Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Change


I've heard it said that the only constant in this earthly life is change(other than death and over taxation). Over the past few days, a few things have become quite apparent to me. I've prayed and listened more and talked less. I need to do more in the service of others. This is where my change starts for 2017. 
I will be looking to work with the public again. I want to be more involved in my church's soul winning ministry. I want to be able to share my faith more effectively. I want to become a better listener. I want to make sure I'm there for my friends when they need me. I also want be a better witness. I need to let God lead, both through prayer and reading His word. 

Last year at this time, I was so wrapped up in campaign mode, I couldn't even squeeze anything else in my schedule or in my thought process. Until early May, I lived and breathed campaigning. It was fun. I was with like minded people everyday working for a goal. After that all blew up in early May, I tried to fill that time with other pursuits. Working for work's sake had become dreary. I didn't feel I was doing what God wanted me to do. Until last night, I have been in a rut for several months. 

Last night, during my prayer time, a wave of peace came over me. I just need to put my head down and serve others. I need to let go and choose not to let negative people who don't follow God bring me down. If I've given them the Gospel and it still doesn't matter to them, I'll continue to pray, but I can't let their unwillingness to change cause me to have a bad testimony. I believe God is telling me it is OK to let go. This doesn't mean I quit loving these people, but it does mean that I need to let my burden for them go. God will work on them and it's up to them to surrender to Him. Instead of living in fear of what I couldn't do or couldn't have, I must be grateful for what I do have and continue to serve Him.

The other thing I continue to work on is showing gratitude and love to my friends, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. One specific couple has been there for me over the last few months when I felt I could turn to no one else. I need to be there for them in this coming year. They are in my prayers.(They know who they are.) I also need to make sure I support my other friends as they leave for their upcoming tour. They've done so much for the cause of Christ and I pray they continue to do so. They've shown me how to live and I love them for it. I also need to continue to pray for my pastor. He's a good man with a good family leading a great body of believers. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be looking at what I can do in 2017 to live like I should. I need to let anger and frustration go. I need to let God lead. I am willing to surrender to Him and get my own aspirations out of the way. Thanks for letting me bend your ear, so to speak.

The above quote has resonated with me for the last few months. I need to do more. I need to be better to people who don't know me and to people who do. I look forward to what God will bring in 2017.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From My Heart

I've been pondering this blog post for several months. This is something I need to write about. Someone I know has taught me about gratitude and I need to make sure those I'm grateful for know it.

Let me start from the beginning. My life has been one of a series of good and bad decisions. What is apparent is the bad ones were almost all when I was away from God. I had strayed. Only in the past 15 months, have my eyes been opened to the point where I've been able to reconcile the past with the future. God has placed a few people in my life that have opened my eyes and He's placed me in a few situations over the past year that have shaken me to the core, in a good and convicting way. My past doesn't have to limit my future.

Several of these people that have changed my life have become my three best friends. One is my pastor. Another is the eldest son of a family I've grown to love and the last is a fellow church goer who shares my same world view on nearly everything. The other two who have had the biggest impacts on me are a 14 year old boy and a 22 year old woman. These five people have shown me that that I can trust people again. They've shown me that unwavering faith is possible. I've had weak moments and a kind word or a well timed text message have lifted me out of something that in years past would have saddled me with sorrow and grief.

What spurred this post is an experience I had over the last weekend. I spent the past several weeks helping prepare for the Marion Avenue Baptist Church Live Animal Christmas Play. I was able to spend time with people I have grown to love like family. Sunday evening, during the final performance, my pastor came off stage and gave me a high five and a hug because he was so pumped up about that final performance. Our church charges nothing to attend this play because we want people to come and hear the Gospel message of Christmas and the Resurrection. This is a mission field for this church and my Pastor's attitude has changed my life. He knows my past and still thinks enough to call me a friend.

The other two friends are there for me, no matter what, and I strive to be there for them, too. Whether it is a call or a text, I can always reach out and I want to be there to listen when they need an ear to bend. We laugh and talk sports or politics or family. I appreciate these two guys more than I can express.

The next two will make me tear up a little. The 14 year old young man I speak of has shown me that it is OK to share my faith with others. He is so cognizant of others that he makes me take notice of people who might need a message of hope through Jesus. His knowledge of the Bible pushes me to read the Word of God everyday. His earnest kindness pushes me to be better to people because I need to be a better witness for the One who has saved me.

The lady I speak of has shown me what unwavering faith in God looks like. She has shaken me to my core. Several times, her words have caused me to reevaluate a situation from the side of God and walk in faith, trusting that He would make a way, and she's not been wrong. I appreciate her pointing me toward God more than anyone I've ever met. She continues to be the light I need to continue to follow God and pursue a closer relationship with Jesus. Her words to me almost 10 months ago stick with me everyday, "One of the blessings of being a child of God is sweet peace in the midst of storms". When I have a bad day, I repeat that to myself and remind myself that I am a saved believer in the one true God and that his Son came to earth to be a perfect sacrifice for me, and anyone else who would believe on Him.

I urge anyone who reads this to do what ever is possible to find people who point you to God. I did not deserve any of what I've been given and it was only after I recommitted my life to Jesus that these blessings came to me. I needed a life line and God gave me one. For that, I am eternally grateful.