Greeting Bloggers,

Just continuing the Comeback Series with Louie Gigilo. I hope this will continue to bless each and every one of you.

“No one has gone too far, and none of us has done too much, to disqualify ourselves from the love, grace, and power that Jesus can bring into our lives” – Louie Gigilo

Pre Study Questions:

1 ) Who is one person in your life who has helped you the most?

I’ve had numerous of people to help me navigate my life journey. One person comes to mind is my Pastor Jose Daniel Montanez. It been unreal at what he has done. I can not thank him enough for allowing God to impact my life and help me so much.

2) What did that person do that helped you so much?

Pastor Montanez has done so much that one blog post wouldn’t be enough to being to describe the type of man that he is. I will say this, he took a lanky broken kid from a Podunk town called Ranlo, NC. That worked with me, and provided guidance every step of the way of how to become a man, live life on my own, and trust God every step of the way. Especially when the way didn’t look like it would be available, Pastor was there to remind me that God will show up and show out. I thank God for Pastor and all he has done for me in my life while I’ve been on life’s journey.

Reading:

Luke 23:32-43(HCSB)

Crucified between Two Criminals

32 Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with Him. 33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”]And they divided His clothes and cast lots. 35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine 37 and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”

38 An inscription was above Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

Scripture Question:

1 ) Have you heard this story before? If not, what stood out to you most? If you have, did you notice anything new?

I’ve read this story many times before, but to tell you the truth, what I’ve noticed was out of all the people who are speaking everyone one of them had some for of mocking that they said toward Jesus but one. What made this one criminal realize this was Jesus? What stirred inside him to know this was Jesus the Messiah? What propelled him to come forward and say this? This is what stood out to me.

2) Jesus forgave the people who were crucifying him. Which is harder for you: to forgive the people who hurt or to receive forgiveness when you hurt someone else? Why?

I am usually able to forgive much easier than receive forgiveness.  I have been working on it extremely hard. Through counseling and realizing that what I expect [perfectionism] from people and what is reality are different. With help I realized that will be okay if things are not what I expect, and they will be okay if it not what I expect of them.

3) Where do you hear “good news” in the Luke passage?

From verse 40-43, is the stories just showing How God’s good news of accepting Him into Heaven that evening.

Discussion Question:

 1) In the video, Louie said that “Jesus Came not to make bad people good people but to give us everlasting life.” What does this mean to you?

When I think about the question posed here; I immediately think about when Christ come and changes our life(that we free choose to change) to give us everlasting life through the relationship we have with Him. We begin an inward change of heart to transform out lives from bad to good in the process.

2) There are two thieves in the story. How would you define the difference between them? Which on do you relate to most right now?

The two thieves are polar opposites to each other is the best word I can use to describe them.  If I have to choose it would most likely be the thief that spoke out to the other thief.  Cause I do realize that I’ve missed the mark, and I deserve the punishment that is due to me from the mistake that I’ve made and short comings of God’s word.  Christ was on the cross because He chose to be not because He had to be there for us all.

3) Jesus wasn’t drawn to those whose lives were “perfectly” put together but to those whose lives weren’t all together. What hope does this give you in your situation?

It makes me realize that no matter how jacked up I am, that Christ loves me just the way I am, and is here for me no matter what the situation I am currently facing. Christ is by my side at all times.

4) There was nothing easy about Jesus forgiving the thief and saying, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Why do you think this is the case?

This is a tough question to ask, because it make you truly think from Jesus point of view.  To think in an infinite mind-set from a finite mind-set is impossible. I truly think(just my opinion) is that the thief truly realized who Jesus was, and was truthfully sorry for the crimes he had committed, and wasn’t asking to go to heaven but to be simply remember by Jesus when He was in His kingdom. Realizing that he deserved his punishment for the crimes they committed, and Jesus didn’t do anything wrong and was unjustly punished for a crime He didn’t commit. From this I believe just this simple act of humility from this thief moved Christ heart, and it gave way from communion with Christ in heaven.

5) What is mercy? Come up with a definition, and try not to use the word grace in your definition.

Mercy is a great word, it is definitely a word that show compassion, pity, empathy, or an emotional connection to someone who has done wrong. Mercy is also forgiving a person who truthfully deserves punishment, but clean the slate of wrong doing.

6) In the video, Louie said that ‘there is enough mercy in Christ for us all.” Do you think this is true? Why or why not? How have you personally seen the mercy of Christ?

I truly believe there is enough mercy in Christ for every person.  God allow His Son to come to the earth for each and every one of us.  To give everyone a opportunity that chooses to follow Him.

How I’ve seen the mercy of Christ, I remember watching a video on YouTube of this woman who had so much anger toward this drunk driver for killing her daughter and had gone to court to have this man put away for a long time.  After a few years, [can’t remember if she was a Christian or not] she when to the jail to meet the guy and forgave him for what he had done.  Then she helped advocate for early release from jail, and eventually it came. Now they are working together as a team to raise awareness for drinking and driving.  It was just so amazing to see how God work on this lady heart to the point of allow her to forgive this man. To now teaming up to impact the lives of students about the effects of drinking and driving.  Talk about God’s mercy on the this man giving a new chance on life to make a difference for good and not evil.

I hope you all enjoy this, and Marry Christmas to each and every one of you!

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know that even myself tend to wander away from time to time for your presence and who you are.  I ask that you forgive us, and help us navigate back to you and your presence which is so comforting.  We all hit road blocks, but you are there to help us also.  Let us remember that you are with us all the way up to the end like you were with the thief who asked you to Remember Him in Your Kingdom. We love you Father, and can’t thank you for being with us. We ask that Your Will be done in our lives. That what is meant to happen in heaven will be allowed to happen to us here on Earth.  We ask all these thinks from your Son Jesus, Amen

Noticing The Bush That Burns

Posted: December 13, 2016 in Writing

Greeting Fellow Blogger,

As I go on along in my life journey I read many books that help expand my knowledge for Christ. This blog post is just a continuation of my previous blog just focusing a little more in-depth at one of the scriptures. Hope you enjoy the blog.

Exodus 3:1-6 (HCSB)

Moses and the Burning Bush

1) Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed.

So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”“Here I am,” he answered.

“Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

As I read this scripture again tonight, I just let it permeate into my soul. I began to realize that I’ve truly have missed one of the promising underlining meaning of this scripture.  That’s when verses 2 and 3 truly stuck out to me.

As Moses look, he saw that the bush was on fire but was no consumed. So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?

Just let these verses sink in, let it just resonate inside your spirit. What I am curious about, is how long did take Moses to notice the bush wasn’t being consumed? I know that I am a firefighter, and  I would probably have ignored it for 30-40 minutes easily before I would have noticed it.  How about yourself, how long would it take you to notice it that the bush wasn’t being consumed by the fire? Why is this such an important discovery within just this verse? Why does it matter if it the bush wasn’t being consumed by the fire? These are all very good question to ask about just this simple but very complex verses.

Let’s dive into some of those question: Why is this such an important discovery within this verse.

Let’s think about this for a few moments. What caused Moses to take notice of the bush after he realized it was burning? I am going to put a theory out that the bush was probably not emitting the normal byproducts of smoke and hydrocarbons when the chemical reaction happens while the bush was on fire. [My nerdy Fire Science coming out in me.] In order for any type of fire you need three components: fuel, heat source, and oxygen. With any type of fuel you’re going to get some type of smoke emitting from the chemical reaction when it is burning. So we know that the bush wasn’t being consumed, and can definitely say that wood from the bush wasn’t being burned thus taking the fuel source out of the equation for this bush to even be burning in the first place. So we can probably safely say that since the fuel of the wood wasn’t burning there wasn’t any smoke being emitted from the bush because of the lack of fuel being burned. I know that would have gotten my attention really quick if I seen a fire with no smoke. I am also not saying this factual, or I can even prove it just I wanted to give a possible theory at to what may of caused Moses to noticed the bush wasn’t being consumed. Which is why this verse is an important discovery.

Why does it matter if the bush wasn’t being consumed by fire?

This in itself is an important miracle that was taking place within this verse, but shouldn’t be the main focal point of this passage of scripture. Yes, the bush not being consume is important, and the fact that it caught the attention of Moses. The bush was used to cause obedience to happen within the heart of Moses. Like I answered above, there was something that caught his attention to make him realize that the bush wasn’t being consumed.

Life Question:

Now what makes it hard to notice the places that God is active around you?

For me it the noise of everyday life, and not allow myself time to just focus on who God is in my life.  I know this isn’t just me who struggles with this, but many people.  As I am writing this I am think what are some avenues that I can take to notice God more, and things like what caught the attention of Moses with the burning bush that wasn’t consumed with the flame.

What is one concrete action you could take to slow down this week in order to better notice the sacredness of the everyday?

This is very simple, I’ve got to stop watching so many videos on Netflix. I have been non-stop watching different show and not noticing what God has around me. Truly I need to realize that the sacredness of each day, and notice my own burning bush like Moses did that obedient day so long go.

 

I hope y’all enjoyed this quick in-depth look at this verse and how it is important that we slow down and notice who is God in everyday life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

My prayer tonight is that you will use this blog to open our eyes at the importance of slowing down and noticing who you are. Opening our hearts to obey the signs you are giving us to notice who you are throughout this week. We love you Father, and ask these things through your Son Jesus. Amen

Greeting Blogger,

This is a little different Blog today, I am going to be answering the question in “The Comeback Series” by Louie Giglio, and thought I would share it with each and every one of my fellow bloggers. Hope you enjoy

Session One:

[Scriptural Text]Exodus 2:11-15, 3:1-12

Pre-Video Question:

1) What was one thing that stood out to you from the Scriptures?

What really stood out to me was, how Moses really had two different approaches to handling problems. The first problem we have is Egyptian is beating a Hebrew, and Moses killed the Egyptian. The second problem was two Hebrews were fighting and Moses question them why they were fighting. I found that to be quite interesting because of the difference in people involved between these two groups , and the way Moses chose to handle it.

2) In what ways did that represent a new insight?

The new insight was that people in general are going to handle situation differentially depending on which group is involved. Even if the situation are the same. This may have been because Moses had compassion for it being his own people and wanted to protect them from an outsider causing harm. While, trying to makes sure that his own people worked it out among themselves.  We really don’t know what thoughts were going through Moses head during these two days while these events were happening. Only that he feared for his life from Pharaoh for killing the Egyptian.

3) Do you think this part of the book of Exodus casts Moses in a good or bad light? Why did you answer the way you did?

I would have to say a “Bad Light”. The reason I answer this way is; we see Moses having killed an Egyptian, running away from his problems, and now is a wondering within wilderness to the land of the Midian. Moses was running away from His problems instead of facing them head on. Showing us to run away is better than, moving forward at this point of his life if we are just focusing on this portion of scripture.

Video Question:

1)Finish this sentence: “After watching the video, one question I now have is…”

what happens now?

2)Even if you have felt like you’ve done too much, gone too far, or God has lost track of you, the truth is God has not forgotten you. God see you right where you are. In what ways do you agree or disagree with this statement.

As I’ve been on this life journey of mine, I will have to agree with this statement. For the very fact that I’ve gone through many life struggles, and have been reminded time and time again God has always been by my side each every step of the way. Even when I felt like I blew it in a major way. God has alway been there to wrap his loving arms around me to remind me that He has me, or shower me with a blessing when I felt like I didn’t even deserve it. God showed up and showed out.

3)Does this idea sound too good to be true? Why or why not?

This idea is true, just continue from the pervious question that I answered. God has shown Himself to me during times of struggles. Making provision when there was not a way. God laid it on people hearts to provide things in my life that they had no clue I needed, but they came either to provide monetary provision in the amount that was due, provision of food when it was needed, and they had no clue that I was struggling. God shower his blessing in only a God manner way.

4)Have you ever seen God restart someone’s story? if so, when?

I’ve seen many, but the most profound one is my friend Gabriel Martinez. I remember the first time I meet Gabriel was going to Godfest in 2012 I believe.  He was a very quite, broken young man. He had made a poor choice. He decided one night to consume alcohol, and drive afterward. In most cases when you drink in drive things don’t always turn out for the best.  Gabriel got into an accident, and someone else was severely injured. Gabriel was in a large amount of trouble with the law, had the pain of this person on had injured in the back of his mind, many days in court. Gabriel had literally hit rock bottom.  The transformation I seen in this young man has been amazing. God truly gave Gabriel such a comeback it is amazing to see. Over the last 4 years God has replace so much hurt that Gabriel had harbored toward life, himself, and what he had done. Now Gabriel is filled with so much joyous laughter, a servant’s heart for God, and just a powerful advocate to who God is in his life.  Gabriel is now happily married, his legal issue are no more, and is a tremendous leader within our student ministry impacting the lives of many students from His comeback story and friend around him that he encounters.  Gabriel’s Life has been an impactful one in my life and very grateful that I’ve met and gotten to know him.

5)God can “reach into our lives and make music play.” What does the “music’ playing in life sound like right now? What would God’s song sound like?

The music that has truly impacting my life has been two beautiful old melodies from when I was a child.  I have decided to follow Jesus, and Just as I am. Just showing me that no matter what is going on in my life that Just as I am; broken, bruised, battered, tired, and worn out that God loves me just the way I am, and I can follow him regardless if I go alone or someone comes along with me it my choice to follow Christ just the way I am.

6)In the video, Louie says he wished he could say his story ended with everything getting better quickly and easily… but it didn’t. It took time. Do you find this comforting or discouraging? Why did you answer the way you did?

I believe it is both, because I know myself along with others want things to get better quickly and be super easy. I know that isn’t the case, because in my life when I experienced a deep heart-break it took me many years to claw out of that painful experience. I was discouraged along the way, and didn’t feel anyone else understood what I was going through. It was a truly painful experience. It also comforting to know that Louie, a pastor, struggles with similar things that I have. Knowing what it feels like, and realizing I am not along in this struggle. It is comforting.

7)Can you think of a place in your life where you need a comeback? If so, are you willing to share with the group what that is?

This is hard for me to say at this moment, I know I needed one many years ago, but as of right now I am not sure. I found this book, and wanted to do the study allowing God to work on my heart. If there is something I ask God to help uncover it in my life to allow me to have a comeback to be someone who is willing to use it to be a testimony for someone else who may be struggling with a similar experience.

 

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

As I am writing this prayer. I give you praise for who you are. Without you, the very foundation of the earth would not be formed. You truly gave breath to every living being that lives and have orchestrated such a beautiful array of things in life to allow us to enjoy the things we have.  I ask you right now for those who are reading this to be open to your power in their lives to bring such a beautiful comeback story that impact lives around the profoundly. I also ask that you will allow them to hear your song that you place into their lives this week to show that you are the God of the comeback. Finally, I ask that you will comfort those who read this to allow them to feel your presence to know that you are with them through this journey called life. I love you Father, and ask these things in your Son, Jesus name. Amen.

Greetings Fellow Bloggers,

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with someone who is very dear and near to my heart. Someone that looks up to me as an older sibling and I feel as they are a younger sibling in my life. They were discussing with me some life events that they were going through and struggles that they are facing. When I was reading my devotional, the day after, it reminded me of someone with whom I can relate to from the Bible over the last few years. I have read his story many times and it was just a powerful reminder that God has such a powerful plan that is beyond our greatest dreams. A plan that we can not even began to possibly fathom.
As I was doing a reflection from my devotional,l I was able to realize that I can relate to the story of Joseph.  I know I did not have some of the crazy events that had happened to Joseph; but, I can definitely relate to him. For a period in my life, every time I turned around something else was going wrong. It was like one blow after another.  When was this crazy roller coaster going to end? The story of Joseph had many things that were very prevalent throughout his entire journey.
The biggest thing was that God was always present. When it did not seem like He was there to Joseph and during these trials Joseph encountered along the journey that he was experiencing, God was there. God allowed one of Joseph’s older brothers, Reuben, to speak up to keep their other brothers from ending Joseph’s life. Later Ishmaelites came just in time to prevent the snakes in the pit from possibly killing Joseph. His brother sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver to their extended family, the Ishmaelites. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was an officer for Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, bought Joseph. God’s hand was on Joseph when Potiphar bought Joseph. It was part of a bigger plan that Joseph did not realize as he was going through this hardship on his life’s journey. Joseph began to be very successful in his owner’s household and found favor in his owner’s sight. This led to Joseph being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. The punishment of Joseph’s crime should have been death; but, Potiphar, being a Captain in the guard, showed restraint and mercy on Joseph and sent him to the King’s Prison [State Prison]. God’s hand was on Joseph even when he was being sent to jail. Joseph prospered in jail. Joseph gained a tremendous amount of favor to the point that Joseph was made chief administrator of the prison. God’s hand of favor was on Joseph during all of these trials, sharpening his skills for the plans God had for him. God allowed people to cross Joseph’s path to impact their lives in such a way it would influence people in a position of power to take notice. The Pharaoh’s chief baker and cup bearer were just two of many people to cross Joseph’s path. These two particular people had dreams that needed to be interpreted.  The dreams were interpreted by Joseph. Both dreams came true, just as Joseph had interpreted them. The interpretation made an impact on the chief cup bearer’s heart. Yet, it was almost two years later before the cup bearer remembered a promise that he had made to Joseph.  God’s timing is sometimes hard to wait on. We expect things to happen in our timing. What we do not see is how God is using the place we are at to hone our skills for the position that God is going to provide in the future. The dream that Joseph interpreted for the chief cup bearer was so impactful that when no one else could interpret the Pharaoh’s dream, he remembered Joseph. The cup bearer spoke up to tell Pharaoh about Joseph.  Pharaoh had Joseph brought before him and asked if he was the one who could interpret dreams. Joseph was honest with Pharaoh. He told Pharaoh it was not him, but God that gave the interpretation. Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. Joseph interpreted and gave a proposal that not only pleased Pharaoh, but all of his servants. Pharaoh’s own words are “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?” [a]  Pharaoh placed and exalted Joseph to have control of all of the land of Egypt and no one could out rank him, but Pharaoh himself. 
I have truly put in a nutshell about four to five chapters from the book of Genesis about the story of Joseph for a quick reflection. We could go into a much deeper and detailed endeavor of Joseph’s life. There is so much to learn from his life to apply to our own. With my life, the things that I have experienced over the last six to seven years have been a training ground for future endeavors that God has the foreknowledge of and I have not quite grasped hold of yet. These plans have not been revealed yet.
To all who may be having an experience like Joseph with things that just go wrong at every turn or things just seem to be happening, do not give up. Keep pressing forward. You will be surprised at the end of the journey how mature you have become. The struggles you face will in turn help someone else that may be facing a similar situation. Use your past experiences as a testimony and light for others that come after you. These experiences can point people to Christ and show a vulnerability within yourself to others who may be experiencing this struggle, also.
Life events do happen to us because life happens. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect bodies, with imperfect people around us.  Things come up because of the imperfection of life.  We do have a choice to either take what happens as a learning experience to help us grow in maturity from that life event or we can choose to allow it to destroy us and those around us.
One final thought is that people are going to discourage you. They feel they still have control over you. They do not like seeing your success. They are a hurt person that goes around hurting people because that is all they know. Or perhaps it is just the enemy trying to stop your growth from happening. As hard as it is to tune these people out, some of them may even be love ones that you care about, put on noise canceling head phones bumping your Jesus Music to keep on track with your faith journey.

Very Respectfully,

Jonathan

[a]Genesis 41:38 HCSB

Greeting Fellow Bloggers and Blog Readers,

It has been almost 22 months since my last post. Many things have happened over that time in my life, and want to give each and every one of you a word of encouragement.

Life hasn’t been easy but it has been a slow rebuilding period. God tends to put people in your life that are designed to build us back up and cause us to grow in the mist of our darkest days of despair.  In my last post on the 30th of Jan 2014, I was entering some of the darkest days of my life.  In that last post I mention that I had lost a co-worker when I was working at Home Depot suddenly, broke my engagement to be married, lost my truck when I blew the engine, chemical burn to my one of my eyes, and was in one of the worse years financially since I had started working.

When I hit the low point in my life there was only one way to look and that was up. I turned to God’s Word, and remember passage of Scripture that help me.

Psalms: 119

25 :My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word.

28 :I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word.

50 :This is my comfort in my affliction: Your promise has given me life.

105 :Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

169 :Let my cry reach You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.

Psalms: 121

1 :I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?

2 :My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 :He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.

4 : Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.

5 : The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.

6 : The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night.

7 : The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.

8 : The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

As these scripture permeated my soul I begin to lean on God, and seeking help to overcome these hardships in my life.  Looking to God for answers, He began to softly speak to me and mention the name of my pastor. I grabbed my phone in what was one of the most liberating and difficult phone calls in my life.  Telling your pastor that you felt numb, and didn’t know how to process emotions was very difficult to do. Laying down my pride to reach out for help was also difficult. I thought I could overcome all this on my own. Guess what, that wasn’t the case. I just begin to drive myself deeper and deeper into despair until I asked for help.

My life didn’t turn around over night, but it did allow me to see life is a journey with many intercal parts along the way.  People are pieces in your life to either cause grow within you or destroy the progress that you have made. Thankfully, these last 22 months God has allowed many people in my life to help be a source of rebuilding and healing.  At the beginning of the healing journey what I experienced emotionally was a world wind of feelings. I felt anger, sadness, pain, hopelessness, lost, and not sure how to even begin how to process these feelings. With my pastors help, he pointed me into the direction of a Christian Counselor. Over the following 3 years, was the beginning of the rebuilding process. My counselor spent many hours seeing me cry, voicing hurtful experiences that I felt that even went back as far as my childhood, encouraging me to seek medical help, and just was a source of constant reminder of who God was during this process.  My counselor began to see healing within my life slowly. I still struggled with all the emotions I was feeling, and couldn’t really see any of the healing he was talking about until over a year later. As I began to see it, thing in my life began to change around me. People around me started to notice a change, and I keep at it. Keep pushing forward, God was with me every step of the way.

Through this God made provision in ways that can only be described as being God sent. Many times I didn’t have ways of getting help medically, money for rent, or even have money for food on my table.  God laid it on people heart to provide for me, and it was an experience that was unlike anything I have ever experienced before.  Having people pull out their checkbook to write the amount I needed for rent. People bring so much food that I had to give it away because it was too much for just one person[Fresh Foods]. Having these things happen to me when the people providing the blessing didn’t even know I was going through these hardships. God spoke to these people, and literally laid it on their hearts make provision. It was surreal to see. The biggest blessing came in October of 2015. I had been looking to acquire some type of vehicle. My feet and knees were starting to hurt from the 4 mile walks I was taking to get to and from work, and not counting the walking I was doing while I worked. I was tremendously blessed with a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 with under 90,000 miles that was only 4500$. The owner originally was asking close to $9000.  I never once asked for a discount, and God laid it on her heart to sale it to me at 1st around 5500$ after asking 9000$. She wanted to sale it, because she didn’t drive it and it was her late husband truck. By the time I test drove it and came back to her home, she said since I know you personally Jonathan, I am going to sale it to you for 4500$. I was like I’m not complaining, and her son was are you sure mom. She was like yes, and I was like Praise GOD! Only God can make provision in ways that is impossible for man.

Now fast forward to where we are today, this year has been a tremendous blessing also, but extremely difficult.  This year my faith has been truly tested with many things. With organized Western Christian Religion in general, through friendship that have been removed, my health has been a major concern this year, moving to a new stage of life, and trusting God’s Will. Things that were great blessing have been, seeing some of the student at my church grow into epic young men and women of God, meeting someone who has been a blessing from God, having things being fixed that I didn’t think were possible to get fixed, having hope, and a renewing of faith.

Life is definitely a journey. It has been one that if I could describe with one word it would be “interesting”. Life journey will have its ups and downs, but the one thing we can remember God is on this journey with us every step of the way. We must continue to push forward even in the mist of adversity we face in our life. We may never know who we are inspiring around us.

Feel free to comment, ask for prayer, or questions. I would love to hear some feed back.

God Bless,

Jonathan

It has been 25 days since my last post.  It has been truly a difficult 25 days in my life.  It is no where as hard as someone who is struggling with an illness, a family member that has gone off to war, or even lost a love one who has been very close.

My struggles are very personal to me, struggle with finding a job, dealing with losing a vehicle, breaking off my engagement to be married, personal injuries, and even dealing with money issue because of a lack of employment.

During this time I have being questioning a lot of things these past 25 days.  Things that are far beyond my mind can even begin to understand.  My biggest question is why. I tell God in my post that I don’t understand what is going on, I don’t understand the purpose behind this struggle that I am going through. Why have you chosen me? These question I have asked myself repeatedly with these scripture that keep coming to mind each and every time.

Psalm 46:10 –

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Job Chapter 40-41 (Just put into retrospect of everything)

I am not going to lie, every time I am reminded, I do get frustrated, and I want to see the big picture.  Then I see what I am going through and I don’t see the bigger picture of what is going on in my life at this moment. The present situation that I am currently in is serving afor something greater in the future.  I am only seeing what is going on with me from right in the middle of the storm instead of from the sky box view of the one who created us. I can honestly say what I am going through absolutely sucks! I don’t like the current place I am in. I realize that God see things that we can only begin to even fathom with our minds.

If you have been going through an ordeal that is painful, you have been questioning things that have been going on in your life, you’re not alone.  Even minister at time struggle with hardship.  We are not perfect and struggle just like each and every person in the world.  The only different there is an amazing God who is there by our side to be able to pick us up when we least expect it, and bringing a peace that by no means should be with us when everything is going wrong in our lives.  That why I follow God, and His Son Jesus Christ, Because only through Jesus do we find that total peace, that perfect healing peace that only can be given by Him.

I tell you tonight, that it is worth it all to follow after Christ, even in time of hardship because I know that He has never left me or forsaken me. My entire life, He has been with me every step of the way.  He will do the same for you!

Waiting

 

As I look at this photo it causes me to pray in a new way for my future wife. For many years I have prayed God send her, or let me have her, or this one, let me know when I can be married. Over the last 7-8 weeks, my focus has been dealing with the Lord’s prayer and submitting to God’s Will for who He needs me to be with in my life to move forward in my ministry for Him.  My prayers have gone from being selfish prayers to God and pleading to send me someone that I desired. To God who ever you have designed for me, and according to Your Will in Heaven, allow her to be that person you have purposed in Heaven for me here on earth.  It has been one of the hardest things of submission I have ever faced in my life, but one thing I can rest assure is that God know who will best fit who I am, and accept me for who I am.

 

I want to encourage all who read this to know that God Love’s you, and know the best person to be apart of your life like He does for mine.  He has shown me time and time and time again that He is there, He hasn’t forsaken me. In fact He has propelled me to be an even strong person to know that He gotten me taken care of like He does for you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

 

As People read this post, speak life into there lives to let them know that no matter what is happening in there lives regarding relationship, that you have designed someone to perfectly match us and complement us to do great and wondrous things for your glory! Thank You Father, We thank you for everything, and ask all these things through your son Jesus. Amen

 

Over the next 8-10 post we are going to examine the following verse out of Matthew 6:5-13. It is very interesting how just breaking these verses down to get a better understanding how to pray to our Father in heaven.  I’m going to talk about the first part tonight, and hopefully over the next few weeks we can get through the entire verse. Let’s start of with a quick prayer let’s us dive into the Word.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come before you humbly knowing that you are so wonderful and amazing to us, for you created who we are and given us the ability to know more about who you are.  Tonight we ask that you open our hearts and mind to receive what your will is for these verses tonight, let it just be embedded so deep into our hearts that we will just fully fall in love with praying with you.  Provide comfort to all who read this, and bring life as you brought us life to those who don’t know you, we love you Father, and believe all these thing in your son Jesus who died on the Cross for us. Amen

Let Us Read

 

The Model Prayer

5“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

8“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

9In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

When I was younger I really didn’t understand how to pray. I would pray for things like to be able to do the energy blast from Dragon Ball Z cartoon, to fly, to get a million dollars, to have such and such as a girl friend, to go to the moon. Then as I go older I would repeat the Lord’s Prayer over and over as my prayers at night not knowing what it meant. The older I got the more selfish my prayers begin to get, making it like I wanna list to God.  Not realizing I was communicating to our Heavenly Father so wrongly.  Until one day someone begin to sit down to show me how I should pray.

Like many of you there are times you may pray God please send me this superstar as my spouse, or OH LORD!!! Please let me hit the powerball and I will give you soooo much money. How about praying for healing for a love one who is on the verge of death. Praying using very prolific vocabulary that leaves individuals scratching their craniums in sheer confusion. Praying the same prayer each night that another family member can quote the items you pray for each night.
We see in verse 5 and 6 that Christ is speaking to a large crowd to how to pray to His Father.  He expresses things to avoid and reveals a little secret to how reap the benefits of praying.  Don’t get me wrong praying in public is great, but Christ is showing us here that we as believer benefit from praying in secret away from everyone else to be rewarded with the relationship with His Father.  No being boastful and seeing how many people will praise us for using such elegant words to move a crowd and making us think we have to pray that way.  You and I just have to simply have to go a private area and be alone with our Father in heaven. When we get to our private area and begin to speak to God, Jesus tells us not to use prays that continually repeat and are the same from night to night in nature. God tells us He knows our request before we even pray for them.

 

I know you are probably thinking then what am I suppose to pray about if God know what I am going to pray for.  That is a very good question, I have asked myself that question many many times also, until I was given a revelation to understand the meaning behind. In which we will find out in the latter post, but let us focus on getting into the habit of getting alone and praying with our Creator and seeking Him Privately to truly grow our relationship with Christ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for showing us that getting into the private areas to seek you and grow with you instead of our in public.  Show us how true this is, allow us to experience you in a mighty way in our private time with you as we continue this short study on how to pray. We love you and thank you and ask all these things through your son Jesus. Amen

 

Since my last post has been emotional challenging. One thing is for sure, Christ know how to show how much He loves us through the simplest things.

Just imaging we are all having a crummy day, everything you do is going a muck, then you have just a contagiously happy 5 year old kid who has the smile as large as the State of Texas. Just comes up wraps there arms around you and it does something to you. You just begin to feel all that love and happiness that child has all over you. It just so refreshing an changes your whole aspect of your day.

It an amazing thing how God created us in each stages of lives to make impact in people. Even when were child we had the same effect on other. God knew just how important children were going to be in our lives just to express His love and happiness through them for is adults to understand.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We love you today, thank you for creating children to express your love and joy through them. Thank you for everything that you have done in our lives an will continue to do. We believe your will in our lives and continue to show us love and happiness in us. We thank you for your Son Jesus, and all that He has done in our lives. Through Him we ask all these things, amen

Greeting and Blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ,

As I am here sitting in my apartment in San Antonio, Texas I am thinking about the disciples. Jesus purposely chose those 12 men, which is extremely uncommon during Jesus time period.  During those time you begin to learning the craft of your father, like Jesus did as a carpenter from his earthly farther Jesse. Likewise the disciple learned there craft as fishermen, tax collectors, tent makers, whatever it was they specialize in they had learned it from about age 10-13. The men were chosen at an older age, the one that the church didn’t want they were put through an extreme training program like no other person had seen before.  Just looking through the entire gospel we see the just endowed with all types of experiences from casting out demons, healing of the deaf, blind, to the dead being raised to Jesus walking on the waters, and calming the raging sea.  This was extreme training that lasted 40 months (3 1/2 years). I can relate to being in a process of training over the last 40 months of my life.  It has been some of the most difficult times in my entire life. Seeing people that I cared about who have been abused in all aspect of life, to personally being robbed, losing jobs, being injured, being without food, to losing people I care about in a relationships. Like the disciple who were traveling with Jesus, experienced near death experienced, terrible killing diseases, massive crowds, poor living conditions, having seeing there teacher being killed. You may be experiencing some of those things like I have experienced, or the disciple. A lost to a loved one, lost job, going through and ugly divorce, or being injured. It has a greater purpose, after the disciple when through the training program of Jesus they made such of an impacted on this world that we are still feeling the ramifications of there training that Jesus put them through. Just like us as we are tested, have trials, and even tribulations in our life. Those are the times we are being taught that God has a great purpose in our life.  We may not understand what is going on because the Word of God states that we don’t know the thoughts of God.

Isa 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

We just need to trust the is the Master is the Master, because He know what is going to happen. He created us and know the plans for our lives! He knows best for us.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As people read this blog, I pray that you just endow them with a peace and understanding that you know what is best for our lives.  We know you selected the disciple for a reason like you selected us to be apart of your wonderful kingdom.  We know you have greater plans for our lives, and ask that you keep training us and showing us that your always around us.  Keep us safe, and mold us more like your son Jesus, we love you Father! We ask all these thing in your beloved son Jesus. Amen