A disciples journey

Religion

More Than Just Me

Change

As much as I dislike change it is always in effect. Nothing stays same and I am constantly growing as a result. There has been so much change in my life the past three years that it would take SIX years to talk about it all. God has matured me greatly in these growing  pains I have experienced, all while having a more intimate relationship with Him. For instance I have always been the person who hated reading and yet God has place a desire in me to read His Word and focus more on Him than myself. I was extremely prideful and have had many humbling experiences weeding out my arrogance and short temper. I could go on forever… Still, in all things I am still human and make mistakes. I pray by the mercy of God that I am not remembered for my mistakes and shortcomings but rather how I strive to be the reflection of Christ as all Christians are called to be.

Selfishness…

I know I am a very particular person who has very strong point of views and can easily be very over dramatic about my views and my way. These strong opinions have interwoven with my selfishness which create a disconnected and negative attitude. It is my OCD to voice my opposition to subjects very sternly and I know that is a wrong attitude… In this past year I have been more aware of what I am doing after I have done it and I pray that God helps me to change that habit. There is that word again, CHANGE! I have a little childhood story that reflects my OCD- When I was little I got a bicycle as a present from my parents and instead of being grateful I was unhappy and rude voicing that I didnt want it because it was not wrapped in a box… I made a big deal about nothing all because a gift was not done the way I thought it should of been done. I want to apologize to all that I have forced my sharp opinions on. I realize that everyone does not have to see things my way and that I can share my opinion without making it as if it were law. I apologize to my wife for shooting down her hobbies, to my parents for taking away the joy in things they enjoy, and to my friends for rejecting their ideas. I know that things are not about me and I need to put away my selfishness. Selfishness is and always will be an issue for mankind but with God little by little He can remove all our sinful ways and mold us into servants.  Philippians 2:3-5 “Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Constant Growing

Life is full of trials and temptations that we must face but every time we stay steadfast we will grow stronger and closer to God. It is very easy to become comfortable with where God has you and think that you are “ok” but the way I see it is if you are not growing you are backsliding. I have found myself in a comfortable stage with God since my accident and I prayed that he would help me to mature in Christ and two major events occurred. #1 We are having a baby! WOW… That was not what I had in mind, but God knows best and already I have seen several changes to my view of children and to my attitude in general. To be completely honest I have never really liked kids and often found them to be annoying, but now all that has changed. God has been growing me so that I may be a good Godly father to my son, Corbin, which has indirectly affected the person that I am today. #2 Joining the worship team! I have always had a love for music but my introverted ways have led me away. God is really pushing me out of my comfort zone by adding me to my Church’s worship team and placing me on stage in front of everyone. Standing on that stage is helping me to grow so that I may be a better witness for Christ and use my life as a tool to help others. I thank God for all the work he has been doing in me and pray that he continually pushes my limits, increasing my life as a follower of Christ.

“Thank you Lord for all these things that I have not deserved”

///Clay///

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Walk by Faith Not By Sight

“Being a Christian in todays society is hard….” I think about that phrase and how when I was a teenager I was taught that in Sunday School. I remember the guidance they would give on how to be right with God saying, “being a TEEN Christian is hard with all the peer pressure, facing trials with sex and drugs, having both easily attainable in school or on your street…”

Being a Christian in todays society is hard… Ive been thinking about that statement lately and asking myself why is it so hard?  How is it that being a Christian these trials are not any easier? Maybe it is not supposed to be hard. Maybe the problem is with us and how we view Christianity… I thought about it for a little while and then God gave me a simple insight on why we struggle so much and how we could fix it. But before I get into that I heard something intriguing in church which was relative to the matter.

The pastor was reading from Matthew 11 and it said, 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Wait a minute!? “My yoke is easy”? Being a teenager I thought it was hard. I thought the burden was heavy? It seems we are having a Starburst contradiction!!! Really? Your burden is light? Where have we gone wrong? It goes back to my last blog, where we have to be like children and trust in Him. Remember back to when you were a child. Did you have any real concerns? Were you worried that you wouldn’t have food to eat or a bed to sleep in? No… Why? You knew your parents would do everything they could to take care of you. You TRUSTED them. There was no burden.

Lets go back to my simple insight. Why do we struggle so much? Why is it hard to do what God wants and let Him work in our life? I feel that we have grown too accustomed to being selfish. Filling our lives with junk and useless material things. We are so preoccupied with all the little pointless things in life. Electronics, movies, clothes… we spend more and more on ourselves.

In the movie “Book Of Eli”, the main character says that the main thing he learned from the Bible was “To do more for others than you do for yourself”. That is the number one thing he got from it? How many of us actually do MORE for others than ourselves? I know I havent… So how do we fix this? Well What would Jesus do? HE WAS A SERVANT!

I believe that if our heart is right with God, then all we need to do is spend more time serving others and spend less time indulging in things for ourselves. It’s that simple. If we used our time more wisely and became a servant like Christ all of our little petty struggles would no longer be relevant and we could delight in His good pleasure. When we start to make more money we shouldn’t spend more, we should use those extra resources to help those in need. I know in the American dream that what I am saying is crazy but its how God instructs us to live. The Book Of Eli, a secular movie even knows that we are supposed to do more for others than for ourselves. No wonder Christians have a bad reputation. What I am saying may not be popular but it is the truth and the truth needs to be spoken.

“”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Mat 28”

///Clay///


FAITH

It has been quite some time since my accident on 6/08/08 and life hasn’t gotten any easier. Yet while it has been a bumpy road to recovery, I have been learning and growing closer to Christ, specifically  in one particular area. It’s true, I like all people need improvement in all areas but God has been working on me in one special way this year. FAITH! Faith has been the focal point of my development in the Spiritual life. So many mountains… so many choices, pressure that pushes your sanity… I have become less concerned with all the little problems and “worries” of the world and have entered into a state of trust. I find myself surprised at how much I have let God take control of all the problems, and all the things He has done.

Recently my wife and I have been concentrating on what was to become of our living arrangement, as our current lease nears an end. Having tight finances and a baby on the way our options have been limited and unappealing. So what do you do in this situation? Look at what you can’t do and stress out about what will happen? Or trust God and know that you are his child,  just like any “physical” loving parent you know that they care and want to help you to succeed? Human nature compels you to handle problems yourself because You want to be in control, but that’s not what being a Christian is about. Living in the Christian walk requires you to give up your ways and follow where God leads. So my wife and I have been praying, seeking answers through God and not through ourselves. We have given room to let God be in control and the fruits are showing! God has answered the prayer by giving us a home to stay in where we will rent from a very good friend of mine, that has a two bedroom condo giving us an extra room for the baby and will be in our price range! Praise God for Daniel and his condo! More than likely this will be our home until we can buy a house, which means we wont have to deal with moving for several years. Hoorah!

“When you let God be in control he will lead you down the right path.”

///Clay///


Christian Love

Love. The Core of a Christians life. A word that has lost its meaning in the modern world. What makes Christian love different from the rest of the world? The only one who can give the perfect answer would be Christ Himself. For we all are human; filled with error and sin. How many times do Christians abandon Christian LOVE? Too often we mold the Christian life to our design, which ultimately disgraces God. We cant reflect God without showing the love of Christ- THE CHRISTIAN LOVE. I want to look at Love from the view of Jesus.

How can you learn about the Core of a Christian life? The best place to start would be 1 Corinthians 13, aka the Love Chapter. Look at what Love IS. It is patient, kind, protecting, trusting, hoping, preserving, it always rejoices in truth, and it does not keep record of wrong doing. How many people in the world ALWAYS follow at least half of these? The answer is no one. There might be a time where you are following every single one, but how long is it till you slip? Lets break down each one.

Patient

“Patience is a virtue”, the phrase everyone hears growing up. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. The key here is to tolerate without getting angry. People believe because they can compose themselves on the outside (while feeling irritated or angry on the inside) and tolerate someone or something, they are demonstrating patience. Wrong!!! To truly be patient you have to stay composed on the inside as well as the outside. When we are not being patient we tend to break a couple of the other ones. We stop being kind, we attack instead of protect, and we seem to remember all of their other faults right about now. In our lack of patience we tend to be rude and talk down to one another. I know a family, that will go unmentioned, that talks to each other in a belittling and degrading way. The parents and children all disrespect each other, talking as if the other were a stupid and pathetic person. I hate being around them when this is happening but what am I to say? Would they listen or even believe me?

If we can truly regard ourselves as humble servants and that we are to uplift others, then maybe we will be able to be patient in love. Look at how a young girl going through puberty treats a jock she is completely  infatuated with, especially if he is a jerk. She constantly put herself aside and ignore the short comings of this jerk. Why? Because she holds him up on a pedestal (for the wrong reasons). Now obviously she is making a mistake but if the Christian could take the principle behind this and put everyone else above themselves then we would be like Christ.

Kind

Love is kind. The definition of kind is, having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature. To be kind is to be careful not to inconvenience or hurt others. Here we can see clearly the Core problem that keeps us from showing love, and that is Selfishness. Selfishness is what our human nature is built off of. The fall of man was caused by the greed to know all things like God. Greed is just another word for selfishness. Self is what causes sin, and prohibits love. How often are we actually concerned about what inconveniences another person? If we are full heartily seeking God then we should want to help others. Too many times we make self-righteous judgments and look down on one other. This gives us the “I am better than you” complex, leading us to treat people rudely instead of with kindness and compassion. In order to truly be kind in the Christian love, you must extend it to the people outside of your social group. Even the sinners love those who love them. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 5.

Protecting/Preserving

To protect/preserve is to keep safe from harm or injury. It is obvious how you apply this to your close friends and family, but how do you show it to the world? The kingdom of Heaven is available to the whole world if they accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is our job to bring the Word of God to the world so that they may be saved. the Word of God is their only defense against sin. Without Christ as their “lawyer” before the Judge, they are doomed to eternal damnation. In exhibiting Christian Love we should have the desire to protect them from their chosen destination. Once again in our self-righteous judgment we see them unworthy of Gods gift. How dare we condemn the blind to walk off the cliff. Shall we call ourselves murderers? Let us extend our hands out to the lost; show them the door Jesus is knocking on. If they refuse then they have made their decision, but should we stop praying for them? Never! Let us preserve the Word of God in our hearts so the we may be mirrors reflecting the light of Christ.

Trusting/Hoping

To trust is to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Trust and hope are apart of faith. It means believing the best of it all. When we pray to God and it feels like there was no answer to our prayer we are to trust that he knows whats best. We need to let Him do His will and just have faith. No matter the circumstance we should have a positive outlook and know that all things happen for a reason and hope for the best. When we look out at the world the same still applies. This doesnt mean believe every little lie that is told to you because you are to assume the best. Rather, take each person and situation and look at it from the most positive perspective. Someone treats you like garbage- Should you judge this person as rude? No you should believe that they must of had a bad day and you happened to be there to see it. We shouldnt judge based on things we think or see, but only on those things that we know are facts.

It always rejoices in truth/ It does not keep record of wrong

These two are self explanatory… Yet we tend to get mad at truth when it is correcting us, like the pharisees being corrected by Jesus. Here is where pride comes into play.  Having pride is being pleased with yourself, dwelling on your achievements, thinking about you, you, you, you… And we are right back at selfishness. It is truly our self-seeking ways that keep us from unconditional love.

We also tend to keep a detailed record book, for each individual person we know, that is kept in the bitterness file cabinet. When someone does something that makes us angry and we hold on to it, that becomes bitterness. The Bible says not to let the sun go down while we are still angry. If we hold on to it we are making a record of it and we file it away in bitterness. The cabinet needs to be locked up and the key needs to be thrown away. There is nothing in that cabinet except self-gratification. Theres that word again, SELF.

Self has got to GO

The Bible talks about in Romans 14 that we should be able make adjustments about our life not because its sinful but for the love and respect of our brothers. This can never be achieved if we put ourselves at the center. It was true when they said the nice guy finishes last. To live like Christ we must put ourselves last. Oh how beautiful it would be if all Christians lived fully devoted to God, with self placed on the shelf.

“Love’s Achilles Heel is Selfishness”

///Clay///




Donuts- A Gift From God

Last Sunday I got out of bed 20 minutes before I was supposed to be at Church. I threw myself together and hit the door. On the drive there my stomach began to complain about the lack of attention it got. I  thought to myself oh this was a bad idea, I should of grabbed a banana or something!! We arrive one minute before Sunday School is scheduled to start(not that it ever starts on time). As we sit in the classroom I begin to pray quietly, “Lord, please don’t let this hunger distract me from you today”. Just as I finish praying the Assistant Pastor from another class walks into the room with a box of donuts and says, “Anybody want some donuts? We had one box too many”.

Now the Lord gave me something to eat to calm my stomach and let me listen to the message. I asked and recieved in the name of Jesus, but look at that a little more closely! I didn’t pray a selfish prayer, I didnt even asked to be fed. Instead I asked that He wont let me be distracted. My prayer wasn’t about me but rather about respect for God’s Word. I wanted to be able to recieve his Word.  My heart was right when I made the prayer and He rewarded me with His blessing (which happen to be donuts). This should be applied to every prayer that we make. Our heart should be seeking Him, not some personal hidden agenda, or self gain.

“Prayer Works”

///Clay///


To Live Like Jesus

I find that if your not constantly thinking about Christ throughout the day, it is very easy to sin. Recently my mind has been ever focused on the things of God and I notice a lot of things that I have to watch out for.

>It starts with your mood when you wake up in the morning, immediately you must consider how your mood is going to affect your decisions, so I start by singing a song to God or by praying.(Lately that song has been Hands And Feet, by Audio Adrenaline) Proverbs 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

>You constantly have to keep watch on what thoughts flood your mind. Which also means you need to control what you allow yourself to hear and see. Mostly music and television… I find the best cure is not to listen to any secular music or watch any tv. I do however have one show a week I watch and I love to go see movies. Also thoughts can contribute to actions, if you control your thoughts this should keep you from reaching in the “cookie jar”. Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

> Being selfish is a big one! Interaction with the people around you can cause selfishness. You should always be there with love and respect to those around you, even your enemies. Love is a big part of this. The definition of the phrase “for love” for pleasure not profit. If you focus on the fact that you love “insert person here”, whether they are your friend or not it should please you to do things for them. It pleases me to make you happy because I love you. Philipians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

> Pride… It is hard to keep yourself in a position of humility. It is a good practice to constantly remind yourself that you are here as a servant of the Lord, Ambassadors from Heaven. We are here to promote all things Holy. Pride also keeps others from helping you when you make mistakes and need correction. Proverbs 10:17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads other astray.

>In the constant flow of life it is easy to forget to pray. Prayer is essential to our relationship with God. Instead of thinking things to yourself through the day direct those thoughts to God, which by proxy will help control thoughts you shouldn’t have. This action keeps you in constant contact with God helping you develop righteous habits. I Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful; pray continually

> What you condone. If those that are close to you tell you things not of God and you don’t do anything about it, you are in a sense condoning their actions against God. Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

“Taking up the cross daily”

///Clay///


The Nails Of Christ

I have always believed that Jesus had the nails in the palms of his hand just like the Bible says they were. Many people will argue that fact. Honestly I feel people focus on it too much. I mean does it really matter where the were? Anyway I just wanted to say that I will always believe they were in the hands and there has been new “scientific” evidence to prove it. The following is from an article done by some researchers. I found it interesting and think people should give it some consideration.

Although the case of Jehohanan* showed that victims’ feet were nailed, what about the hands? In the Gospel of John, the apostle Thomas refers to the nail holes in Jesus’ hands. In the 1930s, experiments conducted with cadavers led researcher Pierre Barbet to conclude that nails driven through the palms of the hands could not have supported the weight of the arms and upper body —and that the nails were more likely driven through the wrists, which would have lent more support.

Crucifixologists also believed that the weight of the victim’s body pulled down on the diaphragm, making it increasingly difficult for him to breathe and leading to death by asphyxiation.

A change of heart
More recently, however, researchers have come around to the view that the nailed feet provided enough support for the body, and that the hands could have been merely tied. “Quest for Truth” uses the Visible Human Project to show that putting nails through the palms would have resulted in maximum nerve damage and pain.

“The cruelty of the Romans would have led them to find the palms of the hands as the most painful part,” Reed said. He suggested that the Romans also used wooden washers to make sure the hands and the feet couldn’t be pulled away from the nails.

All that pain and exposure would have led to a condition called hypovolemic shock, based on tests that pathologist Frederick Zugibe conducted on student volunteers under closely monitored lab conditions. Blood pressure would drop, leading to irreversible organ damage, heart stoppage and death. Piercing Jesus’ side would release the pooled blood and fluid, just as described in the Gospels.

***The man that they mention, Jehohanan, is someone whos bones were dicovered. According to historians he died from crucifixion 7 A.D.

“Believe what you want. Either way He died a horrible death for our sins”

///Clay///