God

When negativity and condemnation come, You Are.

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Through the negativity and condemnation I have received from others or most often self-imposed; I have trouble seeing my value or worth. I have had days when I questioned whether I should even get out of bed. I can't even count how many times I have lost heart.

I know many of you struggle with the same thoughts. Whatever you are wrestling with or the deepness of your darkness, know they are lies.

Your dignity, your value, your worth is found in no one else, but Jesus. He is the counter to all the negativity and condemnation.

Not to long ago I wrote something to help me push through the storms.

 

You are.

In your mediocrity, you are unique. In your ugliness, you are beautiful.

In your frailty, you are strong. In your pain, you are healed.

In your loneliness you are companionship. In your helplessness, your are needed.

In your darkness, you are light. In your condemnation, you are forgiven.

You are loved. Your are God's redeemed child.

 

We are people of a second chance. Grace and Peace to you.

One sentence. One question.

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"Sentences change lives." - Unknown

I have no idea where I've heard this quote from, but I think in many ways it is simple, yet very profound.

It is simple. Every day, we use sentences to communicate to one another to perform simple task, such as telling someone to turn off a light or to pass the Queso Cotija.

Yet in the same way it's profound. We use sentences to tell someone we love them or we hate them—both expressions either bring life or death.

Sentences change lives—from one extreme to the other.

 

With this in mind, I want to ask you question, but for clarity's sake I want to paint a picture around the sentence...

With no human critique or judgement to restrain you. And no fears of being socially outcast from your tribe to prevent you from being completely open and honest.

Here is the question:

If you could ask God a question and you knew He would answer—what would you ask?

Seriously. With nothing hindering you from being completely honest and transparent. Whether you believe in God or not: What would you ask?

 

Joe

A little transparency never hurt anyone... Right...

Before you read the next paragraph and freakout, just know I still love Jesus and I love His kingdom and His church...

A little transparency never hurt anyone... Right...

I'm just not sure if I love Jesus like I use to... Let me qualify this statement—it doesn't mean that I don't love Jesus and neither does it  mean that I don't want to love Jesus nor that I'm losing my faith in Him.

What I mean is at one time I had a laser focus and desire to follow Jesus with all my heart—no questions asked. Jesus was all that I needed. Back then things didn't distract me like they do now and I wasn't so focused on things I don't have.

Money, worries, my family, a some notoriety, the perfect living situation, dream job or dream vacation, everything on my wishlist at Amazon.com, sinful desires, and etc... There are times I want these things more than Jesus—I love these things more than Jesus.

Sometimes I find my lack of faith or lack of love in Jesus disturbing—I become my own worst enemy.

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And that's just it—sometimes I focus to much on what I don't have in this world or what I am not—this dissatisfaction becomes the lens on how I view God, and this affects my relationship with Him.

I allow these things to get in the way of me just spending time with Jesus. I sometimes get the feeling I'm about to say Jesus isn't enough for me.

So often I forget I already have everything I will ever need from God.

God really is worthy of our worship and our love. Yesterday was a great reminder of this fact! The resurrection of Jesus helps us realize life has a whole new meaning and it changes our view of everything.

Jesus reminds us there is more beyond this world.

I know that if this life were to end at any moment, I'd be moving on to something far greater than I could ever image. Things would become just how they should be—just how God desires them to be.

Hope is found beyond this fragile life—we should never be mislead to believe this life is all there is.

Wake Up...

Sometimes I need a WAKE UP like Easter Sunday to strengthen what remains and is about to die (Revelation 3:2).

We don't need to try harder, get busier, or accomplish more. We just need to focus and get back to what really matters—we need to spend time with Jesus and love Him.

To be honest, its not easy—there are strong temptations to want more and be more, but we must be diligent and persevere in loving Jesus and becoming more like Him.

There is no fancy way or magical formulas to spending time with Jesus—just be yourself... Seriously. And if you don't know how to be yourself, then ask God to help you be yourself.

Jesus is all we need.

Jesus is something bigger and something better than anything the world has to offer. Do you believe it?

Look Beyond The Surface

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swanson, Unsplash Today when you interact with someone, whether its new person or an old acquaintance; look beyond the surface. Don't make snap judgements on what use they can be to you or you to them.

Be the person that isn't looking to use someone. Take the time to get to know them, look beyond the surface.

For many of us our struggles and triumphs are internal rather that external. Get to know their inner life, whats deepest within them. If you recognize an inner tribulation or inner tranquility, don't exploit them, but give them words of encouragement and confirm them.

Be a friend.

In doing so you might help them to continue on or persevere.

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In John 15:13-16, Jesus empowers his followers by giving them words encouragement and confirmation. He no longer calls his followers servants, but friends.

He encourages and confirms their inner life by uniting with them to the covenant of friendship which moves them to the deeper covenant purposes of God.

Jesus gives his friends purpose, dignity, and meaning to the glory of God.

Eugene Peterson in his book "Leap Over A Wall" states,

"Evil doesn't stand a chance against goodness... Hostility is picayune compared to friendship."

When we take the time to look beyond the surface of a person, we demonstrate God's goodness, love, and friendship to them—and in so doing it renders evil powerless and incapable.

Look beyond the surface and be a friend.

People and Dignity

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Here is something I have been thinking about lately. As it pertains to my own life and how I interact with people and how I treat people...

I want to make a statement. A statement that I truly believe in. One that every Christian needs to identify with and live out.

 

"Before anything, the church should be a place where dignity is given to all people, through grace, in the name of Jesus."

 

This is isn't something that we do for the social good of society, although society does benefit from it, or because we earn kudos points from God. We give dignity to people because Jesus did this and told us to do what he does (John 14:12, 15, 21, & 23).

I like how Jonathan Williams  says it, " The Bible continues to amaze because it is the only book that continually legitimates the people on the bottom."

Seriously, think about all the people Jesus interacted with. He walked and talked with people from all levels of life. Jesus was even accused by the religious leaders/police of hanging out with people who were low on the status poll.

 

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." (Luke 7:34)

 

When I come to God I have nothing to offer him. I don't have hands full ready to help him with whatever he needs help with. Think about it! What can I offer and infinite God who created all things, who created me? When I come to God, I come with empty hands, ready to receive all the fullness he has to offer me.

God wants us find my value and worthy in him. Our dignity is found in a risen savior who created and redeemed us. Our significance isn't based on what we do or what others think of us. We are significant because God says we are and demonstrated this when he sent his son into the world.

Which is why as Christians we should relentlessly be committed to ensuring we do the best we can with the mission with which we’ve been entrusted. We are not sent to show and tell people we are right and they are wrong.

We are sent to show and tell people that they are more than they think they are - they are loved, forgiven, and welcomed into the family of God... They belong no matter who they are.

 

Inspire people to be more than they are.

 

Joe