Discipline of Humanity

   
  The life we are called to is humanly impossible. This is because we are to be like Jesus, and He is not human, therefore, it is impossible, as a human, to be like him. For many years I understood this on rudimentary level only. For those in recovery a common phrase is “progress not perfection.” Ok. I get that. I understand that perfectionism is egotistical in nature and that I do not need to work so hard to attain perfection as I usually only have egotistical motives deep down.
 

 I end up feeling defeated, “Well, it’s impossible for a human, but hey, we gotta keep trying, right?” Wrong! We do not need to worry about the continuation of sin in our lives, nor do we need to worry about making wrong choices or bad decisions. The key isn’t to try and try an try and persevere with futility. The key is to invite Jesus into our hearts and he will give us the strength and desire to experience the full calling for our life. Simply put, we can closely tie the definition of humane into this equation. To be humane is to be marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering. Jesus wants us to be concerned with what he is concerned with. When we pray for Him to open our hearts and minds with the love that is manifest through connecting in true relationship with God, we begin to be concerned with finding solutions to problems that He cares about. We begin to be concerned with finding opportunities to be of service to others rather than thinking only about what we get out of a realtionship with a friend or spouse. We begin to be concerned with being generous rather than working to buy the next toy, hello iphone seven hundred and seventy two.
We will not always get it right. We are not designed to get it right. Our goal isn’t to try to get anything right. Our goal is to remain as close to the Holy Spirit as we can be by putting guardrails, boundaries and disciplines in place in our life that keeps us close to the spirit. Some disciplines I was taught

:Practice self-care daily. It doesn’t matter what it is, something as simple as walking your dog, joining a zumba class or taking a bath can help alleviate the pressures of being human and give us time to gain proper perspective about our life and calling.

Read scripture daily. In today’s technology, there really is no excuse for not reading a verse or two of the bible a day. One verse read daily, coupled with one minute of reflection about the verse can help improve our human perspective. Oh, and don’t let your identity of being a “non-believer” be an excuse either. That doesn’t need to stop you from gaining wisdom from the pages.

Do at least one thing every day to be of service to someone else. This can be as simple as playing with your preschooler at the park when you would rather sit on the park bench and scroll facebook, making dinner for the family AND do the dishes or asking someone how their day is going and then actually listening to their response.

The list is endless of the disciplines we can build into our day that will help ourselves and help others and gain a kingdom perspective on our calling and our life.  

What do you do that gives you a better perspective about being human?

 

 

Attention Retained

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT)

Why did the apostle Paul pray for the church to be rooted and grounded in love?

In a 2012 poll taken, 76% of Americans identified themselves as Christians while only 36% of those attend church on a weekly basis. We attend church and listen to a sermon, message, teaching, whatever the title of the talk is, the point is the same- to teach us biblical principles and how we can relate to scripture and apply it to our own lives. The trouble with saying we are christian but not having regular church attendance is the lack of retention of what we learn or the ability to carry the principles we learn on any given Sunday morning into the rest of our week. Well, we can hardly call ourselves something we know nothing about. It would be like me calling myself a pilot because I fly as a passenger to Florida once a year. What’s more, there are different styles of learning and if we are not connected to a christian community the chances of retention drops dramatically.

Paul wanted all people to be made complete with the fullness of life and God’s power. To fully experience God and the love He is takes training. By learning how we and our children retain information we will be in a better position to practice biblical principles in all our affairs and thus gain a better understanding of God’s love and experience the promises He gives.

There are four styles of learning. They are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. Here is a description taken from and article by Dr. Mary Smialek.

“Visual learners best remember what is seen. They tend to remember faces instead of names, are good readers and have good imaginations. They respond best to instruction that includes reading, posters, graphs and videos. Visual learners:
take copious notes
often close their eyes to visualize and remember
usually neat and clean with carefully coordinated clothing
benefit from illustrations and visual presentations
are attracted to written or spoken language rich in pictorial imagery
seek quiet, passive surroundings ideal

Auditory learners best remember what is heard. They remember names well, respond easily to phonics instruction and may like to talk when writing. They benefit most from instruction based on lectures, discussions and questioning. Some good methods to use with auditory learners include singing songs or listening to tapes that relate to content area to be studied and developing rhymes and mnemonics to help remember information. Auditory learners:
remember names, tend to forget faces
may not coordinate clothes but can explain what they have on and why
hum or talk to themselves
enjoy listening to themselves and others
likes to read aloud
remembers best by verbalizing
have difficulties reading maps or diagrams
have little trouble learning in a noisy environment

Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing, experimenting and involvement. These learners remember what was done, not necessarily what was seen or heard, and might have difficulty paying attention and staying focused on their schoolwork or homework. Kinesthetic learners benefit most from hands-on instruction, using manipulatives, role-playing or building things. Kinesthetic learners:
need to move around, be active and take frequent breaks
speak with their hands and with gestures
seek out and find ways to move around
tinker when bored
rely on what they can directly experience or perform
enjoy manipulating materials

Tactile learners like to use their hands and fingers to learn. Those learn best by writing, drawing, doodling and tend to be creative.They benefit from instructions such as sewing, painting or drawing. Tactile learners:
need to touch or feel objects when learning a new concept
enjoys designing things
likes to illustrate written work
finds sculpting, painting and drawing relaxing
Appreciates physically expressed encouragement (e.g. a pat on the back)”

It is not only helpful as individuals and parents to know the differences of learning styles to understand how we learn but it is helpful in understanding how we can teach. When you are involved in a church community you begin to serve. Whether you serve in a church service or the children’s programming, creating an environment that serves as many of these styles as possible helps church attenders retain and grow. And the more we know, the more we grow in Christ’s love. Make church attendance a part of your life, find one that suits not only your style of learning but everyone in the family. When we are connected to a church family we gain wisdom and understanding of humanity, ourselves and in the fullness of God, we are made complete.

Cuts of the Tongue

Integrity:
1. (n.) moral soundness.

As addicts and deniers of truth, we can manipulate what is means to have moral soundness. The definition of what it means to be moral changes to suit our needs. We justify, we lie to others, to ourselves, we compare ourselves to others and grade on a curve. To live a life of integrity is complex, to change the pattern of thinking from addict mind to a christ-centered mind takes intentionality, and when we spend time looking at what is says in the bible, this great big instruction manual for life, we can gain the perspective we need to make real lasting changes in our lives.

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. (James 3:2-12 NLT)

What point is James trying to make through these illustrations? With all of the comparisons, we see that words are powerful. We taught our kids to say sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me, which is ridiculous and not biblical! Words are powerful, our tongues can be like poison; killing everything it slashes with our bite, or it can be a small rudder or bit guiding us and those around us. It can be contagious like a wildfire and it can either destroy or rebuild growth depending on the control of it.

Much of our human expression is through words. If you want to know someones heart you need to listen. So often we are on the defense in life and we are not out to listen, we are out to protect what we are really feeling, making sure we don’t hurt feelings, making sure that other people we don’t trust don’t figure us out, cause if they figure us out then they will not like what they see, cause we don’t like what we see. We haven’t fully surrendered our position as a child of God, we take on responsibilities we were not intended to take on, identities we were not meant to carry and it steered us so far away from the life designed for us.

Integrity; say what you mean, do what you say.
Don’t over analyze, keep focused on God and you will bear fruit in your life. You will feel healthy, fulfilled, your purpose will be shown!

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18 NLT)

Look at this second definition for integrity;
2. (n.) an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.

The God-sized hole we either currently or used to try to fill with “sex, drugs and rock and roll” still left us feeling divided, broken and incomplete. With integrity we no longer need to compartmentalize our lives, acting differently with different groups of people. One way at church and another at the bar. One way at work and another way at home. To live with integrity means we are complete, undivided, the same across the board. With Jesus, we find integrity of this proportion, with nothing wanting. Better than any other high, any other idol, any other solution. We can own up to the past and our pettiness, our responsibility in our irresponsibility. We can practice humility and we gain wisdom and integrity in the process. These are God’s promises for our lives.

Empty Hands

Choices. We make them everyday but they make us. Big choices like college over the armed forces or one job over another develop our skills, they are also developing our character.

character: the inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions; “education has for its object the formation of character”- Herbert Spencer

In working the 12 steps, step one is admitting powerlessness over the hurt, habit or hangup we face. When we surrender to God to help us in our circumstances and say, I can’t, He can, I think I ‘ll let Him, it is too easy to sit back and rest on our laurels, not making any significant changes to our heart, our thoughts and our circumstances. On learning to live life on life’s terms we go to the other extreme and instead of controlling every area of our life, we toss up our hands and say, ok God, you are running the show, I am done.

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Romans 6:12-14 NLT)

Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us free will. The capacity to choose is always with us, even in powerlessness of another persons behavior toward us or illness or job loss. We cannot control situations or people, but we can control our reaction to them. The bare edge of freedom is insured and preserved inside us by God, and no matter what forces oppress us from without or within, we are indestructible if we choose to be.

Saint Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them. What do you need to let go of in order to receive God’s grace?

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Lost your sense of Belonging?

There is something that is inside each one of us that pulls away from belonging. Instead of identifying with a common thread in a group setting, whether it be at work, at school, at church or at family functions, we look for ways to distance ourselves from the group. We think ‘I’m the only one who doesn’t have a job, or I’m the only one with kids that act like this, I am the only one who doesn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend.’ We are not focussed on things we have in common, things in life we can identify with and therefore we do not feel unified with the whole.

It is satan’s great plan to distract us and separate us from each other and God. When we are distracted, we try to answer questions no one is asking.. and we lose focus and drive and motivation to move forward in life and recovery. But lets be clear, in terms of heaven and hell, they are real places on opposite spectrums but satan and God are not equal, God still has victory over satan, so no matter what we go through, what conflict we need to work through or addiction we need to kick or pain we need healing from, God is still victorious and we can also be victorious when working in line with him!

When we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and everyday lives, He goes to soul to soul to soul, transforming our lives. We cant do community ourselves. It is more than mere friendship, we are redeemed and redeeming, transformed and transforming, loved and loving, Jesus asks that we do to others what you would have them do to you…so what does dealing with people really look like biblically? How are we to BE community and not just DO community? How do we be recovered and not just go to recovery? How do we not feel so alone with our problems? How can we have a transformed life and contribute to a fruitful, transforming community?

Here are four key concepts that make for a healthy community.

1. Progress not perfection.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22, 23 NLT)

Note how it is the Holy Spirit that produces this fruit in our lives. I think we get tripped up by not feeling good enough, we see this list and remember all the times we felt impatient. All the times we gave in and had no self-control, felt fear and not faithful, we focus on the have nots instead of practicing the haves in partnership with the Holy Spirit. We do not need to be perfect before we join a group or volunteer somewhere…we are not going to be a kinder person if we never practice being kind. This means we need lots of practice…and Im not talking the be kind to your friends kinda practice…I mean God put jerks in our lives for a reason!! The people that just get under your skin and annoy the heck outta you- yeah, they are there for us to practice patience and peace and joy. The more we are in relation to Christ, the more we can be containers for the Holy Spirit and the more that happens, the less work we actually have to do to be who we want to be.

2. Give up your right to be right.
When we can get to a place of humility where the team success is more important than my opinion, we are working toward a healthy community. I see this all the time in meetings. When two or more people who all need to have the last word try to accomplish something, they just talk in circles and don’t actually accomplish anything. How much wasted time has satan distracted us with petty judgments or arguments? Give up your right to be right.

3. Don’t be afraid of conflict.
Many times we don’t know how to deal with conflict properly, so we avoid or deny responsibility. This leads to gossip or unresolved resentments that get built up in a community. Ever hear of ‘Minnesota Nice’? Nice to the face but cold as ice? Yeah. It is real. And it is unhealthy. The bible is quite clear.

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 NLT)

4. Principles before personalities.
Don’t be afraid of feeling betrayed. If we think in terms of principles before personalities, we gain tolerance, peace and understanding of people who are different than us. When we think of principles before personalities we tend to take less conflicts personally, we do not get offended so easily when we focus on principles before personalities. We are also less distracted by satan so we focus on the importance of building community, not building walls.

We are promised transformed lives and with that we can have a transforming community! And God promises to help us.

For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. (Isaiah 41:13 NLT)

What principles do you think make for a healthy community?

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The Enemy of the Inner Me

It is a war out there. With the bombing in Boston and daddies killing their little girls in Wisconsin, I turn on the news only to see so much brokenness in this world. It is so sad and it leaves me feeling powerless and hopeless and feeling like there is no point to any of this. It is a war, there are forces we need to fight.

But it is my decision how I can choose to be influenced by it, that I can choose to seek hope in a bad situation and I can seek comfort in the one who has seen these dark days come and go! When we start to get a bit of clarity of a power outside ourselves who is running the show, we tend to loosen the reins on our life and we can let go a bit. We do not need to white knuckle our way through life.

For me, and I think of a lot of us, it isn’t other people or the world we need to battle even when circumstances points to others as the cause, but most of the time, the enemy is the inner me….it is my choices, or my attitude or my judgments against others that is the enemy. It is the inner me that prevents me from having a deeper connection with God to keep me on the path of an abundant, joy filled life. The enemy is the inner me. This is why we sometimes design our lives to try to hide from ourselves. We numb out with movies or food or drugs or drinking. We disassociate from our feelings, we disassociate from ourselves with overspending or overworking or Facebook or video games. The enemy is the inner me and we end up being both the slave and the slavedriver.

So, how to turn this enemy into a partner in recovery?

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the L ord , and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” (Exodus 14:10-12 NLT)

Because we don’t decide to trust in a power outside of ourselves, we go back to our old ways of thinking and when we go back to old thinking we go back to old behaviors. This is why people can go to treatment 8 squillion times but if they don’t take this step, they will always go back to the drug….they will always take the man back, they will always react to life instead of respond and make bad choices that lead to crappy lives. That is not God’s fault! Take a look at step three in recovery:

step three; We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God.

What do the israelites do?

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. (Exodus 14:13 NLT)
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:14 NLT)

Trust is a verb, an action word.

When circumstances start to feel jacked up and temptation seeps in, this is when we need to activate trust. Trust is something we control. We can decide to trust a person a place or a thing or a season of life, and we can decide to trust that God is on our side and desires us to have the good life.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord !” (Exodus 14:15-18 NLT)

God sometimes puts us in sticky situations so his glory can shine through not just for the betterment of our lives but so that others can know him too! I think we tend to overcomplicate things…decide to trust. God wrote the story, we only need to walk in it. If the israelites hadn’t decided to trust and they hadn’t done the action of walking, this would be a story with a different kind of ending.

What will your story end with? God wrote the story…we only need to walk in it.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8 NIV)

God, I offer myself to thee. To build with me and to do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of thy power thy love and thy way of life, may I do thy will always, AMEN! -Big Book of A.A. pg. 63

Take the Plowed Road

Last week, I went on a road trip with a group of gals to a church about an hour away from Pine City. We decided to take a short-cut. Unfortunately, the short cut was a road that had not yet been cleared from the snowstorm 2 days prior. It took us 45 extra minutes to get to our destination.

How often do we try to take short cuts in life, only to be harbored by the rough road we choose?

I often get caught in the performance trap, trying to make up all the wasted time; I was a prodigal daughter and I want to make up for the spoiled brat I used to be and still am at times. I often battle the feeling that I am not worth God’s time or love. I don’t fully understand love in general so I study the bible in hopes to learn how to love in a healthy way. The fear of being unloved will affect my ability to retain or absorb what I read, will affect my ability to wholly believe with everything in me, every part of the bible. Not to mention affecting my ability to apply it to life. Does anyone else feel this way? Please tell me I am not alone!

When I was a non-believer my stance was I did not believe in all the fantastical things that the bible records. None of the miracles, none of the stories of redemption, and especially Jonah in the whale, it is physically impossible! Pastor Seth challenged us in a message a few years back to make the decision to believe. Don’t argue semantics, just choose to believe. It was from that message that I began to discard the old way of thinking and adopt a new life.

For Evergreen’s Christmas series, we have a huge God-meter on stage at church. Pride on one end, fear on the other and Godfidence in the middle. For today, the unbelief I need to get past is that I am not important. And every time I try to combat that thought I jump right over the Godfidence part of life and into pride like leap-frog.

The challenge is how to live a useful life, still realize it is not about me, and at the same time feel totally loved and confident of God’s love.

Many days I do not feel worthy to be part of God’s church. I am much like the apostle Paul in the sense that I slandered (murdered in my heart) Christians, I passed judgement, I made fun of the stero-type, I dis-trusted, I rebelled with my behavior, my language, my lifestyle, choosing the world over the word. Since I didn’t grow up in the church, what did I think I was rebelling and repelling from? I think there is the knowledge and the desire in every single human for that connection to God. I think everyone wants to be loved by God. I think it is built into our biology. I only spent a few short years in Sunday school, I barely remember the old dusty attic of the Lake George bible chapel where we met for class. I had a rudimentary understanding of the memorization of the books of the bible, some key prayers and passages, and of course I remember the felt board ‘make-believe’ stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Jesus. Even for that short period I was affected for my life to come. God was setting the stage, preparing my heart for this time, my life now. He prepares all of us, each of our histories has set the stage for what is to come.

When I came back into the fold, I snuck back in, hoping not to be noticed, for fear I would not be accepted, not by the people- although that is always a fear- but more importantly I wouldn’t be accepted by God. That I had drifted too far away, was not important to His work and not needed. And truthfully, I am not needed. God doesn’t need me to further his work for the kingdom, he can choose someone else to do the job I am doing. So, the fact that I am here, in this moment, that I am in the work I am, helping my church operate behind the scenes, teaching kids, teaching recovery from the prodigal life, proves that God loves me, He desires a relationship with me, wants me exactly where I am and I can wake up everyday and decide to partner with him or not. Love is about acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Acceptance of the responsibility of my role as a child of God, daughter of Christ and in so accepting, I can accept that God loves me. He has the same love for you. You have the same responsibility to choose. Do you accept it?

God cleared the road to me, just like a snowplow. And he cleared the way to you. Use the right road.

May God our father himself and our master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our father when our master Jesus arrives with all his followers. -1 Thessalonians 3: 11-13

Truths 4 Today

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes (okay, OFTEN) I have overwhelming thoughts about my circumstances. Worry robs me of joy. Worry is a form of fear, and too much fear leads to faltering faith. It leads to taking back the trust I have finally starting feeling towards a God I denied pretty much my whole life. Oh, sure. I knew there was something bigger outside of myself. But, honestly…I kinda attributed that entity as like an alien; something just up in space observing us ants and either laughing or shaking his head in disappointment at our ridiculousness.

My former perception of God does not help my peace of mind. My former perception feeds into the lie that I am all alone and there is no one or nothing that is here to support me, love me, and actually cares how my life turns out. That former perception is a lie. And I would think there are many “ants” who perceive God in a similar fashion. I am telling you right now, IT IS A LIE. Here are some truths:

Our God is faithful.

So The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For The Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely reply to the sound of your cries.- Isaiah 30:18-19

Our God wants for us a great life.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.- John 10:10

Our God is all powerful.

It is The Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves.-Jeremiah 31:35

Our God keeps his promises.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says The Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know The Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says The Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:33-34

Our God loves us unconditionally.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. -Ephesians 1:7

Seriously. Once you dive in and study the Word of God, you see all kinds of correlations and truths spilling off the pages. Truths that are relevant to your current situation right this very moment! It is no coincidence that God told Jeremiah of the coming of Christ long before Jesus was born. It is no coincidence when you are feeling helpless or hopeless or lost that attending to your spiritual conditioning by going to church helps you see the road in, and the road home. Hang on for dear life. Your church is here to help you. Don’t have a church? Check out Evergreen here

Good News Gotten

Every time we say yes to opportunities we step out in faith. Today at Evergreen we learned how to suspend our disbelief at what God can and will do in our lives in the second week of Pastor Seth’s series, Living a Better Story. God loves us so much that he gave us free will and I don’t know about you, but my will often runs riot and wreaks havoc in my life. I tend to make things much tougher and the road much longer than what God intended for me. Ego, low self-esteem, fear and even my comfortability keep me tied to my worldly desires and more concerned with controlling and directing my little part than even daring to think outside of myself and BELIEVE God when he says the many promises we read in the BIBLE. I’m really glad that God gets it. He knows it takes most of us a long time to get it through our thick skulls.

We serve an awesome God. I am continually amazed by what He presents to us in the form of promises, challenges and guidance. Say yes when God commands, share your hope when you got it, borrow others’ faith when you don’t. And see what better story you can have.

For The Lord is God, and He created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am The Lord,” he says, “and there is no other. I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, The Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.” -Isaiah 45:18-19

Now, that’s some good news.

What?! An iphone that Breathes?

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”-Psalm 16:2

Throughout scripture the word of God is living and breathing. It is truly a living organism, even when it’s in a bible app on your iphone. The bible is not just a collection of history lessons, heroic tales and pithy comments from Jesus. It is relevant to today’s society and your own personal circumstances and not in a vague newspaper horoscope of the day kind of a way, but in a way that can create a solid relationship between you and God, giving you wisdom, hope and a life with purpose.

I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to find something, anything to fill the MISSING PIECE
Booze, books, food, money, men. Instant gratification that never made me completely full. I always hungered for more, more, more. Fantasizing when my life would get better. Dreaming of the day when dot dot dot. Wishing but not praying. Dreaming instead of doing. God works supernaturally. He works in all time at the same time. When we realize the crux of the matter, when we realize nothing on God’s green earth will ever fully satisfy and when we realize the missing piece is Jesus Christ, life takes on meaning. Purpose. Value. Relationships get stronger, beauty becomes more vibrant, self-worth becomes less about self and more about Him. This gives us power, satisfaction, contentment and the courage to roll on our own because it suddenly becomes clear we are NEVER alone. David introduces us to Jesus centuries before He was born. Couldn’t we suppose the truth that God is speaking to us, about us and through us using His word as the tool? Try it. Get in the Word and see the truths.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. -Psalm 16:9-11/blockquote>