Baptism Sunday

baptism

For the first time in my life, I got baptized! Look at that face…pure joy! Can I get an Amen?!

I wrestled with this decision for a long time. Each time I came back to the idea of getting baptized, thoughts circled of not being clean enough, good enough, Christian enough. On the days leading up to my baptism, I was so terribly nervous, more so about what this would mean for my life moving forward. Would people judge me more now because of my actions? Would I be held to a higher standard? What if I let people or worse, God down?

I read just about every verse in the Bible about baptism’s and was starting to feel more confident about my decision— but you know what really did the trick? Praying. Talking with God. Listening to what He had to say. It was Sunday morning and I was walking alone to church. I said a prayer to God that sounded like this: “Lord, I am so grateful for you. This day is all about you; not about me. Lord, I have a lot of nervous energy and I pray that your spirit would come and transform it into something else. Lord, be glorified today. Amen.” And you know what happened as soon as I got to church? Friendly faces welcomed me into church, exclaiming what a big step I was taking and how my relationship with God would forever change. And you know what happened next? Just like Jesus clockwork, my nerves completely went away! My attention was 100% on God; just like it should have been!

All praise be to God! Amen to a God that listens! Amen to a God that cares! It says in Luke 12:7 that “… the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” God cares about every tiny detail about us, whether its my nerves, your relationships or her finances, God cares!!

For each and every person contemplating getting baptized, I so strongly encourage you to take that leap! If God put it on your heart in the first place, don’t ignore it! It’s the enemy who tries to come into the picture to tell you that you’re not worthy of it. If you want to talk about taking this next step, message me and I would love to be apart of your journey!

Knowledge isn’t everything

In this day and age, it’s all about Master’s degrees, abroad experiences, mission trips and DIY learning off of YouTube. We all want to be as knowledgeable as we can in our areas of interest. But what happens when your level of knowledge interferes with your personal relationships and human development?

For example, I know someone who has studied professionally for over ten years. At the end of it, she is wildly smart, knowing more than I could even image about topics that never even cross my mind. But the catch-22 is, everyday interactions fall short because of a lack of empathy, compassion and love—those things can’t be taught. In many cases, ignorance is bliss! In 1 Corinthians 13:1, it says, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Hysterical, right?! Even back when the Bible was written, they too were saying that it doesn’t matter how smart you are and how many languages you know–it only matters how well you loved others. Remember that today!

Part 1

In our society, we have a tendency to look up to idols- celebrities, athletes, philosophers, even money and fame. We believe that they have some something we don’t and yet something we wished we had. We research these idols to be more like them, i.e. buy what they wear, drink what they drink, change professions to better be aligned with our idols. And at the end of all of that, we still feel like we’re falling short trying to be like someone or something else.

We beat ourselves up when we don’t look like them, speak like them, have their success but yet, we often forget that we were never meant to BE them. In Leviticus 26:1 it says, “you shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” God goes even further in Deuteronomy to say, “for the LORD your God, who lives among you, is a jealous God. His anger will flare up against you, and he will wipe you from the face of the earth.”

Our God doesn’t want us to try to fill His place with other people and things; especially things that are just like us (sinning humans with limitations).

Part 2

Do you remember when we were kids and believed in the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, Superman and all other fictional characters? We believed these tales with our whole being. And then, as it always happens, we grow up and our bubbles get burst. The same thing happened with God. When we grow up, (let’s assume in a Christian household) we believe that God is the most Almighty being! We’re told that God has no limits. That He is the Lord on high. But somewhere along the way, we get lost. We start doubting those once-told abilities and “tales” that we heard from the Bible as exaggerated or false.

But God knew this would happen. It is said in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 

So I’m prompting you, as God is, let’s go back to our childishness ways! If you believe in super heroes, believe in them with your whole heart! If you believe in God, believe in Him with your whole heart and trust He is who they say He is!

 

Part 3

As a Christian, I often ponder why everyone doesn’t know, accept and love Christ. One of the reasons I’ve thought about is that people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the stories they hear about God- Multiplying meals out of thin air? Nah. Raising the dead? Unlikely. Walking on water? Doubt it. It’s hard to believe because we’ve never met or heard of anyone like this ever in our entire existence.

But we have to remember, God isn’t like us! 1 Corinthians 1:25 is reminding us, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”  Right here it is saying that Gods’ strength isn’t of human strength, it’s stronger! His love isn’t like how we love, it’s larger! His wisdom isn’t like our wisdom, it’s greater! Even His weaknesses don’t compare to the very best of our human abilities.  As humans, we have limits. We can only process so much information, carry so much weight physically and mentally, give of our time & energy and feel empathetic to so much. But with God, those limits don’t exist. God has no bounds, no cut-offs, no exclusions.

Humans= limits

God= No limits, endless possibilities, uncanny strength and love

 

‘Tis the Season

Image result for beach

It’s summer time! It’s a new season where we all get really busy with friends, parties and hanging by the pool. Our normal routines fall to the wayside. But you know what doesn’t fall to the wayside? Our expectations to continue the same day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

We all have responsibilities: Dinner groups, book clubs, catching up on the latest Netflix show, chores, meditation time, etc and when we enter into a new season, like summer, we feel as if we’re treading water trying to do it all.  But God says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” God wants us to adjust our activities based on these “seasons” of life.

As an example, I recently got a new job (aka entered into a new season) and I was trying so hard to keep up with my old schedule. I had made a commitment at church, in a dinner group, a bible study & all the while, I was expecting my commute, my sleep and my relationships to stay the same. I was so hard on myself when I couldn’t make it all fit. I was trying to keep my schedule static from season-to-season but now I realize, that wasn’t realistic.

Whether your new season is summer, a new job, a new relationship, ending of a relationship, a move, or any other life changes–give your self some time to realize that you’ve entered into a new season. Embrace it, adjust and roll with the punches!

 

Tithing

Do you remember those churches that pass baskets, asking for a donation? Every time  you see that dreaded basket coming near you, you squirm in your seat and avoid eye contact with everyone? Before I was a Christian, I thought this seemed like a selfish way for the church to advance their programs, motives and the pastor’s wallet. Out of my own stubbornness, I wouldn’t put money into the basket because I didn’t want to give away my hard-earned money to benefit others’ personal needs.

After I become a Christian, I saw this in a whole new light. The realization hit me: Everything we own is Gods! Our possessions, food, land, family, our bodies, money…all His. God says (Prov. 3:9-10), “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”  God is asking us to give that money back as a way to grow His kingdom! When we tithe, God wants to honor Him and in turn, He blesses us more than we could even image.

Remember, we give because God gave first.

 

It’s all about your perspective

WWJD2

We get challenged each and every day. Some challenges are small, like someone cutting you off and other challenges are large, like being denied a promotion. Anytime these “challenges” happen, we get frustrated/annoyed/pissed off but God wants us to look at these moments differently. God is saying in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” God is saying that throughout your life, He is going to be testing you (with big and small) bumps in the road and the key is, He wants to see where you’ll lean in those moments. We all know its so simple to throw up your middle finger at that driver or to talk smack about your boss behind her back but first, you need to ask: What would Jesus do? (90’s nostalgia anyone?!) Its in those moments of being let down/mad/frustrated that we should be turning to God to vent and waiting on His reply to know how to move forward.

The crazy thing is that God may have just prevented you from getting into a collision and stopped it by having that other vehicle slow you down at the exact right moment. And God may have said “Child, this is not your opportunity. Let me show you something better.” We may not know why these things happen the way they do BUT we do know that God has a plan (separate from yours) that is far greater than what we could have mapped out ourselves.

My question to you is: What perspective are you going to take?

Option 1: Being cranky that something didn’t go the way you imagined it?
OR
Option 2: Trusting in the Almighty, knowing that He had something so much better set aside just for you?

Be like Job

Image result for job from the bible

 

There is one man that I look up to more than anyone else- this mans name is Job. What you need to know about Job is that this man was extremely blessed. He had 10 children, a beautiful wife (I assume), lots of land and animals, a house, good health, all the food he needed, among many other blessings. But above all of these great things, Job had a breathtaking relationship with Christ, I mean literally one of the best. One that didn’t waver. One that didn’t let distraction seep in. One that was a two-way relationship. One that wasn’t just about wanting but one of thankfulness and praise.

One day, satan came along to test Job to see if he was in fact strong in the Lord. So what happened next? satan took all his blessings away: his children, his wife, his land, his animals, his house, his health and so on. But here is the powerful thing…Job never stopped praising God and being thankful for what he once had and continued to have. When he lost everything he said, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD,” and “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Did you notice who really caused the evil and heartbreak? It wasn’t God. God was the one who blessed Job (and us) with all the wonderful things we do have. What satan wanted was for Job to curse God, angry and blaming Him for all the catastrophe occurring in his life. Always, satan is testing us to see how we are going to react when things don’t go our way. I.E. sickness, death, divorce, heartbreak, failure, etc. My question to you is are you falling into satan’s trap or are you being like Job? I may not always choose right but man, I long to be like Job!