Every time you think something good about someone….say it! Facebook, text, call! Say those life giving words to those people and maybe change their hour, day or life.
Today was the 1 year anniversary of the day that Justice Micah Perry earned his angel wings. He was only here on this earth for a heartbreakingly short 28 days. But in those 28 days he did more for the kingdom of God than most of us will do in a lifetime. It’s hard for me to express how this baby and this family I had never met changed my life, but I tried in this post…. http://emsmith217.tumblr.com/post/17753035765/my-journey-with-justice
A couple of days ago, my friend Glenn felt led to organize a balloon release and mass tattooing. For those that had been touched by Justice and his life, she wanted us to have 28 tattooed somewhere. Talis, a fellow Epican, volunteered his time and talent to help. One after one, people got their 28’s and at the end of the day 25 people had gotten tattooed today. Some who had never wanted tattoos felt led to get this one.
Everyone there today got their “28” for a different reason. We were all changed in some way by this season and wanted to have an external symbol for our internal change. I got mine on my hand so that I will always see it and always remember. I was pretty new on my journey when I first heard about this family and following them and seeing the truly amazing faith in God they had strengthened my faith in him. They were going through, as a parent, what I could only imagine to be the worst kind of pain. Watching your newborn baby fight for his life and struggling through ups and downs everyday. Every minute of every single one of those 28 days and not once did their faith in God waiver. That my friends is awe-inspiring! I got this tattoo so that whenever I am in the middle of a storm, when I’m in a season of life that could so easily make me shake my fist at God and say “Why me?”, that I can remember by just looking down that God’s plans are ALWAYS bigger than my own and to trust him. And so that I can remember to thank him everyday for the beautiful life that he has given me.
The Perry family and friends gathered today in Tennessee to release balloons and celebrate Justice. So a 3:26pm, the time of his passing, we did the same. I don’t have words for the emotion of that moment. It was breathtaking.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God spoke a message to me today. Although I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save me from my sins. That message, that TRUTH, came to me today in a practical way that has literally opened my eyes.
As I sat listening to the band play a song I’ve heard many times in my life, tears streaming down my face, it really hit me how much God truly loves me. And how much he truly loves you! If your a parent imagine killing your child to save someone who hasn’t done anything to deserve being saved. That is what God did for you! He allowed his son, his only child, to be tortured and murdered to save your life. Not your earthly life….because this body and this time you spend on earth is but a second in time compared to eternity. He died to save your eternal life.
I don’t know about you, but I could not imagine harming a hair on my baby’s head for someone else much less sacrificing his life for them. I will never be the perfect Christian. And although I feel I have come a long way from where I started I know that I am but a baby in my faith. Today I felt the 2nd huge shift in my journey and I hope and pray that I can live a life that others can know that I am a Christ follower. That it’s not just words….that my life reflects what I know Christ did for me and how much he loves me. I will probably never be able to quote scripture. I won’t argue with you about the meaning of verses and I can’t debate with you about theology. What I can tell you is that I have peace. I have faith in a God that no matter what happens in my life, he will take care of me. Maybe not always in the way I want him to, but always for the good.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3, 4 NIV)
“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence… “The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”
Nicely said!Source: andreahatfield
LOVE GOD? = LOVE OTHERS
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. - 1 John 4:20
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” - 1 John 2:11
I saw this picture recently and it really made me scratch my head. I don’t really have a 100% “for sure this is right” opinion on it, but it did make me think about the verses shown above.
Does God really prefer the “Kind Atheist” compared to the “Hateful Christian”? Well my answer would be No but according to the verses above, there really should be no such thing as a “Hateful Christian”. 1 John 4:20 is clear as day that if a Christian claims to love God (which is the most important commandment) but hates his brother, then he’s a liar, and he in fact doesn’t love God at all. He has fooled himself. To me, that screams that the “Hateful Christian” is in fact not a Christian at all. Maybe I’m digging deep there, but I don’t think so. I’m just agreeing with what the Word of God says.
Jesus said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:27-31
I know that I have struggled with this notion to love everyone: To turn the other cheek when someone wrongs me. To feed my enemies when they are hungry. To forgive everyone who wrongs me not just seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22) because Christ has forgiven me and saved me by his grace. This is a very, very, hard thing to do, but it isn’t a request, it is a COMMAND FROM GOD.
So why do I bring this up? I bring this up to encourage everyone (myself included) to begin to show the Love of Christ to all of those around us today. Our enemies, our friends, the Buddhist, the Homosexuals, the Atheists, the ugly, the poor, the rich, the prisoners, the widows, everyone! If we claim that we love Jesus, and He is our Savior and our Hope, then any hate in our hearts that we have for another must be replaced by love. Like I said, God did not request this, He commanded it, and even went as far as to say that IF WE REALLY LOVE HIM LIKE WE CLAIM, WE WILL NOT HATE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. It’s clear and straightforward.
So let’s examine our hearts today. Any grudge we’re holding on to, any person that has done us wrong, we need to make that relationship right. We need to supernaturally, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit turn that hatred into love and compassion. We must show mercy to them because the Creator shows mercy to us! I pray that today, no one would ever be able to describe any of us as “Hateful Christians” but that atheists would begin to question their non-belief because of the genuine love we show to everyone! Amen.
Awesome words BJ!Source: bjstrob
My friend Meredith emailed me this YouTube video last night and I just had to share it. It’s an awesome poem written by Jefferson Bethke titled Why I hate Religion, but love Jesus. It’s only about 4 minutes long, but it’s message is powerful!!!!
Today our eLife group went to serve at our Huntsville location. Which just happens to be under the 565 overpass in what is known as tent city. This is my second time to visit this campus and as I stood there watching all these people from such different walks of life worship with hands raised and listen to Pastor Billy’s message I felt an emotion that I can’t even find a word for. I felt God’s love. His love was all over the place! It’s no secret that most of the congregation is homeless. And for someone like me who is a natural introvert, it can be somewhat uncomfortable for me to interact with strangers no matter what the situation. I only say this because I never want my quiet nature to be translated into people thinking I am uncaring or cold. I’ve unfortunately given people this impression my whole life and it’s something I continually work on within myself. I prayed for the Spirit to fill me and help me be servant of Christ today and I can only hope that I didn’t let him down.
Ironically, I’m still thinking about this tonight, because Pastor IV’s message today was about how as Christians we are called to be his witnesses. I am humble enough to admit that I stumble everyday and I miss opportunities to show God’s love everyday. I’m like most people, just trying to get through the day and home in time to relax a little before going to bed and starting again the next day. I miss and sometimes flat out ignore these opportunities because I am human. Because I am not perfect and quite frankly because I’m scared. But IV said something today that I can’t get out of my mind. He said “there is a courage inside of you that will rise up if YOU let it.”
Reflecting on our time at tent city today, I’m positive that I could have done more, said more, been more and that makes me sad. But I know that God is still working on me. I am exactly where I’m suppose to be and I will just continue to pray for his strength and power and forgiveness when I fail him.