While I still breathe

“Look’, I heard Him say, ‘open up your eyes, notice you’re still breathing, you’re still here upon this Earth.” “So long as you are still breathing the breath that I have given you,’ He continued, ‘your mission here is not done. Look around you in your fraction of the world, look and see the influence, the ministry I set before you everyday. Your sphere of influence is another of My gifts to you. Don’t you understand that your job is not done until you breathe your last breath upon this Earth?”

I was reminded that while Jesus hung there dying on the cross, His breathing labored as He was suffocating and although His purpose mere minutes from being fulfilled, He still saw one last mission, one last Divine appointment here on Earth. He willingly became the only source of comfort to a thief who hung there next to Him upon another cross. Luke 23:43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus gave every last shallow breath within Him, over to the Will of His Father. Jesus truly bore the weight of the world on His shoulders, never once shrinking back into self-pity due to the circumstances and the horror, He found Himself in. He conquered the world! He did not let the world conqueror Him. The torture, the anger, the uncaring, the unforgiving, the vulgar, the evil and the ungratefulness Jesus witnessed and suffered here couldn’t cause His heart to change or tire of doing right. No, even after all the extremes were thrust upon Him and He was shown that the world hated Him, the world didn’t want Him and the world turned their backs upon Him, even though He only loved, taught, fed and healed them, He allowed it not to change Him. As He struggled to breathe, His pure heart remained unchanged, His last prayer still today carries loves echo, for He prayed, Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

I think about all the pain He had to be feeling physically. His body was so brutally beaten and nails pulling on His flesh as He hung from them, all while suffocating. Then I think of the emotional pain, with a kiss, betrayal from one of His closest friends and another of His closest friends denied even knowing Him three times. He never did anyone any harm His entire life. He never lied to anyone, stole from anyone, gossiped about anyone, spread lies about anyone and He never cheated or took advantage of anyone. He healed the sick, taught acceptance and He loved the unlovable. All of this while knowing the plots stewing against Him regularly.

While I sit here meditating on the life that Jesus led, knowing that He was ultimately becoming the one true sacrifice made for the salvation of a people who not only punished Him for the good life that He lived, but they also did not appreciate the sacrifice, they didn’t deserve the sacrifice, and they didn’t want the sacrifice. Still as Jesus went through all that He had gone through from His birth to His resurrection, I know there was at least one name that He was doing it for, someone that could not save herself from her own darkness and sin. One soul helplessly fallen in this fallen world. He knew even then the name of a girl who would one day cry out amidst her pain needing rescued from her enemies, but most of all needing rescued from herself. He chose the nails, the crown of thorns, the mocking spit, the name calling, the betrayals, the flogging, the lots cast for His clothes, the weight of all mankind’s sin, the rejection from Father God and the death on a cross, He chose all this and more for an undeserving, self-seeking, sinful, fallen girl who’s voice would cry out to Him over two thousand years later. And for that one girl way off in the distant future, Jesus said, “yes, I do all this for you.” Then He uttered, “ tetelestoi”! ( It is finished, זה נגמר ). John 19:30 His last words sealing the deal, then He hung His head and died.

As that girl over 2000 years later, I can’t help but be ashamed of myself. I’m finding myself wandering in the desert like the Israelites did for 40 years, partly due to the constant self-pitying and complaining they were addicted (for lack of a better word) to. After all He did for me, how can I justify feeling sorry for myself going through the molding and watering and pruning of my character and my spirit because it feels like harsh trials and tribulations. It’s a win-win situation for me because of His selfless life and death He endured completely and utterly alone, and because He did, I never have to go through my struggles, hurts and sorrows alone. Hebrews 13:6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Now in an effort to echo my Savior’s heart, I too must understand, my work is not done until I breathe my last breath. What have I chose to do with what God has already provided me? When I say I want God’s Will and not my own how often am I happy with what I currently have and how often am I complaining about what I don’t? How long do I live in the present moment where I can feel Him the most and how often am I distracted by regret from the past or to focused on my future goals? How often have I said to God Thy will be done and then make every effort to be the teacher and not the student or The giver not the receiver? If I truly want to be the person God created me to be, if I truly want Him to change my heart and mold me into the person heaven’s gate will recognize and open up for, then understanding what it means to pick up my cross and follow Him, (basically die to self) is necessary. To stop asking what God can do for me like a genie out of a bottle at my beck and call to give me my next wish and instead start asking what God would be willing to allow me to do for Him, understand the blessing is in His willingness to give me a mission that always guarantees change within myself.

So just as David did when he said in Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. I too demand my soul and all that is within me to bless the Lord and His holy name.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you as you seek Him with all your heart.

Precious time

Time… the only precious commodity I can truly say is mine to decide what to do with. I choose how I will spend my time. Sure there are those things in life that demand of it, some things more forcefully demanding than others. Still the choice remains mine whether to give in to those demands or not. And then there are those things in life that steal it from me. Some leaving no trace of ever even being there and others leaving an imprint in place of the time stolen. Time, it seems, is more precious than diamonds and gold. I read in James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Time, my time, in which I have no guarantee of how much will be allotted, is the priceless value I have, individually, to offer the world. It’s no wonder why it’s another thing the enemy twists and turns into deceptive traps meant to keep me in bondage. The enemies traps are relentless, merciless, contemplative and set up for his amusement, as he takes pleasure in watching me struggle, getting torn down, and broken as I try to escape. 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
So I asked myself, who do I honor with my time myself or God? Have I surrendered my time to Father God becoming alert and ready at any hour to drop my own plans answering His call to serve? Is my faith in Him and His understanding capable of pushing my own judgment of the circumstances aside without question? Or are there limits within my surrendering to His Will over my life?
What I do with my time reflects the desires of my heart. It is the trial, the test, the marker of Truth so to speak. Is God a religious hobby I sometimes find time for or is He a personal relationship I cherish and mold into my everyday life? Do my actions prove His importance and place Him above all things or do my lips speak righteousness while my actions prove selfish and lazy? If time is my only true offering, how much does the God that died a brutal death to save me receive of it?
How often do I find believable, highly convincing reasons to excuse myself from the guilt of not doing the things I know I should be doing and instead doing the things I know I shouldn’t be doing? . Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. The truth is sadly, my reasons may sound good and I may be able to convince myself and others of their fairness and that my reasons are justified, and still I’m only fooling myself. The reality is, I know what I should be doing and its an extremely rare occasion that my circumstances truly stand in the way of my ability to do what I know is right.
So what am I seriously thinking will happened the day I stand before the Lord? As the truth laid bare and undeniable, what am I going to say? Do I actually believe my reasons, excuses and Alibis will hold any weight when Jesus asks me why? Why didn’t I read his word? Why didn’t I use my time wisely? Why didn’t I swallow my pride? Why didn’t I love the unlovable? Why didn’t I watch my mouth? Why didn’t I give more of my time? Why didn’t I see the idols of time wasters in my life? Why didn’t I speak only encouragement and uplifting words to others? Why was my way better than His? Why were my thoughts higher than His? Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
My selfish comforts are not meant to be the focus of my attention. To deny myself and take up my cross and follow Him means if I am demanding my rights, my way, my happiness, my comforts, my proper respect and appreciation from others, etc. Then I am not following or echoing the heart of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No matter how convincingly I can argue the validity of my reasons, all they would sound like even to my own ears when repeated to Jesus Himself, is excuses.
Although I believe Father GOD cares very much for my comfort, I know He will not insure my comfort at the expense of my eternal soul. To look within myself and without sugar coating, excusing, pretending or turning a blind eye to what I see, will most unquestionably hurt. My illusion about who I am, that same illusion I try to pass off as who I am to others, will have to be pulled out of me root and all. This is absolutely guaranteed to cause me pain, frustration and many tears as the root goes deep. Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.

Mistake Blessings

Mistakes are building blocks of life, the blessing of grace and growth, not to be mistaken as a sign of incompetence or failure. The failure is the ones stagnant in growth, too afraid of making mistakes. — Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. — Job 5:17 “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. Fear of making mistakes can manifest as cowardice and stagnant spiritual growth, also causing an unfulfilling life experience here on earth. The longer one walks in this fear the more cloudy their vision becomes of who God is and who they themselves are. The wrath of God becomes their justification for stagnation in spiritual growth and understanding, while the love of God becomes a distant dream that one day they hope to obtain. They live life riding the fence, never knowing their true potential, never understanding their true value and worth (aka the reason they themselves are the masterpiece that God put together on purpose that the world was lacking). The missing puzzle piece so to speak. We mustn’t teach our children not to make mistakes, we should teach them instead how to learn from the ones they do make. We shouldn’t raise them to fear being wrong or to hide their misunderstandings and questions about why the world works the way it does. Instead, we should instruct them who their creator is and how purposefully He knit then together. Show them how exciting it can be to live life as the adventure it was meant to be. Teaching them how to seek understanding and how to receive instruction gratefully. Allow them to experience the joy of getting it right, a job well done and the pain or disappointment of missing the Mark or not making the team. Mentor them that mistakes are not only necessary for growth but also certain to happen. Open their eyes and hearts to the instruction and counsel of Almighty God the Creator who knows the reason they are here, the purpose in which they were created. The God who knows what makes them his masterpiece. We shouldn’t instruct our children in how to get their ways, wants and desires by being demanding or entitled. Instead, instruct them how to be contented with their basic needs being met. We are all created on purpose and with a purpose. I picture father God looking over the Earth that he created and saying it is good, but it would be better with this someone. Then he knits that someone together to be born making a masterpiece within the masterpiece. No two people have ever been the exact same. We all have our uniqueness. We all have something in us that only we can offer the world. Each of us just one piece to be connected to the whole just like a puzzle. We were not put on Earth as adults. We all had to be born so that we could grow into our purpose by learning from our mistakes, by our asking questions, by our drawing closer to our creator with the acceptance of salvation through his son Jesus Christ, and by receiving his instruction that in effect is pruning and watering our faith. Father God blesses us with the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. — 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; — Hebrews 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Another lie it seems has become the reality of society, the craftiness of the enemy has led so many of us to believe the making of mistakes is so bad we must avoid doing so at all cost and hide the ones we do make behind a closed door heavily guarded. We not only operate in this way of thinking we help it along by passing our own judgment upon our brothers and sisters in Christ even if only with a look of disappointment on our face in response to a mistake another has made. It’s no wonder why so many of us have such heavy burdens of regret upon our shoulders not understanding why we can’t seem to lay them down at the cross and leave them there. The enemy has made the way near impossible for Father God to break through in order to shape us, mold us, water us and enlighten us as we journey toward our true purpose. If we are so afraid of being wrong or making mistakes we will justify the ones we can, therefore, never seeking forgiveness or correction. And the big ones we may ask forgiveness for them in private, yet still hold the heavy burdens of guilt upon our shoulders, to afraid of releasing them and chancing someone finding out. — Hebrews 12:6-8 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Praise God for His Merciful Agape Love for us. Love that the enemy cannot penetrate or conquer. Love that gently reveals truth to us, giving us the option of escaping the clutches of the enemies lies. — Proverbs 29:1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. Now we know why the enemy goes to such extremes to deceive us about making mistakes. If we stay under his deception long enough we could find ourselves beyond remedy. The enemies ultimate goal becoming reality. — Proverbs 25:12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine Gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. This is the way we should be understanding the making of mistakes. The inevitable truth is we will no doubt make mistakes. We can choose to consider the mistakes we make as some of God’s best blessings of grace. Then we can let go of the heavy burdens of fault and keep only the seed of truth planted by His Spirit into our understanding from each mistake made. Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.