A Thought or Two…

Suffering is a tough concept to grasp for a lot of Christians. Maybe because of the prosperity gospel…you know, the one that promises financial blessings and increase, nice cars and homes, more money if you pay your tithes, even more money if you bless the preacher with a financial gift, and of course a comfortable life. Many pastors/preachers today are feeding the congregation some washed up, wannabe gospel full of empty promises and false hope instead of preaching Christ crucified.

I’m not at all saying that I am against paying tithes, having nice things, or giving financial gifts to people but what I am saying is that we need to stop feeding each other these empty promises. They’re empty because the Lord DID NOT promise financial increase and blessings to every single person who surrenders their life to Christ. Jesus DID NOT promise that our lives would be easy and comfortable once we decided to follow Him. There is NO guarantee that someone will be blessed with a huge financial blessing if they triple their tithe payment for the week. God didn’t guarantee that we will be wealthy and make a lot of money, but He does guarantee that He will take care of us.

Matthew 6:25-34 reads:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How perfect is our Lord? He willingly takes care of us. He gives us all that we need and then some, even in the mist of our sufferings. While we suffer, it can be very easy to lose faith or to consider throwing in the towel but is God not worthy enough to be glorified through the good and bad things we experience? We have to learn to get up when we get knocked down. Better yet, we NEED to learn to give God the glory He deserves. He is enough!

No Attachments

When I first decided to give my life to Christ at age 16, I was completely ‘souled’ out for Him for a good year or so. There were plenty of things I had not yet understood or known but I did understand that my life belonged to this amazing God who loved me so much that He gave His Son to be slain so that I may be saved by His grace and have life more abundantly (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 14:7-9, Ephesians 2:8). I knew that God had loved me and that no one else could ever love me like The Messiah does. I also knew that I had a mission; that mission was (and still is) to share The Gospel so that all may know of this pure, everlasting, unshakable love that our holy Savior freely gives.

I had like-minded friends who encouraged me as I encouraged them to thoroughly enjoy this beautiful journey with Christ through life on earth. I was a radical 16 year old when it came to being about my Father’s business. I could not be shaken…so I thought.

Within the next four years of my life, I slowly, but surely, began to compromise…especially in my relationships (friends and boyfriends). In compromising, I lost sight of what and Who was important. I continued to attend church services and bible study groups but at one point, I felt like I was only doing it because I thought I should. My actions became aimless and my life became purposeless.

Soon, I idolized my future career goals, my hair, boys, and so many other things. I can’t even imagine how insulted God must have felt when He looked at me to only see the amount of idols I had accumulated over a short period of time.

My prayer life became weak and I stopped reading God’s Word. I was lost and I eventually felt like I hit a point of no return. I was so broken and ready to call a quits on life and my relationship with God. I would often say to myself, “How could I pray to Him? He probably doesn’t even want to hear from me. I’ve neglected my Lord completely.” Through the doubt, pain, and suffering that I was going through, I then experienced God’s faithfulness and truth in His Word.

Psalm 34:18 reads,

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.”

I had read this scripture before but reading it during my time of suffering meant the world to me. It gave me something to hold on to. It helped me to remember God’s love for us.

I then began to share my struggles with my friends, because I couldn’t keep it in any longer, and the Lord used them to so elegantly help me to get back to Him. I decided that, with God’s grace and my effort, I would not make any idols for myself anymore. I needed to honor my holy and faithful Lord with all of me!!! Even if it took all of my energy and breath!

God gave me strength to be diligent and I finally got back to reading God’s Word. One day, I stumbled across the book of Ecclesiastes. I realized I had never read it all the way through so I decided to do it. The revelation God gave me was mind blowing.

Ecclesiastes is believed to have been written by Solomon, who was the richest and wisest man who lived during that time. Throughout the book, Solomon talks about how everything is meaningless without God. He paints a picture of the riches he had, what he achieved, and how he could have whatever and whoever he wanted. He was, what people in our generation would call today, “The Man.” Solomon had it all but He soon realized that none of it meant anything. Solomon made it clear that nothing will ever completely satisfy us unless it is our Lord. His conclusion was to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc 12:13).

I immediately gained a new perspective on life.

I read Ecclesiastes a second time, soon after I finished it the first time, and I then decided that I wanted to live a life with no attachments to this world. We hold on so tight to things and goals and people and it is so distracting to what is truly important. If God wants us to have something, He’ll give it to us, and if He doesn’t, we need to let Him take it away. He knows best and I know this to be completely true.

Having no attachments to this world doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy life and the people therein, but it means that if I was ever in a Job situation (the blameless man who had EVERYTHING taken away from him), I would know that God is enough for me and will always be, and no matter what is going on in my life or in the world, God will FOREVER deserve to be worshiped and praised solely because of who He is…period!

I challenge you all to read Ecclesiastes and meditate on the things that Solomon is saying. God’s Word is sooooo awesome and I can’t get enough.

Feel free to share your thoughts or questions and if you have any prayer requests let me know. May God bless you with peace and assurance in Him. Love you all.

Thanks for reading!!

~Jaz

My Life is Christ’s

My Life is Christ's

I haven’t lived very long but I’ve lived long enough to have had experiences that caused me to think more deeply about life. Life. What is it? Who is it lived for? What is my purpose? Those answers can be summed up into one word, or name I should say: JESUS!

I’ve lived long enough to realize that nothing else matters except Jesus and pleasing Him! Not pleasing some unworthy man in this earth that can only satisfy temporarily; not indulging in some career that will eventually end, either in death, retirement, or termination; and definitely not serving other gods! I want to be God’s Ride-or-Die!! Yep, I said it!!! To live is Christ and to die is gain anyway (Philippians 1:21) so what else matters? I want to take up my cross and suffer for the Lord! I want to do God’s will on this Earth and spread His word all over the Earth! I want to forsake all for Christ!! Am I ready? Am I prepared? Probably not but I’ve had some recent experiences that have showed me that only God can give me joy!

God is the ONLY person who is perfect and has kept me in perfect peace while I went through the motions! God is faithful and I see that more and more everyday. God forgives when we repent! I can testify to that! I turned my back on God for two years and He still welcomed me back, yet again, WITH open arms. He loves us more than we can imagine…LITERALLY!!! I am tired of having one foot in the world and one foot in God’s will when I know a God who is better than life itself! God is better than the air I breath!!! Jesus is worthy of my life and I have decided that I will live for Him. No more compromising, no more disobedience, and no more hiding who I am in Christ!

I thank God for His love, grace, mercy, peace, and joy! Happiness can’t hold a candle to God’s joy that He gives!!!! I am so thankful and I will strive to be the woman that God wants me to be. My life is Christ’s and I will strive to be perfect (Spiritually), because my heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)

A Reflection…

This year has been very eventful and all around wonderful for me. I’ve gained and I’ve lost. I’ve learned so much about myself and lots of other things and people. I was challenged this year, in more ways than usual, and because I had never challenged myself prior to my sophomore year in college it was rough. I’ve experienced lots of ups and downs as well as victories and defeats. I had to make very important decisions for myself that changed a lot of things in my life. Nothing was life threatening but everything was life changing…even if it was just a little bit. Everything counts! Growing as a person involves learning and being a student in just about every situation imaginable. Until we can come to grips with that fact that we don’t know everything and there is always someone wiser and more experienced, we haven’t really embodied what it means to be a learner. It is a humbling process that’ll take time to master but everyone is capable. Even the greatest leaders know that it is important to never stop learning.

I’ve been in a state of reflection for a few months now and I am truly grateful to God for all of my losses and gains. He is the reason why I have not lost my hair when I was stressed. God is the reason why I am able to be so hopeful in everything when circumstances around me don’t look good. God is truly my rock that will never crumble. There were times this year when I couldn’t understand why God continued to be there for me. I didn’t and still don’t deserve His love and grace. He is perfect and I am not. I am thankful to know such a King as He. God continues to unravel my passion and the plans He has for me in the future right before my eyes but I’ve learned that I must be obedient to reach them. After all, obedience is better than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3). To believe Him, to trust Him, to love Him, to reverence Him and to live for Him is what my life has become…and much more. God loves all of us more than we could ever fathom but it’s up to us to choose Him over everything else. This state of reflection has been great. It was frustrating at first because I felt lost but God never fails and He answers prayer. If you ask and believe, He’ll give it to you (Matthew 21:22).

This year has showed me to not give up and to keep pushing and believing; to love and appreciate those around me like tomorrow isn’t coming. Complaining changes nothing…except it pisses people off and that’s never a good thing. Nothing is impossible when you have a God who is just waiting for you to believe and ask Him anything! I am truly thankful for this year and I am looking forward to an even better one. God is faithful and He loves like no one.

Believe in yourself and don’t let your faith waiver! Much love and peace.

Romans 15:13- Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.