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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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.

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.

Recharged & Ready

Today I just want to share what God has been doing in my life here in Austria and how He has is leading and paving my path.

Before I came back (recharged and ready to serve) to Austria for my second trip, while I was in Portland, the Holy Spirit really showed me that I need to clean the chambers of my heart. Through some powerful sermons I really came to understand that I have many things in my heart that are not only unpleasing to the Lord, but disgusting. So, I began to repent. I began to ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom in my upcoming mission trip. I realized that I have to give God 100% and be all in, be fully submerged in serving, in whatever way I need to in order to bring Him the glory He deserves.

My first trip here to Austria really worked on me, on building my character, on strengthening qualities within me. I was put through many different trials that, in the moment I didn’t understand the purpose of them. Now I look back and realize they only strengthened me as a servant of the Lord and now I came back with a totally different vision. I came back understanding that I am here to be used by God. I call it “Austria Part II” because I understand now (after a long, half-year of being here), that God brought me here to use me.

But still, before understanding these things, I really didn’t know if God wanted me to still remain here in Austria long term. I prayed to understand what God’s will was in my life. I put a sign before Him to tell me whether or not I am to remain in Austria long-term or short-term. A sign that only God could answer, and sure enough he did. Basically I now have an apartment in Vienna (If you want more details about this, then please email me). Now that I understand that I am meant to be here for another longer period of time, I am fully devoted and dedicated to doing EVERYTHING I can do to glorify the name of Jesus Christ in my life while being here.

I didn’t really want to write a devotional today because I really just wanted to share a little bit about what’s going on, about why I’m still in Austria (or at least a very minuscule part). I am really recharged and ready to  serve and to give God all I have to offer and I just want to encourage you all, hopefully spreading the same fire to you. Please feel free to contact me at jasondumitru@yahoo.com to ask me any questions or just to talk. God bless you all and thank you for reading.