God-Like or Like God

We’re already in March of 2018. I apologize for not posting in over 2 months. Life has been very busy, but very good. Not perfect, but still a wonderful ride these last few months. As I spent some time in the Bible today, I was heavily convicted and knew that I had to share something with all of you. I know that mostly believers take the time to read my posts, so I write today’s post, especially for you my brother and sister in Christ.

In our churches and our communities, whether they’re Romanian, African American, Latino, Intercultural, or any other ethnic background, there is always much talk about being more like Christ and loving and caring for the people we encounter on a day to day basis. However, if we take a good look at ourselves, we will see that the abundance of love, care, and compassion we so often preach about is actually missing. I see this lack of love not only between brothers and sisters within the churches, but also from believer to non-believer.

Today I read a verse that slapped me across my face. That passage was Matthew 9, but more specifically verse 36 says “When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.”

When we ask to be more like Christ, do we understand what we ask? Do we ask this to become more god-like or more like God? There’s a difference. Attempting to be god-like is is simply us trying to be overwhelmingly powerful or awesome in a sense. Trying to be more like God is a process called sanctification and holiness.

I want to challenge each and every single one of us that call and consider ourselves Christians and followers of Christ. I want us to be in love with Jesus and his Word so much so that we feel what he felt, that we do what he did, that we say what he said. Jesus led the perfect life. He was like us, yet unlike us.

Jesus saw the crowds and felt compassion. What do we feel when we see the lost? Do our hearts break and lead us to do something? Or do our hearts break for a moment and then we move along with our complacency and our passiveness? We MUST be catalysts for change, but the only way for this to happen is by understanding our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, spending time with him and his Word, and allowing that to move us into places we would have never thought we would be in.

Earlier in Matthew 9, verses 12-13, we read this But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do.  Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

I ask you to join me as I try to be more like my God, my Lord, and my Savior Jesus Christ. Lets minister to the hurting, the broken, the oppressed, and those without a voice. Lets speak to those that aren’t reached by everyday poster-Christians. Lets really hurt like Christ hurt. Lets reach out to the sinner and help them see what Jesus did for sinners like us and how he brought us into holiness, righteousness, and salvation.

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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.

The Privileges of Today’s Christian

I spent some time with the Lord in prayer and in the scriptures today. I came across something that really touched me. Matthew 13:16-17

16. ´´But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your eyes for they hear´´;
17. ´´for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.´´ (NKJV)

This passage really hit me as soon as I finished the last word in verse 17. Do you understand what you just read in these 2 verses? We are blessed for seeing what we see and hearing what we hear, for seeing peoples chains broken from satan, demons casted out, rehab centers healing addicts, churches leading ministries, people serving as missionaries, and SO MUCH MORE! Because we heard the gospel and the message of Jesus Christ, we are blessed! It says prophets and righteous men desired to see and hear, but they didn’t. Does this mean anything to you? Can you see how privileged we are compared to Moses, Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others! We are living the life they wished for, a life in Jesus Christ!

We are so privileged to be Christians. I don’t think we even come close to understanding what a gift we have, how blessed we are to be Christians. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. We are filled with the SAME POWER that rose Jesus from the grave. The same power that healed the blind, deaf, mute, the lepers, rose the dead, and blessed so many, is in us. We are living lives that so many from the past would be jealous of.

Now, we understand how privileged we are, but what are we doing with these privileges? Are we furthering the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth? Are we fighting daily to crucify our flesh and its passions to the cross? Are we doing everything to live the life that God has called us to live? We have the Holy Spirit in us dear brothers and sisters. What are we doing with Him? Are we praying, preaching, testifying, doing works, healing, prophecying? What is the point to be a Christian who does nothing? If you aren’t using the Spirit within you, what is the point for you to even have Him in you?

These are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all. I just wanted to encourage you all to understand what an amazing gift it is to be a Christian, to live in a time where Jesus died for our sins and rose to come back. A time in which we have a helper and a counselor, the Holy Spirit of God, to lift us up, empower us, encourage us, guide and lead us, bless and baptize and fill us up!

God bless you all and thank you for reading todays post. May peace and blessings be upon your home and family in this Christmas and New Year season!

Bearing Fruit

Again, before I begin writing, I would like to apologize for my absence again. I haven’t posted in just over a month. I was extremely busy with preparing to leave Austria for a home visit, and now since the end of October until this Tuesday morning, I’ll be in America. I had a blessed time in Chicago (my home town) for two and a half weeks and now I’ve been in Portland for a week and a half. Now I’m just getting ready to go back to my ministries in Austria and get settled back in my home away from home.

Today I want to share with you all an idea that’s been on my heart for a while now because I know it’s been the Holy Ghost’s conviction upon my life. In recent weeks, I’ve been hearing a gentle whisper asking me “Jason, what fruit do you bear?”. Other times I heard “Do you practice what you preach?”. And over and over I heard a similar question in my mind that led me to understand first of all, this IS the Holy Spirit speaking conviction upon me, and secondly I really need to be more aware of my actions, thoughts, words, and surroundings. I really need to step it up, in other words I really need to bear fruit that I speak about.

I don’t want to write to much for the sake of those who don’t like reading a lot. But I do want to say that as Christians we really must check ourselves daily. As I said earlier, the reason this has been on my heart is that I have been hearing the gentle whisper of the Spirit of God in my life. This voice, this hearing that I speak of, is one that we all must hear as Christians. If we can’t hear it, there is something wrong with out lifestyle, with our hearts, and ultimately we are separated from our Father because of nothing else other than sin.

Jesus said in John 15:5:

“5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

We must understand that without Him, we don’t bear fruit, we can’t bear fruit. and in Matthew 3:8 and 3:10, John the Baptist tells us this:

“8. Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”
“10. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

These powerful truths need to be enough for us as Christians to realize where we are in the wrong and that we must pick ourselves back up from the ground and continue to move forward with our Father and Friend. Don’t let the guilt-trip of Satan hold you back. Don’t let your own condemnation keep you down. Remember that condemnation is from Satan but conviction comes from the Holy Spirit.

If we do not bear fruit, we will be cut off from the root. We will be thrown into an eternal fire. It doesn’t matter that you bear a title of a missionary or a pastor, it doesn’t matter if you bear a kind heart, it doesn’t matter if all you do your whole life is donate to charity, no, it’s about much more than that. It’s about bearing the fruit of the Spirit! Galatians 5:22-23 says:

“22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

We aren’t perfect, but we must strive for perfection always. thats what the Word of God says in Philippians 3:12. I pray that God uses the words that He has put on my heart for today to bless you all and that they are used for His glory. May God continue to draw us nearer to him. I am glad that I have a hope in Him. May peace and love be with you all. Thank you for reading todays post.

 

Something Different

I  usually post on wordpress when I’m at a great point in life and when nothing is bothering me. Well today I am at one of my lowest points that I’ve been in a while. I decided to share with you guys what’s on my heart and bothering me today. I am always in an argument with one of my brothers, always verbally abusing each other back and forth. I’m always arguing with my dad and always butting heads with him. I don’t know why, but the hardest place for me to be a Christian is in my own home. It’s so hard to tame my tongue when my brothers or dad bother me. It’s so hard to refrain from fighting with my brothers when they do something to tick me off. I really don’t know why but it is. I guess devil will work in the places where you probably find yourself the most, in my case at home. I do my best just to fall harder the next time around. It’s really something, God’s grace. It really is. That He could love someone that’s always messing up and bringing Him shame. That whatever we do, is covered by the death of His own Son….Thats phenomenal.

I am really down right now, but I need to do this. I would rather blog while at my lowest, than go smoke a pack of cigarettes, or drink some liquor, or smoke some weed because I’m upset at my brothers.

Going back to Philippians 1:27, I memorized this verse so that I could refer to it when i would be brought down and my character would become opposite of Christs. Today I ignored this verse and went crazy. Details aren’t important, however it is important that I share this: We need to act like Christ. I feel like a hypocrite saying that at the same time as knowing how I acted earlier today. I say this with confidence however, because the Word of God says that no man is without sin and if someone claims to be without sin, he is a liar. So in other words I am not afraid to share my short comings because you are not better than me and I no better than you. We are all in the same race, we are just moving at different speeds.

Let’s do our best to remember this verse. Philippians 1:27 ” Above all, you must act as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good news of Christ.” Be blessed and thanks for sharing your time with me.

Todays Devotional – Christ Character

After I came back from WIU, I think my biggest struggle was acting like Christ, being a Christian in all aspects of my life, not just at my church services and youth services. I struggle with being peaceful in my household. I struggle with anger towards anyone that bothers me. I struggle with pride towards my father. I have a hard time being humble towards my brothers. I struggle with many other things that if you looked at me, you wouldn’t have the slightest clue if I was Christian or if I was just a lost soul.

This has made me desire Christ even more recently, to desire Him with a spirit that’s unashamed to seek His help for my imperfections and to ask Him to use me to help anyone with the same issues.

I thought that if I went back to college, I could get away from my problems and stress that I accumulate in my home with my parents and siblings. But i realized going away isn’t going to help solve the problem. Rather it’s only going to postpone it for a later time. 

Today I read from Philippians and Christ gave me peace and strength once again as I decided to study this book again. As I read chapter 1, I got to verse 11 which says

“May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:11

In this verse alone, God opened my eyes, mind, and spirit, to just be more reverent on this idea and this message and theme of righteous character. This is the thing we need in our life more than anything as followers of Christ; a CHRIST-LIKE character!

Later on in the passage we come to verse 27 which says in the beginning of it

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good news about Christ.” Philippians 1:27a

Just in this part alone we are reminded once again of the character we must have and obtain. I do believe repetition is a strong emphasis in the Bible whenever an important theme, message, word, or idea was to be delivered, repetition was the tool in which that sense of importance was delivered by. Here in this chapter 1 alone we see this message and theme of having righteous character appear twice.

Lets ask the Lord to reveal to us in which ways we are faulting and messing up and ask Him to help us realize these mistakes and change them. Let’s ask Christ to mold us as He wishes for His divine plan because we are never truly done growing in Him.

Thank you for reading my message today, and I hope Christ works in you as He is in me. Praise His holy name. Peace and Love!

Just a Quick Thought

For such a long time I was afraid to post up again because I didn’t want to post anything without being “good” in my own eyes. I wanted to be the perfect human and Christian before I posted again. But i realized this a long time ago, and I’m realizing this again right now: that we are all imperfect and none of us deserve anything. But there are people out there that can use us even as imperfect as we may be. They might be weaker than us and we may not even realize, how much they need us. To ourselves we may be so weak and useless, but to that person, you might be stronger than a ton of bricks. (sorry I didn’t have a better analogy haha) But anyways. We should not stop ourselves from doing the work of Christ. That if anything, is the least Christ-like thing to do. We must continue on strong and not look behind us.

I personally still cant full grasp how or why God has such amazing grace towards us, but I can say that no matter how lowly you may see yourself, God doesn’t see that which you see. He sees Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for you, for me, and for each ad every one of us “lowly humans”

It’s funny because last year I started this blog not knowing in which direction I was headed in with it. Not knowing what would turn out from it. All I wanted to do was make time and post everyday. I almost cant believe it, but I did so successfully for a very long period of time; maybe about 4 or 5 months (which by the way for me to do something that long is an achievement). I just wanted to help people out. Hoping that if just one person read my blog they would get something out of it and that I myself could grow closer to Christ as I did so. 

This blog was a blessing and encouragement for many including my very self. Im thankful for the time I spent investing in it, and I pray I can continue to do so now as well as in the future.

I ask you though, please, please, give me feedback. Message me, email me, do something, I just want more interaction with you who read my blog. I don’t want to feel like I am just talking to a computer screen. So if I can ask you to please communicate with me, I hope it isn’t too much and I hope it doesn’t send out the wrong idea.

Thank you so much for the support you do give me, all those of you that do, and I pray that God may continue to bless us all and help us be fruitful and praise His holy name in all we do.