Monday, May 30, 2016

The Whisper.

No one can come to me
unless the Father who sent me draws him.
And I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:44

One of my favorite books is probably the gospel of John. The I am statements when I was first getting to know my savior and trust Him are what I love about it. Our theme this month is God seeking us, and I read this verse at a time when I felt I was seeking God, but in reality God was drawing me. One of my favorite verses just a few verses previous to this one.

All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

This verse was an incredible comfort to me, as I realized that not only did I desire God, but God desired me. IBS is usually something I do for my own growth first and foremost. However I know that it will not only be read by me. I want to encourage whoever it is that reads these, because this is the reason I came here in the first place. If you feel like you cannot be with God, know that is a lie. If you think that God can't love you, it is the enemy deceiving you. If you are seeking God, know that He is also seeking you. I want you to know that if you come to Jesus to repent of your sins He will not cast you out.

Why is it so important to me that others understand this? Because in believing the lie that God doesn't want me, I have been robbed of so much joy. I have felt incredible fear. I have been unable to face the day. I have gone into spirals of deep depression. I am passionate about God's passion for people, because of His great love for me. And I don't ever want people to be stuck in the lie that I have been. I truly believe that this truth will change you from the inside out.

This truth, what truth is that? That though your sins may be great, your pain deep, and you feel like you cannot be free of your own evil desire. Your drug addiction, depression, alcoholism whatever it may be. Jesus died for that, and He rose again to save you from the consequence of hell, to restore you to having a relationship with Him. He rose again from the dead proving that He is God, and that He does have power to save you from your sins. If you believe on Him and repent of your sins, His Holy Spirit will come and live in you, so that you will be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Self control, you no longer have to bow to evil desires, and self destructive behaviors in your life, Jesus gives you freedom. He makes you new.

The gospel, is That Jesus died on a cross and rose again so that we could have a right relationship with God again. Why don't we already have right relationship with Him? Sin. What is sin? Sin is simply disobedience to God, Others have likened it to missing the mark, or missing your destiny if you will. God made us in His image when we sin, that image of Him is distorted, because He is righteous. Not only that, but we were made for relationship with Him, so when we sinned we became separated from Him. God is just, justice and love actually go hand in hand. If a person stole your money and an officer did nothing to stop them, that would be unjust, and you would feel very unloved. So God must punish sin. Someone had to take the punishment for our sins, but rather than putting us to death God would rather allow His own Son die for us. In dying on that Cross all the punishment that should have been poured out on me, and that I rightly deserved was poured out on Christ instead. And since He was holy there was no way He could have been dying for His own sins.
He said “It is finished” on the cross and He meant it.

Because of Him I don't have to do anything to earn my way into knowing God. He just loves me already and wants me. This is not a license to go out and sin either. Why would I want to sin anyways? Sin is what brought me to a place where I did not have a healthy relationships with God or others. Brought me into a state of feeling worthless and out of control, of depression.

The truth is God wants me, and He wants you, and He has done everything to make a way for that relationship to happen. In the end it is our choice to accept it or not accept it. All the while He is whispering to you, drawing you, if you hear His voice, don't believe the lie that He doesn't want you. His words say otherwise, and His actions proves their worth.

And I will raise him up on the last day.”
I believe this is speaking to Heaven, when the old earth is crashing to pieces, God will be keeping us safe and bringing us into His kingdom.
All this to say that this is what this verse means to me, and this is why I am here, I am here Because God has sought and is seeking me. He has a passion for me and others. He does not need to me to be a witness to His great love. In fact I think He could tell people far better without me. He brought me here because He wanted to do a work in me more than through me. I trust that. And as He does that work in me it is impossible for it not to end up affecting others.

Press into His love more.


Within this next week I want to find a time alone to worship Him, and simply be in His presence.

Remember Me.

Colossians 1:21-23
“And you, who once were alienated
and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

he has now reconciled in his body of flesh
by his death, in order to present you holy and
blameless and above reproach before him,

if indeed you continue in faith, stable and steadfast,
not shifting from the from the hope of the gospel that you heard,
which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven,
and of which

I, Paul became a minister.”

When I have walked in the flesh, I have felt hostile, and alienated not only from God but others as well. We talked about the Holy Spirit in chapel last Thursday, and walking in the Spirit. My walk with Christ has been like a bumpy road some days, and sitting beside a serene lake on others. As I think about how it has been most recently I think of the bumpy road again. As I think longer maybe not so much like a bumpy road as like walking through nothingness. My times of prayer are either somewhat fervent, or else simply empty.
The answer is quite simple to all of this, I have been walking in the flesh. Perhaps not in big ways, but more like slowly covering my ears when I hear His voice.
The problem is when I stifle His voice once, try not to feel the guilt of ignoring Him, I stop feeling altogether. Worst of all, when I wish to seek out His counsel again, it's hard to tell which voice is His because I have become so accustomed to the others I have listened to, my own, or friends or for all I know, the devil himself. There comes a point where the conscience can become seared beyond repair, I pray I never get there. What can also happen is a person can forget their first love. What is scary is this tends to happen to those who are working in ministry.
“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:2-4 This admonishment was written to the Church of Ephesus.

I am incredibly prone to this. I get busy and that's when I stop listening to His voice, I start thinking I can do ministry and life without Him. I don't say this proudly but to my own shame. When I start thinking I have it all together, I hold it all together that's when my relationship with Him begins to fall apart. I can be doing good works and still have a dirty and crooked heart. Why? Because somewhere along the way I forgot the reason I was doing ministry in the first place. I abandoned my first love. I forgot that how He saved me and loved me is the reason I love others. Works in ministry are still walking in the flesh if I am not relying on His Spirit, and am instead relying on my flesh. My gaze has shifted from living in communion with Him to finishing tasks put before me. As I forget my reason for serving, I become lazy. However the admonishment does not end in verse 4.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Revelation 2:5

The answer is very simple, Remember. Remember just what this Scripture is saying.

he has now reconciled in his body of flesh
by his death, in order to present you holy and
blameless and above reproach before him, “

If I don't remember where I came from and what He has done for me I will let my hope be shifted. It will shift from Him to myself. And when I look only at myself since there is nothing good in myself, I become full of guilt. When I don't look to Him to deal with my guilt I begin to stuff it, and I get numb. This is why I feel I am walking through nothingness when with Him, because instead of dealing with my sin I'm ignoring it, I am ignoring that there is an answer to it. As I ignore those things I ignore His very presence.

During training one of the ways I made my prayer times intentional was by simply confessing and turning from my sin, then leaving it there with Him. Allowing Him to deal with it. Many Times He spoke words of Kindness and love into my heart during that, and I was able to start growing in my relationship with Him again, and move forward. As that happened I began growing in my other relationships.

I need to remember from where I have fallen. Where I started my walk was Faith, now as the verse says I must continue in that Faith, by it I remain stable and steadfast. That my hope does not shift from Jesus to myself or earthly pleasure. As I remember the depth of God's love and the hope I have in Him it will flow out into sharing the gospel with others.

When I first came to Ignite a Scripture popped out to me. And I am still chewing on and thinking about it 5 months later.

remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
for Israel my glory.”” Isaiah 46:9-13

When I meditate on these verses I find Hope, especially as I read that He bring His righteousness near.
Essentially God is telling me remember who I Am everyday, remember that I am near, and remember what I have done in you.

Be present in prayer by remembering Who God is, and that He is before me.


Each morning at the beginning of my prayer time this week I will confess my sins and receive forgivness for them. I will also write one time I remember God acting in my life to show me His forgiveness each day this week.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


John 15:16
“You did not choose me,
but I chose you
and appointed you
that you should go and bear much fruit
and that your fruit should abide,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name,
he may give it you.”

I have always loved this verse. I have loved that I was chosen, not because I am in any way smarter, or stronger or taller, but because I am loved. When I read this verse I wonder about what the word fruit symbolizes. When I was a little kid I always thought fruit or harvest referred to how many people you lead to Christ. The first time I had the analogy paired with Fruits of the Spirit I actually got a bit worried, I was young and I felt it would be much more difficult to grow in my character than lead someone to Christ. At the same time I felt a sort of relief, God wasn't up there counting tally marks to see if I was making my quota of saved souls, which was zero at the time.
Right now I think about that word abide again, I feel there was a time of incredible growth in my spiritual walk when I was younger, and there was a lot of spiritual fruit, love so deep, peace like no other, and joy in so many situations. As I look at my life recently and what goes on in my heart behind the scenes, the amount of fear and anxiety is just stupid. I don't how I lost my sensitivity, the urgent feeling of love for souls in need. Except that it was little by little. The good news is at least I can remember what it felt like, and I know I miss it.

That your fruit should abide, as I read that today it troubled me. I thought my fruit isn't abiding I'm not a true christian. It's still troubles me. However as I think of that I think about the fact that Jesus wants these things to abide in believers. And that is wonderful thing to think. God who made everything chose me, and through what His Son did bought me, and He wishes to grow in me and have me live in love. Love does no evil to another therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
He wants me to live in peace, without fear of tomorrow or yesterday, of man or beast, of life or death. He wants me to live in Joy. Not necessarily an absence of pain, but a sense of, I do not even know how to describe it. Hopefulness and fulfillment in His presence in the midst of any sorrowful circumstance perhaps?
He wants me to live patiently, patient with others and patiently expecting His return. I often feel myself drawn to patient people, people who are not easy to stress out, it is comforting knowing that it is difficult to make someone upset. God also wants to work that patience into me, and it only comes through confidence in Him.
He wants me to live in Kindness. There is the old saying “Kindness is a great gift and it's free.” Kindness does not have to be some great gesture, it is as simple as a hug, a prayer or a smile, it is ministering to someones heart through ministering to their needs. Whether those needs are physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, it is kindness.
God wants me to live in goodness, what is goodness. I remember growing up the word good had very little meaning to me, food is good, water is good, playing is good, etc. When I understood the gospel and met Jesus as He met the needs of my heart I understood what goodness was. Jesus is goodness, God is goodness. Good took on a whole new depth, a depth that is beyond description for me, except to say God is good, and good is God. To live in Goodness is to reflect Jesus, and to reflect Him is to walk in knowing Him.
He wishes me to live in faithfulness, in remaining a person to be trustworthy. A person diligent to do as they have said they would. He would have me walk in gentleness, gentleness is more than simply being master of your own physical strength, it is more than being careful in how you hug others. To be gentle is to be gentle in attitude, speech, and action. To address one another in a respectful way during disagreements, to speak well of others, to be slow to anger or act in anger physically.

Lastly He wishes me to live with self control. How awful it is to feel out of control, how often in those times our circumstance being beyond my control, I let my emotions take over. What an awful thing to be a slave to my own desire.

As I think of this word abide, and to have something abide in you, I think of my mind and heart like a house. If someone comes to live in my house I must allow them to abide, and must abide myself in the home in order for us to be together. That troubling thought at the beginning of this IBS of not being a true christian I think is simply that, a fear. I have felt and lived out these fruits a lot in my life, by no strength of my own. In fact that seems to be the only way to abide.
“That whatever you ask the Father in my name He may give it you.”
If I have lost my peace, or my joy, or my love, etc it's because I am not abiding in God's love as I aught, but am instead striving for independence from Him. Maybe it started with the best intentions, I don't want to bother God for help, I'll just do it myself. However in Reality, He is my loving Father and savior and He desires me to come to Him with my needs. What bothers Him is me trying to do things my own way.

This month's theme of God seeking us, but it's more than that, He is also seeking our Good. As I allow these things to abide in me not only am I blessed but also those around me. God not only chose me but appointed me, to grow in these fruits, that they abide in me and that only happens as I am choosing to abide in Christ. That all starts at 5:30 in the morning when the alarm goes off, it starts with the decision to sit up and get dressed instead of hitting snooze. It's starts with remembering that God chose me not the other way around.

Spend time abiding in Christ.


Keep to waking up at 5:30 as a habit this coming week, except on my day off, when I will get up by 7:00am.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Abide, Abide, Abide... ?

1 John 4:10
“In this is love,
not that we have loved God
but that He loved us
and sent His Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.”

I could get into a really detailed and well written sermon about this. However IBS is not a sermon, For a sermon is for the one reading or the one listening. However IBS is for the writer, it is something that should be as intimate as prayer, and has been a way for me to walk in the light with my brothers and sisters in Christ. To grow. So I am going to share what has been on my mind lately. I have asked God to speak to me through this time as much as when I worship or read His word or pray.

I had been rereading 1st John over and over a week or two back. What I noticed most within it was the word abide. Within this short book the words abide, abides, and abiding in total show up about 23 times, that was just a quick glance over so I may have missed some. The book was written as a warning against false teachers. I don't like to abide very much, I don't like to sit still, because it seems like I'm getting nowhere. I see a mountain of things that need to be done, I don't want to abide and wait for God, I want to just do it, or not do it at all. I can often try to love in my own power. And for a little while it seems to work. However I quickly become tired, grumpy, irritable, and feeling incredibly depressed and defeated. I have felt this way almost daily while being here. I have done what I knew I was prone to do during field time. Push through in my own strength, took my eyes off Jesus and looked at all the relationships and needs of others around me. As John is writing this verse it is shortly after he admonished believers to “Love one another”, that whoever loves is “from God,” and has been “born of God.” He goes on to say the one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this I find two truths, Firstly that God is love, secondly since the man who does not love does not know God, it is completely impossible for the natural man to Love without God. I know this is all basic stuff, still it has been on my mind. Now back the verse at hand.

“not that we have loved God” As a human I could not of myself have initiated contact with God, as it says “They all like sheep have gone astray.” I had no love to give because I was broken. Daily I have no love to give of my own because I am broken.

“but that He loved us” During my months of training we so often talked about the why. It's important to know why I'm doing something. I really need to, I get discouraged often, and I want to curl up in a corner and give up. I had honestly forgotten my why. Why I wanted to come down here was because I wanted to grow closer to God. However as I sit here and think on this, I realize that in reality as much as I wanted to be here for that reason, I came here because God drew me here. I didn't come here because I love God, even though I do love God. I was brought here because God loves me.

“and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

He saved me from my sins in my youth, and He called me to follow Him. Now as I walk through my time in Guatemala He is saving me from trying to continue in the flesh, from forgetting what it's like to know Him. That's love, He has loved me in big ways and small ways. Our theme this month has been God seeking us, and He brought me all the way to Guatemala to do that. As I see that love poured into me I am too small a vessel to hold it all inside and it pours out. God is love, and “if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” from John 4:11

Allow God to pour into me, instead of trying to love in my own strength.


Tonight I will find some time to spend with God and reflect on His love.