Friday, December 24, 2010

Love is miraculous

It's true. Love is miraculous. As you celebrate this Christmas, remember the miraculous event you are celebrating. A woman who was well past her years conceived while her husband wasn't able to speak the entire pregnancy. A virgin conceived by the holy spirit and gave birth to a son who confirmed many different prophecies in his birth alone. Both Mary and Joseph escaped the kings edict on killing the first born. Shepherds and wise kings were able to find the manger based off a star alone. Mary gave birth IN AN ANIMAL ENCLOSURE. And this is only the small list of miracles that occurred during this time. There are so many miraculous implications stemming from this birth. Such as, the God of the universe sending his one son down to start a life that will ultimately end in the saving sacrifice that will give undeserving sinners like you and me eternal life with Him (John 3:16, Romans 5:8 . . .). There are so many miracles!

So as you spend time with friends and family this Christmas season, keep in mind what you are celebrating. Maybe your family is annoying or hard to get along with, a family it so hard to show love to. Well you are a sinner and a rebel who doesn't deserve God's love but guess what, He loves you anyway. Maybe you didn't get everything you wanted this Christmas, maybe you didn't get anything. God has already given you eternal life with Him, the greatest gift possible. Stop worrying about your gifts and go give the same gift to others! Love is a miraculous thing. It's hard to not be selfish, it's hard to be forgiving, it's hard to be slow to anger, but the more you show this miraculous love, the more you will experience peace and joy.

Whatever you do this Christmas eve, this Christmas, this New Years, practice this miraculous love! Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love is Trust

After one of the scariest landings of my life into Portland International Airport, I saw that it was raining (unusual, I know). All my eyes could see were the clouds above, the rain falling, and the lights all around me. Now, I love the rain, but what if that was all you saw? You might lose faith that there were even stars or a sun even if you had already evidenced it earlier in your life. As our plane took off sailing through the horizontal strokes of rain and eventually through the clouds, I saw what I could never have imagined while sitting on the Tarmac thirty minutes previously. There was a perfectly clear sky with tons of stars peering in and an especially bright one that radiated the sky. For thirty minutes we flew just barely above the clouds with nothing but the stars above us. But then the time came for us to descend and we slowly dropped down into the clouds. Every now and again, a wisp of clouds would fog my view of that bright star but then it would pop right back into view until we finally got low enough that the star was gone all together. Soon the rain pierced back into view, the city lights down below and nothing but clouds to see above.

How often is that the case with us? We know the sky is out there; we know that God is out there and will take care of us. We have HIs promises. We have the assurance of our salvation. But soon the world envelops us, things began getting cloudy, it seems like a one joyous rainfall will never end. And we lose faith, we lose our trust that God always has us in His hands, that He will always guide us no matter the decisions we have in life. I know I fail at this a lot. I have a lot of decisions in front of me that I have been wrestling with for a while. Where do I continue my schooling? Do I stay in Arizona or do I trust that God would take care of me if I moved? Do I worry about a money making career or go into ministry and have faith that God will provide? You might have similar questions like what will I do after I graduate? Or should I do a missions project to somewhere? Will God provide for me financially? Sometimes it feels like there is no future in sight, There is no hope left. But God promises us a future and a hope (jer 29:11). God promises us heaven. He promises us salvation if we believe in the love he showed us through Jesus on the cross. All we need to do is fly up above the clouds sometimes and be reminded of that. We need to be reminded that the light still shines brightly. And we do that by getting into our bibles and soaring up into the words God wrote to us.

One of my first posts was that love is not fearful which involved the story of my summer project. But what does it mean to be not fearful? The antithesis of fear is trust. When you go bungee jumping, fear is stemmed out of a lack of trust in the rope. When we fly in a plane and it begins to jump around, our fear ignites out of a lack of trust in the airplane. When we go into a test and fear that we won't get the grade we need, it grows from a lack of trust in our studying or from a lack of trust in our teacher to write a good test. Just the same with as we fear our future, our safety, we are not trusting in the Lord to take care of us.

So from now on, dwell on that. Constantly strengthen your trust in Him by reading His words to you. Have no fear. Be courageous for the Lord is with you wherever you go (Josh 1:9). As you continue to soar above the rain and clouds into the light of God you will be able to forge on down on the ground with more trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Love is subtle

You ever have those days where it feels like you just wake up and instantly Satan is just attacking you? Like he picked this one day to try and break you down? That was me one day last week. Instantly, from the point that I woke up, I just heard lies and questions began forming in my head. It starts off small, "You aren't very smart!", "There is no way you could accomplish anything!", and then it just rolls and grows, "Does anyone even like you?", "Would anyone even want to hang out with you?", What could you possibly achieve in life?", "No one loves you!" "Look at all the mistakes you've made!" "You are a failure!". All morning, through my math class, and my walk home, my mind was a war zone. A war zone where I felt like no one was helping defending me.

I remember praying as I walked to battle all of the lies I was hearing, pleading with God to help me. To open up my heart at that time I will share what I said. I believe my prayer went like this: "God, Dad, Friend, Is this all true? Why do I feel like this? Why would you allow anyone to say this? Show me that You love me right now because I need it. Send someone to me, to reaffirm that I am not alone, to reaffirm that You are with me, Be with me!"

I was on the verge of crying as I walked through campus and then back home, just trying to get to my bed as fast as I could. And then out of no where, literally in front of my neighbors front yard I feel a text come in on my phone. "Hey man, are you on campus right now?" responding with a "I could be soon", I continued to reach my front door proceed to my bed and let out everything I had been holding in. text back..."You want to go get in the Word together?" - - - "Um yes, yes I would."

After going and hanging out with him and reading the Word, and researching different aspects of the Bible, I was suddenly better. God answered everyone of my questions. Soon the rest of the day, which I had planned on skipping, was suddenly enjoyable. The rest of the weekend ended up reaffirming over and over how much God cared about me; How much God saw in me; How much God believed in me. On an encouragement paper that everyone wrote on, I received notes that turned everything around. "Your confidence, boldness, and desire to lead have blown me away. Your simply caring acts have touched my heart"...."The men are growing so strong and it all couldn't have happened without you leading in faith" . . . "Your doing an awesome time leading the men this year and building a community between all of us"

Love can seem like its being given in the most subtle of times, but it may have a huge impact on the person you are loving. You never know where the other person is at during that very moment. So next time you think that love isn't love unless its something big, remember that even a simple text message, a simple note, a simple time spent is all it takes to defeat the enemy of love.

Go out and love today