Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Falling in Love...with Me.

Deuteronomy 10:14-15
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today.

Reading through the Old Testament can be quite a task.  I started this project last January...and I am slowly making my way through the first 5 books.  For a non-history buff...this can be a daunting task, treading through seemingly foreign territory at times.  I find myself needing to take breaks and immerse myself into the New Testament in order to just come up for a breath of fresh and familiar air.

All this merely represents my lack of discipline and immaturity when it comes to God's word. 

But, with all this said, every few paragraphs I undoubtedly find myself awestruck by the words on the page.  Every few paragraphs I am struck by the fact that the same familiar God of the New Testament is right there within the pages of the Old Testament- reaching out His arms of love amongst all the hatred of the world.  Last night's reading brought me to this point. 

In the middle of Deuteronomy, I found this beautiful verse.  A verse that reveals the tender heart of a loving God.  A verse that reveals the deep emotions of a Sovereign Being, emotions that we tend to look over. 

I found it breath-taking to hear Almighty God say that out of all the beauty surrounding Him, out of all the majestic and perfect things in this world and in creation- He has chosen to "set His affections" on us.  He chose to pour His love on me. 

Sometimes I think of Christianity (when referring to God's love) as a free-for-all.  I find myself having a "come-and-get-it" mentality regarding God's love- anyone who wants it can just stand in line and get it.  As true as this is, in a way- it takes something away from God's deep love.

More than a free for all- God's love is powerfully deliberate.  He could have had anything or anyone He wanted...yet he chose us.  And by us, I don't mean a collective us.  Within that us there are billions of individuals....each one hand-picked by God.  Each one known, discovered, and loved fully.  Each one found beautiful enough for an Almighty God to drop everything else and choose to invest His emotions in that one. 

Being married has helped me appreciate this truth all the more.  I find myself overjoyed when I consider that the man I am married to, chose me out of all the women in the world.  For some reason, he decided to set his affections on me and invest in me.  For some reason, he saw that I was worthy of his love and decided to pour it out without reservation.  Even though he knows me...the good, the bad, and the ugly...he chose to love me, and chooses to love me each and every single day. 

God knows you.  He knows your life.  Your story.  Your struggle.  He knows your journey.  He knows the details of your heart and your mind.  He knows your mistakes, your sins, and your intentions.  Yet despite of yourself...He finds you worthy enough to fall in love with, again, and again, and again.  He finds you worth the investment of His love- and even more so, the investment of His very life.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Me? Not so nice...

Mark 2:17
Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

A few days ago I had a discussion with a guy who confessed to me that he "wasn't a very nice person".  My first reaction, of course, was to do away with his insecurities and affirm to him what a nice person I thought he really was.  He went on to explain some of his struggles and the areas in his life that needed work.

Days afterward, I found myself thinking of this interaction.  It's funny how quickly we try to make people feel better.  It's amazing how fast I found myself trying to validate him- ironically, by invalidating what he was saying to me.  It's as though we want others to feel "well" rather than simply allow them to face some of the blemishes in their lives that may truly need to be worked out.

In a way, I envy people like him....because at the end of the day it's the ones who can confess their mistakes and weaknesses that are the ones who have already began walking the road toward help and healing.  It's the ones who can boldly declare their flaws and be REAL who will find the way to salvation. 

I think we could all use a dose of realness in our lives.  A sense of coming forward with who we really are- whether we like it or not, and whether others will like it or not.  It's time we begin to take off the mask of who we believe we should be- and face ourselves as we are.

Many times as Christians we forget that we were the sick ones.  We forget the lives that we have come from and the things that we have left behind.  We forget that we are still traveling on this road of life, having not yet reached perfection but striving toward it day by day by day...until we meet Perfection Itself. 

It's this sense of forgetful pride that can hinder our growth.  It can allow the worm of apathy to make a home in our hearts.  But more dangerously, it can begin to cause a rift between our souls and the Great Healer.  The Healer who came for the sick...

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  May we all have the courage to face our sickness...may we open our eyes to the parts that need healing...and may we constantly find ourselves at the feet of our Great Healer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Selfish Millionaires: Ephesians 6 (Day 7)

Ephesians 6:19-20 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 6)
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. 

You know...Ephesians only has six chapters.  I knew that going into this 7 day study.  And to be honest, I was really wondering how this series would end.  It might sound strange to you, but this journey has been just as much of a discovery for me as it has been for you.  Many mornings I have no direction or no idea where I am going to go with what I write- and then God shows up with His infinite wisdom, and allows His Spirit to speak into my soul.

So, here we are today, on the last day of this study.  As I was reading this book- I found God leading me to one of the very last verses.  Tucked away right before the final greeting, is a little request from Paul.  After pouring himself into the people of Ephesus through this entire book- he ends with one simple request.

Something about his request shook me up a bit this morning.  Something about his request inspired me- and showed me that all the riches and treasures that we have studied through this book are nothing if we do not grasp the passion and the heart of these words.

After all that he had shared with them, Paul understood that it was all meaningless if not founded on this one thing: sharing it with others.  

God has given us treasures, so many glorious treasures.  But at the end of the day, what good are they if they are not being used to glorify God and to make His name known to those around us?  It is no good for us to graduate from starving millionaires into the world of selfish millionaires, tightly holding on to the gifts God has given us for ourselves.  

Rather, we have got to be servant millionaires- ready to give of what we have at a moment's notice.  Driven to live well so that we can boldly and fearlessly proclaim the Source of our riches to those around us. 

With his last words to the Church of Ephesus, this is Paul's final request.  Not that he be removed from his chains or saved from his misery- but that he have the power to boldly proclaim the treasures of Christ every time he opens his mouth.  To me, that in and of itself is another gift we have in Christ: the gift of proclamation. 

I could go on.  I could write some more and try to embellish on this important point.  But to be honest, I think it speaks for itself.  I think what we need more than anything right now is not more words...but just like Paul determined- more prayer.

Prayer that God would give us the heart of Paul for the people around us.  Prayer that we would also be equipped to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.  Prayer that God would grant us the will and desire to take hold of the riches He has lavished on us and share them unashamedly with the people he has surrounded us with.  Prayer that we, too, would have the courage to allow every word that comes out of our mouths to do nothing but honor Him.

Lord, thank you for the spiritual riches you lavish on us.  Give us the strength to hold them out with open hands...and to lead others to their ultimate Source.  

Thanks to everyone who has joined me on this 7 day series.  It's been eye opening for me, and has challenged me in so many aspects of my life.  God's word is alive...and it's some powerful stuff.  I look forward to doing some more series as God prompts...maybe 14 days, maybe even 40.  Your support, comments, and companionship have helped me gain the motivation I needed to keep trekking through this study.  Thanks again for your faithfulness in reading.  Please take the time to pass along your favorite post to a friend!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Make Sure to Use Protection: Ephesians 6 (Day 6)

Ephesians 6:12-16 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 6)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

Let me start off with an apology to anyone who may have been offended by the title of this post.  Unfortunately, the idea of "using protection" is associated with things other than spiritual truths in our society.  On the other hand, I am sure there are many readers who would have otherwise looked over this blog post had not the title been so to you, I say, welcome:)

So far, we have looked at the riches we have in Christ including power, life, love, purpose and lightProtection is the 6th gift I want to focus on in this study of Ephesians, with a specific focus on verses 10-20.

It's no coincidence that Paul, while chained to a Roman soldier as he is writing this letter to the Church in Ephesus, focuses on the analogy of the military since it is basically staring him in the face.

He pleads with the Church to make sure they are protected on a spiritual level, and reminds them that the things we fight with most in this world are not external, but internal....spiritual.  There is a world beyond this world, and if we are not aware of the impact it can have on our lives we will surely be affected...even, defeated by it. 

In order to take precaution, we as believers must take advantage of the armor God has given us to protect ourselves from the darkness in this world.  He lists a series of pieces which we must "put on" in order to have protection from some very lethal things:

Protection from Lies.  God has given us the Belt of Truth in order to have the ability to ward of the lies of the Evil One- and the lies of this world.  You and I know that these days, we are bombarded with mixed messages and half truths feeding us lies about who we are or who we must become.  Everyday we must be deliberate in putting on God's truth found through his Spirit and through His Word, in order to be safe from lies and to have the wisdom to distinguish even the lies that resemble truth.

Protection from Temptation.  We are equipped with the Breastplate of Righteousness.  I find it no coincidence that this piece of armor is the one that protects our hearts.  The reality is, most of the time we fall into temptation and walk away from righteousness when our vulnerable hearts are exposed and longing for something more.  Everyday we must make sure to put on the breastplate of righteousness and allow God's power to cover over our vulnerable hearts and protect us from the lusts of our flesh.

Protection from Apathy.  I don't know about you, but a nice pair of shoes can do a lot on the scale of motivation!  The person who's feet are constantly fitted with the Shoes of the gospel of peace will find themselves living a life that is overflowing with God's grace, love, and mercy.  I believe that the things we love most and spend the most time with end up oozing out of our lives- whether we want them to or not.  With God's word as our constant foundation- we will not have the ability nor the desire to mingle with apathy.  We'll be like the apostles in Acts 4:20 who proclaimed: "We just can't help speaking about all the things we have seen and heard..."

Protection from Doubt.  One of the things that imprisons believers more than anything else is the problem of fear and doubt.  A spark of doubt can set a whole field of faith ablaze, destroying it in almost an instant.  Thankfully, God has equipped us with the Shield of Faith to dodge the arrows of doubt that are constantly being thrown our way. 

Protection from Worthlessness.  This is my favorite of the armor of God because it is the piece that protects the head and the mind.  For me, I find that my most dangerous battle ground is definitely in the fertile soil of my thoughts.  The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds from the thoughts that can kill us.  Thoughts that degrade and destroy.  Thoughts that limit and bind.  Thoughts that tell us we are not good enough, or we must work harder to earn God's love.  Salvation is free.  It is sure.  And it is permanent.  We must constantly put on our helmets to protect our minds from the thoughts that can quickly eat away at our souls.

Protection from Attacks.  Lastly we are given the Sword of the Spirit...which is God's Word.  You may have noticed, it is the ONLY weapon of "offense" we are given.  All of the other pieces are for our defense, while the sword of God's word can be used to attack and to defeat whatever the Evil One brings our way.  Some may need offense against Satan to protect their minds, some their hearts, some their emotions and some their flesh.  But no matter what, God's word is filled with words that can quickly destroy any attack Satan has to he can go ahead and bring it, because for you who have the Sword of the Spirit...he's got nothing on you.

All of these pieces of armor combined give me hope and leave me at peace.  There is nothing and no one that can harm me, attack me, or defeat me as long as I am covered in Christ and protected by His strength.  Hold on to that promise each and every single day.  Hold on to it as if your very life depends on it...because it very likely does.  Hold on to it and remember to "put on" God's protection in order to survive.

The key to remember is that we ALREADY possess this armor.  For some of us, it's worn and dented from the many uses it's received.  But for others it sits and collects dust while our spirits are needlessly collecting the battle wounds and scars that have already been taken care of on the cross.  Don't be foolish...put on your armor.  Use protection.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Won't Let Satan "Poof"It Out: Ephesians 5 (Day 5)

Ephesians 5:1-2; 8-10 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 5)
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. 

In all honesty, sometimes I am jealous of the spiritual lives of little children.  Children are so simple, so focused, so "clutter-free" in their faith.  I remember so vividly sitting in Sunday School, singing songs like "This Little Light of Mine" at the top of my lungs and with all of my heart.  And I remember getting to the part that says, "Won't let Satan 'Poof' it out, I'm gonna let it shine...." and I remember thinking so innocently, "I will NEVER let that Satan blow out my light for Jesus!!"

Flash forward.  Junior High.  Something happened to my light as it flickered dimly- sometimes barely noticeable.  Won over by the pressures around me, and the need to fit in, I allowed "that Satan" to poof it out.

Flash forward.  Freshman year of college.  Getting involved in relationships.  Feeling the need for love and acceptance.  Allowing sins to creep into my life that I never imagined would or could.  My love for myself won over my love for God.  And light flickered, my testimony cracked and faded.

Flash forward. Today.  By the grace of God he has restored my little light...a light that many times in my past had almost been snuffed out completely.  A light that sometimes had a flame so low that many may not have even noticed it.  But, there are still moments.  Moments where my light is dim- no different from the people around me.  Moments where my selfishness takes over.  My apathy kicks into high gear.  Moments where the temptations of Satan "poof" out my light for just a while...and moments where in my embarrassment or unpreparedness- I choose to" poof" it out myself  ("Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm gonna let it shine...")

I am talking about the gift of light today, because it is such a vital gift in the life of the believer.  According to Ephesians 5, we are set apart as "Children of the Light".  Set apart...meaning, there has GOT to be a difference between you and the rest of the world.  You see, being set apart means so much more than simply "not sinning".  There have got to be fruits of the light permeating from every aspect of who we are: goodness, righteousness, truth....

Ephesians 4:17-5:21 is one long list of what it looks like to be different, to shine your light.  Practical ways that we can be set apart in this world- carrying the light of Christ into dark places by our very actions.  I mean, Paul tells us straight up in Ephesians 5 that we need to be careful how we live- making the most of every opportunity to stand out, to represent Jesus. 

This is the precious gift we have in Christ.  The gift of His Light.  The gift that allows others to watch our lives and say to themselves: "There's something different about him...There's something different about her...There's something different about them."

In every aspect of your lives.  From what you talk about, to what you watch, to how you dress.  From what you joke about, to how you deal with your emotions, to the things you desire in life.  From your individual life, to your friendships, to your marriage...God's light has got to shine in each and every facet.  There has got to be a difference...and people will notice.

In fact, I personally believe that one of the greatest tests of being a light is just that: have people noticed?  Has anyone asked you about your life?  Has anyone commented that the way you speak, dress, live is something they have noticed?  Something they have admired?  Something they have longed to posses? 

Maybe it's time we all do some soul-searching.  Maybe it's time we take a moment to assess our light; to test it's flame; to see how strongly it's still burning. 


If you are just joining us on our 7 day tour of Ephesians, we have been learning about the riches we have in Christ. If you would like to review the gifts God is opening our eyes to through this study, feel free to look back at the past 4 days of posts:  Power, Life, Love, Purpose

Friday, September 3, 2010

Everything is "On Purpose": Ephesians 4 (Day 4)

Ephesians 4:11-13; 16 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 4)
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of Christ...

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  

So far this tour of Ephesians has been like a treasure hunt, revealing priceless treasures we have in Christ that can easily go overlooked in our day to day lives. We've discussed the gifts of power, life, and love and the obstacles that get in the way of believers accessing and using these gifts.

Today Ephesians 4 brings us to something new.  In reading the text, I find that this treasure is not as obvious to see as the past three, but it's meaning rings loud and clear through the entire passage- from beginning to end.  What I am talking about is the beautiful gift of Purpose.

It's been said that one of the greatest fears of man is to live a worthless and invisible life.  If you ask me, that fear ranks pretty high on my list as well.  At the core of our beings, each one of us is longing for meaning in this life, for something or someone to justify their existence.  We discussed one of the greatest needs of our inner man yesterday: the need for love- and I believe the need for purpose follows closely behind.

Here Paul discusses some specific gifts that God has granted to those in the body of Christ- and other passages in Scripture also expand on these spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-12).  But it wasn't really until I dove into this passage that I associated the idea of spiritual gifts with spiritual purpose.

God has given each and every single one of us a unique design, programmed with the greatest gift of all- our purpose.  Within each one of us there is a significant spiritual purpose created as an avenue in which we can take part in drawing closer to God and changing our world. 

This message is so important to me right now because to be honest, I haven't always felt so "purposeful" lately.  I tend to wrap up my significance with the roles I have in life and build my worth on things of this earth- my paycheck, my degrees and education, and my career.  And let me tell you, right now, all of those things are on a standstill for me. 

The beauty of this treasure is that for me, my purpose is far deeper than those temporary things.  God has given me a designated position in the body of Christ, a role intended just for me.  Every day I am called to tap into my spiritual gifts whether it be teaching, hosting, or encouraging those around me.  God wants these things to be my primary focus as part of his Church.  Therein lies my purpose.

You would think that more Christians would be capitalizing on these aspects of their lives, waking up with the high calling and purpose of being God's instruments and doing His work.  Rather, it seems that everything else...all the temporary things...all our "earthly jobs" kick in to high gear and take over on a day to day basis.  

God has given you a purpose.  A spiritual gifting (or maybe even 5 of them).  A high calling.  Don't allow the clutter of your life to hide and conceal the beauty of your role in doing the work of Christ.  Take some time today to really consider the gifts he has given you.  Take inventory of the things that give you purpose and meaning- and exchange them for the things of higher calling. 

If God has given you the gift of encourage - than go encourage others, write a card or a note, say an uplifting word.  Of hospitality?  Then open your home, cook a meal, or make someone feel welcomed.  Of teaching?  Then become active, open your mouth, and share the things you have learned.  Whatever you gift is...your purpose is great. 

Don't have a clue where to begin?  Take some time to take an online spiritual inventory that might help to shed some light on your unique gifts.  But most importantly, bring these things to God in prayer.  Ask the author of your purpose to reveal to you the beautiful gifts he has instilled in you, to open your eyes to His purposes for your life...and then go do something about it. 

Arms Open Wide by Hillsong United

Take my life I lay it down
At the cross where I am found
All I have I give to You oh God

Take my hands and make them clean
Keep my heart in purity
That I may walk in all You have for me

Oh here I stand
Arms open wide
Oh I am Yours
And You are mine

Take my moments and my days
Let each breath that I take
Be ever only for You oh God

My whole life is Yours
I give it all
Surrendered to Your Name
And forever I will pray
Have Your way
Have Your way

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Love's Got to Do With It: Ephesians 3 (Day 3)

Ephesians 3: 16-19 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 3)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  And to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

On our study of Ephesians so far, God has revealed to us the great treasures that we possess as believers including power and life The unfortunate truth is that many times we do not choose to access these gifts in our day to day, and end up living powerless and lifeless lives.  The book of Ephesians was written by Paul to remind the church of Ephesus of the great treasures they possessed and to encourage them to take hold of these valuables in their lives. 

In reading through Ephesians 3 we come across yet another great treasure. 

Paul starts verse 14 with a beautiful prayer.  One of the things I admire most about Paul's prayers to his beloved church (See also Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12) is that though he is suffering physically and materially, his prayers always address the inner needs of man.

Let me take a moment just to say that I am challenged by that concept alone.  I look back at my own prayer life and realize that praying for the needs of my inner man has been something significantly lacking.  It's so easy to pray for finances, career, and material needs.  But how often do I find myself praying about my needs for security, for love, for validation, for strength, for purity, for devotion?  Don't get me wrong, I don't believe it's wrong to pray for physical and material things- but it seems as though our emphasis on these things is heavily unbalanced. 

Paul lifts up the church of Ephesus with an emphasis on one of the greatest inner needs of man: the need for Love.  The need for love.  Does that not hit the mark for every man and woman?  We are born for love.  We have a desperate need for it.  Every insecurity and unfulfilled desire in life comes down to this one need above all else.  We have a great need for love because we were created to be loved. 

I love the descriptive words Paul uses in this text as he is doing his very best to try and explain the greatness of God's love: a love that surpasses all knowledge, a love that is so high, so deep and so wide that we can never truly understand it.  A love that we can only begin to grasp.  And that is exactly what Paul asks for- that we may begin to even just grasp this love.  A love so great that even just a small taste of it could transform every fiber of our inner man. 

I don't know about you but I am desperate for this kind of love each and every day of my life.  Even surrounded by family and friends, a husband who loves me- there remains within me a deep and aching void that cannot seem to be filled by anyone or anything else.  Church, this is a great treasure we have in Christ, yet I am afraid it is also one we forget to tap into.

How many times in our day do we try to fill this deep need with worthless things?  Rather than connecting with our Lord for His love, we connect with friends on Facebook.  Rather than running to His love to encourage our deflated self-esteems we run to working out, the opposite sex, and new clothes.  We settle for far less than God intends for us.

C.S. Lewis words it best in The Weight of Glory when he says: We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

We are far too easily pleased by the fabricated loves offered to us by this world.  And we allow these false loves to enter into our lives as a way to temporarily satiate our great need for True Love.  It's no wonder we are always hungry for more.

May God open our eyes and enable us to step into His great and unfathomable love every day.  May He give us the grace to just grasp this love that surpasses knowledge even for one moment...and may it then begin to transform our inner man piece by piece.

Grace and Peace to you all.

Song by Casting Crowns: Your Love is Extravagant 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Like Zombies: Ephesians 2 (Day 2)

Ephesians 2:1-5 (Click here to read all of Ephesians 2)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it's desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. 

The beautiful thing about Ephesians, as I mentioned in my last post, is that it is a book full of riches and treasures.  Treasures that the believer already possesses and many times doesn't even realize or choose to access.  The last treasure I focused on was "power".  As incredible as that treasure is for our daily lives, it means nothing without the next one:  Life.

According to Ephesians 2, God has given us life.  He has made us "alive" on a spiritual level.  He has freed us from the chains of sin and the bondage of being slaves to our sinful nature.

I find that sometimes, as powerful as the above words can be- we get caught up in the familiarity of the "christian lingo" to the point where it no longer has a profound effect on our souls...much less any impact at all.  Freedom from the chains of our sinful nature sounds great...but what does that even look like in our day to day lives?

The truth is, though many of us are "free"- we are living as though we were dead.  We are walking around like zombies- brought back to life from the dead- yet still conforming to the ways of the dead.  We are caught up and controlled by sins that we can't seem to shake.  They may be sins that no one will ever witness but ourselves: Selfishness.  PrideSelf-Loathing.  Lust.  Envy.  Indulgence.

Or they may be things so obvious that we cannot seem to hide though we try: Anger. Rage. GluttonyAddictionsSexual sinsGreed

Either way, one thing is certain- we don't always feel as free as Christ says we are.  We don't always believe that the same power that raised Christ from the grave can also raise us from the sinful graves we have allowed ourselves to rest in. 

Take a look at your life today.  Take a sincere, deep, thoughtful look at who you are and what you do.  What are the sins that seem to be bogging you down.  What parts of your life reek of the smell of death though you are fully alive.

The same power that raised Christ from his physical death can also raise us from our own spiritual death.  His power can invade your mind, your heart, your personality.  His power can even conquer the pain of your past and free you from the bondage of  the generational sin that was passed down to you.  AlcoholismSexual addictions.   Lying.  Worry.  Over eating.  Laziness. Fear. 

There is nothing to great or too small.  But we must choose daily to allow God's grace to take hold of us and give us life again and again.  We must choose to walk away from the things that trip us up and lead us back to our graves.  We must choose to accept life from the hands of the Life-Giver.  Each and every single day.

May we all be awakened from the dead.  

Grace and peace to you all.

Oh You Bring: By Hillsong United
Oh You bring hope to the hopeless
And light to those in the darkness
And death to life
Now I'm alive
Oh You give peace to the restless
And joy to homes that are broken
I see You now
In You I'm found

And You opened the door for me
And You laid down
Your life to set me free
All that I am will serve You Lord
And You opened my eyes to see
All the wonder and awe of Christ in me
Jesus You're everything I need

Oh You fill those who are empty
And rescue those in the valley
And through it all You calm my soul
Oh You find me in my weakness
And heal the wounds of my heartache
I worship You in spirit and truth

All honor
All glory
All praise to You