Archives For encouragement

I Still Choose To Believe

January 29, 2018

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Considering the world that we are living in and the state of America (and the world), there’s a wonder why we should believe.

We question the validity of coming to church on a Sunday morning to worship God and believe in His son, Jesus Christ.

We don’t even take it that far.

We question the existence and character of God.

We begin to put together questions and answers in an attempt to place God on trial: the challenging “if-then” statements of our time:  “If God is real, then [insert antidote]”

The doubts, the questions, the cynicism, the skepticism, the “free thinking” seem reasonable at first glance.

 

 

But, in spite of what the condition our world is in, I still choose to believe!

I choose to believe that Jesus still lives! I choose to believe that He died for me and He died for you too!

I choose to believe because I look at the evidence in my own life both spiritually and even in the physical that proves that Jesus IS who says He is and that God is real and loves you and me.

I must acknowledge that while some amazing and awesome and wonderful things are happening in my life, I do experience trouble and challenges, which is a part of life.

Years of low self-esteem, low confidence, depression and a poor appreciation for my identity was something I struggled with for a long, long time.

It took a lot of prayer, counseling and building of real, healthy relationships with people.

In many cases, God put people in my life to help lift me up and help grow me up…people who actually cared, who listened and who empathized with my situation but also told me the truth about myself and about my situation.

Even when circumstances didn’t change immediately, I felt the sting of discomfort and disorientation and confusion.

But, through Christ, I was able to deal with the status of being up or down, rich or poor and doing things I don’t necessarily want to do but have to do in life:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Also, the Lord already overcame this trouble filled world:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

I choose to believe and I choose to have faith because I’ve experienced too much of God and Christ in my own life to even think that both are made up. The message of the Gospel hits me at my core and moves me to live for Him.

The evidence of knowing God and Christ will show up not only in your own personal walk but also for others who see you and speak to you!

I’ve been through too many moments in life that have tested my faith to the limit…moments that I’ve fallen so hard I didn’t want to live…moments I felt so confused I almost decided to throw in the towel…moments I felt so lost and alone that I questioned my existence.

Then, God reminds me, He loves me. He reminds me through His son Jesus, who took my place and in turn has freed me from the guilty, penalty and power of sin.

My declaration is not a naive notion. It is real. It is real because my relationship with God and Christ is real.

Today, now more than ever, it is imperative to keep the faith.

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“Being Ian” owned by Nelvana

A few days ago I was watching “Being Ian,” a cartoon series that I have over the year grown quite fond of.

The story follows a boy named Ian Kelley and his family and friends. In this particular episode, Ian was trying to get a movie he made for a contest submitted to an awards group in Los Angeles.

The contest was ALL that Ian could think about. He was on his way to Los Angeles via an RV family road trip with his father, mother and two brothers. Only, one problem! Everything that could go wrong went wrong.

Of course Ian, being who he is, filmed with his video camera every single event that took place with his family on the trip.

Ian’s dad was all about staying true to an itinerary of multiple stops and side trips which made Ian anxious.

In an attempt to try and get to Los Angeles more quickly, Ian messes with his dad’s itinerary. Ian’s dad finds out and refuses to change his plans. While they make it to Los Angeles on time, they have a wreck in Hollywood that leaves Ian no choice but to throw out his copy of the movie in order to keep from falling off the Hollywood sign with the RV.

He tries to get his friends from back home to make a copy, but, the copy is deleted.

All at the end of the 2-part episode seems lost. That is, until Ian realized that the footage that he shot could be made into a movie.

As it turned out, the journey that Ian filmed turned out to be a win for him.

And such as our own lives.

We get so hung up in getting to a destination, goal, outcome and circumstance.

We get so wrapped up, stressed out and anxiety riddled over getting things to go our way.

Philippians 4:6-7 says this:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In the middle of the journey, it’s easy to get impatient. It’s easy to feel as though things are not moving as quickly as it should.

But, the believer in Christ is reminded in scripture to be anxious for nothing. The believer is also reminded that the anxiety is replaced with the “peace of God” which “surpasses all understanding” and will “guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

When the journey seems long, tumultuous or even just plain boring and tedious, my heart and mind is kept in Christ when I’m not filled with anxiety. When I am in prayer and when I’m thankful my perspective is placed into proper position in order for me to continue this wild and crazy journey called life.

Let’s Make Sacrifices

December 25, 2017

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Usually when I talk to my friend and mentor, Gerald, I share certain things I’ve learned from him here. So, here we go!

“The word of the day is ‘Sacrifice,'” he said.

Why? Because all too often we expect a major change with little results. We expect things to happen for us and to change for us without putting forth the effort or making the challenges that are necessary.

I listened intently to the examples Gerald made about sacrificing. He touched on the importance of sacrifice in Old Testament scripture as well as the daily sacrifices we make.

Thing is, we have to choose to make those sacrifices.

We take on the second job so we can make ends meet or save up for the vacation or for the next big project we have up our sleeve.

We stay up that extra hour after our normal bedtime to write or blog or draw that comic strip.

Sacrifice is doing something different TODAY so you can have a different TOMORROW.

Otherwise, everything stays the same.

Now, supposing that you’re unbelievably frustrated and tired and simply bitter and the idea of sacrificing and…dare I say it…sacrificing more, is a bit overwhelming.

I get it.

The conversation between Gerald and I finished with the encouragement to continue sacrificing.

Because the truth is this…you can’t quit before it is time.

Love Goes With Trust

April 11, 2017

 

I was working in a cubicle at a major bank doing home loan underwriting. While there, I met an older gentlemen, whose name I won’t mention here.

Fast forward a few years later and he’s now my best friend and mentor. He’s like a Father to me.

Well, a few hours ago, just before writing this blog post, he shared something with me via the phone that was so important and so key to relationship building. It is something I know I’ll be keeping in mind for the rest of my life…and that…is the issue of real love.

In his own words, as I listened to him over the phone, he told me this:

Some people never get to experience real love. In order to truly love the way you’re supposed to love — where you give all of your love instead of holding back out of fear — is to be filled with God — because God is Love.

Some people will never know this kind of love — the love that says that the other person with you is free.

Even now, Kendall, you only know of a certain level of love. But there is a type of love greater than where you are, Kendall, that you know nothing about

Wow and double wow.

And he was right. Being single (at the time of writing this blog post of course) and writing this article, it is true. I do not know what it is like to love a spouse. But, I should know what it is like and what it means to love a person.

1 Corinthians 13 is the scripture that often reminds me what love is and is not and my friend continued to explain what He had learned and large amounts of it were very Biblical.

If you truly love someone you will trust them. Some people have zero trust, and therefore, can’t love that person fully. Because they can’t learn that person fully, it is evident that they do not have real, true and genuine love. At least, not enough love that person, regardless of how they may have treated you or regardless of what you may think is in there heart.

Imagine what could happen if we actually opened up, loved more and genuinely cared and trusted one another.

We just need to get over our fear.