VIDEO What kind of seed are you planting?

God Gold of the Day

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:9

The seed you plant today is a direct result of the harvest you’ll have tomorrow. 

 

 

Turn the Light On

God Gold of the Day

Yesterday’s God Gold, we dug into the question that finds most of confused in our lives as followers of Christ. This question has definitely opened me up and pushed me to seek out answers in my own life, I pray the answers that I’ve found are even more of an encouragement to you than they have been for me!

The question, “How could we hope to ever have the heart of Jesus?”

Looking at all of the examples that God’s Word shows us of who Jesus is, all the qualities that He possesses and shows throughout His ministry on earth, all in the same context that we live in, temptation, resistance from our surroundings and very difficult situations. Jesus is so perfect in every single way, He handles every situation with love, peace, and grace no matter how hard the situation is.

I found that for myself, I handle these daily tough situations a lot differently. I’m not even close to who Jesus is or being able to act in His ways. So I ask, “how do we have the heart of Jesus?”

The truth is found all over God’s Word, as follower’s of Jesus being united with Him in a personal relationship, Galatians 2:20 says, “Christ lives in me.” Also, so many other places in God’s Word shows us that we are ONE with Christ, He lives in us and we live in Him. No longer is it just Jesus way up there in the Heavens and then just us all by ourselves here on earth, there is no separation. We are one with Christ and realizing that truth has answers this question in the most life-changing of ways. How could we, weak and as sinful as we are, ever to hope to have the heart of Christ? The answer is; WE ALREADY DO!!!

Which brings me to the next question I had, with that being true, I am one with Christ and He is one with me, I have Christ, His love, and the powerful characteristics of His heart in my heart, then why do I still act the way I do? Why do I still feel defeated, lost, confused and a failure so much of the time??

I found an AWESOME illustration used in the book, “Just Like Jesus,” by Max Lucado that helps us see an answer to these questions we find ourselves having.

Part of the answer is illustrated in a story about a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century. She was quite wealthy but also quite frugal. The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.

Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was . “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said. “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?” 

“Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.” 

She tapped into the power but doesn’t use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Don’t we make the same mistake? We, too—with our souls saved but our hearts unchanged—are connected but not altered. Trusting Christ for salvation but most of the time we settle for shadows.

What would happen if we left the light on? What would happen if we not only flipped the switch but lived in the light? What changes would occur if we set about the task of dwelling in the radiance of Christ?” -Max Lucado (Just like Jesus)

Pretty powerful illustration right?!?! I hope that resonated with you as deeply as it has me! Think about that for a moment. We have full access, 24/7 to Jesus, to His amazing, life changing power, we have the power installed and every thing set for us to use it throughout each moment of our lives, including the tough situations we face. But how often do we only flip the switch to sit in and live in the power and light of Jesus only when we feel like it or really really need Him? And we wonder why so often we still struggle and live defeated lives of fear and doubt?

This truth has made it real for myself and I pray it makes it real for you! Why would we only flip the switch of Jesus’ powerful presence in our lives only here and there? What would happen if we just get out of the way, stop trusting in the way we’ve always done or seen things, put our old candles to the side that always end up burning out anyways and come before Jesus to flip the switch of His light in our lives? To live in the presence of His heart that we already have installed within us? At the end of the day, I’ve found the biggest barrier to flipping the switch to Jesus’ work in my heart and life to be ME! It’s myself that holds back what could happen, but thank God for sending His Son so living that way behind the barrier of our preconceived notions of what we see as truth, isn’t the only way to go! For THE truth is Jesus, the only way to access His truth and powerful presence in our lives, the only way to truly live in His ways even in the messy situations of our lives is to stop trusting in ME and begin trusting in Jesus, and only Jesus. What we see as what “could” is no longer just a dream or really good idea, it’s the truth of not just what “could” happen but what WILL happen in our lives as His power is turned on to shine through our darkness!!!! No reason to live in the shadows any longer!! Flip the switch and live in the light of Jesus!!!!!

 

What do I do now?

God Gold of the day

I found myself recently in a situation that I didn’t know the answers to, didn’t see anything but struggle coming from it. I saw no way out but failure, and no idea on what to do to move forward. I was struggling with the thoughts of past failures with situations like this one, dwelling on my past failures just brought me into a world of doubt, fear, and defeat. So what do we do? What do we do when we find ourselves in situations similar to this?

I found during this time, after failing to do so many times before in tough situations such as this one, turning to God is the best and ONLY thing for us to do. It’s there with Him, seeking Him, searching for His guidance, truth and His wisdom to be the answers on what to do next. It’s there I found the truth that I needed to hear, the truth that moved me forward, the truth that set me free from my situation and living defeated in the past situations before this one. So, if you’re going through something that is bigger than you, I can tell you from the experience of not doing this and doing this, going to God with it is the best way to go, ALWAYS!!!

I started digging into a book that I had picked up a few times but never read all the way through called, “Just like Jesus,” by Max Lucado. I also highly recommend this book if you haven’t already read it!

It was in this book, reading about Jesus and the qualities of His heart (who He is), it was there that I realized a big time truth. After reading through how Jesus remained so at peace and peaceful, how He continued to serve with the most pure love and devotion to others, all in the context of difficult circumstances. I found myself thinking, “wow, Jesus is amazing to be that way and still go through tough situations.” But then I went back to my defeated thinking of, “it doesn’t matter because of reason x, y, and z of the ways I’ve done things in the past and failed miserably, that’s who I am and I don’t have a chance.

You see there’s truth in both of those facts of who Jesus is, and who I am. I saw a question and answer in the book that really broke through the way I was thinking. The question was simple, “How could I ever have the heart of Jesus?” Unlike my thoughts just now that made this seem impossible because of the weak and sinful ways of my own self, the answer of truth here is, “we already do have the heart of Jesus!!!

What???! That doesn’t make any sense right? Well Galatians 2:20 mentions clearly from Paul, “Christ lives in me.” I have so often been putting this separation from the ways of Jesus and the ways of me then having a thought life that told me, “I am this broken person who can’t handle this, I’ll never be like Jesus.” My problem and the problem many of us face is we separate the truth of who Jesus is and the truth of who we are. But if we are born again believers, who have a personal relationship with the Son of God, then there is no separation that should be made. Jesus is one with us and we are one with Jesus, He has came into our hearts and made that His home. With Jesus dwelling in our hearts and living as one within us, we don’t have to spend any longer in this broken, defeated mindset of fear, doubt, and disbelief. Jesus is living within us, through us and we no longer have to attack the tough situations of our lives alone, for He is with us and His power flows through us. There is NO separation, unless we make separation happen by the way we believe the lies of the enemy and the wrong thinking we let reign over our lives. The truth is the truth and nobody, nothing or no tough situation no matter how bad can separate us from this truth that Jesus resides in us, works through us, and through Him we can live victorious lives even in the context of difficult circumstances.

You may ask, if this is true, then why do I still think the way I do? Why do I still mess up quite often?

The answer I’ve found to be true is where is your eyes? What are you focusing on? Where are your thoughts dwelling?

“1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

There’s a BIG change that takes place in our lives when our eyes and focus go from ourselves, our weaknesses and failures, “earthly things,” as it mentions here. The change comes when we move from that way of living to fixing our eyes on Jesus, “set your mind on things above.” Why does this change the way we live? Because in keeping our eyes upward we see the truth that we have been raised with Christ to new life, we once were the sum of all our past mistakes and failures but as we become one with Christ, our address changes, we are now Children of God with an eternal address there with Him in Heaven. That old life, that defeated mindset that has caused us so much grief and failure, it’s GONE!! Where did it go? In the past, where it belongs when it was just us at the helm of our lives. Now our past, every failure, sin, and moment of defeat, it’s dead and our lives are now hidden in Christ. There is no separation, we are ONE with Christ as we find ourselves hidden behind His reign in our lives.

So where do we go from here? We believe the truth and put those lies to the side. We may still mess up and go our own way time to time but NOTHING, I mean NOTHING changes the truth of who we are in Christ and the awesome power He brings to our lives as He allows us to be peaceful in times of turmoil. He gives us wisdom in times of confusion. Strength in times of weakness. We no longer have to live in the way it used to be because Jesus has changed the way it is now!!!!

Lessons from a Younger Me

God Gold of the day

“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—”

Galatians 3:2-5

This is a message that was one of the first God Gold messages ever sent out! While looking back through them this one caught my eye and really set my perspective back into the place it should be! As this lesson from the younger me impacted me deeply, I pray it will do all that and then some for you today! 

Works of the law or hearing of the faith? I know I get caught up in the “religion” idea that I can do a bunch of good stuff then I’ll be seen as good before God. Not saying works are bad but the big question I asked myself is, “Isn’t there enough love and faith in my relationship with the Lord that I do good works without thinking twice?” When those works aren’t based on love and faith they are usually based on our own self-interest and I’m only doing them because I want to be seen as a Christian. Do we go to church on Sunday because it’s just something we are “supposed to do” or do we go because we love the Lord with all our hearts and want nothing more but to have our relationship with Him grow closer and stronger? Never really thought about that before but hope it convicts you like it did me! Daggum this stuff is stinking awesome!!!

Gem Mining

God Gold of the Day

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

– James 1:2-4

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

– Galatians 6:9

Okay, so I was just randomly talking to my wife the other day and there was an example that came up that just completely blew my mind! I pray that this visual example and analogy will strengthen your faith in some way today!

Have you ever been gem mining before? No, I’m not talking about like legit looking for real gold like miners do. I’m talking about the kind of gem mining you used to do as a kid, where you’d go to this cool nature place, whether a farm or state park and they would have a gem mine area set up. It would be like a big trough with water running through it and each kid would get a tray of a whole bunch of sand or dirt and in the midst of all that sand, there would be some top notch prize rocks in the bottom. To go through the process of gem mining, you’d have to take your tray and shake it some, letting all that sand fall through and then stick the tray down in the water. The water would wash the sand completely away and you’d be left with a tray filled with all of these cool different kind of rocks such as fool’s gold, emeralds, rubies, and many different awesome rocks! I remember as a kid, at first it looked like just a pile of dirt that didn’t seem all that cool, but as the gem mining took place. I was completely blown away and in amazement at all the different rocks I would have in my tray. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced gem mining before but just in case you haven’t, I’ve placed a video below that shows some kids displaying what gem mining is for you so you can see what I’m talking about.

Why am I talking about gem mining???

Well, the more I got to thinking about it, it struck me that our lives as followers of Christ is so similar to the process of gem mining. We start off as believers in Christ, coming from former lives that weren’t very good in a lot of ways, we all had different struggles and things we carried from our past. We all carry that dirt with us from our old life to this new life we have with Christ. The idea that once someone becomes saved and is this perfect and holy person, never sins again or never messes up. That’s just not possible. We come into this life with Christ and we still have a lot of this old dirt but now that we are living with Jesus, the more we walk with Him and grow with Him, the more He opens us up to see that there is all these really cool rocks, unique gifts, a shiny new purpose, and so many awesome gifts that we never knew were there, until Jesus came along.

What I want to point out to you today is that yes, we all have dirt in our lives, whether it’s from our old lives before we met Jesus or dirt we’ve acquired now, the truth is we all have dirt and we will have dirt in our lives until the day we leave this earth. To say that we won’t is a fairy tale because that would mean we’re perfect and only Jesus accomplished that. We have this dirt in our lives and as we begin to follow Christ in this new life, this dirt is what seems to hold us back and hinder us. Sometimes we feel like there is no way we’ll ever get away from this dirt. Honestly, when I began following Christ at 22, the dirt seemed to be at an all time high and I struggled majorly with how to deal with it. What was happening was that Jesus had opened my eyes to see the dirt that I was surrounded by, to see all the areas of sin and wrongdoing in my life. Then I felt paralyzed sitting under the example of Jesus’ perfection and holiness, I kept reading about all of these larger than life faith heroes in the Bible and couldn’t understand how I couldn’t be more like them. I struggled in a big way during that time of my life and I let the dirt rule me for a very long time, until, Jesus began to teach me the truth of the Gospel and what this life with Him looks like.

The truth is, we have dirt, and we’ll never be able to live up to the expectations of those great Bible heroes. For one, we’re not those people, we’re me and you, uniquely created for a specific purpose by God. So we don’t have to be those people, we can learn so much from their faithful examples but we are exactly who God created us to be and exactly who God wants us to be. Also, the truth is that this dirt may seem really nasty and painful at times but as James says, “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” I know, that sounds crazy right?!?!? Trials are bad, why we would we get excited about that???

Well, these trials we face and all this dirt we have in our lives, it’s apart of the process of faith we are undergoing with the Lord. All we can see at times is a big pile of dirt right?? Nothing exciting about that. But Jesus says; “hold on now!” We can consider trials a joy because that’s where our faith is produced, that is the times where we can see God growing us and saving us daily through the good news of the Gospel. It’s easy to get caught up in all the dirt and pain that comes from tough times, or different struggles we face. But James also mentions how these trials and sufferings we are going through now is like that process of gem mining. God is taking us, all of us, the dirt and the hidden gold, and through the good news of the gospel, God is allowing us to go through times that shake us, and push us into the purifying blood of Christ. It’s in this process of trials that we see this life with Christ is a process.  A process of daily getting saved by His blood, His the more we go through pain, the more we are opened up to see that we don’t have what it takes, the more our need grows for the cleansing blood of Jesus to wash our sins and dirt away.

And going through this process of being shaken, washed and what feels like nothing good could possibly ever come from it. God opens us up to see that all of these trials and things we’ve went through that has just looked like a big pile of dirt. He was up to a much bigger work. It’s in these situations of struggle that God is stretching us and growing us, taking us out of our depth and into His loving grace. We feel like life is throwing us, shaking us and kicking us in the face but then after awhile, it’s obvious to see that during the midst of the trial God was showing us how to depend on Him. How to depend and live solely on the good news, God is slowly but surely washing more and more of that dirt away and showing us the gold and diamonds that He has produced through it. God is sifting away the dirt of our fleshly sin and desires and creating us to be new creations looking more and more like His Son, Jesus, daily.

All I have to say is that if all you see is dirt, don’t be discouraged. If all you feel is pain, that’s actually a good thing! This process of following Christ isn’t easy, and it’s not something that happens quickly or immediately. It’s a daily grind, a daily need and seeking out of the Gospel and being saved/cleansed by the blood of Christ. What seems like a trial and a big pile of dirt, God is breaking you down of all the fleshly, sinful, nasty stuff that is no good for you. And through this, God is growing you, preparing you and molding you to be made more into the image of His Son, more into the cleaner new version of you that He will use in mighty ways. I know it doesn’t seem like that and you may be wondering where the gold and rubies are but just keep pressing in, keep seeking Him during this time! In His time you will see all the sand God is getting rid of and all of the pure gold that He is putting in you! Just trust the process and trust the God of the process!!! He is gem mining all over your life right now, you may not see it, but if you feel like you are being shaken up, God is sifting out the sand and pulling up the gold!!!! Continue to trust in the good news of this process, the Gospel that washes us clean and saves us daily from all the dirt in our lives! I’m not saying God is making you perfect, but He’s making you mature and complete in your faith! He is making you golder and less dirty today than you were yesterday!!! Trust the process!!!!