Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Newness of Life

A batter swings at a pitch and hits a weak pop up in foul territory. The third baseman runs over, camps out under the ball, and calls everyone else over. The batter is dead, thinking that he is out he slowly walks to the dug out head down when the unthinkable happens. The third baseman misses the ball, the batter is safe, he has new life at the plate. He struts back to the batters box, confident in this new life that he has just received. Just like the batter here, in Christ we have a Newness of Life.

Before Christ we were wondering helpless through the world. Living on our own accord, head over heals in sin. We were both apart from and enemies of the One and only true God. However, he came and died upon a tree, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed," Isaiah 53: 5.By placing himself on the Cross, he provided a means for our salvation, a way that we could obtain a newness of life. All we simply have to do is place of Faith in Christ Jesus. I believe that the lyrics of the song "Glorious Day spell this out perfectly:

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
 Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

Paul writes in Romans 6: 4 "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." What is newness of life? It is dying to your sin and walking in your relationship with Christ. It is no longer conforming yourselves to the world, but being transformed by a loving relationship with the one and only True God. It is understanding that without God we are nothing, and that the life we now live is to Honor and Glorify him.

We, like the batter in the beginning of this post do not deserve the new life that was given to us, but we were provided the opportunity to live in it, to walk in it. The new life is much better than the old life, it is a life of freedom, joy, and love. Go all out, live for the Lord, love like crazy, and walk in the Newness of Life.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

Many College Football Teams are entering the spring season with the same goal, bring home a National Championship. Afterall, this is the reason that we all play the game. However, many teams fall incredibly short of this goal. Why is that? I would be willing to bet they are not willing to take the road less traveled. They are not willing to put themselves beside and fully give themselves to the team. They are not committed to the hard work and dedication that it takes to become a champion. They walk on "Easy Street" where they never leave their comfort zone, never push themselves, and constantly wonder why success is never achieved.

The champion on the other hand understands the commitment that has to be made. He understands that they Team is greater than the Me. He goes all out, working harder than he has ever worked, pushing himself harder that he has ever pushed, preparing himself for everything that could come his way. He takes the road less traveled, the road that always leads to success.

Jesus says in Matthew 7: 13-24 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." What is Jesus saying here? Take the road less traveled. Like many football teams, most peoples goals is to make it to heaven. However, many take the road most traveled. Never leave their comfort zones, never go all out for Jesus. Instead they find their comfort in the world, its lusts, its desires, its passions. They follow the world like so many others down the broad path that leads to destruction.

To road that leads to life is both narrow and difficuly. Just like the champion, the believer must walk on the road less traveled. What is the road less traveled? It is simply following Jesus with no restraints. Its giving up your own desires pursuing God and the best that he has for you. It is understanding that God is most definately bigger that you, and submitting to him and his authority. Do it mean that this path is a funless obligation? Quite the opposite, Psalms 16:11 "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." The road that leads to life is full of joy and pleasure. A joy and pleasure that can only be found by taking a leap of faith, going all in, walking..... The Road Less Traveled.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Love Mile

Many times in life the one who goes the extra mile is the one who is successful. The individual who does more than what is required of them achieves extraoridinary success and pleasure. Many people in our society today are content and satisfied with simply being average, complacent with just scraping by doing the absolute bare minimum. They sell themselves short, never becoming all that they can be, never reaching their maximum potential.

Unfortunately, many Christians take this same mindset in regards to their faith. They wake up on Sunday, walk through the Church doors, and walk out never changed, challenged, or moved by their faith. They claim to believe, but "Even the demons believe... and tremble," James 2:19. They sell themselves short, just go to Church to feel better about themselves. They see Jesus as their Ticket to Heaven instead of their Savior from Hell. They do the bare minimum, believe, and according to the Bible "Even the demons believe. James 1:22 states "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." This is a strong warning that being in Church, hearing the Word, being exposed to the word, believing the Word is not enough. Doing the Word is what is asked of us, is what God expects out of us, after we first have Believed.

In Matthew 5:41 Jesus states "Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two." Jesus himself taught that doing the bare minimum is not enough. Not only did he teach it, he lived it. Jesus lived on this earth in the flesh just like you and me, and through it all he remained perfect, sinless. However, just becoming perfect, following the Law completely, going the first Mile was not enough. It was in the second mile, Death on the Cross, the Love Mile, that brought us salvation. He didn't merely come here do be perfect, he came here to save us through death on the cross.

We too have the choice, the opportunity to go the second mile. Do become not only hearers, but doers of the Word of God. Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Believe God, crucify yourself unto Him, Live by faith, and let your faith guide you to God the Father, Spitit, and Son. Don't simply go through the motions, go all out. Go the Second Mile!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Cross I'll Carry

Many teams and players carry around particular items that have symbolic meaning to them, or inspire them to play for a greater cause. Some players carry around lucky coins, a particular picture, or their lucky socks. Many teams carry around sledge hammers, a chain, or coins that remind them that they are playing for something that is bigger then themselves. These items are a constant reminder that the individual player is a part of something that is much bigger than themselves. It is a reminder that they have to do their part, that they have to buy into the team, into the game in order to be successful.

Matthew 16: 24 says " Then Jesus said to His disciples "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  We are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. What does it mean to take up our cross? I believe that taking up our cross and following Jesus is dying to ourselves, our desires, and our sins. It is symbolically placing ourselves on the cross just as Jesus did. This serves as a reminder of what the Lord Jesus did for us, it reminds us that we are living for a much, much deeper cause.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." We take up our cross because it is a symbol of our dying to ourselves. It reminds us that we are no longer ourselves, but the living image of Christ living through us. It reminds us that God loves us and died for us, it reminds us of the greater cause and purpose of our lives.

My Cross I'll Carry til I see Jesus
My Cross I'll Carry til I see Jesus
My Cross I'll Carry til I see Jesus
No Turning Back....
No Turning Back....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

No Misunderstanding here...

Recently my friends and I had a misunderstanding about the timing of events on a particular evening. Long story short some people misunderstood what I had said and ultimately I missed out on the events of the evening. Slightly upset and extremely let down I began to wonder what had happened? How did my words get misunderstood? In was all just one big misunderstanding...

One of the great things about our God is that he gave us his Word, The Bible. And in His Word, there is absolutely no misunderstanding at all. I love the lyrics of the song "The B-I-B-L-E."

 It is the truth, it is my life, and it's my way
It is how God speaks to me.

 The Word is exactly how God speaks to us, it is His love letter to us. And again, there are definitely no misunderstandings in his perfect, inspired, Holy Word. Psalms 119:105 states "Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path." The word of God is clear, it lights your feet and your path. Light makes things make clear, obvious, and easy to see. The Word of God is to light our way. The word of God is also perfectly complete Deuteronomy 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." The Word of God is totally complete, nothing needs to be added or subtracted from it. It in we can find advice for every situation and season in life. Again, leaving no room for any misunderstanding. The word of God is also all knowing and powerful Hebrews 4:12 "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart." The Word of God is alive and has great power. It pierces our soul and spirit, it looks at our thoughts and place of our heart.

I believe that if we take the time to carefully read the Word of God, and apply it to our lives there will be no misunderstanding. The Word is a lamp, its complete, and has power. It holds all of the answers to our problems and clear straightforward ways we are to live and conduct ourselves as believers. There are absolutely no misunderstandings in the Word of God. We must simply pick up The Bible, read, and apply what we read to our lives. No Misunderstandings...

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'm Forgiven

In this life
I know what I've been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

I'm forgiven
I'm forgiven
And I don't have to carry
The weight of who I've been
Cause I'm forgiven

 Sanctus Real's song "I'm Forgiven," really speaks truth into my life. I have done things that I am most definitely not proud of, made decisions that contradict what I truly believe in my heart. I have been the most disobedient follower of Jesus Christ there ever was. But you know what? I'm Forgiven!!! Colossians 2: 13-14 states "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumsision of your flesh, He has made you alive together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses, having wiped our the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he has taken it our the way, having nailed it to the cross." Jesus has forgiven me of all of my trespasses, why? Becuase He loves me with a love to goes beyond anything we can ever know or comprehend on this earth. Because He nailed them to the cross as he was hanging there, with my sins being the nails. He died on the cross to heal me, the sinner, the sick, the most evil of evil.

I blamed myself for something, and it really had a stronghold on my life. Like the song says "In this life I know what I've been. I knew that what I had done was totally wrong, I did not forgive myself because for some reason I did not believe that God had forgiven me. I lived life in the lowest of valleys, in constant bondage, sorrow, and hatred. However, I felt the forgiveness of God in this situation. He said Josh, you don't have to carry the weight of who you have been brother, I forgive you. How awesome is this? Totally awesome... Crazy Love!!!
Regardless to who you are, what you have done, or how awful you feel you have been God loves you. He wants to forgive you, he died on the cross for you and your sins. Isiah 53:5 says "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." He died to heal us, to forgive us. Let go of what's holding you back, know you have a Savior who wants to and is willing to forgive you. Cling to the words in the song "But here in your arms I know what I am..... I'm Forgiven... I'm Forgiven!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Opportunity

Coming out of high school, I was a fairly decent football player with dreams of signing a scholarship to play football at the next level. However, as the recruiting process played along the phone seemed to ring less and less until eventually nothing was happening. Signing day came and went and my dream seemed to be swiftly fading away. Until one day I was invited to walk on day at APSU and was asked to become a preferred walk on. I was stoked, God had provided me with an opportunity to live out my dream, I got to play college football. Despite my 5' 8" frame, I was living my dream, doing what no one else thought that I would be able to do.

God himself provides us with an opportunity here on earth, the opportunity to be forgiven, the opportunity to be with him in Heaven. Romans 3:23 says "We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," and the great thing is he provides the same opportunity for all of us to be forgiven because he died on the cross for us all. 1 John 2:2 says "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." He died personally for me, for you, and everybody in the whole world. He provided us with an opportunity to have a relationship with himself, with God. The only way to take advantage of this opportunity is to know Jesus John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me."

Have you taken advantage of the opportunity that God has set before you? Have you taken up your cross and followed him?

I did one February night at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium at YEC conference. Clayton King was speaking, and it felt as if God was speaking directly to me. That night I accepted Jesus as my savior and Lord, I took advantage of the opportunity that he had put before me. In front of a packed crowd I stood up and proclaimed Jesus Is Lord! That night my life forever changed! I am by no means perfect, and never will be. But through  the blood of Jesus I daily live in his grace, power and strength! Since I have accepted him, I have done things that only one can do with the love, support, and grace of a savior! I am living the dream that God has for my life.