Thursday, September 27, 2012

Do you trust Me?

"For I know the plans that I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for disaster.  Plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 

Have you ever been scared that if you fully submit to God’s will for your life you’ll end up being a hermit and knitting Jesus sweaters in your room? Or maybe that you'll end up marrying someone that's heavily involved in church, but you're not necessarily "in love" with them?  Or my favorite, He’ll place you in a foreign land like Zimbabwe to do missionary work? Lol  I know these were all thoughts that crossed my mind when I kept feeling a tug to be more committed in my walk with Christ.  I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord with all my heart, but the thought of not being truly happy and satisfied in life was a humongous fear of mine.  I thought that submitting to God’s will for my life would mean me becoming a loner and walking around quoting Bible scriptures all day and when I wasn’t doing that or eating/sleeping I was supposed to be praying.  I had a very misconstrued view on what a "committed" relationship with Christ meant.  Although the Christian lifestyle does require much, God already knows our deepest heart's desires.  In fact, God knows us better than we know ourselves.   When we talk about God’s level of love for us, we have to remember that because He IS love….it’s impossible for Him to withhold the very best possible things for us in our lives.   

"We get so caught up in how we always expect things to work out and then God comes in and shakes that whole plan up!!!"

One thing that I struggle with is over analyzing every situation.  It’s actually a blessing in a curse.  On one end, I always think things ALL the way through which result in me making very well-thought-out decisions.  However, I’ve also found this to be a curse when trying to compete with my own logic and God’s infinite power. I try to figure out what God is doing in my life off my own limited perspective. In all honesty,  I actually find myself attempting to think like God. I try to figure out what's going to happen next, when it's going to happen, where, etc.   Some may say I'm a planner and I just like to think ahead, nothing wrong with that. However, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 that we are to TRUST in the Lord with ALL our heart…..and here’s the hardest part (well for me anyway)…. AND DON'T DEPEND ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.  Whew!  This scripture is my life verse, but yet it’s ironically the hardest scripture to put into practice for me.  I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this lol.  It’s so hard to not depend on your own understanding….especially when you think you know what’s best for you!  We get so caught up in how we always expect things to work out and then God comes in and shakes that whole plan up!!!! But despite how He shakes things up, we must always trust and obey Him.  ESPECIALLY when we don’t understand!  That’s the point! Lol.  God wants us to get to a point in our faith where even when we can’t make sense of anything, we can still say, “but Lord, I trust You.”  Believe me this is wayyyyy easier said than done, but we can’t keep using the excuse, “one day I’ll get to that point.”  If we truly desire to trust God, we have to put this in to practice EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

"We don't know what our future holds, but we must learn to place our whole heart in the One who does."

God is not the Riddler from Batman.  He doesn’t want us to walk around being confused, unhappy, or disappointed….but these things kick in when we try to match our point of view with God’s point of view.   We will never be able to think like Him and no matter how well we get to know Him, we’ll never be able to predict His ways!  But if we can just get to place where we stop trying to figure Him out and stop trying to push what we want and what we think we need and just trust Him…..He will blow our minds.  I say it all the time, God is God for a reason.  He’s Sovereign…..He can do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it and how He chooses to do it.  All He asks us to do in return is trust Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 is a scripture that I quote to myself literally every day.  I have to constantly remind myself to place my full trust in God and not just rely on my own logic about what I think is best for me. Then as we find in verse 6… says that God will show us which path to take.  That’s why we trust Him.  We don’t know what our future holds, but we must learn to place our whole heart in the One who does.  He see’s our ending just as clear as He see’s our beginning..…and you’ll find once you start trusting Him, you’ll end up exactly where you were supposed to be all along.


Bible Study
*For more dealing with this topic, check out the following scriptures:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Blank Canvas...

".....And God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies." - Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG)

Last week I had a great conversation with one of my closest friends, Tiffany.  I have to shout her out because this girl has truly pushed me and encouraged me to be a better Christian and our friendship is the epitome of the scripture, “iron sharpens iron.”  We were talking about the things that hold us back from reaching our fullest potential and we both expressed fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of what it looks like right now.  That “fear of what it looks like right now” is the clincher!  So often we can’t see past our current situations and current circumstances, therefore we pick up an attitude that it’s impossible to get beyond this point.  We allow the enemy to trick us into thinking that “this is as good as it’s going to get” and “you gotta deal with the cards you’re dealt” and this is a big fat LIE!  When we accept new life in Christ, we are given a new hand of cards. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” While talking to Tiffany it was like I had an “aha” moment:

So it's like as if God is the painter and we're both standing in front of a blank canvas and God says, "if you trust me I will take this blank canvas of nothingness and make it into a masterpiece, but I need you to have faith and never doubt that despite what it looks like, I'm working it all together to make a beautiful picture." So after we say yes, I trust You, God starts painting.  However, a masterpiece takes naturally, we begin to peek over his shoulder and look at the random mixes of colors splattered on the canvas and say, "God what are you doing!? This looks a mess!!" Our prospective of this current picture now gives the devil an opportunity to step in and say, "you're waiting on God to turn this into a beautiful picture but look at what it looks like right now...a hot mess!" Then we turn and look at the picture again and we're like you know what it IS a hot mess! At this point we start trying to take the paintbrush back from God because clearly it doesn't look like He knows what He's doing because "right now" it just looks  like a big blob!

"God what are you doing!? This looks a mess!!!"

 But…..we forgot the first question God asked us, “Do you trust Me?”  See, when we begin to sit back and allow God to work on our blank canvas of nothingness, and allow Him free reign to do whatever He wants to do, we see over a period of time how each little blob, and splatter and mixed color are all really working together to create this big beautiful picture....because He knows exactly where and when each color needs to fall into place.  God is the best painter I have ever come to know, I'm so glad He asked little ol' average me if He could work on my blank canvas of nothingness.  Whenever I begin to get fearful of “what it looks like right now” I begin to look at my once blank canvas and see that even those dark blobs, and splattered colors of paint are all working together for my good. J


Bible Study
*For more on this topic, check out the following scriptures:

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Do the Math...

If it’s one thing I’m learning more and more each day, it's that it is imperative to surround yourself with people who are going in the same direction as you.  This is something our mothers have told us a thousand times before, but yet somehow we still thought we could move forward in God’s plan for our lives by keeping everyone we started out with in our circle.  As much as I wish this could be true, it just doesn’t/can’t happen this way.  When God is calling us to a closer relationship with Him, it causes for some things to change….including but not limited to, a shifting of friends. 
 “Do not team up with unbelievers……for what does light have in common with darkness?” -2 Corinthians 6:14
I’m often asked the question if I lost any of my friends when I made the decision to become more committed in my relationship with Christ and what did I tell them?  The answer is yes, I did…..but I didn’t have to tell them anything.  See when you begin to move in a certain direction in life…only one of two things will happen: either they jump on board or they jump ship.  From my personal experience, I don’t ever remember having to sit down and formally “break up” with a friend.  As your interests and desires change as you grow in Christ, it will be inevitable for your friends to take notice.  They’ll either accept the change they see in you or they will reject it by distancing themselves from you.  I mean let’s be real….if your friend is trying to get it in at a club on a Friday night, the last thing they’re trying to hear is you wanting to go to a Young Adult Bible Study! Lol Eventually enough of these “mishaps” will result in them to stop hitting you up.  Honestly, it sucks when it happens that way, but the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to team up with unbelievers, for what does light have in common with darkness? We should be moving to a point in our relationship with God where we won’t even want to associate ourselves with things that are contradicting to His word. 
“We should always associate ourselves with people who ADD to our lives and not people who SUBTRACT from it.”
Now right about here I probably lost someone. Lol  Let me guess, your next question is, "does this mean I can’t be friends with someone who’s not a Christian?" The answer is: of course you can! However, there is a difference between being friends/acquaintances with someone and being “associated” with someone.  When you’re associated with someone, you now risk being labeled under whatever reputation that comes along with that particular person or group.  Truthfully, this is where many of us go wrong.  We try to hang on to CeCe or Tyrone from around the block because they were our first real friend and every time God makes it beyond obvious that y’all are headed in two different directions, you pretend like you don’t see the clear lifestyle differences! This ultimately results in you continuing to go places and do things that you KNOW God has called you away from.  Let’s take a minute to do a self-evaluation.  Think about the people you talk to on a consistent basis.  Do these people add peace or do they add drama to your life? Are they bearing fresh or rotten fruit on your tree?  Simply put, are they making you better or making you worse? We should always associate ourselves with people who ADD to our lives and not people who SUBTRACT from it. 
It’s true, people who aren’t on the same page as you as far as the direction you’re headed, can and WILL stunt your spiritual growth. In Proverbs 27:17 it tells us that “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  Iron is such a strong element that only something of its kind can make it even stronger.  Same thing applies with our friendships.  If we truly want to grow in our relationship with God we have to surround ourselves with people who are also trying to do the same thing.  It’s time to do a serious friend check.  Everyone can’t go where God is taking you…..and that’s okay.  You may lose some people along the way, but the blessing is the people who choose to stay with you find that their lives will also begin to change for the better all because YOU made the decision to choose Christ.  Don’t worry about who’s not with it….God never takes  something away without replacing it with something far better. 
"God has great things in store for your life and no dead-end friendships are worth you missing out on it."
So you do the math in your own life.  Identify the people who aren’t adding anything positive to your life and SUBTRACT them from it.  Better yet, continue to grow closer to God and watch them subtract themselves.  God has great things in store for your life and no dead-end friendships are worth you missing out on it.  Allow God to add peace in your life by subtracting people and things that no longer hold your interest and watch how your happiness and joy will multiply….yes, God is the ultimate mathematician lol :)


Bible Study
*For more dealing with this topic, check out the following scriptures:
2 Corinthians 6:14
Proverbs 27:17
1 Corinthians 15:33
Hebrews 10:25