Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We fall down, we get up

Forgiveness. Sometimes it is hard to forgive others when they wrong us. But often times it is even harder for us to forgive ourselves when we sin. We can't see how God could possibly forgive us for our wrong doings. We feel that either we have sinned too much, done the same things over and over again, or have done something so big that God could not forgive us. The guilt, the shame, the blame hold us down like chains. Chains that have bound our hands and feet to the ground; paralyzing us. Paralyzing us in our mind, body, and soul.

Forgiveness. This is, however, far from the truth. God is more than willing to extend forgiveness to us when we sin. Though our sin may be great, God's grace is greater. Romans 5:20 says, "Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more."

Forgiveness. If you have discovered this blog post and find yourself in a place where the weight of your sin has you bound, feeling hopeless, Jesus is inviting you into the throne room of grace. The price of admission is simply a broken spirit. For a broken and contrite heart will not be turned away (Psalms 51:17). Simply come before the Lord and begin to confess your sins. As you confess your sins, begin to meditate on the following scriptures, letting their truths wash over you:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalms 103:12

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Hebrew 8:12

Forgiveness. Imagine that Jesus is standing before you, speaking those words of scripture to you. As you feel the weight of your sins lifting off your shoulders begin to give praise and thanks to God. He is mighty and worthy of the praise! Thank you Jesus for your amazing love and forgiveness in spite of my sin!

Forgiveness. You are not alone in this struggle. This morning I begun to feel the burden and weight of my own sins. But as I began to pray, God, as he often does, will put a song in my spirit. When I began to listen to this song it lifted my spirit and reminded me that though I fall down, I can get back up again. The following is the song God gave to me. I pray that it would minister to you as it did to me and raise your spirit. You may have fallen, but you can get back up again!



Sunday, December 16, 2012

My God is Awesome!

Music. Music inspires. Music can uplift. Music renews the soul. Music can strengthen and encourage. Music can bring peace and tranquility. Music can make tears of joy flow. Music.

I enjoy listening to music. I enjoy listening to music that comes from God with a message that speaks to me when I need it most. I enjoy listening to music that brings tears to my eyes and I cannot help but respond with gratitude in my heart for all that He has done for me.

I have a song I want to share with you. This song is called Awesome. It speaks of a God who is awesome. A God who can move mountains. A God who can keep you in the valley. A God who can protect you from the rain. A God who brings healing to the broken, and strength to those weakened. If you are weary from the burdens of life and are having a hard time pressing on, this song is for you. If you need healing for your broken heart, this song is for you. If it feels like you are going through the valley of the shadow of death, this song is for you. If you are on the mountain top and just want to give God a shout of praise for all that He has done for you, this song is for you.

Bellow is a video of Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago performing the song Awesome. I hope and pray that this song will touch your heart and life like it has touched mine. That it will help strengthen and encourage you as you walk this road of life. That it will cause you to think about the goodness of God and all that He has done for you to the point that your soul cries out, hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! Glory to God! Hallelujah!



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Change of seasons

Fall. A beautiful time of the year where the leaves change colors and paint the landscape with vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges. As I was driving down a hilly, narrow, country road on my way to Church yesterday morning, I thanked and praised God for this beauty that surrounded me. Truly God is an amazing architect. The beauty of His creation is just astounding. He is so worthy of praise and glory for the works His hands have wrought.  Thank you God for the beauty and wonder of your creation!

Fall. A busy time of the year as students head back to school, crops are harvested, and yard work needs to be done. But in the midst of all the busyness I would encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule and just enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Give Him the praise and thanks as you witness the transformation taking place around you. The change of seasons. What an amazing God we serve! All praise and thanks belong to and is due unto His name! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Not Alone

When it rains it pours. It seems that whenever times are hard, things just start pilling up. If it's not one thing, it's another. Everything seems to come all at once. It seems that the cares and stresses of life start pilling up, becoming larger and larger; a boat anchor tied to the ankle, dragging down down down into to the depths.  All the worries and past failures, cares and stresses, all the things that need to get done... seems there is not enough time to do it all. Is there anyone out there? Anyone at all? Anyone who knows? Anyone who cares? Anyone who will listen? Listen to the cries of an aching heart? Listen and not judge?

To all those who feel this way. To all those who ask these questions. To all those who are struggling. To all those who feel as though they are caught in the storms of life, like a boat tossed about by the waves, wet and cold and trying to hold on. You are not alone. You are not alone in your struggles. You are not alone in the storm. There is someone who knows how you feel. There is someone who has been through what you have been through. There is someone who cares very much about you. Someone who knows sorrow and is familiar with suffering. Someone who can sympathize with every weakness. Someone who has experienced rejection, pain, loneliness, hurt to such an extent that is far beyond any human comprehension or understanding. That someone was beaten, flogged, and had his flesh ripped off to the point where his form was no longer recognizable. That someone had his hands and feet nailed   to the cruelest torture device known to man - the cross - where he bore the weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders - my sins and your sins. That someone was even forsaken by his own father; such a separation no human mind can fathom. That someone is Jesus Christ. And the most amazing part of it all? Jesus went through all of that because he so dearly loves you. Jesus went through all of that because he wants to have a relationship with you. Jesus went through all of that because he wants to enter your heart and soul, rearrange your life, renew your mind, and give you life more abundantly. I cannot even begin to describe how crazy, unfathomable, and amazing his love is for you. He is always there for you. Never will he leave you nor will he ever forsake you. Just call on the name of Jesus! Take him at his word! You are not alone.

Below are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Not Alone by Red. Whenever I feel alone or overwhelmed by everything going on in life,  these words come to mind. As you read these lyrics, picture Jesus standing before you, saying those very words to you.


"Not Alone"

Slowly fading away
You're lost and so afraid
Where is the hope in a world so cold
Looking for a distant light
Someone who could save a life
You're living in fear that no one will hear your cries
Can you save me now

I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won't leave you I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
Cause your not, your not alone

Your heart is full of broken dreams
Just a fading memory
And everything's gone but the pain carries on
Lost in the rain again
When will it ever end
The arms of relief seem so out of reach
But I, I am here

I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won't leave you I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
Cause your not, your not alone

And I'll be your hope when you feel like its over
And I will pick you up when your whole world shatters
And when you're finally in my arms
Look up and see love has a face

I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won't leave you I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
Cause you're not, you're not alone

And I will be your hope
And I will pick you up
And I will be your hope
And I will be your hope

Slow fading away
Your lost and so afraid
Where is the hope in a world so cold

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A little piece of heaven

Heaven. What comes to mind when you think about heaven? No more sorrow or pain? Streets paved with gold? Being dressed in a white robe, having wings and a little gold halo above your head, and singing in an angelic choir for all eternity? There is more to heaven then this. We will be in the presence of God. Let me say that again. We will be in the presence of God. Think about it. We will experience the fullness of all that is God for all eternity. The bible says that God is spirit, light, and love. We will experience the fullness of His spirit. The fullness of His light. The fullness of His love. We will be so filled with the Lord and His spirit, light, and love that we won't be able to help but clap our hands and shout hallelujah at the top of our lungs! We won't be able to help but worship and serve the Lord with the fullness of our being for all eternity! We won't be able to help but give praise to God! There won't be a single moment in heaven that we won't be filled with complete love, complete joy, and complete peace. All praise and glory be to God!

There will be no more sickness. No more illness. No more cancer. No more blindness. No more pain. For we will all have perfect bodies free from the sin and corruption of this present age. There will be no one in need in heaven. No more homeless people. No more struggling to make ends meet. No more living in projects. No more wondering where the next meal will come from.  For we will all be of one heart and mind, sharing everything and claiming nothing for our own. There will be no more sin. No more hate. No more lies. No more steeling. No more murder. No more pride. No more greed. No more lust. No more idolatry. For Satan will be conquered once and for all and all the wicked of this present age shale perish with him in the lake of fire for all eternity. God will be victorious! And all those who valiantly conquered and ran this race of life with perseverance keeping their eyes fixed on Christ who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God will receive a crown of life. Surely better is one day in the courts of God then a thousand else where. Surely one day spent in the courts of God in the life to come will make a thousand days of trials, sufferings, and persecutions in this life so worth it. All praise and glory be to God!

Here are the videos to a couple of songs that come to mind when I think about heaven. I hope you enjoy!

MercyMe: I can only imagine



Jeremy Camp: There will be a day



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The vastness of God

What comes to mind when you think about God? His love? His mercy? His forgiveness? Or maybe His wrath? His justice? His power? When I asked myself that question, the first thing that came to my mind was His vastness. How big He is. Just how vast is God? How big is He?

To get a bit of an idea of how big God really is, let us consider the stars. The nearest star to planet earth, other than the Sun, is Proxima Centauri. This star is roughly 4.3 light-years away from the Sun. That may sound a bit confusing. A light-year is not a measure of time, but rather a measure of distance. A light-year is essentially the distance that light can travel in a year. Light travels at roughly 186,000 miles per second. At this speed, light can travel around the world seven times in one second, and it can travel over 5.87 x 10^12 (that's 587 with 10 zeros behind it) miles in one year. That's really fast! But even at that speed, it still takes light over four years to reach Proxima Centauri from the Sun. But that's just the distance to the nearest star.

The milky way galaxy is estimated to contain nearly 400 billion stars. The milky way galaxy itself is an estimated 100,000 light-years in diameter and 1000 light-years in depth. So that's incredibly large! It is hard to comprehend something that is that big in size. But that's just our galaxy.

The nearest galaxy to ours, Andromeda, is approximately 2 million light years or 1.17 x 10^19 miles (that's 117 with 17 zeros behind it) away. That distance in and of itself is staggering. But that's only one galaxy. There are an estimated hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe presently and as technology continues to improve, even more will become visible. In 2004, the Hubble space telescope took an image of galaxies that are 13 billion light years away. Mind blown yet? Mine sure is.

But you want to know what is even more amazing? God created it all. Not only did He create it all; He spoke it all into being. Not only did He speak it all in to being; He determined how many stars there would be. Not only did he determine how many stars there would be; He calls them all by name. Let me say that again. He knows the name of every star in the entire universe. How can such a God be comprehended? How can anyone dare to gasp at the depth of His knowledge? How can anyone fathom the breadth of His power? God is vast. Everything about Him is vast.

As you look at the stars tonight, know that the same God who created the universe created you. Know that the same God who counts the stars in the sky has counted the very hairs on your head. Know that the same God who knows all of the stars in the universe by name knows your name. Know that you serve a vast and limitless God.


References:
Atkinson, N. (August 3, 2009). How many galaxies have we discovered? Retrieved from, http://www.universetoday.com/36610/how-many-galaxies-have-we-discovered/

Christian, E., Safi-Harb, S. (March 17, 1998). Size of the Milky Way. Retrieved from, http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980317b.html

Li, S. (1999). Distance to the nearest galaxy. Retrieved from http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/SaraLi.shtml.

Tam, K. (1996). Distance to the nearest star. Retrieved from, http://hypertextbook.com/facts/KathrynTam.shtml

Wethingtion, N. (December 16, 2008). How many stars are in the milky way? Retrieved from, http://www.universetoday.com/22380/how-many-stars-are-in-the-milky-way/





Saturday, April 14, 2012

Business

My oh my, it has been a long time since I have last blogged. It's incredible how busy life can be; how quickly our schedules can fill up with things. It is hard to balance everything that needs to be done. It just seems that there is not enough time in the day to do all that needs to be done. That gets me thinking. What am I doing with the time that I am given? Am I just being a busy body that isn't really doing anything of significance or importance? Just going through the motions of life? Same stuff, just a different day? Is this what life is supposed to look like? Or is there something more?

Our lives are a precious gift. Every moment, every breath is a gift from the Father. The mere fact that we are able to get up in the morning, in our right minds, and do what we need to do should be more than enough of a reason to give God the praise and the glory He is due. Have our lives become so busy that we can't even pause for a second to give God some praise? I must confess, I am guilty of this. It is easy to get wrapped up in myself and all the things I need to do that I simply do not give thanks to God. How sad is that? My very next moment could be my very last! Every day, every hour, every minute, even every second is a precious gift. Time is not wasted when it is spent giving praise to God. Oh Lord, teach us to count the days! Teach us to make the days count. Lead us in better ways, for some how these souls have forgotten that life means so much.

Let us take some time today and every day to give God the praise He is due! Take some time out of your busy schedule to watch the video below and mediate on the words. Let us make the most of the time every minute we are living.

~~~Life means so much~~~
By Chris Rice