Go Ahead, Run from Jesus.

 

prodigalson2

“How briefly Your holy people possessed Your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it. Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to You, as though we had never been known as Your people.”
Isaiah 63:18-19

Relate this to our salvation, our lives, and isn’t it the same? We say yes to Jesus. On fire. Fueled. Refreshed. Passionate. Motivated. Confident.
And then life comes, the enemy begins throwing things at you to destroy you, your walk, your faith, your reputation, but most importantly to curse God and stop following Him –
to “seem as though you never belonged to Him, as though you had never been His.”

But the beautiful thing is we live “post Jesus.” Jesus took care of it all on the cross. And I’m here to tell you, that if you truly know Jesus, that if you really have a relationship with Him, if you really are a son or daughter of the King, if you have experienced life, the saving grace of the cross, if you are no longer dead, but instead have everlasting life, that no matter how far you run, no matter how hard you try “to seem like you never belonged to Him,” He will not let the enemy destroy you, God will never stop pursuing you. And WHEN you turn back to Him, because you will, because you are a child of God at your core and a have a new heart that only beats for Jesus, your relationship with Jesus will have only gotten sweeter.

Now, you’re wondering, how am I so sure? How am I so confident that you will turn back and everything with Jesus will be better? Because I’ve lived it. I went from following Jesus with everything in me, to running as far as I possibly could in an instance. So, I get it. Life sucks. You don’t understand. Lost hope. Given up. Pissed. Hurt. Upset. Betrayed. Lost. I get it. I’ve been there, actually, sometimes, I’m still there. But Godis gracious and He reminds me that I am His child. He reminds me of the purpose He has put over my life. He reminds me of how He loves and how He will never stop pursuing. Ever.

So, child, I tell you, go ahead and run, but remember at the end of the day you will come back to your Father with open arms. So why not just start in that direction today?

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”
Ephesians 2:4-5

Rain is Good

rain

Yesterday, for the first time in months, it rained. And it rained all day. It was dark and gloomy, all day. But yesterday, I was beyond thankful for the answered prayer for rain. Yesterday, every time I looked outside I couldn’t help but smile. It’s all about perspective.

Rain is cleansing. Rain brings the weakened, the ones barely holding on, back to life. Yesterday, most everyone was just as excited as I was about the rain. To drive in the rain, to walk in the rain, to feed their animals in the rain, because rain is a good thing. Sometimes I think in our lives we forget that rain is good. We walk through seasons of sunshine and rainbows that we forget we need to be cleansed by the storm.

Storms suck. End of story. However, I know for myself, I always come out stronger after a storm, I come out cleansed and refreshed. Rejuvenated.

So I’m here to tell you if you’re in a storm, a storm that maybe Jesus allowed you to walk through (Mark 4:35-36), remember He’s in the boat asleep (Mark 4:38). He’s got everything under control. So find rest and peace in Jesus being asleep in the boat in the midst of your chaos. Find peace in the fact that when the time is right, Jesus will tell the storm to cease and IT WILL (Mark 4:39). So for now, dance in the rain, find peace among the chaos of the storm, because on the other end of this rain, there is hope. There is life.

35 “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?’ 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”

Mark 4:35-40

Life in the Uncertainty

uncertainty

Max Patch – November 19, 2016*

Very rarely in life do we live in certainty. I think sometimes we try and fool ourselves into thinking we are living in certainty, at least I know I do. But then something happens and we are reminded there isn’t anything certain in life. The only thing I am most certain about is where I stand with Jesus. I know Him and I have a relationship with Him. I know that when my time on earth is over I will be with Him, that I am certain about. Everything else in life? I don’t have a clue AND that’s okay. In the uncertainty of life it’s so easy to ask “God, where are you? Are you even listening? Are you still there?” The answer? He’s still there, He’s working, and He is most definitely listening.

About a week ago a friend and I decided to get up early and attempt to watch the sunrise at Max Patch. We were both going with the expectation and hope to see the beauty of the mountains and be in awe of the creation around us, instead all we saw was fog and smoke (if you live in or near east Tennessee, you know that there has been hundreds of forest fires in the Smokies). At first I was disappointed, but then in the midst of the cold, rain, wind, and fog my friend spoke something so beautiful.

God is still here, and even though I can’t see the beauty, I know there is beauty on the other side of the fog.

What beautiful truth and how relevant to the chaos of life. When we’re in the midst of the cloudiness and uncertainty of life we have to remember Jesus is still here and beauty is still out there, despite the fact that you can’t see it. The wind that morning was unbearably strong; so strong that you could almost lean into the wind and it would keep you up, but see, that’s how powerful God is. He wants us to lean into Him and He will keep us up. He will give us the strength to stand when it seems so unclear all around us and it seems as though our world is falling apart and we are just begging Jesus to give us some clarity.

So today, continue to pray and beg Jesus for clarity but remember that in the midst of the fog, rain, and wind. Jesus is there. In the midst of it all, there is beauty on the other side and there is a day coming when Jesus will part the fog and you’ll see the beauty. But for now, lean into Jesus, He’ll keep you up.

*Picture was taken from the trip to Max Patch – see how thick the fog was, yet still so beautiful. More pictures from that day, under photography.

Jesus > Worry

worry

Worry. Something that gets the best of most of us. Christian and non-christians. All of us, including myself. Worry, I do believe is one of satan’s greatest tool, because if he can get us to focus on the problem or the situation rather than on Jesus, he knows that we will dwell on it and it will eventually consume our minds and before we know it we’ve lost sight of Jesus. The giver of peace. The problem Solver. The one in control.

A couple of years ago I was at the beach and I was sitting in my chair at peace. As I sat there in this peace, there were birds around – walking around, flying around. For whatever reason they were just absolutely beautiful to me. These birds were diving into the ocean or digging their beaks into the sand for food. They weren’t worried that they weren’t going to find food. In that moment Jesus brought Matthew 6:26 to my mind.

Matthew 6:26 says:
“Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

Now, Jesus uses that moment in my life to remind me that I am worth much more to Him than the birds. So, if He takes care of the birds, of course He will take care of me and I should never doubt that — and neither should you.

HE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.

Jesus specifically tells us to not worry later in the chapter.
In Matthew 6:33-34 says:
“But first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

When we worry we give satan the satisfaction that we aren’t going to let Jesus use us to the fullest potential He has for us, because we aren’t focused on Him. We’re focused on our problems and how we may or may not be able to fix it. When we worry, we’re putting time and effort into the what ifs, the what could have beens, and the what could be. At the end of the day we can’t change the past, so why do we insist on dwelling on it as if we could change it. In verse 33 it tells us exactly how to not worry. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness AND He will provide. When we turn our focus away from worry and fix our eyes on Jesus, we’re freed from worry.

Hesitation

 

hesitation

Hesitation. Something we as christians have gotten so good at. Something we’re so good at, that when God tells us to do something we hesitate, we talk back, we throw out excuses why we can’t or why it’s a bad idea. Hesitation is a bad idea. Hesitation causes us to miss out on what God wants to do through us. Hesitation causes someone else to reap the blessings that were meant for us.

There are so many instances in the Bible where we see what no hesitation looks like.

Isaiah 6 verse 8 says,

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’”

There was no hesitation from Isaiah. He saw how big and holy the Lord was and his only response was “Here I am. Send me.”

Matthew 4:18-22 says,

“As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people! ” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”

In both instances there is one word in common, immediately. Once again, no hesitation. Jesus said “Follow Me.” and they did. The left all they knew. Their way of life. Their families and friends. With no hesitation. They left – immediately – and followed Jesus.

Matthew 9:9 says,

“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me! ” So he got up and followed Him.”

Once again, no hesitation. Do we see Matthew saying, “But Lord what about my job? What about my family? What about my life? I can’t right now. I have this planned tonight.” No, absolutely not. Jesus said “Follow Me.” So he gets up and follows Jesus.

Here’s the truth of the matter, they got it right, sure they made mistakes later on, but in that moment they got it. They got it right. Because truthfully the only response to Jesus when He says “Follow Me” is to get up and follow. To say “I’m here Jesus. I’m coming. You can send me.” And anything less than running after Him when He says “come” is a no. No Jesus, because I have something that I believe is better than You.

In essence that’s what you’re saying when you tell Him anything other than a yes.

So today my prayer for you (and most certainly myself) is that we stop hesitating. We stop throwing up excuses and say, “Yes Lord. Send me. I’m right behind You and I’m trusting You to guide me wherever You need me.”