Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner and Change

http://zacklocklear.com/2015/06/02/christians-be-careful-what-you-say-on-facebook/

The most backward point of view I have noticed regarding the transgender lifestyle is that the choice to have surgery itself is in direct opposition to the statement most use to defend such an action. “They are just being who they really are”. Such a beautiful sentiment everyone should embrace!…but when you go out of your way, paying thousands on thousands of dollars to change everything about yourself you cease to uphold the ideal of being proud of who you are. You spit in the face of plus size models who are lovely women, you belittle even the people in the homosexual community who hold the pride parades, whether or not you realize it. Maybe some people truly believe in their heart of hearts that they are fundamentally flawed and have to fix it. Why not encourage them to be proud of who they are as a man, a father, a husband, and an inspiration to others just as they are. Will people still want to hide and change themselves if we stop telling them they’re broken? We are all broken. Believe what you want. Thats the beauty of free will. I believe Jesus really is who he claimed to be, the son of the Creator whom thousands of eyewitnesses saw perform countless documented and undocumented wonders. If you really want to say something to Bruce, or Caitlyn, or whatever anyone chooses to call themselves, say Jesus was real, and He really did amazing things because, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is ‘the devil’—and FREE those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14,15

Let people live how they want, it is not my purpose or yours to control others. Our only purpose is to be messengers of truth and life to the lost, the hungry and alone. Read the Word to someone, more importantly read what Jesus himself said in all the scriptures and then think about what you are doing to those people who need the True Love, and ask yourself if you are showing it. Pointing at others and spouting what you or I may or may not see as a flaw is not love. Point at Jesus instead. He is love. I am a messenger, not a teacher or a prophet. Just as none of you are teachers of the Word. We are learners. We are lovers. We are brothers and sisters. We are presenters of truth. Nothing more, nothing less. What others choose to do with the truth is up to them.

Double Check

Where do you look to make decisions?  Do you follow your own heart and what you want, or do you take the advice of others and not think twice, even if the advice is not up to your standard, your moral code? Do you seek the Lord’s counsel in what you believe you want and learn instead what He wants from you? Look far ahead and be aware of what is around you. A field of butterflies at first glance, may turn out to be a den of snakes on closer inspection. Tread wisely. Where is your heart leading you? Where is God leading you? If fear is your guide, then God is not. Walk in courage and truth. Don’t sell yourself for a pittance. You are worth more than you can ever know. Be true to who you want to be deep inside and soon, you won’t have to look so deep to find yourself.

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

The Heart of a Servant

During my brief time here on Earth I have learned this if nothing else, how valuable and sought after are people who are willing to help without hesitation at a moment’s notice. The ones who go the extra mile. The heart of a servant is one of the most cherished qualities among people when we look for friends or spouses. We all want people in our life we know without a doubt we can trust to be there when we need them just as we too should strive to be that person who gives without expecting a return and who loves unconditionally, always, especially when what we really want to do is freak out or get angry or hurt. Showing kindness and compassion is not only commanded of us by God, but is appreciated by our fellow humans.

Being humble and gracious are clear indicators of a servant’s heart. Watch people, see how others react to certain situations and pay close attention to how you react also. I know I have much to learn and even farther to grow to get where God wants me to be.

Trying to serve, trying to be gracious, trying to love without condition or be a friend without expectation is frustrating and at times very painful, people take advantage of tender-hearts, do these things anyway. Even if you never receive recognition here the Lord watches you and knows of your faithfulness. Above all else be faithful to the Master and keep his commandments. “But remembering to do all that stuff is hard!” It really is not, when you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these commandments hinge all of the law and the prophets.”

When these are forefront in our lives, God recreates us and we seek to do good and our heart is turned from a heart of stone into a heart of flesh as it is written in Ezekiel 36:26-27

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

“Move you”, notice the Lord did not say “Control” you or “Force” you. His Spirit dwelling within us speaks to and pushes us to do these things, but it is still our conscious decision to live as such. Following these commands brings glory to God. It is a better way to live, bringing peace to your world even amidst hardships. Bring joy to your friends and love to those who hate you, especially when no one else sees you.
A true servant’s heart does for others more than for ourselves. I must share because the love of God within me prompts me to do so. I must love because the light of Christ at work within pours out of me, flows through me. If I stopper it up, it bursts forth anyway, until is free I am not myself nor do I feel at home. I cannot squelch my passion nor mask my face. We are called to be a city on a hill, we are lamps set on a stand, giving light, bringing hope to all who see us. We are servants of the most high and when we live as such, our servant’s heart rejoices and I myself, am content. What does that mean? Do unto others as you really want them to do to you and let not your heart be troubled. Pick up your slack, carry your weight along with those around you, and never weaken others in their faith. Instead be a strong link fastened to God in Christ and perpetually focus your heart and mind on Him. Whichever direction you are looking is the way you end up traveling. Pray for me that I not let my eyes wander again. I pray the same over you. I do not like the results I get when living for myself.

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 NIV

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and OURSELVES AS YOUR SERVANTS for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ”

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

War

Do you ever get tired of fighting? Maybe someone hurt you or you hurt someone else and everyday after that is turmoil in your heart and mind. You pray for reconciliation and cry for the pain caused and felt, but seemingly nothing changes and may even get worse. Whatever your reason for fighting, do what is necessary for reconciliation. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

When someone wrongs you forgive them and move past it. It is written, love your neighbor as yourself. When we hold grudges against the ones we are called to love and be a light for, we erect barriers in our heart against God. Matthew 5:23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” We are not even in the right place to offer our gifts to God when we are angry or we know someone else is angry with us. If you have the opportunity, reconcile whenever possible, as quickly as you are able and then head back to the altar to praise God for the chances He gives you to glorify Him.

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.” Matthew 5:25

Turn the other cheek, reconcile, if they sue for your shirt, give them your cloak as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two. Do not take an eye for an eye. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Even the tax collectors do that. And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?…” Matthew 5:43-47

Do not try to impose salvation on others. Present the truth and let them do with it what they will. You are not responsible for being someone’s savior. You cannot do it. Trying to save them from themselves or from others, especially when they do not want you to will only bring you more pain and frustration and maybe even other consequences. It is good to defend the helpless and the weak, but do not stay where you are not wanted. “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14 When we continue to chase after people or constantly throw scripture at them, even with the best of intentions, we begin to push them away and build barriers around them instead of tear down walls that were already there. Let them run, pray for them and never give up. No matter what. God is waaaay better at bringing people home than you or I will ever be.

Oh, and remember when you pray that God is in control. Do not pray selfishly, but pray for His will to be done. Pray for the person you chase. Pray for the person who runs. Pray for all the people who like living in darkness because it is what they have grown used to. Those who have tasted the light will return to it because God is sweeter than any earthly high. Those who do not know it will hear it.

We are not saviors, we are presenters of Truth. Let people make their decisions. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Spread the gospel and let God handle the rest. For those I have tried to save from poor decisions or from themselves or from going places I thought would hurt them, I am sorry. I forget my place as a servant sometimes and think I know best. I pray your forgiveness and God’s redemption.

If you know someone has something against you, or you have a burden you carry in your heart for someone else, go today and fix it. Go while you have the opportunity or it may be taken from you. Live like there is no tomorrow. Live like you will never have the chance to speak with people in your life again. Live like you will never have the choice to love and reconcile again. Live for the satisfaction of tomorrow, not in the temporary fake joys of a fallen world. You will be hurt by them. Even those who seem to have everything feel regret and wish for chances to do things over. If you want to live with no regret, live your life to the glory of God, and do not make choices you will regret. War is a terrible thing. War of the heart is equally terrible and people get hurt either way. Love to the best of your ability and let the real Savior handle the rest.

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

Reconcile

Reconcile

ACTION

I have but one wish. That my words fall on ears deafened by the volume of my actions. 

1 John 3:18
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

We can say whatever we want but without actions supporting our breath, we are only making noise. Especially when it comes to love. Love is the most action based word there is. Then comes hate. But so often hate is displayed far more proudly than love. Hatred for religions, for drivers on the road, for people who speak ill of us at school or work, for people who hurt us or cheat us, hatred for gays or many who do not support our own ideas or philosophies. 1 John 3 goes on to say,

1 John 3:19-23
“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”

Notice when he says to obey God’s commands the writer specifies which commands he is referring to; to believe in the name of God’s son, Jesus and to love one another. Keeping a long list of rules and regulations does not show you love anything except law. Law does not please God. Loving pleases God. When you truly live in love, it flows from you and everyone can see it.

1 John 3:24
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

Those of you who believe in the Name feel the Spirit within you. You know it by conviction when we step away from the source of love to follow our own desires for a time, the joy that is wrought from having compassion on someone in need. The strength and purpose that drives us forward during times of pain when we may not want to continue moving, the desire to reconcile with those we may have hurt or caused to stumble.

Matthew 5:23-24
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

John 3:17
“For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him it shall be saved.”

We are to love one another. Love requires action or it is not really love.
1. Believe in the name of Jesus as God’s son
2. Reconcile with my brothers and sisters
3. Show love to God’s people
Got it.

John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Much love to you on today the day we consider the Lord’s

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

Journal #1 – Foolish Me

I am feeling a bit out of sorts this evening. Seemingly most of my writing has been about my own brains being in a tizzy for one reason or other lately. Even in this very moment I am having trouble putting together a coherent thought to type through all the muck and swirly fog flowing about in here. I have no idea what to write today…

I cannot believe I once again believed something more than what is in front of me. I have so much going on around me and when I see a change in a certain area all of it freezes as I stare to see what happens next. Then the same thing that always happens does once again and all the frozen pieces crash together on my head because I stopped watching them for a second. Let go and let God is a very common phrase I am told often. I have let go of many things and I pray for people I know I can do nothing for, but God, who is master of all and Creator of all, does so much more with my silence than with every word ever spoken by anyone. That gives me hope. Hope for you, hope for me, hope for us all. God is among us, around us, protecting, guiding and loving at all times, even when we feel like a mixer is swirling around our innards. Let go and let God my friends. I have heard a saying “Italians do it best.” T-shirts, hats, mugs and all manner of marketable products claim Italians do it best. God does it better.  😉 Everything.

Bitterness has no place in a life of forgiveness. If I say I love God yet hate my brother, I am the one living in darkness. Lay down whatever ails you, all your troubles at the feet of Jesus. You can never fall too far.

I have dinner to eat now 🙂

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

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Thoughts (chapter 3)

Someone once told me ‘being a great guy is not enough’. That got me thinking, “What makes a great guy?” More specifically, what makes ME a great guy? I obviously could not have been a great guy if it was not enough, right?

         I have considered this often since then, what qualities make someone “great”. Is it looks, study habits, work ethic, talents, money, morals, etc…After writing Be the One You Seek I thought on this even more often which inspired me to write Work, My Turn, Thoughts and Thoughts (Chapter 2) . In all my pondering (which is still whirring on incessantly) I have come to some semblance of a vague speculation which may be just one possible conclusion. True faith in Christ and sincere, passionate thirst for wisdom and truth in Him is what makes any one of us great and is the most desirable quality I have ever seen in people. Men and women may have great deeds and actions but they fade and blow away. Faith without action is dead so to be truly great, faith and love must be seen and heard. It is not enough to say you believe something. Prove it! It is not enough to think yourself compassionate, courageous or strong. Prove it! I cannot be great without great deeds and having no deeds at all makes me even less. It makes me a liar. So they were absolutely right in telling me that I am a great guy but it is not enough, because in truth, I have been allowing greatness to pass me by while thinking I was doing alright. The glorious truth is, it is never to late 🙂 Sure some decisions and chosen paths take us away from opportunities, but there will always be new chances, great deeds that need to be done. Why not start now? Someone has to stand up, what happens if it is me, or you? What will happen if it is not? The only way to know for sure is to do everything you do to the absolute best of your ability and give the rest to the Master. Watch what God does with your skills and abilities He gave you. I see now that we can pray all we want for guidance and opportunities, but if I do not start moving in the direction He points, I will just be stuck in the same spot forever.

Now, it is time to get to work.

 

Grace and Peace,

Andrew

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