Inward Renewal…

Inward Renewal…

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Psalms 51:10 (NLT)

There are times that verses like this really challenge me to go much deeper with God and within myself. When I first read this it didn’t really click. Yes, it seems simple on the surface but I could feel that there was actually much more than Holy Spirit wanted to reveal to me…

There must be a self-knowledge that leads to prayers of the heart like this. We must be willing and able to take the time to self-examine ourselves so that we can know where our heart and soul are drifting towards. Without having the ability to recognize when things are drifting away from God and towards the world, we are fooling ourselves.

The psalmist is emphasizing his need to be transformed from the inside. Asking God to perform a miracle within His life. Truthfully, having a clean heart created & a renewed loyal spirit is an act of God. The Bible makes it pretty clear that the only way for true inward change is through the workings of the Holy Spirit. From the moment we get saved our lives start to change from the inside out. 

As we grow in our relationship with God we should develop the desire to be praying in this manner. Realizing the desperation for our own hearts and spirit. Being mature enough to know that without our hearts and spirit being regulated they will drift. That’s why Jesus must be the anchor of our heart and souls. Always keeping us centered and pursuing God’s will for our life…

Allowing ourselves to go through inner and outer cleansing will give us a sustained hope. It is the continued empowerment of the Holy Spirit and a renewed assurance of deliverance combine that provides the sustainable hope.

Take some time today to sit at His feet, let Him cleanse your heart and renew your spirit. It’s needed. It’s vital & it is life changing!

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Who or What?

Who or What?

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Somewhere within the American Christian Culture, we have come to believe that things will be all sunshine and rainbows when we announce Jesus as our Savior, King & Lord. The truth is, the bible talks about it being the complete opposite in a lot of ways…

Yes, He will protect and sustain us but that does not mean that things will not come against us. Realistically, more things will start to come against us because we are now public enemy #1 for satan. When you confess Jesus as King of your life you then declare that you are no longer on satan’s team.

Paul is making it very clear in this passage that we should expect attacks to come from every direction and yet, we should not fear. Paul is giving the response that we should be encouraged by when things come at us. Why? Because God is FOR US. Right by our side. Fighting on our behalf.

When “things” start to come at us in life, we should do our due diligence and remind ourselves, and those things, that God is with us. All the way through Romans 5-8 there are things that Paul mentions. Plenty of things that come against a believer, people, trials in life, satan himself, etc… but Paul reminds his readers that there is no reason to fear… That is a great reminder for us all as we walk through life.

God’s everlasting love for us is seen all throughout the bible… The OT, NT, epistles, etc… It’s a common theme that we serve a God who will never leave us or forsake us. There is a theme that shows all throughout the bible of God’s people going through various trials (a lot of them there own faults) and God being with them through them. Even when they are in a terrible trial because of there OWN DOING He is still there. Regardless of what “thing” is coming your way today, do not lose heart fam… God is there. God is with you. God is fighting for you…

At Some Point…

At Some Point…

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,

Titus 2:11-12 (NLT)

Have you ever sat back and wondered why it seems like the longer we are saved, the LESS graceful we can be towards others? I mean maybe it’s just me, but at one point during my early walk with the Lord, I was exposed to a lot of very religious people. Those seeds were planted in my heart and it took God YEARS to de-root those lies.

We are ALL in need of the grace of God. We ALL need it to be revealed to us and for us to fully be washed in it. God’s grace brought salvation to ALL people and it will push us to pursue God in love. Paul is making a very clear statement that God’s salvation is offered to everyone. God’s grace is the reason why Jesus came to earth, lived perfectly, died a terrible death for our sins, was buried and rose on the third day so that we could be free.

The church body would be SO much healthier if we would all understand that all of our sins are graciously pardoned and that Christ graciously accepted the punishment that we all deserved. None of us are any better or any more “worthy” of God’s gift to us all… We should all do our very best to continually bring ourselves back to the moment of salvation when we realized how desperately we need Jesus in our lives.

Let us not forget the very grace & mercy that was and is extended to us each and every day. Use that reminder to extend that same grace to those around us. God uses each of us to express His love to the rest of the world, not His judgment. That day will come, but that day is not for you to know and definitely not for you to execute.

In Season…

In Season…


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.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

 

At the end of the day, you can deceive people and yourself about your motives and attitudes towards giving, but you cannot deceive God. At some point, the seeds you have planted in your life will begin to flourish and be ready to harvest.

For some, this may be something that is “easy” to overlook because there isn’t enough searching of the heart going on, BUT it needs to be something that is looked at on a regular basis. When talking about harvesting what we “plant” that refers to an investment of some sort. Whether that be time, money, talents, etc… it simply means that you are investing those things into something.

For me, it was fitness. And let me tell you how much of a waste it was for me. (Not saying it is for others, but with my life it was). Instead of focusing on just being healthy and having a functional body I went above & beyond to pursue some unobtainable goal. What do I mean by unobtainable? Well simply put the goal kept moving before I truly felt satisfaction. I would set a goal, “plant” into it, “harvest” that goal and still be unsatisfied. So what did I do? “Plant” some more and hope the next “harvest” would be different. Over and over again for a few years, I continued to “plant” in this area of my life hoping that at some point the “harvest” would be worth it…

Sadly, the harvest never satisfied my heart and soul. If anything it left me more discouraged and bummed out because of the constant pursuit. I continued to pour myself into something that God did not have for me. Again, not saying fitness is bad, or that anyone who dedicates a significant amount of time to it is doing something wrong. I’m speaking from MY personal experience and battle with that area.

If you have time today, take a step back and really pray for God to reveal to you some areas of your life where you may be investing because of your will instead of investing in areas via His will in your life.
Trust me, investing in the areas where God wants you to invest will yield MUCH greater returns…

Fades Away…

Fades Away…

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

1 Peter 1:24 (NLT)

I will say that as life has progressed that this verse has become more and more relevant. The things I value, the things I aspire to & the things my heart desires are vastly different then what they were even one year ago.

Peter is quoting the prophet Isaiah when he expresses this. This is a reminder from Peter that eventually everything in life fades away. A reminder that we should not focus so much on the present that we miss out on investing in eternity.

For years I have struggled with my masculinity. Putting it into fitness and trying to be “big & strong” as if that would make me more of a man. As time went on, I realized just how terrible that logic was. I invested SO much time, energy and resources into pursuing something that ultimately turns back to dust. There have been moments where I have missed out on investing in God’s kingdom work because I had to get my workout in, or I had to coach. Fitness consumed me in a lot of ways. It brought me a false sense of comfort. I pursued it as if it would validate me at some point & then I’d be worthy to be called a man.

God really started to work on my heart when it came to that false sense of manhood. He worked on my heart and started to reveal that my masculinity was to be found in how He says I should be as a man. He used this verse many months ago to remind me of the responsibility to invest in my walk with Him. It’s kind of funny because I found myself thinking about how much impact I could be making for God’s kingdom if I invested the same time and energy into His kingdom that I did into fitness… The number of lives that could have been radically changed if fitness would have been in its proper place…

It’s when that perspective shift occurred that I started to see the Holy Spirit working in my life in radical ways. I still invest in my health because it is vital towards longevity, BUT it’s the method & restriction of it not becoming an idol that has made all the difference…

Whether it’s fitness, your career, your passions, your hobbies, whatever… We all should be using those passions to invest in God’s kingdom. Those investments of the desires, talents, and gifts into the Kingdom of God will make an impact into eternity…

C.S Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who most thought of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
Took a while for that to sink into my heart, but once it did…  Freedom.

If & only if….

If & only if….

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

 

One of the biggest things that I have seen throughout my walk with God is that there is always a certain part that is required of me. What I mean by this is clearly defined in what the Lord says back to King Solomon.

As believers, it is easy for us to fall trap to the false idea of the simplicity of “repentance” when in reality it is not merely saying a quick little prayer asking God to forgive and restore. There is damage that is done when we sin. To ourselves & to those around us. Each portion that God mentions to King Solomon is of vital importance to the proper restoration of our hearts…

Now, before I continue on. We are all completely righteous in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22) and His blood covers us (Ephesians 1:7). I am not disagreeing with that in any manner, BUT there is a different call when it comes to our Christian lives. We should seek out God with all our hearts, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Mark 12:30). A desire to be purified by His word and spirit daily (1 Peter 1:22). We should desire to become more LIKE Him and hate sin. We should have a certain distaste for sinful behavior and WANT to turn away from it…

Each of the words used from God has theological backing behind them. For example, the word “Humble” expresses the need to get rid of our pride and deny ourselves by being completely loyal to God and His will for us all. When we see the word “Pray” in this context it is a call to acknowledging the sin in our lives and ask for God’s grace and mercy to cover us. It is similar to the prayer of repentence we see from David in Psalm 51:1-2. “Seek” is used here to describe a desperate need for God to interveine in a hopeless situation. Finally, the word “Turn” is the same as repentance. It signifies a complete change of direction away from that sin in our lives and going towards God…

We can see this same pattern throughout many of the monarchs throughout the old testament went through this same process towards true repentance. Although we are covered in the blood and saved by grace it is still a pattern that many of us can follow towards true repentance. Both the kings and the people constantly would “humble” themselves before God (2 Chronicles 12:6-7), “pray” to go in true repentance (2 Chronicles 32:20), “seek” God’s face for restoration (2 Chronicles 20:3-4), and finally “turn” from sin and towards God (2 Chornicles 15:4).

These are all earnest actions we must do when we are struggling with sin. We must humble ourselves before God, we must pray to Him with an earnest desire for holiness, we must seek His face, His heart, and not just His hand, and finally, we must turn away from the sin that is entangling us and run towards God with all our hearts…
Seek Him and you will be fully satisfied…

This leads to freedom fam. A freedom that goes beyond anything you could ever imagine… It’s not about perfection, it’s about pursuit.

Do it.

Do it.

I have been praying about what direction God wanted me to focus on for this verse because there are so many different ways this can apply to our culture…

It is SUCH a blessing that there is so much information out there about the Bible and the proper interpretations of it. It’s a beautiful thing, to be honest. To amount of zeal for His word and the amount of theologically skilled humans on this earth right now is impressive. What concerns me is the lack of application of that knowledge…

I mean think about it. The original Church in Acts didn’t have anywhere NEAR the amount of information at their disposal. They didn’t even HAVE A BIBLE. They didn’t have countless commentaries from people with numerous degrees in “Bible”, but yet their impact was immensely greater.

All throughout the New Testament, you can see that all of the people who made impact walked WITH God and DID. Just like Paul is telling Timothy to SET AN EXAMPLE. He isn’t telling Timothy to study the scriptures more. He isn’t telling Timothy to go to seminary school. No. Paul is writing this letter to Timothy and telling him that the way that people will see God in him is by setting an example with ACTIONS. Speech, conduct, love, faith, purity. Each one of those is actions that Timothy needs to exemplify each and every moment of his life.

So why is it that we do not have this same passion to walk out what we know? I know I’m just as guilty at times when it comes to watching how I walk each and every moment. Especially when emotions start to run high. Learning to walk the truths of the Bible out each and every moment is where the impact will start to happen. That’s when the culture of our lives will start to shift. Literally, EVERY room we walk into can be completely different if we walk out the truths we see in the word. We MUST set an example in the way we conduct ourselves…

The sad truth is that the “world” knows more about what we (Christians) are against than what we are for. We are labeled hypocrites amongst many other things… Why? Because we don’t desire to SET AN EXAMPLE to those around us…

I challenge each of you today to be the example where ever you go. Be completely conscious and aware of each of your actions… Give it a try and watch the atmosphere shift around you.