Repentance before our King

drawing 2 drawing 1

The above drawings exemplify beautiful portions of God’s Word that were drawn by a special someone in my life who truly has a desire to love and serve for the glory of our King!  In fact, I even get the privilege of having one of these charcoal drawings hung where I live.  Moreover, I first wanted to write about eternal life, something that I cannot even grasp the meaning of.  No one really can.  The Bible states that the only way we can experience eternal life is through Jesus Christ.  But God is infinite, and in order to get to know Him would take an eternity to do so.  I mean, even when I think of the closest relationships in my life, it’s amazing because I am still learning and understanding who they are more and more.  You might have heard about this in the news just last month, but a couple in Ohio was married for 66 years and both died just hours apart.  If you read this story more, it states that they knew each other almost their entire lives dating back when they were little kids. But most importantly, they were completely devoted to each other till the very end and during their marriage, they were quoted saying that every day for them was spent growing and understanding each other in love.  Even in all those years, they spent their whole life growing, understanding, and loving each other more.  How incredible is that!  For me, I am excited to spend the rest of my life growing deeper in love with my future wife as well as grow closer and closer in the relationships I have and will have.   

The point is this, building human relationships really is a never-ending happening that takes a lifetime because we are so complex and perfectly created by the most infinitely complex being in the universe, God.  But nonetheless, God wants and calls us to draw closer to Him even though there is no possible way we can even begin to “scratch the surface” of who He is.  When thinking about eternal life, how amazing will it be to spend forever getting to know and experience our God!  Eternal life starts right now and we, as Christians, have to constantly come to Him with all our sinfulness each and every day because we are not enough, but He is always more than enough.  And this leads me to the second drawing, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Again, I can’t even begin to understand the love, grace, and eternity of our God.  I have been reading through Romans recently, and early on in this book is the focus of how vital the significance of repentance to our Christian lives unquestionably is. It is simply this, in order to grow closer to our perfect God, repentance is an absolute must.  And it is something that we need to do not only when we first accepted our Father to be at the center of our lives, but each and every day.

Many times I feel too worn out, too busy, too torn in several different directions, and too broken at times to truly come to God and ask for forgiveness for my sinful actions. But we have all got to be honest with ourselves here…we all do things every single day, hour, and minute in which disappoints and offends God.  By not coming to God with complete and honest repentance and atonement about our brokenness every single day, our relationship with God is directly affected.  I know this has been completely true in my life many times.  But, when I became intentional about coming to Him, it became so much easier to do and my life drastically changed in such a positive and profound way.

And when we sin, although God is disheartened by it, He is also right there for us, holding out His hand to make us new again.  He is our advocate and our Savior all the time!!! So, I encourage anyone reading this to not lose sight of the importance of seeking forgiveness daily.

George MacDonald and A. W. Pink sum it up nicely:

“In short, a man must be set free from the sin he is, which makes him do the sin he does.”    -George MacDonald

“The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing”  – A.W. Pink.

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Expectations

I really wanted to write about our flawed human expectations that we receive and put on people, and this little juncture at Starbucks gave me the perfect intuition as to what I wanted to write…

So, I am sitting here in a Starbucks thinking about my day as well as observing the people around me (I admit, I am a frequent people watcher). Just a little while ago, a middle aged woman got her coffee and realized it was not what she ordered. As soon as the realization hit her, she immediately stormed back up from her table and hollered at the barista about their mistake. All the baristas were busy at the time and just gave her a look of acknowledgment that they see her waiting. Now the next thing she did really surprised me. She went behind the counter, dumped her drink down the sink, and with great frustration, put her empty cup in front of one of the girls. She then very rudely asked to make the “simple” drink that she ordered because she didn’t have time to wait. Well, guess what, the lady actually got what she wanted/demanded and they made her the drink as quick as they could.

I was very impressed how the three girls (baristas) handled the situation and I could have seen that situation go the other way and get even worse. But I guess the customer is always right and should always get what they want, right? My job demands the same amount of service to the customer as well, but I just can’t believe how people act many times about their expectations and what they always should get out of life. In this case, this woman expected, and I guess egotistically thought, she was above all the other customers and she “deserved” to be compensated first.

But here’s the thing, I realized everyone really is guilty of expecting things out of people and circumstances that we have absolutely no right to do. This woman had high expectations of how she was supposed to be served, and when they didn’t get met, she blew up (Figuratively, but if she keeps on acting like that, who knows what might happen down the road…) But in all seriousness, we all falsely put expectations over people and we hold them to our standards. I know I do this from time to time, and in the end, it gets me in a lot trouble.

I think that the relationships in people’s lives, and in my life, really have taken a few knockbacks because of the burdens that people (and I) have wrongly placed on others. Because we all fall short from God, our expectations of people in our lives will, too. And it will disappoint us and make our hearts bitter if we expect people to satisfy and fulfill our needs by those standards.

I think Christians struggle with expectations even more. And here’s why… Many Christians feel that they simply can’t live up to expectations of the pretentious, and many times hypocritical people that they want to do right by. Fact: people judge others wrongly all the time and Christians feel like they need to do things to achieve and win over those judgments. I know I have felt that way in the past. Early on in my Christian life I bottled everything up and acted like everything was perfect in my life because I didn’t want anyone to know or see my struggles or sins that I was going through. I just didn’t want anyone to think that I was a horrible person. Well, things have really changed because of the relationship I have with God and how He sets me free from those expectations.

And then there are Non-Christians who have never came to Christ because they feel like they can’t take the next step to know God because of their past and the expectation that they have to be “perfect” all the time.

Here’s the Truth with a capital T: If we rightly place our hopes and expectations in the hands of the Creator of the universe, there is no one left to blame when they are left unmet. And by doing this, we hold no person responsible for satisfying our needs. We evade anger, resentment, dislike, and our relationships are protected. God is waiting to hear our every concern, our every worry, and our deepest needs. For Christians who feel like they are held back by others, I hope that they can realize that those expectations are unrealistic and just plain wrong. Every Christian sins and makes mistakes daily, and can never live the “perfect life”.

I want to always let others know that they can always come to God and know that they will always be forgiven by His grace. Otherwise, if they do not, they will drown in expectations and drown others. And for the Non-Christians that feel like they are never enough, I want to always let these people know that they should always come just as they are to God, and God will never expect anyone to be perfect. Perfection can only happen when we come to him, with all of our dirty baggage, and be made new though His grace and love.

So, in summary, I encourage anyone I meet or reads this to share in struggles of life, come to God with forgiveness and repentance, live in a way that glorifies and honors God, and not hold others to our standards or be held captive by the expectations of other’s.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope (expectation) is from Him”.
Psalm 62:5

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests and expectations be made known to God”
Philippians 4:6

What is Truth?

A few years ago, one of my college professors asked the class to write a paper about what we thought Truth was.  Such a great opportunity to share!

If there is truth, we should be able to find it. However, many people in the past and present have tried to answer this question of truth but have come up short. The question is how do we find the answer to a question that so many people have struggled answering for generations? The main reason so many people struggle with this question is that they think truth is relative. For instance, they think truth is a matter of opinion and that it can be under subjection. For others, truth is based on basic scientific, mathematical, or historical facts. For example, “two plus two equals four” or “there are always 24 hours in a day”. I believe, however, that there is one ultimate and absolute truth. This truth is the eternal truth of Christ Jesus. I believe that Truth is the self-expression of God. This Truth with a capital “T” is not self-contradictory, it is not in error, and it has no deceptions. If people want to seek Truth apart from their own personal preferences, then they have to aspire to discover something greater than themselves. This acknowledgement of looking beyond ourselves is to look and seek for God who is the author of Truth. Finally, Truth is not a just a principal, it is a person. Mohammad said that he teaches the truth. Buddha said that he is searching for it. Jesus said that he is the Truth.

I truly believe that this question is the single most important question that anyone can ask. Understanding what truth is determines the choices people will make and how they will go about living their life. Believing in the truth of Christ Jesus has influenced my life by turning from the world and turning to the word of God. It has made me understand that truth can be seen through God’s creation. We can look all around us and just examine the evidence for ourselves. Knowing the truth has also made me grow in maturity as a follow of Jesus Christ. It is not just doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong but it is living everyday as a witness for the one absolute Truth in this world. As talked about in Titus 2:7, let everything you do show your love of the truth and be a model of good works because of it.