a risk that tends to work out. No where in this parable does anyone try and fail. They always try and succeed. The two individuals doubled their earnings and they were given more as a reward. Likewise, when we give our talents to God and use them he blesses us immensely. I think of one girl in particular who has a great personality and heart. Her talent is making little pens and art products. She is also a good sales person. She is using these gifts to sell little products so she can build a well in Haiti. While in the process of doing this, she was contacted by other organizations that will double the money she makes.
Using your talents is risky and fearful, but God is not going to leave you hanging. He is going to help you and while you are doing it, he is going to blow you away with how he is going to multiply it.