The Beauty of Reconciliation

If you know me, I don’t like being superficial. I don’t like pretending everything is fine, and when things get rough, I don’t like talking about them on social media or my blog. However, I know that growth can only come from living life, experiencing, making mistakes, loving, as well as hurting. So today I want to share something that has been on my heart recently, and hopefully you might get something from it.

Without getting into much detail, I have someone in my life that sometimes makes things hard to bear. I can’t ignore this person and I can’t avoid them either. Sometimes I lose my temper and say things and think things that no man of God should say or think. Sometimes I’ve even skipped church services just because of how bad things got and I had guilt and condemnation holding me back from the one place I should’ve ran to. Although I could make excuses and blame this person, I won’t. I am my own person and I control my thoughts and actions. If you really want to grow and mature, then you ought to take responsibility for your own actions as well.

I read the story of Jacob and Esau meeting in Genesis 33 and just imagining the story was enough to make me tear up. Two brothers who have both been in tension for so long, who had all the reason to stay away from each other for good, and who didn’t need to risk their lives to reconcile, did so anyways for the sake of reconciliation.

For those of you that don’t know Jacob and Esau were twins and had tension between themselves since their very birth. Earlier in Genesis, Jacob tricks his father into blessing him and not Esau. Basically Jacob stole the blessing of Esau that was rightfully his and then fled for many years to come. That was the most cowardly thing anyone could ever do. However, what impresses me isn’t the beginning or middle of the story of these two brothers. It’s the ending that gives me goosebumps and chills.

Who knows the real reason behind Jacob wanting to meet Esau, but I’ll bet he missed his brother and wanted to be reconnected with him. Jacob knew he was in the wrong. So beautifully and clearly seen, is Jacob’s humility. It isn’t easy to be in the wrong and then put your head down and say I’m sorry, but then even more so, be prepared to surrender as much as possible for the sake of wrong being made right.

I don’t want to go on much more about the backstory, but what I want to get across before this Christmas day and all of us entering the new year, is this idea of reconciliation. I know for a fact, because we are human, we all have a mother or father we don’t get along with, we have a sister or brother, cousin or friend that we just can’t seem to figure out how to make peace with and love properly. I’ll tell you, I daily struggle to love someone very near to me and it isn’t easy. In fact, I fail so frequently that I end up beating myself up for my failures.

Right now, I’m writing this, first and foremost for myself (as I do with all my posts), but then I write them for you all. I want you to know today that it sucks in the moment to humble yourself and put your head down so that you might find restoration in a relationship, but believe me, in the long run, you will almost never regret it. Learning to do what Jesus did over and over and over again is what will help your relationships always. Humble yourself and show love to the other person so much so, that you are willing to love them especially when they are deserving of hatred and punishment. That is true selfless love.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-48 to love your enemy and pray for those that hurt you. Interesting right? That’s not what we learn nowadays in this day and age. The truth is, anyone can love a person that is kind and deserving of it… but how many of us can love a person that ABSOLUTELY doesn’t deserve anything but wrath? That’s what it means to be like God, to love the unlovable and to show kindness and grace to the unworthy.

I challenge you today as I challenge myself, go and be reconciled with that person that irks you and bothers you. Go make peace with that person that is full of hate. This is when our Christlike character comes out.

Plus, I don’t see how we can live as Christians and not love a person. I don’t see how you can praise God, take communion (the Lord’s Supper), and still hate a person and hide hate in your heart. I plead with you, repent of that and ask God to help you make peace. After all, ’tis the season’ no? Jesus came nearly 2000 years ago so that he might make peace and reconcile us to the Father. Remember that. God bless you all, peace and love.

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Just Like Them

I read from Luke 22 this morning and some things stuck out to me. Peter is my favorite character in the New Testament (besides Jesus…that’s a given) because I see so much of my character reflected in him through his actions, words, and attitudes. I see his responses and I realize they are so similar to mine. I love identifying with Peter. But, Peter made some serious mistakes. I mean… this man denied Christ THREE times! He could’ve stopped at one denial and repented, but instead he denied Christ three times. Once it was done, he realized what had just happened and he ran away and wept bitterly. There was a conviction that took place in his heart.

On the other hand, in the same chapter, you read about Judas Iscariot betraying Christ by selling him for silver. This man betrayed Jesus Christ and didn’t even feel bad. He was so greedy and corrupt that it didn’t even faze him, probably until it was too late unfortunately.

In verse 24 you read how the disciples even began to argue about who would be greatest in the Kingdom of God. It’s like WHAT?! You are with the Lord Jesus Christ and you care about which one of you is the greatest? OBVIOUSLY that concern shouldn’t have existed, but they were flawed.

That being said, it’s funny to me how we elevate the disciples on such a pedestal sometimes because of how much the Spirit of God worked through them. Although it is true that they were much more mature as apostles, they were very immature as disciples. What I would like to remind us today is this: we are just like them. They didn’t always make the right choices or think the right things.

In more ways than one, the disciples of Christ weren’t that different from us. They were also imperfect. They often feared, worried, and displayed anxiety. They argued and quarreled amongst themselves. They showed contempt on certain occasions. They highly esteemed the wrong thing sometimes. Sometimes they worried about their image before people more than they worried about their image before God. Really though, the list goes on.

I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t take example from them. What I am saying however, is that we cannot beat ourselves up for the shortcomings, flaws, and problems we sometimes create for ourselves. Realistically we must remember that we are humans; by default, this means we are flawed and sinful. Remember Adam and Eve? It was through them that sin entered the world and forever changed the course of humanity.

Today, I’m sure you might be reading this at home in your comfy spot, maybe you’re at the breakfast table starting off your day with a blog post or two, or maybe you’re waiting for your next class to start and quickly skimming through this for some hope that you might pass your finals in these upcoming weeks, you might even be at work reading this right now because you don’t feel like doing your job.

That’s okay. Take a step back and remember how greatly these men were used by God as apostles, these men who were once immature disciples, FULL of flaws. Even as apostles, I’m willing to go out on a limb here and assume they sinned and made mistakes. After all Romans 3:23 reminds us so wonderfully… “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Let’s take what we see in Luke 22 about Peter, about Judas, about the disciples, and realize that we aren’t very far off from each other. We are just like them. Both are flawed and both need Jesus. Be encouraged today that our Lord is alive. Be strengthened that he is with you. Be blessed to know you have salvation in him. Don’t lose courage or be dismayed about your flaws. Look in the Bible and see what these flaws teach you about yourself and what God thinks of you, even with all of them.

If you took the time to read this post today, I bless you in the name of Jesus and I pray victory over your day today.

Where I’m At & Where I’m Going – Quick Update

Hey wonderful people! I’m not even sure where to begin right now because I haven’t posted in almost 2 years. It’s like not calling or texting someone for two years and then you just show up and try to pick up where you left off… It doesn’t really work out that way. But hopefully as time goes on I can make up for the missing details and info. For now, I want to bring you up to speed on where I’m at physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, and basically in all aspects of life.

I want to be clear that I didn’t stop posting because I gave up on or was questioning my faith. I didn’t stop posting because of any criticism from others. I didn’t stop for any other reason, than that I was busy and I needed to focus more on myself and my relationship with God before I could focus on others. I’m still in love with Jesus and honestly I’m more in love with him now than I’ve ever been. It’s been one heck of a journey and God’s brought me through it all. I still love you all and I’m excited to get this blogging train moving again!

Currently, I am a second semester junior at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. I’m pursuing my BA in Pre-Counseling & Human Services and I will be graduating December 2018 if all goes well. This desire and pursuit began while I was serving in Austria and God really worked on me and revealed some of the gifts I possess; so I began to pursue the growth of these gifts. I applied only to one school in faith, knowing that if I got accepted, I would go. If not, then I would have moved to Austria and pursued the growth from there. That’s the REALLY LONG story short for you all, but as time goes on, I’m sure I’ll include memories or bits from the last two years that I’m skipping over now.

Life is moving so fast and I’m realizing the beauty of life more and more with each new passing day; I’m realizing the beauty of God and the wonderful ways he connects us all together and makes this wonderful wheel that we call life, turn so smoothly (despite all the potholes). I’m excited to get back into blogging and to share my thoughts and ideas, to answer any questions that people might have, and simply to inspire others while also being inspired by them.

People are beautiful because God is beautiful and he made us in his image. This is why my goal in life is to do what Jesus commanded us to in Luke 10:27 – to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength, and my neighbor as myself. I love you all and I’m super excited for this next season and what God will bring and do through even this little blog! God bless you all and I hope your day is blessed!

Hope In Hopelessness

Hello dear friends! I read something really amazing today in the book of Romans and I wanted to share it with you all! So many times in this life we find ourselves without hope. We find ourselves being hopeless in many situations. Maybe at home we don’t have the best relationship with our spouse, children, parents, or siblings. Maybe we are in a bad place at work and we feel like we can’t move up. Maybe we are stuck in sin and addictions that we feel are preventing us from living up to our full potential. Maybe we are in ministry and we can’t find a way to be satisfied with what we are doing and feel stuck.

Well, today I want to share with you something AMAZING! No matter what your situation is, THERE IS HOPE! In the Bible, we see so many examples of people who hoped in hopeless situations and circumstances and God came through. However, the example I want to talk about is from the Old Testament in Genesis, referenced in the New Testament letter written to the Romans by Apostle Paul. He says in Romans, chapter 4, verses 18-21;

“18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”

We can see that Abraham had zero reasons to have hope in the idea that he could be the father of many nations being that he was already 100 years old and had zero kids. In reality there should have been no hope. BUT, Abraham KNEW the God he serves and held on to hope of God’s promise that He would come through. He held on to the word the God had spoken to him and didn’t waiver! It says in verse 20, that in fact, his faith GREW STRONGER.

I know that we each have our own problems and I can’t sit here and minimize certain situations while really giving attention to others. But, I can say that no matter what you are going through, no matter what brokenness and hopelessness you face, there is, among all of these things, hope. There is as a matter of fact much hope. That hope is Jesus Christ.

When you truly surrender your problems over to Jesus, when you lay your worries at the foot of the cross and acknowledge that you cannot fix anything that has been broken on your own, you cannot make something happen that is supposed to happen by yourself, and that the only true source of hope is found in Jesus Christ, only then will you be able to see this hope and cling onto this faith that Abraham had. Believing in a God who can raise the dead to life, who can create something from nothing, and who would send His son to die for you and me who deserve nothing but hell, this is the real hope.

There are always reasons to be hopeless, but there is one bigger reason to be hopeful. The promise of everlasting life found in Jesus Christ. When you focus on this hope found in Jesus, these problems, no matter how big, your heart will no longer be hopeless and burdensome, but peaceful and calm. Remember this!

God bless you all. I hope this post encouraged you and grows you as I have. Please feel free to share and encourage others with it. Don’t ever hesitate if you want to ask me a question or have a prayer request that I can post up!

Doing Work & Being Lights: Food For Thought – Daily Devotional Day 8

Today the Lord inspired me from the book of John 9:3-5, 

In verse 3, God tells us that sometimes there are events that transpire for the glory of God to be displayed through them!

In verse 4, He reveals to us in this passage that we MUST, not should, not could, not would, but MUST do the work of the one who sent Him, which is God the Father! He tells us as long as it is day we must work, and by this I believe He means as long as we are alive, have time, and there is the availability to do God’s work, we must. Because He says, there is going to be a time when Night comes. I believe this passage means that there will be a time when there will be trials and struggles and it will be difficult to do the work of the Lord. God has a time for everything to be done in (day) and a time when you may not be able do it anymore (night).

In verse 5 He says while I (Jesus) am in the world, I (Jesus) am the light of the world. With this we can see that Christ is the Light that we need to be, because we are Christ’s image! Refer to John 9:3-5, John 11:9-11

This is what I’ve received and believe from the scripture and if there is anything you might want to talk about, let me know! God Bless