“A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: ‘You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn’t moved.’ Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. Satan said, ‘Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.’
That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?’
The Lord responded compassionately, ‘My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done.
Now, I, my friend, will move the rock.’”
When somebody applauds you or thanks you, you accept it, don’t deflect it. Because if we don’t know how to receive honor, we’ll have no crowns to throw at His feet. He’s not intimidated by you being blessed. It just has to be followed up in the ‘secret place’, where we come to the Lord and we say, ‘Look what was given to me - and you and I both know who deserves this, so I give it to you.’– Bill Johnson (via breatheknowledge)
(Source: senselessgrace)Via Speak Wisdom
Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.– Ravi Zacharias (via breatheknowledge)
(Source: tolovemercy)Via o. hallelujah.
“I no longer call you servants…but I call you friends.” - John 15:15
I was going through a book my best friend gave me, “Grace For The Moment” by Max Lucado, which is compilation of small, daily reflections over verses from the Word everyday and this verse struck me.
This verse has a very special meaning to me. When I was back in high school, every summer I would go with my church fellowship to a retreat in North Carolina called Centrifuge Camps (or, simply, FUGE). This was the place where I first encountered God, face to face, and felt the gravity of His voice addressing me personally and tearing apart the walls of doubt, apathy, and self-delusions before the voice of His Truth. He brought me to my knees before Him here by revealing to me the magnitude of all of my sins, my lusts, my addictions—and showed me that these things were truly not okay, I could not simply just push them aside and justify them but were legitimate problems and offenses against Him
When I had finally taken that step, that step to accept His love and His mercy—this was one of the first questions that I wondered. I was very spiritually young at the time, so the question in retrospect is really silly…but I wondered if Jesus had any friends.
My Pastor, Pastor Jon, directed me to this verse: “I no longer call you servants…but I call you friends”. I didn’t understand the magnitude of this verse at the time and it quickly faded away from my thoughts until now—five years since the time this verse was first shown to me and now, being much more spiritually mature, I am struck again by the magnitude of this promise.
We are friends, friends of God, friends of Christ Jesus who died for our sins upon the Cross. How many times have I rejected God in my life? How many opportunities have I given up where I could have shared the Gospel? How many times have I ignored God when He was trying to call my attention to an area of sin in my life? How many times have I accepted a lukewarm relationship with Him, invalidating every blow of the hammer that nailed Him to the Cross, every lashing of the whip that brutally tortured Him?
Yet, He still calls us friends, He still draws us into community, into relationship with Him. He still wants to know us, He still wants to hear our every worry, our every fear, our every anxiety. He comes to our feet, washing away every bit of blood, dirt, and grime that we cannot remove ourselves—bathing us with His sacrifice.
He comes to us wanting to wipe every tear away, every moment of sorrow and brokenness in our lives.
Oh, wonder of wonders…
In light of the Passion Week—the week of Jesus’ brutal torture at the hands of the Romans, His Crucifixion, and His resurrection three days later—I find myself confronted with the question: What does it mean to love God?
To be completely honest, there have been a lot of times in my spiritual life that I’ve felt the nagging sense of something not right with my relationship with God—some kind of unrepented sin, some truth that I haven’t acknowledged about myself, some thought that I shouldn’t have even considered, something that I had done to hurt someone…
I get these feelings a lot, these nudgings from the Spirit that there is something in my life that He wants to correct in my life. But my instinctive and most common response to this is to just put it off—I just justify it by explaining it off as something that all Christians experience and something that I’ll figure out eventually. And so, I just put it into the back of my mind and never think about it. But over time, that pervasive sense of discomfort with myself begins to permeate through every aspect of my life, corroding at my heart and my relationships, until I can’t afford to avoid the issue any longer.
This was the picture of myself that really convicted me this Easter—that all too often, I know that something is wrong with my relationship with my Heavenly Father but I’m either too lazy or too caught up in the whirlwind of life to pay attention to it until it’s almost too late. Just seeing the picture of Jesus Christ on the Cross and how much He suffered in order to bring us into community and relationship with our Father really put into perspective the flippant attitude that I dealt with my relationship with God. He suffered so much, taking on the brutal torture and humiliation of the crowd, just to bring us back into a right and restored relationship with Him—and yet, in my dismissal of that sense of conviction, I basically forfeiting everything that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross for. I was accepting a half-hearted and lukewarm relationship with God in my ignorance and laziness, a kind of relationship that is no better than no relationship at all—and in doing so, I was spitting upon and trashing the enormous sacrifice that Christ suffered for me just to bring me back into a right relationship with my Father.
This really made me question whether or not I truly loved God because, in retrospect, when I suspect or feel that something is wrong with my brother, my parents, or someone that I truly care about—my first response is always to go to that person and try to talk it out or figure out what was wrong and try to work it out. And yet, this was an attitude that I utterly lacked in my approach to God and it just really revealed the depths of how little I understood of how much suffering Jesus bore on the Cross for me and how ignorant I was to the depths of His love for me. Not to mention that this was the God who was supposed to be my Heavenly Father!
Father. That title evokes so much emotion in all of us, for better or for worse, but the one thing that it shouldn’t evoke is apathy—we are intricately tied to our fathers, and we should be even more emotionally so towards the perfectly loving father that we have in God. And yet, this is something that has been clearly missing from my spiritual life. What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to know the Lord of the Universe as my Father?
So, my prayer coming out of this Easter season is for greater spiritual hunger in seeking to know Him and His heart—to be able to start in the long journey of learning to love the Lord, my God, like I did when I first came to know Him.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.– Romans 5:6-8 NIV1984
What can I say?
Where do I begin?
My life is a mess, even now, but it has taken on new life thanks to Him who makes all things new.
You would think, being a college student would mean that I have some semblance of order and reason in my life — that I would at least know what I’m doing and where I’m going. But the truth is, I really don’t.
Coming into college, I’ve come to realize that a lot of the things that I thought I knew were just self-delusions. I always thought that I was mature, that I knew what I wanted in life, that I had it all together, that ultimately — I could become the master of my own destiny, I could do what I want with my life. But…God has showed me this year, from the very beginning to Sophomore year and even to now, that I really don’t have it all together.
I’m not mature, I can’t handle a lot of the pressures of life, I can’t make the people in my life happy or bring comfort to those who need comfort. I can’t be a light to those who have fallen in sickness, sadness, or depression.
My uncle is dead. My best friend is depressed and there’s nothing I can do or say. I am on the verge of getting disowned. My grades are dropping. My sleep schedule is horrendously erratic…
Blah. Blah. Blah.
I’m whining now.
Anyways. I can’t do a lot of things by myself, I can’t be the person that I want to be by myself. But Good Friday…Easter Sunday…and the entirety of Passion Week, and all the reminders of my mission trip to Cambodia this past winter break, reminded me that indeed — all of my efforts are futile if I attempt them out of my own strength. God is the ultimate provider, He is my strength in my weakness — because, ultimately, I know that I cannot achieve the very things which I attempt to do on my own strength — but in Him, all things are possible.
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” - Matthew 17:20
When we pray and give our lives up to Him, it’s not a matter of how much faith we have — it’s a matter of how able and willing is the person that we have faith in. So long as we believe that He can accomplish His good purpose, then how much faith we have matters very little because all things are possible as long as He is willing.
There’s a lot that still needs to be overturned in my life, and this is one of things that I have decided to overturn as well. I’ve looked upon my past blog and, although there is indeed a lot of good truth and a lot of good things in it, I was ultimately dissatisfied and kind of disgusted at myself. Looking back, I was far more immature than I ever could have imagined, and I have a lot of difficulty understanding why I said a lot of things that I said in the first place.
So this is where it starts, a new beginning.
Some of you who read this may know me — Good. Some of you may not — even better.
Good morning, everyone :)