Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In a New York State of Mind

   The picture above I took while riding the Staten Island Ferry.

This past Sunday I was able to take a spare of the moment trip to the city I love. New York! In my mind there isn't a better city. The real reason why I jumped at the chance to go to NYC is that my best friend (20+ years) mentioned that he was going to be in the city for a business trip. After some thought I wanted to go hang out with my bro and check out the city that I love.

I have been struggling lately with just trusting God and walking in the path that He has presented me. I have found myself asking these type of questions. "God what You doing in my life? Wondering am I making a difference? Am I on the right track? God am I following You?" Once again should Himself faithful and gave me exactly what I needed. He gave me and great day in the City with my best bro. 

The day was filled with conversation about who is the better basketball player Labron James v. Michael Jordan (naturally Michael Jordan) to the state of Christian Hip Hop and Christian music in general. We talked about loving people and not being a bitter Christian. We discussed how the greats in the faith have placed a safety plan in their life so that they don't fall into sin (i.e. Billy Graham, Tim Tebow, Judson Cornwall.) 

We discussed our parents & the shinning examples of godliness that they are to us. We discussed our wives and children and how incredibly blessed we both are. We talked about how far God has brought us and where we might end up next. The conversation was rich and full of God. I needed it desperately.The day was filled with remembering our childhood, looking forward to what the next step is and what God was doing currently... 

I remember looking at the Freedom tower and thinking to myself... I feel like that! I feel incomplete I feel like there is so much more work to do on me and I began to wonder if God moved on from finishing the work that He started in me. Then God said, "I AM... The Author and The Finisher..." Justin, you aren't a completed work because I am not finished with you..." I know that I don't look like the Freedom tower and there is MUCH more work to finish the work that He started. But I realized something even greater He is faithful to complete the good work that He started in me. Most amazing is that He doesn't frustrated with me, my lack of faith, my questioning, or lack of obedience. He is patient and forgiving, filled with grace and mercy.Those questions that I had... Wondering am I making a difference? Am I on the right track? God am I following You?  Disappeared...  Too many questions and not enough of just believing and walking with the Author and Finisher.... 

I don't have many answers but this I know... God is still there and He is still leading me. Where? I don't know but it doesn't much matter. The Father reminded me that He is aware of my every need and He hasn't brought me this far to let me down now. So thank you Jesus for the reminder of Your love and how You will never leave me nor forsake me. 

As an added bonus I got to take a bunch of pictures of New York City. Below are few of these shots.... 

Ps... Thanks to my mom for the finical support. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"When the Bombs Break Right Outside My Door..."

Once again, I find myself in place where I realize that I must rely/count on God. I consider myself a person who has a pretty strong faith in God. I am defiantly an optimist in that I believe that God ALWAYS has my best interest in mind. There are times that this belief/certainty is strained however. It is never because of anything that God does or doesn't do. He is always the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

Last night I was teaching at youth group and I spoke very briefly about the lie that Eve & Adam (who was standing next to Eve throughout her conversation with the enemy) believed spoken by Satan.
Genesis 3: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
In other words the devil was saying "God doesn't really care about you, he doesn't really care about your situation, God doesn't want what's best for you... God is withholding HIS best from you..." Adam and Eve bought hook line and sinker... Unfortunately, I do the same thing today...

I am currently looking for work in youth ministry field (either secular or with a church) and I have been to a number interview and sent my resume to even more places. I know that God has a place in mind for me and I know that He will never withhold HIS best for me. Even though I "know" this there are times that I fall for that same lie that my forefather and mother fell for in the perfect garden that God created all those years ago. 

I was having a hard time today and began to question God and if He was still there? I felt like Martha and Mary (Lazarus' sisters)... John 11:21 
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 
Essentially, Martha (Mary says the same thing a few verses later) were saying to Jesus... This (Lazarus' death) is your fault! Don't you care about us? Where were you? Why didn't you come to his rescue?!!?!?

Well, little did they know that Jesus is the Resurrection and Life and HE WAS ABOUT TO PUT ON SHOW....  

On my way home from work today I was listening John Mark McMillan's new album titled "Borderland" (if you haven't heard it I highly recommend it) and I was listening to a song called "Counting On" here are the lyrics to song... I am seriously in love with the lyrics and message of the song. Well done Mr. McMillan
COUNTING ON by John Mark McMillan 

When the night stops pushing up the day
When the miles drop me on the open planes
When I’ve lost grace with the lady of the dawn

You’re what I’m counting on
You’re what I’m counting on

Where the hounds run
Track me in my sleep
When I can’t trust the company I keep
When I’ve push passed the point of pressing on
You’re what I’m counting on
You’re what I’m counting on

I’m throwing stones
Up at your window
I’m casting shadows
Upon your door

Where the bombs break
Right outside my door
And I can’t shake the onset of my wars
When the stakes are raised
We hold the hand we’ve drawn
You’re what I’m counting on

I’m throwing stones
Up at your window
I’m casting shadows
Upon your door

Here in Maryland (much like most of country) we have had a rough and long winter. However, last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the DC Cherry Blossom Festival. Guess what happened this year? The flowers came out, green leaves sprouted on the trees, and SPRING finally sprung...  I believe this was God's way of saying... I AM more faithful than Spring, I AM more faithful than the sunrise. I AM more reliable the dawn... I am learning to live by faith and I am waiting for THE SHOW!!!! "Do your work Lord! Be honored in all my comings and goings. Show YOURSELF strong in my life... I will WAIT on you. Amen."