Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Willfully Give Away Your Faith

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" - Matthew 14:30

If you've been around the church any amount of time, you recognize this story. It's a tale for the ages, easily adaptable for children as well as adults. We don't see many people walking on water these days, so it's easily recognized as a miracle.

Normally, when I've read about Peter walking on water with Jesus, I've noticed that he doubted. Had he just believed, he would have continued walking on water like a boss! But even though Peter doubted, Jesus still lifted him from the water and saved him. Thank goodness!

Just a short while before the walking-on-water debacle happened though, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd whilst in a boat on another lake of all places, and Peter was among the people listening. Jesus spoke of a farmer who sowed seed among a path (which birds came and ate), among rocky places (which sprouted but quickly withered by the scorching heat because it had no root), among thorns (which grew but also died because of getting choked out by the plants), and among good soil (which grew and produced a fruitful crop). Many of the people didn't understand what he was talking about at the time, including Peter.

His closest friends- his twelve disciples- immediately came to him and asked him to translate his story so they could understand. So these guys are getting the direct scoop from Jesus himself, mind you!

Jesus translated the entire story (which you can read in detail in Matthew 13:11-23), so when he told them that the man who lets the worries of his life choke away the word in his heart is like the seed planted among the thorns, they must have been paying attention.

Yet there Peter was, walking on water, staring at Jesus walking on water, when he allowed the waves, the wind and the worries surrounding him to choke out his faith. And that's when he sunk.

How easily do we let the worries of our lives choke out the hope we have in Jesus? What are you facing today that's trying to steal your faith? Don't you see- there is nothing this world could do to us that could steal away our miracle. We can willfully give it away by worrying. But no one can take it from us!

Don't let the worries you're facing today steal your faith. Everything is going to be okay. When you're scared, get on your knees and talk to your Heavenly Father. Tell him what worries you, then let it all go so He can take care of it. Remember who you are and whose you are, and allow the Word to produce a crop in you like you never believed possible.

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." -Luke 8:15

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Since I've Been Gone

I've been gone for too long.

A year ago I was living in freedom I didn't know was possible. I was getting things done, I was going against my default nature of laziness and actually doing. I was learning how to rest effectively, without worry and fear taking over my thoughts. I was eating well, eating enough, and not eat too much. But more than anything, I was lost in a relationship with God like I'd never experienced.

Slowly, but surely, that started to fade when I let food back into my life.

You see, I experienced all these things once I joined the 12 step program for food addiction. I don't believe it was the program itself, but rather the spiritual disciples it helped me practice that led to my recovery. How could I NOT be changed after spending time with my God every single morning and every single evening without fail?

But I didn't feel right about the program, so I left. I wanted the tools I had before to work, I just needed to work them.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

I eat like an alcoholic drinks. But the DSM doesn't categorize "Food Addiction" as a real thing. So what? I don't need someone else to tell me I'm addicted to food- God's already done that.

I'm back now. I'm back in recovery, I'm back in the word, but more than anything, I'm back in a place where God has all of me- food and all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Loneliness and Popularity

Have you ever noticed how in God's Kingdom everything is flipped on it's head? If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to find your life, you must lose it. If you want to live, you must die. Christ constantly preached counter to what culture seems to tell us.

So it's no surprise then that Jesus constantly set off to be alone to gain the greatest influence possible.

Read through the book of Mark. Constantly you'll see Jesus either attempt to leave a large crowd to be alone, take just a few disciples away to be alone, or lead someone in need of healing away from the crowd to be alone. In addition, he was warning people not to tell anyone who he was or what they saw him do.

He didn't promote himself. He kept quiet and told others to do the same.

He didn't ask for crowds, but instead tried to leave. Only, when they came in droves, he welcomed them openly.

I find it amazing that Jesus- the most popular man to ever live- challenges us to live just like him. What if, instead of promoting ourselves, we kept our good works secret? What if instead of asking for likes, comments, subscriptions and shares, we just lived our lives and let the attraction of our works change the world, rather than our words?

What if we trusted the Spirit at work within us, and rather than strive to change things by our frail attempts, we simply spoke with honesty, acted with kindness, and forgave with all the grace that's been given us?

I think the world would change.