Tag Archives: Jesus

Blessed is the One

Tonight I was thinking, I don’t really understand how to respond to feeling violated.

I take punch after punch.  Blow after blow.  Taking the higher road.  Forgiving and letting go.  Yet I still am left being violated.  What punishment does that person get while I am suffering day by day?  It just does not seem fair.  Daily, I receive undeserved attack.  Sometimes from people who don’t know any better.  Other times, people who are unhappy with their own lives decide to lash out at me.  I have the hardest time accepting that people can hurt me when I do not feel like I did anything that asked for it.

There was a certain attack tonight that left me feeling helpless.  I wanted to get so angry; I did not know what to do.  All I could think of was what I could do to get revenge.  I’m tired of taking, “the higher road.”  The truth is, the secular idea of “taking the high road” is powerless.  Because it is not rooted in God.  There is no power; no justice in the mantra of being a better person.  As I wept and wept, wondering how on earth I would be able to sleep tonight, this scripture was immediately placed on my heart:

“Blessed is the onedelight
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

I do not have to stoop to the level of my “enemies” in this life.  My own worst enemy is myself.  Am I willing to surrender to the lies other people attempt to place on me?  What about the lies I tell myself?  Do I have to act out of self-life and flesh in the form of revenge?  Or can I take a road higher than the high road?

Honestly, trying to make myself feel okay is not life-giving.  It is the Lord who satiates me like streams of water that never run dry.  Delighting in Him will be the act that makes me fruitful.

God, I repent for trying to take on these attacks myself.  I nail them to the cross.  Because you already overcame them.  The battle is not mine, but yours, oh God (2 Chron 20:15).  I will delight in you because that is my calling.

I Am the Branch

For what feels like most of my life, I have had this struggle with my hair.  My desire is for it to grow long, but in the past several years, every beautician I have seen has recommended that I cut it.  There has been so much damage and mistreatment of my hair, the best option was to chop it off and regrow it.  I resisted because I did not understand how cutting it off would help it grow longer.  I did not want to let go, so I held on to my damaged hair which still refused to grow.

I am worthyOnce I was meditating on John 15 (“The Vine and the branches”), and I realized something:  God, the vine dresser, takes away the branches that do not bear fruit.  He prunes the branches that do, so that they may bear more fruit.  My habit was to use this verse as a plea for God to prune me so that I become a branch that does bear fruit.  But the very fact that He prunes me shows that I already bear fruit and He sees the potential in me for more. What an honor it is, for the vine dresser to prune me!

Our society so easily discards things we consider insufficient.  But Our Father is not like that.  He says, “I delight in you.  I see the fruit you bear.  That’s why I prune you.  Because you were made for so much more.”  Even if He sees one pathetically tiny piece of fruit barely hanging on from that branch that I am, He still delights in me.  He sees not that I have barely produced anything.  He only sees the capacity He has in me. It is not about my faults and failures because He declares that I am already clean because of the word which has spoken to me.  It’s not about me.  The star of the vine is the Vine: Jesus.  It’s about God, the vine dresser.  His desire to grow us, use us, and have us to Himself.  Though that love involves us, it isn’t about us.  Submitting to pruning is simply an act of receiving His great love for us.

vinedresserSo a couple of weeks ago, I sat in the stylist’s chair.  A year and a half ago, I argued with her about how I did NOT want my hair cut (even though she offered to simply trim it).  I said, reluctantly, I’m ready to cut it.  I watched the dry, split ends fall to my shoulders.  A part of me was dying inside.  At the end, my hair was more beautiful than I would’ve imagined it would be short.  And it looked so healthy.  I was grateful for putting trust in her.

How much more trust should I place in my God who knows what is and isn’t good for me?  What are you holding that may need to be let go, even if only for a season?  I challenge you to be open to pruning when the time comes.  Because the result is always worth it.

I Am God’s Child

I never met my biological father.

fatherMy mother never married him. The man she did marry knew me since I was born. I was three years old when they wed. My relationship with him grew based on the premise that he was the only father I ever knew; therefore he was my father, not step parent. However, almost 23 years later, he revealed to me that he has one regret.

He never formally adopted me.

This never struck me as significant. I did not need the papers to see him the way I already do. Here I am in my mid-twenties, and my stepfather is asking how I feel about being adopted. It bothered me. Though he was not a “bad” father, my soul has suffered from father wounds that handicap me from experiencing God as a father. I was recently assigned a list of biblical affirmations, identity statements to recite over myself. The first statement being,

“I am God’s child.”

This threadbare statement has become my struggle. So I had to ask Holy Spirit why the role of a child matters:

Having Access to the Father

Being a child of someone gives you intimate approach to him. We can boldly enter presence of God (Heb 10:19) the way a young child enters his parents’ bedroom door at 2am after having a bad dream without fear of ridicule or rejection.

I watched a television show where a wife admits to her husband that she had been keeping a struggle hidden from him. Her excuse was she did not want to “bug him” with her problem. He held her lovingly and explained that when they exchanged vows, for better or for worse, she no longer had the right to withdraw. “You get to bug me.” In the same way, we are called to cast all our cares on Him, for he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7). Nothing is too big or small for a parent.

Receiving Inheritance from the Father

Being a child also makes us an heir (Gal 4:7). It is more difficult to think of this attribute of being a child when it pertains to our earthly parents because you do not receive an inheritance until your parent dies. So unless you have a complete disregard for personal relationship with your parent, your focus is not what happens after his death. Heavenly Father’s inheritance is different.

First, we have already received a portion of our inheritance. Holy Spirit is a deposit of all that awaits us in heaven. Unlike our earthly possessions, this will never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4). So not only do we have a gift to anticipate, but we have already received it in the here and now to walk in authority on this earth.

Father Watching His Infant SleepAffection of the Father

As I meditated on the Fatherly affection of God, all that came to mind was Isaiah 43. “But now says the Lord who created you; Fear not, for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name. YOU ARE MINE. (Isa 43:1, emphasis mine). It is that understanding of belonging to him that I don’t quite know to define. We belong to Him; His affection belongs to us.

There’s nothing like the love you experience when you have a child. The amazing thing is, we are given children and love them as they are. God chose us. We are His workmanship created for a purpose (Eph 2:10). He fashioned us and calls what he created “good.”

My conviction stands that I do not need my stepfather to adopt me. We behold only a glimpse of the Father-child illustration by looking at these attributes. Many more remain to be ventured. We have a lifetime and more beyond that to discover God the father.

What attributes of being a child of God speak to you? If you do not know or are longing for more revelation, I challenge you to seek Him and ask. So next time you look in the mirror and declare “I am God’s child” you are open to receive more of the fullness He has in that for you.

What is the Great Commission?

Before ascending, Jesus leaves his disciples with a few final instructions, which have become widely known collectively as The Great Commission.  This conversation occurs in Matthew 28:18-20.  The Great Commission has developed into the theological basis for the concept of evangelism.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up in evangelical churches which constantly made me question if I was “sharing the gospel” with enough of my friends every week.

I began attending college and joined various campus ministries which had the same mentality.  Regularly, they would equip us with tracts like the Four Spiritual Laws and send us out on campus; only to have us to return and report the results.

One instance, I was paired with a new believer.  We went through the routine of starting the conversation, only to pull out the outdated booklet.  I met a girl who began to tell us her life story.  The young guy with me kept trying to direct the conversation back to the “Four Spiritual Laws.”  She responded that she had seen it before, and he continued to cut her off to explain how good God is.

Then it hit me.

No one has taken the time to listen to this girl.

She was seriously hurting.  A huge part of the pain dealt her was in fact, by the church.  So I proceeded to cut off the over excited young man to listen to what she had to say before we continued to shove religion down her throat.  As much as that moment hurt to see what the church has done, what followed hurt even more.

At the end of the day, we only conversed with that one girl.  I was the one who had the conversation, really.  My partner simply observed.  That was the only report we had at our ministry debriefing.  I did not know this until later, but my partner felt like a failure.  It was as if he hadn’t committed his duty.  As he drove on the highway that day, he seriously contemplated committing suicide.

Thankfully he didn’t.  But what have we come to if we feel guilty for not “sharing the gospel” in the way we should?

I am so sick of “evangelism”
Confining God’s love to Four Spiritual Laws
Pedalling gospel tracts as any other cause
Chunking seed all around just to pull in the numbers
Leading people in prayer to abandon them without disciplers

I am not an evangelist.  I definitely believe that some people are designed that way.  We are all gifted in different ways and function differently like parts of a body.  What were Jesus words in The Great Commission?  “Make disciples of all nations.”

I found myself relating to someone the other day about God.  Then a realization hit me.  Am I actually sharing the gospel?  Making disciples was given a specific definition to me in my church experience.  But I realize that making disciples may look different to each of us.  And when we become the gospel, it naturally flows out of us without a works-based mentality.

What does that mean to you?  What is your specific calling according to the way He made You?  God, reveal the mysteries of your will, through Holy Spirit.  May our eyes be enlightened  to see the hope of Your calling, that we may function according to our giftings from you.  Amen.

Run Beside Me

I found this poem tucked away in one of my old notebooks, like any other poem I immediately deemed useless after writing.  Years later, I realize it is so relevant to this season.  At least in my life.  For everyone else going through similar times, or just anyone who cares to read …

Run beside me
Accelerating by no limits
Beyond the measures out of breath
Keep running and keep in mind
Nothing behind us fits

Stop wishing things were like they once were
Because they’ll never be the same
And continually trying to recreate the past
Will leave us with no gain.

These times are not the movies.
With rounded story arcs and dénouement
We’re making our own stories
Unlike that tv show you saw.

Keep running until we can no longer run
And then we’ll run some more
Until our bodies are forced to collapse
Breathless, weary, and sore.

When we make it there alive
We’ll have touched our destiny …

In Hebrews 12, Paul exhorts us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2).  Beloved, there is a race marked out for you.  But there are things that hold you back in this life.  Watch out for the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.  It doesn’t have to mean blatant sin; it could be a broken mindset about who you are and your limitations.

This calling is not a light suggestion.  Why is that?  Because the sacrifice of Jesus was not a light event.  Do we fully understand what He achieved for us?  Do we truly know who we are in Christ to God?  “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:3).

If you don’t know what to do, set your eyes on Jesus.

And run.