Praying for You.

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Intentionally Intentional.

Wow, my freshman year of college is over.  Honestly it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Not only did I kind of learn how to study better and harder, but I learned more about myself in this one year than I really have in my whole life.  

Spiritually I’ve started to realize that it’s up to me to decide what I believe and up to me to be kind of Christian I want to be.  Throughout my life I’ve really just gone through the motions of being a Christian.  Sure I went to a Christian high school, went to chapel, went to church, and often prayed before dinner.  Those things are all great, but if I am not being intentional about using those opportunities to engage myself and grow my faith, then they become a sort of facade I can hide behind.

Thanks to my buddies in my discernment group at Baylor, I’ve come to the realization that it takes more than just going to church every Sunday and stuff like that to really and truly grow in your relationship with Christ.

For example, say Jesus is this really awesome guy/girl you like.  In order to become closer to him or her wouldn’t you study them, figure out what they like, and try to avoid doing things that might offend him or her?  It’s a silly example but I think the way we approach Christ can be the same.  The best way to grow closer to Jesus is by studying Him.  The best way to do that is through his Word.

My excuse was always “Oh, I don’t have enough time to read my Bible”.  If I would just spend a fourth as much time reading and studying Scripture as I do texting, I would be set.  It just takes a little bit of intentionality. God takes time for us, so we should be able to take a little time out of our day for Him.

I would encourage all of y’all to get on some sort of devotion or reading plan if you are not already.  It has really helped me.  Second though, is to find someone who shares the same goals as you.  Someone who wants to grow in their relationship with Christ in this way.  That way you can keep each other accountable and encourage each other to continue to pursue Christ in a new way everyday.

I am so excited for what God holds for my future, and it all starts at getting to know Him better.  I hope all y’all have a safe and enjoyable summer.

//Jesse//

The Unforeseeable Future.

The future, it’s where we hope for the best but prepare for the worst. No one alive on Earth knows what the future holds. No, not even the Mayans were able to predict the end of the world as we know it. We don’t know what will happen to us in the next hour much less the next second. Until the day that someone invents a way to travel through time we will never be able to know what the state of America will be in 10 years time.

Often when I think about our God, I become so awestruck thinking about his Magnificance and his Wonder. He can see the future, which is almost too much for my little mind to even fathom. He knows where I will be in the next couple years, what struggles I have ahead of me, and ultimately at what point my life on Earth will end.

Often I get so caught up at trying to be God and control my own future, when the ironic thing is is that I have no control over it. It only takes a second for things to change, and even though I may think I am doing everything right, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have something bigger and better planned for me. The prophet Jeremiah writes in his book:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Growing up I always read this verse to mean that if I did good things, then God will make good things happen to me. I’ve quickly learned this year especially that God’s ‘plan to prosper’ don’t always involve good things happening. Numerous times I have seen God turn something seemingly bad into something incredible. It is all about patience, definitely something I struggle with.

For me, I think this patience begins at giving up everything in my life up to Him. It’s tough, but we don’t have control in very much on this Earth, and even though the future may seem foggy now, the only way we can have true clarity is if we allow God to take over. The uncertainty of the future shouldn’t hinder me from making the most of today. After all, God knows what is best for us and loves us, what more could we ask for?

//Jesse//

What equality are we asking for? The equal right to marry who you love right? So the logic follows ‘if we love each other we should have the right to marry.’ If that’s the case should polygamy and incest should be fought for as well? If they love each other should they have equal rights? If two 13 year olds think they are mature enough for a consensual marriage, should they fight for their rights? – Lecrae

So as I was scouring Facebook a little while ago, I came across this post by my absolute favorite Christian rapper Lecrae.

Looking at the comments, its easy to tell that this country is divided, and with Proposition 8 being debated in the Supreme Court this week, the argument for gay marriage has become more forthright than ever.

Here is how I see it plain and simple: homosexuality is a sin. Now just because I think it is wrong doesn’t mean I hate gays, because I do believe that we are called to love one another just as God loves us.  

If what everyone is preaching is coexistence, how come the Christians are allowed to “coexist” with their own thoughts and opinions.  Just a thought.

Anyways, back to Lecrae.  He makes some very solid points.  If we have treated the union between man and woman as a rightful marriage for thousands of years, wouldn’t a totally “equal” marriage reform involve those “in love” with relatives or with multiple significant others? If the whole aim is for everyone to be equal, then shouldn’t we include these things?

I believe that God created man to be united with women exclusively in the covenant of marriage.  Honestly, I don’t have a problem with men loving men and women loving women, but but they should stay away from marriage.

My advice to anyone joining in on the debate: show the love of Christ to those who you speak to.  Many may be lost, and hateful words never solve anything.  Through all of this I pray that people start to see how much we cannot survive on our own. We all sin, we all need a Savior.

 

What equality a…

The Beautiful Letdown.

What’s going on guys and gals, it has been a while. Spring Break was fantastic, got to spend time with family and friends.

Anyways, as my title foreshadows, this post is going to be sort of about this song that just recently been getting back into by Switchfoot. It’s an oldie though for sure. Here is a piece from the lyrics that has just stuck out to me.

“We are a beautiful letdown, painfully uncool. The church of dropouts, the losers, the sinners, the failures, and the fools. Oh what a beautiful letdown. Are we salt in the wound? Let us sing one true tune.”

To God, all of humanity is a letdown. We were created as a perfect being who’s sole purpose was to glorify Him. Yet we sinned, and we were forced to be separated from God because of our sin. It’s completely rational to thing that maybe this pissed God off a little bit. How could humanity defy the Creator? That is why we are a letdown.

But it doesn’t stop there. God never gave up on us. Sure we made a mistake, but he gave us a second chance through Christ. Since that day in the Garden of Eden when sin began, He has never stopped pursuing us. That is what I think is so incredible. Even the murderers and the complete scumbags, he loves.

That’s why I think God sees of us as the “beautiful letdown”. Yeah, we messed up and continue to mess up everyday. Still, He loves us, and sees each one of us as what we really are, His beautiful creation. Through the façades and the faces we try to put on for people, He knows who we really are.

I hope this perspective encourages y’all as much as I have been encouraged. Whenever you are in the midst of a trivial letdown or discouragement, attempt to see what God sees, the beauty of what can really be.

//Jesse//

Trust Issues.

Trust. It’s a vital component to any relationship. In a human to chair relationship, the human must trust that the chair will hold him or her up. If chairs had feelings and emotions they would have to trust that the human would not exceed its weight limit or something along those lines ( I don’t know how chairs think).

In the same way, my girlfriend and I, the past 2 years we have been dating, have built a trusting bond with each other. She trusts that I won’t do anything to bring harm to our relationship,and I trust her to do the same.

Our relationship with God should involve a lot of trust as well.

One of my greatest struggles is not trusting God to the extent that I know I should trust Him. After all, he is God, so what keeps us from putting 100% of our trust in Him? For me at least, this can be answered by one phrase “I am human”. My sinful pride gets in the way, ALL THE TIME. Constantly I do not trust God, because I feel like I can do it on my own. The painful reality is that I can try all I want to be truly successful on my own, but I will never reach it.

God is the Creator, he knows all that was, all that is, and all that is to come. It is pretty insane and mind blowing to think about, but after thinking about it, don’t we trust a lot of people and objects that have A TON less power than God? Like any relationship, if the trust isn’t there, really the relationship will not thrive.

So the whole moral of the story is to trust God. With anything. He’s a great listener. I hope that anyone who reads this that has these kind of “trust issues” know you’re not alone. I’m working everyday to let go of some of my own personal pride, and put more trust in the One who gave me life.

//Jesse//

Outside Looking In.

So this video and song by Jordan Pruitt is a MAJOR throwback to the good ole days of middle/elementary school. I remember hearing this song and just being inspired, not because I was really going through bullying or anything like that, but it just made me rethink what I was doing on a day to day basis. After further pondering I realized that I need to change my focus a bit. By looking through a different lens its easy to see that everyone has their own story. Everyone is suffering through something, but some people fail to notice it.

We never know who watches us on a day to day basis. By living in a Christlike manner everyday, who knows who we will touch.

Just a quick reminder for myself and others to try to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes every once in a while, and who knows how your life can change.

//Jesse//

What is Love?

 

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (I John 4:7-12 The Message)

 God is love.  To put it in mathematical terms God equals love.  He is the standard of love.  What did he do to become this standard of love?  Well about 2000 or so years ago, he did something incredible.  He sent his only Son into the world…. to die.  

Imagine you are a mother or a father, would you willingly send your child out knowing that the end result would be a premature death?  I doubt any of us could answer that with a yes.

But why would God send his Son to die?  He did it out of love.  Love for each and every person who has lived, who is living now, and who will live in the future.  Love for a people of which not one of us in sinless.  Inherently we are separated from God by our sin nature.  God loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to die a painful death on the cross so that we may have to opportunity to live eternally with him.  That is a crazy concept.

As a society overtaken my romantic novels and movies, shows like “The Bachelor” and whatnot, I think our idea of love is often skewed.  Love is often portrayed as strictly a physical attraction between 2 people.  While that can truly play its part, I’ve been starting to realize it is more than that.  When ever I tell my significant other “I love you”  I need to keep in mind again that God is love.  Whenever I say it, it needs to be a promise.  A promise that I will love that person with the love of God, unconditionally.  

No matter what we do, God loves us.  No matter how many times we screw up, God loves us. Keep that in mind, that in times of trouble when it seems like there is no one to turn to, God is there. God is love.

//Jesse//

Playing the Background.

So many times I try to too much out of selfish ambition. This is probably one of my favorite songs, because it not only reminds me of all the things Christ has done for me, but its reminds me that I am not in control. Even when I feel like I HAVE to be in control, I just need to remember to take the background, and let God do what he needs. After all, who knows everything that was and is to come?

There will be times when things happen that we don’t see coming.  Funny thing is, nothing surprises God.  He knows who we are, what we’ve done, and what we will do.  It’s kind of a scary thought thought, having some dude watching over us all the time knowing everything we do.  So would God be pleased with everything I do or think, even when no one is watching.  Probably not, it just takes a new mindset to realize that I only serve 1 purpose on Earth.  That purpose is to glorify God every single day.  If we don’t do that, then we really aren’t living up to what we should be.  So my challenge to you and to myself before, during, or after you watch this video is to realize that you are not in control.

The whole goal of a background singer is to harmonize with the lead vocalist to make him or her sound better.  They never get any credit for what they do, all the glory goes to the lead.  In the end, God is the lead, and we are the terrible background singer that really can’t do justice to God’s awesome vocals.  But who cares, he loves us at our highest points and our lowest points. Remember that.

//Jesse//