Friday, May 27, 2016

The Need For A Savior

Romans 10:13

"Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved"

The fact that we need to be saved implies that we need to be rescued. What is it that we need rescuing from ? Ultimately we need rescuing from ourselves, our own sinful nature and spiritual darkness . As humans we have been created to have free will, and we can do with it as we please, but if there is anything I have learned is the need for a Savior.

I want to tell a little bit about my own personal life and why I know I need a Savior. For many years I had gone about living my life the way I have wanted to without caring about any consequences and pushing away any convictions I felt . I hated the feeling that I was doing something wrong but to drown it out I turned to drugs and fleshly desires. Those things would drown it out for a few minutes, and then I would be hit harder than I was before. It was a never ending cycle of self destruction, but even in my misery, I was determined to make that lifestyle work. I can't even begin to explain the sheer addiction to that life and even the addiction to just being miserable. That is how I lived for a very long time, but like many others, I hit rock bottom, not just once, but multiple times. Each time I tried to pick myself back up, and would get clean for a little while, then fall back into the same things that destroyed my life to begin with. Finally I realized just how much I needed saving. I had already turned to the world multiple times for help but I was still in bondage. I felt like there was no hope for a life free of the chains that were so tightly bound to me. Even if I was "clean and sober", I was restrained to a life full of meetings and 12 step programs and never really free from it. I was told that it was a disease and that theres really no way to be rid of it. I was told to identify myself as a drug addict. That alone was incentive for me to NOT want to quit, and just accept that I was going to be that way for the rest of my life. I mean really, what kind of life is that ? Its absolutely miserable, and its a big reason why I could never truly stay "clean and sober". When those things are drilled into your head then really whats the point ? I felt like no matter how hard I tried I was bound to fail because as I heard so many times before, "relapse is part of recovery". I wound up completely broken, lost and afraid. I lived each day hoping I would overdose and die so the neverending cycle of misery and failure would be broken. Finally, I decided I needed a change. I needed a true Savior. I have been told of this Savior multiple times before but was never convinced I needed saving, but this time was different. I dropped to my knees in surrender, and with tears streaming down my face I cried out to the one true Savior, Jesus Christ. I asked for forgiveness and put my life into His Hands, and I can't even tell you the amount of freedom I felt and the complete 180 my life has taken since then . Now I am free from the chains, free from the guilt, free from the shame, free from the identity of a addict, free from the demons that tormented me ; overall, free from the misery and darkness that haunted me day in and day out. In Christ I am free. In Christ I have hope and a future. In Christ I have a life of joy. I am a new creation in Him. Jesus has saved my life . Now I absolutely love my life and with Him I am equipped to fight against temptations that come my way and spiritual darkness. I live with a joy that I have never felt before and await the day that I will be in His presence in Heaven.

Because of the fall of man, we are all sinners. We all need the same kind of saving, and theres only One that has the ability to save us.

Tonight, I will pray for divine appointments and opportunities to share my testimony and the hope and Gospel of Jesus Christ, whom is my Lord and Savior, with others .

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Importance Of Building On A Strong Foundation

Psalm 18:2 (a)

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer .. "
The Lord is my rock. When I think of a rock, I think of a strong foundation. ; a base that can not be moved or shaken. The Lord is that foundation and no matter what the enemy throws our way , with Him as our foundation, we will not be moved. Everything in our lives is built off of a foundation. Think of a house, without a strong foundation that house will bend and sway when the storms and winds come and eventually it will crumble and fall. If we don't have a strong foundation in our lives, when the enemy attacks us and the storms of life come, we will ultimatley fall.
Before Christ, I tried to build my life off many other foundations. I had tried just about everything. There are three main foundations that I tried to build my life around and all of them ended in my fall . Those were drugs, lies and relationships. For many years I built and revolved my life around my drug addiction and around swarms of lies and deception. Any storms that came my way I combatted with drug use to try and drown them out and escape reality and it left me broken . The third foundation that lead to my downfall was relationships . I based my life around the guys that I was with, even going as far as to move across the country , while in a fragile state, away from my family. That doesnt mean its wrong to move for the one you love, but my own personal motives in the matter were wrong . I have learned that its important to have my focus on God first and foremost and establish a relationship with Him, and to also desire that in the man I end up with. Once I do that then I can have a positive Christ centered relationship with others. I do have a desire to get married and have a family, but I am using this season in my life to build my foundation in Christ and establish a strong immovable foundation with Him first and foremost. Going through everything I have been through has finally brought me to a place where I know how much I need Christ in my life . It was only until I surrendered my life to Him that I was able to overcome the destruction and strongholds Satan had in my life. In Christ I have overcome. In Christ I am a new creation . Thank you Jesus for saving my life and my soul. You alone are my rock and my foundation, in whom I put my trust. You are my fortress , my strong tower in whom I take refuge, and You are my deliverer .
Application :
In my devotions I am going through 1 Corinthians . This morning I read through chapter 3, and verse 11 of that chapter stuck out to me. It says, " For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. " I need to be reminded daily that He is my rock and the foundation that I build my life upon. Its no coincidence that as im doing this IBS, that I read that very verse this morning as well. As an application, I will write it on a sheet of paper and hang it up in my room so that I start each day with the encouragement and motivation that He is my rock and my foundation ; Whom then shall I fear ?

Pride Comes Before The Fall

Proverbs 8:33
"Listen to My instruction and be wise; do not disregard it"
Sometimes we may not like to listen to what the Lord is telling us. Our pride gets in the way. Proverbs 11:2 says, "When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom." We cannot obtain wisdom and be wise if we dont follow the Lord's instruction. Because of this pride, it is not easy for us to admit that we are wrong. In return, we quench the Holy Spirit and if we continue in that direction we will wind up on a dark and dangerous road. He doesn't correct us because He wants to control us, He does it because He loves us. Its just like our own parents and guardians did growing up. They disciplined and scolded us because they love us and didn't want to see us going down the wrong path and get hurt. There are so many instances I can think of where my parents have warned me about situations and told me not to do them, yet I was stubborn and prideful and decided I was going to them anyway. Now I have scars because of the hurt and pain I endured for not listening. Humble yourself, admit that you are wrong, ask for forgiveness and its amazing the amount of joy and peace that comes from doing so.
Another aspect to this is being able to discern between Heavenly Wisdom and Earthly Wisdom. In my favorite book of the Bible, James, it is clearly spelled out how to distinguish what is Heavenly wisdom and what is of the flesh and the enemy. James 3:14-17 says, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." It all leads back to pride. So many downfalls come from being prideful and it hinders our relationship with the Lord and also our relationships with others.
Application :
I still battle with being prideful at times. I have decided to take a step back and examine my attitude towards situations and approach things differently. Starting today, I will try to have this approach to every situation I encounter, and I will also begin to pray that the Lord helps me become more humble.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spiritual Warfare

        James 4:8(a)
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you ... "
    Its so simple yet it requires a lot of discipline, and it is something I need to be reminded of daily. It is so important to constantly be drawing near to Him and the importance is stressed in the verse right before this one, verse 7, which says "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." I have been attacked from just about every angle since being here. The devil does not like the work that the Lord is doing through Potters Field here on the Reservation, and he is using any distraction he can to deter my team mates and I from keeping our focus on why we are here.  Anytime one of these attacks comes, I have to shift my focus back onto God and remember that He is in control and theres no reason to be afraid. Our pastor here preached on a message last night out of John 6 where Jesus walks on water and the story reminds me of how to handle these attacks. The disciples were afraid when they saw a figure walking on water in the midst of the storm, but Jesus said, "It is I ; do not be afraid". The disciples then recieved Him into the boat and immedeatly they were on land. Though the devil attacks us, and we feel like we are in the midst of a storm, Jesus is there, walking beside us and there is no reason for us to be afraid. If we accept that He is in control of the situation, that fear and heaviness will be lifted from our shoulders and we will 'hit land'.  As soon as I surrendered all control to Jesus over the situations that the devil has used to attack me , my joy and peace have been restored. Fear is not of God. It is one of the distractions the devil uses to distract us from keeping our focus on the Lord and hinder us from carrying out God's will and perfect plan for our lives. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.
    There are many ways in which we draw near to God. One is staying in His Word night and day. Since being here I have been getting into the habit of reading and studying His Word every morning and every night. Its not just about reading the Bible, but opening our hearts and allowing Him to speak to us in that time. He has spoken to me in multiple ways, and I am always able to shift my focus back on Him and not allow to devil to gain a foothold in my life. Another way to draw near to Him is through prayer. Prayer is our communication with the Lord and it is so important for us to have that constant contact with Him. Its not something we should do once in a while, but a daily, everyday thing. Anytime an attack comes, I have to remember to stop and pray and shift my focus back on Him. My team and I have prayer every night, but its also important to have that personal alone time between God and I.  I will be honest, even though I know the importance of doing this I have been lacking in my personal prayer time with Him. We also draw near to Him through attending church and hearing the Word, worshipping Him, serving Him and others, witnessing to others, surounding ourselves with other believers ..etc.
Application :
    As I said I have been lacking in my personal prayer time with the Lord and don't feel like I am in communication with Him enough. Starting today, I will pray every morning and every night on my own, when I am studying and reading His Word. 

The burden on my heart

                    Proverbs 11:30
    "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise"
    After I read this verse , the first thing that came to my mind was Psalm 1:2-3 which says, "But his delight is found in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Without His wisdom and His guidance we can not bear fruit. The only way that I can reach out and help others is through Him and His Holy Spirit speaking through me.
    Since being here in Browning I have really been hit with just how important it is to stay in His word daily and to stay in constant communication with Him throughout the day. There is absolutley no way that I can do this in my own strength, even just for a day. I already feel such a love and compassion for the people here and feel the heavy burden on my heart to reach out to the lost souls here. There has been many times that I stress out and go through scenarios in my head of what im going to say or what im going to do and then the enemy creeps in and tries to make me feel inadequate. Every time this happens I stop and pray and then the Lord always brings me back to Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." I just need to trust fully on Him and He will guide and direct me and give me the wisdom to say what the people need to hear.
    He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and I just need to abide in Him and through Him I will bear the fruit of the righteous and bring the hope of everlasting life with the Lord . There is no hope and no life without Him as the center. For many years I made worldly things my center and I had no hope and so many times I wanted to end to just end it all and give up. When I surrendered everything to Jesus is when I truly became alive. I have gone from living day to day in misery to a life full of a joy and peace that can not be found anywhere else. It is my prayer everyday that I will be able to win souls for Him and bear the fruit of the righteous and share the same hope, joy and love that I have found in Jesus with others.
    Starting today I will dedicate more time to the Lord and being in His Word. I will not only spend time in His Word in the morning when I wake up but also every night before I go to sleep as well.