Hope Renews Strength

I recently found an online deal for a discount on a custom sign. I thought for a while about what to get, and this is what I settled on:

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Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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King Intro

The following is from Christian rapper and spoken word artist Lecrae.

King Intro:

Lets establish that He’ Israel’ King
So in Matthew 1 and 1 and on the 1:17,
We see His lineage and trace way back into time
That legally He was fine in the Davidic line
And genealogically He’ still King of the Jews
Cause the Book of Luke exposes genetical clues
See a true King
though He didn’t do it in the physical,
He brought a new covenant to free ‘im in the spiritual
And after sometime,
Wise men from the east came looking for the new born king in the streets
I know some of you dudes may cruise a 4Runner
But Christ had the dude He used as a forerunner
And no promoter gunna cut it like the John the Baptist
You need publicity stunts so you datin’ an actress
A real King has somebody bringin’ the news
That his kingdoms ahead and they ain’t fit to lace up his shoes
So tell me who’s the one anointing all these so called kings?
They all self proclaimed and man, that’s a dangerous thing

-Lecrae

After The Music Stops

Forgiveness

One of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your entire life is exercise forgiveness towards someone…yet it can also be one of the most important things you can ever do.

I will be honest, sometimes it is very difficult to say those three words: I forgive you. There have been people in my life who I may not want to forgive, for one reason or another. These are people who have hurt me physically or emotionally, have broken my heart or my body, have changed me in ways I could not have previously imagined…

To these people, I feel called to extend forgiveness. As the songs say, this is very difficult and you often feel like the one loosing when you offer someone forgiveness. However, as the physical and emotional wounds heal, I know that the healing will only be complete once I extend true forgiveness.

I have personal stories of forgiveness, and may share them here at some time. But for now, I encourage you to seek out one of two type of people…first, the people that have wronged you, tell them you forgive them…second, the people you have wronged or hurt in some way-ask them for their forgiveness.

Father- grant me the grace to show these people the forgiveness they deserve. You have forgiven me of all my sins and wrong doings, who am I not to extend this to those who have wronged me? Help too, these people…allow them to learn from their mistakes and work in them to help them be who you want them to be.

I know it will not be easy, but I will do my best to live the words of Matthew 6:14-15For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. And Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Cast So Far!

The song lyrics really say it all. When we give it all over to God, He will cast our sin farther than we ever could on our own.

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
’cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
’cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

True Heroes

So by now I am confident that you have heard the news and stories of the terriable incident from last Thursday night/Friday morning. I am, of course, referring to the shooting that took place during the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado.

However, I am not writing about the horrific event in its entirety. This is because I want to respect the people who fell victim to the act of a single, desperate, seemingly evil individual. Plus, there has been enough press about the event has a whole and I will not continue writing about it and dissecting it, at least for now.

I want to mention three people from this event: Jon, Matt and Alex. These three incredibly brave men paid the ultimate price for the people they cared about. Now I realize there are numerous stories of bravery from that night, but these three young men laid down their lives in order to protect others. When the gunman started firing into the crowd, each of them reacted in a split moment, using their bodies to protect their girlfriends and those around them.

While some of the specific details of what happened may be shrouded in mystery and confusing details, the effects of these brave acts is clear: three young women are alive because these three guys moved in a way devoid of selfishness and full of compassion and care.

Many of us strive to live out the words of the Bible, whether we fully believe in it or not. From the Golden Rule to the Ten Commandments, almost everyone applies these types of ideals in their lives. However, one verse seems to stand above the rest, especially in this situation. It was the first that I heard in my mind as soon as I hear about this story, and it sent shivers through my body.

I want you to think about this for yourself- I am not going to spend time breaking this down further. I will say: these men are true heroes and I know their sacrifice will never be forgotten or their memory diminished.

So think about this, do any of us really know when our time is up, or how our time will end? These guys were not doing anything extraordinary before they were killed…they were going to a midnight release of a movie- something I have done many times with no thought to something like this happening. Then, when the situation drastically changed, they saw only one way to react. Casting aside selfish ambition, they saved someone they loved. We should all be so lucky to have our last act be so courageous.

I want to close with a question: We are called to be courageous…Jon, Matt and Alex answered the call when the moment came: will you? Live in a way that honors them, their memory and the love ones they left behind.

Gentlemen- thank you.

Article about the young men here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/aurora-shooting-boyfriends-died-protecting-girlfriends_n_1695290.html

To Camp. From Me.

 Recently I was doing my evening devotions and I started reading Philippians for what may be the first time, at least in a long time. As I started reading through the first chapter, the following set of verses really stood out to me. You see, I have lately been really missing my friends at Camp and truly wish I was working there again this summer…there is no place I would rather be in the entire world…but I am working to stay true to the path God has placed before me.

Nonetheless, I think about Camp constantly and spent time in prayer for my Camp family and friends, as well as all their efforts with various groups and campers.

As I was thinking about Camp, I came across this verse. It fits what I wish I could say to everyone at Camp. Philippians, a letter in the New Testament, was written by Paul to the church in Philippi. He was imprissoned at the time and could not be with them, so he turned to writing to them in words of encouragement and thankfulness. I may not be in prisson (don’t worry, mom, I’m fine), it almost feels like it-just because I am separated from them. So I too turn to words of thankfulness and encouragement, turning to the words penned by such a great man so many years ago. How true his words still hold.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completionuntil the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testifyhow I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

To Camp: Keep up the hard work! I know it can be difficult and tiring sometimes, but I have full faith that you will prevail. I wish you all the best and look forward to when I see you again! You just never know when I may turn up….

Staff prayer at camp….how I wish that was happening right now. Know that it happens in my heart and mind.

Beauty through Music

Sometimes you just need to hear some refreshing music. The videos below are from a very talented group of individuals knows as “The Piano Guys.”

Most of their songs are covers of mainstream artists and are amazing. I only have a couple here, but I encourage you to check them out. Not only are they talented, but it is so refreshing and shows how beautiful music can be.

Hope you enjoy…I can safely say you will see their music here again on my blog.