The Shovel Digs a New Way

God Gold of the day

““Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14‬ ‭

Imagine in your minds a picture of a 4-lane highway, this highway has plenty of space for everyone to ride on. This highway has exit after exit of restaurant entertainment options. This highway is nice, it makes you feel good and it’s the one you want to go down, because it’s comfortable.

I’m with you, our human nature screams out for that comfort and that’s a battle we all face everyday. Where do we begin to turn off this wide path? Is there another way? Will I be able to do it?

Picture this, as you drive down the highway of comfort you see something on the side of the road that grabs your attention. You pull over to look and you get out of your car, you see that this object is a shovel. What could this shovel be used for?

TO DIG! Where there was nothing before, this shovel creates a new path, a path that takes pain, sweat and hard work but this path is full of new adventures, growth and daily learning more about the shovel. The shovel is Jesus, the shovel is His Word, for Jesus is the tool sitting on the side of our lives at times as we pass by day after day on the highway to self pleasure and fulfilling our appetite for comfort.

Jesus is that tool that remains there no matter how many times you drive by, He remains faithful and steadfast in His love. He wants you to stop, come close to Him, spend some time with Him so He can show you this wide path that seems good in our eyes, it’s not even close to the best path to take! He opens us up to see a purpose, a calling, and a mission greater than our comfort! He shows us when we surrender ourselves and our comforts before Him and embrace the life He has for us, He is the shovel in front of our lives creating in us and before us a NEW path, a dirt road that has every bump and boulder you could find, a path that isn’t smooth, but it’s the difficulty of the path that makes walking it so worth it!!!

Move from the highway today.
Stop driving and go to the shovel, which is Jesus.
Embrace the NEW path He has in store for you!!!

Testimony Tuesday: Ben Freiburger

God Gold of the day

Sometimes you’ll hear about people who had a tough home life describe their upbringing by saying, “I wasn’t hugged enough as a child” as a justification for why they have emotional issues today. That phrase could NOT be farther than my story. I often joke with people that I was actually, “hugged too much as a child”. I have two amazing parents who love the Lord and set a nearly perfect example for me and my two older siblings Ryan and Sarah on how to live out their faith. They did the best they could to give us a strong spiritual foundation. If I didn’t have a soccer game or practice I went to church every Sunday, youth group on Wednesday, and all the mission trips I could go on. While I learned all about Jesus I can’t really say I knew WHO Jesus was until a little later in life. I would often leave youth group or mission trips on a “spiritual high” which would usually last less than 48 hours before cycling back into old habits that I had just claimed freedom over less than 2 days ago.

Being the youngest of three I think I always craved attention and to be in the spotlight. I would definitely be labeled the “wild child” by anyone in my family. Growing up I was always the one to push the limits or go too far with a joke just to get a laugh or to be noticed. As I grew up I started to find my worth in this. I cared deeply about how others viewed me and the approval of others became my idol. So much so that I started to learn how to change my behavior to whatever I thought would please my peers in the most endearing way. I needed to be viewed as “the best” by everyone I met. At youth group, I could always give the right answer or “act the right way” to try to get the approval of others and prove that I was this awesome Christian but that simply wasn’t an authentic version of myself. If you saw me at school the next day it wouldn’t be odd if you saw me insult others to elevate myself. If you saw me at practice I would often try to cheat in drills or take shortcuts when no one was looking to try and win a sprint or a scrimmage. I had to be “the best” in everything I did and wanted everyone to “know” it.

As you can imagine this cycle was so exhausting and draining. Around my sophomore year of high school people started to piece together I was not everything I was portraying myself to be. I made mistakes with girls that went very public, said hurtful things to friends of mine, and even ended up getting in a traumatizing car accident that could have easily taken my life.

This was my sobering moment. I remember after the car accident I started thinking about what would have happened if I would have died that day. “Would I have made it to heaven?” I remember losing sleep at night wrestling with that simple question. “Would God take me into Heaven?” Unsure of where to go, I went to my youth pastor and ended up confessing to him all the lies I had been living and all the horrible things I had done. I remember being so nervous with how he would respond. Whenever I confessed, he just laughed to himself and said, “Despite everything you’ve done, Jesus still loves you, and therefore I do too.” It was so simple, but that statement changed my life. The acceptance and love I had been chasing was right in front of me through Jesus. I didn’t have to earn it, I didn’t have to put on a performance, I didn’t have to justify myself. I just had to let him into ALL areas of my life.

From that moment on I have tried to let God radically transform my heart. I try to live as authentically as possible and only seek his approval. I still have a lifetime ahead of me of lessons to learn but I will say the best authentic spiritual growth for me has come when I started to consistently and intentionally CHOOSE Jesus every day of my life. If you are someone who struggles with spiritual highs and lows, start incorporating time with Jesus into your daily routine. Spending time with Jesus on good days, bad days and all the in-between will help you develop a healthy dependency on Him and will help integrate His presence into all areas of your life. We are reminded of this the most in Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”. Thank you for listening to my story, God Bless.

Testimony Tuesday: Travis Dixon

God Gold of the day

As the grandson of a Southern Baptist pastor, I’ve been in church as long as I can remember. Despite the early exposure to the Gospel, I didn’t accept Christ as my Lord and Savior until I was 23. Growing up in the Bible belt, it’s easy to take Christianity for granted… Church on Sunday and Wednesday, praying before meals, and saying “We will be praying for you” just seem like things that everyone did. Early on in high school, the false appeal of the world led me away from the Church… and eventually away from Christianity as a whole. I spent years living a very selfish and destructive lifestyle, living for myself and the world. Luckily for me, God didn’t allow for that to be the end of my story. The Lord met me in the middle of my mess, and gave me knew life. Purpose was always something I struggled with. Never feeling like I had a “knack” for anything in particular or a passion to pursue much of anything in life,

I’ve found purpose in Christ. Not only in understanding why I was made and what I’m here to do (Matthew 28:18-20) but also in a very specific way. After months of praying for purpose the Lord made it clear to me that I was to work with youth. The biggest thing I’ve learned and am continually learning is how to be obedient to The Holy Spirit. When The Lord made it clear to me that I was to work with youth, I immediately disqualified myself, and “logic’d” my way out of it…naturally I couldn’t escape the call on my life and started to learn what obedience looks like. A lot of the time it’s hard for us to come to grips with what Christ has led us to, and more often than not if we don’t see the outcome clearly, we disregard what Christ wants us to do all together. Of course, discernment and obedience are something that I continually work on but having a focus on obedience in your relationship with Christ is plain old transformative.

I can tell you with 110% certainty that a life totally surrendered to Christ, is the only way to truly live. (And I know, I’ve searched for meaning in every place you could imagine). Trusting Christ and living fully for Him was and is still the best decision I’ve ever made. That relationship is unlike anything I have or ever will experience, and if you don’t know Christ reach out to myself of the awesome fellas at God Gold, we’d be happy to talk through things with you! Trust me…it’s worth it!

Jesus:30/RIGHT NOW Consistency

God Gold of the day

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’

Matthew 6:33-34

Nature Joe: Love, Squirrel Purpose, and burying Nuts

God Gold of the day

‘“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ‘

Matthew 22:36-40