Open The Blinders

2 Corinthians 5:16

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!

One of the biggest things I have been challenged with this year is how I view others. How I view the stranger I walk by in the store, the cashier at the checkout, the random person driving by, and just about every individual I encounter. What I noticed was, how my attitude toward people changes depending on where I am. At church it’s easy to be loving and welcoming, but outside of church, it’s so easy to assume the worst about everyone. It’s easy to forget that they, just like myself, are a child a God.

The first time I was convicted of this was while listening to the song ‘Ever Be’ when the line, “Let Your praise ever be on my lips” played. I thought about how that would effect my relationships, strangers on the street, the cashier, the person driving by, etc. That’s when I began to realize, that everyone is a child of God, and everyone is loved by Him. It’s my job to be intentional with others and show them that love that Christ first gave me.

And it’s hard.

What’s easy is to forget about the strangers at the store, to walk by them without a second thought, to go on with the day rushing to the next thing. It’s the unspoken rule to not talk to strangers in public, we all act as if we want to be left to our own regards and people are just an expensive you can’t afford to spend time on. I know I’m guilty of it.

But Christ keeps reminding me, “See that person, yup, I love them. See that one, yup, I love them too. That one over there, yup, that’s my child as well.” I believe it’s not only our job to stop evaluating others from a human point of view, but to go a step further and start evaluating others from Christ’s point of view.

The story of the cross is not a story about Jesus, but rather a story about how much God loves us and what He will do to reach each and everyone of us. Loving others is a blessing that we get to be apart of. And at times, yes it’s hard, you just want to do your own thing. But when we can take a minute to step back, and allow God to work in us, to allow God to let us view others the way He views them, we allow love to come into us. And love covers a multitude of wounds. Not just others wounds, but even your own.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (Emphasis Mine)

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

We’ve been given this task of reconciling people to Christ, we are Christ’s ambassadors, we speak for Christ.

I guess, what I am wondering is this, what would happen if we would open up our eyes and heart, to see everyone you see, everywhere you see them, as Christ sees them. There’s so many people who are hurting, who are just slipping through the cracks. I can’t even imagine what a simple smile, or hello could do for them. What if you were more courteous to the cashier or server, then they are to you? They might be trying to sell you a product, or gain your favor for a large tip, but you have the opportunity to give them God’s gift. How much greater is that?

I think because we are not getting persecuted everyday, being killed, that we forget how great of a message and how important of a message we have.

Let go of the binders and share the light with all.

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Wile E. Coyote’s Lack of Guidance Is You

Proverbs 8:12 (NLT)
“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
Proverbs 8:12 (ESV)
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.
I have sat here for the past few  hours just staring at this verse, just wondering, what kind of depth can I explore from this verse? I understand from it that wisdom brings you good judgement, character, and that wisdom can find you knowledge and a plan, direction. I keep wondering how I can better understand this to be able to apply this in my life and more so, I keep looking for a deeper hidden meaning.
In my mind, I keep going back to Wile E. Coyote and Team Rocket from Pokemon. I picture Wile. E. Coyote as he is always chasing The Road Runner. Wile E., as far as we know, has spent his whole life chasing The Road Runner but he never seems to capture The Road Runner. Time after time again, he fails. His plans never work, in fact they always seem to backfire on him to bring us comic relief.  As a spectator looking in, we know that Wile E. Coyote will never actually catch The Road Runner, but Wile E. doesn’t know that and so he will continue to spend the rest of his life chasing something he will never achieve.  
I can’t help but imagine that how we see Wile E. Coyote always chasing The Road Runner, is the same way God sees us when we start pursuing desires without God’s wisdom and direction. In Proverbs 8:12 we see that wisdom dwells with good judgement and common sense, they live together! And like any good roommate, you tend to know much more about your roommate than you care to know. Wisdom knows good judgement and finds knowledge and direction. If Wale E. Coyote were to catch The Road Runner he should seek wisdom first, and wisdom can teach him the direction he needs to finally catch The Road Runner.
If there is something you desire, give it to God. Seek Him and His wisdom. Pray about it, never stop praying for it.
Luke 11:11-13 (NIV)
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Think about that for a minute. Do you believe this is true, why or why not? In your own life, have you seen this to be true or has it been more of something to make you feel good? Why? Last question, before asking God for whatever you desire, have you seeked His wisdom first in pursuing your desire? Have you asked God if maybe He has something better for you in store? Have you asked for His advice?
I often think we give up on prayer because we ask for things from God before seeking His wisdom. And so, we result in asking for things that really aren’t beneficial for us. Maybe that fish you are asking for is really a snake, but because of our blindness we can’t recognize it. Maybe that egg is a scorpion? Maybe that job will take away time from your family and from God? Maybe that boy/girl will result in you being distracted from God? Maybe that raise will cause you to put your trust in money? You get the picture? We often don’t realize what we are asking for.
Seek God first, for God will give you wisdom and wisdom dwells with good judgement and wisdom will teach you the path to take. We can’t always see the right path because we are blinded by our own temporary satisfactions, but God sees the bigger picture.
God Bless.

Intentionally Seeking Christ or Unintentionally Following The Devil

Being raised within the Christian school system and Church, I have heard the parable of the talents/three servants over and over and over and over again. But to be honest, it has always been the one parable of Jesus that I never cared for. If you don’t know this parable it is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and you can view it here. To be honest, every time I have heard it, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the servant who only received one talent and hid it until his masters return.

I can’t speak for everyone, but if my boss gave me some money to hold onto until he returns, I would definitely put the money away. The money is his, not mine, and he trusted me to hold onto it. There is no way I would go out and use it. I would put it away somewhere safe until he returns. If I knew he would be gone for a long while, I would probably consider using some of it on occasion if I wanted something, didn’t have the money currently, but knew I could replace the money before my boss got back. But never would I go out and invest all of it. Not my money, not my risk to take. So I’ve always had trouble with this parable.

Different translations refer to the money differently, some call it ‘coins,’ some ‘silver’ and others ‘talents,’ my favorite is talents. I like the talents translation simply because in the english language we view talents as skills instead of money and it creates a parallel context to these verses. I’m sure if you have heard anyone teach on these verses you have heard someone teaching it using the talents illustration instead of just limiting it to money.

I want to look at the servant who received one talent from his master a little more in depth and how I believe it can really relate to you and I and challenge us at servants to Christ.

We all have received gifts of talents from God, not everyones are the same, but we all have them. Some of them may be with children, some teaching, understanding, love, patience, money, leadership, servanthood, straight A student, so on so forth. I’m sure you can recognize some of the gifts God has given you. Now let us look at these gifts and apply them to this parable. In this parable there are three servants, but really only two types of servants. You have the servant who invests his talents, and the one that doesn’t. Which are you? Hold on, don’t be so quick to answer.

You have your talent, whatever it maybe, but what are you doing to invest in your talent? How are you making your talent grow? This question is not, how have you used your talent, but how have you invested in it to help it grow? God wants us to invest in our talents that way we can grow and He can give to us more responsibilities. Look at what the master said to the first servant in verse 21:

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

This was also the same response to the servant that received two talents. God wants to use the talents He has given us through us. He wants us to grow through our talents that way He can use us even more.

The third servant though, only receiving one talent, hid it away until his master returned. I see this as for example, as being gifted with the talent of working with children, but only using the talent when the children come to you, only using the talent when it is convenient. But that is not investing in the talent to make it grow. How are you making your talent grow? What are you intentionally doing to not only use your talent(s) but to invest in them?

We see all of the big leaders and wish to be like them, but think there is no way you can do it. That is just to big of a step. But if you ask anyone who excels at anything how they got there, the answer is going to be through the little things.  Over time the little things added up to make big changes. This goes in two directions. You can intentionally seek God through the investment in your talents, or you can unintentionally follow the devil by not investing in them. God gave you your talents because He has something special planned for you through them, something great, but if you aren’t investing in them, you won’t be able to reach the special thing God had planned for you, resulting in a victory for the devil. Think about how that can apply in your own life. There are endless directions this can go, so how does this apply to you personally?

In the end, this world is nothing but an illusion. It’s not the physical things that matter, but the spiritual things. After we live our life here on earth there is only two destinations, heaven or hell. You are either chasing God, or chasing the devil. If you are only lukewarm, you’re following the devil.

Revelation 3:16

But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

If you’re not intentionally seeking God, you are unintentionally seeking the devil. Which are you? Could being lukewarm be considered as being unintentional? Think about it.

Matthew 25: 29-30

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Pursuing Too Much

Be Still and Know that I am God

Something I’ve found interesting is how quickly we can get so excited for a change or something new, but just as quickly that same excitement can die out. For example recently the web is ablaze about iOS 7 (for those that don’t know it’s Apples newest operating system on their ‘i’ devices), but in just a few short days it will be like nothing happened. But what I am talking about is not always about smaller details of life, but of the larger things. Such as finding a new hobby, a new job, a new major in school, a pay raise, a new workout program, a new computer. In our minds we get wrapped up in how these things are going to better our life, we get so excited. But like our new years resolutions, our excitement dies out. Eventually we get dissatisfied and want more, again.

Why do we get bored with the things we were once so excited about? Everything becomes like dust in the wind, it all just becomes lost in our vast world.

When reflecting upon it, it gives me a feeling of apathy. Why invest so hard in all these things, if I will eventually loose interest.

Why am I never satisfied. To take that question one step further, Why am I never satisfied with all the idols I create in my life? Would you agree that you do the same?

Maybe you’ve found something that you’ve been passionately pursuing for a while, and haven’t gotten bored with it, if so, great! Good for you.

But as for me, I know I’ve created many idols in my life, all competing for my heart.

Looking to the bible for some guidance, I found:

Micah 5:13

I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars, so you will never again worship the work of your own hands.

Genesis 11:4,7

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So is God causing this lack of interest in my heart because He wants to stop me from pursuing a passion of mine so that I don’t worship them over Him? Does God only want me to worship Him, not allowing me to pursue any skills that I might actually be able to make a name for myself with? Can I not do anything for myself, does everything have to be for God? What if I am pursuing other passions to help share Christ’s name?

No, I don’t actually think that is the case. I have no doubt God wants us to pursue our passions. But then, what is the problem? I believe it has to do pursuing them so much, so desperately, they become an idol. When we try to let our earthly passions do to our hearts what only God can, we leave feeling empty inside. If you have ever binge watched a TV show , eventually you get to a point that you’ve seen so much of the show in such a short period of time, you just get bored with it and don’t want to watch it again.

I think that is the same case with everything else. Only God is big enough to hold all of your heart for all eternity. Everything else has to be limited so that you do not become overwhelmed with it or bored of it.

Take an hour out of your day to pursue a passion, but don’t let it consume you all day, everyday. It will leave you feeling empty quickly. That is the lesson I am learning day by day. To many passions just leave me overwhelmed.

Two great quotes from Steve Jobs to end this.

“What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great.”

“Focus is about saying no”

Confession #9 (Revisited)

Name: Aimee
Age: 19
State: New York
Original Post

Sorry, I was going to add that I have an issue with envy and gossip. I can’t not spread gossip. and yes, being with him destroys every other relationship I have. God included because he doesnt give me time to pray ever and hes not even a Christian anymore.


My Comment:

Overcoming it starts small. First you have to make aware to yourself when you are spreading gossip, the next step is to try to stop yourself once you realize what you are doing. It’s not going to be easy at first, but the more you do it, the more it will become a habit.

Have you thought about just breaking up with Him and praying for Him? Is the relationship even worth it for you if you can’t grow in your other relationships including God’s?


Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/

Confession # 7 (Revisited)

Original Post
Age: 16

I don’t trust God and that is what is stunting me, along with feeling that God doesn’t love me… (I’m from confession 7, I think). 😦


My Comment:

As before. I will pray. You understand how great our God is right? Everything there is in this world, and the universe was made by Him in the blink of an eye. He also suffered death for us all. He humbled himself and became man and was ridiculed for our sake. Now with all that in mind, why would He allow you to feel the way you do? This guy died for you, shouldn’t He be doing everything He could to protect you? Shouldn’t He be doing everything He can to make you feel loved? The truth is, He does love you. To ask anymore from Him is actually selfishness on our sakes, the guy died for us after all. He sees something in you that you don’t. He sees strength inside of you that you don’t even see. He sees a future for you that you can’t even imagine. The pain you go through now is only temporarily, it feels like forever, it feels never ending, like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, like there just isn’t an end. But it is all a place of growing so that you can shine light in other people’s tunnel down the road. You have to trust Him. If you can’t trust the God of the bible, who can you trust?


Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/

“Don’t Touch the Stove!” “But Why mom?”

Proverbs 7:1-5 NLT

Follow my advice, my son;
always treasure my commands.
Obey my commands and live!
Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

Love wisdom like a sister;
make insight a beloved member of your family.
Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman,
from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.

Proverbs 7:1-5 ESV

My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words.

To sum it up. Obey God’s commandments and keep reminding yourself of God’s law so that you do not disobey it!

Some of us fall into the routine of sin because we know Christ will forgive us of our sins and we see no point in following the Law. If Christ will forgive us, why can’t we just live life our way? What’s the big deal?

Let’s look at the Sabbath day for just a second. It was created not so that we have another law to follow, but for our own good. It is there to keep us from overworking ourselves. We all know when we begin to work hard, giving ourselves no break, we wear out physically, and quickly after that, mentally. It quickly tears us down. So God gave us the Sabbath day so that we can rest from the world and give ourselves a break. It was a commandment given for our own benefit.

I believe the same is true for all of the commandments. We may not always understand why, but we have to remember not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is like when a parent tells their child, “Don’t touch the stove!” Parents aren’t telling their children not to touch the stove because they want to abuse their power, they tell their children that because they know if the child touches the stove, their hand is going to burn. The parents are protecting the child from danger the child is not aware of.  As children grow older, parents enforce the “Be back before curfew” rule. Parents don’t tell their children that because they just want to make their kids miss out on “all the fun” it’s because parents are aware of the danger of being out at night. Teenagers aren’t always going to understand that a parents rule is only there for their own protection.

The same is with the commandments, it is all there for our own protection. Take some time for yourself and go through each of the commandments and think about the possible things God is protecting you from with each of them. Challenge yourself.

Constantly remind yourself of all of God’s Laws. They are there for your purpose. To fall in one area of the Law, is to fall in all areas.

Lastly, don’t forget God’s greatest Law for you.

Matthew 22:36-40 NLT

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”


To anyone that noticed. I changed the bible translations from NIV and KJV to NLT and ESV. I did so to give an easier to read translation as well as a more literal translation to make studying the verses easier for everyone.