The Flood

god
For most of my life I have been comfortable with being comfortable. I am very much a man of routine; I am at ease when I have even a vague outline of where I am going or what the day will look like. As humans we all have our niches, habitats, tendencies, methods and specificities that help to create and establish levels of comfort and measures of manageable tranquility in our lives. Whether you recognize, acknowledge or feed it, this hunger for control and comfort is ingrained in all of us. Ultimately, our control of comfort can become a corruption that can destroy every fiber of our world.

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them…”
Genesis 6:12-13 (NIV) 

After reflecting on these Scriptures in Genesis, I realized something simple yet profound: We will all experience the flood. 

At one point or another in life we will go through one if not many great floods and storms that will destroy all that was once established, teeming and comfortable in our lives and wash it away without any ascertainable reason. In these situations do you find yourself building an ark and preparing life for the future or rather, settling in the land of sheltered yesterdays? In these fragile moments, faithful obedience surpasses circumstantial evidence.

I have seen that if you remain tied to a dock of comfort, God will inevitably send a storm to sever those ties and send you out to sea. For some of us it happens suddenly, for others it is more of a process. As creatures of comfort, we often find it difficult to depart from our dock because it represents the measurable outcomes and controllable circumstances that we so desire in our lives.

Then there is that confronting, obstructive Scripture in Matthew 16:25 (NIV) “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” 

Does God really want us to lose our life, our comfort and our ease? Yes, because what He has is more, is greater, is better than anything we can perceive. God wants to redefine what it means to be comforted until all we need is Him. Jesus asks us to put everything afloat upon God, and go out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose. It is out at sea where eyes are truly opened, faith is fully formed and character is eternally shaped. If our faith, security and hope are on board with Jesus we are not to spend all our time in calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy but always tied to the dock. We must echo the obedience of Noah and build an ark to weather our own storms and embark upon the sea of God’s promises.

In verses 6:22 and 7:5 of Genesis (NIV) it reiterates the same vital point and difference between Noah and a lot of us, “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.”
Noah did all. It is a dangerous, sometimes fatal mistake to refuse direction, to refuse to follow and fully obey on this voyage. The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind where you create your own opportunities to sacrifice yourself, and your zeal and enthusiasm are mistaken for discernment.

“But Samuel replied:
‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'”
1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfill your spiritual destiny. Fulfilling your destiny means doing the hard work. It means getting up every morning to gather the wood to build that ark, and preparing to live for the future rather than the past. Beware of paying attention or going back to where you once were on the shore of yesterday’s comforts when God wants to take you somewhere that you have never been before.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 
Romans 12:2 (NIV)

The Perfect Fix: Fire Set by Faith in every Decision

In todays world of information overload, we collapse at the forefront of making a decision. With so many decisions that are unstructured and unpredictable, the desire for more answers immobilizes our strategy making process.  Thus, in todays environment, we need to be able to find not all the information but the right information. We need to be decisive in the parameters given.  Will we know if it is the right way.  Even if there may be five ‘right ways’ can we accomplish one.  My question today is: Does the perfect fix exist? Because, if we do not have a way to getting things to work, how do we ever intend to stay motivated.

I mean, what is our motivaton if we find ourselves at the tail-end of every challenge comming against more opposition? Why do we continue another day if we see the light at the end of the tunnel never get brighter? How far would you treck in the desert after you have journeyed for years with no refreshment.  How do you stick to your work until the end of the day, if your mind moment-to-moment is bombarded with fear, doubt, and remorse.

Does the perfect fix exist?  

Here is the thing, the perfect fix is not a result but a process.  A methodology of being your best in all that you do.  Doing what you know to do best: trust in God, live for His kingdom, and being readily available for service.  It takes discipline to be your best in your daily activities and being devoted to the opportunities in front of you.  Overall, it is our responsibility.

Process: is where you have dominion and command.  The process is where you come in and shine.  The results are outside your control, the inputs as well. So many people are overburdened because they feel or assume they have failed because of external circumstances.  Because you did not get hired, did not get the promotion, did not get the grade you wanted, did not make it through the relationship, does not mean you failed.  As long as you put your best effort forth, that is what counts.

God called us by His excellence.  You have the right to be diligent, hardworking, eager, and constantly motivated.  Your time of day is precious, do not give in to a person you are not meant to be because people will judge you.  If they want the best for you, they will be proud of you.  With any insight at all, people are all wanting to be themselves but everyone is worried to make the first move.  Live life by the way God set things to be in your life.  Believe in His promises.  As long as you are your best, you do your part, whether you get the job or not, wheter your relationship lasts or not, you know you are living Gods path for your life.  Motivation plus determination make for a promoted Christian lifestyle.  Jesus said to us: those planted in the good earth will have a harvest that will bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold (Matthew 4).  What’s the final call? Launch a policy that your perfect fix is a ready heart for Jesus. Be diligient, full of a spirit-of-excellence, be obedient and you will watch His kingdom be moved in ways you never would of dreamed.

Do the best you can, with the resources you have.  Never let yourself get taken over so easily by trying one way that did not work and forgoing all other options.  We live in a day with so many options to have an impact on the world, let us not forget the world needs more leaders, community builiders, and friends.  People who follow their path and stay in their lane influence others to be diligient in their life.

For the person reading who is being their best everyday, keep your focus.  Align your heart with God’s will for your life all-the-more.  Aim straight and eliminate any distractions.  Enlarge your vision, step into your development with character and know that God is deepening roots for the things to come to life beyond your imagination.  Each time you stay faithful, you are deepening your roots.  When you have stayed faithful for one week or ten years, continue to stay true to your own convictions knowing that God has set your path this way for a reason.  Stay diligient, stay ready in your heart for God, keep Him first, and be eager for todays fulfillment of continued persistent work and effort.

The perfect fix is right in front of you: it is now, today, in this present moment.  Will you give God your best in what He gave you.  Stumbling over if it is the right decision or not is not the concern.  Information overload and inactivity will be a past recipe of your life.  Your new ingredients to success lie in what Peter spoke about in 2 Peter concerning the fire set by faith.  In believing everything we see around us is meaningful, ignite your walk knowing that God is not surprised with your current situation and the state of affairs around you.  Keep your feet planted knowing Jesus Christ was already the perfect fix to your future decisions as well as your past.  Each day is a day to stretch, each hour is an hour of opportunity, the perfect fix is not a formula but a connection between what we are suppose to do and what we do. Stay diligent.

2 Peter 1:5-11 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus ChristFor he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Willing to Endure

As victory is in Christ, we in Christ never ever are to be defeated.

Though, in the heat of a battle, in the midst of a storm, how do we stay in Christ and not give in to sin.  How do we stay victors while suffering for Christ.

This question is a pressing concern.  First, understand there are compounding processes taking place at the front lines of the battle field(… our mind).  First, we are attacked in the depths of, not our firm beliefs, but in our unsolved theories.  We are not attacked on the basis of what we firmly know as true, but the concerns of our mind that still are under investigation.  We do not have all the answers but we are still hunting.  Double that with a generous grace we give upon our own lives.  When we say things like, “You got to have a weak point… your HUMAN”, “Your parents were victims”, “I never faced so much difficulty before”. The enemy wants us to believe that if we can’t stand strong everywhere, we are weak.  By one mistake we are not worthy.  We should not even bother.

But God relinquished our shame, He overtook our sin and yes now we are no longer subjected to sin and death but are revived – raised from the dead – into eternal life.  Trust that God is equipping you to overcome struggles, bad relationships, and obstacles.  That being so, when the going gets tough, the battle seems lost, the encouragement seems bone dry… Praise.

Praise is the deviation from losing to winning.  Praise, not because you feel it is time to praise, but when you need an answer to your enemies. When finances are tight and the bills do not have any way of being covered, when your marriage seems to be at its last thread before it falls apart, when your life seems to be so busy yet you do not understand your purpose, Praise God!

Why?…  God intercedes in the midst of our praise as our warrior to battle any devil trying to take a stronghold upon your life.  Psalm 18:3 declares to praise God and He will save you from your enemies.  Praise God that He is providing for your rent, Praise God that He is restoring your marriage, praise God that He is casting new vision upon your life to be stronger, more able, and effective than ever before.

Again, in the heat of the battle, Praise.  When you praise God, you are saying, God this problem is huge, but you are bigger.  God my situation looks impossible, but you are able. God is ready to rescue you, get into his presence, allow God to do a mighty work that will thrust you into a new season of your life.  Do not give yourself away to the little schemes of the devil.  Circle around the devil looking down at him and tell him you are not going to overtake me because my God has overcome the world.

Understand, God might send you into the lions den to teach you what you carry. Do not be over come: Press forward, keep the vision alive, refresh your hope, stand on His promises to build your faith. He is ready to move forward, are you?

“When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.” 2 Corinthians 1:6-7 MSG

 

Keep Reaching


reachin
In February of 2013 I was inspired to write letters for my community, describing in a few words my experience and relationship with God. My intention was, and is simple–to write to people on the basis of which my heart was won: love.

In the Bible one of my favorite collection of verses is 1 Corinthians 4-8 (NIV):

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…”

With this in mind, please read this. My prayer is that it will open your heart, mind, and soul to the extraordinary, endless, and scandalous love of our God, who is with you always.

Dear Neighbor,

Hello, my name is Taylor. I never used to be this guy but I want to tell you, you are loved. You are loved by our creator, our father, our savior.

I know a lot of you may disagree and it’s ok if you do but please, consider this: He’s waiting with open arms… waiting for you to come home. It’s easy to say He’s not real, to blame Him for everything wrong in this world; I know this because I did it. I think that being fearful about something you don’t fully understand is a natural tendency, it’s human nature. Hiding behind drugs, alcohol, sex, wealth, fame, pride, anger, deception–it’s all so empty. They won’t lead to answers; they won’t heal your hurting. Again, I know this through experience, through crashing and burning time and time again. Living a life without a purpose is a rudderless ship, aimless, destructive, and going nowhere. It’s a never-ending egg hunt to fill a void in hopes that it will lead us to a measure of peace and fulfillment that seems just out of reach.

I didn’t write this to start an argument, I wrote this to urge you to keep reaching, keep moving, keep hope alive. I wrote this to ultimately remind you that you are loved.

Please, have a blessed day, remind your family and friends that you love them, pour words of encouragement, integrity and honor into them. Light up their hearts. Remember that this life is a vapor, here for one moment and gone the next… so live the life you always dreamed of. It’s never too late to remove the stone and live again. Please know that I will be praying for you, I love you and most of all, God loves you.

God Bless,
Taylor

Called to His Path

As a follower of Christ our walk is a bit different than the average.

We must push against the grain.  We have to make decisions that are tougher.  In that, sometimes we lose heart in our day-to-day hustle.  We lose sight of the bigger picture that God does not ever intend for us to fail.  On-and-off, it is easier to do what everyone else does.

Middle_of_the_Road

On any street in life we find center lines that divide the road.  God designed us to walk – if you imagine with me – as if we shrunk down to the size of an ant and walked right on that center line.  The center line represents the narrow path, the road less traveled.  The interesting part is that the line does not continue forever but breaks off again and again.

As we walk we could lose sight and not understand the next chapter of our path. A curve in the road could seem like there is no direction in front of us; but, what if we knew our blessing, our healing, our answer, or our refreshed hope was sitting just around the corner.  What if the road was turning to shift us into an unbelievable wave of God’s love.

We are all called to His path: the narrow path.  Keep moving forward.  Stay in anticipation for God to work something great in your life.  As the church we are the bride of Christ.  That means, we walk down the aisle with Him and He walks through life with us.  He never left and He is ready to overfill your containers as you press on to voyage with Him.  Develop a patience that is unshakeable in hard times.  God is not partial or unreasonable.   Through tough times it is our chance to build faith with a relentless hope.  By trusting that God is still in control, we display our faith in action.  So, be ready on que because God can do anything at anytime. He is just around the corner!

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:14 NASB