The day-to-day stress of life can sometimes be enough to crush boulders. Between finances, politics, loved ones, planning for the future, and reflecting on the past, the pressure of daily life is sickening. I know that I’ve had moments where sometimes I threw in the towel and said I’d try again tomorrow. Somewhere in the world, a college student is re-watching the Office with three papers due in the morning.Continue reading “Tree Rooted by Living Waters”
When I first TRULY started to give my life over to Christ. I felt like nothing was happening. I would feel great in church on Sunday but Sunday night, I would be tempted again. Monday morning, I would be depressed again. Tuesday morning, anxiety came back from a weekend away. By the following Saturday, I would be begging for the spirit of the Lord and revival on Sunday.
Everything seemed so difficult. The more I crept closer to the Lord, read my Bible, and tried to live life right, the more I felt like I was getting nowhere. Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), but we were saved ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ (Zechariah 4:6). I didn’t get it. I was working to get closer to the Lord but I still felt the void, empty, dry, and dark.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;James 1:2-4 (KJV)
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
We can use God as a drug sometimes. The same mentality we used before we came to Christ, we often use afterward. Before, when you had a rough day, you’d go to the bar, call up a “friend”, or head to your favorite restaurant. Now, you look for that void to be filled by something else. I just need another shot of God and everything will be okay. Sunday comes, you feel refilled, but then it fades away. God told me I was still doing it wrong.
We have to realize that we can’t expect use earthly mindsets to interact with a spiritual God. God doesn’t want us to only use Him like “break in case of emergency” with a Bible in a case. He wants us to interact with Him all the time. Good and bad. Happy and sad. My happiness faded away because it was dependent on what happened in my life. I had to let patience finish her work.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Something new happened when I stopped working trying to make things fit and let patience finish her work. Especially since a major theme in this year has been Working the Land, I’ve been reflecting on being the farmer, tree, and the land. What lessons can I get out of all three?
I figured out that I am the farmer when I need to pair work with my faith or hope (1 Corinthians 9:10-11). These are moments where God gives us a dream or vision, and we have to do something with it. We are the land when we are newly interacting with the gospel and deciding to give our lives to the Lord (Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23 ). Then we are the tree after we have decided to trust in God and received the gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 17:7-8). We shift between these roles continuously and finally everything clicked.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,Psalms 1:2-3 (NKJV)
And in His law he meditates day and night
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The Bible talks about the Holy Spirit being the “Living Waters” (John 4:1-26) that Jesus would give after He was glorified. We are the tree bringing forth fruit in its season. A tree does not decide to drink water or sunshine occasionally or at a certain time of day, it’s constantly absorbing what it needs to survive. We aren’t supposed to only use God sometimes. He is supposed to become a constant part of our life.
I stopped trying to force it and make everything fall into place. I accepted my powerlessness in the world and somehow that gave me strength. I could plan, pray, and work towards something, and if it didn’t work, I accept that it is God’s will and something better is on the way. School, work, relationships, family, and more just started to line up. I just focused on co-existing with God and if it didn’t align, I didn’t partake. Everything got easier. Even prayer time had less pressure on me. All of a sudden, I was at peace. I was joyful. I didn’t mind waiting. Everything became easy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
What I didn’t realize is that the relief I wanted was the fruit of the Spirit that God promised. The thing about fruit is, it takes time to grow. Faith is like a mustard seed, starts off small but grows into a mighty tree. Joy, love, peace, kindness, etc., all started off small but the more time I spent in the Word, with my Father, and connecting with the Holy Spirit, the more I stopped calculating the pace of change. My fruit was growing right below my nose.
The more I focused on God’s love and the Father’s will in my life, the more my trust grew. The more my trust grew, the more I stopped worrying and stressing. I did my best everyday and things worked themselves out. My depression went away when I stopped blaming myself for the past. My anxiety vanished when I stopped worrying about the outcomes and started trusting God’s will in my life. Self-control became simple when I stopped putting so much weight on the decision and got comfortable with waiting. Waiting isn’t bad, its just another opportunity to see what surprises God can come up with next. All I had to do is let time do what it needed.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
The lesson I learned is that fruit takes time to grow and it is always growing. We don’t have to work for the seeds we are earning. Receive and they just grow.
Turn Your Brightness Up!
There is something about the Blood of Jesus Christ. The power that it involves and how we interact with that knowledge that changes our entire world.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.Luke 19:10 (NIV)
It’s been about three years since I went to Los Angeles searching for purpose and reason after the death of my grandmother. I was welcomed by family that never met me before that enveloped me with an unconditional love that could only come from Father God. It extended beyond them knowing me, beyond family, beyond a shared history, all the way into gifting me love that I felt empty without.
My family’s love left me thirsty for more. I spent the next year reading my Bible from Genesis to Revelations, looking for some sort of grounding principle in the world. I desperately desired a meaning, history, or identity. I felt disconnected from the lives everyone lived in and was just clinging on so that I wouldn’t fade away into the night.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,Jeremiah 17:7-8 (niv)
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
I didn’t hate myself, but I didn’t believe I deserved anything either. I shrunk myself in regards to the wishes and desires of others around me. I let my feelings and emotions, that swayed in a moments notice, control my being. I internalized the voices of doubt, loathing, and regret until they drowned me in my own sorrow. I was wading in toxic sludge, hopeless, just waiting for it all to give out.
While in this dark place, a tiny voice resonated with my soul. It attracted my mind with a search for answers of things misconstrued and lost in time. It resonated with the hope in my heart for something better, not just for me but, for the world. It healed my soul, helping me remove all of the weights left from the pain I held on to for so long. It reinvigorated my spirit, revitalizing my dreams, and bringing hope where there was none. It gave me faith, something to trust in when I couldn’t even trust myself. Finally, it brought love where the was none.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13 (niv)
That great light in the distance gave me hope for something better. It recharged my battery, causing my to go from treading water to furiously dragging and pulling my lifeless body to shore. I could not let that light go out. I had no choice but to keep getting closer, inch by inch and step by step. It was so lonely and dark here, but there appeared to be light, life, and warmth elsewhere.
I became hungry for more. The warmth of the love I felt of a Father constantly chasing His children named Israel made me desire it for myself. I envied Moses talking to God like a friend. I wanted the Lord to know I had a heart after God too, like David. I wanted Jesus to not weep for me but smile. I could not stay in the pool of desperation any longer. The waves occasionally would push me further back and wash over my head but in my eyes, the light only beckoned me more.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
The moment I reached the shores, I cried. I cried and cried. I felt so helpless, so hopeless, for such a long time. I was lost, alone, and dead inside. So, when I joined a church and someone handed me a towel, I barely knew what to do. They held me in the ever-flowing streams of life as I peeled away dirt, muck, and grime that felt like it seeped into my very soul. I felt stained. I felt like I would never get clean, but my Father came in, hugged me, and told His servants to bring me new clothes. He was the light the entire time and I just wanted to bask in His glow. But, He told me there is more to do.
“There are others, lost, drowning in the same sorrow as you. Believing that there is no other alternative than living life listless, dead inside. But, that’s not true. You made it out. You made it to the other side and all I want you to do is keep a lookout. Shine your light as bright as you can to everyone that can see. Call and beckon them to come this way. If they come, usher them into safety, and I will take care of them from there.”
So, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll Shine On.
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven.Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
I just wanted to write something slightly different in reflection of the change my life has seen over the last three years. I am the same same but different. I’ve been cleaned up, invigorated, and revitalized. For those reasons alone, I must continue to share my life. Keep me in your prayers as I keep you in mine. Any comments, questions, or thoughts, leave them below.
Turn Your Brightness Up!
Today’s post originally started as a post about Self-Love but it felt out of order from what I have been building over the month about love. How can I talk about self-love without talking about God first?Continue reading “My Crush on God”
Today, I wanted to talk about the first and honestly the most important concept in the Bible: Love.Continue reading “Love like God”
I am debuting a new series called Good Ground. This will be a basic biblical foundational series about various topics that help you when dealing with the Word or various concepts.
“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” – Matthew 13:23
Today’s Good Ground is about the Daniel Fast.Continue reading “What is the Daniel Fast?”