Not Out of Mind

The beauty of being saved by our faith in Jesus is that our sins are forgiven. All that is required is for us to repent of those sins & then move forward.

When we truly repent, we are back to being perfect in the eyes of God. Blameless & without sin, BUT although our sins are forgiven and out of the sight of God it does not mean we have forgiven ourselves.

That’s why the title is, “Not out of mind.” It’s sad to know & see so many believers in Christ walking around with the weight of sin on their shoulders. Jesus died to take that away! We must fight to forgive ourselves. The guilt, shame, insecurities, doubts & fears we feel are not from God, it is from ourselves. The spirit of the Lord convicts us, but once we repent we are forgiven. Cut & dry. Black & white.

The mind is where the next battle takes place. TRULY believing that we are forgiven is where the struggle is. I spent YEARS carrying around weight that God didn’t want me to carry. It was crippling, it was paralyzing, it was exactly what satan wanted.

Don’t let the enemy hold anything against you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. Christ died to take your sins. Yesterday, today, tomorrow & forever.

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Get Out of The Way

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Time and time again we let our own passions and desires get in God’s way. Things that WE want and plans that WE make often times directly counter the plans that God has for us all. When we are living in selflessness and completely sold out to God it is much easier to allow His plan for our life to happen.

Truthfully, there will still be a constant wrestling match in our hearts between our desires and His. That is part of our sinful nature that we are all born with. A desire to fulfill our own needs and desires. The good news is that God’s pursuit of us is MUCH more diligent and consistent than any amount of pursuit we have for our passions & desires.

Many times throughout my life I have passionately sought after what I felt was my passion & desire, but time and time again I ended up back at the foot of the cross surrendering all. Time and time again I would fight through the insecurities and struggles that would take root in my heart when I pursued my own passions and desires. There would be hurt, heartache, stress, worry, etc… all in pursuit of ME.

It wasn’t until I let my selfish passions and desires DIE that God was able to start moving mountains and uprooting things in my life. It was hard, it was a struggle, it still HURT, BUT I know that He is working all things for my good (Romans 8:28).

We need to do as the Prophet Isaiah did when God calls. Simply lay everything else down and say, “Here I am Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). When we lay it all down, get out of His way, and let our passions & desires die there is an immense amount of freedom and breakthrough that starts to happen… Just lay it down & just be a child of God.

Walk It Out

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The biggest lie of the devil is that we have to walk in “perfection.” Nowhere in the bible does it say that we are to walk in perfection because truthfully it’s impossible. That’s the EXACT reason Jesus came to earth.

God does not require us to walk in perfection, but instead to walk in integrity. Basically, own up to your mistakes, admit them, correct them and keep walking. It truly is that simple. The Christian life can be boiled down to simply putting your best foot forward, repenting when you mess up and loving God with all your heart.

At times, we will stumble. The Bible even says this, “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again” (Proverbs 24:15 ESV). So walking with integrity clearly has NOTHING to do with perfection and never failing… The opposite is true. It’s not the stumble that defines our walks with God, it’s how we rise from them!

You see, our defining moments in faith are not when we stumble, BUT how we rise up! Time and time again we will stumble, we will fall, we will fail and time & time again, we need to rise up.

Walk in integrity today friends. Own up. Admit your wrongdoing. Repent, and turn away from those things. Right your wrongs. Be a person of integrity and face your mistakes head-on. that’s walking in integrity.

There is beauty in that freedom. Put your best foot forward today, walk in the integrity God has given you.

Little with God VS. Alot with out

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I’m sure many of us have seen and/or experienced what it feels like to have what we “desire”

Whether that is a relationship, money, success, friends, family, etc.. We think that the more of these things we have, the happier we will be. We think that if we are unhappy it is because we still need to gain these “treasures”.

I know I’ve done this many times over. I think that a certain amount of money in my account, a certain relationship, a certain PR on my Olympic movement, etc… will satisfy my heart. Sadly, it never did. I would still feel like I was missing something. I’d miss my tithe so I could have a little extra cash and end up short at the end of the pay period. I fell in love with “the girl of my dreams” only to end up still feeling like I was missing something. I hit the “personal record” in the Olympic clean & jerk or snatch only to still feel weak and inadequate.

All of those things are not “bad” to have. God doesn’t care how much is in our bank account, or if we are with the person of our dreams, or what the PR is for our Olympic movement. These things are not bad, BUT they are bad when they become our god.  When we sacrifice what God has called us to do, when we are disobedient, and when we turn from God in pursuit of these false gods is when these things become bad.

Through all of my times of turning to things, I was left disappointed, broken-hearted, broke, and sometimes physically hurt (trying to PR). Through all of my times turning to God I have found nothing but peace, love, joy, hope, and freedom… Time and time again I can sit back and think about all that I have gone through in life with a big ol’ smile because I know who my Father is….

And let me tell you… He is a good good Father…

Instinctively

There will be many times in our lives where we will have to make a choice. Often times, the choice will ultimately lead to a certain outcome. Whether that outcome is desired or not is always promised, but for the Godly it is.

Running towards God is a guarantee. We do not have to worry about what will happen when we run to God in our times of need. He is reliable & faithful to keep His promises. People will fail us. People will disappoint us. No matter how amazing you are towards someone there is no guarantee they will return it. God on the other hand is faithful & trustworthy.

Running towards God is a constant that can be relied on. Things will never fully satisfy. Many people run towards an addiction or things to try and ease the pain. They run towards anything that will numb the pain, but sadly it never lasts. Shortly after they finish we are back to feeling empty and alone.

You see, our instincts are to solve whatever problem has risen in our life. We instinctively want to feel better & there is NOTHING wrong with that. God programmed that in us all, but often times we try to fix it our own ways. When we are stressed, worried, hurting, afraid, confused, etc… we always turn to things, people or addictions. At times, they satisfy & temporarily make us feel better BUT shortly after it’s back.

People, things & addictions WILL fail you. They will disappoint you. They will ask for me & give less. Often times that’s how an addiction works. It starts small & innocent but as time goes on that addiction requires more and more to give that temporary fix. Ultimately destroying anything good God has for us.

As people of God we need to fight off the fleshly instincts & focus on our spiritual instincts. Thinking Godly thoughts, praying, worship, studying His word, allowing Him to change us, etc… I will say that at times it is not ALWAYS going to be an instant feeling of peace BUT we can hold onto the promise.

Time & time again I would go through the same cycle of running from the pain & doing whatever I could to make it go away. Time & time again I would run towards an addiction and do whatever I could to feel that MOMENT of sweet relief. Only to be right back to running & hurting.

Stop running towards the wrong things. We need to instinctively run towards Him. He is reliable. He is always there. He will NEVER fail. That is a fact. It may not be at that VERY moment because He is working something greater. Great things take time. The longer we invest in things, the better they are & the better they become.

I promise you, He can satisfy you like no one can. People will fail you. People will disappoint you. He won’t. Addictions won’t satisfy. Addictions want more & more and give less & less. God does satisfy & it requires nothing but surrender.

He is faithful. He is our safe refuge in times of extreme hurt & pain. He is there, arms open wide. Offering you all of Himself.

Why Does It Even Matter

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To be completely open and honest, this verse has challenged me to go a bit deeper today on this blog. Usually, I pray and God starts to speak to me about what everyone needs to hear. Usually, I pray and the blog starts to basically write itself… This time around I had to sit and be still for a bit. REALLY dig deep into why God put this in the scriptures for us to read.

Often times, we can skim over things in the bible and act like it’s easy to apply or understand. We read verses like this and think, “Got it! Don’t go to bed angry.” I will confess that has been me many times before with this portion of scripture. Up until today I never really sat down to meditate on it and ask God why.

You see, the word tells us to meditate on His words day and night. (Joshua 1:8, Psalms 1:2) I don’t know about you all, but there have been times I have gone to bed STEWING on some “offense” or something that was done to me. A majority of the time I am not thinking about the things of God in those moments. I’m so wrapped up in the “offense” that I cannot focus on the things of God.

In our lives, there is a constant battle between our spirits and our flesh. If you aren’t fully aware of that in your walk with God yet think about basically your urge to do good and Godly things, versus your urges to do things that are bad and not Godly. Last night, Pastor Chris Davis spoke to me about an old native America proverb that spoke of two wolves. We have the choice to feed whichever “wolf” we want to feed. Was that be our spirit “wolf” or our fleshly “wolf”. At the end of the day, whichever one we feed will be the stronger more dominant one.

I’m sure it is obvious that if we spend all night feeding the fleshly wolf that it will be a tough time to re-focus ourselves on the things of God. We must fight the urge to focus on the offense and focus on God. Focus on the grace we have all been given even though we CONSTANTLY offend God. Time and time again we offend God, but yet He is so gracious and king with us.

We all need to do our best to spend some time in prayer each night before we go to bed. Lay everything at His feet, focus on Him before we lay down and try to sleep. There is nothing worse than spending a night “offended” and angry. A majority of the time it ends up making things MUCH worse and making a simple disagreement, offense, whatever into something that DEEPLY offends. Grudges get formed. Bitterness takes root, etc… Let it go. Each day, each moment, each evening.

Focus on the things of God, pray for them, pray for those that “offended” you (Matthew 5:44). There was an “offense” against me that I took WAY too personal. Over lunch with one of my amazing friends Daniel he gave me some of the greatest advice I could have ever received in that moment. He told me to pray for those that offended me, BUT it was the way he told me I should pray. Often times, when I would pray for those that “offended” me I would pray in a way that ultimately made my life better. For example, “God please help them with there selfishness and bitterness. It is making my life SO much more difficult.” You see that? I centered. Whereas Daniel said I need to pray with true compassion for whatever is holding THEM back from a better relationship with God. For example, “God please help them with there selfishness and bitterness. I know that you have amazing plans for there lives and I know that if you could just touch their hearts, they would truly experience all that you are.” Now, mind you that’s not exactly what Daniel said, BUT the point is that we should pray for everyone in that manner. When we start to pray for others with true compassion, God starts to do a miraculous work in our hearts.

Take that time today. Look through your “offense” book and start praying for those. The devil may have a foothold in your heart and you not even know it…

Through Him

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“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

 

This is originally what I wanted to post about this morning when I was starting to pray for what someone needs to hear today. Each morning I wake up and pray for what God needs to be said through this blog. Whether this blog is only read by one person, or by one million people. That does not matter. It’s vital to me and to my heart to fully express myself here. So, instead of doing my normal post on the Verse Of The Day, I decided it would be best to express myself on the idea of hurting… Because in a world full of social media highlights, blogs and overall this idea that this world has put on us.
This world has come to selling a lie of “positivity”. You know, work hard, hustle harder, if you dream it you can achieve it, if you focus on the positives enough you will get through it, etc… I don’t believe that at all be the truth. Yes, we should not dwell on things or actions outside of our control BUT we should acknowledge that at times there will be pain. We should acknowledge that there will be days where you just feel gloomy. And you know what? That’s perfectly OKAY. You can hurt with hope and get through it in a Godly manner…
Let’s set this straight… You can’t do ALL THINGS. This verse has been butchered over & over again as a motivational verse. Although it is incredibly encouraging & amazingly refreshing to read we must remain focus on what this verse is REALLY saying…
Yes. Anything THAT JESUS calls us to do CAN & WILL be done. The part that is commonly missed is that it is things that are THROUGH Him.
Here are some examples.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try a job. If it is not where God wants you, you will not be fruitful. It doesn’t matter how passionately you love a person. If that is not the relationship God wants you in, you will not be fruitful. It doesn’t matter how hard you workout each day. If God doesn’t want you to be a Crossfit Games Athlete, you won’t.
On the flip side:
If you are at the job God wants you to be at, your hard work will be compounded to be far greater. If you are in the relationship God wants you to be in, your heart & soul will be full of joy. If you are meant to make it to the Crossfit games, your results will be unreal to the “norm”
I say all this to simply get a point across to all of us who give our absolute best. There are many times we put SO much effort into something that God doesn’t want us to put effort into. Many of us are living a frustrated & defeated life because we are focusing so much time, energy, passion & love for things that we shouldn’t. We live a life feeling so defeated because nothing ever seems to go our way!
We all need to try and understand that there is freedom of God! That we can pursue HIM with all we have & instead of ending up feeling lost & defeated we would see the glorious life He wants for us. No person, thing, career or hobby will ever satisfy you. We can do anything through Christ.
We can have a fruitful marriage. We can have a fruitful career. We can have a freedom to walk without shame & regret.
These things can only be achieved THROUGH Christ.