Throwback Thursday: James 4

God Gold of the Day

Another throwback God Gold for you on this beautiful Thursday! After rereading it over again, WOW!!! God’s awesome gold never loses it powerful flavor!!! Hope this is a BIG time encouragement for you today and above all else, I pray this moves you closer in your relationship with the Lord!

“Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning”? But he gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “ God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

James 4:5-7

When I first looked at James 4, I was seeing the first 10 or so verses as do’s and don’ts. After actually mediating on it, instead of building my perspective from the first glance, it’s so much more. I was thinking of it like an equation instead of the relationship that it is. Those moments when we chase after passions and pleasures of the flesh, the Holy Spirit makes His presence known but when we choose pleasure over what is holy and glorifying to God, of course there is jealousy. God loves us so much when He sees us go the wrong route it hurts and it’s the same way with people we love, if we see them chasing after the wrong route, it hurts. Then God gives us greater grace because He knows the standards are set high for His children. We are always going to fall short on our own, but His grace lifts us up so that’s not always the case!  We can sit here and think our sin is too much and we can’t bare to talk to the Lord about it, but that’s where we are humbled. That’s where we learn that His ways are always higher than ours. When we feel that humility and conviction in our relationship with the Lord we shouldn’t hide from it and be proud, we should embrace it, repent, and fully submit our lives to Him. When we die to our life of chasing passions and pleasure and submit, the devil doesn’t stand a chance. He can’t overcome the Holy, righteous, power from the God of the universe. With that strong connection we can’t be beaten by the evil of the world. It begins and ends with our hearts, our relationship with the Lord. If we are humbling ourselves daily, submitting daily, it will show in our lives and in the world, bringing glory to God.

Throwback Thursday: (Tap into Grace)

God Gold of the Day

Today’s God Gold is a message that hit me in the past couple of years and a gold that was sent out way before a blog, FaceBook page, or anything else was even thought about! I had a friend tell me recently to not feel like I need to always bring you new and fresh messages of God Gold because God’s Gold doesn’t change! It’s been so cool to realize how God’s Gold that He brings into our lives never gets old, it never loses that power that transforms our lives, God’s Gold and the messages He writes in our lives is always a fresh and new perspective with the same life-giving power!!! So, as much as I’ve wanted to bring you only something fresh and new, this lesson has opened up a truth that all of God’s Gold is good and that never changes. So today is labeled “Throwback Thursday,” because it came from some time ago but I pray it encourages you today in a new and exciting way!!! I am so thankful for you and to be able to send these messages of gold to you!!!

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Grace is a HUGE word for believers and I’ve always known that but I think it’s easy to overlook just how HUGE Gods grace really is! I’ve always heard grace and thought, yeah what Jesus gives me when I commit my sins to Him and receive His forgiveness. Even though I should never be able to stand before God or be seen as clean, because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins, His blood breaks the truth of “what should be” and His blood washes me clean of my sin, that’s the truth of what is! The Gospel!!! The grace Jesus gives is so undeserving and when we sin, fall short of Gods ways, His grace picks us up even when we’re in our lowest possible place! The beauty that I know I overlook way too often is the Power of Grace! Gods powerful grace is the catalyst for transformation from the things we come to him to commit and ask forgiveness! By transformation I mean, Gods grace gives us the strength to live in new ways, to purify our heart of worldly or fleshly desires so we can turn away, move past and be obedient to live more like Jesus! Not just saying God I’m sorry for doing this or that, please forgive me, then keep going whatever way you want so you wind up right back where you started! Jesus didn’t  die on the cross for our sins so we could just roll around in them and ask for forgiveness, He died to pay our sin debt and set us free from the power of sin so we don’t have to live in it anymore! When He died and was resurrected it was for me and you to do the same every single day. Die to the old, walk in the new. When we’re in our weakest points, we feel like we can’t go no more, we want to give up, that’s when Christ shows up and shows out giving you everything and then some to keep walking out this life no matter what your struggle! His grace is much more powerful than we could ever imagine and I don’t even feel worthy to talk about it but dang isn’t it awesome!! The only key to unlocking this powerful grace, you ready it’s a big one, BELIEVE IT!!! It’s so easy and simple, that’s why I seem to overlook it so much! Believe that your sins are forgiven and paid for by the blood of Jesus, believe that even in your weakest state the power of Jesus grace will lift you up! The moment you believe that Jesus’ grace is powerful enough to change you, you are changing! The more you believe, the more you will continue to walk more like Him! Because of this same grace I’m jacked to tell you that I struggle a lot, I sin, and I’m weak but I can boast in my weakness cause the grace of Jesus shows up even more! Tap into His grace today!

Forward Grace

God Gold of the Day

‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘

Ephesians 2:8-10 

I wanted to share this message of “grace” today with you because after my experiences the past few weeks, grace has been what I’ve seen so clearly from God. Not too many days ago I got married to the most beautiful girl, a girl who is fits me and my weird qualities like a glove. I could go on for days about all of the grace shown by God in that but I’m going to share with you a different side of His grace today.

I always feel weird about sharing stories like this because in no way do I want you to think any more of me or think that I have done anything special. Before I say anything else, this message is about God and His awesome grace, all that He has done in my life is all Him and none of me. Throughout the wedding weekend, there was many moments with close friends and family where speeches were given, stories were told and love was present. From speeches on the night of the rehearsal dinner, to just moments receiving encouragement from my closest friends before the wedding, and so many more.

As I’m going into this weekend looking at my life and seeing so much that I still struggle with, it was in these moments God opened my eyes to see all He had done. A little over two years ago, I was traveling down a bad road filled with alcohol, bars, and parties as my main focus and enjoyment in life. It controlled me and I thought that all of these wild and drunken moments was as good as life would get. Then, through a lot of random and divine events, Jesus was there. Jesus came into my life at the age of 22 and has continued to change the way I live, think, and act ever since. When I thought I had found life on the mountain top with what the world offered, I didn’t know how wrong I was until I met Jesus. Life with Him was truly LIVING!!! In no way did I deserve this sudden life change for the better or to even know Jesus but by His grace, He saved me!!

Life changed a lot from my old days, I received the call to ministry and was off!!! It’s crazy how Jesus took me from one life to the other and what’s even crazier is how when this life with Him started, I took off and have been running for Him ever since. The words heard from close friends over this weekend highlighted this life change that Jesus had brought to my life. But what hit me even more, while I was still so focused on the things I still struggled with, was hearing how Jesus had used my life and brought His love to these guys forever impacting their lives. Hearing story after story from my closest friends on how these messages, and all that Christ has done in my life has impacted them and so many others in their lives for the better.

I was and still am amazed at what God has done in my life and the lives He’s touched along the way. I know all of this was not by my doing or anything I’ve done, it’s all Him and His wonderful grace! Standing on this mountain top moment, I was just so jaw dropped and thankful seeing how God has worked things out. But like I’ve experienced many times before, those mountain top moments can easily cause us to get proud, cocky, and complacent in our lives. Seeing this grace from God was different though, I didn’t feel as complacent or cocky but seeing His grace in a whole new way. After seeing all that God has done, I just couldn’t wait to see what more He was going to do. What lives He would touch and the chance to continue learning more about Him. Hearing these guys highlight these God Gold messages a few times, all of their words just brought me to seeing why I do what I do. It’s God’s grace that isn’t just forgiving but it’s transforming, it brings us to strive to be better, strive for more of Him and doing the great works He has designed us to do. Stop for a second and look back, at all your failures and see how God has continually brought you through it. How God has continually grown you into the image of Christ and less like your old self! See all the lives God has touched through you and once you see all that God has done, live under the truth that all He’s done with you isn’t all He’s going to do. It’s only the beginning of a long story!!!

When you see God’s grace don’t just let it make you complacent or in a “still” thankfulness! Let His grace move you, strive to become better, pursue God first and always as hard as you can, and live in the fact that God has saved you not just for one day when you get to Heaven. God has created you for good works here and now, God has saved you to bring His love and grace to others! It’s by nothing you do that you can be saved, it’s by God’s amazing grace that you are saved RIGHT NOW, not after you read your Bible or get rid of all the sin in your life. God has saved you so you are saved, now live in His grace and let it continue to push you forward for His glory!! Don’t be comfortable on the mountain top, get excited about the next one and the next one and the continual mountain top moments God is going to bring to your life!!!! He has given us everything, when there was nothing we could give him that would be good enough, so strive to know Him, to please Him and let your life be a symbol of His grace for all to see!!!

 

YESSS

God Gold of the Day

I’ve honestly never struggled so much to write these messages before! I have found that with these experiences being such big God moments in my life that it’s hard to describe them with words and do them justice for you to feel as you read. Of course I want you to feel like you were literally right there with me because as much as an encouragement these moments of watching God work changed my life, my only hope is that they can in some way encourage you too! I know I’ll probably say this in the majority of the messages but today’s message is a pretty big one so strap on your seat belts and get ready to go on a journey through the beautiful hills of Rwanda.

It was Friday, the end of the first week of our trip in 2018 (my 2nd trip) visiting, working and spending time with the children and families at the Nbyihu Christian Academy. During my first trip I had heard about how sad Friday is, it’s the day we have to leave all of the smiling little faces that we have built relationships with all week. Leaving families in such a desperate need. Saying goodbye is always hard in any situation but after a week spent playing, getting to know and watching God work in such amazing ways through every life you get the privilege of putting a hand in. They said it would be hard and they were right. Geez man! I remember being in the farthest back seat of the car, watching all the little kids waving and yelling goodbye, I fell apart. I laid my head down covered in my hands and the tears flowed. The first Friday was tough, but here we are at the same school, with the same faces and some new ones sprinkled in, friends on the first trip that became more like family this time around. In my brokenness for these kids and families feeling so hurt at the struggles they go through daily, wishing more than anything that there was more I could do for them. That first Friday was a moment where I saw God showing me the burden He had placed on my heart for children in need, I knew in that moment of hurt that God was giving me a preview to the calling He had on my life. The first Friday was so huge for my personal relationship with the Lord, I knew going into this second trip that FRIDAY was the day where I would do it!

On the first trip, I had to leave behind my beautiful girlfriend Sarah. I stopped to see her the morning I left for two weeks to hop on the plane to Rwanda. It was so hard to leave her, we had never spent that much time apart but going on any mission trip brings on fears to those going and staying behind. I had never seen her cry this much, and I couldn’t help but cry with her because I didn’t want to leave her, not for two whole weeks, and who knows what could happen?

Although leaving was sad, throughout those two weeks in Rwanda, I learned so much about myself, about God and I came back praying that when I go back again, no way can I leave her behind again! I wanted no part of experiencing all that without her by my side seeing the awesomeness of God at work, singing, dancing and playing with the kids. I really really wanted her to go, but I didn’t want to force her, I knew it wouldn’t be the same if she only went because of me. I knew it had to be between her and the Lord. So I asked and I waited. The waiting was tough, mainly because I came back from the first trip seeing everything so clearly that I knew and told her, that within a year, I’d be proposing to her. We both knew early on in our relationship that God had placed us together for more than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I knew she was the one, and she knew I was her one. I told her that I would pop the question within a year but I left out how after that first trip, God had already planned the proposal out, in Rwanda, on Friday of the first week. I could see it in my head, the kids and people who had went from friends to family and mean so much to us both, cheering and celebrating with us as we made that big step. But, although I could see it, there was a lot of details and patience that had to be worked out before we got to that moment.

I knew the trip would still be awesome either way but as I waited for Sarah’s decision, the hopes of popping the question swayed along with it. It was so tough not to just constantly tell her all the reasons she should go or why I wanted her to go but I knew it should be organic and God-driven so I did all I could to just keep my mouth shut. Finally, after what felt like forever waiting, she said YES! Just yes to the trip but the other big YES was waiting to be seen! It was like a dream come true having the woman I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, the woman that I am honestly the best version of myself when she’s around, she was coming with me, to Rwanda! Like wow!!! I’m getting excited again!!!

So before the trip I made all the preparations and people kept asking me, when are you going to do it while you’re there?? I tried to keep as much as I could hush hush so I said, “Not completely sure yet but I got a good idea.” (Friday!!!!) All I had in my head was this vision of what it would look like but I honestly had no plan besides that. I was scared to take the real ring because of airport security so thanks to Etsy, I found a little ring like you get out of the gumball machine that had a box of popcorn on it because if you know Sarah, you know how much that girl loves some popcorn!

Sorry, I know this is a lot of build up but sit tight! I’m getting there! So the first week there, I’m still at a loss of words and really don’t even know how to explain how excited I am to show Sarah all of the stories from my first trip in person and make some new ones of our own. Getting to play with the kids all week, singing, dancing and being goofy with them to make them laugh. I found on my first trip this was my specialty but it was so cool seeing Sarah in action. She had the same effect on these kids and served in a very similar fashion. I mean I knew she was the one but watching her love on those kids all week and  doing it in a way that I completely related with, WOW God! You really knew what you were doing when you placed us together!

The Friday inched closer and closer and by Thursday night, I could hardly hold my excitement any more! The whole team knew it was coming and I finally let them in on the day so it was tough to hear Sarah say certain things about us or make jokes about the future while we were all holding this ginormous surprise!!! I even started playing love songs Thursday night in front of Sarah, dancing around the house we were staying in and pacing some too! I couldn’t sit still!

Friday is here. I wish I could say I had it planned out to the t but I didn’t, I still just had this vision that God had been building ever since the first trip. While doing some last second home visits, me and the boys began planning out exactly how we could make it happen. Pastor Joel offered to pray over the ring and our life together which meant so much coming from him and brought such a sense of comfort and thankfulness in this moment. It was happening and I’ll be honest, it was the most surreal moment of my life. My main man Kenny, who was our translator and helper in every single area imaginable. He came through big time for me in making it happen. I mean without Kenny I doubt I would be writing this, at least without all these details because he really brought the vision all together. After serving the kids up a big lunch, our plan was to get all of the kids in a circle so we could “pray over them” before they left. Kenny began gathering the older kids and brought them in a classroom to inform them of what was going down so they could tell the younger kids. We walked out, Kenny and the teachers gathered all of the kids in a circle for the “prayer” and then we were going to try and get Sarah in the middle of the circle somehow but we totally left out the “how” behind how we would do that.

Thank God once again for the awesome team I had around me because I was too nervous to even think straight. Pastor Joel yelled back at Sarah, “hey Sarah would you like to pray for all the kids?” First off, Sarah had just told me how she had felt sick which already had me sweating, but also, I remember her hearing of possibly being called on to pray at some point during the trip then after hearing that she told me how praying in front of people was one of her biggest fears. Oh boy! I had so much doubt running through my mind and I looked over at Sarah after Pastor Joel asked again, watching her shake her head no, I had no idea how this would work. I’m extremely thankful for Joel here because he knew the objective to get her in the circle so he kept encouraging her and gave her just enough push to get up there. The funny thing is, Kenny had been speaking in the Rwandan language the whole time to the teachers and kids explaining exactly what was going down but Sarah was clueless. Which by the way, thank God she never picked up on all this going on and she walked to the middle of the circle to pray.

Sarah began praying, my cousin Paige and her husband Cory were videoing the whole thing, and now it was time to make my way through the crowd to get the ring ready! I knew Sarah wasn’t a big fan of praying in front of people but after watching the video, her prayer was one of the most beautiful prayers I’ve heard. She blessed those kids well and I was in the midst of losing my mind. The kids had their heads bowed praying so I had to gently move a couple of them to the side to make my way to the center. I got to the center and just waited on her to get finished praying. And you can see easily how nervous I was by watching me. Sarah got done praying and there I was, standing right in front of her. As I hopped down on one knee to ask her the big question, the kids began to cheer!!! I thought it would be easy to get the words out but gosh, it took all I had to break through my nervousness and ask the question that would change the rest of our lives, “Sarah, will you marry me?” With her face in complete shock and awe, she said YESSS!!!!!! And the kids, teachers and our team broke out in celebration!!!!

It was exactly how God had showed me but in that moment it felt much different than anything I’ve ever felt before! I had went through so many self-afflicted bumpy roads, choosing to try all this world had to offer and living to please me over anyone else, especially God. I can’t describes God’s grace any better than this. A life that is so undeserving of even knowing Him, I would have never imagined I would have went to Rwanda on a mission trip, much less two, or getting to propose to the woman of my dreams to cap the second one off after God completely changing my life already through them both. What an amazing grace that is! And I don’t want you to read this and just congratulate me or think, “good for him.” This is the same God who gives the same grace to us all!!!! He works His grace in our lives like this every single day, allowing us to be and live more in His likeness! Allows us to do things in this life that we are completely undeserving of and would never imagine that we could do! It doesn’t matter what your past says or who you are, it’s all God and His amazing beautiful grace that He gives so freely to you and me! Your big grace moments may look totally different than mine, but embrace His grace, sit under it, live in it, and never forget it!!! God is working in such mighty ways in your life, forget your past or your weaknesses because God is going to show you what He is working in the present, giving you glimpses of what’s to come, allowing you to live in His strength, in His love and His victory! Wow!!!! What an awesome God we serve!!!!!

video of the engagement:

 

I apologize about it being so blurry! If I can figure out how to fix it I will re-post!

“This is How I Fight My Battles”

God Gold of the Day

12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”

Colossians 1:12-14

Staying in Colossians again today, I know I’m surprised too that I haven’t got distracted and jumped around to other Scripture! Definitely seeing how awesome digging into one piece of Scripture and staying there can be because gosh!!! You can really dig so much of God’s gold out of it!

Stinkin blows my mind how these were the next verses in Colossians today because they seriously fit so well with the experiences I went through. I promise I’ll try not to bore you too much or ramble on but I’ve got to tell you how God was moving today and I pray in anyway at all that it be of some help to you for your day today!

I started off the day, did my class and went to work as usual. During my time from home to work I started having a lot of negative thoughts coming up. I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve been struggling some lately with all the stuff that’s going on in my life. I’m not complaining when I say this but daggum is it busy! With new a job, new possible opportunity to serve in a ministry setting, online classes, finding a new place to live and all the other adult things that come with getting married, oh and most importantly, I’M GETTING MARRIED TO THE MOST AWESOME AND BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!! Sorry bout that, just needed to let that out because that day can’t come soon enough!! I wanted to tell you that to say that there’s more on my plate at the moment that I’ve ever had and some days trying to juggle it all with a joyful attitude is extremely difficult. You know what I’m talking about? We’ve all had seasons of life filled with a lot of change, busyness and with that can come a whole lot of worry.

I caught myself worrying about one thing this morning and then before I knew it that one little thought of worry, led to thinking about a whole bunch of worry filled thoughts. My mind was completely wrapped up with so much negative, insecurities and doubt and to be honest, I had no idea how to fight that battle. I’ve struggled with my thoughts like that before but this morning it kind of all came to a head, a lot of stuff that had been building up just exploded. You would think since I send you these messages every day that I could of found some scripture, prayed over my worry and everything would be just fine but seriously I couldn’t get over it. I was completely clueless on what to do or how to defeat this giant standing in front of me of worry. I wanted to just give in and give up. You been there before? I’m sure most of us have because if I’ve learned anything in this world, it’s that this world can chew you up and spit you out if you don’t know how to fight the battle. Being followers of Christ, we can expect to face resistance from the enemy, the devil. In that moment I wanted to look at all this stuff going on as scary, impossible, and complain about having so much on my plate because I simply played into the lies Satan was feeding me.

Then things began taking a turn……

On the next episode of God Gold of the Day…. Just kidding I wouldn’t leave ya hanging on all that negative!

I wanted to honestly go home, hop in my bed and crawl in a ball but God had different plans. He carried me throughout the rest of my day until I got to church with the youth group I’ve been fortunate enough to start serving with. The time hanging out with the kids and having fun along with the lesson brought by Pastor Matt, that’s why God kept pushing me. The lesson was so spot on to what I had been struggling with, talking about Jesus’ last words to His disciples at the last supper. Jesus gave them some big time words to them so they would be words that are remembered in the tough days of persecution and possible death that were to come for them. Jesus gave them something to hold onto, something to give them hope and a reason to keep fighting no matter how bad things got.

The song played beforehand in the worship time, “This is how I fight my battles.” A song that I’ve heard a whole bunch but I’ve never stopped to ask, “wait, how do I fight my battles?” These lyrics say it all;

In the valley I know that You’re with me
Surely Your goodness and Your mercy follow me
My weapons are praise and thanksgiving
This is how I fight my battles”

Our weapon, our weapon are praise and thanksgiving to Jesus who has overcome it all for us!!! In the moments when things got tough today I had no idea how to fight that battle. A simple question in small group time along with all the other moments before where God was working in such an awesome and mighty way, “Why is it important to remember what God has done for you?”

It’s important to remember what God has done because this world and life along with Satan’s schemes against us will try everything possible to break us down and make us want to give up, feeling defeated. In those times it’s important to remember our weapon, the moments that God has broken through our struggles yesterday and delivered us, the moments God has completely carried us when we could go no more, carrying us into situations doing things for Him that we never imagine or do on our own power! It’s important to remember what God has done all the time but especially in your battles, praise Him for the the LIFE He’s given you, the places He’s taken you and all the blessings He’s so gracefully given us! Shout with thanksgiving pouring out of you heart at the life of abundance here and now, also in eternity with Him one day! Shout your praise for the God that has taken you out of the life you used to live, in my example, a life that was filled with low-living, addictions, sin and complete darkness and emptiness. He’s taken us out of the life we deserve and given us NEW LIFE with Him!!!! A life filled with His light guiding our every step and supplying us with more than enough to not just get through but triumph in His victory!!!! He gave up His Son, dying on the cross as a sacrifice for me and you, rising on the third day from death to life with our victory in hand just so we could live in the fullness and awesomeness that comes with having a relationship with Him as children of His!!!!

When the battle gets tough, remember what God has done and the victory that’s already been won!!!! Think and meditate deeply on the moments He’s delivered you, carried you and provided for you! Each moment where God made our impossible look soooo possible!!! Sing with thanksgiving and praise through your thoughts, and over your circumstances!!! That’s our weapon, to just remember that what God did yesterday, He’s more than capable to do the same thing today. Enjoy the peace that comes from knowing that, the confidence and joy that those memories of God give you, that’s how we keep moving forward and fighting back at whatever comes today!!! Looking back at God’s goodness and awesomeness yesterday in the sight of the eternal hope He’s given us for today and each day to come FOREVER!!!!

I didn’t know how to fight my battle, but thank God I do know!!!! Whatever battle you’re going through or may go through in the days to come, I know it may feel like God isn’t present and so far off at times but just know that’s another lie from the pits of hell. God is with you today just as He was with you yesterday! Play back what He has done and keep moving forward into the MORE God has for you!!!!

THIS IS HOW WE FIGHT OUR BATTLES!!!!! LET’S GET IT TODAY!!!!

PS- This pic today is from a memory God has given me to fight with!!! Getting engaged in Rwanda around some of the most beautiful people and the love of my life! That whole trip getting to serve with her was such an amazing picture of God doing what only He can do!!!! None of me, ALL OF HIM!!! Tell me God won’t do it!!!!!! And RWANDA WEEK coming soon! Get ready!