#VOD: Psalm 63:3-4

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”

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Somewhere along the line God has turned into a modern-day “genie” for most of us. I have had my fair share of days where I struggle to praise God and give Him glory when life isn’t going the way I would like it too… What I find ironic is that David is writing these words while in the midst of some of the worst times in his life!

This entire portion of scripture is a cry out from David’s heart to be in touch with the one who holds him so dearly… Like an eager friend, or lover. He is eagerly desiring to reach out to the one he knows loves him more than anyone else. How many times in the midst of a trial do we eagerly break down in desperation for God? I know at times my first instinct is confusion, frustration, questioning, etc… Pretty much like a child throwing a tantrum! 

1- His love is better than life itself!

As hard as it may be to understand at times (trust me, i know it can be hard), we need to fight to be at a place in our life to where we are desperate for His love. As much as I would love to say that His love comes easily and naturally to us all, I can’t. His love is easily and readily available to us, BUT OUR OWN selves get in the way of fully experiencing it…

2- It’s not His love, it’s our awareness

God’s love never changes, ever. His love is passionate, beautiful, unrestrained & for us all. That will never change. Jesus came and died for our sins even when we completely living in our own sin. God knew that it would take time for us all to overcome certain sins in our life and He won’t abandon us because we aren’t living in complete perfection. A lot of us (myself included) live with a “step-child” mentality. One where we feel we aren’t worthy of His love, so we don’t fully accept it. God’s love is open and available to us all, we must simply accept it.

3- Because of His love, we glorify Him

We don’t glorify FOR His love. We don’t run from sin FOR His love. We don’t try to pursue perfection FOR His love… No no no… We do these things BECAUSE of His love. Even if God did NOTHING else in our lives, we should be able to praise Him with all of our beings! Because of what Jesus did, we get to go to heaven! If that’s not something that brings us great joy when we do not have a healthy realization of heaven & hell. Jesus saved us from the worst place any of us could imagine & opened up the gates to the greatest place that we cannot even imagine! Because of THAT and THAT alone, I will praise Him all the days of my life… 

It’s BECAUSE of His love that we praise Him with our lips…

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#VOD: 1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Yesterday I wrote about being thankful on my #VOD for 1 Chronicles 29:13 and I are happy that we have another verse to talk about thankfulness! With the holiday seasons approaching it is extremely important that we understand the many reasons we SHOULD be thankful…

1- Being thankful is a choice

Truth is, that we all have reasons to be thankful but we often time spend a majority of your time being stressed, worried, anxious and focusing on the negative instead of the positive. At the very least we can focus on the fact that we can come as we are and that there is no fear in His love. Jesus came and died to give us victory over sin & death… If we could live a perfect life there would have been no reason for Jesus to come and take our place…

2- We have a Good Shepard (Jesus) that leads us into a better life

When it comes to the decisions we make, we can rest assured that if we seek God first it will work out in the end. Does this mean we will always make the “right” choices, no. What this means is that when we do our best to seek God’s face, listen to Him speak and seek Him in His word we can make a wise decision. There are a lot of decisions in our lives that we won’t have an EXACT answer on, BUT if we are turning towards our Good Good Shepard we will be led into the best He has for us.

3- At the end of it all, life always works out

Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, because of God’s love for us all… We win. Life may be hard, it may be difficult to find something to be thankful for, but I promise you that if you keep fighting to have a thankful heart…. Things will start to look brighter and brighter… I think Paul says it best when he says, Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Fight for love, Fight for thankfulness, Fight for life, never give up….

#VOD: 1 Chronicles 29:13

“And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”

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I always think to myself… Even if God did NOTHING else, but send Jesus to die for my sins I should be infinitely grateful for that. I mean what else could we want?! We get an eternity in heaven because of what Jesus did…

1 – Thankfulness is an attitude & reveals our hearts

At the end of the day, we all have things to be grateful for. Regardless of what is going on in this temporary time of our life, we are promised an eternity in heaven. Regardless of how hard life is, God has promised better. Regardless of how stressful things can be, He has promised peace. There are so many things that God has promised us that we just don’t access. We HAVE the access but yet we all commonly turn towards something else instead of turning to God.
When we turn to God for all of our needs, it creates a healthy heart of praise & thankfulness.

2- Stop blaming God for the problems in your life

I get that there are things in this life that don’t make sense, and that can be frustration. At times, it’s just how it is. Some of us got dealt a crap deck of “life” cards, but that doesn’t change who God is. For me, I love the deck of cards I got now. Was it “ideal”? Heck no, BUT I have seen God’s power work through this deck of cards more than He could of if life would have been different.

3- He is a good God, a loving Father, a loyal Savior, and a caring friend… That alone should make us thankful.

At the end of the day, God will always have your back. Even if the times where I was completely rejecting Him, and living for all the pleasures of this world He still pursued me. He never stopped & He never will. Same goes for all of us. No matter where we are at, He is there. He wants us to come home, to live within His loving presence for all of eternity. He loves us SO much that He gives us a choice. Forced love isn’t love, so He allows us to choose.

Comfortable being uncomfortable

One thing I️ hear constantly from my friends at my local box (Crossfit Gym) is that I️ avoid getting uncomfortable. When it comes to pushing towards that point physically where things hurt, where I️ can fail, where I’m outside of that “safe” comfort zone, I️ back off.

Over the last few weeks, I️ have come to realize that it’s a pattern in my life. The risks I️ take are always calculated. The chance of failure is always minimal & the damage done if I️ do fail is pretty much non-existent…

Not anymore. God has done some amazing things over the last 4-6 weeks & is calling me into an entirely new & extremely uncomfortable decision to leave my comfortable, salaried, steady & safe position to be a Financial Advisor.

I’ve gone back & forth over this for a while & at first, it started off as a slight joke. I️ reconnected with one of my first mentors, he referred me & within weeks the job was being offered to me by the grace of God.

At first, I️ thought it would take months so naturally I️ wasn’t too nervous. I️ had a few months to “help” God out and try to save some money just Incase, BUT…. that’s not what God had in mind. He made it loud and clear to me that He is going to push me out of the boat and leave Himself as the only option for survival…

This journey is by far the biggest leap of COMPLETE faith I have ever taken… Pay cut, extra costs for medical, cell phone, etc… I’m excited to see what impact God will have on the financial industry through this situation.

#VOD: Titus 2:11-12

“God has shown us undeserved grace by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world.”

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At times, I’m sure we all have struggled with this concept… Coming to save ALL people?!

“I mean c’mon God, there are some people that ‘don’t deserve’ to be saved…” I know there have been a few times my heart has been full of terrible bitterness that would think that way about another person. It’s heartbreaking when I look back at those moments where my heart was full of bitterness towards a person.

1- None of us are worthy of the UNDESERVED grace that He gives us all

For some reason, this concept seems to have been lost within the majority of the churches across America. Jesus preached a message of hope saying to come as you are, and grow in Him. The bible is extremely clear about us ALL being sinners worthy of death and death alone. We don’t deserve it, but He still gave it in full measure.

2- Jesus’ sacrifice is for all, so we should live our lives looking for that one that is lost

Someone in time this concept has been lost. The disciples went to the ends of the earth searching each and every possible place to find that ONE that doesn’t know Jesus. They searched high & love and used every resource they could find to preach the good news, but we don’t?
I mean think about it! We have co-workers, family members, friends, etc… that we talk to on a regular basis and we don’t share the gospel with them?! That’s insane to think about! I struggle with it myself, and often time find it easier to preach the Gospel to strangers BUT that doesn’t excuse the fact that there are all people we know & love that may be on the way to hell… Tough pill to swallow, right?

It may be hard to present the Gospel to those we love (and don’t), but I think it should be harder to live a life NOT knowing that they will be in heaven and that Jesus died for that person without them making it to heaven…

#VOD: Galatians 6:7-8

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”

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Depending on where you stand with God in this life, this verse can either be intimidating or liberating. Regardless of how it speaks to us all, the main thing I want to focus on is our motives.

You see, on the outside, it can be easy to try and manipulate people into believing you are a good person with good intentions, but God knows our hearts. It can be easy to do all the correct religious deeds that make you look (and feel) holier than the next. It is easy to put on a “godly” perfume to mask the religious stink in your heart, but God knows.

1 – Stop putting on an act and plant seeds of righteousness

God is our righteousness. Because of Jesus, we are redeemed, BUT we should still be doing our absolute best to live a life above reproach… Not FOR His love, but BECAUSE of His love… When temptation comes, we should turn from them because of what Christ did for us. We should turn from temptation because we want NOTHING to do with anything that could weaken our connection to God. Although Jesus died for our sins and offer us complete wholeness with God, that does not mean we can live in sin without it hindering our connection with God.

2 – There is freedom in knowing what you plant, He will grow into a greater harvest

There is so much peace that comes from walking in His plan for our lives. Simple obedience to His ways and what He wants for us all. We can trust that His plans are better than our own. We can trust that there will be a day where we will stand before Him with our harvest here on earth. That harvest will either be something we are ashamed of because we did nothing but mock the grace of God, or that harvest will be something we are very proud of because we gave generously in every area of our life…

We should all yearn to hear, “well done good and faithful servant”…

#VOD: 1 Peter 1:24

“As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.”

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What is it that you are constantly pursuing that ultimately fades? Money, relationship, stature, abs, beauty, etc…?
There comes a point in life where no matter WHAT you do those things fade. There comes a point in life where no matter how much effort you put into a relationship, your body, your beauty, your investments, etc… that it all turns to rubbish.

1- Living for an audience of one

Your spouse, kids, friendships & family all fade away as time goes on, so why do we spend so much time seeking that acceptance from them? Yes, we should all thrive to be the best we can be, but when did it become okay to live based on the opinion of those around you? So often we want approval from those we love and those that love us, but there will be times that those we love,  whether intentions are good or bad, will counter what God has to say about you. As time goes as those people will wither away and we will all stand before God on our own.

2- Our culture creates a false sense of self-worth

Our self-worth is constantly under attack in this world. Woman are pushed to a certain standard of “beauty” and men are pushed towards a certain standard of “masculinity”… Whats sad is that it is what the world sees as the standard. At one point, a woman was empowered to be a homemaker, but now the opposite is true.
At one point, a man was supposed to work with his hands to provide, but now the opposite is true.
Even within the fitness industry. As a dude, I always feel fat, small & weak. Even though I know that I am a decent sized dude who isn’t fat or weak, the insecurity is still there in my heart because of what I see daily. For a woman, their waists are never small enough, legs never nice enough, or butt never big enough…

I hope you get what this verse is implying to us all in our daily lives… Stop run the race the world is pushing you to run. Run the race that God has set before us…

We are to live for an audience of one, in confidence that we are His masterpiece…