Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Truth Found In The Midst of A Spiritual Desert!

Have you ever been in a spiritual desert? You are doing all the things that you are supposed to as a Christian but you really aren't feeling it. If you are not careful you will start to serve God either out of ritual routine or a performance mentality. I believe sometimes that God allows us to enter into the dry land so that we will realize that our walk with the Lord is not about feelings but a faith walk. It is a daily walk and sometimes minute by minute as you hang on by the tiny thread of a rope. To be in a spiritual desert causes us to realize that we were created for God. Nothing in this life will satisfy our hunger and thirst like Christ will. When you finally come out of the spiritual desert and sense His presence it is like drinking a tall glass of ice water. What I want you to take notice is that we don't have to wait to experience His presence to enjoy Him. We know that Jesus says in the Word of God "I will never leave you nor forsake you!" That is a promise spoken by the Son of God Himself. In Numbers 23:19 it says "God is not a man that He should lie nor a human being that He should change His mind. What He says He will do He will and what He promises He keeps." You never have to doubt God's presence in your life if you are His child. He will not abandon His children and leave them Fatherless. A lot of people grew up without a father or has an estranged relationship with one. The Heavenly Father gives us the perfect model of what a loving Father is in a person's life. Maybe you have a difficult time receiving love because you never received unconditional love from a parent. God loves you with no hidden agenda. All He asks is that you trust Him and surrender your life to Jesus. We are all going to experience the desert from time to time but it is what you do in the desert that is important. Keep loving and serving Him in the desert. Never stop loving people and showing them where they can find eternal life. Some of the greatest victories have come from being in the desert. If God calls you into the desert remember that where you are now is not where you will be forever. He is wanting to show you something or most importantly show you more of Him. So, if you find yourself being in a spiritual desert keep pressing forward and don't look back. As God led the Israelites out of the desert He will also lead you out. Many Israelites didn't make it out of the desert because of their lack of faith and grumbling. God gives us a free will to decide in how we are going to respond. So, the question is are you going to keep walking forward or quit? You see it is a normal feeling wanting to quit as long as you don't follow through with it. Don't quit now! You have come too far! Who knows maybe your breakthrough is right around the corner!  Keep looking up relying on the Heavenly Father and He will draw nigh to you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Shadow of The Cross

As a little child I always wanted to walk in my Dad's shadow. He was my hero and still is today. I knew if I could stand in his shadow that I would be protected and feel his strength. When I surrendered my life to the Lord I found myself standing in the midst of another shadow, which was the Cross. I think about what if there had not been a Cross or what if Jesus changed His mind at the end? But, Jesus Christ didn't give up on us! He was faithful to complete His purpose and that was the Cross. When we come to the Cross it brings everything into perspective as Christ gives us life and His peace. Christ was at the center of God's will as He went to the Cross and died a gruesome death in our place. The Bible clearly shows us that God's plan included the Cross. Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 53:4-5 "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was pierced through fore our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him." What stood out in this passage of Scripture is that our sins and the penalty fell upon Him. What falls upon us? The shadow of the Cross where there is forgiveness and mercy. The mistake that many Christians make is that they visit the Cross once to receive salvation but they never return just to gaze upon the wonderful Cross. The Cross is where our sins and forgiveness met and Christ's blood triumphed. Ozwald Chambers once said "All heaven is interested in the Cross of Christ, all Hell terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning." We must never forget that we are forever under the shadow of the Cross. What took place there on Calvary's Hill will forever be imprinted on the inside of Jesus' hands and feet. The blood that was shed on the Cross purifies our blatant sins against a Holy God. There is power in the Cross because of who hung there over 2, 000 years ago and three days later conquered death and the grave. Today, if you are searching for the significance of life come under the shadow of the Cross. If you are struggling in your marriage or relationships come under the shadow of the Cross. If you are battling addictions or hopelessness come under the shadow of the Cross and meet the Risen Lord who loves and cares for you! The shadow of the Cross is where I choose to reside. What shadow has fallen upon you?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Life Strikes Midnight!

Have you ever wondered where the time went? It seems like just yesterday that I was in elementary school and then I wake up today to realize I am now in my 40's. What happened during all those years? Life is what happened during that time. Was I asleep or was I faithful to the task that was at hand. The Bible says in James 4:14 "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." For every person there is a personal clock that will strike midnight. Every day is a gift from God. There are so many days that I find myself wasting the day away on self. There is a world out there that needs a touch of hope and a belief in a really God who loves them. We were put on this earth to be witnesses to the hope that we have found in Jesus Christ. God has gifted us and given us a a mission to be used by God Himself. Just ponder on that for a moment. The Creator of the Universe and who wonderfully and fearfully made you wants to use you in His plan. He doesn't see how we view ourselves. God sees hidden treasure that rests in the heart of every believer in Him. Sometimes we just have to be reminded who we are and what are purpose is in this life. The world will tell you that the meaning of life is you and to live it up because you only have one shot. However, as a Christian we know that the purpose of life is to glorify God. God is preparing us for what comes next after death. For a Christian they know where they are going after this life. But, there are many people who don't have a foggiest idea what comes next. The Bible says that there comes a time for every man to die and then judgment. What does that mean? It means that God has every person's days numbered and then we will have to give an account for what we did with the truth of Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior. For Christians, Jesus has already paid the penalty on the Cross. However, those who have rejected Christ will face the ultimate penalty, which is eternal separation from the love of God. God has given us the precious gift of today to decide who we will follow: self or God. Let us not waste one more day or moment for that matter. Let us call on the only name, Jesus Christ that will set us free from eternal death and even ourselves. There was a times in my life where I didn't want to have anything to do with God. I went through a period where I blamed God for my disability. I realized that there were more important things in life than being born with a disability and that was how I was going to live my life for Him even in the midst of my legs not working. I had built an altar around me and found myself idolizing myself. I had to remove myself from the throne of my heart and invite Christ to take His rightful position. I have learned that God is sovereign and He is a good God. He has given me life to the fullest. What does that look like? It means that He has given me something that I could not earn. He gave me a gift and it will take me a lifetime to unwrap and really appreciate to the fullest extent of what this gift really looks like. It it is eternal life with Him in His home where I will be able to run, jump, and climb. I will be able to exchange this wheelchair that I set in day in and day out for legs that will not give out. I have decided that I will live for the rest of my life telling others about this precious gift because I know that time is getting away from me. I am 40 today but tomorrow I will be 80 if the Lord chooses to keep me here that long. I choose to not to go to Heaven alone but take as many people with me as I possibly can. What is your answer? Because He is calling you! Say yes to the greatest gift that you will ever receive.

Friday, May 27, 2011

God Can!

There comes a time in a Christian's life where he or she hits a brick wall spiritually. Their doing everything that they always do but there is something missing. The passion is not there like it once was in the past. I have discovered that no one can take your passion for the Lord away but you. We allow the circumstances of the day rob us from the joy that is found in Christ alone. Effective prayer is becoming spiritually naked before the Lord. It is taking your hands off your life and allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete control. When we submit to the Lord there is complete freedom and healing. In Psalm 147:3 it says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Now, when I talk about healing I mean spiritually. I spent a good part of my life seeking physical healing but what God was wanting to heal was my spiritual heart. He is more concerned about a relationship with you and I than He is about having fleeting moment of physical healing. I would rather sit in a wheelchair and be physically disabled than to walk without the aid of a device and be spiritually disabled. You and I have something in common. You may not know what it is like to sit in a wheelchair but you know what it feels like to feel pain. There is someone else that was familiar with pain and that is Jesus. He experienced the pain that we go through on this earth as He chose to give up the comfort of Heaven to come to earth and die a criminal's death. Why? Because He loves you! You may be sitting there and think "You don't know my past or what I am going through!" I may not understand completely but He does. God wants to give us freedom through His Son Jesus Christ. God can do the impossible through those who earnestly seek Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind. There is no mountain that you are facing today that God can't remove and cast into the sea. God has proven over and over in the past that when He speaks, something wonderful happens in the atmosphere. Prayer moves the Hand of God in and through areas of our lives where we have become paralyzed through hopelessness. When we come to the realization that we can't do anything in our own power or ability but to fall on our knees in prayer to Holy God, He can and will show His power in your life. We can't experience God's divine purpose and direction for our lives apart from prayer. Prayer doesn't just change the circumstances but it changes you on the inside that God's hand is upon your life. When God answers prayer, a miracle is performed with God's signature on it that cannot be explained by human reasoning. Instead of you waiting on Him, maybe He is waiting on you today. He is waiting for you to look to Him as your ultimate source of every need you have in this life. So, I leave you with another question, "Do you believe that God can?" If the answer is yes, then watch Him heal your broken heart today as He binds up every wound in your life and give you everlasting freedom!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Greatest Gift

Do you remember being in elementary school during recess waiting with anticipation to be hand chosen to be on a team? As you watched your peers get chosen you hoped you wouldn't be the last person standing. If you were the last person standing the team captain who picked last would have no choice but to call your name. You wouldn't really feel valued or like someone saw potential in you. Living with a disability as a child I know that feeling very well. In the Christian life it is the complete opposite. Before you even lined up to be chosen the Lord said "yes" to you. You see He chose you before you chose to be on His team. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:4 "Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." The Lord saw hidden treasure in you and declared "You are worth picking." He sees the gifts and the talents that He has placed inside you. He sees the man or the woman that He has created to work through to accomplish great exploits. The Lord does not see what man sees. He sees what you can become with His strength. In fact, He saw such beauty that He was willing to lay His life down for you. The Lord has been pursuing you with an undying love. The Bible says in Jeremiah 31:3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love." It is a love that never quits or fizzles out. It the kind of love that is steadfast and weathers the storm. You were created for His love. Your heart was designed for Christ to be in the center. We try our hardest to join other teams but when we go to put on that glove it feels awkward. It is because the Lord has given you the tools that are custom made to your life. He has given you everything you need to win the game. He has also given you the responsibility to recruit others to join you. As you look around to choose others look through the lens of God and you will end up with champions on your team. There are no losers on God's team because we have already won the battle the moment we step out onto the battlefield. Today, the Lord is calling your name. The question is "Will you chose Him?" If the answer is yes, you will receive the greatest gift, which is Him!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When God Erases The Past

There are certain memories that we cherish and hope to never let go. Then there are memories of past mistakes or sins that we find ourselves begging God to erase our memory from those events. No Christian is sinless. We all fall short of the glory of God as the Word of God says. When we look at the Bible we see real people with real problems and real sins that are recorded. The Bible records life as it is! I believe they are there as warning singns for us today in 2011. We have the blessing to learn from past mistakes of others because God wants His best for our lives. All we have to do is look at the stories of the Bible where great men of the faith fell and the aftermath. But God says in His Word in 1John 1:9, "If we confess our sin, He is faithful to and just to forgive us our sins." Do you know what that means? It means that you have been let off God's hook. When God forgives He chooses to forget. There are so many Christians who never get past their failures in life and they end up becoming a prisoner to their past. The very reason why Christ came to this earth was to set people free from their past, which I call "B.C." (Before Christ)! Christ came to exchange our old life for a new one found in Him, which is "A.D." (After Christ). It is like God is standing at the dry eraser board with all your sins listed and the moment you repent and place your faith in Christ, God takes the eraser and wiipes away your sins. God uses our weaknesses to teach us that we need His grace and power in our lives. God uses people's failures for His glory as He turns their failure into success. As we trust Christ in times of weakness He will begin to stregthen our will to do the right thing. There are Christians who feel they have crossed the line with God and therefore they are no use in His kingdom. God still uses people who mess up and gives them a brand new start. Look at Peter in the Bible who denied Christ. Peter probably thought it was all over for Him. He went back to his ordinary life of fishing until Christ met him along the seashore and reinstated him back into service. The Heavenly Father is looking at your heart today. If you have a heart that longs for Him then He says, "There is hope for you!" I will never forget what Jim Cymbala once said, "God is attracted to weaknesses. He can't resist those who honestly and humbly admit how desperately they need Him." So, the question is not have you messed up. The question today is "Do you desperately need Him to come into your life and give you a brands new start?" He is there waiting by your personal dry eraser board as you tell Him how much you need Him today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hope Again!

We are all faced in life with dreams that have been shattered into million pieces. What we once dreamed and hoped for has slipped through our fingers and has left us lifeless. Martin Luther once said, "I have held many things in my hands and I lost them all but whatever I have placed in God's hands that I still possess." The missing ingredient that we sometimes find in our prayers is complete surrender. We have all our self  perceived ideas how things should turn out but God sees the bigger picture. Some blame God when dreams die but sometimes for something to live to the fullest it must die first. It's like our spiritual walk with the Lord. If we consider Christ, Lord then we must die to certain desires and dreams in order to receive His best. Furthermore, we must die to self because we get in the way in what God is wanting to do in our lives. We have to remember that God's first name is not "Jeanie"! Prayer is not about rubbing the bottle and all of a sudden God performs whatever you wish for. We must first pray for His will in every situation. I believe that there is power in prayer. The power is found in Jesus Christ who moves in our lives where we have become spiritual crippled. Sitting in a wheelchair is a joy because in my weakness Christ is made strong in my life. Now, don't misunderstand me! Sitting in a wheelchair is hard at times and there are times when I want to throw in the towel. But, then I think about how big my God is and that He lives in me. God whispered in my ear when I was a young boy when I prayed, "Why did you make me this way?" He responded, "Because I knew I could trust you!" I asked God, "What do you mean?" God said, "I knew that the Cross that you would have to carry was custom made to your character and strength and that you woul be able to carry it to the finish line." As a kid I didn't really comprehend what that really meant until I surrendered my life to the Lord. God started to give me a future and a hope as I dreamed big for Him. However, when I turned 31, my dreams started to desert me until I found myself in a hopeless pit. I found myself working at TARGET cashiering. I had a drunk man come through my lane one night and he looked at me and said, "You are nothing but a loser because you are a cashier!" At first I was angry and had one of the security guys to kick him out out of the store. His statement haunted me for months until I got a new perspective on life. Yes, I was a cashier but I decided that day that I would be the best cashier that TARGET ever had. I started noticing that hurting people would  come through my lane and I would encourage them and give them a Scripture to hold onto. It was not long until a man came through my lane and asked me to come and speak at a Singles Retreat down in Galveston in January 2003. Not knowing when I accepted that speaking engagement that I would meet my future wife as well as see my dreams come alive again. November 1, 2003 I married the woman that I had met 10 months earlier and God opned the doors for us to move to Dallas, Tx where I went back to College to earn my degree. I was told by a College math teacher to never come back to College because it was not for me. It was God who worked through my wife that encouraged to return back to the classroom in 2005. Since then I have earned a BA Degree and I am 12 hours away from earning a Master's. So, do I believe in dreams coming true? Yes, I do if the dream has first been placed in the hands of God. So, the question for you is "Have you placed your dreams in the hands of God?" And if no, "What are you waiting for?" The journey of a lifetime is waiting for you as God is waiting in the driver's seat!